As we hope in You…

Since I last wrote we traveled to a small town called Sombo–just 30Kil outside Garissa, Kenya in the Northeast. There is a small village way out in the desert bush that is committed to the Lords work among the surrounding villages that are mostly Muslim. By the grace of God they, knowing that the Sombo mission is a christian organization, have accepted them into the area. The Sombo mission provides free schooling to the children in the surrounding villages as well as a medical center. Also in the surrounding desert are 2 unreached people groups! Originally we were going to be living at Sombo while doing outreach to the Somalian refugee camps that were close, but we felt the Lord calling us to a time of prayer and intercession. So instead we didn’t do much but sweat and pray. We did a 24/3 and God gave so many encouraging words to the mission through us. It was challenging to not be physically doing anything but it was such a time of growth in patience and waiting upon the Lord.        The children at the school in Sombo.

The Pastor at Sombo was David Minor, a wonderful man full of the joy of the Lord. He referred to me as his daughter-in-law and wanted me to marry his son. “Freesha, my daughter,” he would say with a big smile. His joy rubbed off on all of us—and his family showed us such an abundance of hospitality! At night the boys and the girls took turns sleeping on a trailer that was out in the compound–falling asleep under the starry African night is something I hope you get to experience one day.

After our short stay there we traveled to the Northwestern part of Kenya where we are now, Kapenguria. We’re nearing the end of our journey, only 3 more weeks in Africa and one more in Iceland–its making my heart desire to squeeze as much life out of these last few precious moments. Here in Kapenguria there is a bible school run by Icelandic missionaries that we are working with. The grounds are beautiful, though you can tell its run by westerners because of the western toilets, showers and kitchen its such an incredible place of rest; cobblestone walkways, beautiful gardens, and real beds! We will be here until we have our debrief week–we will be doing outreach to the surrounding unreached tribes in the area, as well as working with the street boys in this area.

After the long day of traveling on Friday we received some horrible news that I am still struggling to understand. Laura & Ebel, who we worked with in the beginning of our trip, we received a phone-call informing us that three armed robbers broke into their home on the YWAM Athi River base. When Ebel tried to get them out of the house they shot and killed him in front of their two precious children (around the ages of 2 and 4).

I was initially in shock–I wanted to shut down, but I knew I needed to pray fervently for Laura and the children. Before we traveled here to the Northwest we made a pit-stop back in Nairobi to celebrate Esther’s birthday and as we were leaving I felt the urge to ask Esther if I could borrow her copy of “Happy Intercessor” by Beni Johnson. It was literally as we were walking out the door and the taxi was honking. She handed it to me and I ran to the car. So when I felt the need to pray—I had no idea HOW. How do you pray into a situation such as this? The Lord led me to a few pages in the book that helped me to pray WITH Him and into His character. I came to a core peace, like what Steve Berger talks about in Have Heart—core peace doesn’t mean you don’t grieve, but it shuts out the lies and confusion that so often follow tragedies. I’m still consciously having to deny the lies of the enemy against God’s character because I don’t understand–but I also know that I’m not going to. All I know is that this act was the definition, literally, of the enemy. “A thief comes only to steal (robbers), kill (Ebel), and destroy (Levi, Ezra and Laura)–but I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) I know that this was NOT Papa’s will and I know that He has a brilliant plan of redemption that will shine His glory.

We had a little memorial service for Ebel here just with our team, reminiscing on the short time we were able to spend with Ebel. His sarcastic, dry humor and depth of wisdom is what stood out to us most. You can tell by the photo below, taken when we were helping to build on his orphanage community dream:

The guys working in the water tank at Ebel & Laura's orphanage.

The guys working in the water tank at Ebel & Laura’s orphanage.

Ebel and Laura’s hearts beat for the Lord and they dreamt with Him—I am so privileged to have gotten to be a part of the dream that the spirit birthed in them to start an orphanage community here in Kenya. I know in my heart that this dream will live on and shine even more of God’s glory.

I remember sitting in the little classroom at Athi River as Ebel shared him & Laura’s love story and dream for Kenya–just eating it up. The Lord used them to continue speaking to me about LIFE–what he came to bring–throughout this entire outreach he’s been deepening my understanding of what it really means. I’ve been learning to dream WITH him and their story was an incredible encouragement on this journey of deepening.

I hope that as you read this, it strikes your heart to pray for Laura and the children with us as we cry mercy. This song is what I keep praying:

In the still passion Oh God
Open Eyes, Mend hearts
Let the harvest fall like rain
As we cry Mercy. as we cry mercy
Oh, Jesus, You must come
Your presence, we must have
Your power, it must fall
As we hope in you
Our only hope
Mercy, mercy
Lord, show us mercy
Mercy, Mercy
Lord, show us mercy.
 
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Meme nakupende Kenya.

In the past few weeks God has been growing, stretching and challenging me and the rest of our team tremendously.

We’ve been working with Janjaap (aka: Jayjay) & Esther (the couple we were led to by Peter). We’ve been working with their ministry with street women & street boys. It’s been so rewarding! Praying, loving and just spending time with them. We’ve seen physical healings, outpourings of the Lords joy and peace,  & realizations of God, the Father’s love for them personally.

Louise, one of the street women.

Some of my favorite moments have been with the street boys; one Friday we were teaching about the Holy Spirit–which was just an incredible day. The boys were open and asking for us to pray with them so they might be able to receive the Holy Spirit! How awesome is that? Me & Ari prayed for this one boy named Francis. After we had been praying for a little bit he started rubbing his forehead really intensely. He told us that he just had felt something leave his body, the translator said “Oh it was probably just a demon” really nonchalantly, ha. But then he said the prayer of salvation and gave his life to Jesus!
Bwana ase five! (Praise Jesus! in Swahili)

I’ve loved that we can’t walk into the city without stopping to spend a moment or two with the women on the hill. We’ve built real relationships with them and its been incredible! Just loving on them–they have such a hunger to be loved. What breaks my heart though, is seeing the boys (10+) sniffing diesel & glue to escape the realities of life. We’ve been trying to speak truth and life into them. To remind them to dream BIG! They’re at pivotal points in their lives where they can either sniff glue and accept the life of living on the streets or fight for more–knowing that they are sons of the Most High–and God has better in store for them; this is what were praying that they realize. So if you want to pray for them, some of their names are: Silas, Virginia, Peter, Bogwa, John, Kennedy and Purity. :)

Also this past week we were robbed at our hostel. Which shook us all up a bit. They took my cameras (Canon 5D and Canon Rebel XTi film), Michelle’s computer & camera along with Gilli’s computer and phone. I have been extremely bummed, bu God is good (All the time) and He’s used this to teach us to lean more on His understanding more & more. And to trust Him.

We’ve been blessed with some amazing times of soaking, rest and refreshment. After the night of the robbery, the next day we went over to Jayjay and Esther’s from some incredible, and much-needed soaking time. While we were there, God first just washed over me with peace and rest–then he started assuring me that he’s going to fulfill his promises of provision and is going to take care of me. When we were praying after soaking, God showed me this picture of me eating the crumbs of financial worries and future worries —he was showing it to me like a chart and I was eating wayyy at the bottom and where He wanted me was wayyy at the top at the banquet table. There is where I can really share His heart and do ministry–living from the banquet table! I felt such a sweet release! Ah it was wonderful. With that release came hunger that I’ve not experienced before. hunger for more and more of God pouring into me!

Michelle’s birthday was also incredible–we went out to a fancy Japanese restaurant for sushi (yummm) and then spent time in park praying over her new year, eating cake, and resting…it was magical.

God’s been teaching me a lot about the goodness He has in store for me (and you!) and A LOT about trust and reliance on Him.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield
The Lord gives grace and glory
He does not withhold the GOOD
from those who live in integrity.
HAPPY is the person who TRUSTS in you,
Oh Lord of Hosts!” Psalm 84:11-12

I love living this adventure with Papa and sharing His love. It’s truly wonderful.

Goodbye Iceland, Hello Kenya!

The first YWAM base in 25 years!

The first YWAM base in 25 years!

WOW! I can’t believe 3 months ago I was getting on a plane to come here to Iceland, last night we had to say our goodbyes to our dts leaders: Carl & Mayke. They are off to Holland to have a beautiful baby!! Some days it seems like these 3 months flew by and other days it seems as though we’ve spent a year or more together. All these wonderful people have been here with me through all the growing and stretching that God’s been doing in my heart–we’ve all cried, laughed and shared sweet moments with the Lord together. It’s been quite the roller-coaster, and now we’re hoping on for another ride–this time in Kenya.

On Thursday we held a benefit concert at the Cafe here, to raise support for our team going to Kenya. It was truly a beautiful night. The amazing people of Mukkaló agreed to give their time to play for the concert as well as our very own Nicholaus Ross & Michelle McEver! After Mukkaló’s  set a few Kenyan ladies that were attending sang some worship songs in Swahili! Everyone started dancing, there were tambourines going and so much joy! It was really freeing. It made me so excited to have many more moments of worship like this in Kenya!

So here’s the wonderful team that I am going with:

Nicholaus Ross, Tyler Dougherty, Benjamin Rave, Þorgils Gunnarsson, Josh Brawdy, Michelle McEver, Me, Kathrin Laurisch, & Ariel Zadai

We fly out in about 16 hours, eeek! We will land in Nairobi and travel to the Athi River YWAM base and stay there for a week. From there we will be working with orphanages, in the slums, widows and their families that have suffered through AIDS and also with two organizations that are in Kenya;  Tears Children and Samband Islenskra Kristniboðsfelaga (S.I.K.). Most of our time will be spent in Nairobi & in Kisumu. Ah so exciting!

During our preparation for this trip we prayed and spent time writing down what we as individuals and as a team want to be about. This is the vision we have:

A family of people clothed in Christ

simply choosing in joy to love,

to listen and laugh

will from fullness pour out hope,

in childlike grace and fearlessness,

led hand in hand by the Father of light,

we will see great wonders and bear sweet fruit,

constantly keeping our eyes on Christ.

As we see ourselves as channels of God’s grace, a workmanship created to do works that are prepared for us in Christ, we see his glory being released through all of who we are. Through our senses, our personalities, our body parts, the way we communicate or behave, the way we touch and the way we laugh, the way we treat each other and those we meet; through us being one body we see his kingdom being released.–We choose to pour out ourselves in obedience, in ministries we partner with or that we initiate, as we follow Jesus.–In all that we do we depend on the presence of God, being lead by the Holy Spirit and simply being obedient to the voice of God, we want to move from a place of intimacy with Papa.

Oh its going to be such a wonderfully sweet adventure with the Lord!

“What I ask during this time is that you just pray, and not only for us as a team, but for the people of Kenya that we will meet; the families that have been through death; the children who do not have a home; the fatherless and motherless; pray for them and hold them in your hearts…they need us.” –Ariel

Financial Update: God’s been good– we raised close to $700 during our benefit concert and money has been coming in for my costs as well. I am still in need of close to $3500–but no number is too big for God!

Thank you all for your prayers and blessings–especially those of you back home–you’ve been so supportive! I will update as soon as I can when we get into Kenya!