February 16, 2009
(Reynosa, Mexico – June, 2007)
Allow me to offer a few global accomplishments for this mission trip. As I said, the biggest thing to happen was the growth of each one of us. We came to help change the lives of the Mexicans there, but God wanted to perform deeper work in each of our lives. The profundity of the changes were remarkable. God removed habits that had bound people and restored relationships to His right and perfect standing. Smoking, drinking, drug habits, sex out of wedlock – gone. Marriages healed. Old wounds healed. New character built. We are different people then when we went left.
Our impact on Mexico: many people made very strong connections with the little girls and they felt loved. A couple random people met on prayer walks came either to, or closer to Christ. It was interesting to see how God put a uniquely qualified person in exactly the right place to meet exactly the right person to transform both lives. One man was trying to escape the drug life and had been tracked down by his old friends, and Glen helped him to find safe passage. Read the rest of this entry »
February 12, 2009
(Reynosa, Mexico – June, 2007)
Amanda, Yvette, & Linda with girls
Our last morning, during ATL, God directed me to Covering Prayer. I asked why and Linda came to mind. David had just told us that the other group was not able to go that morning, so there would be another chance. Thus, Linda would be able to give her testimony to the girls at the detention center as she had really wanted to do, but not yet been told to do in ATL. I had a minute to share with her that God had told me to pray for her. I also offered some words of encouragement. This was actually one main thing God had me doing consistently on this mission trip. It happened about 15 times. I would find myself in a position to give just the words that a person needed in order to better accomplish what God needed them to do. It may not sound as glorious as bringing a new Soul to Christ as others did, but that is the purpose He had me fill so that others could more effectively do the tasks He had set for them.
On the way to our covering prayer room, I got an incredibly nauseous feeling in my stomach at the same time I was thinking about Linda. I thought I would be sick which was really bizarre for me since I typically have an iron stomach. Once I got into the prayer room I did say a prayer for her, but it was nowhere near the most powerful prayer that God had me say in there. So it seemed strange until I talked to Linda again that night. She said that her conversation with me had really eased her and everything had flowed smoothly for her when she was with the girl. She had felt really queasy at first, and then all of a sudden, this feeling left her and she was at perfect peace in sharing with these girls. She was surprised at just how serene she could be in this situation. Read the rest of this entry »
February 6, 2009
(WEDNESDAY, even later that day – Reynosa, Mexico, 2006)
Our impromptu movie theatre
That evening we went to the Colonia. We were going to show the movie The Passion of the Christ after a short service. I went down the potholed dirt street to invite people to come. I played some soccer in the street with some boys and waited for the movie to begin. We had an overheating problem with the projector and it kept going out. Eventually we stopped the movie half way through and gave up. Afterwards, a man and woman came forward to be prayed for. I was supporting Deanna and Karin with prayer, who were in turn, praying for the woman. I could also hear Rabbi David praying for the man. He finished his prayer and moved to the woman we were with. He later told me that he could hear Holy Spirit telling him that this man was not willing to let go of his pain (alcoholism), but then turned and saw that the woman was willing to be rid of hers.
He stepped in to take over for the two women and I saw something amazing. Read the rest of this entry »
February 5, 2009
(WEDNESDAY, later that day – Reynosa, Mexico, 2006)
Gateway's 2006 Reynosa Team
Later that day were walking when I noticed a big healthy tree with a dead limb. I had a strong inclination to break off the dead branch. We then went down the alley. We ended up meeting two wonderful families there and Glen felt lead to buy them some groceries. On the way back from the store, Doug was carrying the box on his shoulder and hit the very dead tree limb I had wanted to break off. “I knew I should have broken it off, ” I thought. At that time, it didn’t mean anything more to me than this.
During our debrief, I didn’t say much because I felt that Doug and Glenn got into the Prayer walk more than I did, but I decided I would share a “little God story” about this tree branch. Everyone laughed at me for calling it such, but I almost didn’t bring it up due to the seeming irrelevance of it, but did anyway.
At lunch I wondered what God would have me do next as I had now done each thing once. He told me Covering Prayer. I asked why, and He said to pray for my mom. (If you do not know, my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer). I had not spent too much time thinking about her on this trip, but knew that we would be praying for her at some point on this trip. Now was the time. I came out of the room as different teams were preparing for their assignments and I just felt amazing. I was standing next to Trent and let out a whoop. I had never felt so good. Yvette who had seen the purple vision that morning came up and said she didn’t know why she was supposed to be in Covering Prayer again, but had felt since the morning that this was her day to pray for others. I told her that we would be praying for my mom among others.
She said, “Yeah, I thought that tree story was a metaphor of your mother.” I was dumbfounded!
Of course! Read the rest of this entry »
February 4, 2009
(WEDNESDAY, – Reynosa, Mexico, 2006)
base camp dirt
In our morning chapel time, Yvette shared a vision she had of a purple dot which pulsated into a bigger and bigger circle until it filled her view. I remembered that Rabbi David shared that purple is the royal color and represents Jesus. Many people had different visions which later became reality, including Charles, who was having trouble accepting the claims being made early in the trip. On about the third day, he commented that he was going to puke if he heard one more person say they had had a vision. Strangely, this day – he was the one with a vision! 🙂 So God even used the one who came to Him kicking and screaming, although not until he had humbled himself before the Lord. Holy Spirit had been wooing Charles the entire trip with the possibility of life change and miracles, but he fought believing. He didn’t want to submit his will to God’s. After hearing a powerful story of Greg forgoing sleep to go out and prostrate himself in the dirt under the night sky and humble himself before God to receive an incredible breakthrough, Charles decided to commit himself as well. Read the rest of this entry »
February 1, 2009
(TUESDAY, later that day – Reynosa, Mexico, 2006)
After lunch, when we again asked the Lord for His direction, the Spirit told me I would go to the Detention Center. The detention center was a sort of light weight, or juvenile hall. It was for young boys who were going astray, but were too young to put in the real jail. I wondered what I would be doing there. A couple of the people were making incredible connections there because they felt like their lives were similar to these boys and their testimony would really impact them. I did not feel that I had a similar background. I grew up with two parents and a sister who loved me, and really was given a silver platter in life. Holy Spirit answered me: “Play Soccer!” So I went to play soccer with the boys. I was surprised to find that these Mexican boys were not skilled soccer players. My skills, with 14 years of rust, were still better than any of theirs. This shocked me for a soccer-loving country. This is their number one sport.
After running madly the first 10 minutes of the game, I was overcome with exhaustion. I settled in on defense, running as little as possible, but I could not catch my breath. After a while I noticed that I was becoming dizzy and decided that it was best to sit. Ernie helped me to cool off and get some water and that was the end of my soccer playing. It was summertime in Mexico and I had spent the morning moving rocks on a hot roof, and the afternoon playing soccer in the hot sun. Apparently, I’m too old for this combination.
This seems like a great place to talk about pride, to talk about the deadliest and sneakiest sin. After the game, everyone got together and talked. It was important to play soccer with the boys in order to build friendship, but afterwards was the only opportunity to say something to really change the direction of these boy’s lives. And the rest of our team had just such conversations. Meanwhile, I was laying flat out on my backside trying to recover. Read the rest of this entry »
January 29, 2009
(TUESDAY – Reynosa, Mexico, 2006)
When I asked the lord where He would have me the next morning, Holy Spirit told me, “Construction.” It was strange because
ladder to Orphanage rooftop construction site
he sent only two of us. So Mark and I spent the morning up there. We hauled cinder blocks from one pile to another. We enjoyed good conversation, about half of which, David joined us for.
It’s nostalgic for me to look back on this time, because since then, David has become a spiritual father to me. He lead me through not only this trip, but three more – with another on the way. He also married Kara and I just over a year ago. He’s an amazing man of God,and now that I think about – this was our first long conversation. We spoke of Israel, the Jews, their place in history and the future, and the Old Testament and many other things. As the morning wore on, I was struck by the fact that it seemed almost pointless to carry one brick at a time across the roof, but as we worked on, giant piles took shape. I imagined each rock as a soul, and each pile as a nation coming to Christ, one Soul at a time. Sometimes, the work we are doing seems small and insignificant, but if we follow God’s will for our lives, we can be assured that He is building something beyond our comprehension. And each little part is an important part of the whole. Of course, as we are trustworthy with the little things He gives us to do, He gives us more and more responsibility and opportunities to see Him move through us. Also, He doesn’t just want to use us individually, but together in unity. Read the rest of this entry »
January 26, 2009
(June 27th 2006 – Reynosa, Mexico)
Monday( even later that day)
When we debriefed after dinner back in the chapel where we were staying, we listened patiently as all the other teams described their experiences. We could hardly sit in our chairs. Everything they described about their day was exactly as we had prayed for them. With unbelievable accuracy, Holy Spirit had shared with us what each and every one of them was going through in whatever part of the city they were in. When they were finished, we shared the things we had been praying for them and many were touched to see that God had given us the gift and direction to pray for them specifically. Afterward, Rabbi David asked us to pray for the group. So we huddled up and did so. There was power in these prayers beyond anything we, by ourselves, were capable of. I have tried duplicating this type of prayer of my own power and I am not capable. But He was with us. Read the rest of this entry »
January 23, 2009
(June 26th 2006 – Reynosa, Mexico)
Monday(later that day)
Covering Prayer room (2 days later/someone smartly added cushion)
After lunch we began another ATL. But this time I couldn’t hear the Spirit counseling me. What a bummer. And I knew what it meant. I had seen in the morning session that those who didn’t hear would get stuck in Covering Prayer.
Being obedient to God’s direction in our lives can be the hardest, yet most rewarding thing we ever do. If you’re new to it, it’s extremely difficult to bend your own will to that of some invisible God. In fact it really doesn’t get any easier to submit. But over time you begin to see that God actually wants what’s best for you. When you are obedient and follow Him, you’ll experience a far richer more blessed life than if you had gone your own way. (Of course at this time, I was pretty new to this, so I had no idea what was about to happen next). Read the rest of this entry »
January 21, 2009
(June 26th 2006 – Reynosa, Mexico)
I sensed the need to fast on Monday. That morning we had our first of many ATL’s (Ask The Lord), where we would sit quietly and pray
little girl in orphanage
for direction on what He wanted us to do during our next session. We would have 7 sessions over the next four days with our options being 1) playing with the little girls at the orphanage, 2) doing construction on the second floor of the orphanage, 3) prayer while walking the neighborhood, 4) going to the detention center to play with/minister to the teenagers who were there due to whatever law they had broken, and 5) covering prayer room where people would pray for all the other team members out doing the other four things.
This was explained, and we were then instructed to sit quietly and listen to the Lord and he instructed each of us. This is a bit intimidating because I didn’t have a lot of experience hearing the voice of God. What if He didn’t speak? I know there is a Holy Spirit to teach and lead me, but What if He speaks and I couldn’t hear Him? How would I know it was Him? But, I was not in charge and did what I was told. The rabbi prayed over us and I began to listen. I “heard” that I was to go to the orphanage. I didn’t actually “hear” a voice, but this word came to mind. I did not notice anything fantastical or mystical; I just had this word “orphanage” come to mind. It was pretty easy for me to be certain this was God because going to the orphanage was the second to last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go play with kids. I didn’t have kids yet and they kind of intimidated me. But that word came to mind and so I figured it was God. There’s an important lesson in that. Seek God’s will. Listen and Obey. The direction He sends us in might not be the one we wanted to go, but we will always find out that it was the most rewarding and amazing direction if we just have trust in Him that He wants and is leading us towards what is best for us. Read the rest of this entry »