Well here I am.... in Redding, California in the good ole U S of A doing the 1st year of Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry. Had you told me a year ago this is where I'd be I wouldn't have believed you. What an incredible journey its been?! Where to start- I guess if your reading this you know most of the story so I don't really need to go into any of that. To sum it up, I was tired of living a half and half life. One that occasionally had some power of God showing up in it but more than anything having a huge desire for it to be my permanent way of life. For as long as I can remember now, I've just wanted to have a life that counts, one that actually produces good things for those around me. Being in a rut of common existence no longer satisfied so I asked God to shake it up.... and that He did! Coming here was possibly the hardest decision that I have made and most of you know, it was alot of tears, lack of food, sleepless nights, indecisiveness, and complete confusion that preceeded my choice to pack up my life into 2 suitcases and 1 carry on and move to the other side of the world- knowing NO ONE! I look back now and think, why on Earth did I make it so hard? The answer was there all along, it was my choice and either way, God would look after me. And that He has.
Without going into the gory details- it took a miracle for me to get here and it will take many more to keep me here, but God gave me 4 words that I knew I was to hold onto this year- He said to me "you will not lack". So thus the journey began. I was so blessed to have my airfare given to me (my they in turn have every airfare they ever need provided). I would have loved to have had the year 'secured' for me financially but then I guess I wouldn't need to rely on Him. I told God that I wasn't interested in coming over here to be a charity case or to live like a pathetically poor student who people felt sorry for because I lived by the skin of my teeth. So then my tuition was paid.... thank God (and the person who it came through). When I told God I didn't want to rough it, not only did He listen but He blew me away with the amazing house he put me in. It is beautiful and so are my 2 flatmates. (and the 2 cats) We live slightly out of town and are right by a golf course. On my (very few) runs, I have seen snakes and a warning for a mountain lion that has been roaming around- not things I used to have to worry about running in Christchurch. None the less, I love everything about it. I don't have a car yet -but well I've given and loaned cars before so I think it's just a matter of time. ;) I'm so blessed that I have amazing roomies who cart me to and fro- even if it means to Taco Bell. Food is one thing I keep having to remind myself I don't have to eat all in a short amount of time (like most of my trips to USA).... usually I try to fit in all the amazingly yummy (not necessarily healthy) food into 2-3 wks, and now I have a good year to have it all in moderation.
So I arrived 2 wks late but for the most part I have caught up with all the homework. There is SOOOO much reading to do and to stay on top of it requires 2-3 hrs a night of reading. It's actually near impossible to have a job and do this. This in itself took a bit of getting used to and discipline. 5 weeks here today and I am feeling like everything has finally settled and I am now going..."right, what am I doing, why am I here, what do I want, and WHY haven't I done it yet?". I feel so blessed in that I have gotten EVERYTHING I wanted when it comes to choices at school. I am in Kevin Dedmons Healing AMT (advanced ministry training) this semester which is called Healing and Kingdom Foundations.... our homework last time was to laugh in the mirror for at least 10 min a day!!! How awesome is that! I also got into the Healing Rooms for the year as my Activation/Outreach which all on its own makes every sacrifice I made to get here worth it! Every Sunday, without fail, we see people healed. From cancer, to deaf ears, to blind eyes, dyslexia, arthritis, back problems, creative miracles (something being replaced that was missing), family restoration... you name it, they've had it happen. Not only do miracles consistently happen at the Healing Rooms but every day out on the streets/shops in Redding. Treasure Hunts are an every day occurance (I have yet to do one for some strange reason) with awesome encounters, miracles, and most importantly just loving on people and introducing them to a good God who does good things, cause He's in a good mood. Last Friday at school a girl gave a testimony that she had gone on her FIRST treasure hunt, prayed for a lady who was paralysed from being hit by a car and GOT OUT OF HER WHEELCHAIR AND WALKED!!!! Come on!!! If that doesn't make you want to run out there and step over that 'chicken line' -aka fear of what people might think- then what will. You can see/hear the testimony here: http://ibetheltv.tumblr.com/post/1449244130/oh-this-is-goooood-thank-you-jesus-want. Every day in class, students get up and give amazing testimonies of provision or miracles that they've seen God do in their lives.... EVERY DAY there is a line of people with 'out there' testimonies! I have to stop and remind myself this is all real sometimes. I was walking out of Target with Lacey (one of my amazing room mates) the other night and some of the guys we were with were just talking like they normally do about some amazing experience they had had with God that day and THAT is what it's like, ALL the time. I'm surrounded by 800 first year students all hungry for a deep relationship with a God who loves people and wants to pour out that love through us. Here in Redding, everyone knows about Bethel and for the first time in my life, they LOVE the church! I'm talking the public, the drug addicts, the homeless, the hurt, the sick.... they are so used to being loved on by anyone that goes to Bethel that they are pretty much willing for you to pray anywhere! That's a bit of culture difference for me as in NZ it's obviously NOT acceptable to ask the person in the grocery store line if you can pray for their sprained ankle or whatever it is you can see is wrong with them. In fact, here, many times they'll be like "oh, someone just prayed for me a few minutes ago and it feels better but you can pray again"! There is such favor on us with most businesses here too. Another thing that is amazing here is the culture of Honour they have cultivated. You are valued and honoured for everything.... be it male or female, for your giftings, for your risk taking (even if you don't have some wild result), just for who you are! Also the prophetic is really strong here- something that has definitely helped stir up my gift. I just touch someone and I seem to see all these amazing things about them. Everyone just seems to want to love on you and see you come into what you've been created to do. Not a bad way to live I say. ;) All in all, this is going to be hands down, the best year of my life. Don't get me wrong, I miss SOOOO much about home. I miss my family and friends SO much it literally hurts sometimes but I keep looking ahead to what I know I'm here to experience (and am experiencing already).... a life that counts and exudes the love of God and His goodness. I know this has been a long time coming and is a bit long but I will try to update regularly from now on. I pray that every person that reads this blog experiences the tangible love of a God who will go to any length to show you His heart. ♥