Friday, April 8, 2011

God loves ME and wants ME to experience His goodness too!

So one of the things I have struggled with my whole life is knowing that God actually wants ME to experience every bit of His goodness too.  For some of you you may wonder why on earth I feel that way.... others, will know exactly what I mean.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is Gods will to heal and to love on people.  I feel it for others and I see it every day.... I guess I just felt that somehow I was disqualified.  Maybe it's because I have yet to see the healing I have wanted so desperately for myself, who knows.  When I came to Bethel, healing for myself was the last thing I was going for.  I just want to see those around me experience the incredible goodness of God in any and every way they need.  Provision for example is one way that I know God well.  He has been so faithful in keeping His word to me when He said "you will not lack" when I made the decision to come here to Bethel.  Every month one way or another my mortgage gets paid, and every month it is a complete miracle.  Every month my account in NZ goes down to 2c or less and yet my c/c bills and mortgage (usually about $1300 total) gets paid.  For those of you who have blessed me, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It has totally been a God thing and every month He is creative in how He provides.  I am ALMOST to the point where I don't worry, because I know He will come through.  I don't ask anyone and usually don't tell anyone my need, God just provides.  In fact, here at Redding, I had a stranger give me $1000 cheque!!! She just told me God told her to bless me!  I nearly fainted when I saw it!  It was just what I needed!  Anyway.... back to the original reason for this post (all though that all falls into the category of GOD LOVES ME).  In Feb I found a lump... not a small one, and not a 'oh that's nothing' one.  It was a tiny bit smaller than a golf ball and was as hard as a rock.  I'm not quite sure how I missed it but well, it was quite a shock.  When things like this happen, you go in to 'survival mode' or in my case- 'maybe if I ignore it, it will go away' mode.  At the time Mel was visiting but instead of telling her I decided not to tell anyone.  As most of you know, our Mum died of cancer and she actually had ovarian cancer before we were born (when she was exactly my age) so the fear I instantly felt was pretty intense.  Because of this, I didn't want to tell Mel or my Dad because I didn't want them to feel the way I was.  I eventually told Lacey my best friend here and she was like "you have to go to the Dr".  One small problem with that- I have no insurance here in USA and well, i HATE doctors and refused to do anything that would put a damper on my trip to Kenya.  So that's what I did... nothing.  As I went to Kenya, I would struggle with things like feeling like I deserved it because of the stress I had put myself through in the last 2+ years.  I knew God didn't make me sick but I somehow disqualified myself for Him to want to heal me because I knowningly put myself under that stress.  As I was in Kenya I thought to myself, if I can just remember a word I've gotten or something I know I will do that I haven't done yet, then I know I will live because if I haven't done it yet, I can't be "taken out".  The only thing I could think of that I know without a shadow of a doubt is that I will raise the dead.... and although I was definitely looking for some dead people to bring back, I was also scared that if I did, the I wouldn't have anything to hold onto.  I guess I'm being very transparent in this post but I have discovered that apparently I am not the only person that struggles with these feelings.  ;)  So anyway, Kenya came and went and I saw God's amazing healing power through myself and the team.... but yet I wasn't sure I could believe it for myself.  When I got back, Lacey didn't mention it so I didn't either then she went on her missions trip so I figured I was free to continue my denial.  On Monday (Mar 28th) I woke up and knew I HAD to go to the Dr.  I finally found some place that would take me for free (yes, believe it or not, that exists in America).  I finally gave in and told another friend who was already taking me to lunch that day and he took me to the Dr's and stayed with me while I shook like a leaf and was absolutely terrified.  When I finally got to see the Dr, the look on her face when she found it didn't help at all.  She took me out to the receptionist and was like I want her to have the quickest sonogram and mammogram you can get her booked in for.  NOT what I needed to hear.  Oh, and I don't ever suggest googling your symptoms... it only breeds fear!  So for the next week I was shit scared to say the least.  It seemed that with the 5hr daylight savings time difference to NZ and other circumstances, my family and friends were just not available (not that they even knew I needed them) so although I could get myself to a place of feeling God's overwhelming Peace, I quickly worked myself into a "oh crap, I'm gonna die" hole.  On the Wed I had a meeting with Marlene my Revival Group pastor and was only planning and talking to her about whether or not I was going to stay for 2nd year.  Completely unplanned it just came out of my mouth what was going on.... before I could take it back I had said it.  She immediately wanted me to let our Revival Group (about 60 people) pray for me that afternoon.  THIS was exactly what I didn't want but since I was so scared and felt so alone I figured, what the heck, it can't get any worse.  After a few hours of reassuring from one of my close friends I agreed and let them pray for me.  It was really powerful and I felt such incredible love and support from my 'extended Redding family'.  I went and checked it and it felt like it had definitely shrunk when they prayed.... Keep in mind, we see tumors disappear every single week here!  That night I went to my friends house and sat in the hot tub, when I got out, it was back to the original size.  I felt totally let down and even more upset than before but I didn't know what to do now.  My birthday was Sunday- I tried desperately to put on a happy face and I had an amazing day with awesome friends, but so many other things were going on in my mind, I didn't have a chance to hear from much of my family, Lacey and Ruth were gone.... it was one of the hardest days of my life.  I sat on the floor at church and thought "this is most likely my last birthday and my family doesn't even know".  Total pity party on my part.  I'm not sure why I ever doubt God but when it was looking as bad as it did, I knew i had a very thin line between giving up and actually walking out what I know I believe to be true- that God is a good God, all the time- and most importantly, that He loves ME.  Monday came and I had my sonogram at 4.30.  Blake and Dania were amazing and my rocks that day (and the week before too for that matter).  Completely assuring me everything would be alright we headed to the Dr.  When the nurse started doing the sonogram she kept saying "hmmm, this is interesting", you really only need to worry if it is hard like a rock, big, and if it doesn't hurt"  I'm sitting there thinking- wow, this is great, it is ALL those things!  She spent 20 min trying to take pictures, then she had the Dr come in and started talking to him..... apparently she couldn't find ANYTHING!!!  THe Dr checked me out as well and was like, "well, there is nothing there now so I'm not sure what was there before".  I'm laying there in disbelief and saying to them "well I guess I can explain it, I believe in miracles and I go to  Bethel where we see them every week in the healing rooms"... I think they thought I was crazy!  But quite frankly, I didn't care what they thought, because it was GONE!!!

So yeah, God loves me, and you, and every single person on this planet immeasurably and He had Jesus pay the price for ALL sickness, whether we bring it on ourselves or not!  I had 0% faith for myself, but those around me had all that was needed.  Faith is just the rate of exchange, it doesn't matter who has it.  I learned so many valuable lessons I can't even begin to tell you them all.  Finally I told my family on the other side of the months of fear and drama.... and I now realise maybe I should have trusted that God would use them to support me, not let them feel the fear I felt.  I am honestly still in shock about the whole thing and if I haven't told you personally and this is how you find out, I'm sorry, it has only been a few days and personally, I just want to sleep for a week (but I can't because I have SOOOO much homework) and let it all sink in.  I wanted to write this so anyone could read it because I know it will bless many.  I shared this with 1400 people at school on Tues morning and so I figured I best share it with all of you.  God is good.... ALL the time.

Me giving my testimony at school in front of 1300 people.


Ok, so I have been slightly busy lately so this has taken a few weeks to get around to.  I'm not sure where to begin so I will start at the beginning.  We left San Fran and had a 16hr flight directly to Dubai where we stayed the night and were kindly given a quick tour of Dubai by some of the Bethel affiliates there.  We got to go to the largest mall in the world which was next to the largest building in the world.  Everything in Dubai is done with excellence and I learned some very interesting facts- petrol/gas is cheaper than water, and you pay more for your car license plate than you do your actual car sometimes- their license plate is a status symbol so the lower the number, the more you pay for it.... up to 45million for # 3 or something!!!  Wow.  I wasn't really of fan of it as the Muslim culture is not at all friendly towards western women.... oh well, I guess I just don't have to go there again.  It was a cool experience anyway.  The next morning we caught a flight to Nairobi and then had a 5hr incredibly BUMPY drive on a bus (that became our close friend) to Nyahururu to the Thompson Falls Lodge.  This is the nicest hotel there and it was way better than I was expecting, but still not even 2 or3 star when it comes to USA standards.  By the time we got to the hotel we were all pretty exhausted so we got a good nights sleep even though it was completely opposite times as home. (11hrs difference to be exact).  Day 1: We had an amazing buffet breakfast (like we did every day) and then headed to Heroes of the Nations  which is Kenyas largest orphange (500 kids) and is closely linked with Bethel (the man who started and funds it goes to Bethel and we send teams there every year). When we got to Heroes, they were all waiting for us singing and surrounding the bus as we pulled up.  As we got off, one at a time, they swarmed us and attached themeselves to any part of us they could grab.  These ended up being our kids for the 10 days we were their.  No matter where you went, they were with you and attached to you.  They would argue with each other about who got to be closest to you and if you had to go through a doorway.... that's ok, they didn't let go- they just figured out away to get through all at the same time.  It was amazing and overwhelming all at once.  They were so happy and just wanted to know all about you, your family, friends, and life.  Day 1 they put on a talent show for us and WOW, they can dance!!!!  It made us feel even whiter than we already were!  Their worship services put ours to shame (so to speak)... they were so passionate and expressive, it was amazing!  When we finally went back to the hotel we were all pretty exhausted but so so happy!  The next few days we ministered at the Bible School... to the 3rd and 4th year students.  Some of us preached and we prophecied and prayed for them.  It was amazingly powerful and we quickly made friends with them and they really blessed us as much as we poured out to them.  I preached on healing which was awesome to finally do.  It's hard being at Bethel and getting able to do anything like preaching.... on the missions trips, everyone has the ability to let their strengths shine.  I really loved doing it although it was the first time I had preached with an interpreter.  After I preached on healing, God healed all of them who came up or who we had words of knowlege for.  It was so awesome to see the team activated and just going for it.  Most days after we ministered  at the Bible School we would go back to Heroes to have lunch and then see the kids where would run from who knows where to get to the bus when they heard it coming.  On the Thursday we went to Nakuru which is a larger city and we ministered to the 1st and 2nd year Bible Students.  When we were there they had a lunch time service at the church we were at.  It was packed out and they had an amazing worship session then a revival preacher.  At the end we did a Fire Tunnel (sheep dip) and we found out later that people were so touched by the Holy Spirit that some were unable to go back to work and were there stuck to their chairs for 4 or more hours.  Awesome!  The highlight of my trip was the day we went to the slums (I'm pretty sure it was Wed).  It was poverty that I had never seen before.  As we drove through the 'streets' of the slums on one of the first days we were there, the kids would run to the bus and follow us for blocks.  We got out a few times to take pictures and they just LOVED us.  They loved having their photos taken and wanted to instantly see what they looked like.  There seemed to be no parents anywhere and kids everywhere.... we even saw a baby (a few months old) just sleeping (I'm hoping) on the front porch with no one else in sight.  I personally, think every person should go to a 3rd world country to experience it.  It was a wake up call.... yet they seemed soooo much happier than many people I know.  On the Wed when we went, we went with the 3-4th year bible students and got off the bus to minister to them.  It was amazing.  The first lady we spoke to (many of them spoke Swahili and the Bible students could translate) her husband was blind so I suggested we go to their house (which was smaller than my bedroom) to pray for him.  When we got there he told us he had neck, shoulder and back pain (from sleeping on the wood slat couch).  As soon as we prayed the pain left all those places and he said he felt good.  I asked if we could take him outside so he could test his eyes.  In 2007 he had had a surgery which made him completely blind and his eyes were quite scarred and obviously blind.  We released the Kingdom of Heaven on him and then asked him if anything was different.... he was like "oh yeah, I can see the clouds".... I nearly fell over but they weren't surprised at all, it was just a 'matter of fact' statement.  I loved how easily they believed what we told them.  We said Jesus died for your healing 2000 years ago and they believed and received it.... if only we could get people who have 100 options of doctors to go to to believe that easily.  Here, they have the "believe God, or die" mentality.... so it's easy.  I had quite a wake up call.  So after we left him, we were walking down the 'road' and a lady called out in Swahili and asked what we were doing... we told her we were praying for people for healing.  She told us she was nearly blind and could barely see us standing right in front of her.  So we stopped and prayed for her.... right away, she could see almost the whole way down the lane!  Come On Jesus!!!!  It was awesome.  As we were talking to here this big man comes and grabs my arm and goes "hey, what are you doing in my neighborhood" and I - completely oblivious to the fact this could have been a potentially dangerous situation" turned to him and said.  Jesus is healing people!!!  This lady got her sight back... he asked the lady in Swahili if that was true and she said yes and started pointing to things she could see.  I noticed he had one arm folded against his body so I reached out and said "what's wrong with your arm, do you have any pain?"  He said "yes, I dislocated my elbow" so I instantly grabbed his arm and pulled it out to me and said "Jesus will fix that for you".  I wasn't even thinking, it seemed like just a natural thing to do.... instantly the pain left and he was swinging his arm around.  He goes "that's great, can you fix my drinking problem too?"  It was awesome.  We got to pray for him and I called out his destiny and he was so blessed and went away a happy man.  When we got back to the bus it seemed like all the kids in the slums had followed all our little groups back. There were heaps of them so we circled them up and taught them duck duck goose.  Apparently I was the only one dumb enough to "goose" one of them.  They lapped me they were so fast.  It was entertaining to say the least.  The kids were filthy, they were sick, and smelled awful but not for a second did it even affect me or stop me from hugging, kissing, and loving on them.  They were so  love starved it was incredible to see them respond to even a hug.  That was one of the highlights of my life.  When we got back on the bus it was amazing to hear all the teams testimonies.  One lady told them that the night before she had had a dream that a plane landed in the field next to the slums and white people got out and came and healed them all.... that was pretty much what happened!  We had legs grow out, pain leave, eyes healed- just to name a few.
On the Saturday we went on a Safari.  It was fun but it was cold and rainy in the morning so we didn't get to see any 'cats' and that was a bit sad.  We did see giraffe's, zebras, buffalo, flamingo's, antelope, baboons, little pesky monkeys, and the incredibly beautiful scenary of Kenya.  We had some awesome times in the bus and it was a great way to relax after all  the ministry we had done.
Sunday we split into 6 teams to preach.  A couple went to Nakuru and preached on the radio, 4 teams preached to the kids at Heroes and the team I was on preached at the church in Nyahururu.  Again, I preached on healing and the first lady that came up had a tumor on her leg.  I prayed for like 10 secs for the tumor then I prophecied over her.  When I was done giving her the word I asked if she could feel any difference in the tumor... her response "oh yes, it left as soon as you told it to".  Wow!  I believed what I preached but yet I was shocked at how quick and easy it was-- I guess that's the way God always intends it to be!  We then had another fire tunnel and just loved on the people.  It was such an awesome experience and I loved every bit of it.  I guess in some ways I forgot that I was born for this.... so when I was getting to do it, I felt more alive than I ever have.
Monday was our last day and we spent the morning with the kids at Heroes.  Saying goodbye was hard, especially when they were all crying.  My kids were great though, they even wanted to add me on Facebook??!!  Don't ask me how they all have FB accounts?!  I took a list of things they wanted for Christmas and it was amazing how little they would be happy with.  Things like dolls, a DVD, a CD, and cars.... totally doable and I look forward to being able to send them everything they wanted.  As we drove away I knew I would never be the same and that I had gained a compassion for others like I never thought was possible.  EVERYONE should do something like this.... its makes alot of what we worry about, come into perspective.
Sorry it took so long to write this but as you'll see from the next post, it was an intense time for me.  Below is the link to my FB pictures of the trip (you don't need an account to see them).