My Life Verse

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tentative Ghana Itinerary

Tentative Ghana Itinerary:

*John, Tara’s husband, from Ghana said that Ghana is the SAFEST country in Ghana. People in other countries in Africa actually retreat to Ghana because it is so safe and peaceful. Dora also said that Ghana is very safe.

Contact-EMERGENCIES only: (while team is in Ghana)
Sandy Riner, Vista Assembly of God
760-724-7099

June 17-June 29: Team will be travel from LAX to NY and NY to Accra, Ghana. From Accra, we will travel to Kpando, our final destination. We will be staying at a hotel nearby the Orphanage. Kpando is about 3-4 hours away from Accra, to my understanding. Over the course of two weeks, the team will be working closely with Ryvanz-Mia Orphanage. (P.O. Box 161, Kpando, Ghana, Volta Region, Ghana, West Africa) We will teach the Fruit of the Spirit Vacation Bible School here. We will also be doing Bible Distributions to different villages, where we will pass out the Talking Bibles to the poorest of the poor and the least educated and hang out with the children at the distributions. We will be visiting a Hospital to pray for the sick to be healed.  This is a tentative schedule because Missions Trips are all about flexibility.

June 29-August 25: I do not know exact dates, but here are some things I have planned that God has put together and/or Becka has set up for us:
-June 18-28: Cross Connection Ghana Trip (All expenses already covered)
-June 29-July 10: Western Region of Ghana to work with FL Faith Child Orphanage (travel-$20, food/lodging $120)
-July 11-24: Return to Kpando: Work in schools or other volunteer placements (Food/lodging $100/wk)
-July 24: Accra to pick up Sam from Airport: Visit the children of a KG/lower primary school
-July 25-August 25: Work in Kpando (Food/lodging $100/wk)
-August 24: Head back to Accra, return to States (travel $5)
-Possibly at End of July: Visit Cape Coast for Panafest (Celebration of last American Slave trade) and see the slave castles and so forth. ($150.00/wk)
-Visit Dora’s Family: Dora is a woman I met at Vista Assembly of God. She was born and raised in Accra. Becka and I plan to visit her brother and niece for a few days at least, maybe one week. He will host us. Dora has been such a blessing to me and our team so I want to bless her family in return by visiting them and spending time with them.
-Visit Promise Land Ranch School: This is the only tuition free Christian School in Ghana. I met the founders of the School, Tara and John Essien. John is from Ghana. They live in the States. Tara has given me money to pay for Becka and I to stay at a nearby hotel so that we can spend time at Promise Land Ranch and with the staff and students. I met Tara and John via some friends who attend the same church as them San Diego Christian Center in Escondido.

Contacts in Ghana:
1. Dora’s Brother(Dora is who I met at Vista Assembly of God): Nsiah Akutteh
-He is an attorney
-His cell # is: (0244) 260-494 (You dial the 0 inside Ghana)
-His email address: nsiahakutteh@ghana.com
His Daughter: Teki 0244-099-541, tekiahkutteh@yahoo.com

2. Bashiru (Bash), Project Manager/Chief Financial Advisor/Director of Promise Land Ranch
-John and Tara Essien are the contacts in USA, founders of Promise Land Ranch (email is qstnlil@aol.com) John is from Ghana. This couple lives in Escondido. Tara’s cell # is (619-894-0797) if you have any questions feel free to contact them.
-Promise Land Ranch School is located in a seaside, fishing village named Prampram. The nearest, largest city is Tema. Prampram is about a 10 min drive from Tema.
-My plan is to visit this school and meet the students and teaching staff. Tara said she has spoken to Bash and he is expecting me. The hotel she stays in nearby is called SeaLane Hotel. (http:www.sealanehotel.com) She said we Becka and I can share an air conditioned room for $20.00 each night. Most of the staff there as well as the owner know Tara and John.
-After meeting Tara and John here, they offered and paid me for Becka and I to stay in Prampram and spend time at Promise Land Ranch and with the staff. The staff will show us around town, too.

3. Frank Adinkrah (Danielle Parker, a friend from my old Lifegroup, friend who used to live here but moved back to Ghana and is originally from Ghana) I can contact him if I need anything when I’m there. He has offered to help me with anything I need when I am in Ghana. He lived in the US for a short time a few years ago. He lives in Accra, now.
- Frankadinkrah@yahoo.com

4. Harley Phillips, chief in Ghana (He is my friend Kristina’s patient. I know her from the Movement. She gave me his contact info because he has contacts there) He is the chief in the Volta Region, which is near Kpando and has two villages there. If I hear back from him, I may visit his contacts there.
-African Angels Foundation
-www.africanangelsfoundation.org

5. BECKA Birman, the friend I will be living with in Kpando:
-Cell #: 011233200803327



It's all coming together.

Often times, we are in a situation and don't understand why or what is going on at the time. That is exactly where I was at about six months ago, in January 2011. I knew God was calling me to return to Africa, but I didn't know all that has happened over the last several months would be the outcome of that purpose.

It all began when I felt like I hit a wall in my spiritual walk with God. I wasn't growing very much and I started seeking Him for guidance. I knew I wanted to return to Africa, and I knew the church I was attending at the time (theMovement) was not big on National Missions, so I sought the Lord's guidance about where He wanted me to be. Little did I know what was to come by simply asking and being open to God's plan. Soon after praying, God told me to stop serving at this church. I didn't understand why, still. I loved the kids, I loved the people, I loved serving. But, I also love obeying God, so I took one step at a time. After that, He told me to stop going to the Bible Study I was attending, and the women in my Bible Study were in full support of this decision. They were the ones who said I needed to convince myself that it was okay for me to move into this so called new season with God. I was upset because I don't like change and I was afraid I would lose relationships/friendships. Soon after this I felt like the Lord was telling me my season/time was up at the Movement church. It was so hard for me to hear that from God and I honestly didn't know how to take it all in. I was upset because I had grown so much there over the course of three years and I loved the people. But I also knew it was time. I felt more disconnected (which I believe God did to make it a bit easier for me to move forward) and received the closure I needed through a divine appointment with the Pastor and receiving a blessing from the Pastor's wife.

The next step on this journey was to "church hunt". Well, I checked out a new church in the area (North Coast Calvary Chapel Carlsbad) and felt like it was a good fit for me. I really enjoyed everything about it. It especially had Mission Trip Opportunities, which was the biggest thing that was drawing me to it. I had a few friends who were attending this church and it was nice to have that set in place already. Well, it wasn't long before I felt the Lord tell me not to get too comfortable at this church. And so, I continued to ask God where He wanted me to be going to church. In the midst of all this, God told me "It's not about finding the 'right church' or 'best fit for you', it's about seeking me in Spirit and Truth".

A friend of mine asked me why I never checked out her church, Vista Assembly of God. She encouraged me to go check it out and I felt a strong urgency to be there. The Lord told me very specifically to go to this church by myself on a specific Sunday. I felt very uncomfortable at Vista Assembly and had never been to a church like it before. People were dancing in the front, speaking in tongues, and the lights were dim with the atmosphere like a concert. I didn't know how I felt about it, but I enjoyed the message. I knew the Lord wanted me to keep going back to this church despite my uncomfortableness with it, though. Every week, the sermon aligned with exactly what I was going through at the time. I went to the Pastor's Chat and felt really welcomed. A majority of my Ghana team attends Vista Assembly. It wasn't long before I began calling this my "home church" and consider it just that. I feel very comfortable and welcome there every week and I continue to grow on a whole new level in my relationship with God. At first I didn't want to go to this church because I didn't want to become a "crazy", which is a name I came up with myself for some reason. I was worried about what people would think of me. I was not even sure if I believed in the so called Supernatural. It was all new to me. But, as God was aligning this with other things in my life, the weekly sermon was exactly where I was at, and I saw miracles before my eyes, I could not deny the power of God that was present at this church, His Hands and Feet, and my life. You can call me a "crazy" now, you can call me weird, you can call me a Jesus Freak...whatever you want, but I know this is real and true and I am not ashamed. :) After being immersed in this and seeing a new side of God, I love it!

Another thing that has come together with God's purpose for me is my friends/mentors ministry, His Hands and Feet. This ministry sets out to equip people to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus Christ, learning to use the gifts God has given us and activating them. I remember very well when I attended the first meeting that someone said something about three months. At that time, I nudged my friend telling her that we will be leaving for Africa in exactly three months. God brought about this ministry at the time that I needed it to equip me to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus Christ in Ghana. And, here I am, equipped and ready to go, three months later. :)

Throughout the last six months, I have grown tremendously. I have had to rely on God like never before. One of the biggest and hardest things for me has been not being "connected". I believe God pulled me from relationships so that I could learn to rely on Him and Him alone. After all, that is what life is like as a Missionary. I did not get connected at Vista Assembly because I knew I would be gone for the entire summer. I did, however, begin to take a class there that has been equipping me even more as I prepare to go move to Ghana for the summer.

Another thing that came to mind as I reflect on the last six months is how everything did come together. The teachings at Vista Assembly of God and His Hands and Feet go hand in hand. Both teach you how to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and listening to God's voice so that you can be the Hands and Feet of Jesus by putting your faith into action. Both teach that God moves in the Supernatural, and that is where we can move, too because we have His Spirit in us. After all, our faith is based on the fact that Jesus rose from the grave, and that is supernatural in and of itself! :)

When I began this new season in my life six months ago, I had no idea all of the above would come of it. It was challenging to go through so many changes. It was hard. It was sad. It was frustrating. But, now I can look back and it make sense. I get it now! God pulled me from one church, moved me to another, planted me at my final church all because He wanted to prepare me and equip me for what He has in store for me this summer in Ghana as a Missionary. I can now go to Ghana in a new confidence that I didn't have before, that God is with me and nothing will harm me, that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is in me, that I have authority to trample over the enemy, that healing and miracles are easy peasy for God. I've learned so much more about His character and I expect BIG things in Ghana.



If you are going through anything that is difficult, and you are battling with God trying to figure out why you are going through it, step back and rest in Him, knowing that you may not know at the time all the answers, but rest assured, one day it will all come together and you will be able to look back and see it clearly like I have with so many changes in so little time. Pursue Him as you seek to follow His voice and will for your life, and watch as He opens doors and blesses you beyond belief.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Resting in His Presence.

This morning I woke up feeling a little anxious. There is too much to do and not enough time. It all comes to mind and I don't know where to start and it can be overwhelming, if I let it. I opened my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young, and yet again, the timing and words from God were right on target. Hope this encourages you and helps you to Rest in His Presence today.

REST IN ME, MY CHILD. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don't even feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours. How foolish you are, My child! Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My Presence with you. This will keep you resting in Me all day, every day.

Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Psalm 62:5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Worry.

As I prepare to go to Africa in 10 days for 2 months, I find myself worrying about things more often than I'd like to. As homework from the Kingdom Life class at my church, we were instructed to listen to God every morning and ask Him what He has for us that day. Today, this is what He told me:

Pick up your sword and be ready and willing. In the same way I asked you to surrender your finances to me, I ask you to surrender the rest of your trip to me. Let me put the pieces together. You just step back, relax, listen to the Holy Spirit to guide you.

This song was in my head this morning as well. "Holy fire, burn away, my desire, for anything that is not of You and is of me, I want more of You and less of me. Empty me, empty me, fill me, won't you fill me with You."

Even after I heard from the Lord, I found myself feeling anxious and worried about the rest of the details. This goes to show you how quickly worry and anxiety can creep in. I was worrying about the finances again. God provided more money than the amount due and it paid for some Talking Bibles and my flight change. There was some money left over, and I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do with it, and of course He said give it away, most of it. So, now I don't have that much and it won't pay for the little things I need, including the additional money I need for the two months that I'll be living in Ghana. I know that my friends will be taking an offering for me this weekend at their night of ministry, and they will be in touch with me while I am in Ghana for anything I may need. They told me they want me to be their Missionary, and I am so blessed by that. :) But I was thinking to myself, ok, that money will go towards the rest of the needs before I leave and then what about the rest for the two months? As you can see, worry creeped in again and kept going...I do recognize that, the funds may not all come in before I go to Ghana, and that would mean I'm really living by faith, which is kinda fun if you think about it because I will be waiting to see how God will provide. He has already told me He will provide everything I need, but now its just a matter of timing.

After all this worry, I opened my devotional and it was right on target, which is totally how God works. :) The first time I read it, I was kinda thinking ok yeah, easy enough, thank you Lord. But then when I read it again, let it sink in, and immersed myself in all the other scriptures about worry, I began to feel at peace and able to that God will provide. We can read scripture easily, but it doesn't do any good unless we believe it and act on it. So, I wanted to share what I received from the Lord today about worry and hope that it blesses you.

*The woman who wrote this devotional is a Missionary and she wrote it from God's perspective, from Him giving her words like I got this morning above. The title of the devotional book is Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.

"I AM ALL AROUND YOU, like a cocoon of Light. My Presence with you is a promise, independent of your awareness of Me. Many things can block this awareness, but the major culprit is worry. My children tend to accept worry as an inescapable fact of life. However, worry is a form of unbelief; it is anathema to Me. Who is in charge of your life? If it is you, then you have a good reason to worry. But if it is I, then worry is both unnecessary and counterproductive. When you start to feel anxious about stomething, relinquish the situation to Me. Back off a bit, redirecting your focus to Me. I will either take care of the problem Myself or show you how to handle it. In this world, you will have problems, but you need not lose sight of Me." Scriptures she gave that relate are: Luke 12:22-31 and John 16:33

"So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things but your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:31-33

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

-PEACE comes AFTER we give our anxieties and worries to God.

"Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

After worrying about all the things above, especially about Africa and the stuff coming together in 10 days, God has given me that peace that it will all work out. He reminded me of His faithfulness in the past. A scripture he reminded me of for my situation is this:

And my God will meet ALL your NEEDS according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

My prayer is that you will be blessed by reading this blog about worry because of what God has spoken to me and shown me, and that today and every day you will choose not to accept worry, but instead choose to worry less. :)