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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Counting My Blessings: Places

God has really been speaking to me about the importance of Counting My Blessings. We hear the phrase "count your blessings" so often, but how many of us actually do? I will be the first to admit that I am terrible at it! God has blessed me with so much and I certainly thank Him for it, but I don't stop, sit, and truly count my blessings. Also, I think it goes beyond the counting part and recognizing each blessing as a gift from God and giving Him thanks. Recently I have been going through some difficult times and noticed myself continually focusing on what is hard and what I don't have. Doing so has only brought about more discouragement
and defeat. So today I am going to literally count my blessing and thank God for each one as I write about them. I encourage you to do the same. God is so good and because we are His children, we get to share in His goodness as He pours it out on us.

In this blog, I am going to be counting the blessings of the amazing places God has taken me over the last few years.

Tanzania 2013. God provided all the finances and prayer support I needed. Some of the things I got to do there: LOVE on the children. Encourage the teachers. Bless families with clothing. Pray for the sick. Baptize children. Visit families in their homes and pray for them. Spend time with and encourage missionaries and natives in what God has called them to do. Teach devotionals.

Pictured above: Children in the village. Sitting with the children in the chapel. Children playing with my hair and touching me because many of them haven't seen a white person "mzungu" or hair like mine.

Bethel Trip 2012. In December, I spent one week visiting a couple of friends at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. I got to attend class for Bethel School of the Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) with my friend Kristina and attend the services at the church on Sunday. It was a weekend full or refreshment and encouragement in the Lord! It was also my first experience renting a car all by myself and driving from Sacramento to Redding, which is about three hours. I felt grown-up! I also got to visit with my friend Lexi from YWAM, who met me in Sacramento before I flew home.

Pictured above: Amy and I, friends from Israel trip and church. Lexi and I, roommates and friends from YWAM. Kristina and I, friends from Ghana trip and church.

Germany 2012. I traveled to Berlin, Germany in August 2013 for the outreach portion of my Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) We spent 4 weeks there doing street evangelism, intercession and prayer, and working with a local youth group.

This is my kind of street evangelism :)

My amazing team and I at the Berlin Wall.

 England 2012. I traveled to Harpenden and London, England for the first part of my outreach portion of my DTS with YWAM. In Harpenden, we did the School of the Circuit Riders, which is filled with equipping us to go out and share the gospel of Jesus and entails lots of worship. In East London (Newham), we worked at a cafe, helped with a childrens program for the summer, and cleaned up the community. It was amazing to see the transformation in a community within just three weeks simply by loving and being Jesus. Harpenden's focus was using words to share the gospel and Newham's focus was using actions to share the gospel. We also happened to be in London during the time of the Olympics, which was pretty cool even though we didn't attend any of the events!

Pictured above: Sightseeing of the London Bridge. The children we spent most of our time with. A phone booth.

Hawaii 2012. The first three months of YWAM, I lived in Kona, Hawii, which is on the Big Island. It was there that I participated in the lecture phase of DTS. Each week we had a theme during lecture such as Holy Spirit, Freedom, Pure Heart, Evangelism, etc. It was a great experience and I learned so much! I also grew a lot personally in my relationship with God. God also provided me with 7 amazing roommates, as we lived in dorm-style rooms on campus.

Pictured above: Beautiful view from my classroom. My amazing roommates. The beautiful view from campus of the sunset.

Israel 2012. I went on a tour throughout Israel with a group of about 40 people from my church in March. It was such a great experience to see the land where Jesus walked and taught. It was surreal to be there and imagine him in each place that we went. I learned a lot and also had a lot of fun! This trip was a vacation, not a missions trip.

Pictured above: City of Jerusalem as I am standing on the Mount of Olives. Laying in the red and yellow flowers. Entering the town where Jesus spent three years doing ministry.

Ghana 2011. I took my second trip to Africa, this time West Africa, with a group of people through Cross Connection Outreach. We brought Talking Bibles with us which were in their native language and distributed them to people who were illiterate or blind, and also to Lepers. I stayed three weeks longer than my team and lived at an Orphanage and spent some time teaching at the poorest school in the neighborhood.


Pictured above: Singing with children in a village. All the children at the Orphanage where I lived. The blind man whose sight was restored after the third time Kristina and I prayed for him.

New York & Flordia Summer 2010. I was given the opportunity to be a traveling nanny for a couple of weeks where I cared for twins who were about 18 months old while their two older siblings and parents went to activities in New York and Flordia. Some days I was with the entire family and others just the twins. I had my own room and own time, also. They paid for my travels, living expenses, food, and paid me to be their nanny! What a deal! It was such a great experience and truly a blessing.

The adorable twins I cared for

Mozambique 2010. In September 2010, I took my first trip to Africa with Cross-Connection Outreach, distributiting Talking Bibles to the people there. I went with a team of 8 people from all different churches and had a great time! It was hard being away from home for that long and that far away, but little did I know this would be the trip that Africa captured a piece of my heart.

Well, those are the adventures from 2010-2013! I feel so thankful for all the opportunities God has given me with the places He's enabled me to travel and the missions I've been able to partner with. If I counted correctly, that is nine blessings of simply places that God has taken me to within the last three years. I can't wait to see what He has in store for me over the next three years! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Still Believe

Last night I attended the Kim Walker Smith worship concert titled "Still Believe". It was encouraging to see that God is teaching Kim Walker Smith the same things He is teaching me. I felt inspired to write about it.

Kim Walker Smith has an amazing heart of worship. She truly worships from her heart. It is evident when she is on stage that she believes what she is singing. She has an incredible voice. You can tell that she knows Jesus and has encountered Him. I love how humble and authentic she is. Before the concert began, she shared her heart in a video that talked about how God inspired her with the Album "Still Believe" and what it means to her personally. She was vulnerable with everyone about her personal struggles and I believe that opened the door for people to walk in freedom from their struggles. One thing she shared was that she never stops contending for healing, personal and corporate. She expressed that she has bad food allergies and often wakes up in the morning with rashes or irritations because of something she ate. She said that no matter what she sees in the physically, she still believes in the truth of God's Word. She acknowledged God's desire for His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven and so there shall be no sickness or disease on earth. She also acknowledged the truth that Jesus died and rose from the grave, giving us authority over things like sickness and disease because of Christ in us. Therefore, we have the authority to command sickness and disease to leave our bodies at the name of Jesus and can expect it to happen. There are many examples of this in scripture. Another thing that  Kim mentioned that I really loved was how she celebrates every victory. She said when she wakes up without any irritation on her skin, that is worth celebrating. She noted the importance of rejoicing in the small victories. She said that although she doesn't understand why she still has food allergies even though she prays for them to go away, she will never stop contending for her healing. She will never give up. She will hold onto the promises of God that come from His Word. This is the exact thing God is teaching me right now, too!

One example of this happened very recently in my life. On Thursday I came down with the Flu. It was the worst ever! I was miserable. I didn't think I'd be able to get well in time for the concert on Friday night and I was really bummed because I didn't want to miss it. Jesus Culture / Kim Walker Smith is my favorite worship artist and I missed them the last time they came to southern California. So, after throwing up the second time, I decided to get serious and pray. It probably sounded something like this... God, it is not your will that I am sick. It's not your desire that I feel miserable. You said "on earth as it is in heaven" so I shouldn't have sickness on earth. You also said if we ask anything accoding to your will it shall be done so I ask that you perform a miracle and make me well. You wouldn't want me to miss my favorite band because you are a good God. So just as you breathed life into Adam and Eve, I ask that you breath health and strength into my body. And guess what....HE DID!!! Very soon after that I was able to eat saltine crackers and drink gatorade, and I did not vomit again. My stomache ache went away and my fever never came back. I slept through the entire night. It truly was a miracle!!! Something I want to note though, is that prior to getting sick, I declared "I refuse to get sick" and proclaimed protection over me, yet somehow I still got sick. Why? I don't know. Did God not hear me? No. Did He ignore me? No. God is good. All the time. I don't know why I got sick even when I believed I wouldn't, but it doesn't matter. What matters is my heart posture towards God. If I let it effect my perspective of who God is and my relationship with Him (which it did for part of the day), then that's when it becomes a problem. But, when I see that I am sick yet I hold onto the promises of God, declare, and believe them, God honors that by making me well. Is that always the result? No. That's exactly what Kim Walker Smith was sharing. Regardless of the outcome of our prayers, we must hold onto the promises of God and never stop believing in the truth that God is good and His desire is that we be healthy.

I highly recommend the Kim Walker Smith "Still Believe" Cd, but here is the main song that pertains to all of the above:

One last thing- I want to share about how Awesome God is and how this concert came about for me. A friend of mine named Kariana (pictured above) asked me if I liked Kim Walker and then invited me to join her. She had no idea that this was my favorite worship artist and that I was totally bummed I missed Jesus Culture when they came to Southern California last year! Before she offered to buy my ticket, God put it on my heart to purchase tickets for my amazing mentor and her daughter. I wanted to buy them tickets, but I didn't think I could afford 3 tickets. I wanted to buy them tickets because I know how much her daughter loves Kim Walker. Then, Kariana offered to buy my ticket and that gave me the ability to afford their tickets and it was a win-win situation. Thank you, God! :) It was such a wonderful night full of refreshment in the Lord and He deserves all the glory for it. Especially because He miraculously healed me so that I was still able to go! :)