Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day 2011

Today is Australia Day, the day when Australians celebrate the first settlement of Europeans to this land.  It is not without controversy, as the Aboriginal peoples view this as the day their land was stolen from them.  It is true that there was much harm inflicted upon the people here, and it is also true that there has been much work toward reconcilliation, although more is yet needed. 

One thing the Eurpeans did bring to the land of Australia (the Greath South-Land) was the Word of God.  While they did not always represent God well, they did bring the Good News of salvation.  This morning we had a time of prayer for Australia, and I have been deeply moved in my heart for this land.  I think I have really come to recognize my own inheritance in this land, spiritually.

Australia is the only continent that has not experienced a wide-spread revival.  However, it's coming!  Join me in praying for the Great South-Land to really know their loving Heavenly Father!  This is a land of people who understand mateship, perseverance, giving it a go and celebrating life.

Here are a few prophetic songs over Australia...enjoy them, and please - pray for Australia!

This first one is called "The Great Southland of the Holy Spirit"...many people would like to see this as the National Anthem of Australia.  I'd have to agree.  It's amazing.  For those of you who prefer lyrics, they are below the video.

The Great Southland of the Holy Spirit

This is our nation, this is our land,
This is our future, this is our hope.
A land of reaping, a land of harvest,
This is our land, this is our home.

This is the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit,
A land of red dust plains and summer rains,
To this sun-burnt land we will see a flood,
And to this Great Southland His Spirit comes.

This is our nation, this is our land,
This land of plenty, this land of hope.
The richest harvest is in her peoples,
We see revival, His Spirit comes. [to chorus]

This is our nation, this is our land,
This lucky country, of dreams gone dry,
And to these people we see a harvest,
And to this land, revival comes. [to chorus]

This next video is of a song called "Save Australia"...I'm sure you'll agree that we could and should be singing this song over all nations of the earth.  It's a bit longer, but really worth it.  Again, the lyrics are below.

Save Australia
Save our nation Lord
There's nothing we want more
This land of hopes and dreams
Lord bring us to our knees

Hear our cry oh Lord it's time
Heal this land Lord send Your fire

Save Australia
Pour Your Spirit out
On this nation
Send revival to this land

Do it through us
Do it in me

Bless this sun burnt land
With Your mighty hand
Take our hearts and lives
So all may know Your Love

Save our nation

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Has it really been 5 years?

Wow...5 years ago we set out on a new unknown journey - who could've known how it would all turn out?  Well, God, of course!
I count it a privilige...

As we enter a New Year and I look back, I thought this would be a great time for some reflection over the past 5 years.

I guess I'll start by summing up how we got to point A to begin with.  So, basically, I think I've shared previously that I first felt that missions was my life calling when I was 11 years old - although I didn't have a name for it at that time.  As I grew older and was not walking with the Lord, it basically took the form of humanitarian work; and, frankly, even for many (many) years of my Christian life, it still looked basically the same.  I wanted to relieve the suffering of the poor and needy around the world, but not necessarily share with people about Jesus.  In fact, I guess you could say I was even hostile toward evangelism and spreading the gospel!  Isn't God funny?

After going through an ugly divorce (I don't know that there are any pretty ones?) in 2003, I tried to stay afloat and keep things as normal as possible for Sierra, who was then 9 years old.  A year of insanity proved that I was in over my head financially and emotionally, and I made the decision to sell our house to get out from under the load of debt.  I figured I'd just downsize and keep on keepin' on.
Selling the last of our 'earthly goods'...Mom was a trooper through it all

God had a different plan.

He began to remind me of my first love - to reach out to a hurt and dying world.  He showed me that I was in a place where I could actually follow the dream in my heart - I had the freedom to go - relationally, financially, emotionally, spiritually.  It was thrilling and terrifying.

We made the decision to "try it out" and a week after Sierra turned 11 - June 2005, we packed up our bags and headed to Mexico.  We had a few loose plans, and the bags on our backs and no idea what the future held.  When I think back, I can hardly believe it!  Sierra was still so small.

Everything we owned on our backs for almost 6 months
What followed were almost 6 months of backpacking and traveling throughout Mexico and into Guatemala.  You can read about all of our adventures by looking at the archives from 2005 on this blog.  It was a healing time for us, and a time of God clarifying His call in our lives.  It was during this time that God opened my eyes to could I say I loved people if I was only willing to feed them for the day and never give them the food that would feed them for all of eternity?

It was this revelation that led to joining YWAM.  I realized I needed training and the accountability & legitimacy of being involved with a missions organization.  We started our training at YWAM Chico with a Crossroads Discipleship Training School (CDTS) in January 2006.

Knowing that God had called me to this life for all of my life, we joined staff after completing the CDTS.  I began teaching at the school there on base, working with kids from grades 3-12.  It was amazing and it was hard, and I loved those kids with all my heart...I still do.

Then, I began to work with the Short Term Outreach office, taking groups into Mexico to build houses and work at an orphanage.  Oh, how I loved it!  We still miss it so much.  Working directly with families and kids and teams...seeing such amazing transformations in the lives of people - it was good.  Still, God was calling us deeper, further.  Building foundations, strong and sure.

building homes for families
showing God's love

working amongst the 'least of these'

The decision to leave and come to Australia was a hard one...God was calling me to trust Him more, to get out of my boat and step out on the water.  To leave the comfort of what I knew and was good at to allow Him to work deeper in us.  We chose to obey and trust.

And so here we are....we've been here in Australia for just over a year.  Sierra is 16 and will start her final year of High School in February.  My little girl is growing up, and I couldn't be more proud of the woman she's becoming.  When we came here, God told me that she had grown roots in Chico, but would grow wings to fly in Australia - how true to His word He is!  As I write, she is preparing to head to Bali, Indonesia for 3 weeks of ministry there.  Just imagine - she went to China at 14, Cambodia at 15, and now Bali at 16.  Could we have ever planned or imagined such a life? 

He continues to build the temple and strengthen the foundations...working amongst refugees from multiple nations, teaching English as a Second Language, discipling and being discipled...God continues to prepare us and form us.  I've recently written in detail about what we're doing here and what the future holds, so I won't go into that again, but I can say this with confidence - God is good!  All the time!

So, I thought I'd just review a little of what God has accomplished through us (and by 'us', I mean all of us - not just Sierra and I - but those who support us financially, those who pray for and with us, those who encourage us.  We are a team, and this is only possible as a team effort!)....
  • medical clinics run with hundreds receiving treatment, medication, and prayer - dozens receiving instant, miraculous healings
  • teaching young people about their value, purity, God, prayer, the 3 R's and relationship with God and each other
  • dozens of homes built for families - hundreds of people received new homes and hope for a better future for their families
  • thousands of people fed meals and given bags of food
  • thousands of people received teaching about God and were given the opportunity to hear about Jesus
  • hundreds of people have come to a saving knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
  • myriads of people have received prayer, encouragement and practical helps representing the nature and character of God
  • strongholds broken over individuals, families, neighborhoods, cities and nations
  • untold hours of prayer and worship
  • 'invisible' women have been given value and a voice after being rescued from horrific conditions in their home country
  • training and discipling of young missionaries
  • hundreds of lonely, needy children played with, loved and prayed over throughout many nations
This list doesn't even begin to cover all that the Lord has done....what a mighty God we serve!  And so, thank you...thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you have sacrificed to see God's name carried into the nations.  We are so grateful to our family and friends who love us, encourage us, support us, pray for us and keep cheering us on.  What a privilige it is to serve alongside you in spirit and truth.  Here's to another - 50! years of serving our God together.

Thank you doesn't begin to express it...