06 July 2014

Created for this.

I’ve signed my blog posts for years with “created for this”.  Here’s a bit why, for those of you  who might be new.  I grew up feeling a void of knowing what was I truly created for.  Why was I here?  A question God places in all of us.  It was a deep longing for me to know.  I wasn’t sure what little me could offer to such an incredible God that I was created by.  What could I do to even begin to honor him.  And to live for Jesus after all he has done for us.  Wow, all that Jesus has done for us.  Whoa.  Selah.

The more I would meet Him face to face in my teen years, the more the hunger grew until I knew there had to be something so far beyond myself that I would use my life for the sake of His name.  There were times of stumbling through the dark and him graciously picking me up and other times Him bringing the rod as a father to whip me into shape.  Either way, I’m thankful for the journey.  I’m thankful for the grace to keep taking steps, sometimes leaps and often blind jumps and trusting Papa God.  I would get the big picture then it would fade and I would live an average mundane life.  That is not what we were created for!  Then the fire would come and I couldn’t ignore what I thought was just my desire but indeed it was His Spirit stirring deep.  I’ve shared about the encounter I had at 16, face to face with Jesus in my bedroom, with this deep intense passion to spend the rest of my life loving women and children in the jungles of Congo.  That night it lit a fiery passion that never went away.  He births dreams in our hearts that we can not let go of but trust Him and keep saying yes.  Keep the dreams alive by not doubting, not giving up, always trusting.  

Although I had this burning desire to get to the nation of Congo and share this epic love that Jesus had shown me, I realized that wasn’t my destination in life.  That would come one day and I was still fiery about it but it wasn’t the only thing in life I was created for.  He began to grow in me a passion for missions, for the nations, specifically all of Africa, and I was sent to Kenya.  The day I arrived in Kenya in June of 2005, was a day I will NEVER forget.  It was one of those life changing days where I knew that I knew I was right where I was created to be.  But... I had found before moving to Africa, that what I was created for first wasn’t a place or a mission.  What I was created for was his love, glory, his name and to walk daily in Him and Him in me.  It is about walking out the kingdom daily.  Loving and serving wherever you are.  Yes, He can often put a specific place and nation on our heart but we are called to go into all the world.  It’s every nation and tribe.  It's across your street.  Its the person checking you out at the store, the grandmother feeling lonely next door or the man living under the bridge.  But we are first called into His arms, into His fierce love.  He created us for HIM.  One look into His eyes of love and you will never be the same.  Arriving in Kenya to some of the most beautiful children singing to us and welcoming us with arms wide open and knowing I was created for relationship with our Papa God and created to fulfill a destiny and call on my life, was where "created for this" came from.  It was forever etched in my heart that I finally knew so deeply and personally that.  And out of that we find the people, places, good works, anointings, callings, destinies and purposes that we were created for.  And as we walk in knowing we were created for HIM, He also always wants us deeper in Him.  There's always more!  Just like in the story of Ezekial 43:3-7.  Where God took him from the shores into the deep waters.  We are to jump into the flow of Holy Spirit and not just splash around on the shoreline but be fully submerged!  Religion wants you parked ankle deep, where it is God’s minimum.  Spurgeon once said “Some Christians sail their boat in such low spiritual waters that the keel scrapes on the gravel all the way to heaven, instead of being carried on a floodtide”.  We can’t just survive but we are called to thrive and be more than conquerers.  We need to get in the boat, go deep and not come out when the storms come.  He brings enough peace to rest and sleep IN the boat when needed.  And we don't want to let the oil of his presence run dry.  And then the fire doesn’t die.  I’m preaching to myself here.

SO... about this journey to Congo.

One step of faith at a time and 14 years later, I ended up in this beautiful nation of Congo.  GOD IS SO FAITHFUL!  I was wrecked the moment I saw the sign declaring we were there.  And the overwhelming feeling of what a privilege to go.  Finally. 

I met up with one incredible team from Burn 24/7 whom we had met and prepped through emails and a few skype dates.  Made friends for life.  We all flew into Rwanda then we bused it to the border of Rwanda and Congo.  I went in knowing I would learn from Jesus along the way and learn from the congolese we would meet and for sure learn from the Justice Rising team.  We were a team of worshipers and the main mission was to worship everywhere we went, bringing his presence into some of the most wrecked villages due to war.  We went in to be part of what Justice Rising is doing.  It was a privilege to see first hand what this organization is doing.  (justicerising.com)  Rebuilding communities and restoring children affected by war.  We spoke in churches, did a few conferences, played and loved on children, many children, visited Justice Rising schools, visited hospitals to pray and love those there and one of best parts was visiting Kalembe.  This is a remote village that has seen war for over two decades and currently had the most peace they have in a long time.  It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.  It’s been since December that war was there and we are hopeful that it will be lasting peace from heaven.  There are so many stories and testimonies I look forward to sharing.  But in short, we worshipped the King in the midst of a war zone.  What a privilege it was!

It definitely was a dream come true and my heart was beyond overflowing the more I was there.  It was a life changing event.  And I am completely smitten by the nation, to say the least :).  The people, the land, everything is beautiful.  The air was tense for sure.  You pass an invisible border into Congo and can feel a shift in the atmosphere.  But oh my goodness, when you get a view from heaven on what God’s heart is for that nation, there’s so much hope, so much beauty.  The statistics are unreal and heart wrenching about all the injustices but justice from heaven brings a whole new way of life for people that have been affected by war.  Knowing a whole generation of kids have grown up knowing nothing but war and have seen family and friends killed was hard going in.  But their smiles and how quick they were to accept love and kindness proved again that we are all called to have faith like children regardless of our past.  

I look forward to also sharing the beautiful things going on within our Mattaw family here in Kenya.  Its astounding actually and all glory to God.  He deserves all the recognition and honor.  He is gracious for sure for all the work he’s doing in our midst.  We’ve had three teams so far and what a huge impact they’ve made.  We are so grateful for every small and big act of kindness.... new shoes, clothes, games, bible stories, a new library, storage building, just to name a few.  One of the most incredible updates I can give real quick is that my husband was led to start a 24/7 time of prayer and worship in the church at Mattaw while I was in Congo.  Our staff and children were fired up to be part of this.  I know part of the ease I faced being in Congo was because of the prayers that went up from 100 plus children and staff.  I was completely floored by it all and eternally grateful. I’ve started to sit in homes at Mattaw to hear testimonies of what took place at Mattaw and thrilled to hear more.  Healings, salvations, miracles.... It’s just life and what Jesus loves to do through his people.  
The journey now is to stay in that river, submerged, not swimming to shore.  I’m not sure what I thought, but I can tell you that the battle doesn’t end when leaving a mission.  We are always on a mission and need to always walk by the Spirit.  I was wrong to think I would just come home and swim to shore, and just lay out on the shore.  Yes, rest is important, I repeat, rest is vital!  But we can’t let our guard down and get out of the boat.  Stay in the boat and wether the storm with Jesus.  And yuck, our heart surfaces some pretty wretched stuff when we go through storms.  So he never stops transforming us in order for us to go deeper and walk into the more he has for us.  This is real talk here.  We’ve hit quite the storm in the last several days.  The joy of the Lord will be our strength.  I was weak and tired and wanted to retreat Saturday night but clearly heard “get up and go be with your family”.  So Sunday morning I wrangled the kids and off to Mattaw we went.  Church that morning was powerful and refreshing.  It was so evident that there had been 24/7 prayer and worship for 2 weeks.  And we are moving forward, not backing down when the enemy is trying to throw some hits.    Bud was with our fourth team that day and on the way to Kitale.  They had major vehicle break downs.  It took 12 hours for the team to arrive and what troopers they were!  And that too we overcame.  That morning we all prayed and worship and just welcomed the Lord and honored Him.  Again, saw worship bring heaven.  It brought peace in our midst.  It brought many healings for people battling various sicknesses.  It was a gorgeous site to see our children rise up to worship and pray.  

After praying for the vehicles that morning, we got word that they were on the road and moving!  One of our girls is in the hospital and it got real serious and emergency for awhile but she’s being healed and what is at work is coming to light.  She has pnumonia and is anemic.  There’s a few more tests to be done but she is being restored.  Pray for Mary!  The lists goes on with how many obstacles thrown our way but one thing is for sure, Jesus is King and still on the throne.  

I’ll be taking a break for a few weeks from blog writing to go stay put in that river.  But can’t wait to share more stories.  You can keep an eye out for Mattaw updates on the mattaw website.  Hey and be sure to check out Justice Rising!  Love them!  And they’re in need of help with school fees to get a group of boys into school that were extremely affected by war and this is one of the major steps to helping their life be restored with a hope and future.    

My heart in deep gratitude to my faithful Papa God who carried our team and I in and carried us out.

Massive thanks to the garden family, our home church, for interceding and praying for us... while bud held down the fort and oversaw teams and 24/7 prayer and worship and for the time I had my feet in Congo. 

Another major thanks to the rockstar husband I have for making this dream possible as well.

Much love and deepest thanks to everyone that is following our journey and praying.  I know the list goes on.    


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