~ T.E. Lawrence
I still get in my shower each day and say, "thank you Jesus."
I still wear my Africa dress at least a few times a month and get a little emotional when I put it on. Yup. Still.
I drink my Kenya tea and coffee and smile when I sip it.
I pray for my friends there daily. I support them financially.
I think of them all the time.
The wonder of the place and the people never ever leaves me.
Yes I do realize I am called to pastor in Tampa and I love my home and church and am committed first and foremost to it. But a part of my heart is in Africa!
I knew I'd be going back to Africa -- the excitement was high while I was there and they invited me to come back and bring Larry and do a national pastor's conference. While at the women's conference I was just savoring the moments on our last night. I drank it in, thinking, "this is a unique moment that I will probably never experience again." The meetings we had there were just indescribable. Signs, wonders, miracles, healings. Part of my emotion in leaving on the last night of the meetings was realizing I'd probably not go back and do that particular conference, (the women's) at least for a number of years. According to the missionary that hosted me, they have never in 30 years or so time had the same speaker back twice in a row...they always get someone different. (I believe due to extenuating circumstances they had one of their missionaries who was already there in Kenya as the speaker two years in a row, but that was it.) Quite honestly I was not "assuming" a future invitation at all. I try my best not to be presumptuous. But I longed for the day when perhaps in the future I might have opportunity years later to go back and be with that same group of women, plus more. Oh how our hearts were united and knit together. If you forgot exactly what happened during all that time go back and read my blog for November 2007 and all the details are there.
In January of this year it seemed hopes were dashed of even going anytime to Kenya in the near future. As you know, a civil unrest broke out on New Year's Day in Kenya with many killed and even one AG church burned down with people barricaded in it. Since the new year, violence has been horrible and only very recently have things gotten better at all. As soon as I saw that on the news, I cried first for my friends there, second I cried for me...(selfishly) that I might not be able to go back. The outbreak of post election violence is one reason they had not gotten back to Larry and I about the final details or invitation for the pastor's conference in April. We have been in a holding pattern. Just waiting to hear back and start planning and raising funds and such.
Over the past month or so as I've been walking and riding my bike and spending time talking with the Lord, I began to have a vision in my mind of being at the same conference, preaching, being reunited with different people there, etc. This was all during my prayer time. I really considered it "wishful praying". Or just daydreaming while awake. I do that a lot. I'm tellin' you, I'm a God-dreamer. Now I stand corrected on the "wishful praying" thing as my friend Pastor Tara Sloan calls it a "prophetic preview." I truly believe that. I was not just wishful praying, but God preparing me for what He wanted to do.
Plans are to raise enough support for this plus the pastor's conference. While there in November, I would talk to the leaders there about the upcoming April conference and promote it at that time.
You can't imagine my reaction when I saw my e-mail from Dr. Kuert and the subject line was: START PACKING! Yes, I saw a prophetic preview. But I still couldn't believe it. I was very emotional -- crying, praising God -- having a total Holy Ghost breakdown! This is a dream beyond a dream for me. I went bonkers in my office when I opened the email. I was just overcome with emotion. I have so many visions and dreams of what God wants to do and will do...
Can you believe before I had even gotten the invitation I had already been praying about messages and God's will for the week of ministry? I thought perhaps I was preparing my spirit for years to come...perhaps I was just getting stirred up for something else I knew not of. But no, God was opening THIS DOOR, this door I've longed for so much since November 17.
Honestly, I've had to go through a whole lot since stepping back into my world here back in America. You don't have time for me to tell it all, folks, believe me. Just trust me. Some of you who are in my circle know. I feel like this is an incredible gift Jesus is giving me for going through some of the stuff I've gone through. Let me tell you something, I've gone through too much HELL in my life to give up now and not get everything the Lord has for me. The time to say PAY UP to the devil is HERE. You know he's gotta pay back seven fold what he's tried to steal from God's people. Yes, I'm pouring myself out on behalf of those precious Kenyan people, and I'm going for the purpose of giving, not receiving. However, as any of you know who GIVE anything...the more you give the more you get back. Because that's just God's economy. It's so much more blessed to give than receive and when we give, we often feel like we've gained the greater blessing.
Sunday night we had a leadership meeting and our team has just come off of a 50 day fast and now we are going into a week of intense prayer. We have late night prayer Fri. night and then 24 hour prayer shifts on Saturday until Sunday and then our missions convention weekend which we are believing for signs, wonders, miracles. Where God is blessing, Satan's messing. One of our leaders, Sean, prayed, "Lord, we know starting Monday the attacks are probably going to be great this week...because your plans for us are great...etc..." and in that moment I thought, "oh my, he's right" and I wondered what I'd deal with. Well, the old deceiver himself makes sure he does his job well. (Why are we so surprised when a liar lies? When a stealer steals? When a destroyer tries to destroy? Sometimes we are clueless even though we KNOW what the bible says we forget what the Word says the attributes of the devil are.) Some of you know what I'm talking 'bout. But within 5 minutes of dealing with a situation that was straight from the pits of hell, this Africa confirmation came through!!!
I thought to myself, "Devil, you have no idea who you're dealing with here. If you think my focus is going to be off one little iota you have another thing coming, because God is pouring out something greater in my life than he EVER has before, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME! And I don't intend to miss it! I'm too blessed to be stressed! IT IS PAY BACK TIME! It's time to get my Holy Ghost game on. Let me tell you, the first half of BREAKTHROUGH is break, and I've lived that. The first half of TESTIMONY is test. I've lived that too. Sometimes you'll deal with some crazy stuff in a test, but you've got to stay true to God and your call and throw it off.
The price has been paid in prayer, fasting, and GET READY, GET READY, GET READY.........because it's only the beginning! SHOUT NOW!
God has been so good to me. He's given so many true friends and a real family who rejoice with me as I go forth to live the prophetic preview as it continues to unfold and become reality. I love all of you so much and thank God for you.
I'll keep you posted on things as they unfold for November and April. I've been told that to raise all the missions funds needed for both trips in this economy, we might as well expect to raise someone from the dead. Well, that's alright. We believe in that. Jesus still does stuff like that. My friend and doc, Dr. Rosemay Latortue just told me -- God ordered it, He'll find a way to pay for it. As Larry says, the first thing required for a miracle is that you have a need. Well, we qualify. And God is in the miracle working business!
Gosh, so much to do. I've gotta start collecting things to take to my precious Kenyan ladies again. Last time I had enough gifts for about 1/2 of them, plus all of the pastor's wives got special gifts. This time my goal is to have enough for EVERY SINGLE LADY. So much to do....gotta be Mary AND Martha to get ready for stuff like this. Thanks for celebrating with me, my friends.
Soon, it's gonna be time to fly! I'm gettin' a prophetic preview right now.