Amy LOVES giving parenting advice. She is passionate about cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and sleeping. One of our friends recently found out she was pregnant and asked Amy for advice. This series hopes to capture that email exchange for posterity sake! Missionary mommies, mommies on mission or anyone in general…ENJOY!
We sing a song at church and in it we “throw” the Holy Spirit on people asking the Lord to burn them with the Holy Ghost. Really we are asking and dancing and praising God to be more in our lives and catch us on fire for him.
So we are here in the middle of a season of busyness. Busyness in our house (more to come later). Busyness with work as Spring time trips are in full swing (3 teams flying in tomorrow) and summer trips are being planned out (locations finalized, itineraries built, staffing complete). Busyness it seems and activity has been weighing me down a lot, and keeping me from the Lord.
As our staff was corresponding via email, Rob, a spiritual mentor and also my boss, wrote that our plans, training, itineraries, etc are the wood or building blocks of the fire. The Holy Spirit is the spark and the fuel that determines how intense this fire of activity gets is Prayer.
We need, we must, be in prayer for the Holy Spirit to burn up our lives in everything that we do. For work it means prayers for the locations, the logistics, the local pastors, the groups, the ministries.
In 2011 when Amy and I were presented the opportunity to move to Belize with Praying Pelican Missions, we talked about wanting this opportunity for our children. We talked about wanting our kids to grow up in an environment with a different culture, growing up without some things, growing up playing in sacks, with bottles, throwing rocks, and digging.
We talked about Madeline, Jojo, and (now) Elijah growing up and knowing that meeting with and encouraging local church leaders is part of what we do. That we invite people to church and that we love EVERYONE we meet.
We wanted them to grow up knowing that being a missionary isn’t something that you do but something that you are, that living on mission is a way of life.
We want Madeline, Jojo, and Elijah to grow up into men and women after God’s own heart, pursuing a greater understanding of Him, His Glory and His Love and sharing that with others.
We thought back in 2011 that moving to Belize with Praying Pelican Missions could be wood for that fire in their lives. And it is.
Madeline and Jojo are the most loving children around. Madeline is ALWAYS inviting people to our house and to church. Jojo is ALWAYS giving hugs and talking to anyone. In fact the other day at a VBS at Lake Independence in Belize City, we couldn’t find them ANYWHERE. 300 kids had just left and we were missing 2 of our 3. Mildly panicked I looked in all the rooms, asked some key adults and the pastor “Have you seen my little white kids??”
I go back outside I see Madeline and Jojo running down the street coming back to the church. I scolded them sharply asking where they were.
Their response “We walked our new friend home.”.
My heart melted.
Yes being here, their experiences, their life is the wood. Prayer is the fuel.
Each night we pray with them for things that they want to thank God for (always building a spirit of thankfulness to the Lord). Usually they thank God for poop, jellyfish, popcorn, friends, and recently “Frozen”. After that we sing worship songs and then Amy and I each prayer over all the kids.
Often we pray for them to rest well. We thank God for the day and the fun that we had. We often pray for healing from sickness (lice is the current trouble). We also pray God’s blessing and direction for their lives. We pray that we would be parents that would direct them to The Lord. We pray that they would be children who would pursue God relentlessly, wildly, and constantly. And we pray that we as parents would have the discipline to get out of the way.
Prayer is the fuel.
Amy and I realized that we haven’t asked you all to partner with us in prayer for the kids, at least not for their direction. Prayer is the fuel. Read below and please add fuel to Madeline’s, Jojo’s, and Elijah’s God fire in their lives.
Prayers for the kids:
- Purity – That the Lord would keep them pure. That the desires of their heart center upon Jesus would outweigh and overpower the desires of lust from the evil one. That they would be sexually pure until marriage. That their testimonies would be filled with sins that the Lord KEPT them from instead of sins He REDEEMED them from.
- Direction – That they would pursue God through reading His Word, wise counsel, prayer, etc to understand God’s direction for their lives. That they would seek His direction and not waver His plan, no matter the objections people (even their parents) may raise.
- Boldness – That all 3 kids would have great boldness in sharing the Gospel with ALL people they see. That they would KNOW HOW to present the Gospel and that they would see a tremendous response in their lives.
- Love – that they would be filled with love and compassion for all people and that love would drive all actions in their lives. That they see with God’s eyes all the poor and powerless, like seeing sheep without a shepherd.
Guatemala – The Lord is here and his favor is upon us.
This is just in: we work for a short-term missions organization. Shocking I know! Praying Pelican Missions currently operates in about 10 different countries. One of the questions I often get asked is what’s next? Where’s next? Or Have you all thought about (insert country x)?
The answer is…if it’s a country in the world then we, as an organization, have thought about it. The local church is the hope of the world and we exist to encourage, equip and partner with the local church. The local church is the hope of the world in Burkina Faso West Africa as it is in Central America, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
With a vision or scope that big, the next natural question is “How do you decide where to partner next?”
The answer is simple. Whether we are expanding within one of our existing countries or to a new international location, we as a staff pray, pray, and pray some more.
One such place that has been on our “radar” for some time has been Guatemala, and in early Feb. to travel to Guatemala with Rob, Pastor Ed, and another one of our staff, Ross, to Guatemala on a “scouting trip.”
Before our trip, we began to ask around in Belize if anyone knew any leaders of denominations in Belize. Through our Belizean pastors, we were put in contact with a national overseer of a particular denomination. Pastor Ed and this pastoral leader began chatting on the phone over the course of several months and our trip was set.
I didn’t know what to expect. After going and returning I can only say “Guatemala – The Lord is here and His favor is upon us.”
We arrived in Guatemala late at night and promptly checked into our hotel (save for maybe an old castle in Ireland, it was quite literally the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in). After a quick night sleep, we were to meet with the national overseer for the day.
When Pastor came bouncing into the lobby (bouncing is the only way to describe his gait as he was so full of the joy of Christ, the first thing I noticed was his beaming smile. He embraced us all warmly, as we were relatives returning from armed services. We exchanged greetings and after a brief introduction, he said in Spanish “I know you. I know you love the Lord, let’s go and have some fun”
And we were off….Off in the Lord’s favor. It should be noted the day that Pastor met with us and drove us around Guatemala City was his 30th wedding anniversary!!
We travel to a lodging facilitiy where the caretaker bonds with us like only family can. We joke, we laugh, we cry, we share. We are family. Now the caretaker and Pastor have shown us we are brothers in this larger family of God!
The day happens. Our “details” or “logistics” are set up well and quickly. Something that only our staff may truly know how awesome it is to have things fall into place like they did! Again the Lord’s favor.
We return to the lodging facility for the evening. When we arrive the students shuffle us to their bedroom, the nicest of the rooms at the facility, and they start packing up. Perplexed I ask Pastor Ed what’s happening and he mentioned that they were going to give us their room!! Lord’s favor!
We politely refused and stayed in one of the several other rooms. We got to work typing notes from the meetings of the day, when the students come back in to inform us that dinner of eggs, beans, corn tortillas is ready. We thought we had to go out! They thought that was ridiculous. “You’re family”, they say. Truly we are a growing family and fast.
After dinner and dishes (which Rob made sure we did), we settled back down to finalize our plan for the following day. It was dark and getting later in the evening. We finished our planning and Rob, Ross, and I were doing “other work.” Pastor Ed heading outside to enjoy the view from atop the hill. After 30 minutes or so, I hear what I think is laughing, crying, groaning, singing. I ignore it thinking that these are people joking around.
I stop work, lay down in my bed, but I still hear the noises. I get up. I look out of our room and there I see it. The students that were serving us are worshipping. Nine of them are around the a small fire, embers crackling. In the stillness of the Guatemalan night, I hear praising, praying, and groaning which can only be described as calling out to God in the Holy Spirit when emotion and burden are so heavy that words are not possible.
I sit on the step with Pastor Ed and Rob and look at this worship, praying, petitioning of the Lord for Guatemala. It’s in Spanish so I don’t understand a lot of the words but the emotion is coming through loud and clear. I walk forward a few steps, intent on going to do what I am not sure. I turn back. I am not worthy to worship with them. I cry, unable to muster up any other emotion or words.
Together Rob, Pastor Ed, and I approach. Around the fire, I see one student praying blessings over his fellow students. I see a group of three students praising God through song. Another student is crying, heartbroken for the brokenness of her city, her country. I see yet another prostrate on the dirt in front of the fire, begging God to do miracles in this country. I don’t know what to do. I hit my knees and pray. I pray in English. I pray in Spanish. A student comes to bless me, I receive it. I return the blessing on him and other students as well. Eyes full of tears, I thank God for this experience. I look out at the view of all of Guatemala City and I tell the Lord, right now we are standing in agreement with these students to proclaim this nation for you!
I return back to my bunk for the evening and fall asleep to the sounds of praying, groaning, praising. Guatemala – The Lord is here and his favor is upon us.
A most amazing night, I still cannot comprehend. It was just the first NIGHT, setting the stage for the rest of our time!
We stayed one night at a potential recreation location. As we were bedding down for the night there, I opened the door and windows for breeze and listening. Groaning, praying, petitioning the Lord for his country. Demonstrative worship and prayer is what Rob called it and we were surrounded by it. I can only describe it as being in the center of God’s will, His presence and surrounded by the equivalent of Angels crying out “Holy, Holy Holy.” Guatemala – The Lord is here and his favor is upon us.
Our trip continued with a visit to Pastor Ed’s in-laws in Southern Guatemala. After a TREMENDOUS dinner, the indulgence in which that I am ashamed to admit, we headed to our lodging for the evening. Traffic was backed up, something that we were used to now driving around in Guatemala, but it was late and we were in a rural village. Our driver got out and asked what’s up? A pastor came to our car. Tonight we are having a rally, “The night of miracles” he called it. He explained that they are in an all-night worship for the Lord to heal Guatemala of her brokenness. We all looked at each other, shook our heads, and praised God together for His favor.
Demonstrative worship and prayer each night, prayers of blessings each night, warm embraces from our new family, a night of miracles. Guatemala…truly truly the Lord is here and His favor is upon us. Thank you Lord. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!