Thursday, July 17, 2008

City of Love....???

Hello, Hello, Hello from France!!!
We arrived in France last Wednesday exhausted but greatful to have finally get off the bus. The trip from Morocco to France was a long and draining one. It encompassed 3 days and involved ,much sitting. We started out with a 5 hour bus ride, only to arrive at the train station and wait a few hours for the 12 hour train ride. From there we took the Ferry across the Med. Sea and were blessed with a cruise type boat. It was not disgusting and crawling with bugs like the last ferry had been. It was really clean and served great Coffee! I slept the entire way. We arrived in Spain and hauled all the teams luggage out to a bus. Thankfully we had a trailer for all the suitcases and crawled onto the bus for an exceedingly unending bus ride. The bus ride was suppose to be around 20 hours. 20 hours of sitting up and pretending to sleep. However, the 20 became 30. We were on a bus for over a day. That was insane. Thankfully cars put me to sleep so I slept most of the time. . We ate at a few grocery stores along the way and realized we were definitely not in Morocco anymore! The country side was beautiful and we got to drive through mountains so I felt right at home. The higher on the map we got, the cooler and more beautiful it became. We eventually arrived in Paris – awesome beautiful spectacular city- and drove to a university on the outskirts of downtown. The university is full of trees and the weather is exactly like home! Thank you Lord. I have been able to layer my sweatshirts and go for walks without needing to saturate myself in deodorant! One totally awesome detail I forgot to mention is that we were expecting to have to stay in tents, but that was so wrong! We actually were blessed with INDIVIDUAL rooms in the dorm- um…let me tell you I was singing and almost cried at the news. My room has become my haven and my prayer room. I can sleep when I want to sleep, I can do my makeup without having to share a mirror, I can even do my devotion sitting at a desk looking out at beautiful trees without a whole mess of Koreans yelling in the back (hilarious when that would happen). It was been a true blessing. However, we are apart of a camp, we didn’t know that and have to go to lectures again and follow the camp rules. The leaders on our team are really starting to butt heads with their team for many reasons but mainly, the camp only wants us to perform one or two pieces of the show so they can draw a crowd to evangelize too. Maria- our leader- is so frustrated because our performance is our evangelism because we cannot speak French. Also we haven’t had a day off since arriving in France. No sleep. No money for food. Having to deal with a whole new group. Etc…. Oh yeah and we found out all our shows for next week have been cancelled! So please pray for that. We feel limited by that and it gets frustrating. I do not really feel bothered by the whole situation though. I am glad that we have leaders that take care of the troubles because I am focused on drawing my relationship with God to a deeper and more intimate level and really just go with the flow of the group. I laugh usually when people are stark angry (oops ) and try to keep the mood light because there are things that will throw the curve ball in and we have to deal. Sometimes I get annoyed because we are lacking in food money and have to go 10 hours without eating…not fun. But I know I’ll have an attitude if I open my mouth so most times I read a book or keep distance and not make decisions in that time. LOL.!!!
There have been some real encouragements along the way thus far. We performed for a few of the students and come to find out a few were American teenagers!!! Holy cow -dear Jesus- thank you. I talked with them, with no interpreter, and prayed for them! It was such a blessing and a confirmation. Also, France feels so much like America that I feel totally at home here, well upon not being able to communicate or walk by myself, but really there is a peace that was definitely lacking in Morocco. I still get starred at a lot but because it’s a tourist town, I can blend in well. Thirdly, I have been able to escape to my room and read and pray and think and dream…ah I cant tell you how awesome and encouraging it is to be alone with the Holy Spirit in the morning times. If you haven’t developed the discipline of time alone with God, I will show you some methods when I get back if you want, but I definitely encourage you to find that time. Find that place where you can be regenerated with the Savior.
Oh I have one crazy story to tell. I have been reading a lot about intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare and the strategies that lull us into ignorance of the spiritual world, and let me tell you I had an encounter with something the other night. I had had a great day with Jesus that day, prayed for many people and just practiced what I had been studying. I went to sleep that night very peaceful. But woke up 3 hours later to a suffocating fear. It seemed like the darkness could be touched and then that feeling of “I’m being watched” started creeping over my body. Now, let me step back and tell you that that night was the only night I had slept with my window and one of my blinds open, but I am on the 3rd floor and facing a park so I didn’t think much of it. Anyway, so there was honestly no way anyone could be watching me. So when I woke up and had that eerie feeling, and hairs on my neck stood up, I was pretty scared. I had to walk to the bathroom down the hall, because we all still share bathrooms, and I thought whatever the feeling was would go away- it didn’t. As I walked along the halls, exhausted and scared, there was a distinct feeling that it was following me. I did my thing and headed back to my room while praying the Lord would tell me what I was up against and how to get rid of it. I walked back into my room, laid down, and kept praying. By this time, the fear had made me made because I HATE being afraid so I was praying very pissed off at this “thing”. When I felt the Lord say, “shut your window and your blinds,” – no problem there, I jumped up, whipped those things shut and laid back down. Than from the different spiritual warfare strategies that I had been reading about, I started trying to identify what kind of demonic spirit I was dealing with- FEAR! Whatever this thing was or looked like, I know it was trying to make me afraid. I was pretty sure though that I didn’t have the power to “bind” a demon being a little human I am… but than the verses that I had read that night in ACTS reminded me that Peter, Paul, John, Jesus…countless others have all been able to cast out demons because of the Holy Spirit…. “Huh,” I thought, “Well, I have the Holy Spirit, im just gonna try this.” So I said outloud (of course still angry) “In Jesus name, and by His victory on the cross, you have no right to be taunting me and hanging around, so I bind you fear and command you to leave this room and go to the foot of the cross!!!” – sounded pretty powerful, lol. And let me tell you…- it was! The Holy Spirit is real and proclaiming Jesus name is real power. After I proclaimed that- I was asleep in ten minutes and was again sleeping so peacefully. ------------------------------------------------However, later on, when I woke up I thought I had dreamed the whole thing or I was making it more dramatic than it really was and that no demon was really in my room watching me last night….but I was talking to a few friends, 3 to be exact, and all of them had had a very similar experience at the same time I did that night. Two of the girls had been in the same room and had felt the exact thing together , the other girl explained what she felt to me without having heard about my story, and they lined up exact. It was insane! Now let me go on because this gets better. Back in Kona, Hawaii, one of my friends told me that God spoke to her telling her that we are going to be attacked by Satan and his army when we go on outreach. She said she was given a vision of a chess game and Satan was starting to move his pieces…he was sending his troops to be in position. Than another person that same week had a vision. She said in her vision she saw demons, very black and scary, RUNNING and RUSHING to engage in full attack towards us. They were being sent out to destroy anyway they could! (Now talk about your encouraging visions- lol!) So having been pre-warned that Satan was preparing, we were on guard. But he had to attack in the night when we were most tired and most unprepared… Literally, he sent his army to attack certain people and terrify them….Insane. I will not underestimate the spiritual world anymore, but I also will not give satan the benefit of being afraid of him because that’s exactly what he wants. Besides, Jesus is Lord and has already won the victory. We are covered by His blood and have power to demolish satans plans. Why do you think satan tries desperately to destroy us and make us ignorant? – because he hates that he’s already lost the fight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH.( Battle cry necessary there! )Anyway, that was the experience and it was rad! Praise Jesus, Thanks Lord for being smart enough to outwit your enemy and wanting me to know that Your that powerful and LOVE me that much.
To all of you, I hope you enjoyed the dramatic story that gives God glory and I want you to know that prayer is real, Jesus’ name is powerful and that He wants you to experience a deeper and more powerful reality of HIMSELF. – my opinion- go for it. No fear!