Recently God blessed me with an incredible trip to Mitchell, Manitoba, Canada, where I was one of the keynote speakers for Doreen Penner‘s women’s conference, Walk Into Your Blessing. When I came home, I rode the Canadian Via Train and the U.S. Amtrak train across the Canadian and U.S. Rockies, and had many divine appointments. This is my Canada Trip Blog Series, Part 7, The Man From Africa. You can read Part 6 here.
Canada Trip Blog Series, Part 7: The Man From Africa
When I was booking my Delta air fare for Canada, God spoke to my heart and said not to take a plane, but to take a train coming back home to Kansas City. He was also very specific to not take the optional route, but to take the Chicago route. I didn’t know why He wanted me to do this, but I obeyed.
After I arrived at the Seattle train station, I asked a staff person where I could exchange my Canadian money. If you are crossing the border, be sure that you have exchanged your money in Canada before arriving in the U.S., at least if you’re coming into Seattle. The staff person told me that a certain bank would exchange my money and gave me directions for how to get there.
I quickly discovered that “it’s just a couple of blocks this way” was MUCH longer – especially when you are carrying luggage. One of the lessons I learned on this trip was to PACK LIGHT. I had packed light, but found out that I STILL had too much luggage! Pray and ask God to show you any area in your life where you’re carrying excess baggage:
- false guilt (condemnation, shame)
- negative thinking.
You don’t want anything hindering or stopping you from your great purpose.
I also realized as I walked a total of 10 blocks to and from the bank that my extra physical pounds were slowing me down. What is holding you back from achieving your great destiny?
” Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14, NIV
When I arrived at the recommended bank, I was told by the teller and the bank manager that they wouldn’t exchange my Canadian money, because I was not a current customer. Welcome to America! Their unwillingness to help me made me unwilling to bank with them in the future!
Nowhere to exchange my money: A Divine Set Up
This situation was not a setback, but a Divine setup for God to be glorified later. I only had $2 American dollars in my bag when I boarded the train for Chicago. My train for Kansas City wouldn’t depart until the next morning, so I had to stay overnight in Chicago.
Remember that when I left Kansas City for Canada, I hadn’t booked my two overnight hotel stays yet. God supernaturally provided this need for me before I started back home! A friend had booked a beautiful hotel room for me (like a suite!) in Chicago, but I still had to be able to get there somehow – bus, cab or subway – and I had to go back to the train station the next morning! The $2 American dollars would NOT be enough! I also needed money for a meal when I arrived in Chicago, as my own personal money had not transferred to my bank account in Kansas City yet!
As I sat in the train station, these thoughts were swirling around in my mind. The “angel” kept me company and encouraged me to not worry, but to have faith and trust God. I decided to go ahead and check one piece of luggage to go straight to Kansas City to lighten my load.
Another lesson I learned on this trip was to carry ONLY rollerboard luggage. The luggage piece I checked for Kansas City was a rollerboard. The black messenger bag I kept with me was great because it had compartments where I could put different items in, but I had to carry it on my shoulder. Very uncomfortable for long distance traveling. Take rollerboards if you travel long distance!
The Divine Appointment – Chicago Train
I loved the trains, but train stations are noisy, dirty, and crowded. I don’t like them. As I sat waiting on my train for Chicago, I people watched. I noticed a tall, slender black man dressed in business attire and had the immediate impression from God that he was from Africa. Impressions like these are part of the spiritual gifts. This is called a “word of knowledge.” You can take a test for the spiritual gifts online.
God had told me to take the train and specifically, to take the train to Chicago. I had the strong sense that my most important Divine Appointment was going to take place when I was going to Chicago or arrived in Chicago. I thought this man might be my Divine Appointment from God, and followed him when he went on the train.
I sat in the seat across from him and prayed that nobody else would sit beside either of us, so we would be able to freely talk. I began praying that God would put His words in my mouth and open the conversation for us to talk. I prayed for courage and boldness.
The man began small talk with me – was I going to stay in Chicago or go somewhere else, where was I from, etc. Then I found out he was from Nigeria and a smile crossed my face. “I thought you might be from Africa,” I said. I told him that I’d been praying for several years to go to Africa, and so had my husband Ray and our daughter Heather.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the spiritual gifts and if you will understand what I’m about to say next. But for people who have the gift of prophecy, sometimes you will begin to get prophetic impressions or insights from the Lord about a person or a situation. I felt things “cooking” inside my spirit, but continued to pray so I wouldn’t speak rashly. I wanted to make sure that what I shared would be the true word of the Lord. I thought maybe that I should just sleep on it, to make sure this was God’s will and His words for this man.
The Morning Stop
I slept pretty well on all the trains. I usually have insomnia, so I was surprised and happy that I slept good on the trains. I would hear the train whistle in my sleep. It felt surreal and was also comforting to me. The next morning, I woke up and discovered we were at one of the stops. I put in my contacts, and went downstairs to get a breath of fresh air. When I came downstairs, the “angel” was there and said hi to me, smiling. Another coincidence? You guess!
It was cool and invigorating outside. When I came back in, the man from Nigeria was standing in the little hallway where people board and deboard the train. No one else was standing there. Then I knew it was time. I needed to give this man the words God had given me for him.
As I shared scriptures and words of encouragement with him, he raised his hand and said, “Halleluah!” I found out he was a Christian. At one point, he had tears in his eyes from the encouraging words I was sharing with him. Afterward, I smiled and went upstairs to my seat.
Then I wrote the words out for him on my journal pages, tore them out, and gave them to him so he would have a copy. He read them with delight, took pictures of them, and then called (I assume his wife), speaking to her excitedly in his own language as he read the words from the paper to her.
If you’ve hung around my website very long or know me very well, you know that I am extremely transparent and “real.” So I want to share with you what happened next, so you can see how Satan operates so craftily and tries to thwart or stop God’s good plans in our lives.
After the train started moving again, I noticed the Nigerian man wasn’t speaking to me. I began to personalize this and grow uncomfortable. I wondered if he had just been pacifying me by listening to what I said downstairs, but if he really just thought I was crazy or something, giving a stranger “a word from the Lord.”
Please understand, this is not new territory for me. Actually I do things like this quite often, usually with very positive results as people need and want to be encouraged from God. Prophecy comes as naturally to me as breathing, because it’s my strongest spiritual gift. I’m often told that the words are extremely accurate. That is because it is not me – it’s a gift from God. He simply chooses to USE me as His willing vessel to minister to people’s hearts.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of you may be bristling right now and vowing to never visit my website again because of the controversial word “prophecy.” I do not apologize for this word or for the spiritual gifts. The gifts are precious and are from GOD! If you have seen the gift of prophecy abused, please do not despise prophecy because the Bible tells us not to do this in 1 Thessalonians 5:20. Just because there are some flakey people out there misusing or abusing the gifts does not mean that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater! Prophecy is a true spiritual gift. It is always to be used to glorify JESUS, not exalt a person. The testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy. -Revelations 19:10.)
What I did was prophesy to this man. But Satan couldn’t stand that God was at work and was trying to mess everything up. He began lying to me that this man didn’t want to talk to me anymore or have anything else to do with me, that he thought I was just nutts. It is never easy to step out in faith to obey God, including using your gifts – especially with a stranger! At this point, I began feeling upset and even mad at God!
This is what the inner dialogue with God sounded like:
“God, all I was doing was trying to share a word of encouragement with this man! I was just trying to obey YOU! And now here he is, on his laptop, not even SPEAKING to me and apparently offended somehow – or else he thinks I am just crazy! God, why did you have me do this if this was going to be the result?” I then began to focus on writing in my journal and not even looking at the Nigerian man. I was miffed at God (who was probably amused at my little tantrum). I let it go and forgot about it.
An Invitation to Nigeria
A little later, we had another stop. It seemed everyone on the train got off but me and this man. All of a sudden, he leaned over and began speaking to me! He wanted to talk to me. Maybe it was some sort of African cultural thing which had prevented him from speaking to me earlier when other people were around. He was a black Nigerian married man; I was a white American married woman.Perhaps he thought it would seem inappropriate if he was striking up a conversation with me on the train. Or maybe he just had things to do and was busy working on his laptop!
Do you see how Satan is such a LIAR?!!!
I was shocked that he was talking to me. I then asked him if what I’d shared with him earlier had encouraged him. He said yes, it had encouraged him, and he was smiling. He then showed me pictures of his wife and his two sons on his smart phone, and I showed him pictures of my family. He also gave me his business card and invited me to come visit in Nigeria – perhaps to even speak there one day!
Oh, I was so happy! I felt so relieved. He didn’t think I was just crazy; he had received what I had shared with him as from God!
I also felt a sense of peace, that I had done what God told me to do and obeyed Him, giving this servant of God His words of life. Tears filled my eyes. I knew with an assurance in my heart that I had fulfilled the important mission God had sent me on for this trip!
When God tells you to do something, it is so important to obey. God told me to go to Canada to speak. He told me to take the train coming back. He told me specifically to take the Chicago route. Then He gave me words for this business man from Nigeria.
When you obey God, great will be your reward!
Stay tuned now for just some pics from my Canada trip in my next several blogs!