This morning I shared with my business accountability/prayer partners that I’m feeling about as motivated as a snail this week.
We haven’t even had Christmas yet! We had to postpone our family Christmas dinner due to the Africa trip’s expenses. (Most expenses came out of Ray’s and my pockets.) You can still donate to this missions trip for us to help Pastors Patrick and Rose Mudenyo and the orphans there in Kenya by clicking here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Then when we came home from Kenya, Leah was sick with a sore throat and congestion, and then me and Ray got sick. Then Heather’s boyfriend Matt got the flu, followed by Heather and Ray getting sick, so we are postponing the family dinner and our gift exchange AGAIN until January 18. Enough with the sickness – GO, in Jesus’ name!
I usually get post-Christmas depression, after all the excitement of anticipating and opening presents and having to put away the Christmas tree. I really hate taking the Christmas decorations off the tree!
Christmas is such a happy time, my favorite time of year, because it is filled with the joy of the birth of my Savior, delicious food, and generous gift giving! It’s like the movie, The Red Balloon, about a boy and a happy red balloon. The days following Christmas is like the big red balloon deflating! All the fun is over now!
Now I’m a little depressed before our family Christmas time. I won’t spill my guts here, but It’s just different things going on in my life. I appreciate so much your prayers for your support of me!
But I digress. Now about Africa again. So many exciting, amazing things happened there that it’s hard to compress it into a couple of posts. Maybe in this one post, I can share some of the lessons I learned there, but just emphasize one main point. Jesus’ heart is always after the one sheep.
I spoke 4 times there at the Kenya Conference and Ray spoke twice. The first day after my first session speaking on Joseph the Dreamer part 1, Pastor Patrick wanted us to pray for the people after I finished speaking. Most of the church came forward for us to pray for their needs. They were hungry for God. It was powerful.
The 2nd day of the conference, I spoke on Joseph the dreamer part 2, Ray spoke on Ezekiel and the vision of the dry bones, which was very anointed, and then I shared my personal testimony. I was told by the associate pastor and my Swahili intepreter, pastor Pius, that my testimony was powerful.The Bible says that we defeat and triumph over Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and denying ourselves. (Revelation 12:11)
Where can you begin sharing your story with others? Your story is important. God wants to use your story to help and minister to others!
On this 2nd day I prophesied that the fire of God was coming to that church. We didn’t pray for anyone that day, but just spent time with the pastors that afternoon, getting to know them and the orphans more.
One of my favorite memories is of that afternoon coffee that pastor Rose and Patrick had prepared for Ray and me. We sat outside where a breeze blew to help with the African intense heat and talked to pastor Patrick about his years in ministry, miracles he had seen in Kenya (one blind man healed and another miracle healing), why sometimes miracles don’t happen (pastor Patrick believes that it’s often caused by unbelief), and how he and pastor Rose are training the orphans to do chores as part of the family to become responsible.
Another favorite memory I have is of visiting an older man who is part of the pastors’ church, Revival Praise and Worship, on Monday morning before we left Kenya. He and his family served Ray and me peanuts and Coke® and spoke encouraging words to us about our calling from God.
“When God tells you to go, just go,” he said. “Don’t say, ‘We don’t have the money to go. Just go!'” His simple, pure faith made me smile and I received what he said.
When we left, he said he and his wife didn’t want to leave us as their guests empty-handed, so they blessed us with a dozen eggs – a great gift in their culture. A gesture many of the women do in Kenya to show respect and/or affection when greeting or saying goodbye is to hug, kissing one another on the cheek.
Another custom I learned about from our new friend Apostle Catherine is that it is common when meeting someone’s children to lay your hand on his/her head and speak a blessing over them. There are also things not to do in Kenya, which you can learn here.
On the 3rd day of the conference, Ray spoke on The Good Samaritan, which the pastor told him they’d been studying for weeks at their church (Ray didn’t know this, but God did). Then I spoke on Deborah the Warrior and Jael from Judges 4, and after this is when the fire of God that I’d prophesied fell!
God had shown me five women in the audience who were “fire starter” intercessors. As pastor Rose led worship and as these intercessors prayed for God’s presence, the fire was going to be released into the house of God and God’s people touched in a great way. I instructed the intercessors to pray for all those who needed prayer. Most of the people in the audience surged forward for prayer and a couple of men on the church staff and the pastors held the crowd back to keep order. It was amazing seeing what God did! People were set free!
Pastor Patrick emailed me this week to tell me that the fire is still burning and even growing, and that people are being healed and delivered. God is continuing to use these 5 intercessors. Praise God!
While there in Kenya, I was able to pray and prophesy over each of these 5 intercessor women, whom I call “fire starters,” at the end of Sunday’s powerful service. Each one of them cried and I believe God ministered deeply to their hearts. I don’t think they or the audience knew God wanted to use them! It blessed me so much to see women stepping more fully into their purpose, using their gifts for God. That is my passion!
But there was one woman intercessor, whom I felt God sent me specifically to Africa to pray for and to release into more of her God-given purpose. Her name is Justine. This was my word for her.
“You are the woman I believe God sent me to Africa for. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out. But you don’t know how beautiful you really are and it’s because of the things you’ve been through in your life, how hurt you’ve been. But God says you are BEAUTIFUL. You’ve also been hidden for a long time. You have been in a place of serving others. God says now it’s your time to come out of hiding and to be put on display. God is about to use you in a very powerful way. You are the primary fire starter here. As you worship and as you pray, the fire is going to be released. It is a roaring, raging, holy fire that will consume everything in its path. God is going to use you in a great way in this house.” (Justine helped cook and to serve Ray’s and my food while we were there. I watched how humbly she did this and God began speaking to my heart about her.)
When you study stories of Jesus in the Bible, you see how often He ministered one on one to people. His heart was always after the one sheep.
Yes, Jesus had the great, powerful, limitless anointing to minister to crowds of people. He was also anointed to minister to groups of people, whether that was 5000 people, 100’s of people, His 12 disciples, His 3 closest friends, or the one disciple “whom Jesus loved.” But Jesus seemed to delight in seeking out the one who was alone:
- Andrew the fisherman
- The man by the pool of Bethesda
- The woman with the issue of blood
- The little girl Tabitha
- The woman of Nain, whose son died
- The woman at the well
- The woman caught in adultery
- The thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him
- Peter after Jesus’ resurrection
- Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb when she thought He was the gardener.
I believe Justine was my “one” in Africa, whom God wanted me to pray for and help release into her great destiny. She is a rare, brilliant diamond who has caught God’s eye and heart. A woman of fire.
Who is the “one” in your life who God wants you to reach out to, to minister to, to heal, to prophesy to, to help in some practical way, to pray for, to bless? Encourage her or him today.
So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! ~ Luke 15:3-7, NLT