In yesterday’s post, I wrote about me speaking at the conference in Kenya, Africa.
Traveling to Africa was my BIG DREAM COME TRUE, but the reality wasn’t like a dream.
Sometimes your dream, when it is fulfilled, won’t look the way you imagined.
It was extremely difficult for me emotionally, physically and spiritually in the months preceding my trip and in actually trying to get there to Kenya, due to the financial stress of the trip, the spiritual warfare that came against me, and the problems I encountered on the planes getting to Africa.
Our new friend Apostle Catherine (founder of Worship and Restoration Ministries, Nairobi, Kenya) told Ray when he arrived in Nairobi before me (we were on different flights) and discovered my plane was delayed and that I would be unexpectedly staying overnight in Turkey: “God wants Beth to come to Africa, but Satan does not. He is trying to stop her.”
Did you know that when God says something, the devil can try to hinder or delay you, but he can’t stop you because God said it and it is already done?! Through Christ you are unstoppable!
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55:11, NIV
Once a week our family attends a small group home church, where we read the Bible, worship, pray for each other, and fellowship with other believers. I testified last night about our missions trip to Kenya.
I also shared that as we get closer to fulfilling God’s great purpose for our lives, we’ll encounter greater resistance from Satan and others. Surprisingly, the most intense opposition may come from your family and your closest friends. You’re in good company then. Jesus’ own mother and brothers thought he was crazy as a loon. (Mark 3:20-21, NIV)
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” ~ Mark 3:20-21, NIV
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. ~ 1 Peter 4:12-14, NIV
Eh, rejoicing might be a little strong of a word. I confess I wasn’t always rejoicing throughout this whole ordeal! Here’s a few things I went through:
My plane from Kansas City, MO to Chicago was delayed and I had to RUN for my international flight and nearly missed it. (Please note I’m in no runner’s body condition!)
In Chicago, as I was hurrying around a corner at the airport to get on my international flight, 2 staff people came out of nowhere. They hadn’t seen my plane tickets and didn’t know who I was. They both said to me, “Go to this gate (the no.) now and RUN!” I believe they were angels directing my path! I was one of the last people to board the plane. We took off very quickly after I boarded.
We had an emergency landing in Iceland. My international plane was stuck on the tarmac for 2 hours after a passenger had a heart attack on the plane.
Yes, Iceland – the one with mountains of ice and snow. (Yes, I know it’s much greener than Greenland, but I only saw the ice on the mountain and runway part). I thought, “What the heck am I doing in Iceland? I’m supposed to be in Africa!” All I could do was pray.
The airlines staff said they had no idea why we were sitting there on the runway and acted as if they didn’t care or that I would miss my flight to Nairobi when I finally arrived in Turkey. My conclusion is that the reason I was on that plane was to intercede for the passenger having a heart attack. I did and hope he or she is okay.
Because of this 2-hour delay, I did miss my flight to Nairobi, Kenya, and had to stay overnight at the airport in Turkey (I didn’t get a hotel room because Ray didn’t want me leaving the Turkey airport as he thought it’d be too dangerous there.). My flight from Turkey to Nairobi wouldn’t leave until the next evening.
The staff at the Turkey airport weren’t helpful at all when I arrived late trying to get to my flight (which had left), gave vague directions, and pretended at times to not understand my English when they clearly did. Meanwhile, Ray had already landed in Nairobi. He, our friend Pastor Felix, and Apostle Catherine began to pray for me. I was already being covered in prayer by family and my team of intercessors back home.
Turkey is the busiest airport I’ve ever been to. Turkey is a hub for many flights coming in and going out all over the world. It was chaos. They have lots of planes departing and arriving, but have limited gates. You find your gate number on these boards, but they don’t list the gate number until a couple of hours before the departure so you have to wait and keep watching the boards to see what your gate number is.
A model-beautiful girl from Tanzania showed me how to read the boards and where to go to my gate – another divine appointment!
The airport staff were openly hostile to me because I was American. This is the first time I’ve ever encountered prejudice being an American, so it took me aback. They would ignore me when I came to the counter, ask if I was American, and then treat me rudely. This opened my eyes to the way the rest of the world may view us. How can we be better representatives as Americans and Christians to the world?
Women are viewed as property there. Men looked at me like I was a piece of meat. I was also concerned about being alone in the middle of the night there and being robbed so I kept my backpack and rollerboard close to me at all times and stayed near a crowd of people by the main stores. Turkey was the only place I really felt endangered on this trip. My biggest concern was not being able to get out of Turkey to Africa.
Interestingly, I noticed that a woman with combat boots stayed by me all night. She never spoke to me, but just stayed close to me wherever I went. I felt safe and at peace with her there. I believe she was an angel whom God stationed to be with me for protection! As my friend Heather Peterson said, I believe that I’ve traveled with an angel before. 🙂
Our smart phones didn’t work in Turkey or Africa, so I couldn’t call or text Ray or our daughters Heather or Leah. I was able to access Facebook briefly in Turkey but not long enough to tell Ray what was going on.
What can you do after missing an international flight? After I cried over missing my plane to Nairobi, to cheer myself up, I bought baklava, a wonderful, oh-so-sweet pastry, and coffee. It helped. 🙂
I also bought some yummy Turkish delight for Pastor Patrick’s and Rose’s orphans in Turkey. One of my favorite memories from the trip to Kenya is of Pastor Rose opening the boxes of candy for the orphans. They’d never tried it before and were eager to taste it.
I also brought them chocolate Tootsie Rolls, which they really enjoyed. (I want to do so much more to help the orphans and pray God enables us to! But I remember Matthew 25:40, NIV, “Whatever you have done for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done for Me.”)
For dinner in Turkey, I ate a delicious meal of a chicken kabob with rice and veggies. The red sauce by the grilled green pepper is a spicy pepper sauce…it was too hot for me, but Ray’s Cajun taste buds would’ve loved it. I felt for him having to eat fish and chips in London!
The trial for me in Kenya was the heat and ‘skeeters.. Africa is JUST. SO. HOT. The pesky mosquitoes bite the heck out of you for fun. (We’re still on anti-malaria meds as a precaution!) As Ray joked, Turkish people may not like Americans, but the Africa mosquitoes do.
Then there’s the devils. Oh yea, they are real. If you don’t believe me, go to Africa. Demons manifested in people in Sunday’s service and tried to physically attack me. Remember that as believers, we have power and authority over demons through Christ. Luke 9:1. (Demons exist in America, too, but they just more cleverly hide because Americans don’t believe in them. Read C. S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters.)
This was not an American-girl-on-a-paradise-vacation trip.
This was real missions work training. I’m now officially broken into missions work!
For Ray, this was more of a luxury trip. He didn’t have the problems with his planes that I did. When he arrived in Nairobi, he was treated to nice dinners. He happily networked with people for work and ministry. He didn’t mind the heat in Kenya because he loves warm, tropical weather.
On the way home to the U.S., he requested to be bumped to first class seating on the plane and received it, enjoying the fully reclining seat and drinking a fine beverage of his choice. I don’t mind any of this for Ray; he’s worked so hard this year and deserved every bit of this and more!!! I prayed God would bless him on this trip and was happy for him.
But I was exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually after the conference. For me, the trip was hell. It was God refining me and teaching me to trust in Him more deeply. And yet God did such amazing, powerful things at this conference.
One of my favorite memories is of the people dancing during Pastor Rose and the worship team’s powerful worship and praise. Pastor Rose’s and the worship team’s worship is awesome. The people are full of joy!
I went through so much to get to Kenya because Satan didn’t want me there. Remember when you step out to obey God and do what He wants you to do, Satan is going to fight you and will use whatever means he can to block you, stop you, frustrate or anger you, make you afraid, stress you out, distract you, drain you physically, and/or overwhelm you. But God is greater, amen!
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8, NIV
During the conference on the 3rd day, the fire of God fell on Sunday’s service and yesterday, pastor Patrick emailed me to tell me the fire is still burning and that people are being healed and delivered. I am in awe and humbled that God would use me, a woman with a very black past, to go speak to and encourage His people in Africa.
Today pastor Patrick wrote this testimonial about me speaking there:
“Beth Jones is one of the best speakers we have ever had. She lit the fire here during the women’s conference here in Kenya, Africa. She spoke with boldness and with much anointing that have led to total life changing to the women. She empowered the women with the message that changed everything in the lives of the women here.The fire is still burning. How we wish that she comes back soon because she was what our hearts required for these end times. May God bless Beth and continue to use her in these last days to empower women around the world.”
I’m honored and so grateful to God for all He did there!
How does God want to use you? Are you willing? Will you go where He wants to send you – your family member, a neighbor, a co-worker, a boss, across the world? Are you willing to leave your comfort zone and step out of the boat like Peter did in faith? (Matthew 14:29)
Remember that no matter what you have done in your past (or today), God will forgive you if you come to Him humbly and ask Him. The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin. God wants to use you in an extraordinary way for His glory now! Ask Him to use you today. Tell Him, “Here I am! Send me!” And He will!
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” ~ Isaiah 6:6-8, NIV