Pioneering

For the past year and a half, my friend and I have been pioneering a ministry here in our city.  We go to places that are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking, and try to make connections with the women who work there.  It has been a long, sometimes grueling process of much prayer, research, networking, trying to grasp the issue so that we can create a strategy to help and bring Jesus to them.
Last week, two of my friends and I took our kids (eleven of them in total!) to one of these places where there were some friendly Thai women who seemed open to getting to know us more.  We gathered on Tuesday morning and listened to a worship song with the kids, then we prayed and asked God how He would like us to bless our new friends.
I took notes on my phone and I chuckled through some of them.  One of the little boys got a picture of Minecraft while he was listening to God, and his mom wisely told him he should maybe pray into that a little more and ask God what it means.
Almost all the kids got a word or picture from the Lord, and by the time we went around the circle, we could see that God was saying something to us about a birthday.  My friend had just had two dreams that week about eating birthday cake, and she felt God telling her to take a birthday gift along on our visit.
We loaded up in our three minivans and drove to Costco.  I picked out a huge cake that said “Happy Birthday!” and we drove across town, praying that we heard right about what we were supposed to do.
On the way, Ellie said, “Mom, I saw a picture when we were praying.”  Ellie was in and out of our prayer time earlier, so I hadn’t even asked her if she had heard anything from the Lord.  She is just 4, and I only told her that we were going to visit a friend.  She tends to carry the weight of the world on her little shoulders anyway, so I’m trying to keep her life carefree as long as I can.
I asked what this picture was that she saw when we were praying, and she said, “Mom, I saw these ladies standing in a row next to God and Jesus and they were all blind.  Then they looked up and saw beautiful golden heaven that was sparkling, and they saw angels. The angels said, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life!’ and then the ladies said it back to the angels and God looked over at them and they could see perfectly!”  One of the other kids in the car with us told Ellie she should share it with the women she was about to meet, but Ellie wasn’t interested.  She claimed she was much too shy for that.
Well, we descended upon this massage parlor, all 3 mamas and 11 kids armed with a giant birthday cake, flowers, paintings and a little gift bag with some earrings from Kairos Traders.  We were met at the door by Miss Jan (not her real name) who ushered us into a tiny room like a closet where we were pretty much stacked on top of one another.  “Who’s having a birthday?” my friend asked.  And Miss Jan said, “Me! My birthday was yesterday! How did you know?” Her eyes grew wide when we put the cake on the table.  We explained to her that God cared for her enough to tell us it was her birthday, and she kept pointing to her arm saying, “Goosebumps!”  The children shrieked unabashedly and showered her with hugs.  She kept telling us how lucky we were to catch her, since she is the owner of the massage parlor and was only there for a few  minutes that morning to check on things.
We had a grand time, singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles and then cutting the cake and passing it around to everyone while we got to know each other a little.  Before we left, the kids took turns laying hands on her and praying for her.  At one point, my friend looked up and said, “I feel like God wants me to tell you, ‘Goodness and mercy shall follow you.”  My little girl Ellie leapt up off the bed she was sitting on and said, “God told me that same thing!”  And she told Miss Jan the whole thing in a loud, clear voice while Miss Jan looked both astonished and teary.
As we drove home, Ellie kept marveling over the fact that even though Miss Jan does not know God, He knows her very well and He wants her to get to know Him.  We are praying for her every day, and hoping to start a Bible study with her and her friends so that they can get to know the Jesus who loves and cares for them.

Sorry I’ve been busy

My number one rule of blogging is to never start a blog post with: “Sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile; I’ve been soooo busy.”

My number one rule of conversation is to never say, “I’ve been soooo busy lately.”  Sometimes I dip into dark water and talk about my life being full, though.

My number one rule of parenting is to never be in a hurry.

I don’t know if these are actually my number one rules of anything, but they are high priorities.  It’s good for me to write them down, so as to remind myself.

Last week Ellie and I were walking outside, and she held my hand and said, “Why does everyone always need you?”  She is quite intuitive, but I wasn’t sure what she meant so I asked for an example.  She launched into a story about people knocking on our door a lot and someone asking for cupcake pans.

It made me realize it has been awhile since I’ve done a “yes week” where I say yes to my kids and no to everything else.  This time it was harder than I anticipated, and today I feel a little restless.  I feel middle-aged too, because it feels like a discipline to play games on the floor, to hang out at the pool for hours without accomplishing any work on the side.

Monday morning I said they could pick a fun thing to do and Ellie chose Trader Joe’s.  She got her own miniature cart, she looked for the stuffed giraffe hidden in the store so she could claim her lollipop, and she sampled the peach jam and watermelon juice.  I even let her pick out a treat and she chose various flavors of extra creamy yogurt.

Last night we went to a baseball game with friends.  We didn’t last through very many innings, since baseball is not an overly exciting sport to watch unless you are “very American,” as my husband says.

I’m not here for anything important, just saying hello.

Hj spends his free evenings recording his Dutch radio show or working for Kairos Traders online.  He has a good excuse for not showing up here more often.

Lisa Bevere came and shared with the ladies of our campus the other day.  She talked a lot about the importance of writing down what God is saying and doing, recording our visions and dreams and then working towards them.  When she was young and wished for a mentor, she wrote down everything she wished a mentor would say to her.  She wrote down how she wished a spiritual mother would treat her, and challenge her.  Then she took the things she had written, found a young girl and applied all the things she had written.  She called it living backwards or something like that.

I believe in theory in the importance of writing things down, but actually making the time and space to do it requires some steadfastness.

Steadfastness is not my natural bent, but this year has been all about learning to do things I’m not naturally good at.  Watch me grow!