You Helped Change the World

Sisters – Jana and her family have headed to the beach for some much needed family time after the Zimbabwe trip!  Pray for rest and refreshment for all of them. 

Jana has asked me to give you all a recap of  last night’s Zimbabwe Celebration event, welcoming four of the Women Getting Real team members back and sharing the harvest with the rest of  you who supported us stateside. The Zimbabwe trip would not have happened without you.

For myself, it was such a great reunion – so good to see the faces of the women and men who have been praying for us and encouraging us all the way to Zimbabwe and back.  As Jana shared last night, “One of the most powerful gifts to us as a team was your prayers.  It was tangible.  I could send a text calling to rally the saints and we could just feel the breath of God move among us, an ocean away.  When someone asks you to pray for a mission trip, never think that your prayers don’t matter.”

We as a Zim team want you to know that you were as much a part of this trip as we were, and we gave each person who came last night a note to remind them – and now you:

Because of God through you. . .

Our team:

  • Cried with 14 women at a Bible study
  • Challenged more than 600 students in 3 high school assemblies
  • Equipped 80+ women at a Women’s Retreat
  • Biblically trained 8 camp counselors
  • Encouraged the dreams and purity of 50+ middle school students
  • Played, prayed with, and blessed 75 children at the local orphanage
  • Washed the feet of 25 senior citizens
  • Loved on 40 + handicapped children
  • Shared testimonies with 20 women at the Women’s Tea
  • Prayed for healing at the hospital
  • Renewed and encouraged 4 ministry leaders
  • Worshiped in song and dance
  • Invested in many one on one relationships

Thank you for being part of this journey.

More God stories from Zim coming this week….

Looking For God In Zimbabwe

Audacious title isn’t it?  But there is a reason for it. For some of us on the team, the notion of hearing from God was about as foreign as the soil we were on. It was a great joy to share and coach these folks on the closeness of God that is available to us all.  But for others of us, especially those of us on the WGR team, we had to tune our ears to hear God in such radically different surroundings. On home turf, we three, Beth, Laura and myself had grown accustomed to particular ways that God conversed with us. With all that stripped away, we each had to strip away notions and familiarities, even comfort levels to regain our intimacy with Him.

The nature was different. Instead of seeing God in gentle deer in mountainous display, we were beholding elephants in dry, desolate lands. Instead of the usual prayers for God to surprise and supply our needs we faced the complete and utter devastation of poverty and governmental corruption. Were these people praying for God’s provision? Was this His answer? Would He answer us in the middle of such great need? This whole trip, in lots of ways I will explain in coming blogs, caused me to question my compass.

If I prayed it once, I prayed it a thousand times. “Lord I feel like I’m flying blind.”  That is how it felt much of the time I was teaching, counseling, interceding.  They had so much heartbreaking need, I had so little understanding of what to offer. But God kept whispering, “I’ve got you. Just keep going.”

Then the kisses began to fall. He began to speak to us in our language, 6000 miles away from home. For me it was hearts and butterflies. Lots of butteflies, even white ones. For Laura it was rainbows. And Beth, well she has a whole new story to tell about rain and spiritual downpours. All these little love notes were out of season and unusual occurrences for the region. But not at all unusual for Our God who knew how very much we each needed to hear from Him,  to be reassured of His presence.  You know it sounds funny, but God lives in Africa too.

What you may not know is, He’s also quite the show-off for out of town guests. Seriously, it is one thing to hear from God when life is going pretty well. It is a whole other matter when you are way out of your comfort zone in every way. I am so glad we have the “God who speaks and He lives.” I am so glad He came looking for us.

Zim Prayer: June 7 – June 11

Here’s what’s going on with the Zim team this week:

Monday, June 7

Sonoia Primary School

Tara speaks

“You are Special” skit

Fun songs

Chengatenai (Nursing Home)

Team sings and visits

Laura and Randy share testimonies

Good Shepherd Orphanage

Team share devotionals with the kids –

Alex and Spencer – younger boys 5-14

Randy and Tyler – older boys 15-20

Anna and Tara – girls 4-10

Jana, Beth, and Salem – girls 11-15

Lara and Laura – girls 16-23

Wednesday, June 9

Team leaves early for the Harare market

Thursday, June 10

Team flys out towards Knoxville, 12:30 PM (Zim time)

Friday, June 11

Team arrives home at 6:38 PM (Knox time)

Zim Prayer: May 31 – June 6

Okay, prayer warriors!  Here are the Zim highlights for this week.

Monday May 31 – Thursday, June 3

The team will be on a houseboat in Kariba.  This will be their down time for fun, seeing wild life, and also processing what the Lord has been doing.

Friday, June 4

Team returns to Chinhoyi Friday morning

Chinhoyi Youth Meeting (Friday night)

Jana speaks

Team does skit

Spencer and Lara share testimonies

Saturday, June 5

Good Shepherd Orphanage – time with kids, hand out letters, pictures taken

Tara and Anna – leading a craft

Salem and Beth – playing games with the younger kids

Sunday, June 6

Chinhoyi High School

Tyler speaking

Team does skit

Alex and Randy share testimonies

Lomgundi College

Team shares cardboard testimonies

Jana speaks

Zim Prayer: May 24 – May 30

Here are some of the highlights to be praying for the Zim team over this power-packed week:

Monday, May 24 – Eiffel Flats

Tyler will be speaking and Anna will be sharing her testimony

Tuesday, May 25 – Women’s Bible Study

Jana will be speaking

Laura and Beth will be sharing their testimonies

Wednesday, May 26 or Thursday May 27

Kadoma Boarding School for kids with disabilities (this will depend on whether the cholera outbreak is over)

Laura will be leading fun kid songs

Friday, May 28

Camp activities, Construction at Lasting Impressions

Saturday, May 29

The team travels to Karoi

Jana speaks at Women’s conference

Sunday, May 30

Dutch Reformed Church

John speaks

Team does a skit

Songs by Jana or Laura

Afternoon tea; Sue speaks

Take a Breath, by Guest Blogger, Beth Hungerford

The Lord gave me a really cool spiritual picture.  Jana was talking to me about sin issues and how when we have a break-through that it’s like God is bringing us up for air and letting us take a breath before we have to go back down and keep working through the issue.  In other words, we are not done; He’s just giving us a breath and a sense of making progress.

Here is the picture He gave me.  We were playing water polo during swim practice several summers ago.  Brittany, my very fun and extremely competitive coach, was on the other team.  I was having a great game and had scored 2 or 3 times practically unguarded.  Brittany was getting frustrated that no one was defending me so she switched from offense to defense.  The next time I got the ball she wrapped her arms around me from behind so tightly and completely that I couldn’t move and plunged me under the water in hopes that I would let go of the ball.  After a few moments she brought me back up said, “Take a breath,” and immediately dunked me right back under.  This is such a strong picture for me of what Jana was talking about.

As I thought about it more the Lord clarified it a little making a distinction.  Brittany was taking me under trying to get me to give up and stop fighting whereas the Lord’s goal is for us to be free and have a deeper and closer walk with Him.  He lets us struggle until we are ready to give up and then brings us up for air to let us catch our breath and says, “Ok you ready? You are stronger now and you can hold your breath longer so this time we are going in deeper and it’s going to be even more amazing.”

This goes for more than just sin issues.  I need to remember this the next time I find myself having to deal with something I thought I had already worked through.  We weren’t done, He was just giving me a breath.

Will You Help Us Change the World?

Isn’t that an audacious question? It sounds like, uhm, let me think — oh yes, it sounds like Jesus. He is the One who took a handful of scarred and frail believers and changed the course of history.  Their encounter with the Living Messiah, their passion to tell their story about Him, changed the world, one person at a time.

That is what we are up to at Women Getting Real. Our desire is to rescue people from the heartache, lies and defeat in their lives and lead them into the presence of the Loving God where He can restore, renew and heal. Are we there yet ourselves? Nope. We are all in process, on the journey, ever seeking His face. But this one thing we know and bank our lives on: the same God who is healing us, will heal others too.

We believe that the same tender love, the same Living God who has radically altered our lives, altogether changed our existence not only in the hereafter but also with His overwhelming presence in our daily lives, is able and willing to do that for others too.  And we want to tell our stories, now and later, near and far, home and abroad.

Will you help us with this Holy Search and Rescue Mission?

There are four of us going to Zimbabwe in May. I am going to teach retreats and teens. Two other “dream team” members of WGR are going, Beth Hungerford and Laura Jones.  They are invaluable leaders in the workings of Unhindered events, and behind the scenes work of the ministry. When they go to Zimbabwe they will be helping with the youth camps and orphanage there. The final representative from WGR is our youngest team member, Salem, my 12 year old daughter. She is a bundle of gifting: child magnet, willing builder and adventurer extraordinaire.  God was so clear to us all that she was to make this trip. So we are quite eager to see all that God will reveal and deposit in her.

It is not so much what we offer, but that we have all been clearly, and almost humorously, Called. And we must answer. We are joining a larger team going with John Dee and Ebenezer Ministries and will be gone for three weeks. Does this sound crazy to you?  It still does to me. But isn’t that just like God? Nothing is impossible for Him.

So we are extending an invitation to you to link arms with us.  Will you pray for us?  Salem said it best. When I was helping her with her donor letters, I asked her what she wanted to put under her “prayer requests.”  She said,  “Preparation and faith.” I love that. That is our first step. Preparation and Faith. Our second step is to pray in the funds to go. We know that God has all the money we need. And He has given me such a verse:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9: 8-11

We stand on His promises to provide through many hands.. Will you  link arms with us financially too? Maybe you can’t go, but you can help send us.  You are going to Zimbabwe “through us”  as we all go through the power of Christ.

So if you want to join the Change the World adventure with us, click here.  This is will give you all the info you need to be part of this God work.

“Lord rend the heavens and come down, Seek the lost and heal the lame, Father bring glory to your name.”

Who’s Got Your Back? By Guest Blogger, Beth Hungerford

Jana is preparing for a marriage retreat. But she will be back on Monday with a special blog about Wrinkle Release!! Some of Jana’s recent posts are available here.

Enjoy this great story from Beth.

I was on a walk with the Lord when I started seeing snails.  Every few steps I was passing a little snail on the ground. I didn’t really think anything of it until I was almost to the end of the greenway and there was a much bigger snail on the ground.  It caught my attention because the shell was spotted just like the back of those giant slugs you see every now and then.

The last time I was out at the rock when I had stopped fighting and was only pulling on the really loose rocks, I had accidently grabbed one of those huge slugs thinking it was a piece of the rock because it was underneath it.  I don’t get grossed out very easily but that did it for me.

At the time I had heard God telling me to pay attention but I didn’t know what a slug had to do with anything and I had pretty much forgotten about it until I saw this snail.  I was looking at it and basically commenting to the Lord about how it looks just like that slug and He said, “Except that it carries that big heavy shell with it everywhere it goes. Wouldn’t it be easier if it didn’t have one like the slug?”

I said “Yeah but the shell is how it protects itself,” and the Lord responded, “Yes, but the slug was protected too…it  just has to rely on an outside source of protection and was using the rock.”

WOW…I’ve been thinking a lot about that and He’s showing me that’s why I’m fighting so much.  I think I’m protecting myself, but really I’m just making it harder and heavier than it needs to be.