San Francisco Mission Trip 7/17 ~ “Let there be light”

Devil Sticks

These would be important on Friday…

Wednesday was a brand new day to let Christ shine through acts of caring and love.  First order of business was to have breakfast; then gather for instructions, pray and worship, and move out with hearts filled with the light of Christ.  During breakfast I watched one of my roommates talk with a young man staying at the hotel for business purposes.  She expressed true interest in his circumstances, obligations, and family.  Conversation became a time of listening to the tug of war between spiritual traditions his family enjoyed and his desire for more of the relational life he knew was possible with God.  She blessed him with wisdom as he walked the fine line of pursuing God with the consequences that could occur.

During the day we visited a few apartment complex’ bringing glitter tattoos, words of appreciation and encouragement to children in these areas.  Seeing the children blossom as we placed glitter on their arms and legs; and spoke accepting, encouraging words to their spirits was priceless.  As others came to observe they became recipients of free water, focused listening ears, and hearts interested in their life’s story.  These areas see violence routinely, unknown cars bring suspicion, windows stay covered up.  I saw so many signs of hope during those visits.  Several yards had greenery lovingly cared for, some had fake flowers stuck in the dirt; anything to bring color and life to a dreary landscape.  There were many stories shared by other team members of the personal encounters, life struggles and success’ they heard, tragic losses memorialized on walls, etc.  We truly operated under an open heaven.  The weather was perfect, if danger lurked it was kept at a distance.  During conversation later I was reminded of the relationships built in the past by our leader which paved the way for our acceptance in the projects.  It felt very safe and easy to accomplish, but foundations had been built.  Light had gone before us to pave the way.

The evening brought a trip to Golden Gate Park.  The team I was with stayed in the park to deliver sandwiches, water, dog and cat food, clothing, hygiene supplies, etc. to the homeless who make the Park their home.  We visited two groups; one group seemed older than the other; everyone needs family of some sort.  It was cold and damp that night.  They appreciated the gloves, socks, etc., those items broke the ice for conversations.  There were several dogs and cats in one of the groups.  One little kitten was in a harness made of yarn, another older cat had a harness of stretchy cording that allowed more movement.  The dogs and cats all seemed peaceful in their own spaces.  After handing out items, our gift to them was listening with no agenda.  One of my roommates sat on the ground and spent 45 minutes talking to an older gentleman, I stayed close to our leader to get some tips on casual interactions.  This night we heard of family crisis’, traveling from one state to another, plans for the future, basic likes and hobbies that don’t seem to disappear when the circumstances of life change.  I spent about 20 minutes with a young man asking him to demonstrate his talents with the fire or devil sticks that he had.  These were new to me!  He made the movements and transitions from one stick to another, twirling, flying, bouncing, etc. seem flawless and oh so easy.   Of course they were not lit, but he did get enjoyment from showing his skills.  The part I found difficult was listening to a puppy cry and yelp as it’s owner forced control over it’s movements.  My heart was associating the puppy’s cries for freedom to the cries of all hearts for release from aggressive bondage.  My prayer is that the light of God we carried was loosing some of those bonds, whether we saw it or not.

Why Welton Academy means so much to me…

Wedding Ring

The short version of my growth could be categorized as Kingdom, then Love, then Better Covenant Theology.  (The long version is below if you wish to read it…).

Some of my aha moments came through history I had not heard before and it’s relevance to scripture.  Learning about the educational side of theology and the different ways of reading scripture was insightful.  Digging into the Mosaic Covenant time frame of how it came about in Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus all together gave a perspective I had not seen before.  Seeing the importance of Matthew 1:1 to the New Covenant as Genesis 1:1 is to the introduction of God’s plan for man.  Hebrews came alive.  Through all this God’s heart for people became easier for me to understand. Rather than just tossing out the hard scriptures about anger, wrath, violence; they are addressed and given a place in the history of God’s covenants.

My own history with God has come through many phases that led me to Welton Academy.  I believe more are in front of me, my life will continue to grow in God.  Each phase has been introduced by branches of the tree of life, parts of the body of Christ.  As an adult I ‘got’ the part of bringing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven, the Kingdom at hand.  Then I had to learn how to do it with love, which I am still learning. Now the BCT gives Love a great big boost in my Kingdom thinking, and giving Kingdom a great big boost in my Love thinking.

When I was young, listening to my mother read Bible stories from a huge book with pictures gave me a sense of connection to her.  A neighboring church that focused on family gave me the opportunity to attend a Father/Daughter lunchbox picnic as my own father worked in another state.

Entering that hormonal time of transition in Junior High I found connection with peers and a place to help others in a local church.  At that church a speaker came to explain about Methuselah.  God was going to honor this man who lived the longest on earth by returning that year…1969.  I came to Christ out of a fear of hell and possibly missing my opportunity.  Then I heard my Sunday School teacher say that a denomination other than ours was going to hell.  I liked a boy from that group and all I heard was hate in the teacher’s voice, so I quit attending.

My future husband’s family were devoted church attenders, so we connected with a local church to have a family wedding.  After having our first child baptized at my husband’s family church I decided to continue connecting with God and others where we had been married.  I moved right into young mother’s groups, Sunday Service helping, etc.  A guest speaker came in to teach something I can’t remember, but that day my understanding of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit got an upgrade.

My phases quickly grew to include studying cults, prayer ministry, deliverance, prophesy, healing, evangelism to the unchurched through dream interpretation and homeless outreaches. In the middle of a leadership opportunity I clearly understood a message through the Word from 1 Corinthians 13:1 If I have not love I sound like a clanging cymbal.  This message came through a dream where it was delivered in love with such grace that I knew it was from God.

My next phase was attending churches that were teaching our Father’s Love.  I was so accepted and cared for that relationships developed afresh and healing took place inside of my own heart.  There were issues buried so deep I was taken by surprise when they surfaced.  I spent many years pursuing healing and then began to step out again in various ways.

Now I have embraced Welton Academy which has provided the under girding of Scripture with a historical, contextual, hermeneutic.  I had learned about this concept of reader relevance in my early adult Sunday School Classes.  It was time to look at it again.  Every circumstance in my growing life has been improved upon by God.  He truly makes all things good.  Where I saw hurt, He gave healing opportunities.  Forgiveness for myself and others has grown and is becoming a greater part of my life.  All my encounters with church beliefs and efforts to help me in my life have proven beneficial.  Selah (pause and think about it).

San Francisco Mission Trip – 7/19/13 ~ For Nothing is impossible with God…

Dancing for joy!

Dancing for joy!

Time flies!  It’s been a year now since I started to write about the last day of the Mission Trip.  By now the memories have faded, some of the ‘edginess’ of the day has worn off.  How thankful I am that many things lovingly written in heavenly places record and remember the glory given to God that day.

I remember visiting Golden Gate Park in the afternoon, the sun was bright and the area we had wanted to visit was cordoned off for event preparation.  We went to an entrance gate area and again lent listening ears to the stories each person had of their life’s ambitions, encounters, broken dreams, and more.  One young man that I spent time with talked way over my understanding about math theory, music composition, and more.  More clothing and food items were handed out, some people accepted blessings.  I was impressed by the hope and possibilities God had placed in each person’s life.  I was beginning to see with new eyes; focusing on the hope, healing, and strength already deposited in each one ready to be unwrapped and recognized.  Back to the young math whiz; at the end of the conversation he actually revealed that he remembered me from the night that he showed me his devil/fire sticks.  I had not recognized him!

The last evening of the Mission Trip was again street ministry around the tenderloin and then on to bless the ‘ladies of the night’.  The weather became colder and breezy, much harder to stay comfortable in the surroundings.

The streets were busy around the tenderloin, lots of life and activity.  Men from a foreign country banded together by their birthplace tried to provide camaraderie, safety, and shared food expenses with each other.  They appreciated the warmth of extra clothes, food and drinks to give their bodies extra energy against the cold nights.  There were tears for the prayers given for the reuniting of their families, protection of their possessions, job opportunities etc.  One of our team blessed a couple and their infant child in a buggy, also praying for the safe birth of the yet to be born child in the mothers womb.  There was also a measure of healing for the mother as she had numerous physical ailments from being hit by a car in the past.  It was great to see improvement for her as God touched and soothed away the pain and limited movement in back, shoulders and hips.  (I think those were the main points.)  The husband was also blessed with encouragement and strength to be the father that God designed him to be.  That was so touching!  A team member gave  her own sweater to a woman in need of some extra clothing.  We wished we could have given her a pair of pants also; but I’m sure God multiplied the warmth of the generous gesture many times over.  The best of the street walking was yet to come.

Our leader well known in the area for the many trips and outreaches, was excited to see an old friend, an area minister who had just exited a bus right next to us.  He hobbled on a cane and they spoke of old times.  The area minister shared his disability with us; he had survived an attack, being shot three times at point blank range.  One of the bullets had lodged in his ankle I believe (it’s been awhile!).  The leader asked if a couple of us could pray for his healing…of course!  My partner had prayed for several weeks that he would see healing during the mission trip, and God blessed his requests!  I got to share in the blessings.  We spent awhile praying for the area minister, then said our goodbyes and continued around the block.  Next a couple of us ministered to different people at the same time.  I spent time blessing a woman with her true identity in God; there was a real spirit to spirit connection that I felt.  She was massively encouraged, uplifted and tears again were shed.  As we made our way back to the meeting point, the area minister danced by like Fred Astaire, using his cane like a prop!  He had passed us, but came running back so excited about the ability to move and even run because of what God had just done!  We were amazed!  So blessed to see God’s fruit in his life!

Time to end the night, bless the ‘ladies of the night’!  It was really cold and breezy now.  We huddled in masses around the corner from our intended blessings, not wanting to overwhelm or interrupt their business.  They would not have felt loved and appreciated that way!  That part of the evening seemed very slow for me and different from the scene I had just left.  Most of us got the chance to bless with a rose and words of encouragement.  On the opposite corner, just as we were turning to leave the area I had an encounter.

A woman and her companion walked around me as I turned the corner and stopped right in front of me.  The woman insisted that she knew me, stated a name that I didn’t know; and trying to be agreeable I declined the identity.  That never fazed her.  She seemed sedate, assured, no sense of doubt or confusion when I denied her claim.  She and her companion were the most composed, alert, and undeniably truthful people I encountered during the week.  I looked for any sense of falsehood in her eyes, etc. and found none.  Her companion paid no attention to our conversation, just stood alert to any activity on the street in an almost regal way.  I was out of my comfort zone, cold, and just wanted to get back to the hotel!  Our group left, the couple seemed to have left no impression on anyone else in our group, and I don’t remember seeing the couple leave.  When I got back home after the trip I looked up the name they gave, and it was a woman getting ready to retire from ministry in San Francisco.  She had started a ministry to give respect and honor to the homeless who died on the streets.  She made sure that they were given a memorial service, and that friends would be able to mourn their passing.

I still don’t know what to do about that encounter, if anything at all, I just know that the San Francisco Mission Trip for Kingdom Training School of Supernatural left an impression on my life forever!

San Francisco Mission Trip 7/18/2013 ~ Connections

Which connection will prove beneficial?  Maybe all of them!

Which connection will prove beneficial?         Maybe all of them!

Creating relationships seemed to be the theme for this day.  The weather was beautiful, the day was perfect!

I went with a small group to spend some time at the Homeless Church Ministry run by Evan and April Prosser.  Although we were going with the intent to be hands and feet for their property needs we actually participated in a service Evan hosted.  Another group from out of town was there before us attending to those needs.  Another blessing for us this day!  We were blessed to hear of two miracles God had done in the secret places.  One was April suddenly (a week before our visit) being able to function without the oxygen tank she had lived with for such a long, long time!  The other was hearing of the new creation God had made during the Bible Study just before we arrived.  (A young man spoke of being born again, receiving Christ as his savior quietly during the study.)  After we listened to the message and prayed for concerns for various people, our mission team split into small ‘huddles’ and just spent time getting to know various people at the Homeless Church that day.  We did get to haul groceries up the steep flight of stairs before we left.  Too soon it seemed it was time to go…

We gathered together with the other SF Mission Team members and listened to their testimonies of God’s goodness.  They had been out ministering while we were at the Homeless Church.  I think that this is the day we also went to Randall Museum, climbed the rock behind the museum to get a grand view of San Francisco.  It was a bit windy, but glorious!  A group of us went out for dinner that evening also.

(Amazing in my eyes; but the introduction to Evan Prosser’s Ministry would prove beneficial on August 21st as a friend from my area drove us to his home to discuss an event for the Homeless in SF on Sept. 21st!)

San Francisco Mission Trip 7/16 – the Spirit of God was moving

Tuesday Night on the streets...

Tuesday Night on the streets…

Once we were settled in our rooms, it was time to get our feet wet.  We met for a time of feeding our bodies with home cooked food, our souls with instructions for the evening outreach, and our spirits with prayer and worship.  Each room was responsible for a couple items to be handed out to the homeless.  Our room held socks and clothes, others kept food items, hygiene items, cat and dog food; so much organization went into this, I am still amazed as I look back!  We had our first assembly line for assembling the sandwiches, cleaning up after dinner, organizing the bags of supplies, and getting teams set up for ‘our first mission’!

We were in 5 or 6 different cars making our way ‘follow the leader’ style to the Mission District, an area called ‘The Shark Tank’.   That’s impressive!?!?  Usually by 8PM at night I’m settled at home for the evening; this was surely out of my comfort zone.  I must say though that it felt good!  I was going with people I had gotten to know over the past 6 months, and the leaders were not novices.   Each group had an experienced leader, and a couple men were in each group also.  I stayed close to one of the guys for extra peace in my own heart!

Since it was summer, it was still light out as we reached our destination.  We were told to watch for those God was highlighting to us, stay together as a group, keep safe boundaries, and most of all give out honor, respect, life, and compassion (not sympathy).   The sandwiches and clothing were not the main reason we were there.  Giving the Spirit of God in us permission to impact others was our/my mission.

As we fanned out into our area I glanced at those sitting in various places around the ‘cage’.  Focusing on those settled, I soon forgot about the rest of the world passing by us.  I think it is safe to say that everyone who ‘hung out’ in that area was touched by God that night, even some of those passing through.  It was not my part to be ‘watchman on the wall’ so I cannot relate the stories about people sent to distract our purpose, antagonizers who may have tried to enter our ‘safety zone’.  What I can say is that the peace and love of God surrounded our encounters.  Even some bystanders were impacted by the supernatural flow of the River of Life that evening.

The Spirit of God moved mightily among those we encountered.  Jumping right into the action, my partner and I approached a group of five to seven people enjoying conversation amongst themselves.  Initially I felt uncomfortable with the conversations.  Until they saw that we were safe, the questions seemed intrusive.  “Where are you from?”  brought defensiveness at first.  My partner was really good at creating ease with the men.  We offered sandwiches and clothes and the conversations came easier.  Socks were highly prized.

The memorable moments for me occurred when one of the men told us the woman sitting against the wall by the overflowing shopping cart needed a pair of socks.  I approached offering a colorful set to the woman who wore flip-flops.  She appeared to be embarrassed as she showed a deep, painful gash on one of her toes.   I slipped the socks on carefully after silently blessing her feet, speaking words of kindness and honor to her at the same time.  This opened up a conversation about her parents whom she missed very much.  She struggled with being vulnerable in our conversation, and still trying to appear strong to those around us.  I struggled internally with trying to be with her in her emotions, yet not going further than she was willing.  God was loving her, touching her heart, letting her know valuable she was to Him; and all this without words.  Afterwards I found out that not only was God touching her through this encounter, but one of the men witnessing the exchange was being touched also.  I am sorry to say that I cannot remember their names;  but they are known by the One who will never forget, and never stop loving.

After this night, I was ready for more of this mission trip!

San Francisco Mission Trip 7/16 – In the beginning…

Isaiah 55:12 ~ “For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace;”

Joy and Peace are the words to remember as I reflect on this trip.  San Francisco is another world for this country girl at heart.  Although I live in the Bay Area, rarely are the larger cities experiencing my footsteps.  I relish quiet and solitude in rural settings.  I was so happy to have others set the pace, prepare the way, deal with the agenda, and most of all…do the driving!  In addition to that, the base of operations was a hotel with beds and showers; I was truly blessed.  My first mission trip was form fitted just-for-me.

Even getting there was blessed!  I had a companion to ‘ride the rails’ with!  An experienced woman of God from ‘this side’ of the bay rode BART with me to and from the “Base Camp”.   She is one whose walk with God is constant.  She hears quickly and is obedient to follow only His voice.  I was in safe hands!  A strike had been hanging over the system, which I think relates to why the cars were so quiet, and almost empty feeling.  I was able to relax having another pair of eyes and person of peace to help me maneuver the bus system from BART to the hotel.  So many same-colored shuttles to choose from.  Then at the right time, another friendly face to chat with during the shuttle ride to the hotel!

Looking back, stepping into the hotel was like walking into an intercessor’s dream.   Details were in transition; there were room changes, schedule arrangements fluctuating, even base-camp and trip plans that had been signed, sealed, and delivered were being rearranged.  In the center of this whirlwind were rocks of Gibralter with flesh on who knew all would work out in the end.  A point of interest here – they had been warned by an intercessor’s dream that chaos could be encountered; and maybe an issue with a car would arise during the trip.  God had exposed the plans of the enemy to prepare us for victory!  Peace in the midst of a storm is possible.

Even as I settled into the room that would be my haven during the week, I was watched over and blessed.  I was able to room with a woman who knows how to make a temporary setting a home!  Bragging a bit here – our room had an expresso machine with all the necessary ingredients, healthy snacks and food for our bodies, and napkins and towels to bring color and beauty (bird themed :-)!  The second woman made our room a safe place;  she is a prayer mountain in disguise!  The time she has spent in focused prayer is so ‘set’ in her spirit that healing, washing, restoring, and renovating our souls after the outreaches just poured from her heart into ours.  She is a tall drink of cool water who brings elegance with her wherever she goes.  The third woman brought a heart of love and overcoming that took my breath away.   Her life is an example of family priorities, faith in giving and healthy boundaries that I was privileged to hear about.  She is a true matriarch for those she loves.  These women were God’s gifts to me, very much appreciated during that trip!