Yes, we are still alive…
Hello, Dear Ones!
I guess we haven’t written one of these update things since the school started, but that can tell you a little bit about how busy we’ve been! It’s a bit overwhelming at times to sit under amazing, life-changing messages every single day–sometimes we feel like we’re about to burst with it all. To give you a taste of life here, this is what the schedule looks like on an average day:
Get up and attempt to have some semblance of quiet time in a small house full of 8 people and a small compound with 100 people. We have to take showers on a once-per-3-days rotation since water is very limited, and often we go days without any water at all if we drain the tanks faster than they can fill back up. Sometimes we have to do laundry or burn trash really early in the mornings, since this is the only time in the schedule to allow for it. At some point around 6am, a deafeningly loud gong will sound to announce breakfast time, where we all go up and stand in line at the cafeteria with about 300 children, workers, Mozambican Bible school students, and beggars to wait for our little roll of bread and cup of tea.
Class starts at 8am, and it is in the huge church that they just finished earlier this year. We start class with an hour or so of worship every day, which is usually pretty free-flow, prophetic, sometimes dancing our hearts out, sometimes just laying on the floor and soaking in God’s presence, but never complacent. Following worship we have amazing speakers every day, often Heidi and the other anointed missionaries working here and other times people flown in from all over the world. I want to give you just a taste of what kinds of things we are learning, but since I can’t really reproduce entire messages, at the end of this update I will include some of the one-liners that just hit me in the gut (obviously optional reading :-). Maybe they won’t impact you like they did me, but read on if you’re interested. The focus varies from class to class, speaker to speaker. Sometimes it is on our relationship with God, developing intimacy with Him, because without that everything else is impossible. Other times it is about knowing our identity in the Kingdom and walking in our God-given authority. Other times it is on God’s heart for the poor and the broken, learning how to see the world and other people through His eyes. No matter who is speaking or what the topic is, every class is very powerful and practical.
After class, usually around 1pm, we line up at the cafeteria again with our little bowls and spoons for a lunch of rice and beans, rice and cabbage, or rice and spinach, depending on the day. The afternoon activities vary from day to day, sometimes we have workshops or special training sessions, optional classes, or just interact with the people and build relationships. After dinner in the evenings we have class, worship, or small group meetings.
Now that I’ve described what a normal day is like, this past week has been anything but normal. They put on a huge conference for all the surrounding churches (which translates into all the surrounding villages since there’s free food), so all of us mission students have been cleaning the latrines 3 times a day and helping serve in the kitchen for all +/- 3,000 people every meal. However, that was NOTHING compared to Saturday, when Rolland and Heidi’s daughter Chrystalyn had her Mozambican wedding (she got married last month in the States, but they wanted to celebrate here too). They had a beautiful wedding on the beach, complete with 36 bridesmaids and 36 groomsmen in bright blue-yellow-white outfits (that I spent 4 days frantically sewing, fixing, and altering all the problems… Mom, my wedding was nothing :-P). After they exchanged vows, we had to run back to the church where the reception was to be held—feeding a chicken dinner with cake (thanks to each house in the mission compound making 8 cakes each) to all 5,000-6,000 people who came to the conference and wedding and just wandered in for the food (very broad approximation because you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to keep count, especially when they sneak through the line more than once…). It was a beautiful picture of Luke 14, where Jesus said to invite the poor who cannot repay to your feasts, which is exactly what they did. In fact, they had the stage of the church set with special tables for the couple and their immediate family, several government officials and influential people, and some of the honored guests included several blind and crippled beggars. That shook the very ground of the community, and it was all people could talk about for days. The most influential person in town was shocked that absolutely everyone at the reception, from him to the groom to the 2-year-old village kid, all got the same food in the same portions. Later in Luke 14 Jesus tells a parable of a man who prepares a feast, but everyone he initially invites comes up with excuses for why they can’t come. Then he sends out more invitations, to the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, and they all come running. Jesus has a banquet spread, He paid for it all at a great price, and He wants as many people at it as possible. Who have you invited to come?
We had an awesome weekend outreach last week but Jon is dying to write about that, so I’ll save that for him, sign off here, and close out with the promised snippets from class.
Invite someone to the feast…
One-liners from classes:
* Learn how to live out of the secret place–be so filled in your alone times with God that nothing on earth can shake your peace.
* The greatest battle we face is not against the sin or spiritual powers of darkness in this world–the greatest battle is for the affection of your heart.
* “You don’t know anything about the Kingdom. Go learn from the poor.” (what God said to Heidi after she had been doing powerful mission work in Asia for many years).
* We don’t want just a visitation from God, we want to be a continual habitation of His presence.
* If your love is like a cup, it will have limits. If it is like a river, it has an endless source and it blesses many others.
* God wants to transform the area of your greatest pain into the area of your greatest spiritual authority.
* Jesus doesn’t want to see our trophies; He wants to see our battle scars.
* For the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross. And that joy was me. I am His inheritance.
* Jesus is searching for His hands and His feet–people who are willing to lay down their lives and agendas and let the Holy Spirit put them on like a glove.
* “I’ve made many mistakes in my life and my ministry, but one mistake I haven’t made is not going. The biggest mistake is doing nothing at all.”
* The best-kept secret of the church and theology is that the gospel is all about transformation, not information.
* When the impossible seems logical, chances are good you’re seeing through a Kingdom perspective.
* The more we actually follow Jesus, the more we will be surrounded by the people who are attracted to Jesus: the sinners, prostitutes, poor, and desperate.
* Moving in the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with spiritual gifts: it is how well I know the resources of heaven and know my position as a child of the King.
* Don’t preach the gospel, just give people a taste of Jesus and they will never be the same.
* Every time heaven and earth collide, heaven wins and earth changes.
Some of the people shared some visions they’ve seen, and here a few that blew me away:
* The one that impacted me the most was one person saw the gates of heaven with Jesus standing to the side and asking everyone just one simple question: “Did you learn to love?” We try to make theology sound so complicated, but love really is all that matters.
* In one vision God handed the person a book and said, “This is what you did with your life, everything you did for Me written down.” But then He pointed to an entire shelf of books behind Him and said, “This is what I had for you.” Am I walking in everything He has for me?
* One person saw the wedding feast of the Lamb, and she was overjoyed to see the banquet table spread with places filled by her family, then the first girl she led to Christ when she was 13, then other people that she witnessed to, then people who came to God through her ministry, and she was thrilled. But then she saw many, many empty seats and she asked why. The answer came, “These were people I wanted you to witness to, but you were too consumed with yourself at that point in your life to give anything out to anyone.” She said she had been going through a period of depression at that time, but God still had plans to use her to lead others to Him.
* One lady saw herself with her hands touching Jesus’ feet and her feet touching earth, and people were literally walking over her as the bridge into heaven. We can’t bring others with us unless we are connected to Christ.