Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Miracles . . .

I love when God lands on a song and it prophesies into the atmosphere something He has for me or others to attach our faith to. That's what this song has been for me this morning.   This song says, "The God who was and is to come, the power of the Risen One, the God who brings the dead to life, You're the God of miracles, You're the God of miracles!"  We all have places in our life that need a miracle, whether it's our health, relationships/family, career, finances, our souls, ministry, etc. We can always attache our faith to at least one area in life for a miracle, right?  So, today as I sing this song and declare it over my area in life that needs a miraculous breakthrough, I invite you to declare along with me, God is the God of miracles!  I believe in Him!   Just as we celebrated Easter this week, He inhabits resurrection power and brings dead places back to life.  Speak to that place in your life you need a miracle and declare Him as - God of the impossible, who is silencing every fear and releasing His miracle working power into our situations.  He is sooo Good!  He is Hope!  He is Power.  He is Comforter.  He is Freedom.  He is Protection.  He is Father.  He is Healer.  He is Restorer.  He is Provider.  He is Redemption.  He is Victory.  He is Peace.  He is Wisdom.  He is THE GOD OF MIRACLES . . .

  ~ Jesus Culture "Miracles" Video

Cambodia ~ Treasure Hunt

River-font Treasure Hunt
This evening, while in Cambodia, we did a Treasure Hunt.  Now, I love the IDEA of a treasure hunt and even have Kevin Dedmond's book which broke the church through into new levels of evangelism, have purchased the book for other people, taught my children, but the practicality of treasure hunting, especially with people I do not know well,  is well beyond my comfort zone.  I was somewhat dreading the evening, feeling a spiritual melancholy as I was out of my normal mode with the humidity and heat and fighting insecurity knocking at the door of vulnerability with more seasoned "Treasure Hunters" around me. :-)
A spiritual treasure hunt is where you ask God to give you a list of clues that are on His heart and then with those clues in hand you look for His Treasure - being a person who inhabits some or all of your clues!  The list can be as simple as purple ball, turn right, go to Walmart, toy isle, yellow shirt, etc. When you hear God's download to your heart you write these clues down and then begin your hunt - somewhat like a scavenger or treasure hunt.

After sitting for a few minutes with God, my list consisted of something like this:
  • Little girl in red dress
  • Dog
  • Smile
  • Mary
  • Hurt finger
  • Boat in background 
Example Tuk Tuk
As we walked along the river front, I was on the look out for a dog and a red dress.  Suddenly, a tuk tuk stopped beside us full of children who were taking a ride in a relatives tuk tuk.  Out of the tuk tuk bound a little girl in a red dress, smiling at me and greeting me and a dog was running around the grassy area - I couldn't believe my eyes (oh me of little faith)!  Three items on my list!  Yay!!  I followed the little girl to her family sitting along the river front and tried to explain with limited interpretation of the word "Treasure"
Treasure Hunting 
from our interpreter, what I was doing and explained to them my list of clues and that their little girl I believed was my treasure.  I don't think they really understood.  I then asked if anyone's name was Mary and I was unclear on the response.  I then asked if anyone had a hurt finger and the little girl in the red dress - her mother's finger was hurt and numb (score!) so I prayed for her finger then I asked if I could pray for the red dress girl.  I prayed protection over her life, etc. (can't remember all I prayed now), then I prayed over the family and then found an older lady pushing a cart of cold drinks and bought all the kids cold drinks.  They laughed, smiled, ran around and waved goodbye!  Treasure hunts like that, build my faith that God really is speaking to us, even though it sounds so mundane and natural.  We had more visits/encounters that evening that were special but that was my personal hunt.  I still can see the smiling face of my little girl in the red dress ~ my treasure ~ God's treasure!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cambodia ~ Everlasting Love

Another highlight in Cambodia for me was our time with the ladies who have been rescued out of sex trafficking.  If they can leave the lifestyle they have been trapped in, XP provides a six month training and discipleship program, where they will learn employable skills through sewing (and soon a hair salon) along with valuable life skills and mentor-ship.  After six months, the ladies can continue their employment and make Everlasting Love products (silk handbags, etc.) and others discover their destiny outside of sewing.
No Front Photo Due to Privacy Protection

Part of their mentoring is spending their early mornings in worship, devotion and prayer.  Destiny and I were invited to spend a morning with them and share on their current topic of "our authority in Christ".  It was fun, because we had just come off the airplane the day prior and had hit some pretty bad turbulence that was very scary for Destiny.  She had asked me to pray and I told her, let's take authority over this storm.  So, we commanded the turbulence to leave and invited the cream and butter of heaven's calm in the name of Jesus.  Immediately the stormy turbulence stopped and it became completely calm.  Destiny was astounded and thrilled!   We used this example story in our teaching on the authority we have in Christ.  :-)  We also shared the story of Jesus commanding the storm to stop, etc.  My favorite part of the
morning was sitting, fan blowing in my face and the women in a circle worshiping Jesus.  All at once at the same time, their children on the floor below us in pre-school began to sing at the top of their lungs and dance to worship songs.  There was like this Holy clash happening as the children sang at the top of their lungs and their mothers sang, sitting cross legged on the floor.  I started to cry quietly as the presence of Jesus whispered through the room of women and stormed through the downstairs children. :-)  Priceless!
We then looked at the items the girls/ladies were making and saw them begin their day of work.  Amazing!  Truly amazing.

Another day we spent with their children.  Dancing to worship with them, playing toys on the floor, cheering them on as they learned their A,B,C's, etc.  What a privilege to see what God is doing in these little lives.  

Our last day in Cambodia, Destiny and I went back to the Everlasting Love facility and danced with the women in a prophetic worship devotional time.  It was hot with fan directed at me, full of laughs as we spun around and sweet memories for Destiny and I.  We hugged goodbye to the ladies and were super thankful for the moments we shared this trip.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cambodia ~ The Children's Home

One of the highlights of our time in Cambodia was spending time with the children and staff from our children's home. The XP children's home consists of children rescued from horrific sex trafficking/abuse situations. The children in this home suffer from disabilities and are outcasts in their society.  Our first day with the children, we took a tuk tuk ride to their home in the country and on the way I became very sick.  By the time we got there, I used the excuse of being on the floor playing toys with the smallest child, Hanna, because I did not want to get off the floor.  I whispered in Destiny's ear that I needed prayer for the pain/nausea I was feeling and she began to pray over me silently - it totally lifted.  I was able to continue the afternoon and enjoy the children.    

We painted the girls nails, took a tour of the property and looked at chickens with the oldest boy.  The House Mama had a son who was Destiny's age and they became fast friends.  The oldest girl wanted her nails changed colors and painted over and over.  Destiny was super patient and did her toes I don't know how many times. :-)  The little girl who's nails I painted, name was Esther.  Esther had been neglected, abused, repeatedly sold for sex and cast aside.  She was a child that no one wanted, a child with no voice.  Esther has Down Syndrome and she touched all our hearts.  Her smile was from ear to ear.  She would play with her barn and show me how all the stalls opened.  The smallest girl, Hanna, just started to walk as she had been so beaten and abused at three years of age she was unable to walk when she arrived at the home.  Now she is toddling about, very attached to her caretaker and does not want to be far from her and very strong - holds her own.  I would play ball with her and the boy who suffers from mild autism.  The day touched our hearts and we were moved by the rescue efforts that have taken place for these children to live in comforts.  We also loved our new friend, Brenda who is on staff with XP and hosted us so beautifully while we were in Cambodia.  Such a gift to us.  

One of Destiny's favorite days, we rented a van and took all the children form the children's home on a fun day outing.  We were going to take them to a water park for the day, but when we got there, there was no water in the park. :-(  Then our little girl with down Syndrome, Esther, got sick and threw up on the van driver and then pooped her pants.  Hmmm not so great of a start . . .  after her care taker cleaned things up, we stopped for lunch and that was a great success!  After lunch we went to another pool (more for wealthy people) and they told us they were "full".  They probably took one look at our disheveled crew and decided not. Also, children with disabilities are often not treated with honor or respect in this culture - so no favors are given.  So heartbreaking!  Finally we went to a hotel, that XP partners with and they let us rent the pool and we took the kids swimming.  I could not believe the utter JOY the kids had in swimming with Destiny.  They were laughing and jumping and having such a wonderful time!  Even the house Mama got into the water.   Unfortunately I can not show you pictures of the kid's faces due to privacy but they would jump in the water for me to take their photos and pose and we had so much fun watching them so absolutely delighted in the day.  Above is a picture of Johnny "testing" the waters.  Years ago, Johnny was rescued by our founder, Patricia King.  He had been trafficked as a little boy and had run away from his abusers.  He had been trafficked across the border into Thailand.  Patricia found him at the border hiding under a table, scared and traumatized at an unmarked border crossing with a number still pinned on his shirt.  In an auction setting, children may be numbered, lined up and sold by number.  Johnny had escaped before he was resold  The scars on his hands and knees indicated that he had been drugged and used for labor for many months.  Drugs allow the children to work faster and harder.  Johnny was no exception.  This day he was smiling, splashing and trying to test the waters to see if he would venture in with the other children.  

One little sad spot ~ I was holding the youngest and newest addition to the home, Hanna and she would see her caretaker swimming and start to cry for her.  I would watch as she would open her mouth wider than any toddler I know, and start to scream but  no sound would come out, her body would shake and no sound.  Eventually just little quiet sobs.  I did not understand - I knew she was having anxiety over not having her caretaker by her side at every moment but why  not a loud scream?  All at once I realized (and later confirmed with staff) she has been so beaten and abused when she would cry as a baby/toddler that she learned to stifle her cries - she just opens her mouth wide and her body shakes like she is crying with little or no noise.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  I held her and prayed over her and we had a few moments where she forgot her caretaker and would begin splashing and laughing in my lap in the steps of the pool and later she fell asleep in my arms.  Such tender, precious ones.  Such horrific situations they come from.  So thankful for Andrea (oversees XP Cambodia) and people who are in Cambodia making a difference.

The day ended with tired, super happy kids.  The house Mama thanked and thanked us, kissed and us and told us she loved us as she said goodbye for the last time. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cambodia ~ Foot Washing

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper.  He laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist.  Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe theme with the towel that was wrapped around Him."  
~ John 13:1-17

Jesus is our Servant King.  He models humility, serving and loving so beautifully. This week while in Cambodia, we had the privilege of washing the feet of people who live in a village/slum area in town.    

When we showed up, first the little children came to have their feet washed . . .

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'" ~ Matthew 19:14   

I loved watching the young men on our Korean team wash feet.  A couple of the young men on our team seemed deeply touched.  They were so eager to wash feet and one in particularly was distinctively moved by the experience.  I could see Jesus, so beautifully in these young men as they would fill their basins with fresh water, dip the foot and then begin to wash and scrub away the dirt and grime from the filthy environment around them.  Many would pat the feet dry and then ask for lotion to massage into the dry, now nicely clean feet.  Go over to the garbage dump and throw away the dirty water and then start all over again with the next person sitting on their chair.  

Women would come and  not want to leave.  They would linger for prayer and some would take photos.  From what I understand XP teams have been going into this particular slum for awhile and currently have a "Light House" there.  People are warming and some even know Jesus as a result.  
One of our "Light Houses" in the Slums

After washing feet, we gathered in the dark, stagnant air, room of our XP Light House.  We opened the shutters and I suggested we sing a worship song.  We all began to lift our voices to "Bless the Lord Oh My Soul" 

As our voices filled that little room, on a 107 degree day with full humidity, I could have lingered longer and worshiped on . . .

        10,000 Reasons Video

I loved this experience.  Although I was well beyond my "comfort" range with the heat - I so enjoyed loving on the women and children in this practical demonstration of servant love.  Jesus is so beautiful and demonstrated His love so exquisitely through Destiny and the youth there, that day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cambodia Team

XP Staff Night Out
Hello from Cambodia!  Destiny and I are here for a few more days and this is the lovely group of people from XP we get to see daily. This picture is taken at the one mall they have in the city.  It was recently built with bowling alleys, ice-rinks 3-4 stories high - surrounded by poverty but exudes wealth inside. As I wondered the stores looking for toys to take our kids in our children's home, it was so weird to see lavish toy stores with baby bassinets that rock themselves, plush comforts of life, etc.  after seeing babes/toddlers with no clothes on and wandering the slums just prior.

Nita is sitting by Lori
We have also joined up with a team from Korea of 9th and 10th grade kids and are really enjoying time with them.  Today we had such a lovely treat - high school friends of mine, Rob & Lori, from Oregon had brought a team to Cambodia for ministry and I got to meet up with them for breakfast.  So lovely!  I was in their wedding over 25 years ago. :-)  

Destiny making quick new friends!  
Then this afternoon Destiny and I along with the team from Korea, visited the city hospital.  In Cambodia, like many third world countries, if you are in the hospital you will need your family or friends to take care of you and bring you food, otherwise you may go hungry and unwashed, have no bandages changed or hygene needs met.  Can you imagine going to the hospital and not having anyone care for you?    This particular hospital just recently started feeding one meal a day to it's patients.  Today we took in a bag of food for many of the patients and then we would pray with them.  I was told that one lady who could not walk, left walking away from the hospital with her family. We saw her waving at us as she went.  Miraculous!   It was a very touching day and I was looking forward to this outreach. We broke up into teams.  Some patients we would kneel by their beds and pray, others we would gather around them and hold their hands and one I sang over.  One lady was
sobbing as her father/grandfather had not eaten in nine days and was wasting away.  He was burning up on the inside.  We prayed over him, shared some about Jesus with him and he said he was feeling better/peaceful. The language barrier can often times keep us from fulling understanding what is happening with them, but our lovely interpreters do their best to explain.  One lady had heard about Jesus before and when we prayed she felt such peace that she wanted Jesus - Destiny led her to the Lord.      I would have loved to capture some photos, but out of respect for the patients I did not pull out my camera.  This photo I took from a distance, when a patient was sitting outside.   Before we left I took a small team into a building we had not entered yet, and it was full of women laying on beds with babies beside them - the birthing area.  I quickly ran out of food bags and wished so badly I had more.  I would have loved to pass out food and pray over these new mothers.  We gathered around outside this building before leaving and prayed as a team for the new life inside and for a great value for life to be released to each mother/family unit.

This is our little kitchen but breakfast
is the only meal I have to clean-up!
We are eating wonderfully here!  Every meal (except for breakfast) we eat out, as it is less expensive for the most part to eat your meals out.  I love it as eating out is one of my favorite things to do. :-)  Tonight was salad night . . . the restraunt we went to had run out of chicken, beef and pork, so that left only a few items on the menu and we were a team of about 15 people.  It was quite comical and a cultural experience to say the least.  I often am about to leave the restauran without paying becuase we pay at the cash register.  At home when we get up from the table at a restaurn it almost always means that we have already paid the bill.  Many times I have almost left the restraunt forgetting to pay on my way out.  Saddly this morning, it really happened.  I
was headed back to XP on a Tuk Tuk with my daughter when I remembered I had not paid for our breakfast.  I had no idea how to get back to the restraurant and could not speak Kami to the driver.  So, our friends from Oregon weres tuck with our bill.  Thankfully my french toast was only $1 but I think my fruit lassi was a bit more . . . ahhh!  :-O

Ladle in Hand! 
The guy in this photo so totally cracked me up!  He was fixing about 15 meals we had ordered for street kids and he would throw spices in the pan, stir, and then take the big ladle and taste it and then put the ladle  back into the pan/soup and continue.  He did this several times.  Reminded me of my Grandma Stella in the kitchen - a wonderful cook but always scooping her finger into whatever she was fixing for us to do a little taste test. :-) I used to totlly gross out as a kid watching her do this.  Now, I do it all the time when I am cooking for my own family.  I'm always scooping and tasting and double dipping but NOT FOR COMPANY!! :-)

Tonight we did a prayer ride on Tuk Tuk's through some of the "hot spots" in the city.  I was doing okay, praying over different areas until we started down a familiar street with girls standing in the shadows of trees and sitting on street corners waiting to be purchased.  I looked for any familiar faces from the other night when we took food to the girls.  Then I saw her, the girl I had previously blogged on who had been burned with acid in one of her client situations.  I
desperately wanted to stop the Tuk Tuk, but we had a caravan of three and were were the last Tuk Tuk in the caravan, no interpreter in the entire caravan and a need to stay together as it was getting late in the evening.  Her eyes met mine as we passed and suddenly she recognized me - I gave her a look like I wished I could have pulled over but could not, waved and felt so helpless in reaching out to her.  She is so young.  So alone.  So vulnerable.  Yet, I continue to pray for these treasures to be pulled out of dark places (Isaiah 45), for the girls to have a deep sense that God is near and they are not alone, for angels to surround them as they try to meet quotas.  I pulled a snack pack of trail mix out of my bag as many of these girls have not had a meal all day, praying that we would take that street again and I would be prepared to yell at the entourage of Tuk Tuk's to pull over, but we never went down that street again.

Tomorrow is a new day and we will be washing people's feet, I know that it will be a set-up for divine LOVE moments . . .

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cambodia ~ Red Light District

I am in Cambodia - can hardly believe it, as I more or less vowed I would never again go on a "mission trip".  I kind of signed up for this trip, not realizing how missional it was going to be, but am deeply moved by the opportunities I have had to visit the poor in this nation.  Destiny and I have had a very full schedule and have seen so much in just one week.  Our highlights have been to the XP children's home, the Extreme Love Children's school, House of prayer in the slums, food delivery to students in XP educational program, XP's girls/women business venture, slum outreach, etc.  Out of all of these activities this last week, the one I want to highlight and that I think I am free to speak of without confidentiality issues, is the outreach I had tonight to the Red Light District.  I would say it was one of the most heartbreaking outreaches in my life . . .
One of the slums XP has a Light House in 
I did not take many pictures as I did not want to encroach on the privacy of the girls we reached out to tonight, but let me tell you that many of them did not look any older than my daughter.  In fact one of them looked so much like my foster daughter, my eyes filled with tears - it hit a little too close to home.

Our evening started with some filming of the Red Light District for a media project.  Then when we realized the necklaces we wanted to give the girls on the streets had been forgotten we decided to buy some rice and noodle dishes and take them around to the girls.  I was so excited when our leader decided to return to an area of the district that I had been pulled to when we drove by.  It was a dark road with very little street lighting and girls that looked my daughter's age were standing about a block away from each other, one after another.  We stopped and offered them a meal, as some of the girls, have not eaten for days.   Then our Kami interpreter and leader would began to converse with the girls, sometimes ask if they wanted us to pray for them.

Let me tell you about the two girls who's stories touched me deeply.  The first girl asked for prayer for her neck and arms.  She was timid and quiet, small, petite and looked like my daughter  Destiny's age.  She had not eaten yet today.  On her throat was a big, raw, wide scar - she told us that during one of her "customer" visits they threw acid on her face - she turned her face away and it went all over her throat and arms.  She was in pain.  She said she knew Jesus and wanted us to pray for her.  I prayed for her - not knowing the results as we had to leave and move on.

Child selling food on streets
in the late hours of the night
The other girl who's story moved me, said that she just had customers that picked her up and took her far away, they had masks on, forced her into acts and did not pay her.  I believe she referred to them as "gang".    She broke down and begin to cry when our friend, took her hand and held it.  The interpreter and friend ministered to her in conversation and prayer as she had just been through a large trauma and was back on the streets working right after it happened.

These girls could be selling their bodies for survival.  They could be trafficked.  Some girls were drunk, high and scared.  We had 20 boxes of rice and gave them all away, and could have easily handed out 20 more.  We told the girls that God loved them and wanted to feed them tonight.

I know the stories, the raw details and fundamentals of sex trafficking but to see children sitting on the side of street corners and standing in the shadows, that were so close in age to my kids or anybody's kids for that matter, was heartbreaking.  The deeply disturbing part was the white men,  middle aged or seniors who were walking the streets.  At that time of night, the only thing they were there for was to buy sex from these girls.  I saw a few old men leading girls away and the girls were not happy.  One man when he saw our camera hid his face with an extreme effort to conceal his identity.  There can be foreign men who have great credibility and influence in the state or other countries who are walking these streets preying on the women and girls.

Then the ladies who work the streets and have children, will leave their little children unattended on the streets while they "work" and this opens them up to be prey to petifiles, abuse and at times kidnapping for the purpose of exploitation.

These scenes are heartbreaking.  XP can only do so much and has partnered with other NGO's in the city to help.  Of course I just want to scoop up the girls and rescue them right then and there.
Destiny Praying With a Lady Who Could Not Even Sit Up To Drink Water We Gave Her
Well, that is just a tidbit of what we have been doing in Cambodia.  Destiny did not go the District due to the late hours of the night, but has been such an incredible trooper at walking the slums on rickety boards, the stench of sewer, humidity that is overwhelming and reaching out to the children and people with love.

God is on the move in Cambodia.  There must be restitution for the horrific Khmer Regime - there must be a new day dawning on this nation who's vulnerable ones -  definitely have God's attention.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cambodia Here We Come

I am nervously excited to be boarding a plane tomorrow for Cambodia with my daughter, Destiny.  I'm thrilled to get some quality time with my girl, as this will be a highlight for me, but nervous about the heat, unknown schedule/culture and being away from my "men" for so long.  Say a prayer. :-)

Destiny and I are headed to join up with XP  in Cambodia and hear, see, and partner with what Cambodia is doing in rescuing girls, boys and women from Sex Trafficking.


God is also doing something amazing through the children with XP Missions.  I'm deeply touched by the reports from Cambodia of the children who have been rescued from deep, dark places - now having encounters with Jesus.  Below is a report from our soon-to-be new friend, on the ground in Cambodia . . .

God is doing something so amazing through our kids!!

Blown away by some of the testimonies today during prayer with the kids from EL. These children are just learning about Jesus and do not have a grid for any of this stuff . . . most are between 4 and 7 years old and are the children of women formerly working in prostitution.
They are all seeing Jesus and having visitations from heaven . . . some of them open-eyed encounters with angels and other living creatures. Here are some testimonies just from today . . .
One child said, "Jesus told him, 'Please follow me and I will make you a leader like Moses. You will be a leader of many.'"
Another child said, "Jesus said, 'I am in your heart. I love to help people and share with others. I put my Holy Spirit in you to help you and protect you. I will always be with you, and together we will lead the world!"
Another boy had a vision and said, "I saw the best picture ever. Then I saw Jesus, and He said I can go through. He was wearing white and had a Bible in His hands. Then I saw a mountain and He and I went up it. There was a tree and water and an elephant and then I walked on the water. After that I saw three angels and each one was wearing a different color -- one red, one white, and the other blue. Before I left the mountain Jesus told me do not be afraid"
Another child appeared to have gone into a trance and couldn't be woken. And the list goes on.
I am undone. They are so hungry for Jesus and love to pray!! PIc attached of our precious prayer warriors. They may look little, but they are mighty 
God is so good! Out of the deep dark secret places are the most glorious

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Just Out Front

Sunrise In Our Backyard
Front Door View
I don't think a day goes by that I do not thank God for us living in Arizona or the beauty around me.  I was so ready to live in the country, that even after four months, the beauty of a sunrise, the tall cactus reaching toward the sky, the sun on the mountains, the gentle breeze in the morning before it gets hot - I am loving it all. The sunsets are spectacular and the stars like a painting.  I love the clear skies and so far the evenings without mosquito's.  I love walking the dirt roads by our house surrounded by mountains and ground squirrels darting in and out of holes.  I love the farmland like a green carpet with tractors and farm equipment dotting the horizon's.

Snake Before John Killed It

Today though, some not so happy thoughts entered my mind, first when I found a nice sized black spider in the garage and then when I got a call from my husband telling me he had just killed a rattle snake at our back door. I guess our dog started barking like crazy so John went to check it out, and in the shadows he saw something, so he turned the light on and wa-lah!  A pretty big rattle snake.  John took action with the shovel and no one was hurt but it definitely "rattled" everyone up a bit.  

I guess we have now officially been initiated into the Arizona back country!