Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Locked in Maximum Security

A group from our team had already visited this prison in Honduras earlier this week. They went to a church service in the low security area, which has about 500 inhabitants and it is self governed. There are no cells and there is a 70 member church made up of inmates.

Today we had the chance to go back, so 8 of us went - 3 to another church service in the low security area and then Jesse, Taylor, Katherine, Elizabeth and myself went into Maximum security!

We were expecting to see criminals in individual jail cells - or at least cells, and that if they came out they would come out cuffed... But as we were led around a corner to the entrance for max security, I saw a door with a peek hole in it, and a face was at the door... just these eyes peering out. Something in me began to think that maybe they weren't in cells after all!

We were let in the door where immediately about 3 or 4 inmates with tattoos all over surrounded us and started conversation. The door shut behind us, no guards came in, we were on our own with Jesus! There were no cells - there were 25 male inmates, all heavily tattooed, members of a well-known gang in both Central America and the United States. In El Salvador we had been told that even if we wore a piece of clothing with this gang's number on it, we could be gunned down in the streets.

We kept talking to these guys in a main area for at least 20 -30 minutes. One of the guys had been in 5 years and had 7 years to go. Jesse shared a bit of his testimony (drugs, alcohol, overdosing, visiting hell itself and being giving another chance to live by Jesus Christ). All the guys were interested and we could see the hunger in their eyes. The Lord gave us prophetic words for them. One I could clearly see was a leader. God made him to be a big brother to many. A guy who anyone could go to and feel safe in his presence. This was a gift for him from God. He looked impacted by this but did not say anything. They were all hungry for Jesus and seemed like they wanted a relationship with Him, but as the other gang members were there it may have been dangerous for them to do it. These guys would know all about giving up their lives to someone or a cause. So you know that if they did say yes, they would say yes and mean it. For life.

After talking and praying with them for a while, we asked if we could walk around and see the rest of the area. They said it wasn't safe, but then took us with them to show us around. We visited one room right at the end of the walkway which was dark and smelt like toilets. In it was some bunks with no mattresses, and a hammock with one guy in it, and others standing around. On the walls were demonic drawings and even a drawing of Jesus with a crown of thorns. We chatted briefly but could definitely feel some vibes going on there. On the way out we had to wait 10 minutes for the guards to come let us out! The inmates all stared at us while we were waiting... 

Overall I loved being in there. When I was asking God if He wanted me to go to low or high security, He asked me where He's called me. The darkest places. Yes Lord! It felt at home being with these guys, and I just wanted to run at them and hug them... especially one of the younger guys who I really felt Jesus wanted him to have a revelation of Daddy God's love for him. I felt like squeezing him and messing his hair up! However that could be totally taken the wrong way and you would definitely need to know it was a Holy Spirit thing to actually do it!

We left them with a bunch of spanish new testaments. They started reading them while we were there. They know that they can start a relationship with Jesus whether we're there or not. So, Holy Spirit, come. Reveal Jesus to them. Pour out the Father's love! JESUS WILL have the VICTORY in these men's hearts!

Driving home, we were overtaken by a police truck (ute). On the back of it were standing two policemen with big guns, aimed at a group of 4 or 5 teenage boys at their feet. In El Salvador, we were on the way to church and passed a hold up on the side of the road (in surburbia, among houses). Also in El Salvador, some of the guys were held up in traffic at a roundabout because there was a dead body dumped on it.

Holy Spirit, send your FIRE and a true revelation of JESUS to the people of Central America! There is a greater cause to live for, a greater cause to die for. JESUS came to save us from our sins and bring us back to the TRUE purpose of life - relationship with HIM! JESUS and JESUS ALONE is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE... the ONLY ONE who can give LIFE ABUNDANTLY! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Thing I Desire... the REAL Jesus...

I want to really encourage anyone who can, to get to the One Thing Conference in Kansas City this year. Registration is FREE and I am really stirred up in my spirit for this - what they are talking about is so my heart for right now!!!   December 28th-31st 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Songs that Draw me Deeper and Higher

"Pour My Love On You" - Misty Edwards (IHOP) (I think originally Phillips, Craig & Dean)

I don't know how to say exactly how I feel
And I can't begin to tell You what Your love has meant
I'm lost for words
Is there a way to show the passion in my heart
Can I express how truly great I think You are
My dearest friend
Lord, this is my desire
To pour my love on You
Like oil upon Your feet
Like wine for You to drink
Like water from my heart
I pour my love on You
If praise is like perfume
I'll lavish mine on You
Til every drop is gone
I'll pour my love on You

"Wounded One" - Davy Flowers (IHOP NightWatch Staff)

Worthy is the lamb who was slain
Who broke down the great wall of enmity and gave me His Name
How gracious is my Redeemer
King Jesus, Son of the Highest
What could I possibly give to You but the fragrance of my


Holy is the man of sorrows
Destroying the works of the evil one all with Your own blood
And mercies before and behind You
Such beauty all around You
How could I ever repay You but with the fragrance of my


Praise be to the Wounded One!
Glory and honour to the Son
We ascribe worth, and give love to You Lord
Let the fragrance of our love go forth!

We pour our love on You in the middle of the Night
We pour our love on You in the middle of the Night

We lift our gaze
You are higher!

(this one is coming out by the New Year on the new Night Watch album! Watch for it on iTunes!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

El Salvador

I have been having a great time here in El Salvador, staying with the team at a YWAM base in San Salvador. This city is very modern yet the amount of barbed wire, locks, and violence here is interesting to say the least! Many cars have signs on them with "Do Not Murder - Exodus 20" written on them. The country is highly evangelised, yet not many have close intimate relationship with Jesus.

Ministering in local Churches

On Sunday our team ministered at 4 churches. I had the privilege of helping to lead the morning church into an atmosphere of worship, as they had a keyboard and not only that but a pedal as well! We also went out to the skate park to play with the kids - about 10 of them and most of them have parents in jail. In their neighbourhood alone there has been 8 gang shootings in the past week.

Sunday night the Lord gave me a word to share with the congregation there. Breck, one of the guys on the team shared just before me and we neither of us knew what the other was sharing, but Breck spoke out most of what was on my heart! God is so good in how he confirms that we are hearing Him rightly! This church was the most like my home church (Planetshakers) out of any so far this trip. A few things I noticed - they had a spirit of honour. Honoring us as well as God. They agreed vocally with whatever the pastor was saying and also with us. They also were hungry and passionate in their pursuit of Him through worship and praise. They went crazy dancing even before the word was preached! So these are a few things I feel were key in their ability to receive all God had for them! We prayed for the sick at the end, and opened up the altar for anyone who felt dry or just hungered for more of God. I had shared on the night season - this being the night until Jesus comes back - that is when the day breaks. Psalm 91 says that those who DWELL in the shelter/secret place of the Most High will rest/abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 

Dwell - one of the origins of the word (english) means to be distracted. Tarry.
Abide - means to stay overnight. 

The key to lasting the night season until Jesus comes back, the key to LOVE and loving the one in front of you (us disciples will be known by our love) is to live distracted by Jesus. You are constantly thinking about Him and distracted from what you're supposed to be doing. He gets in the way of "ordinary" life sometimes but thats how we need to live! To stop for HIM before stopping for the one. To live constantly distracted by Jesus and in love with Him and knowing that He loves me. In my own strength I cannot love the person who may annoy me or the person who hates me. When I am crazy in love with Jesus, I can. Because it is HIS love that I have. Supernatural love :)

Many people came forward and were touched powerfully by the Holy Spirit. We also had a fire tunnel that the whole church went through (the children went through at least 5 times!). By the end there were bodies all over the floor and we had to keep moving the fire tunnel...!

How Jesus LOVES to pour out his LOVE on His people! He is the business of Healing, Filling, Refreshing, Mending broken hearts, and OVERFLOWING us with JOY! Our team had a dance party all the way home in the car (yes... it is possible. somehow!)

Visiting the Least of These

In the last couple of days I have also had the privilege of visiting an all boys home (10-17years old) - some have parents in jail, some are unwanted, some are true orphans. Most of them are in this particular centre because they made trouble and were kicked out of other centres. They have no transition in place for when they turn 18. On one side of the centre is a women's prison. On the other is a teenage girls prison. Please pray for the children of El Salvador!

We have also ministered to men in a drug rehabilitation centre, and the rest of the team visited a village affected by recent mudslides and ministered to the homeless. God is LOVE and no-one is unloveable to Him! He can break through to the most hurt, abused or hardest heart!


I will be back in Australia from 23rd December until at least the end of January. This will be an awesome time for me to catch up with Family, with Friends, with all of you!! I will be making myself available to share stories/news of what has been happening in the nations - South-East Asia, Mozambique, North and Central America. So please let me know if you would like to have me share in a group situation.

Many, many hugs and blessings!!!

I pray MORE for you!!! Of everything that He has! and that this month and a bit leading up to Christmas would be a time of deep GROWTH and INTIMACY with the Lord!

lots of love


Sunday, November 13, 2011

San Salvador

- This place makes my spirit come alive!
- There are 23 volcanoes in El Salvador
- We can see some from San Salvador, where we are
- There were 8 gang shootings in the past week, just in the neighbourhood where we ministered this morning
- Lots of the kids we were with today have parents in jail
- Wendy's in San Salvador is way more than just ice cream! (Australia) It's burgers and salads and more too!
- We must have passed at least 5 burger kings, KFCs, Chilis, Maccas (McDonalds for you Americans), we even saw a Starbucks sign!
- This feels most like the west out of anywhere else we've been, apart from the barbed wire mounted on top of every fence, the double locked doors and the insistence on having the outer door closed AND padlocked at all times. 
- We can tell it's almost Christmas here, from the christmas trees, and the nativity scene on the roundabout
- Border crossing was safe, but one of our team members got taken away by a government officer!
- We got hot showers last night! and each person got a bed to themselves! and there are sheets!! (as opposed to sleeping in my sleeping bag every night whether hot or cold)
- No mosquitoes here thank you Jesus!
- They use US currency
- You can get a 500ml coke for 60c!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adventures in the Night, and salvations on the side of the road...

The Itza People

We visited the Itza people last Thursday 3rd November. Jesse and Christian had already gone to scout out the village earlier. They asked to speak to someone who still spoke Itza and were introduced to one of the last men who spoke the language. He is now the person in charge of a group trying to bring back more of the culture and language to the younger generation. He had a table set up in his house with bowls in it and when they asked what it was, he said it was sacrifices to the same winged god that they sacrificed to in ancient times. However obviously they weren’t human sacrifices anymore..!

Jesse and Christian were able to share the whole gospel with this man, who softened toward them as he realised they weren’t there to push anything on to him, just to share what we believe and to love on the people.

When we went back as a group later, we visited this man first, all 21 of us (a couple of us didn’t go house to house) squeezed into his living room. As we visited it started to pour rain so loud that we could hardly hear each other speak! The people there mostly have corrugated iron roofs so it made everything louder. When it lessened from a downpour to more of a steady medium rain, we got up and split into groups to go door to door.

My group visited a couple of elderly ladies in a house not too far from the first one. They both were healed (they warmed up to us more after they realised they were healed!), and one of them then asked us to come with her to see her daughter’s family, as her daughter needed prayer. So we walked up the hill around the corner to another house. One daughter had been in pain since having her most recent child. Her head was in pain and part of her back. We all felt a sudden increase of faith as we laid hands on her, and when talking about it later discovered we all felt a strong sense of burning fire on our hands. As we prayed we literally felt the Lord working as the pain left her head, left her back and she also told us that her chest had been in pain too and that it too was pain free! She was evidently happy about this and then asked us to pray for her son, who was very destructive and would constantly grab things and break them (he actually was in the process of breaking something as we came in the door). They then grabbed another daughter (of the elder woman) who had been bleeding non stop for 20 days. We prayed for her and loved on her, and shared the story of the woman with the issue of blood. She became very joyful as we prayed and we laughed together as God’s presence came. We are believing for total healing.

Yes, they are pigs. And a chicken.

The Itza leader's back porch. Corrugated Iron is the norm for roofs.

Steep road down to the lake! We are camped on the other side. About 1/2 hour away.

Halfway Across Guatemala in 1st Gear!
Earlier on as we were travelling into Guatemala, the transmission on Shekinah, one of our 4WDs completely failed. We hitched the camper to the small RV and then towed Shekinah behind Open Heaven (the big RV) to a mechanic, the only transmission specialist in the area. We were told that he didn’t have any parts in Guatemala and we should go look back in Belize. So Jesse and Christian got a lift back to the border (1/2 hour away) and checked in every mechanic in Belize, but to no avail. We figured we would have to buy new parts from the US and get them shipped to us, a cost of at least $1800. However the mechanic then said that he found some 2nd hand parts in Guatemala City and was able to fix Shekinah for us for $600. We were so overjoyed and happy at this news!

So on Friday we received Shekinah back and on Saturday, started to head closer to the border. However about one hour into the journey, Shekinah again lost all her gears except for first. We called the mechanic who refused to come help us. So we kept driving, praying all the way and camped the night at another lakeside. We decided to sleep overnight asking the Lord to speak to us what to do and in the morning as we worshipped, a few people got the words to “Go slow”, to keep on going with the original plan for driving and that God wanted to amaze us. So we headed off again at 10am, going 30 miles an hour (about 50km) as our highest speed. We drove trying not to stop too much as we had heard it was dangerous to be on the road in this country after dark.

Where we stayed overnight
The family owners of the park
Zoe showing off her shell :)
Sunset on the lake         

Following the GPS’s instructions as well as a road map we had bought at the border, we found ourselves suddenly on a dirt road in a town where the road became just too narrow for our vehicles to even pass! Backing up 2 RVs, 2 4WDs pulling campers and a station wagon is no easy feat but we managed it, and were directed by several locals to turn down another dirt road where they said the next town “El Cho” was straight through only an hour away and from there an easy drive to where we wanted to go. It was just starting to get dark so we figured we would go down that road, and either stay in El Cho or continue on.

On the Road again - poverty is normal here

Dirt road village... just before our "1 hour" drive!

Yes! Straight through! El Cho! Only an hour!

The dirt road soon turned into steep 4WD trails on the edge of cliffs, however it would be impossible to turn around as they were only just big enough for one car at a time. It was so steep that we had to keep stopping to let Shekinah have a break, as the transmission heat light kept coming on. However Open Heaven the big RV was just behind us and would not be able to stop as we could. So we drove further apart and finally took a left fork which took us onto the original road on the GPS. We waited for the other vehicles to arrive but no one came. So Ted got out and walked back to find out what was happening. He took my pink headlamp with him (thanks Katie!), which we thought was quite funny. Visions of jaguars jumping through the windows filled our heads as we were still in jungle and knew that jaguars only come out at night! Christian was in the front seat and keep jumping and going “AHH! Did you hear that?? What was that sound?” He has a habit of loving to scare us. So we mainly didn’t get scared. But we did hear a swarm of bees somewhere which we felt safe from as they wouldn’t be flying at night.

Eventually Ted came back after at least 20 minutes saying that the boys station wagon had overheated and they were all back there. Jesse and Ben then came running up saying they had walked all the way from the other vehicles and been chased by many dogs. Also the other camper had started to slide off the cliff they all had to struggle to pull it back. We unhooked our camper from Shekinah and drove to a place where we could turn around, to go back and get the other vehicles as the dogs were too dangerous for the guys to go back. It was quite funny and felt like a movie as we first found Open Heaven (filled with some of the girls and Zoe) and the Buick wagon (closed and abandoned) in the dark, and later found the other two vehicles way back down the road. We were able to lead them up the hill to the others, and found out from some passing locals that El Cho was now only 40 minutes away. We decided to keep on going as they said the road was paved beyond El Cho.

We ended up driving another 4 hours, sometimes driving where there were steep drops on both sides of the road and sometimes having to pass other trucks (utes for the Aussies!), mostly which were police vehicles loaded with soldiers and other people. It was election day in Guatemala so we figured they were carrying all the ballots. At one point we had to drive through mud and water past another steep drop, we went first, then Open Heaven came next. As Open Heaven went through the mud the sewage pipes broke off, spewing sewage all over the road! The people stuck behind it smelt the full power of the fumes and then had to drive through it… Needless to say there is now no usable toilet in Open Heaven, unless you want it to go straight on the road!

We arrived in El Cho as everyone was partying and drunk after the elections, and found a hotel to park in – some got rooms with showers roaches while a few of us stayed in the RVs. We went to bed with the sounds of partying and some gunfire, glad to finally get to sleep and full of joy that we had made it and that the roads were meant to be better from then on…

"God Is Here"

Struggling up the steep 4WD roads

The roads WERE better after El Cho!

Once again, Gorgeous scenery :)

Building a better bridge
As we were stopped on the side of the road, waiting for the others to cross a bridge, this drunk man comes to our window to talk to Christian...

After some honest talking about Jesus, they receive Him into their hearts :)

We left them with Spanish "Nuevo Testamento" bibles

Currently we are staying in the driveway of a special needs orphanage here in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Yes, the roads were better since El Cho J We ended up here as Christian has a friend who is part of a team called the “World Racers”, who take one year and spend one month in each country in one place. We arrived on Tuesday, they left Wednesday afternoon to Honduras (later they will be in Asia) and now we are still here, waiting for our transmission to be fixed by another mechanic.

The kids here are gorgeous. Even as I write I can hear the sound of them singing to Jesus, led by Daniel, who is one of the older kids and can speak some English. There are 5 girls and 5 boys and they are very sweet and so filled with joy! There are 4 Guatemalan nannies who work 2 day shifts and other nationals who help out. There is also an American family in the area who have 10 children. They are helping out in this orphanage until their paperwork goes through to start a similar orphanage in another town not too far away. I met three of the girls who were teaching the orphans simple ballet. Families doing missions together so inspire me!

This may be disgusting, but yes, we have a lice outbreak... (not me though thank you Jesus!)

Candy and a friend look on...

Crazy gringo's wearing plastic bags on their heads!

Goldie, the perfect dog to be a part of this precious family of children...

There is a mall here about 15-20 mins walk (about the size of a small shopping centre in Australia) and it has a movie theatre. ! We watched the 3 musketeers the other night for 20 Quetzales each (under $3)! God spoke to me through it as he reminded me about the part of my call to raise up the next generation to be spiritual warriors and also raise them up in all boldness courage, honour and nobility. Knowing whose sons they are (and daughters) and knowing that their lives are for the kingdom… also for the King and the enjoyment of Him J It made my eyes tear up as there is a major part of me that is really looking forward to having a home, to putting down roots again and to start long-term investing into children and young people. They have no Junior Holy Spirit – they have the same God that us adults have and I long to see the schools of this nation (whatever nation I end up in) and the streets of these nations completely turned upside down as heaven invades through their lives. Young people long for a cause to live for, to fight for and the cause of Jesus is the only thing that will satisfy.

Thank you so, so much each of you who are praying and to those of you who have given.

Please continue to pray for financial provision for the rest of my time here. I am flying back to Australia for Christmas with my family, as God provided through my tax return for my ticket home J I will also be going to Melbourne for at least a couple of weeks to get my things together that are spread throughout several peoples houses and garages! I will be taking it back up to Brisbane to store in my parents house as I don’t anticipate coming back to live in Australia for a while yet. Pray also for clear direction on when to rejoin the team, possibly in Peru at the end of January or later.

In Mozambique during the Harvest Missions School, the Lord asked me to lay down every dream I had ever had for my life and also every dream that He had ever given me. Because of I laid that down, I am now here in Guatemala living the life that He chose for me (way better than I could have ever dreamed!). It has been hard sometimes consistently being on the move. Living out of my hiking pack and duffel is also not always the most fun thing – things tend to get lost and be found sometimes weeks later! However I am in the best place that I can be – in the arms of my Jesus. In His presence is fullness of JOY! I choose to embrace the journey – the good times as well as the more challenging ones. I find that I end up laughing and rejoicing at the most intense times! He said to Rejoice ALWAYS, and when I have been living intimately with God it does tend to be that way! I embrace the cup of suffering and the cup of joy and am looking forward even more to everything that is coming!

Thank you Jesus, for loving me.
I pray you encounter Him in even deeper ways today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dangerous Challenges Teaching Us Trust - Jesse

The only transmission mechanic specialist in the whole northern area of Guatemala was able to go find the parts needed to rebuild our transmission. After waiting a week for the repairs we were finally ready to move on to our next destination in Guatemala, an orphanage in a city a day’s drive south of us. After fifty miles our rebuilt transmission went out and only first gear continued working. We called the mechanic who refused to come down and help sort out why his work didn’t work. So with no other options we continued for hundreds of miles in first gear with our caravan of five vehicles and campers. We camped the first night on the way and continued our journey all the following day as well. That evening as we entered a small remote town on the way people gave us directions and we figured that by the map we would make it soon and not have to drive too much at night which we have been frequently warned against here in Guatemala. We soon found ourselves on a small bumpy dirt road climbing mountains. We hoped the roads would turn better but it only got continuously worse for hours into the night. Roads worse than any Africa jungle track we’ve experienced being visited by our two RV’s, SUVs’ pulling tent trailers, and a low riding Buick station wagon.

On the way up this first narrow steep rocky mountain passage one of the trailer tires popped and was wrecked twisted underneath and off the rim. There was no other spare, this was the spare, and the other one had already popped earlier that day. There was no way to turn around, there were not many options other than to pull it on its rim or leave it behind. Ben and I ran up to the vehicles waiting about ¾ miles ahead to get help and tools. Many crazed dogs jumped out from the bushes and chased us the whole way. We threw rocks, even a tire iron but it seemed there were not enough rocks. As we ran up this mountain with dogs barking and growling at our heals every time I turned my head back all we saw was dozens of glowing eyes right behind us from the glare of my head lamp. When we unhitched the other camper to have the Durango taxi us back because the dogs, Taylor and Victor had miraculously fixed the tire. They had found a rock to beat the rim back into shape and some string to tighten the broken tire to the rim and with a can of fix a flat and our small compressor had the trailer ready to go again. I wanted to turn back seeing how it was constantly getting worse and then one young man passing by said it was only forty minutes further to the next small town. . Many hours later we realized he was wrong.

We winded back and forth up and down steep mountain slopes. The road was often muddy and slippery on the edge of high steep cliffs. The drivers had to stay very alert especially because of many areas where the road had fallen off as a landslide over the cliff. Sometimes the danger was so high because of drop offs on both sides of the road that I even had all the passengers exit the motor home and walk and I drove solo because of high chance of vehicle plummeting over the edge. We noticed that the rear vehicles had stopped again and I got out walking back to them. Just then Gillian comes running up the mountain towards us shouting, “Come quick! The vehicle is falling off a cliff.” We ran down to find that the Suburban pulling a tent trailer was on the edge of a cliff stuck with the soft edge breaking away underneath. With all the manpower we could muster we tried to push the vehicle forward and back onto the road but the tires just spun sending the vehicle nearer to no return. We unhooked the trailer and were able to get the vehicle along back on the road and then with everyone working together we lifted the trailer and pushed it up a steep hill to where we could find traction and reconnect it. We were successful; How? I honestly don’t know.

It was in the middle of the night and we didn’t think we could endure anymore but locals warned us not to stay the night in those mountains because it was not safe. Everything was flying everywhere in the motor homes and people got injured just by falling objects and falling down. The bottoms of the vehicles were hitting the bumps so often with no way to avoid it, not being able to stop in the muddy holes. We completely wrecked our sewage tank unrepairably meaning no working toilet in our RV unless we find new sewage tanks for sale somewhere. We finally arrived in the middle of the night surprised that we had made it and found a rundown hotel full of roaches and mildew. As soon as we had made it down the last steep mountain and entered into this old town the brakes in our motor home and the station wagon over heated and stopped working. If that had happened a few minutes earlier we wouldn’t be here writing the story. But God allowed it to happen once we arrived in this town to show us that He had been with us the whole time protecting us. We slept okay regardless of the gunfire and horns blowing, and other strange noises. In the midst of all the dangerous and stressful circumstances, most all of our team had great attitudes and joy.

We are overjoyed to be missionaries and these last couple days reminded us of many similar experiences around the world that we have had while carrying this Gospel to the darkest places. It is all worth it from eternity’s perspective! We are now at the orphanage making it by mid-afternoon on our third day of travel. We have a transmission mechanic coming tomorrow to look at the Durango. Pray he is better than the last one. We hope to be heading over the border to El Salvador within the next couple days. Please keep all of our team in your prayers.


Guatemala - taking back the land for Jesus

Written November 2nd, 2011

We are camped out here in Tikal, Guatemala by an absolutely GORGEOUS lake. We first drove to the National Park here but we were literally walking through swarms of bugs and getting stung by ants, so voted to try and find a different place. We grabbed a quick dinner first at a restaurant, then left in our convoy of vehicles to drive slowly through the town, looking for a sign someone had spotted earlier in the day to park by a lake. We stayed there two nights where children visited us until late in the night, then showed up again at 5am in the morning… One of the boys gave his life to Jesus, while another one behind him I’m pretty sure did as well as I could hear him praying along :)

We moved after two nights, to a hotel grounds just next to the field we were previously in. Here we get to use the toilets 24/7 (yay!) and once every few days one of us rents a room for $20 USD so that some of us can have a shower! Here we have to get used to going without showers days at a time. The lake is absolutely beautiful both to look at and to swim in. The clear water is not too cold and not too warm, completely perfect with small waves and little fish that like to nibble when we stay still enough (Which isn’t actually that still)! I heard that there’s crocodiles, but only further out in the lake!

Maria explaining Jesus to Mario
Camped out by Lake Peten
Our vehicles are just beyond the edge of this pool

Three days ago we visited the biggest preserved city of Mayan Ruins in all of Latin America. We climbed up the highest temple ruin and took communion, trading the blood of Jesus Christ for peace and freedom in the land. We broke the power of the ancient curses brought about by many human sacrifices centuries ago, and as we finished praying and worshipping the sun came out for the first time all day, bathing us in glorious light. We all felt the atmosphere shift as we lifted up praise and declared the power and truth of Jesus’ blood sacrifice. This land belongs to Jesus! As team leader Christian Jung put it:

“Mark 3:27 says, "No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house." Our call as Christ's followers is to take His gospel and to further His Kingdom throughout the every nation. I truly believe that the demonic strong man that has caused Guatemala, El Salvador and other Central and South American countries to be some of the most dangerous places on earth was bound today by a simple act of obedience on behalf of God's sons and daughters. Now it's time to plunder his goods.”

Communion with Tortillas and Gatorade

Communion on Temple IV
Through the jungle!

Later this week we will be visiting two different villages of the Itza people. They are Jesus' lost Itza bride! They are descendants of the ancient Mayan people and there are less than 2000 of them left. God is not willing that any should perish. Father would you fill us with YOUR love and YOUR heart for your cherished ones!

Guatemala is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been on this earth. This is surely meant to be a place to encounter Jesus and that shows off his glory.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Embracing the Challenges in Missions - Christian Jung

Taken from the Iris Latin America blog

Remate, Guatemala
Friday, October 28, 2011
Embracing the Challenges in Missions
It’s not often that I talk about the challenges that we face as missionaries on blog posts, mostly because of a heavenly perspective that has been cultivated in my life throughout the years as a missionary due to the grace of God…it’s a perspective that gives the victories that we experience the spotlight and that causes the challenges that we experience to be left in the shadows. Mama Heidi talks about drinking from the cup of joy AND the cup of suffering. So today I think I’ll share a little bit about some of these challenges that we’ve been facing lately, and how we choose to embrace these challenges simply because we choose to embrace the entire journey and all that it entails.
I have had my share of mosquito bites throughout the years but Latin America wins the award for the longest lasting, most itchy mosquito and gnat bites I’ve ever had. When we were in the mountains of Nayarit, Mexico, we slept outdoors for a couple of nights on potato sack cots. The first night that we slept outdoors there, I got bit throughout the night by gnats that literally paralyzed parts of my body. Some of them bit my on the face and the mouth so badly that I couldn’t feel my lips. It was so bad that I went into the RV in the middle of the night to take some Benadryl in hopes that the swelling would go down by morning. In Dangriga, Belize I was bitten by tiny mosquitoes all over my body, but especially on my ankles. These mosquitoes would leave a little hole in your skin where you can see the blood. Most mosquito bites go away after a day or so, at least when I get bitten by them. Not these bites. They literally lasted a week and in the middle of the night I would be up for hours scratching these bites almost uncontrollably. They were so itchy and annoying. We also heard that some of the mosquitoes where we have been carry Dengue Fever, but none of us experienced any symptoms. Speaking of bugs, Jesse and I drove right through an entire swarm of honey bees in Belize that covered our entire windshield. It was a miracle that none of the bees entered the driver’s side and passenger’s side windows which were open…and many of you know about my fear of bees. Uhhhh-uhhhhh!
We’ve also experienced some fairly major difficulties with our vehicles on this journey. Before we ever even left the U.S. for Latin America we had to do some major work on almost all of the vehicles that we purchased. Then when driving through the mountains coming out of Oaxaca, Mexico, our Ford Camper Van that we named, “New Wine” blew a transmission seal just as we pulled into a gas station to fuel up. That cost us a few days and some money to repair it. That van also seems to have problems with the radiator hose as every now and then it pops off of the radiator and looses all of its’ coolant. Just yesterday we entered Guatemala from Belize and our Dodge Durango that we named “Shekinah” lost all of the gears on its’ transmission. We hooked up a tow cable that we purchased right before leaving the U.S. and towed it to a mechanic near Tikal where we were heading. He called the only transmission mechanic in the area who met us the following morning. We were told that there would be the parts that we would need back in Belize, either at Matus Auto Parts or in Spanish Lookout where the German Mennonites live. So Jesse and I were driven 100 kilometers all the way back to the border, re-entered Belize, found the auto parts store and then called every auto parts store in all of Belize, including the Mennonites to no avail. No one in the entire country of Belize has the transmission that we need, new OR secondhand. So we traveled back to the border, re-entered Guatemala and got a ride in the back of a pick-up truck back to Temate where the rest of our team was waiting. Now our only option is to purchase a transmission from the U.S. and have it shipped to the mechanic’s shop here in Guatemala which will take seven business days (or a week and a half). We figure the transmission will cost us $1,800 plus shipping costs. The funny thing is that we don’t have the money for it! We are already over-budget on team travel costs due to these unexpected challenges. And now we will be even further behind on our schedule as we have ministries waiting for us and other team members flying in to other Central American countries to meet us. So what should we do in this situation? Stress out? Throw a pity-party? Heck no! We embrace the journey. We embrace the challenges. Our team will pray and worship together until we have financial breakthrough to get the parts we need. God called us to take this trip through all of Latin America and He is faithful to give us all that we need to complete it!
My most difficult challenge has been being away from my wife and children for so long. It is going on two months of being apart from them. I miss them like crazy. I know I will be returning back to the U.S. to be with them soon, which is comforting. But it is only by God’s grace that we can embrace such challenges as these. Jesus laid down His life that others would find eternal life through Him. The missionaries of old encountered far more difficulties than I have ever faced in order that entire people groups would hear the good news of salvation. We must be willing to count the cost and lay down our lives for the sake of the gospel as well. I need to even be willing to give up my life so that one more person can enter heaven…all for the sake of love. Love enables us to drink from both the cup of joy and the cup of suffering as missionaries.
Our team is now camped out on a beach next to a lake where we are staying for free. It is near some ancient Mayan ruins in Tikal which we want to visit tomorrow. There are signs everywhere warning us about jaguars and crocodiles. What an adventure! We don’t know what each day holds for us…which is super-exciting! Last night some of our team led a Guatemalan boy to Jesus. The children come and visit us at our campers near the lake. Please pray for us as we continue to bring revival fire through Latin America. Bless you all!
Christian Jung