Joy to the World

Merry Christmas Faith Friends. This past year has truly been amazing with all that the Lord has done through us and in me.

Each time I’ve gone out into the nations, I’m further humbled by this gracious privilege of what I get to do ~ giving to all who I encounter the best gift ever given ~ JESUS!!!
We are freely dispensing the love of God to others ~ to touch their hearts and change their lives ~ starting by securing eternal life in heaven. Truly bringing Joy to the world!!!
I’ve ran an amazing race these past 6 months that had me coming and going ~ with a week or two in between missions, many different time zones, and climate changes galore!!!!
I thank all of you for your prayer support as I’ve gone out ~ they have strengthened me, built me up and given encouragement. I’m grateful for you all.

I returned from my third trip to Burkina Faso, W. Africa last week. Again, thank you so much for your prayers while the team was there. Much was accomplished in the time we were in Burkina Faso.
The ministry schedule was so full that after just the first two days, I thought I’d been there a week. God’s grace was sufficient to carry us through. Processing all of the events has just started to take place.
I’ll do my best to paint the picture for you of this trip and again thank you for your prayers. The warfare was great, but we know that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimonies.
Over 1200 salvations and hundreds baptized in the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord for moving among the people.

First off, Burkina Faso is like no other place I’ve been in the world. There is such an overwhelming lack due to the curse in the land which is the result of them forsaking God for idols, witchcraft and other religions.
So many basic needs, including safe drinking water, are not available. The curse is so evident by the “dying” vegetation, as the curse is in the land and kills at the root… leaving the plants/trees/ vegetation to wither away. The Sahara desert is pushing southward and more of the land has been becoming barren. As we traveled from one village to another, I could not help but think, we have the key to stopping the curse (JESUS) and reversing the effects of what is happening in the land. It is what happened in Salago (the first village we went out to in 2002 & back in 2003 to see the land surrounding the village becoming green.) More people need to realize this and start reaching out to the lost and giving them the truth. It is the truth that has been revealed to me that compels me to go.

Ministering at the orphanages: 1500 orphans….and growing.
Thank you to all who gave toothbrushes, toothpaste, personal hygiene items, and clothes. We were able to demonstrate the Love of God in action by ministering to the needs of the widows and orphans ~ thus fulfilling James 1:28.
At the beginning of the year, the orphanages had a total of 800+ children. That number grew quickly in 2007. The orphanages are spread out across Burkina, but are ran by one individual who himself was an orphan.
Many children end up with out a father (leaving widows & orphans) or have no parents as a result of Malaria, Tribal wars and Aids. For the women who’ve lost their husbands, in the culture there, if a husband dies, no matter the cause, it is the woman’s fault. She’s stripped of everything, cut off from any support and put out with the children. These children are also considered orphans.
The children are also exploited and abused in ways that make one shudder. It grieves my heart.

We carried over many clothes that were donated… Some came from my former retail partners who donated all the merchant and advertising samples… While others came from generous donors who cleaned out clearance racks at Target and other places. Both of these avenues were used by God to let the children know they are special to Him. All said, we clothed approximately 400-500 children ~ Complete outfits…. The director of the orphanage was just stunned as he looked at the clothes… with tears in his eyes, he stated, “NO ONE ever gives new clothes, These children have never had something new in their lives.” Made me stop and appreciate all that I have and stand so grateful for being used of the Lord to touch the hearts of the children. I say, I’m the blessed one who gets to see the faces of the children when they receive the toys, toothbrushes, clothes and other items. But to those who gave, Thank you on behalf of the children. Your reward will be great…..

Going Camping…to the bush we go….
As you know, this has been a wonderful transformation for me as I’ve followed the dream God put in my heart.. to reach the lost…. On each trip, He takes me to places I never thought I’d go.
Honestly now…. This was my first real “camping” trip. Trip 1 to Africa, Air France left all the bags on the tarmac in Paris, so no Gear to stay in the bush made it over, trip 2 to Africa, we stayed in a “motel”, all accommodations were simple, but not “bush” . All my other trips the same… I’ve done remote islands… they had “houses” and structures, but I’ve not really had to “camp”. This was a first…. I’m thankful to the Holy Spirit who prompted me to buy my “bed roll” mat to sleep on, sleep sack and mosquito net. It was that prompting that prepared me, even though we did not know that we’d stay in the bush.

There is so much humor in missions…. Some of what I’ve experienced is priceless as we’ve gone into cultures. For this trip, it was sleep performance anxiety. What, you may ask is “Sleep performance anxiety?” Well it is 200 pairs of eyes watching as we tried to go to sleep…. Many of the people in this village had never seen a white person before, so they watched us…. Funny to look up and see all these eyes “watching” you sleep….

This particular village was in the northern part of the country. It is a place where the land changes over to desert and the sand changes from red to a golden color from sun bleaching. It is a place where the truth has been absent and many forms of abuse are so great. To rape and abuse children was normal……to use children as slaves (labor, sex and militia). Many of the people struggle with the oppression/depression that comes from being abused. They may not “know” that it is wrong, but their spirit knows it is not right. Many children are withdrawn and have no “hope” for a future. They don’t understand where these feelings of despair come from. They just go through the motions. It is inconceivable to many that people live in these conditions…. Here was a place where to beat your wife and children into submission was normal… Hard to believe and even harder to see.
We ministered to a lady whom the Lord revealed to us that her condition was not the result of a sickness or disease; rather, she suffered years of physical abuse from her husband that left her deaf, unable to speak and in need of “crutches” to walk (really sticks fashioned into a makeshift set of crutches). It was what the Lord revealed and then confirmed as we were ministering and was confirmed later through another person. The Love of God overwhelmed us as He touched her body and healed her wounds. She was so grateful that we came… even more grateful that we gave her Jesus and she could experience true “Love.”

I had a conversation with someone who asked me the necessity of having the Lord. She told me she was a good person and did things that were good. That having God did not make a person good. She herself did not believe in God and was a good person. She thought it was a really good point until she realized that her foundation came from learning right and wrong in the church. In this nation, to steal was wrong, to harm a child is wrong, to rape is wrong, to abuse is wrong, and to kill was wrong. In some of the villages we went to, sin and iniquity were so great, that things that were wrong were normal and “right”. It was born out of not knowing “Love” (Jesus) and the source of “Love”, God.

Ministering to the villages…..
Teaching in the morning… Evangelizing in the afternoon… and an invitation to the Cinema for the evening.
First was to teach the church members and minister to the children. Second was to go out into the villages with an interpreter and share the good news and invite others to come and watch a movie at night.
Ministry is so wonderful. Much of it began with the children in song and dance. We also brought soccer balls and bubbles to play. Yes, bubbles, it is something that the children become fascinated with as they have never seen a bubble before. Our last village, Pastor Jan and myself were assigned to minister to the children. It started out with 25, but quickly grew to 100 children. We played and distributed candies (bon-bons). After sharing with the children about Jesus, I asked them if they had any questions for me…. OK… here they come!!! Question 1: Why are you so different from us. You’re kidding, that blond hair, blue eyes, and white skin stands out?????
I was able to share that God created each one of us. All of us were different. That no two of us are the same. For God used the dirt of the earth to create man. There are 5 colors of dirt in the earth: Black, Brown, White, Yellow and Red. I just had more white dirt, but showed them my black freckles and told them that really, I was black. We had a young girl of Hispanic descent on the team, she is brown ~ when you lined us up, you saw the color spectrum from white to black. I told them that if they came to America, they would see people of all colors, and we all look different but were created by the same Loving God. To wrap it up, I told them if any of them wanted a hug, I’d give them one. I had over 100 takers. It is something that is priceless to them for two reasons, 1. Affection is not shown often in the nation. 2. I’m a white person (a Nasala), and that is something that just does not happen. It is one of the greatest joys I get from ministering to the children ~ Dispensing hugs and praying over the children.

Going to the “outdoor” movie theater (a walk, bike or moped in ~ instead of drive in).
OK… folks, this is really really wonderful…. Many of you have heard about how the nations are being reached with a showing of the Jesus film in native languages. Another wonderful movie is
l’Espoir (The hope). It is a tour of the bible starting with creation up to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. That was the feature film that we showed. As teams would go out and evangelize or minister to children, a crew would be setting up a projection screen. It starts to get dark at approx 6:00pm and when I say dark, I mean BLACK… there is not much light return from cities out in the bush and villages, so it is black…. The evening events would start off with praise and worship music on the screen (MTV has competition), folks would come and by 7:00pm we’d start the feature film. At the point of resurrection, an invitation to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior was given. Many answered the call of the Spirit of the Lord…. In a Muslim nation…. God reaches to touch all the hearts of the people. I stood looking up at a jet black sky illuminated with millions of stars in awe. Here I was standing in Africa, out in the middle of nowhere, sharing the greatest gift ever given…. Jesus. As I stood after the invitation to receive Jesus, I looked up and realized how the shepherds felt when the Angel’s announced the arrival of the Savior…I believe that you will travel back to Africa with me as you close your eyes and sing this song. To me it is still resounding after 2000 years……

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

I’m humbled by the work I so graciously am privileged to do. I’m overwhelmed by the gift I get to give to all who I sent to. I’m thankful for all of you, for without your prayers and support, not as much would be accomplished.
Below is a photo collage, please print it off and pray over the children and people that you’ve touched in 2007.

Until then, My prayers over you are: For you to have the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones) (Eph. 1). For the Holy Spirit to give you the encouragement, boldness, and strength to step in the fullness of that plan.. For it is not by your power, by your might, but by the Spirit of the Lord that you will accomplish what He has planned for you. Lord, I thank you for all my Faith Friends who’ve prayed and supported me as they partnered with you to accomplish your plans and purposes. That they may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That they may really come] to know [practically, through experience for themselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that they may be filled [through all their being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! I ask that You, Father God, to overtake them with your Love and Blessings as we go into the year 2008. May they answer Your call to share the truth about You ~ the truth of Love.