Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More Than Enough-Fiesta Update

Out of any event I have ever done, out of any outreach and out of any of the dangerous places I have been, this past weekend was the first time I have never felt any kind of fear.

I had an amazing team with me this week. A huge THANK YOU goes out to my staff; Laura, Anita and Viviana! You girls rock and are simply amazing. It is a beautiful privilege to serve with you. Secondly, two awesome girls from our home church, Brittany and Erin! Thank you girls, I was blessed by how you jumped in and did not let the language barrier discourage you. Thirdly, Michele (who drove) and Elizabeth (who filmed) joined us on our journey up to the border. You ladies were such a huge help and sincere source of encouragement. It was a privilege to know you and work with you this past weekend, I look forward to more adventures. Lastly, a thank you to Helen and Xiomara from New Image in Managua, Nicaragua. These girls joined us for the whole weekend and completed the LightForce team. I am so grateful!

The fiesta was amazing and I am so thrilled at how easy God made the whole thing feel. Saturday, I felt an incredible amount of peace. We committed the day to God and so whatever happened our hearts trusted. Between the women, children, our team and a local pastor with his youth group there were SO MANY PEOPLE at our event. However we somehow had food left over! I was amazed. The games were a hit, of course the pinata and the dramas performed by the youth group were some of the best I have ever seen. Everything that encompassed the night was above and beyond my expectations. One women told us that she never had a childhood and so that was the most fun she had ever had in her whole life. You see it is our belief and heart that you go out for the one. It is not about numbers that mark a success rate. It is easy to feel that pressure but yet I refuse to feel that expectation. Jesus said He leaves the 99 for the one and so that is the example set before us. Although, we do get a lot of women and young girls at our events sometimes, it never matters. One heart that changes is always enough. In a year and a half of this ministry I have never encountered the amount of favor as we did this weekend. God is the God of above and beyond. Every single facet held so much favor, joy and peace and yet we were in some of the most dangerous areas. Only God can make the scariest, darkest place be a place of fun and light. I know these principles about His kingdom and yet I am always so amazed when He does it.

Tomorrow Brittany, Laura and I will head out on the bus, once again, to Nicaragua. Thursday is our fiesta for the children near the brothel areas and whose mothers are drug addicts and often they are left all alone at home all day. Many of these children do not go to school. These are the little ones who are at great risk for tragic situations if they are not already in one. So we will have games, candy and a pinata! The most exciting thing about this day is that the event will be held in our new house we are now proud to have close to a rural area. A person pledged to pay the rent for our house, the lawyer waived the fees when we signed for the house and women from the border are already calling to sign up for classes. God is amazing!

Friday we will host our final fiesta in Managua. This is our biggest one for children, so far we have 225 of some of the poorest kids signed up and I have to admit anything with kids is my favorite! Whew, it will be wild for sure! LightForce is hosting the events and paying for the food but a wonderful family in the States personally paid for all the toys and gifts! These are some children that are at risk for prostitution, so please pray that God will give us wisdom and that they will know that God loves them.

We are all a little weary so pray God strengthens us for the final events!

There are still so many stories and situations that for security purposes I am unable to blog about. However, please continue to pray for us here in Central America. God has been opening up such amazing opportunities. The danger has increased some but also favor and protection has as well. People like you who read this and pray, make it all possible. I saw the evidence of your prayers for us this past week. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Check back soon for more updates from this week's events!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

God of the nations, God of the peoples and God of the Fiesta

One of my prayers everyday for the last eights months has been that Jesus would be Lord of my day, Lord of my moments and Lord of my choices. One thing I have learned in the last year and a half was to depend on God for absolutely everything. Everything is His and everything He holds in his hands. His is God. I wish I had learned this prinicple before I was sent to work in such dark areas. However God has used this ministry and situations we encounter to teach me utter and total dependance on Him.

Thursday night a team of us went out into the red light districts of San Jose passing out coffee and cookies. The night was unusually chilly for Costa Rica and so the hot coffee was a welcomed treat by many of the women out working. We were such dangerous places and yet somehow I felt at home talking with the women, hugging them, praying for them and just being with them. Strange how I could be comfortable I know but yet it's true.

Friday morning six of us loaded up in Michele's van and headed out onto the open road to the border. The weather everyday for the last two weeks has been unusually cool and rainy but not this day. We had and have had amazing clear skies and warm weather. It has been beautiful. We arrived in time to freshen up, check into a hotel and then head back out to the border. We all met up with Anita who brought a small team to help. We stood inside the area where the fiesta was to be held and prayed. I can't tell you the depth my heart was blessed by the sound of 9 women praying and worshiping in the dark. Darkness all around us spiritually and physically and yet we were full of joy and anticipation. We then divided into two teams and passed out invitations all around the border.
We were given incredible amount of favor with all the police and government officials. Several of the women and children remembered us from last year and were looking forward to the Fiesta. God is so good. We came back to our hotel that night tired, dusty, sweating and so elated and what God had done with just 9 women inside a border.

Today is the big day and one I have been looking forward to all year. Today is our annual Fiesta! We have been wrapping gifts and preparing for this event all afternoon. So much work goes into this fiesta and I could not have done it without the amazing team of people God has placed around me for the event. Thank you to all of you who continue to lift us up in prayer.

Please pray, pray, pray for tonight's event. It is dangerous and we ask for protection and continued favor. We know our light will shine as it already has thus far.

God Bless,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Adventures of LightForce's Angels

"Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee."
Saint Augustine
When I do not center my heart on Jesus, often the wickedness that takes place all around me can be so loud that I can feel as if I am drowning by the noise. The noise lashes out at me testing my faith and yet my heart still clings to the fact that God alone can rescue, God alone can save and God is good. I have come to learn that my heart is not quiet until it rests on the knowledge of God. There is a difference between a silent heart and a quiet heart. Knowing that difference has kept me steadfast in fighting even when I have not seen results. 

I was only living in Costa Rica for a few months when I discovered that God wanted to share with me the stories of thousands of sexually exploited women and children. These children are hidden by older prostitutes and work primarily at night.  We began inviting the women and children to our rescue fiestas, and – against tradition – they come.

As I sit here writing, tears come to my eyes on the thought of how a year ago I set out to work in an area no one wanted. I was scared and nervous and had no clue what I was doing, in many ways I still don't know what I am doing! Only by God's amazing grace could I continue. I often wondered when I began this ministry over a year ago if I would truly stick it out. However, my fear of God and my desire to honor Him as Lord of my life was greater than my fear of failure. I am so grateful for a God who not only fights for these women and children but that He fights for me too.

This coming weekend marks one year of LightForce International's outreaches to women and children who are sexually exploited. I am going to do my best to keep a little log on here of our weekend. 

Tonight we will go out into the streets and red light districts to give coffee and cookies to women who work in prostitution. These outreaches are designed to be a source of light in a very dark and oppressive industry. We take opportunities to talk to the women, sharing the gospel and offering a chance for hope and change.
On Saturday December 4, we will hold our annual Christmas Fiesta. The outreach is held four hours away from the city. So on Friday our little team out of San Jose will load up into a van and head out on the highway! Road trip! 

Friday night we will head out into the area our fiesta is to be held and pass out fliers inviting women, young girls and children to come. This is often an intense and instrumental part of our outreaches so we ask for all of those reading to please be in prayer for us.
To help our staff at LightForce pull off this event, is an amazing host of volunteers! Yesterday, we picked up Erin and Brittany from the airport. These girls are some of our church family and they came all the way to down to help and serve. Accompanying us on our four hour road trip will be our friends who are missionaries here in Costa Rica, Michele and Elizabeth.
Saturday is the big event and our biggest outreach of the year. We ask for prayers!!! Lots of them!!!
Here is how you can partner with us in prayer:
Pray for our safety spiritually and physically.
Pray that women would come.
Pray that on Saturday night December 4th, 2010 that the night would shine like the day just as Pslams 139 proclaims. 
Please help us out by re-posting our prayer requests and updates. Help LightForce get the word out and get as many saints around to be praying on behalf of these women who God loves and desires to rescue. Together we can make a difference and it starts by prayer.