Thursday night I returned from an 11 day mission trip to Honduras. It was a WONDERFUL trip and very intense for me. I am still working on gathering all of the miracles we saw in order to have them in one place, but it was beyond anything I could imagine. At the last service alone, 13 people had their sight restored! It was incredible to have the opportunity to minister with the PCF (Peachtree Christian Fellowship) team and pour God's love and power on the people of Honduras. There will be more to come, but I wanted to write about how the trip most affected me personally while it's all still fresh.
God definitely worked on my heart while I was there and I'm pretty sure He broke down anything left of myself that was getting in His way! For those of you who don't know, here's a quick recap of what God has been working in my life in the last 12 years. When I was 18, I first noticed that something was wrong with my body and since then, I've been seeing Doctor after Doctor in an effort to get well. It hasn't happened yet. I have some problems with my hormones that have been very challenging for me and frustrating to say the least. In the last couple of years, I've been extremely tired and in pain every day. It's become a normal setting for me, so I don't notice it as much as I did at first. I've been back and forth with Doctors and tests trying to figure it out. It's been an absolutely overwhelming experience. The week before I left for Honduras, I was visiting my chiropractor (a godly woman who prays over me and listens to the Holy Spirit) and she felt lead to check my thyroid. She felt a growth on it and immediately sent me to a new Doctor. 2 days later, I had an appointment with Coral Benge (another Godly woman who prays for her patients and listens to the Spirit) and she tested me for everything. So, going into this mission trip, I was tired and frustrated and just ready to be well. I've been seeking God in this matter for some time now and I believe that He is healing me and providing the path to healing for me. But, it hasn't borne any fruit yet, so I'm just waiting.
As I was praying in preparation for this trip and over the whole situation with my health, I believe the Lord spoke to me and said that He was going to heal me, but I needed to ask. For those of you who know me, you know that is no simple matter. I have a very difficult time asking for help. I like to be the one upon whom people lean...not the other way around! So, I wrestled with myself and my pride through the first days of the trip. I did talk to Sarah, one of the other leaders, and shared what was going on. But, I knew that God wanted me to ask for prayer myself and not rely on someone else asking for me. (But, I was secretly hoping that Sarah would take that step for me!)
A few days later, during some downtime between services, I was praying and listening to music in the camp dorm room. For a brief moment, I had a burst of courage and quickly spoke up to two of the translators/family members who were in the room with me. I told Dulce and Karla that I had to say something while I still had the courage. I told them that I needed them to pray for me and I quickly told them what was going on. I shared with them that I've been struggling with this for 12 years and I believe that it's the last thing to get in order before God releases me into ministry. Dulce said she thought she had heard from God that my health was standing in the way of the ministry God had for me, but she sort of dismissed it because I appeared to be healthy. God was preparing the way for me and making it so that others knew how to pray! These 2 precious sisters of mine spent time praying over me, sharing words of wisdom, and visions and words of prophecy the Lord gave them for me. It was a very sweet and tender time for me. One I would have missed if I hadn't spoken up. In fact, I'm holding tightly to one of the things Dulce said. She told me that she believed that God healed me the first time I asked but the answer had just been delayed (as Daniel's answer was delayed by the Prince of Persia Daniel 10:13). God reconfirmed the things they spoke in my own heart and in several other ways throughout the trip.
There was one day of this trip that will forever live in my memory. There is a remote village, Limirez, where we planned to go. But, it required a drive up into the mountains, across washed out roads, to as far as we could drive. After leaving the trucks in that village, we had a 2 hour hike ahead of us up into the mountains. Talking with Cristy Garrido (Cocoa Krispie), I knew that the hike was possibly more than I could physically handle. For 2 days before the hike, I prayed and asked God for a way out. I told Him that I would be obedient and would go if that's what He wanted, but I knew that He would have to provide the strength and the way. I never know from day to day how my energy is going to be or what I’m going to feel like. I didn't want to hold the team back or get into the middle of the hike and not be able to complete it. I begged for a way out. None came. So, I started with the team on the hike. It was the most intense and terrifying experience of my life. The climbs and descents were steep and I slid down a bit close to the beginning of the hike and hurt my hip. When we started back up the first part after making it down to the river, I got half way up and saw the swing bridge. That's when the panic attack hit. Now, not only was I unsure of the hike, but I am terrified of heights and bridges...especially bridges held by cables with broken boards! It's a long story, but in short, a combination of lack of strength, exhaustion, and panic made it nearly impossible for me to complete the hike. God provided a way for me to complete it and a team that loved me through it. But, it was an experience that broke me quite a bit. I completed the hike (with the help of a horse) and was able to participate with the team in the services in the village. And, I spent the entire day in prayer. (The horse ride was TERRIFYING!)
There were a few people who made the day bearable for me. First of all, Alan Winter stood in the place of what my Dad would have done if he had been there. He knows my situation and my heart and remembers when I would have been pressing towards the front of the pack. He never once made me feel bad about my limitations and just kept pushing me to keep going. He knew that it would have been devastating to me and to my spirit. He helped me and encouraged me the whole way up the mountain. (And, he stood beside me when I thought I was going to fall off the horse to my death!) We also had with us Jonathan, the son of the pastor in Hocon. He stayed with me and Alan as the team went ahead. He carried my pack, made sure I had water when I needed it and actually saved my life on the way down the mountain (that's a long but funny story!). They were my angels that day! And, the team was so wonderful and spoke words of encouragement. Meilly, Karla, and Dulce prayed over me when I couldn't get my spirit to settle down and when the fear was starting to take over. It was a humbling and intense experience. I owe them all so much!
Something interesting happened the next night. We were leading a service in Olanchito and Phil (The youth pastor at PCF) stood up and said we were going to explore something sensitive. He said we were going to wait on the Holy Spirit if that was ok. He asked if there was anyone who was struggling under the weight of abuse (sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, etc). He said, it's not your fault and I believe God wants to set you free from that tonight. He asked if people would stand for prayer. No one stood. He waited a while. He said he was going to wait on the Holy Spirit...and he just kept waiting. He asked for people to just raise their hands if they wanted prayer. He said he would pray for freedom where they sat. When he first began speaking, I knew in my heart he was speaking to me. I know that I have wrestled with the things that have been said to me by strangers, dirty old men and "friends". I've hidden because of it and thought it was my fault. But, I have also started wondering if something happened to me before I was old enough to remember or if I've blocked something out. Anyway, I FINALLY raised my hand and got Phil's attention. He waited a bit longer. And then, he did something completely unexpected. He SCREAMED, with everything in him, the name of JESUS! I had my eyes closed and was completely unprepared for it, but instead of startling me like it normally would have, it felt like it shed a skin off of me, just as a snake would shed a skin. But, it came off all at once. And my spirit felt lighter. I know God broke those chains that have had me bound for so long! And, the sweetest part of the evening was when I had the opportunity to pray for 3 other women who came up to the front. God allowed me to share HIS love with them and pour salve on their broken hearts in His name. It was really beautiful!
The next morning, Friday, we had our team meeting and spent some time praying over Dulce and Karla as they prepared to leave us the next day. When we were done praying over them, Sarah asked if I still wanted the team to pray for me. I told her I did and she asked me to share my story with the team. Through a lot of tears I shared my heart with the team and how much I wanted to be well enough to serve God the way He has called me. They all gathered around me and prayed and spoke words of encouragement and prophecy over me. Matt Yeager began playing a song in worship that has been resonating in my heart. It's by John Waller and the chorus is:
Our God reigns here
Our God reigns here
We claim this ground in Jesus' name 'cause our God reigns!
Our God reigns here
Our God reigns here
The battle's won, have no fear, God reigns here!
Another of the young men, Nolan, said he felt like we all just needed to yell "FREEDOM" at the top of our lungs. So, we did and it was powerful! I already feel a return of my energy and can sense that something is going on in my body. I truly believe God is healing me and restoring life, energy, and health to my body. I can't wait to see what He does!
This was just the story of my personal blessing and time with God on our trip to Honduras. There is more to come about what God did with the people there. I was so blessed to get to be part of that team. I feel as though God has knit together our hearts and I will never forget them. I miss them all so much and can't wait until God allows me to return to Honduras and minister again.
Thank you everyone for your prayers while I was away! It was an intense time. With other things that happened, including a possible coup, it was a challenging but wonderful time for me. Thank you for sharing in the ministry God has allowed for me and for being blessings in my life!