Friday, February 20, 2009
She misses me so much. Although during my time in Zimbabwe, I rarely miss America, I miss people all the time. I miss Grandma every day, she is my mom. She raised me. To not be able to pick up the phone and call her when I want to is hard. When I think of how much she misses me, my heart breaks, so I try not to.
She is only going to be here for 4 days, but I am so excited! She is finally going to get to meet my friends, my team and my church!
I hope you all get to meet her!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Last week I decided to extend my time in the States a little longer. I decided to spend an extra 16 days here because 2 of my favorite Zimbabweans are getting on a plane and coming to America for the first time. I am going to be their tour guide. I was excited and pleased to be spending some extra time here.
As many of you know, this was the first year I was excited to come back to the States. Never before did I want to leave Zim, even when I had been arrested. But this has been a very hard year and I was ready to rest and be loved on.
Yesterday I spoke with Asher and her mom and they decided that she would like to be in California for a month, rather than 2 weeks. I had to make a decision whether or not I would stay with her or leave her here with other friends. I prayed quickly and knew that God was saying I will stay.
My heart broke. I already agreed to an extra 16 days... not another 12??? UGH!!! My PLANS! MY HOMESICK HEART? ME, ME, ME, ME, ME!!!
After I got off the phone I broke down into tears. As I talked to God about it I heard clearly. "How have you gotten so confused? You know that you being in Zimbabwe isn't about YOU being in Zimbabwe. It's about helping to raise up the next generation of Zimbabweans to fulfill MY purpose. It's about ME."
Ugh, I don't like being wrong and I don't like being humbled. I like learning lessons easily, like from a book.
At least for today I am happy to be a part of His plan in a nation that is so special, with people that are so amazing.
Today, it is not about me.
P.S. A few hours after this lesson I went to the gym for a meeting about Keegan, the Zimbabean runner that is here and he is doing so well. This kid is on target for a scholarship and to run for Zimbabwe in the next Olympics. I am humbled by his obedience and faithfulness even in difficult times, another kid that we will help so that he can help change Zimbabwe. Wow I am blessed!
P.P.S. Asher got her visa...it's official: THEY ARE COMING!!!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
*Five million people - almost half population - need food aid
*Unemployment of 90%
*About 3,400 people killed in cholera outbreak
This is how the BBC described the State of Zimbabwe today, in an article talking about the swearing in of our new Prime Minister.
That is hardly the whole story, but even if it were, it is missing anything that could point to hope or the truth. The hope is not found in Morgan Tsvangirai, and more than the hope for America is found in Obama!
The hope is found in Jesus, the Truth is Jesus. Is has manifested itself in a population of His people who are resilient. A people who are survivors, who are victors...some live and some die, but all are victorious!
Let's not forget to pray for this nation and for her people, but especially for her leaders. Today I pray that both of these men will allow God in, make space for our Lord to guide their thoughts, words and actions.
I long for the day when my feet touch Zimbabwean soil again, but today I trust that the cry of my heart makes a bigger difference than my presence ever could!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Here are my new favorite groups, and a couple that you might know already!
After Edmund (I can't say enough about these guys, I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time... my stomach hurts and my cheeks are sore, I wish I could hang out with them every day and they have such a stage presence! Please buy their CD)
Sonic Flood (They are just so much fun to be around)
The Afters (check out their song Ocean Wide)
Fee: (Played my new favorite song second only to Taps' new song!)
This song is the cry of my heart after this amazing weekend!
And of course, Mercy Me.... now there are so many more great artists and I will probably put more up about them later..but for now I am going to bed! We have another busy day tomorrow and it is really late! Check out pictures on Facebook!
I danced the night away and as I was walking out a lady stopped me and said, "Did you have a good time?" and I said, "Oh yes, it was amazing!" and then she said, "I saw you dancing, you sure were blessed tonight, weren't you?"
Yes I was, isn't that the most amazing by-product of worship, we are so blessed!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I am at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention this weekend with our ROCK of Africa team. One of the highlights of this week for me is the day that I am here by myself, Friday for the Women in Christian Media’s convention! I get the honor of sitting around a room, in an intimate setting with some of the most powerful female voices in the kingdom.
Yesterday Kay Arthur and Thelma Wells spoke about holiness and our relationship with God. I love this, we get together as women who are in ministry and all the pretense is set aside, we check our ego at the door and we look at our hearts, this day fills me up and helps me prepare for what is coming. Ann Graham Lots spoke later that evening after being given an award for her service to the kingdom. She spoke on the urgency of the time and how the church is failing. She reminded us that we are the church. We are failing. She called us to fall on our face before the Lord and let Him convict us, and cleanse us.
There is so much to learn from these mighty women. They are faithful, they are godly, they are real. They sin, they get off the path, but they hit their knees and when they stand up they are faithful and godly. Being in ministry doesn’t mean you have arrived, you know something, it only means you are serving. It means you have availed yourself to Jesus. We are all in ministry, sometimes we just don’t know it. We should be ministering in our homes, in our workplaces, in the grocery store, at the airport, at church to the people who are passed by and not noticed by the majority. That is what full time ministry means. It doesn’t mean getting on an airplane and going to another country. I can live in Zim and still ignore the souls around me.
I am going to share my heart right now, because I have taken Ann’s advice and I have fallen on my face before my God. I have much to repent for. I am in ministry, but I am far from perfect. I am not misled, I know that there is nothing good in me… the only good I see about myself is from God. There are days when I don’t let Him guide my words, my thoughts and my actions and those are days that I need to repent for, and sometimes I don’t do that.
I have for the past few years really loved the passage in Isaiah 6 where Isaiah has an encounter with God and hears the voice of the Lord say “Whom shall I send, who will go for us?” Isaiah gets all fired up and says “Here I am! Send me!”
I know this moment and I love it!
But, even though the back story to this is underlined in my Bible and I know I have read it, I don’t carry it with me. What leads up to this encounter is so important and it’s on my heart so I will share it with you. I don’t know how you will respond, but it caused me to fall on my face before my God.
In Isaiah 5, Isaiah talks about God’s justice and His righteousness, then he goes on a rampage in verses 18-24.
“Woe to those who drag their sins behind them with ropes of lies and drag wickedness around like a cart”
“Woe to those who try to hurry God”
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil”
“Woe to those that are wise in their own sight”
“Woe to those that are heroes at drinking”
How does Isaiah get from there in Chapter 5, ranting about the sin around him to and encounter with God that has him racing off into battle for the kingdom?
He gets a reality check: the same one I got last night!
What sorrow to those who sin, Isaiah is saying. He is pointing his finger at everyone else: seeing their sin, how far they have missed the mark.
Woe to those who kill
Woe to those who perpetuate injustice
Woe to those who are adulterers
Woe to those who lie
Woe to those who steal
Woe to those who live in vanity
Woe to those who are filled with pride
Uh oh, here is where it starts to get muddy, right?
I am vane, I am prideful, I steal time from God wasting my talents on things that do not glorify HIM.
At the beginning of Chapter 6 King Uzziah died. This is important. He would have been a good friend, possibly a relative of Isaiah. Now, as Ann pointed out last night, this event, Uzziah’s death, took place as the Roman Empire was formed. And yet there is no mention of that. To the kingdom, Isaiah’s commission was more important than the formation of the ROMAN EMPIRE!
Uzziah was a friend, Isaiah had spent a lot of time with him. Isaiah would have lived at the palace, eaten there. Hmmm, Uzziah’s death might have meant that Isaiah was laid-off. No paycheck, no home, no food.
So he is sitting around, noticing everyone else’s sin… then something happens. His friend dies and his world starts to crumble around him. But there is more, Isaiah saw God. He had a massive experience with God and really saw Him. Saw his GLORY. Saw Him sitting on the thrown with the train of His robe filling the temple. Saw God for who He really is. In his pain, he really saw.
Instead of “Woe to them who is this or that” or “Woe to you”, he said, “Woe to me!”
Isaiah 6:5 “Woe to me” I cried “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
He saw himself as he really was and this is important, he acknowledged it!
God could cleanse him and send him on his way.
I have been so focused on the sending that I often miss the preparation.
This conference is part of my preparation. My time in the States always is. I come back here, get some space from the tasks and sink into the truth God has for me. That my tasks are not as important as my relationship. Yes, He wants me serving Him. Yes, He wants me sharing the gospel. Yes, right now He wants me doing that in a place where I share the gospel by feeding, clothing, teaching the unloved, by holding the dying in their last moments on earth. Yes, that is what He wants, but more importantly He wants me to see myself, to know that NONE of that is WHO I am. Without “my ministry” I am still Regina to Him.
WOW, this is important. To God I am not “Regina, the girl who lives in Zimbabwe.” Ann is not “Billy Graham’s daughter, the amazing evangelist” You are not “Your name here who does your ministry here” I am “Regina, my beloved daughter” The beloved daughter that gets off track, needs to be convicted and then sent on her way again.
Ann made a call to the women around her last night: Women on the front lines of the battle. She said that our time is short and we are so BUSY. Busy with what? Pointing out the sins of those around us? Going to another church program? THE CHURCH IS FAILING! We are the church. Our job is simple: WIN SOULS.
Who do you walk past every day? A homeless man on the street? One of your children’s friends who comes to your house for dinner because her home is being destroyed by divorce? The girl in the cube next to you at work? The man in the drive through window trying to support his family at $8 an hour? The old woman that has no visitors in the nursing home your mother is in? The bitter woman who shouts at you as you when you are just doing your job and ringing up her purchases at the store? Why is it so easy to see who they are, to see their struggles and walk by?
Because we are waiting for “OUR MINISTRY?” We are waiting for a business card, a title. God called us to go to the ends of the earth to share the gospel. But he also called us to go next door. America is hurting, America is lost. America needs to see that WE are different. I can feed a starving kid in Zimbabwe, but can I talk to my college roommate about Jesus? He didn’t say, go to seminary, get prepared, get a business card and a title and THEN share the gospel.
“WHOM SHALL I SEND? WHO WILL GO FOR US?”
I think God is asking that again right now…
WHO can I send to Bank of America? Who can I send to Macy’s? Who can I send to General Motors? Who can I send to Detroit? To Huntington Beach? To LA? To San Deigo? To Irvine? Who will see the girl at USC? WHO WILL GO FOR US?
America is hurting and WE, the church are failing. We are afraid to stand up and DECLARE JESUS to those who have lost their job, who are losing their savings and their homes. WE ARE AFRAID TO GO… and I think it is because we are missing that experience that Isaiah had. Maybe we don’t see that WE ARE RUINED. That we fail Him every day. That we have gotten off track. We have, the church looks like the world a lot of the time. OUCH
I am not going to forget this again, last night it was burned into my heart as much as the kids faces in Zimbabwe were the first time I ate dinner with them. WOE to me, for I see who I am. Woe to me for not fearing you Lord. For not obeying, for doubting, for delaying. Cleanse me. Cleanse me. Cleanse me. Then send me.
I fell on my face and when I got up I said, “Here I am, send me!”
I hope I continue to fall on my face.