What Do We Have to Offer?

It is important in all of our efforts to reach out to those who are in sex trafficking to consider this, “We are inviting them out of this life and into what?” What hope are we offering? The journey of healing from the exploitation of trafficking comes in many different ways. At Shelter and Rain, one of our core values is restoration. The restorative journey is about embracing a life free from torment, of uncovering unhealthy patterns, mentalities, and allowing hearts and bodies to heal from the trauma of exploitation. It is wholeness in the midst of the reality of broken dreams, promises, and plans. It is not as some would say, “Oh that person has never been touched by pain or trouble…” but a wholeness because they have come face to face with who they truly are. Part of restoration is rediscovering purpose, dreams, and setting new goals. As when a home is restored, there are parts of the frame perhaps architectural designs that speak of what once was. In a similar way, when an individual is restored, there are parts that still bear marks and that tell a story in the midst of transforming into something new. So what might this look like?

In Isaiah 61, God, the ultimate Healer, speaks of a restoration in our spirit, heart, mind, and bodies.

Spirit: There is Good News!

The good news is FREE ACCESS TO GOD. No matter how much money in our possession, our spirits are in poverty without experiencing the life Jesus came to give - life with full access to a loving and redemptive God. The message of salvation is eternal life, freedom from torment and fear. How will those in exploitation know that something different than their norm is available unless someone steps in to pave the way? How we live our lives is the way that people taste who God is and the life that is also available for them to experience in the here and now, not when xyz has been accomplished. Much damage has been done in the name of Christianity, due to judgement and a lack of authentic love. When we love someone by enjoying them and valuing them where they are at, we proclaim the good news, you are a child of God! Have you ever taken the time to ask someone, “What have you always dreamt of doing with your life?” When we tap into the deeper desires of someone’s heart, we touch an eternal part of who they are, the place where God was made to dwell.  

 "Emotions should never be belittled or disregarded, they are the doorway into a heart that is crying out..."

"Emotions should never be belittled or disregarded, they are the doorway into a heart that is crying out..."

Emotions: Bind up the Brokenhearted.  

Listen and you will be entrusted with places of pain. Each of us carries wounds and those wounds hold beliefs about who we are which often influence our response to the world and how we interact in relationships. It is not our job to fix broken hearts. We are called to bind up the broken hearted. A wound first needs to be cleansed, for ointment to be gently applied, and a soft bandage wrapped around to keep out dirt and infection. One of the things I love is when I have the opportunity to walk with someone into Jesus’ presence in prayer and ask Him, “Jesus, what do you think about this?” Inner healing takes courage. I commend those who have allowed themselves to look honestly at the wounds they have incurred and let God speak into them. His words cleanse away the lies and are a balm of healing. When we came alongside someone, listen, wrap our arms around them, and affirm the truth about who they are, we become a part of the bandage of their hearts. Emotions should never be belittled or disregarded, they are the doorway into a heart that is crying out, that is struggling with life, with God, with people. When we are willing to stand in love in the midst of angry outburst of pain and see the message of the wounds they carry, we receive an invitation from heaven to join in binding up their wounds.

 "We bring restoration to minds when we help reawaken dreams, destinies, and longings for justice that have often been derailed from an early age."

"We bring restoration to minds when we help reawaken dreams, destinies, and longings for justice that have often been derailed from an early age."

Mind: Speak Freedom.

Our minds are a battleground. A white flag waved in battle symbolizes surrender. There are pathways of thought that influence our lives that need to be surrendered. This often does not happen without a fight. We go to battle with habits of thought in order to create new pathways in our minds. Addictions run along pathways that have been created in response to traumas, choices, and situations we have believed as normal in our lives. Sexual addictions are a deep rutted road. To overturn this road we need to not only establish roadblocks but create new vehicles of response to our needs and desires. We bring restoration to minds when we help reawaken dreams, destinies, and longings for justice that have often been derailed from an early age. Mental freedom is a battle but liberty is always available to those who feel captive.

Body: Set the Prisoner Free.  

Our prisons may look different but freedom from physical bondage often involves a deliberate move away from what is familiar into the unknown. No matter what level the exploitation has been, it is a risk. Are we willing to walk with others as they courageously step out of exploitation? Will we embrace them even when they take a step back? When someone leaves exploitation it often takes a combined effort of resources and support. The environment and people they left met a felt need. Acknowledging what was good while separating from the negative is necessary in establishing a new normal. Grieving is a part of this process. Learning to listen to what our body is saying are ways we physically are restored. In Hosea we read how God led someone out of the life. The first place He took her to was the wilderness. We rejoice when someone leaves the life but to them it often feels like a desolate, lonely place. In this barren land God then speaks tenderly to her and it says that He turned her troubles into doorways of hope. There will be times those who have come out of exploitation will be overwhelmed by the trouble they experience in life as a result of what they have know. The promise is that on the other side of these troubles is a doorway into hope. We must speak hope and affirm our friends when they feel like giving up and going back. God brings restoration through a bond He creates built on righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and mercy. He is still doing this today. (See Hosea 2:14-20.)

A Safe Home: 
Our vision at Shelter and Rain is to provide a place of healing, a safe home for women who have recently exited the life. The fulfillment of this dream will take a team effort. We believe the transforming power of God and encountering His love combined with a community of those who care and support these women in their restorative journey is necessary for this to be a success. This is a time when God is inviting us to join Him. What can you offer? We invite you to enter in to God’s restorative work today.


While on our trip out west this summer, we stopped by the Devil's Wash Basin in Idaho. Fenceless chasms with lava black rocks were a surprising phenomena compared to the flat wind driven terrain surrounding it. On this expedition, my Kansas boy and his Idaho friend decided to venture to the edge of a EVERYTHING! Whereas I was terrified, a daring spirit compelled them to take risks. I have been thinking about what it is going to take for me to take risks and engage this year. 

Photo Credit: Fordtograph-E
At the start of each year, I have made it a habit of considering one word to focus on for the next twelve months.

For Christmas, my brother in law gave me a watch. In the aftermath of the holiday season, as I sat with pen in hand at a coffee shop, I thought through some of the gifts that I had received and what message was handed to me through them.

That's it. The invitation for 2017 is this: 

Watch and Engage.  

I want 2017 to make a difference. I want to see more lives set free from exploitation.  

Unanswered questions from 2016 sit like a paperweight on my heart. I am desperate. Desperate to know that this life is making a difference. Desperate to hear from Heaven that it matters, that we have not gone astray. 

Disappointment. We have all tasted it. Resolutions for the new year often end up in the dust of daily demands. It is not a resolution unless it provides some kind of solution for our life. And this solution needs to be rooted in our soul, becoming a part of who we are not just an item we check off. What motivates true change comes from our resolve within. 

If we are going to see change not only in our lives but in the world around us 
we must be in tune with what our heart is passionate about. 

Have you ever felt small and insignificant? Recently recollections came of a time in my life when I had just moved out of my parent's house, was renting a bedroom at a friend's, and working at an after school program 3 hours a day. With a car that didn't pass smog check, I spent a lot of time at home. It was a season where I felt insignificant to the world. During that time a friend gave me a beautiful map for my bedroom wall. While looking at it one day, I heard the question, "Where do you want to go..." I had every reason to think up a place near where I lived. But it pressed again, "Where do you want to GO?" 

I want to go to Thailand. 

That was the dream, my passion - to live and love overseas. In Thailand, this Cali girl met a Kansas boy, an artist, a dreamer, an entrepreneur, someone crazy enough to follow a dream. When he left after that first two weeks of volunteering, I walked away after giving him a hug and felt like I was going to cry. What was the matter with me?? At that time, I didn't even know that he liked me! It was a year later that we drafted this...some of the dreams we hold for our world. Our passion is to see the people set free and restored through the power of God. 

To be completely honest, we don't know what we are doing, but it's happening. How? Through risk. Do you remember the story of Peter walking on water? He watched Jesus do something impossible and He stepped out to follow Him. It happened in a moment of panic and loneliness. They were striving to reach land while the waves and wind were against them. I have heard people talk about 2017 being a year of breakthrough. In order to break through something, there needs to be an obstacle. The thing is with Peter, he didn't see the wind and the waves as an obstacle, He just saw his close friend do something impossible, and He wanted to follow. Our downfall comes when we look at the impossibilities, and let them dictate what we can or can not do.

In this new year, we need to surround ourselves with people who will push past the odds with us. My Kansas boy and I are incredibly blessed to have a pastor and his wife who are big dreamers, and also big doers. They do with crazy faith. I want you to know that even if you feel small and insignificant, even if your dreams seem out of reach, that you were made to take risks. 

Photo Credit: Fordtograph-E
Have you ever considered why you were born in this generation? 

For me, it is to engage in the anti-human trafficking movement. This is a generation that speaks out against injustice and inequality. In the last few years huge strides have been made in trauma informed care. Sure we have had revolutionaries who fought against slavery, this is no different, but the way our culture values not only freedom but true inner emotional, mental, and spiritual freedom is unique.

Survivors of human trafficking are my heroes. They are overcomers. Did you know that it is common for a victim to return 7 times before they can truly break away for good from their exploiter? But does it have to be this way? Is anyone pushing to see this change? This is the kind of breakthrough that I am talking about. I love talking with survivors. They inspire me. Every survivor is also a leader. Their triumph in overcoming insurmountable odds shows me that it is possible, that someone can not only survive but thrive.

Peter had to step out of the boat. We have to get out there in order to see impossible things happen. Maybe I am crazy to say that I want to see a victim leave once and leave for good. I believe it is possible. Why? Because Mary Magdalene did it. Did you know that Jesus cast 7 demons out of her? Seven. She never went back, she was never harassed again. And what did she do? She followed Jesus around, she watched Him, she gave to Him and served Him. (See Luke 8:2-3.)

Victims of trafficking have demons they fight, demons that speak to them, that yell at them, that push and pull them back and forth, beating them from inside just as their tormentors, their pimps have done outside their skin. These are the demons of terror, manipulation, control, unworthiness, self-loathing, that exploit from within. Are we fighting with them against these demons? Are we speaking life? Mary Magdalene's life was transformed when those demons were cast out and I have a thought that it was in walking with Jesus, in learning of new way of being loved, that she was healed. This is why I believe in restorative relationships.

Friends, it has already been done, and it can happen again.

When you look into the eyes of someone and wonder if they are ever going to come out, if there is ever going to be a change, remember Mary of Magdalene. She was set free and met wholeness in the eyes of the Holy One.

My life intersected with three women this past week in exploitative situations. In each encounter, I had a decision to either step out or stay in. You get what I am talking about? Am I going to give her a hug, or am I going to walk by? Am I going to buy her drink, or am I going to dismiss that thought and carry on about my day?

It really only takes a moment. As the seconds of a watch tick by, we are given moments to watch and move on or watch and engage. 

The world is crying out for us to engage. We are not bystanders, we participate because frankly, the time of breakthrough, of healing and freedom has come. What risk will you take?

Photo Credit: Fordtograph-E

Our View of Sex

In recent years we have seen a flood of films, documentaries, and discussion centered around sex trafficking. With the prevalence of access to social media that even the most impoverished communities have, exploitation can touch anyone anywhere. It is a very difficult issue to face. Millions of slaves worldwide, wow, how am I to make a difference? We may feel powerless in our inability to know what we can do, especially in our own communities.

If we are going to make a difference in the exploitation of human trafficking, we need to take an honest look at our view of...


We live in a sexually charged culture. Adolescent youth often find their initiation into adulthood and significance in who they slept with. TV commercials highlight a woman’s attractiveness through her sexual appeal. We are quick to defend a person based on their sexual orientation. Researchers say that both genders are exposed to pornography by the age of 8.  With the prevalence of sexual abuse from an early age, a generation is growing up with a warped view of love. In the church we wrestle with how to approach this topic. Many struggle to talk about sex with their teenage son or daughter. Today our youth are gleaning wisdom from Hollywood and their peers. We can do better. How?

With Truth and Grace.

In a sexually charged culture our identity and lifestyle are shaped by the way we view sex.

What was your first introduction to sex? Does sex education come to mind? Was it pornographic material? Sexual experimentation? Abuse?

What feelings are associated? Was it positive? Or if someone exposed you through force, how did you process your experience? Are there feelings of shame? Have you told anyone? And if so, what was their response?

Sex is a beautiful thing. Why has it been so difficult to talk about it from the church pulpit or to even dialogue with our friends and not feel embarrassed in the process? In the church abstinence and virginity are highly valued. How then is the church to respond to the over 80% (in the church) who are involved in premarital sex? Why have so many silently blamed themselves for abuse, struggled with pornography, or sexual attractions and addictions?

Did you feel seen for who you are, and not defined by the act? 
In a sexually charged culture, we build our identity around our sexual experiences.

This is where Truth and Grace come in.

Truth: Sex impacts on a deep level.
Grace: You carry immeasurable value and dignity that nothing and no one can take away.

Why is it so hard to believe this?


For example: Virginity is a beautiful thing but it does not define who you are. This is based again on your perspective of truth and grace.

Truth: acknowledging the reality of what happened.
Grace: to be embraced fully free from fear and shame.

Have you experienced this? Have you been able to look honestly at the way you were raised, at the value or lack of value sex had? Was there shame around the topic, even it it’s most pure context? Was grace something you experienced? Your answer will affect the way you engage in the effort against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Its ramifications will affect the culture you live in today. Yes, sex is an act with immeasurable ramifications. But it does not determine my value. John Perkins grips us with, “We don’t give dignity, we affirm it.”

So how do we bring up the issue of sex in our circles today? Is it spoken of with crude humor or respect? We must change the way we talk about sex if we are going to see a change in the sexual exploitation around us. In the church, we do this by choosing to embrace others with love free from judgement.

We acknowledge the act but we always embrace the person.

If you are reading this and have experienced sexual exploitation, I want you to hear me. You are not marred. You are valuable. You have intrinsic worth. Your body is a gift. Your love brings life. Don’t let shame and fear keep you bound up. It starts by telling your story, acknowledging what happened both verbally and emotionally. Then receiving grace.

From this place of receiving truth and grace we can embrace the sexually broken. On a spiritual level, our bodies are deeply impacted by our intimacy with others. That is why in the church we value sex and why we protect our bodies and choose to experience sexual intimacy within a committed covenant relationship. Both the bodies and spirits of those who have been exploited must be restored. God’s Spirit came to fill us, to affirm the unique intrinsic value we carry, the person that Jesus came to save. His saving power gives us the ability to forgive our perpetrators, to forgive ourselves, to remove the accusing finger. Receiving God's love uniquely positions us to respond with humility and wisdom to the sexual exploitation around us. 

When we take an honest look at our view of sex and receive truth and grace, we step onto a path of sexual freedom and create a culture that fights for and embraces those who have experienced exploitation.

Copyright 2016 by Fordtograph-E

More to Life

I love being a mom but there is more to my life than this. We moved three months ago. Even though there is so much more to do here, I have been feeling a bit alone of late. My 5th move in 5 years of marriage, this time starting over in a new location. It's inspiring to begin somewhere new, yet it can also be an emotionally daunting task.

As a child there were two things that I wanted to be in life, a mommy and a missionary. Seasons come where it seems that hours are spent holding little ones, redirecting, listening, giving input, and just being. One of the things that I value from being home schooled was how life really revolved around the home. Education, morals, dreams, and interests were all explored within it's walls. Our new rental is amazing! It is more spacious than I could have imagined with a large backyard and I am excited for the explorations that will take place here. It is one of my greatest desires that the culture of our home would cultivate my children's gifts and that they would receive a framework with which they can interact with the world. Sometimes in all the “mommy” things of life, the other part of me feels forgotten. There are days when I struggle with finding balance. Balance between living missionally, i.e. getting things done and taking care of their needs.

This past year has been a whirlwind. There were moments I just stopped and tried to take it all in before the next thing happened. Tonight in putting the final touches on dinner, both girls were screaming, and to not loose my sanity, I said, "Thanks God, for these girls, that I get to be a mom." Simple. It worked. Something shifted in my heart. They were still a hot mess, but my attitude changed.

So back to why I feel like there is more. There is a second part. The missional part. The being a mom part is a given. The missional part is the part I feel is a fight. It's about fighting for what's deep in my heart. Not everyone needs to find fulfillment in the same ways. The unique way I was wired, my perspective on life cultivates desires that keep pushing forward insisting I pay attention. Each of us has a background and passions that speak to us on a daily basis. One of the things I am compelled to do is write. It's a way to both express and extend myself to the world. Another way is being involved in justice work, speaking up for those who have no voice. I live to see broken lives restored, to see God show up in the most hopeless, most impossible. It often feels overwhelming to balance the work I do and the thousand little needs that cry out for my attention every day. Especially with small children.

It is easy to look at my single friends and reminisce of the freedoms I enjoyed, but really, each of us faces needs in our lives that push for our attention. I can still see Ellie looking across the table at me tonight asking why I was sitting in a different seat (closer to Lyric since Eric was gone), and then we laughed as I stretched my arm out, "I can't reach you, Ellie!" Some things may feel a bit out of reach right now, but stop and thank God in the middle of your now, there is a gift, a strength.

I have some questions, and if you would like to share your insight, please comment below. How do you invest in your children and live missionally? Is there something that if left undone causes you to feel incomplete? Where do you find yourself in the journey of discovering what gives you life? What word of advice would you give to those of us who are met with great needs both inside the home in in the work we do? 

Here are a few things that I have been mulling over lately. Accept my apologies in advance for those who can’t relate to this season of my life, you can stop reading now, but to those who want to explore this with me, let us journey on.

Here are a few words of wisdom I am trying to center my life around.

What brings me joy, rest, peace?
What am I going to do to thrive?

Some things in life we can’t change. But we can respond to our life and cultivate space for being healthy and whole. If we run ourselves dry, what else will we have to offer?

While I lived in Thailand (you can read about those experiences in previous blog posts on Shelter and Rain) there would be days I escaped to a coffee shop to write, to think, to be. That luxury comes in large intervals with my present situation. So I have to give thought to what I need now…
A cup of coffee in the morning.
To sit up for a bit after the kids go to bed, to journal, to blog, to write that book a friend and I started.

I can’t wait to see my family in California. It looks like it may be a few months out. Some days there is an ache in my heart, a sadness in not being present with them. How can I fill some of those longings right now?
A phone call? A note. Intentionality.

It is really hard for me to take time for myself. I often feel guilty. But if I keep giving and don’t get a break, I go nuts. Ask my husband! With the new church plant that we are a part of, I want to live from a life of fullness, to give to these people and not on empty. Sometimes this means saying “no”, to things I would even enjoy doing, to live out the best.

One of the things that brings me joy is sitting silently in God's presence and journaling the words He speaks to me. It has been awhile since I have done this. Anyone else with me? Where do you go when there is a long spell of silence? In my case, I think I have just gotten busy with doing daily life and completing tasks. Good tasks. But I’m running on empty.

Today I heard: “Your girls need to see you resting, they need to see you play.”

I recently asked a fellow momma who engages in a similar call, “What advice do you have for a young momma working in this field?”

“Make sure your kids know that life doesn’t revolve around them.”

Culture. What kind of culture are they being raised in? It starts simply...

Christmas is approaching. I find our conversations at the store gravitating to “Ok, I’ll get that, but let’s save it for Christmas…” I am setting up a culture of getting. Is this what is truly on my heart? Receiving is wonderful, we receive the incarnational life that Jesus came to give us. But it is not the only thing we are called to. We receive so we can Give. I want their hearts to be cultivated with a desire to give. So I have been pondering little ways of doing that.

Growing up, Mom used to set up tables in the garage and we spent hours hand making gifts to give at Christmas. Our tree at home is often adorned with ornaments with the smudge of fingerprints from years ago. Have you handcrafted Christmas gifts before? And if so, what? How have you cultivated a spirit of giving when the entire culture screams consumerism?

Slow Down.
Sometimes we can receive the most profound advice from those whom we hardly know. There is a gal at church whom I have been blessed to speak with on only a few occasions. We met randomly at Starbucks one night. These are the two words she said as we parted ways a few Sundays ago.  

Slow down.

You know, I think there are a lot of things we do just because we think it will make or break our situation. What if we are making these decisions based on the perceived opinions of others? We need to stop comparing ourselves with others.

While in Thailand my sister visited me during a very strained time. I felt spread thin. The reason? Trying to meet expectations I perceived those in leadership had of me. But they weren’t the expectations that God had. So I slowed down. I made a schedule that allowed me to be home most afternoons. And you know what? Nothing fell apart. What expectations, especially in this season are you striving to live up to? Is it worth it?

Trust me, listening to His voice as you journey towards being the most true form of yourself will unlock things inside you never realized were there.

So in whatever season you are in, may you thrive, live from intentionality, and slow down to breathe in the gifts around you. This is part of the incarnation we celebrate at Christmas. May we each be present to the world in this day. 

Photo credit: Fordtograh-E.

Giving Tuesday

On this “Giving Tuesday” we want to invite you to join us in seeing lives set free and restored from sexual exploitation and human trafficking!

Human trafficking remains a key area of concern on our hearts. The average age of entry is between 12-14 years old. In the US alone there are an estimated 300,000 children involved in sex trafficking. Wichita has been rated as the 5th largest originating city. Driving through downtown Wichita you find a large homeless population with ties to the drug world and where women turn to prostitution just to survive. Youth who runaway often find themselves approached by a pimp or trafficker within 48 hours of living on the streets. It can seem overwhelming and hopeless at times. While investing in this work for the past 7 years, we have seen God take people out of impossible situations, and give them a fresh start. This next year, there are many ways that we are looking to expand to make a difference and we need your help. Rarely do we put out a general invitation because we love to meet with people on a one on one basis and share the vision with them. On this giving Tuesday, consider this our personal invitation to you, to share from your financial resources to invest in us so that the mission of Shelter and Rain can continue.

Through your monthly or one time gift, you are making an impact in the following ways:

  • Outreach to local strip clubs.
  • Awareness and prevention initiatives for youth.
  • A coalition whose members create a web of services to help victims and survivors.
  • Developing a response to meet gaps of care for adult survivors.
  • Investing in the long term recovery of survivors through ongoing restorative relationships.
  • Global collaboration in anti-trafficking efforts.

We are dependant on the generosity of people who care deeply. Thank you for being one of those who care.

Online Giving can be done securely through http://www.wolm.org/on-line-giving.html
Select Other or Southwest Tithes and Offerings in the drop down box.
Under the giving amount in the Donation section, type "Human Trafficking Ministry" (Most important part!) 
You can set this up as a one time or monthly recurring gift. 
Thank you!

Christmas Giving Trees 

Deciding to Settle

I don't know if you are like me but I cringe at the word settle. Hearing this word offers a sentiment of somehow giving up a life of transience and spontaneity, and embracing a more sedentary, rhythmical life. This view also pushes against my inner world that is constantly reaching out, dreaming forward, taking steps to impact this world with change. I was given a painting once. During a conference I attended, an artist stood at the front and spread paint across a white canvas as the sessions rolled on. At the end, she called my name and gave it to me. The tittle of the art piece, Transition. Taped to the back is a paper with these words, 

"Change can be uncomfortable. Many people avoid change at all cost.
But the most beautiful things can come from change. 
The most beautiful times of the day are sunrise and sunset - the times of major transition. 
So don't run from change. 
If God has you in transition, press into Him.
Ask Him to show you the beauty that He wants to bring in spite of the discomfort." 

Transition can be hard, it is stretching and uncomfortable. Two years ago, we made a big decision, Eric quit his solid day job, and we left for mission's training in LA. Our vision, to do full time anti-trafficking work. We thought this training was the next step towards our return to Thailand. At the end, as we presented this vision to the leadership there, something felt amiss. For several nights I stood in the shower, tears streaming down my cheeks, honestly mad at God. I cringed at the idea of living in the states longer. But as we looked at it, something was unfinished. We both knew that God was reaffirming His call to our current location. Why? God, You better know what You are doing. 

Towards the end of our stay in LA, our clothes were dirty, and we needed to find a coin wash nearby. Walking across the street, we stumbled upon Maytag Coinwash. Hispanic radio was playing and somehow, I felt at home. Growing up in California, our lives were sprinkled with contact with people of various cultures and ethnicities. Many don't know this, but I am first generation American on my mother's side. As a Dutch Armenian immigrant, she and her family came across the Atlantic in a ship when she was 5 years old. The nations are in my blood. I love culture. 

Fast forward from those two weeks in LA, and we are almost at the two year mark. We recently were in the process of looking for a new home. Seriously, I made numerous calls, poured over the internet, and NO RESPONSE from ANYONE. Two weeks, a month passed by. Then while browsing again for the millionth time, I stumbled upon the add for a home I had looked at a month before. Previously listed as a rent to own, it was now just a rental. At the time, looking at the pictures, it was the home I wanted to live in!  For those of you who live in a large city, you know that there are places that you may feel comfortable to live in, and others not so much. Wichita is like that. It's BIG, and there are streets that speak of poverty, wealth, streets with kids running down the center, and others where not a soul is out. Often these places are in each other's backyard. It is hard to know if you want to live somewhere unless you drive there. So we did. On our way, we got turned around and drove past a Cambodian Buhhdist temple. I was so excited! This is where I want to live!!

This morning, the Syrian refugee crisis is on my heart. I honestly don't know what to do. I know that there is much that I can do. I think a lot about how to give my kids a taste of cultures, while living in the heartland of America. And here it is. I have chosen in my heart to not settle down but settle in. When I settle in, I am embracing my surroundings, the people, the circumstances, the social status, and letting God do a work in my life. The longing to travel to the nations is still there. But while I am here, I know that His world, the nations, are all around me. Whether in a coin laundry wash in LA, or in an ethnic community on the urban heartland, there are people who are longing for change. 

My life is marked by caring for two little people, supporting an artistic husband as together we pursue a life marked by compassion and justice. We want to make an impact, we want to be the change. You can too. You are uniquely positioned in the community you live in, with the people around you, to love. Love tells us that it is not about the things that we do but the people we touch. Settling in to love is the greatest invitation alive. It is what Jesus called us to do when He said, "Abide." It is a heart choice, to beat with His heart, to hear and see what moves Him, and to respond. This morning, I woke up before the girls, which is rare, and got to sit for a bit in His presence. "Quiet down, wait, just be." Oh it is so hard! I keep coming to John 15, the vine and the branches and there it is again...abide, love, bear much fruit. He is the one my heart settles for. I can hear little feet pitter pattering towards me, I think it is time, to embrace the chaos and joy. Will you join me? Let's not just settle down, lets settle in to the gift of life we have been given. 

That Doesn't Happen Here!

While running errands on the south end of town, my eyes caught sight of a young woman standing at the corner of the parking lot. "Need Help to Get to Arizona" her sign read as traffic passed by. "Hello!" I asked as I pulled up. "Do you need help?" Her story consisted of needing money so that she and her husband and baby could return to family in Arizona. "Where are you from?" I asked, "Romania." Interesting. This was at the end of October 2014. 

That following Spring I was driving alone and saw another young woman near the same location, similar sign. Parking my car a little ways off, I approached her on foot. Handing her a bag filled with some small snacks and a water bottle, I attempted to chat with her. Apologetically she responded that she didn't speak any English. Her appearance looked familiar. "Are you from Romania?" I asked, "Yes!" "Who are you here with?" The story came out that her boyfriend was currently at Wal Mart getting the car fixed. When I asked her how she had come to America, she opened up and shared that she had come through a Mexican man and that she had no legal documents.

Throughout the past 5 years while involved in raising awareness regarding the trafficking of persons, I have often been met with disbelief and comments like, "That doesn't happen here!" A
re you sure?

If we are going to identify human trafficking today, 
we need to step back and reevaluate what is before us. 

While pregnant with my first daughter, I worked on intake at a homeless shelter. One day a young woman sat before me. She had come from Oregon where her adoptive parents had been controlling, overprotective, and refused to give her her passport. This beautiful girl from a third world country was filled with resilience and determination. Have you heard about human trafficking? I asked. "Oh yes," she responded.

Another gal I met while working there was from Wichita, her boyfriend was in jail. An exuberant young person, she boasted of many things and eventually was asked to leave because of her negative influence including drugs. I had my concerns about her. 

There are many more stories I could share.

Trafficking is determined by identifying influences of either force, fraud, or coercion. If someone is being controlled for the personal advantage of another person, money being withheld or required for things that person is not responsible to pay, if they are soliciting help and not able to keep the money, these can all be a part of their involvement in human trafficking. Even if it doesn't begin with sex, it often leads there. 

In 2011 when I left Thailand after volunteering with Nightlight International, I was unaware how my life could help those affected by human trafficking in the states. Part of it has been learning how to identify it here. Often we have an idea of what human trafficking looks like and are missing it completely. 
I don't think it is by asking them straight out if they have heard about human trafficking or are being trafficked. 

So how are we to respond?

I would like to take the next several weeks as we approach the holiday season to explore how we can respond with compassion and wisdom in regards to those affected by human trafficking and the commercial sex industry. I invite you to explore this with me and share your input as we journey together. 

To Love is to Come Alive

You know when you are doing something that you love, 
you just come alive. 

It was so inspiring attending this year's Abolition Summit in Kansas City with Exodus Cry. This was our fourth consecutive conference. Unfortunately we were only able to attend Friday's events, but it was such an amazing time! The Abolition Summit is a place for both the advocate in the trenches fighting sexual exploitation, to the interested individual just beginning to explore how their life intersects with this work. Exodus Cry does a phenomenal job at joining together experts including survivors, psychologists, pastors, and those who directly serve victims and survivors to speak on this issue. 

I was struck by the similarity in advice given by survivor, Rebecca Bender, and Dr. of Psychology, Dan Allender. 

"Help them (the survivor) find their dream." R.B.   "Help them learn what they have been made to love." D.A.

As we journey towards the vision to see lives restored, we recognize that this is a key piece for not only ourselves but the people we love. 

Currently we are in a season of transition as we move. This opportunity came as a direct invitation from some friends of ours who are launching a church. One of the core values for their church is restoration, we love that. As we look for a place to live, raise support, continue the work that has been started in our current city, we are on a journey of pursuing the dreams God has placed on our hearts. 

We have been dreaming of a partnership with international missions. We have been dreaming of a place where women and children who have been rescued from sexual exploitation can find safety and healing. We dream of not only being able to outreach into places of darkness but cultivate real authentic relationships with the people there. We dream of empowering those who have been affected by sexual exploitation, to heal through the creative arts, movement, prayer, and to explore their own dreams. We dream of building a team of people who will partner with us to address not only the exploited but the exploiter, who is severely broken as well. We dream of a community that honors and protects the vulnerable. We dream of helping people find and do what they love. This is what fuels us. 

This past month we took time away to road trip out to California and back. This trip spanned nearly 6,000 miles. We returned exhausted yet inspired. Beauty inspires us. Did you know that it is easy to begin to fight for the hearts of others while missing the own fight for our own heart? Those of us who feel compelled to help others, are we letting our own hearts be cared for? Are we pursuing the things that we love? We had just come out of a very intense season. We were exhausted and made an intentional decision to get away. One of our favorite places we visited was Crater Lake National Park. Boasting as the deepest lake in the US, Crater Lake was breathtaking! With sheer cliffs down to it's edge, crystal blue water, and towering pines, our hearts were in awe.

Even in all this beauty, we had to take the time to sit, and just take it in. Sometimes, in all this transition, it is easy to think about what is next, to anticipate the next thing. I am personally being challenged to just "be" in these moments. To quiet down and listen to my heart and what it is saying. It is hard. It is a fight. Today as I take a moment to sit and reflect on the things I love, and the things that make me come alive, I must remember a few things:

Be willing to say "No"
Don't compare
Embrace your uniqueness
Position yourself
Start small
Be patient
Be courageous
Often what you love will seem "fun" and not "work". Don't overthink it. Go with your gut. Sit in God's presence and let Him uncover your desires. 

To love is to come alive. 

Where Dreams Begin

The last time I visited home in California, I hunted high and low for a drawing I did as a teenager. Elated to find it, I filed it in a blue folder and took it home to show Eric. There is something about this drawing that speaks of my dreams as a child and the longings I still carry to this day. One of the things that I love about the dreams of our youth is they are limitless, free from fear. They are not restricted by the size of a bank account or social status. Often, these dreams speak to the unique personality and God given identity we each carry. 

So back to the drawing...

I have two favorite sketches, they are both “architectural” drawings of a home. Both have lots of space and each is filled with rooms, rooms with bunk beds, a room with a crib, rooms for children. I envisioned this home filled with those who needed a safe place, needed love, a fresh start. 

When Eric came to visit me in Thailand after I had been living there for nearly a year, he posed a question to me as we sat outside a coffee shop near the red light district. Something I love about this man is that he is eager to hear my heart, to know what I envision, and how together, these dreams can become a reality. “What does a home look like to you?” he inquired. It took me a moment to respond. “A place of peace, of rest, somewhere I can be free to be me.” Living in the red light district for several months, rest was something that I highly valued. It is so easy to give to the point of exhaustion, but I didn’t want to burn out.

Exploring and dreaming in Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2010.
This past September we celebrated our 4 year anniversary. This also means that we have lived in Kansas for 4 years now. Somehow that sounds like a short amount of time, but it has felt SO LONG. When people hear that I am from California, often they respond with, “Why are you here?!” When I remember what first led us to this place, it is interesting that it involved a dream of a home, a home where people whose lives felt shattered, who had been wounded, who felt tormented by demons, beaten down, could come, would be welcomed, prayed for, loved and made whole. It was a vision for a home of healing and deliverance.

The house on Front Street…

About 2 ½ years ago, there was a two story white house for sale a couple blocks from where we were renting. Completely on a whim, we decided to walk through during open house. A close friend was over that Sunday and accompanied us. As we toured the home, our hearts and minds and dreams began to explode! We saw the large kitchen and living area, the bedroom downstairs, the 4 rooms upstairs, and already modeled kitchenette, as if someone had rented out one of the spaces before. One of our favorite spots was the glass enclosed sunroom in the back and immediately we saw it as a place people could come to, a house of prayer. Not only could this be suitable for our family but also to house others, to equip them for missions as well as a place of refuge. Against all odds, we set up an appointment with a mortgage agency. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for a loan at that time. It was a disappointment to say the least. Every time I drove by there, I told the Lord I wanted a house like that, or similar…out in the country!

The overwhelming need…

In our conversations with agencies and as we talk with others who serve survivors of trauma and trafficking, the overwhelming need they share is for housing. So many of these women and children are often brought into the care of an emergency facility but then where do they go from there? Who will provide a safe place for them to be restored? Where will they find rest? That is where the vision for a safe home has immerged. The core of the home will be…family. We realize that this is a risk and we have talked many times about what it will look like to maintain boundaries for our own health, while at the same time embracing those whose definition of family has been marked by deception, abuse, betrayal and rejection. Healing for a wounded heart often comes through redemptive relationships; replacing what one has formerly known as abusive or lacking with needs met in love and safety. It is creating a new normal, and that takes time.

This is God’s redemptive plan…

I love researching trauma and the brain. It is fascinating to me to learn how God has created the human body to survive in the midst of pain and suffering, simply amazing. He is not distant from those who have walked through horror. And if we are patient and willing, He will allow us to help those who are broken create new pathways in their brain, to turn those triggers and ways of escape into opportunities to discover that they are loved and carry a purpose. God does set the lonely in families and gives them joy!

So this dream for a home, a safe place, I’m trusting that it IS a tangible dream. And, I want to invite you into it too. I think sometimes our dreams are so big and God knows that. He wants it to be done in community with others. I don’t know how this will all take place, but I’m believing that perhaps that sketch I drew as a girl is actually a blueprint God has on his drafting table in heaven, just waiting to be realized in time and space today. This is often how He builds His Kingdom. His plans become our dreams. Our hearts are His drafting table. What will it take for us to take hold of those dreams and run?

Trafficking Across the Plains

Exactly one year ago, we sat with a group of potential missionary candidates in the basement of a beautiful home off Sunset Blvd in LA. It was a time of equipping, exploring, and encouraging each other. Our home church had sent us out for the training through Foursquare Missions International. We met some incredible people, those who were willing to lay aside everything, to follow God's call. It was truly inspiring. 

While we were there, we were asked to share about our vision for missions. Human trafficking, the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, was the overwhelming problem that weighed on our hearts. The fact that there are more slaves now than at any other time in human history, calls for action. We shared how God had put a burden on our heart for the men, women and children in Thailand, and specifically how we envisioned God redeeming their lives through prayer, the arts, and true community through family. Each time we refined and shared it, there was something that begged to be heard. At night we would lay in bed wrestling with what this Voice was saying to us. Somehow, although Thailand was so heavy on our hearts, there was a greater call, inviting us to look in our own backyard. Really, Kansas, God?! 

Kansas, and Wichita, Kansas specifically, has been identified as the 5th largest originating city. What this means is that pimps and traffickers come looking here, to lure boys and girls who are the average age of 12-14 years, making promises only to turn and sexually exploit them. Often, when we hear the word trafficking, we have pictures in our minds of internationals, bound and drug across borders. This is true. However, the misconception that we are exempt from this lucrative business is deceptive. When you place words like runaway, escort services, strip clubs, pornography, and the like, it brings it closer to home. Prostitutes are trafficked because trafficking includes force, fraud, or coercion. In a city where there are  drugs there is money and often the sale of sexual services so the demand can be satisfied. Some would argue that those who prostitute wants this, that somehow it is to satisfy her own "needs". But how much was this a "choice"? Where abuse and fraud have been all they have known, this "choice" may appear to be the best option in sight. Let's ask this, "What has led them to this point, to this decision?" The answer often less about "choice" and more often about "survival". Trafficking has never been simply an international issue. Today we need to look in our own backyards, our own streets and schools. Who may be at risk today? 

One Night

It is nights like tonight that stir a passionate fire inside of me. I want people in the western world to see, to see what happens here on the streets of Bangkok. Do you want to join me? Do you want to see?

Outreach evenings always start with prayer. Our team meets at our offices to share about the current events our organization is facing, to talk about, strategize but most importantly pray. We realize that going out into the red light district is no easy assignment. The darkness is prowling all around so we, not out of fear, but out of discernment, call out to God for His protection. We pray that God would thwart the plans of the enemy, that He would open our eyes, make us aware of situations; that He would lead us to the women and children who are most desperate, who need that touch, a kind word, hope, freedom. After prayer we go to a local hotel and eat. This is a time to just enjoy each other's company, tell stories from our past week, laugh together, get our tummies filled and watch. We notice the women sitting just a few feet away, putting on more makeup, eating, engaging with a passing man who shows an interest in them. We watch the men come in and comment as they often pass our table, seeing who he wants to take out for the night.

Leaving the hotel restaurant, we make our way toward the red light district. Passing some beggers on the way we enter the plaza where all the Thai Go-Go, Beer and Show bars are. The bar we went into was filled with women...wait, actually it took me a little while but then I realized that most of them were lady-boys. Seeing this made my heart very sad as I thought about how Thailand is loosing it's men. They see becoming a woman as more attractive, more fulfilling, safer and are exchanging their identity by the hundreds.

Then I noticed this girl among the lady-boys who was dancing...after she got down from the stage I motioned for her to come over. As soon as she sat down I noticed the tattoo of her name on her right shoulder. "I haven't seen you in a long time!" she said. "I recognized you." Sure enough, we had met before! We exchanged small talk. I found out she has been working there off and on for 2 years. She is going home next month, hopefully to stay there and help her family by selling things. She has three younger siblings, one married, the rest in school. At the end, before she went back to dance, I gave her my phone number and offered, if she wanted, that we could meet up for dinner before she works some night. I am praying she calls.

After leaving the bar, our team went down to speak to some of the street walkers. Women from Central Asia, Africa. They are so beautiful and yet so controlled by the dream of making money or the manipulation of those who brought them here. Rarely do they not know what they have come to Bangkok to do. However, the reality of it once they get here, begins to take a toll on some, throwing them into silent desperation or hardening their hearts as they accustom themselves to the life they live.

And then there are the children from Thailand's surrounding countries, who run down the streets carrying roses, or baskets of gum to sell for near 75 cents. And then there are the mothers, with their babies wrapped up on their laps, begging for money, the men who stand and watch, we are not sure if they are just observing or keeping an eye out. So many relationships, so much need.

As I come home tonight there is a burden on my heart. A burden for the western world to see, to see that there is a world of people who are desperate to be loved. These women, men, and children are living lives that are ruining their hearts and future. But who is going to come and help them, give them a loving touch, continue to visit them, show them a way out? This is what is burning on my heart. I want to see a movement of love that reaches here to Asia. To see more people who will follow the call to go. Who will get involved? Who will pray? How about you? What will you do?

These children know freedom

Party in the Park!!--February 5th, 2011

Never have I experienced anything like this before! In an area surrounded by idol worship, comes an opportunity to love the most broken. This part of Bangkok known for its cheap services, poverty and homelessness is one of Jesus’ most favorite places. How do I know that? Well, because He showed up to our party. It all started when some people who wanted to see Jesus touch Thailand, had an idea to have a block party. The week the party was to take place, the missionaries who were coordinating this event were put in touch with a “grandfather” of the community, a man who was like a party guru, all kinds of parties and events in this part of the town were hosted by him. Soon, after they spoke with him, he had changed the location, taken care of food and even said that he was going to print out 200 of his own flyers and hand them out! To me, this sounded like something similar to the story of  Zaccheaus or a tax collector or one of the many people that Jesus chose to hang out with while he was on earth. Our team, most of whom were from Iris Ministries, planned games, a skit, and brought supplies to have a dream interpretation, healing, prophesy and picture booth. As it turns out, these booths actually were not really booths but just people sitting out on prayer mats. These mats would easily be found in one of the temples. make sense. After just sitting there with him, and speaking love into his life, he let us pray for him.

Meanwhile, as we were talking with him, there was a lot of activity going on on the prayer mats. The Iris Ministries team, Thai Christians were praying for people and people were getting healed!!! I’m talking about, the deaf hearing, cronic pain leaving, knees being restored!! Yup…pretty amazing! One of my friends gave testimony that one of the deaf people they had been praying for said that he could feel this warmth like fire rising from his stomach to his head, to his ears and then they popped! Nothing is impossible with God, not yesterday, today or in the future! I just received word that everyone who received prayer is still testifying to their healing! That night when I got home and was going to sleep, I suddenly was like, “What a minute, what the heck happened today?!” My faith was built as I saw Jesus answer as His children stepped out to love. It really is simple. Jesus said…
“Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14

Now Iven and Kashmira who are missionaries there have started a cell group on Monday nights to welcome anyone who wants to come. Their mission is to love, to love the most broken. That is Jesus heart. And I am inspired to have the same.

Sunday Afternoon

I got to church today and was met by near 15 children! I could hardly believe it! Just this past week I had spoken with Pon about how I wanted to teach the children on Sunday afternoons and here they were! It was crazy. As I am walking downstairs followed by a bunch of laughing kids, I prayed, "God, help me to be able to communicate in Thai!" One of the mothers was there and she had all the kids sit down together in a circle on the ground. I got out the Bible story book and started telling them about John who baptized Jesus, of how the Holy Spirit came down upon Him and of how God's voice was heard from heaven. Today we reviewed the three voices that we can hear, God's, Satan's and our own. Some of the older kids were distracted but most of the children followed and understood what I was telling them. The kids then drew pictures of either God's voice or the Holy Spirit which is like, rain, wind, water and some of the kids drew pictures of God speaking to them. Then I passed out some instruments and we all danced around while listening to "Supernatural" and then "Be Still" in Thai which definitely helped to calm everyone down. The kids loved the music shakers and little tambourine. This all lasted for about an hour and then they all went outside to play. Here are some pictures from this afternoon. They took many of them themselves. :) Please be praying for these children. Many of them come from buddhist families where most likely one of their parents is a Christian. Pray that the Holy Spirit stirs inside of them a hunger to know God and that they personally encounter Jesus in a real way. Pray that God would raise these children up to be the future leaders and revolutionaries of their nation. Pray also for me, that God would give me creative ideas in knowing how to communicate truth and an ability to understand the children when they speak to me. Thank you so much!

Is It Worth It?

Tonight I have been thinking about love verses exploitation. As I walk into the horseshoe plaza and sit on a coushioned bench in a windowless room, with women, holding onto a pole and dancing in front of me, I think, and feel so many things. When I have a girl sitting beside me, who seems more interested in getting a customer that night than talking with me, and yet in her eyes is something, a hidden longing for something more, and a little girl then throws herself into my arms, I catch a glimpse of why I am there. When I get a text message from a girl whose family expects her to pay off their debt because she is their daughter, and not only to pay off their family debt but the motorcycles her uncle bought and then to pay for her baby's formula, and in her text she says she cries every night but she doesn't see how she can leave this job and make the same amount of money, I wonder what hope there is. When I unexpectedly meet a girl on the streets who only a month ago looked like a little girl and now is dressed all up, wanting to meet just the perfect man, I think of my little sister and feel this ache, this longing, when, when will they see? When will they see that there is so much more to life than money? When will the economic structure of Thailand shift so that families no longer pressure their daughter to go to the city and then justify their work because of the money she can send home? When will bars where it seems Satan is getting the upper hand at exploiting God's most beautiful creation, stop being frequented by men from around the globe? When will the women really value themselves for who they are?

As I sit in a bar, talk with a girl on the street, I sometimes wonder if it is worth it. It hurts. It hurts to get close, to embrace and then to see them continuing down the same destructive path. But when a woman, I met in the bar only once, calls me and tells me that she wants to learn to speak English, she wants to take me and my friend to see the city of over 400 ruined wats and then she comes to our Christmas party and says to me, "I see that Christians think..." and "I want to become Christian too..." I see that somehow it is worth it. As I think about the thousands of women who are prostituting here in Thailand and it seems overwhelming, I have to focus on love. I want the world to know, to see, to realize that in the midst of darkness, in the midst of situations that seem hopeless, there is a God who loves and sees and He sets up divine encounters so that one by one, people can encounter Him.

Honestly, the only way that we who are a part of the ministry in Thailand can keep going into those bars, can keep meeting those girls time and time again, is because of love. It is because as we have those encounters on the streets or in the bar and are able to exchange even just a look, heaven just touched earth. I think that sometimes we as Christians don't realize the power and love that we carry. Our lense is too narrow. God is a God of the impossible. Each time I meet a girl, I see it as a gift. Knowing a girl's name, getting to talk with her, put an arm around her, look into her eyes and know that the God of the universe sees her, that is a beautiful thing. When I start to question and feel overwhelmed, instead of looking through the lense of the world that says this is the way it is and will always be, I look up and see that God is holding keys of freedom and He is passing them out. As we are talking, the words that we say to someone, may be the very key that God uses to bring them out of darkness. Sometimes we may not see how the key is used, but it is His business, to set the captives free. Will you join in being a part of this? In being a part of the revolution of God's love? Of His love even in the darkness, even when things seem hopeless and the world gets tired of hearing and seeing the needs, will you still let love carry you and move you to action? Will you be a part of seeing the revolution of love overcome the exploits of darkness, will you carry keys to the captives? Will you let heaven touch earth through you?

Childlike Faith

Thursday night this past week, I couldn't go to sleep. I was listening to Hometown Glory by Adele, just love the raw richness of this song. I took my computer and started writing...what came were lessons, truths that God was putting on my heart to impart to the kids here in Thailand before I leave to visit the states. When I finally fell asleep near 3am, my spirit felt full and refreshed. Then Sunday came. One of my Thai friends had asked me to be a part of the worship team for church. As I looked out over the group that had gathered, I saw that there were many children who had come, several I had never met before. I was really excited when I saw my friend Uh Oh, who is Thai, walk into the room. She had been a translator when a team from Bethel church in Redding and Expression 58 in LA had come to do a week of teaching with our children. Today was the first day that I had seen her since then.

When worship was over and the kids were dismissed...I was even more happy that she came to join us. Today, I really wanted the kids to realize how many God's thoughts are for them, more than the grains of sand, we can't even count them. Uh Oh helped translate and when we talked about how our hearts get dirty and how Jesus wants to clean them and fill them with good things, we had the kids lay on the ground and ask Jesus what He wanted to put in their hearts; what He sees when He looks at them. One of the boys, who is 5 said that he saw a black heart. Then he asked Jesus to clean it. As Uh Oh prayed with him, he said that he saw a sun. One of the girls who is near 10 was having a hard time listening and seeing but when I asked her to picture a garden and where she was in the garden and she saw also Jesus giving her a gift. We all got out paints, and the kids got to paint what Jesus had shown them. The five year old boy randomly started painting and on the top wrote S...H...I...N ...Uh Oh finished with an E at the end, SHINE...which fit in beautifully with the sun he had seen earlier. A father, who had brought his two young children, sat there painting with them, water, a wale while his oldest son painted white covered mountains.

When our time was finished, we all went downstairs to the main worship room. Entering, I saw that there were several people up front who were receiving prayer. Soon I realized that this father's, wife was there as well and she was experiencing a lot of turmoil and was wailing. Their youngest child, a little girl asked, "How is my mom?." I was a little concerned about her being there, but she didn't want to leave. A group of women who are experienced in ministering in the area of deliverance prayer, were there with her. The father lovingly had his hand on his wife and was interceding for her as well. After a short time, the ministry team had her sit up, and the woman started throwing up as the evil that had been tormenting her, physically left her body. Then she became quite again as the Holy Spirit enveloped her with His love. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen before. The team spoke lovingly to the little girl, explaining to her that her mom loves Jesus so much and that no bad things can live with her so they have to leave because she is a daughter of God. When it was all over, the little girl There was something special about the whole family being there to see their mom set free.

God really is in the process of making all things new! I love what He is doing right now and that I have the opportunity to be a part of loving the people of Thailand. I can't even describe how much joy it brings me to see children grasping truths of who Jesus is to them. It makes me want to jump around and dance for joy! And actually, I got to do that today...but that's another story :).

(Art is done by children)

(angel warrior)


I have been thinking about children. Many times they can be overlooked, disregarded and dismissed but I believe that inside of each one is a key, a key of freedom. Though they are young, in God's eyes they are the future and destiny of the nation to which they belong. They are future mothers, fathers, pastors, doctors, teachers and world changers. The heart of the Father in heaven beats with undying love for the least in a land, they are His treasures. But how many times have these treasures been treated like clay pots? How many times have we shut out the voices of the children, thinking they are annoying or unimportant? Jesus said, it is to them that the Kingdom of heaven belongs. When we silence their voices, push them away, we are quenching the very breath of God. I can not even begin to describe the depths of love Poppa God has for children. His heart burns with justice and compassion for the one who knows the fear of death, of abandonment, of rejection and of physical harm. Throughout heaven a voice cries out. Can you hear that cry? He is in their song, in their questions, in their exploration of life, in their tears, in their smile, in their dance. Freedom. A child speaks of freedom.
If you will stop and watch a child, if you will get close enough to let them influence you, you will start to feel something being unlocked inside. That is when the Sprit of God has come. How many of you know that children can and do see angels, that with their gentle touch and simple prayer of faith, healing can come? So many of us have not known real love and often this makes us afraid and uncomfortable to get close to children because something feels amiss inside. When we havn't felt delighted in, it is hard to delight in another. When we are afraid of failure we will be uncomfortable with the freedom to fail a child realizes. If all we have known is someone making choices for us or we have made choices out of fear, we will cultivate an atmosphere of control that sufficates the spirit of freedom inside a child. Even in church we try to contain our children, keep them from disrupting our services, no wonder we can not figure out where the freedom has gone.
Jesus said that a child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. How bad do we want it? It is a risk...to live like a child...to trust, to dance and not care what anyone thinks. But if we will stop and ask God to make us like children, we will discover that the same key of freedom they carry is inside us as well.