Inspired to Action blog posts by Rebecca Pratt
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Inspired to Action blog posts by Rebecca Pratt

Are you ready to leave your battered life behind?

Happy New Year: 
Are you ready to leave your battered life behind?

 In this new year ahead, it is my hope and prayer that you will be awakened to what you were made to be and what you were meant to do in this world – to live fully alive. 

As we have walked through life, each of us have our own stories of hardships and difficulties that have brought us to a level of brokenness we have had to walk through. Some of us have become battered and worn out. Some have become bitter because of what they have had to endure. Others of us have chosen to run to God and allow hardships to bring us to a new level of humility and sensitivity towards others who are going through tough things themselves.

 If we have chosen to go down the latter road, then the healing process has awakened us to a whole new level of compassion, allowing us to extend a healing hand to those who we may not have been able to reach before we experienced deep pain. This, my friend, becomes the precious touch of God flowing from our lives.

May you get a glimpse of what it will take for you to leave the dark cellar of a battered life and experience the life which is destined for you. 

We only get one shot at life. Let’s not waste our days living for ourselves. Let’s live to the fullest as God intended until we take our last breath. 

There is a lot of good out there that we can spend our time on, but there is only one Best and highest for our life and those whom God wants us to touch in front of us. 

This year let’s be focused on what is God’s best and not waste our time on what is just merely a lot of good busy work. In the blogs to follow this year, I will be giving you tools on how to determine what God’s best and highest is, and how to walk that out in your own life.

 If you haven’t read my book “Inspired to Action”, I would encourage you to get a copy and to read it. It is a great place to start. This book will encourage you to overcome the many fears in life that keep us from living the life God has destined us to live.

Through the Pain, I choose to trust

There are some days my heart is so heavy with the pain of this world, it is hard to see the hope in it all. In Africa it is seeing and hearing about one tragedy after another that many children have to suffer through. Here in America most recently in our family it is watching our daughter and little grand daughter go through such hardship through a recent divorce full of disappointments and broken promises. Our precious girls have to remain in Texas due to custody issues, and we as a family in Seattle, are forced to either plunge into despair for them, or to trust God with their lives and situation.

I just recently came back from a trip to see them and my heart broke when I had to say goodbye to my little grand daughter, who is only two. She began to plea with me to not go, reaching her arms out and crying profusely saying, “No go mimi, No go”, over and over. This whole scene about killed me emotionally.  In her shuffling from home to home in her visitations of mom and dad, she does the same thing when carted from one parent to the next. She does not understand all of this pain.

In my old Testament reading this week, I am reminded of some people who experienced  way more unimaginable hurt and trauma than I could ever imagine, yet God was always proving His faithfulness even amongst their painful circumstances.  

I am reading the story of Moses’s life in Exodus. When Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to kill all the male Hebrew babies, Moses’s mom hid him for three months, then put him in a basket, praying incredibly for his safety. As she lovingly laid him amongst the reeds at the rivers edge, she had to trust God with her little precious bundle. As a mother, I cannot even fathom the pain and fear she was feeling as she said goodbye to her little baby boy, not knowing what would become of him once released from her arms. Would the soldier’s find him and kill him? Would the basket over turn in the river and her beloved baby drown?

To his mother’s great relief, God did answer her prayers, by softening the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter to take him in and raise him as her own child. God even ordained the circumstances so Moses’s mother could nurse him till he was weaned. (In those days, some scholars say a child was weaned around the age of 5). 

Because of Moses’s background, God had a huge mission for him, which we all know was to free millions of his own race from slavery.

I am reminded once a again that God is always in the business of redemption, restoration and rescuing if we will pray for His highest will to be done and to trust Him in all things.  

I had my daughter take one last picture of me and my precious little doll baby, before our good byes took place. As I was breathing prayers for this little one in my arms, I would later look at the picture to see God do a beautiful thing for me as a reminder of a visual expression of His faithfulness. A ray of sunshine can be seen shining directly on this precious little one in my arms, as if God were to say “I have got her, she is mine and I am protecting and watching over her. When man fails her, I will not, When evil lurks around her, I am there. Trust me with her and with your daughters life”. 

Every day, I am choosing to trust God in all this and with every other circumstance that is completely out of my control.
As it says in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 There is a time for all things. Sometimes we are to do nothing buy pray and to trust God. Sometimes we are to fight, as I do regularly in Africa for justice issues when kids are starving or being trafficked or abused. 

The key is, knowing what God is saying for this season and to trust that GOD IS GOOD, no matter what the circumstances are around us. Our job is to stay steady and faithful in what He is asking us to do today. Taking one day at a time. He truly is trustworthy!!

God has not forgotten you

When life takes a turn for the worst, and circumstances seem to go very wrong, do we blame God for our hardship? Do we feel that since we love God, that He should spare us from such pain and difficulties?  

In reading about Joseph’s life in Genesis 37 through Chapter 50, He had God’s incredible favor in his life, yet he certainly was not spared hardships.
At the age of 17, he was sold by his brothers into Slavery to the Egyptians,  He would not see his family again for 17 years. He was thrown into prison for two years after being wrongly accused of sleeping with his boss’s wife. Through it all he kept his walk with God strong and his integrity in tack.

Through all the hardships he endured, Everyone around him had the highest respect for him and he was quickly elevated to the highest form of leadership wherever he was placed.

After interpreting a dream for Pharaoh when no one else could, Pharaoh saw God’s hand on his life, and put him in the highest position a person could have in all of Egypt, just under himself. Joseph was given authority to rule over the entire country and was given instant wealth,  

Through Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, that there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, Joseph was put in charge of storing up the grain during the years of plenty. Through Joseph’s actions the entire human race was spared from starvation during the famine. The whole world came to buy grain from Egypt during the famine, not to mention his entire lineage was saved as well.

The story of Marielle comes to mind. She is a precious girl in one of our orphanages. She was sold as a child into slavery. Being used as a domestic slave, she escaped at age 13 after she was being forced to marry a muslim man with many wives. She was brought to us from the streets by a social welfare worker. In asking Marielle how she survived such incredible hardships, she said it was because of Jesus. She accepted Jesus in her life as a young girl, and has kept close to Him her whole childhood. She said if it weren't for her relationship with Jesus, she could not have survived. Life was too traumatic. She never blamed God for her hard life. You would never know she has been through such abuse. She is so resilient and loves to learn in school. 

It is stories like these that renew my hope in the power we carry within us through Christ. No matter what the circumstances. Marielle, was rescued and now has a wonderful future ahead of her. She gives all the credit to God. My problems compared to what she has gone through is so minor in comparison.. I consider myself blessed each day I get to live free, even with the trails that come my way. 

Through our own difficulties and trauma's of life, God wants us to stand strong in Him and trust Him with our whole life and with the lives of those in front of us. We do not always understand why God allows certain hardships to occur, but we do know that God is good, and His heart is always for redemption, rescuing and restoration. He always has a bigger plan than we can imagine. If we will keep our eyes on Him and not on our circumstances,  we will be able to share in the beauty of that plan as He unfolds his glory upon our lives even amidst the pain. 

God Goes Before You

Genesis 24:7  ....He will send His angel before you.....
In the story where Abraham was sending his servant to find a wife for his son Issac, we are reminded that God goes before us in all things. Abraham did not want his son to marry a foreigner who did not follow in the ways of God. He wanted his son to marry a woman among his relatives who followed in God’s ways, from the land he had moved from. 

When tasking his oldest and most trusted servant with this assignment, the servant became apprehensive with such responsibility. He said to Abraham. “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land”. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said “Absolutely not, God has promised this land to all my descendants. You must never take him back there. God will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife from there.

With the servant feeling incredible pressure and responsibility he breaths these words to God. (Gen 24:12) “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day and show kindness to my master Abraham”. He then asks God specifically to bring him the one who God had appointed, and asks God to reveal to him she is the one through her kindness at the well. 

In Gen 24:15 it says “And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold Rebekah, who was a relative, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. And the rest of is history.

In this story we are reminded that God goes before us in All things that are in alignment with His perfect will.  We do not have to fret or worry. God has tasked Angels with assignments to help bring into alignment what God is wanting to do. Our job is to be like that of the servant, to just walk forward and to trust in our God. The key is to walk forward and to act in faith. 

Are you allowing God to be God in your life each day?

Are you living the life God destined you to live?

    Many aspects of your destiny have not been determined yet. There are some things that have been determined based on the decisions you have already made in your life, but there are many things that have not been determined yet and will unfold based on the choices you make. 
    In 1 Samuel 15, I am reminded of King Saul’s life in the Bible. He was picked by God to be a strong King who was anointed, blessed and given favor in every area of his life. God let Saul know that as long as he chose to follow Him, God’s hand would be with him and He would bless his kingdom. King Saul started off strong following God’s every command, but through the years he fell into pleasing man instead of God. Because of this, Saul was not able to walk in all that God had destined him for. He lost the blessing and favor of God and also lost his kingdom. In the 34 verse it actually says God regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel. God did His part, but Saul did not. 
    Another man that God chose was Jeroboam. He was one that got God’s attention due to his leadership potential, and God anointed him to be king over the Israelites after King Solomon’s reign. He was given incredible favor and power. God’s destiny for Jeroboam was for him to lead the Israelites in the ways of God. He wanted to give him a dynasty equal to what He gave King David. In 1 Kings 11:38 God said these words to Jeroboam. “If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 
    Soon after becoming King, he also began to please man over God. Leading his people to worship carved idols. These actions caused him to never walk in what God had destined for his life.
    Then there are the famous stories we are all familiar with of men and women who did walk in the destiny God had planned for them. They did what God asked, and were able to change the course of thousands of lives. Noah obeyed God and built an ark saving humankind and all animal species. Moses rescued thousands of Israelites from slavery. Esther saved the entire Jewish population from annihilation. 
    God loves us enough to give us free will. That is a beautiful thing. God will never force our hand in anything. It is strictly up to us how far we want to go in partnership with God. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 it says: For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. Is your heart completely His? Can He trust you to do what He asks of you? Are you living in a way that allows God to bless you? He has big plans for you. 
    His ways are so much higher than our ways. Ephesians 3:20 says: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! 
    You were meant to live an extraordinary life. Everything you do matters to God and to each person in front of you. God wants a personal relationship with you. He wants you to feel his heartbeat for those around you who are in need. He will guide you through living a life beyond yourself to become someone’s miracle in partnership with Him. 
   Are you ready to walk on this journey with God to change the world around you? Are you ready to walk in the destiny God has for you? It all starts with God then flows out to others. 
    There are so many opportunities to help others. There are opportunities awaiting you in your neighborhood and towns as well as Internationally. There are no shortages of ideas of what you can do. It just takes a willing heart to move forward. The rewards are endless and so worth the effort. I promise that you will never be the same. Your adventure is waiting. 
    Live in such a way that God's love can bless you as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. -Jude 1:21 (New living translation)    

**This blog came from a few pages in my book. "Inspired to Action",If you would like to read more of this kind of writing, Get my book! Check Home page of this website for 3.00 off my book.

God's beautiful grace

In all of life's trails and trauma's and drama's, we really learn how fragile we are as human beings in this life.  We either lean on our Savior, or fall into deep despair. Everyday I am choosing to lean on my Savior. 

Personally I am faced with so many decisions that will determine the future of hundred's of kids lives in Africa, and stateside, we have family and friend heart aches to walk through.

Tim's mom is dying at a young age of 71, and 2 of our children are going through some pretty tough life circumstances that we cannot simply rescue them from.  All we can do is pray and do our small part of giving comfort, love and support, 

With all of this, I still feel peace, I still feel joy, and I still feel an incredible presence of God's spirit in my life and in our families life. How can this be, when life is so hard, I have asked myself? The answer came so sweetly as I read my devotional this morning, which I have copied below. God's beautiful grace working daily in our life. 

The secret of a Christian's life is that the supernatural become natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life, not in times of intimate fellowship with God. And when we come in contact with things that create confusion and a flurry of activity, we find to our own amazement that we have the power to stay wonderfully poised even in the center of it all. -Oswald Chambers

Building Stamina

On Wednesday I got to spend some precious time with my dear father who lives on Whidbey Island in Washington where I grew up. One of our favorite things to do is to walk down our beach trail and take our long beach walks. 

 At the end of our walk coming back up the steep trail, I was huffing and puffing and completely winded only half way up.  My father briskly walked up the trail, keeping a steady pace ahead of me. I was literally heaving while he seemed to have no problem. I yelled up ahead and said, “hey wait a minute, you are 79 and not even breathing heavy, and I am 43 and practically dying half way up. What is with that? There is something wrong with this picture”. He laughed at me and said, oh kiddie, you are just not used to this beach trail anymore. I walk up and down this thing all the time. If you did this regularly it would become a lot easier for you as well. This trail gets you in shape.

My physical challenge this week is realizing how out of shape I am, and how I need to exercise more to build my endurance and stamina physically. 

In that same light, Spiritually this also reminds me of how important it is to build endurance and spiritual stamina as well. In life we are thrown a lot of curve balls through some tough stuff. Whether it be mistakes we have personally made, or through mistakes of our children, spouse, friends or co-workers. In all the disappointments of life, if we do not press into the things of God and practice spiritual disciplines, these hardships will crush us. We will not have endurance or stamina to stand. 

I have realized if I do not get my alone time on a daily basis with God, even if just for a short time, I am not a very pleasant person to be around. My insecurities, lack of faith, and selfishness comes to the surface and my attitude about my life and the life of others is despairing. I begin to lose hope for today and for the future.  

Reading and pondering scriptures, releasing my anxieties and problems to God, is my source of refuge with my God. I have also learned that surrounding myself with those who are equally passionate about God, spurs me on in my faith as well. We all need those around us who are full of faith and God’s love. These ones help usher in a sweep of God’s presence into our lives. 

In 2 Timothy 2, the apostle Paul was encouraging Timothy to endure/persevere like a soldier, athlete, or farmer would so that he would reap his reward with Christ. He was letting Timothy know, this life was not going to be easy but incredibly rewarding.

Liberia and New Identities:

With each trip, it is wonderful to see the progress of the children we are helping. They each have incredible hope for the future now that they have been rescued from so much abuse, neglect and over all apathy for their care. 
     Seeing the little ones growing up and becoming preteen kids, it is hard to believe we have been involved with some of these children for more than 5 years now. 
     Having a summer celebration with some of them, it was fun to see the girls who once were close to starvation, now looking and acting like any other preteen girl, wanting pretty hair, colored nails and cute clothes. Their appearance is not the only thing that has changed. They have also learned about a God who loves them incredibly and who desires a personal relationship with them. 
      Through our child development program they are thriving and learning they are loved, valued, and a one of a kind. No one on this whole earth is the same as them. They are learning that God has an incredible plan for their life. They have come alive as they have begun to understand who they are through Christ’s eyes. It is such a beautiful thing to be apart of. I am so proud of our field staff and all that they are doing to make this work successful on the Liberia end.

Living a life without regret

Talking to a 94 year old woman this week, provoked some deep thoughts in me. Through our conversation she said “Rebecca I so wish I had met you in my younger years. I would have lived my life very differently if I had met you earlier.” She went on to say, she was a very active woman in her past, and now she is pretty much confined to her chair, and wonders what more she could have done to make a real difference in this world.
   As she was talking with tears dripping down her face. I thought of how we only get one chance at this life. We can either live it beautifully in partnership with God, or we can live a life for ourselves, which will end with many regrets.
   Using our gifts, talents and energy to help people be rescued, redeemed and restored is an amazing way to live.  As we deal with our junk daily and keep short accounts with others, we will be able to hear what God is asking us to do next. As we walk in unison with God with no selfish motives, we will live an incredibly rewarding and adventurous life with no regrets.
   May we not waste our days on things that really do not matter. Let’s be purposeful in all we do and say to those in our path. 
   In sitting down with this woman, the realization came to me how incredibly blessed I am that I can walk, talk, drive, fly and am able to live an active life . May I be a good steward today with this body God has entrusted me with.

Child Trafficking

“Rebecca, will you please start another safe home in our area?” pleaded the influential judge I was meeting with while in Benin, West Africa. “This last month I arrested a man at the Nigerian border who was trafficking 16 very little children into Nigeria.”
   “Tell me about this case,” I replied. The judge began to explain that parents in a certain village gave their little children to this man who said he would take them so they would not have an extra mouth to feed. In an area where survival is difficult, they willingly gave their children away without so much as a second thought. This man then took them to the Nigerian border to sell into slavery, only thinking of the profit he would be making.
   The judge then said, “Rebecca, these villagers are not bad people; this is just a consequence of poverty. I just could not believe how little the children were.”
   I then asked the tough question. “Tell me, Judge; where did you take those children when you rescued them?” He put his head down, and then answered me. “That’s the worst part of this whole thing, Rebecca. We had nowhere to put the children, so we took them back to the village. My fear is that they will soon be trafficked out again. The parents do not want their children.”
   During our meeting, the judge thanked me for what Orphan Relief and Rescue is already doing with the current safe home/orphanage we are having such huge success with, which is currently full with 60 children. He then asked me to not forget the many others who daily come into the system with no place to go. 
   As I left his office, I said a prayer for these precious little children. Then I breathed another prayer to God to please bring more safe homes into existence and give us a game plan on how we can help on a larger scale and to affect villages for long-term change in this area.
   In the meantime we continue to be extremely thankful for the kids we have been able to rescue through your partnership. Without you none of this work would be possible. If you are not partnering with us, please consider helping us. 

This is a girl from a village at high risk of being trafficked.

These are girls who are thriving in our safe home/orphanage.

A whole different world!

This week I met a 17 year old girl at the social welfare office who was running from being forced into marriage with an older man. This older man already had one wife. She had run to the police station, and the police had taken her to the social welfare office. She had been there sleeping on a bench for two days. 
   In talking with the girl, her story went like this.  She practices voodoo, In fact her grandmother handed down all her powers to her before she died, so she is one of the spiritual matriarchs in her village. Her body showed this as she had shell bracelets covering her wrists and ankles. Her neck was also adorned with similar necklaces. All these were earned from doing things within the secret society within the voodoo rituals. 
    It is custom that when a man wants to marry you, they will do a type of sacrifice to the gods to earn your hand in marriage. The young man who she wanted to marry began this sacrificial process to the gods, but got in trouble with the law and was put in jail for something. While he was in jail on a temporary sentence, another older man with one wife, decided he would finish the sacrifice to be able to marry her as his second wife. He made this agreement with the girls mother without her knowledge.
   The man completed the sacrifice and came to retrieve his bride. At the same time the young man was released from jail and showed up to finish his sacrifice, only to find out this other man had already completed it. The Men got into a huge fight and the girl escaped to the police station for fear she would be forced to go with the older man. The whole village was prepared to carry her forcefully to him, as he earned the right to have her.
   I asked her if I could pray for her. She said no, I practice voodoo you cannot pray for me. I shared with her about a God of love, and how practicing voodoo will destroy her and the power she carries within her from voodoo will be used against her as she grows older. It is a trap that is used by satan to show us power and to entice us, but there is no love in this religion, it is only about power. That kind of power does not operate in love. It only destroys.
   In looking me in the eyes, she asked if there is voodoo in America, I said yes, but not as much as here. She said, well then, you do not know much about voodoo, you white people do not understand our voodoo. It is just how we live here.
   I let her know that one day when she is in real trouble, I want her to remember this conversation and to remember that the God who created her in her mothers womb is waiting for her. He loves her so much and so wants a relationship with her. He is the God who created the Universe and has the ultimate power over all the whole world including voodoo.  She looked at me and said okay. I thanked her for sharing her story then walked away. She clearly did not want to talk anymore.
   When I returned to the orphanage/safe home I could not help but think of all these kids who have been rescued from that kind of bondage in the villages they were living in. Not only were many used as domestic servants with huge abuse, but many of them were also deeply apart of the voodoo rituals that daily occurred. This was a way of life for them. They knew nothing else.
   Not too long ago a grandmother of one of the older girls we have, tried feverishly to get her back to the village so she could transfer her powers to her grandchild before she died. She was the spiritual Matriarch (which we call the village witch in America), of the whole village and needed to turn her powers over to her only female blood relative who was her age. Her powers would be lost forever if she did not do this. 
   The house mother refused to let her go to the grandmother by making the excuse that she had to stay in school. Her education was very important to the future of her village. The social workers backed the house mother, and the girl was rescued.  This particular girl is completely oblivious to the fact she was spared from such a life. All she knows now is about a God who loves and values her incredibly. She is thriving in Christ. 
   This girl on the bench was a good reminder of where many of our kids in this home would be had they not been rescued from this other life.

Game Changers

It is 5:45 in the morning, and I am awakened by the sound of 61 children singing and praying their little hearts out to God. This has become more than a ritual for the children in the House of Hope orphanage/safe home in Benin; it has become a way of survival in this spiritually dark place.
   Each morning I lay in my bed, thanking God for such resilience and such grace in each of these children’s lives as their prayers echo into my room. Around half of the children in this home were rescued from being domestic servants who were terribly abused. Others have seen parents murdered before their eyes, and others have watched parents wither and die from AIDS and other illnesses.
   This morning, I had to get up and look out my window in order to breathe in God’s redemptive story as I watched them in action. They are praying for their villages and for all of you who keep this dream alive. They take these prayer times very serious.
   These children are the game changers in this very dark place known as the voodoo capital of the world. Last night from midnight to 2 am, I could hear the voodoo drums pounding in the distance. A reminder that the presence of evil is alive and active in the surrounding areas just outside these sacred walls.
   Before arriving in this home, many of the children did not know a God of love even existed. Thanks to your partnership, these precious children are able to break free from the cycle of abuse.They will one day return to their villages to share about a God of love, mercy, grace and a God who values every life incredibly. Please continue to give towards these efforts as well as keep us and these kids in your prayers. You are a critical link in their lives. Thank you!

Heading to Benin Tomorrow. Please pray!

Hello Friends!
As I head to Benin tomorrow, I am asking for extra prayers for safety, protection and Angels to be encamped all around our family and staff. Tim is in Liberia with a team of six, and i will be traveling to Benin on my own and meeting my friend there, who is running the orphanage/safe home. She will take me 3 hours upcountry and I will stay at the orphanage/safe home in our guest housing. I will then be traveling daily along side my translator who is a national pastor and dear friend. He also serves as my cultural advisor and body guard, as he watches my every move. Where I am going, is one of the darkest places in the world spiritually. Crazy things happen and I always need extra prayers for protection and grace during these trips. 

My highlight is always seeing the kids.  It will be great to be with them. I will be delivering letters from their sponsors, which they are always so excited about. This is one of their highlights in life. I also bring a round of clothes, underwear and toys, that they expect from me as a mom. Thank you all who provided these items. You are so wonderful.

The goals for this trip is to get updated profile pictures  and progress reports of each child as well as I will have them write a letter back to their sponsors. Logistically this is a process because the children only speak French and a tribal language of Fon. So I keep my translator very busy while I am there.

Each morning I will go to the social welfare office to download and send my emails, as this is the only place in town that has wireless internet.

On my last visit the social welfare department pleaded with me to go to some villages with them where children are in some horrible situations. I have been putting them off for a while on this, as financially we are already maxed out, but I can't hold them off any longer or our relationship with them will suffer. So If they ask again on this trip, I will be checking a few things out with them, even if all I can do is value those in front of me and to pray for them. Sometimes that is all that God asks. We will see what God does with all this.  I never know what God is going to do in advance, I just walk forward in all that He asks. If you have read my book, "Inspired to Action",  you have seen how God is just looking for those who are willing and available, then He does the rest as we walk forward. So I walk forward with no expectation except to watch Him show up. And oh how I am always surprised and in awe of how He ALWAYS shows up to bring, Redemption, Restoration and Rescuing to his beloved people. 

Benin being one of the largest child trafficking export in all of Africa, we see some awful stuff happening to children, which is why we opened the orphanage/safe home there. We are making a huge difference in rescuing children, as well as influencing policies for how children are treated through our relationships with the social welfare office and people of influence.

Looking at our Orphan Relief and Rescue accounts before I leave, we are in a huge need financially in our operational budget to keep this dream alive. We need some miracles from God at this time for provision. So this is definitely another prayer point.  This is not an abnormal situation, as our faith is regularly stretched, but God does ask us to pray and God has to be the one to prompt different ones to give for this work to keep going. We are so grateful for all of you who do give, as you have been such a huge blessing to these kids and this work. Consider being a monthly financial partner if you are not already.

Another goal is to meet with the Judge who I became friends with on this last trip. After my visit with him in August he freed 3 of the 4 innocent women who were in prison with their babies for crazy allegations. This all came about as a a church on Whidbey Island prayed fervently for these women and their babies though a very corrupt judicial system. You can read those details in my facebook notes. It was a huge miracle. I will be checking on that 4th women to see why she is still in prison, as well as I will bring more clothes to the little children who are in prison with their mothers and touch base with these new friends of mine. 

Checking on some of our precious kids from the past to make sure they are still doing okay is also on my agenda. 

This trip will be a full one, so I am thankful for all of you who breathe prayers regularly for these endeavors. We are so grateful for you!


How to know when God is speaking

   In speaking at a ladies luncheon in Phoenix Arizona a couple weeks ago, I was asked by the ladies how I determine if God is speaking to me about something He wants me to do. How can I be sure it is not something I have made up in my own mind?
   They wanted to know for their own lives how they can clearly know the difference between God’s voice, the enemies voice, and their own voice.
   I shared with them some ways over the years that I have used to determine whether God is speaking to me about something or not.
   In using these steps, I also let people know that as you get closer and closer to God in your personal relationship with Him, you will learn to hear his voice more clearly. He is always speaking, and it is a matter of quieting our lives to hear his whispers as I wrote about in one of my previous blogs.

Determining if it is God’s voice.
This is how I personally evaluate if God’s spirit has truly spoken to me about something He wants me to do.  

1. The first voice or strong impression I get about something God wants me to do is usually God. The Second voice is usually me disputing that is was really God speaking to me. The Third voice is usually the enemy telling me that It for sure is not God. 

2. If it is not normally something I would have thought of myself, it usually is God. 

3. If it aligns with the Bible, and has to do with Redemption, Restoration, or Rescuing of people, it is usually God. Because that is the business God is always in.  (It could be as simple as praying healing for someone, or doing something for someone you normally would not think of doing). We can even add animals and His creation in this, as I felt I was to pray healing for a cat who had clubbed feet and couldn't walk. God healed that cat completely. So God's business encompasses so much more than we can imagine.  

Liberia trip update and a precious girl named Gifty

This Liberia trip was incredibly productive. These trips are never easy, but so worth the hardships endured.  

Little sweet gifty followed me all through the orphanage home as I was doing my usual rounds of inspections. This was an orphanage we built two years ago for kids living in a displaced camp. She insisted on holding my hand as much as possible and nuzzled up to me as I walked around assessing the home. It was clear she wanted as much affection as I could give her even while I was in my business mode. One of our staff, informed me that she was one of the newer children in the home. As I looked closer at little Gifty, her skinny little arms and dissented stomach brought an extra awareness that she had not been taken care of in her previous home. I would later find out, she was left to care for herself in the community, and ended up each day wandering into the orphanage home just to get food and love. The director researched her situation and found out no one was even concerned for her welfare. No one seemed to care she was suffering. Not even her biological mother. So she was accepted into the home 6 months ago. With her beautiful and precious spirit, it is hard to believe no one cared whether this little girl lived or died. I once again reflect on the magnitude and importance of what we do each day as we fight for those whom no one else will help.  

It is great to see them doing well physically. but also now doing good emotionally as well. Through our child development program our Kids are also thriving incredibly. Our staff, through mentorship and Christ centered teachings, have made a huge difference in these children’s lives. The kids behavior and self worth has significantly improved over the last couple of years. They are taught that God loves each of them uniquely and has a beautiful plan for their life. 

It is always a highlight to spend time with the children we serve. Yet my other tasks also include touching base with each of our field staff members, as well as with Liberia’s Social Welfare staff, and orphanage directors.
Highlights with our Orphan Relief staff is always seeing what a phenomenal job they are doing with all they are entrusted with. I am so impressed with how they accomplish so much with such limited resources. They truly make every dollar count on the field to help the children and orphanage directors we serve. 

In meeting with the Social Welfare department, I am so amazed at the favor and influence we have with the Government. They truly recognize us as vital partners to what they are doing within their country to help the vulnerable children in need. To my surprise they have now requested our help to create the policies for the new Foster care system that they would like to implement in the country. This is an incredibly big task, especially in Africa, yet it is a vital need. There are hundreds of children who are coming into the system with no place to go from the abusive orphanages that are being shut down. So please be praying for the social welfare dept. and our staff to have incredible wisdom through this process. 

On this visit it was apparent that each of our core orphanage homes we are helping are centers of Hope in their Communities. The positive impact each home is having on their surrounding area’s is truly wonderful to see. Most of them have a church and a school, as well as are allowing the whole community to use their fresh water wells we have put on their properties. They offer bible studies and children’s programs on Saturdays and during the week the community children are invited to attend our child development/mentorship classes that our Orphan Relief and Rescue staff do each week. We are so proud of each of our directors. 

As I have come back to Seattle my head and heart are so full, and I am so in awe of all that God has entrusted us with. So many kids have been rescued. There is always a part of me though that is still broken and in deep mourning for those others who need us to fight for their life, and that is where we have to continue to work together to make sure the others who are suffering can be rescued. 
Thank you for your prayers and encouraging words for our family, staff and children we serve. We covet your prayers and partnership in all this.

In the whisper

In my walk with God, I am reminded in 1 Kings 19:11-13 That God usually speaks to us through a whisper which is a still small voice. If we are not taking time away with our God alone, we will not be able to hear His whispers to us as to which way we should go next.

1 Kings 12:11-13 
The Lord said "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah":

We tend to look for God to speak to us through all our distractions in life, yet God is just wanting us to come away to a quiet place so he can whisper in our ear. Are we willing to take that time alone, so we can hear what He is wanting to say to us

In Oswald Chambers devotional, He reminds us that our Private time with God, determines our public worth. I have found this to be an incredibly true statement. 

God is summoning you!

Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, you are well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling the secret of who you are, but more often then not of the mystery of where you have come from and are summoning you to where you should to go next. -Frederick Buechner, "Whistling in the Dark"

Each of us are being summoned by God as to where we should to go next. It always starts with our relationship with Him, as he is coaxing us to a new level of intimacy. He wants to go deeper with us. As we do this, our eyes are suddenly open to our frailness without Him. We also begin to see the needs of others in a different light.  Through this intimacy with Christ our ears begin to be attentive to His whispers, and then we acquire the ability to hear what he is asking us to do next. This is the beginning of a beautiful partnership with God. 

I would love to hear what God is summoning you to do next! 

Inspired-The breath of God

In a prayer time with our Orphan Relief and Rescue staff, one of my co workers named Elena shared this as we were praying for all those who will be reading the book "Inspired to Action". I asked her to write it down, because of how beautifully it came to her. This is what she shared, that will encourage all who are reading or are preparing to read the book soon. May you feel God's breath upon you as you scroll through the pages.

From Elena:
As I was sitting there, thinking about the book. I couldn't help but think about how perfect the title "Inspired to Action" really is. See, I once did a study on the word "inspiration" and all the different things it could mean. One of the things I found in my research is that it's often a word used while speaking about the respiratory process--in other words, breathing. When you breathe in a breath, you are inhaling; you are inspiring
But you can take it a step further. Christians believe that Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit; it even says in the Word that all Scripture is God-breathed. So that means it's possible that, while breathing, while inhaling, it's possible to take in something other than air. Therefore, inspiration (when in a Christian context) is quite literally breathing in the Holy Spirit!So I was thinking about this and the book, and how when people are reading, they are going to be "inspired to action." And I saw that, as people read the pages, the inspiration is really going to be from the Holy Spirit; as they digest your words, the Spirit is going to be breathed in by them! And it doesn't stop there. As the Spirit is inspired, people are going to be moved to action: I kept getting a picture of the dry bones in Ezekiel, and how they came to life when they were breathed on! I could see the people reading your book and literally coming awake, coming to life, because of the Holy Spirit! It was such a beautiful picture. This is more than just a book; it's a tool to allow the Spirit to move!

Sneak peek inside a chapter of "Inspired to Action"

Here is an excerpt from my book "Inspired to Action"

Ch. 3 “White Woman” “Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.” – Mother Teresa

  “White woman, white woman! Please help me. I’m hungry; please be my friend,” said a street man in his mid-20’s. “White woman, I have no food for my children. Please be my friend,” chimed in a middle-aged woman. “Please, white woman - give me a job. I have no work; I cannot feed my family. Please help me.”  

   People swarmed me, pointing to the many overwhelming physical ailments they had, pleading for my help to get them on the big white hospital ship we were living on. Many had come to the ship as a last resort to rescue them from their life-threatening illnesses such as infectious growths, skin eruptions covering their bodies and disease complications I was not even trained to identify. Thousands of Liberian people had already been screened by the seven doctors on board the ship. The small crowd surrounding me was made up of the ones who had missed their chance to be seen by a doctor in order to determine whether they were a candidate for surgery or not. The appointment cards given to those approved for surgery are like golden tickets in these parts of Africa. More than 600 surgery slots had already been given out during the screening days. 

    In 2005, Liberia was not on my list of first choices for our family to live in, especially since it was only a year and a half after their 14-year civil war had ended. Yet our commitment to Mercy Ships at that time was what brought us to the nation. It was a time when 83% of the population was unemployed. Fifty percent of the population was under the age of 18, and 70% were illiterate.  Liberia’s brutal civil war had destroyed the nation’s economy and displaced over a third of the population. Hospitals, libraries and schools were ravished in the process. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 1989, Liberia had 800 practicing doctors. By the end of the war, it had 50.  
    In the first couple of weeks in Liberia, I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer needs and desperation of these African people. Each day I would dread having to go off the ship for fear of facing the ones I felt I could not help in any way. Furthermore, I didn’t believe that anything I could do would make any real difference in their lives. Their problems were just too big and complicated. The people who were begging on the streets numbered in the hundreds at that time. The ones lined up at the port entrance desperately wanted a response from me as I would pass by; but I didn’t even know what to say. 

    I would say my prayers for them nightly, but that was the extent of what I felt I could do for those off the ship. My job was Renovations Secretary, and my main focus at that time was to get our department ready for the shipyard in South Africa in just a few months. This was a yearly maintenance time for the ship to be taken out of the water and worked on from the inside out, structurally and cosmetically. 

    Not long after arriving in Liberia, I read a book called African Friends and Money Matters. The author talked about how everything in Africa is based upon relationships. To be successful in Africa, it is important to spend a lot of time building friendships and relationships with the nationals if you truly want to affect real change in their nation. 

    Through that book, I was particularly interested in what the author shared regarding the beggars. When someone is begging, of course they want their needs to be met, but even more than that, they want to be heard and valued for who they are as an individual. One way to come to terms with this dynamic is to consider they may want a friendship with you. Yes, part of it is that they hope to get help financially, but you valuing who they are as a person is even more important to them than money, according to the author. He advised looking the person who is begging in the eyes and asking his or her name, asking them about their lives, families, etc. - truly showing value and worth to them. After this type of encounter, you will have gained a good friend. 

    While reading this, I started to get excited. I had been so frustrated at how overwhelmed I was each time I had to face the people hanging out on the streets. It became so bad that I didn’t even want to go off the ship any more. Emotionally, it was too much. However, after reading this newfound information, I felt personally challenged to test this out and push myself to let the African people teach me a few things. It was time to put myself in the learning role with the ones who terrified me emotionally. My prayer was that God would give me wisdom with each person who came into my path-specifically with those who were begging. 

    Putting a plan together, I decided that twice a week I would go off the ship for two hours in the morning and just hang out at the end of the port where crowds of people spent most of their day. I would make up my work on the ship in the evening. My plan was to go with no agenda except to learn from them. I would be open to whatever God prompted my heart to do with each person in front of me.  

   So this is how my Liberian adventure began:  

In my book “Inspired to Action” you will read about how my entire life changed through these times on the streets and the miracles that followed that will forever amaze me. 

I am still taken back at how my naivety caused me to walk in such fear and almost kept miracles from being accomplished in others’ lives. Through knowledge and just being teachable and walking in humility, God converted this fear in my life into transformational miracles for others. Find out how this happened and how you also can become free from your own fears, by ordering your copy of “Inspired to Action” today. 

My Book "Inspired to Action" is ready for you to read!!

My book "Inspired to Action" has just been published. You can order it by clicking on this link.

To get a sneak peak inside this book, click on the last blog entry.
I am so excited to finally have this book done and ready for you. May God awaken some amazing things in you as you read.
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