Friday, November 16, 2012

Vision and Dream Fulfilled

In the past fourteen months our team has traveled through every country of Central and South America.  This is twenty-one countries that we have driven through since we left Washington on September 9th, 2011.  Our team has included 44 men and women from over ten different countries.  Our community was amazing, constantly growing in unity and family through our extreme life of contrast and challenge.  We carried the presence of God and ministered in the slums, jungles, mountains, prisons, red light districts, local churches, and much more.  We traveled by car, ferry, bus, plane, canoe, train and on foot.  God constantly revealed His faithfulness through times of need, danger, blessing, challenge, tiredness, discomfort and comfort, sickness, and health, in the unknown and unforeseen.  Our faith was stretched and our lives forever changed. 


When God gave us the vision for this trip and told us to go we were challenged in our faith and a little scared but knowing God would have to meet us as we stepped out.  It seemed impossible but those are the circumstances that excite us the most knowing that we will get to see God manifest His glory and presence in the places that we have no idea what we are doing.  As we went, the Lord revived and refreshed churches, made Himself known in places where the Gospel had not been preached, healed deaf ears, blind eyes, broken bodies, broken hearts, The lost were introduced to their Savior and many lives touched and inspired for the destiny the Lord has for them.  



At times in our journey our life and schedule became so intense that it caused a bit of strain in our relationships.  It seemed that nearly every night we were scheduled to lead another church service, and different types of ministry were scheduled throughout the days.  Our hosts were thankful for our time with them and wanting to utilize the few days we had but we were not able to function like a normal short term team coming through.  We were not just doing a two week intensive trip and then going home to rest.  This was a lifestyle for us and we had to learn how to pace ourselves for the long run so that we did not wear ourselves out.  So at times we needed to take a few steps back and remember what our journey was all about.  It is all about Jesus and if we are not fully abiding in Him and letting the ministry come from the overflow of our intimacy with Jesus than often times the activity could become straining for dead works in order to fulfill man’s expectations.   So we made it a goal to have daily times set aside as a team to be in His presence worshipping Him and listening to Him.  We made an effort to have regular Sabbaths set aside to just rest.   The measure of our unity as a team was usually strongly affected by the dedication to seeking Him as a family on a regular basis.  And the measure of the kingdom eternal fruitfulness of our team was usually directly related to the measure of unity we experienced amongst ourselves. 
  As we made this a constant goal and entered into covenant relationship as a family, it seemed in every place that we went we were mostly commented on the love that we had for one another and the joy on our faces.  As we drew near the end of our journey together we could all feel it in our hearts and it was so hard to even talk about not being together anymore.  We had grown to love each other deeply and had been through so many challenges and victories alongside of one another.  So recently through much tears we all have gone our separate ways and now there is a great hope and expectation of what the future holds for each one of us.  More glory trips in other continents, new ministries being birthed, destinies being formed and unfolding.   God is faithful. 


As leaders over this Iris Ministries team and this journey we were stretched and challenged more than any other time in our marriage or ministry.   We took far too few breaks and date nights.  But we were constantly comforted by His presence and He consistently was calling us to come away with Him to the secret place so that we could refocus as we readjust our gaze to be steadily fixed upon His face.  Tanya is such a hero, being pregnant for the last 9 months of the journey but choosing to continue as long  she could and the Lord enabled her.  Still often sleeping on church floors, camping, and every other crazy place you could think to have to sleep, she did not complain and was an example to us all through it.  We are so glad the Lord guided us into this adventure of faith and challenge and experienced incredible fruit inwardly and outwardly and enjoyed the most, seeing the incredible growth and maturity of all those on the team with us as they became amazing leaders that we grew to really respect and look up to ourselves.

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