After some consideration, I have decided to go about this blog a bit differently.
In order to write posts with more continuity, I’ll be writing shorter pieces, and will no longer be limited to writing solely about ‘love and community’.
After some consideration, I have decided to go about this blog a bit differently.
In order to write posts with more continuity, I’ll be writing shorter pieces, and will no longer be limited to writing solely about ‘love and community’.
Two nights ago I arrived in Redding, California, after almost two glorious weeks in the Philippines!
The Filipino people are very friendly and reported to be one of the most happy and content people in the world. I believe it!
They are also the #1 selfie nation in the world.
Most are Catholic or Pentecostal, but there’s also about 15 % Muslims and a smaller percentage of Buddhists and Hindus.
I will now try to give an account of our time there; as brief, yet insightful as possible..
We were a team consisting of approximately 45 people from all parts of the world. We were working together with several of the local churches in the areas we went to.
The first half of the trip we stayed in Manila, and we started out with a conference; I am revival. Most of the team spent the first half of the day on Smoky mountain, ministering to people living in the dumps there. I was at the conference, however, as I was in charge of arts; painting a picture for someone in the audience, and activating other people in painting on stage as well.
In the late afternoon the rest of the team joined us at the conference, and we split up into different ministry booths, such as prophetic drawings, healing art, prophetic dance, prophetic singing, etc.
I did prophetic drawings, and saw many touched by God speaking through the art pieces.
On the first Sunday we split up into teams of around 4 in each, and went to different churches. I got to lead a church service in Hosea church together with one of my best friends, Melissa, whom I lived together with last year. We had two first year students with us, Alex and Christian.
After a great worship session, we presented ourselves, and proceeded to hand out the prophetic paintings that were made during worship. Alex on our team had never done this before, and also got to activate a girl, Julie, from the church. People were greatly touched. We had our two first year students come up and share about identity and the prophetic. Christian also called out people from the crowd and spoke into their lives. This was also a first time for Alex to speak on stage, and she rocked it! She has a very powerful testimony, and also broke off lies that many people tend to believe about themselves.
As we listened to Alex, Melissa and I decided to go up and follow up on what was being said. We shared about how we can have a heavenly perspective and laugh at lies, because we know the truth, and the truth is more powerful. We shared some examples of lies, such as “I am only liked because of what I can do, not for who I am” or “Since I made a mistake, I am a mistake”.
And then we laughed at these lies and declared the truth instead.
Time went by fast, and we proceeded to do a fire tunnel which people could go through at their own pace. We prayed for and blessed them. Afterward, anyone who wanted prayer for anything could come up front to us.
I got to pray for a lady who had a condition for more than a year which made her constantly cold. That’s hard to believe in the Philippines! I myself felt like I was melting away. I prayed a short prayer, and she was instantly healed, and felt warm again.
Then there were other people I prayed for who had some kind of encounter with God and fell to the ground.
The service was now officially ended, and we went to the back room for lunch. We were not finished, however.
During the service, I felt that I needed to find John and Elizabeth. A man in a yellow t-shirt was also highlighted to me. We did not have time to do this during the service, however. So afterwards, I asked one of the leaders who John and Elizabeth were. As it turns out, Elizabeth was not there that day, but I had a picture I had made for her, with a small note, which a friend of hers could pass on for me.
Then I was presented to John and gave him a powerful directional word, and he was very touched. Then there was only the man in the yellow shirt left. I went over to him and presented myself. His name was also John! And he was also given a word.
Some weeks before the trip, I kept being reminded of Ezekiel 47, where water goes out from the threshold of the Temple, getting deeper and deeper the farther it flows from there. I had planned to share parts of this chapter with the church at the beginning of the service, but felt that I should wait. When we had finished our lunch, we went on to bless the leadership, and I started reading from Ezekiel 47, saying I felt this was a word specifically for them in this season. As it turns out, the church was founded on that chapter, back in the mid-nineties, but they were still waiting to see this really come to pass. We blessed the pastor and thanked God for confirming His word. Then we anointed all of the leadership with oil, and they instantly started laughing and having encounters with God.
On Monday we had a chance to go to an indoor market and look at merchandise. We split into smaller groups and brought some printed pictures with us. I got to talk with several people, and all of them wanted prayer for something; family, finances, healing, etc. We got to bless a lot of people that day. Other groups also reported that some had received Jesus into their hearts!
After this we went to a spa where the whole team got a free massage, and could get manicures/pedicures. I wasn’t feeling well that day, so I skipped the massage, ordered a cup of tea and sat down to relax in the lobby, where the air wasn’t as “heavy”. I had just sat down for a few minutes when the air became heavy, so I looked up, and realized I was less than 3 feet away from someone burning incense as an offering to a Hindu god. No wonder I didn’t like the atmosphere in that place! I started interceding for the place and the people there, but didn’t get a chance to talk with any of the staff there.
The next day our big team split up into smaller teams, going to 4 different locations in the Philippines. Our group went down to Davao, on Mindanao Island, where I also went last year. I was leading a team of six together with another girl, and we were supposed to work with a special group for three whole days while down there. This had to be cancelled, however.
Instead, we went to a deaf institute the first day. The students were of all ages. After a local pastor, Amy, taught about human trafficking (which is a huge issue in that area), and the different kinds of trafficking, she wanted to show the students a video with a testimony from someone who had been rescued. As happens a lot there, the wi-fi only occasionally works, and she had one of the girls on my team share her testimony instead.
Meet Pooh. This lovely lady from Thailand has a powerful story, part of it being how she was forced to prostitute herself in order to survive, and was saved through an act of kindness from some missionaries on vacation. Two days after being saved and rescued, she went out on the streets to help others get free.
After this, we had another girl, Tamara, share about self image, which was very good for what we were doing next. The pastor had an altar call, and about a handful wanted to receive Jesus.
We split up into six groups and got to know our group of students. We all had an interpreter, which was interesting. If you think normal translation takes time, wait till you try getting translated into sign language and then back!
I talked about how God can speak to all of us, and that He wants us to know His heart, and that He wants to know us. Then I prayed for everyone individually, and gave them each a card with a picture and a prophetic word I wrote for them beforehand.
The session went by very quickly, as much time was literally lost in translation, but the group all seemed encouraged. After a lunch break, we each chose two or three people from our group, so that they could receive a sozo-session. We would have wanted to give sozos to everyone, but would have needed more days for that..
Sozo is a Greek word which means salvation, healing and deliverance, all at the same time. In a sozo-session, we partner with Holy Spirit and use different tools in order to help others deal with traumatic or hard experiences, receive inner healing, encounter God, and get breakthroughs.
I first met with a young man, and asked him how be was doing. In short, he felt sinful and shameful because of things he had done in the past, although he was now saved and baptized. I talked to him about how Jesus’ blood covers all sin, and that He died for us before we were even born and had sinned at all.
I asked him to close his eyes and see Father God. He couldn’t. He only saw darkness. We tried the same with Jesus, and that went well. Jesus was next to him, and was smiling at him. But when I asked him to ask Jesus “How do you see me/what do you think about me?”, I got a typical religious answer. He needed to “do” a lot of things, like reading his bible more, be a better person. I’m not saying this isn’t important, but the question here is not what you should/need to do, but what God thinks about YOU.
We worked some on that, dealt with some forgiveness issues, and I went back to Father God. I found out that he had a distant and very reverent relationship with his father. He had a good father, but they had a hard time communicating.
I had him close his eyes again and picture Father God. This time he could see Him, but He was far away and unattainable. I asked him again to close his eyes and to ask Father God if he could come closer. We did this several times, and for each time he was able to get about 20-30 feet closer. Finally he was right in front of Him, and I had him ask if he could sit in His lap. The answer was yes. “And”, said the man, “now I’m wearing white clothes.”!
When we had finished the sozo, he felt much lighter; no more shame and guilt. He connected with Father God in a way he hadn’t before, and his countenance was changed for the better.
After this I had sozo with a young lady, which also went really well.
It was very special to be at the deaf institute. We realized how isolated and voiceless these people must often feel. There are very few who can speak to them, and fewer still who ask them to share their stories, their hopes and dreams. It turns out some of them had had quite traumatic experiences in life, and little chance to process and work through these things with someone.
One of the ladies on the team, Rachelle, met with a girl, and almost by accident, asked if she knew Jesus, when she had meant to ask something else. The girl replied that she wanted to when the invitation was given earlier, but she had had to leave the room for a moment, and missed it. So then Rachelle got to pray the salvation prayer with her. This was the first time for Rachelle to get to do so!
The next day, we went to bless the leadership in a Christian organization called Global Impact. One of the things they do, is working to prevent human trafficking and rescue those who are already trafficked. Pastor Amy, who came with us the the deaf institute, is the founder. We spent the morning praying for and prophesying over the workers, again using singing, dancing, drawing, etc.
Again, the people were greatly touched and encouraged.
In the evening, my team went to a part of the city where we could talk with prostitutes on the street. We had local people with us, and had many good encounters.
The women were very open, and there were many heart breaking stories about why they were there.
We had brought different gifts with us, pictures, head bands, ear rings, etc., and would hand them out as we felt led.
I had a black headband with white polka dots on it. When I was still in Manila, I kept thinking “I should give this particular head band to Melissa”, which wasn’t strange – it would look good on her. But I had bought these gifts for people in the Philippines, and brought it with me to Davao. As we were preparing to leave, I saw a girl with a black dress with white polka dots, and immediately knew that the head band was for her. I tapped her on the shoulder, and found out.. She was deaf! I remembered from the day before how to say “Jesus loves you” in sign language, and her face lit up. I got some other people that were with us to come over, and one of the local missionaries actually knew sign language. We got to pray for her, and she felt a sensation in her ears that she hadn’t felt before. We also got to simply love on her, and she was deeply touched by God’s presence.
Unfortunately, we had to leave after a short while, but the local missionary will be looking for her from now on.
Oh, and her name?
While our team did these things, the two other teams who went to Davao went to a high security prison one day, and saw many healings and salvations there. They also got to bless and pray for the Task Force, a branch of the military working with security and against terrorism. A Christian radio station had some people come and share what God is doing. They also had two services;
one for youth specifically.
The next day we all left Davao city at 6.30 in the morning to drive to one of the provinces about an hour and a half away. Here, we got to be a part of an outreach for the community, which offered medical examinations, dental work, ophthalmology, hair cuts, entertainment and music from the stage, prizes, etc. While this was going on, we had different booths for adults and kids; balloon swords and crowns, face painting, prophetic drawing and handing out pictures, singing, etc. This time I was on the healing team. We found it was easier for us to go to people than have them come to us, especially as many who needed healing were in line to see the doctor or dentist. We each found someone to interpret for us, and basically just asked everyone we saw if they had any pain or problems with their bodies.
A lot of them did.
We prayed for a lady who was waiting to see the dentist – she needed to get a very painful tooth pulled. We prayed, and all her pain went away. I don’t know what the dentist said when he examined her.
We prayed for many painful backs, knees, migraines and cataracts that day, and saw many healings. A woman had a very painful arm, with little mobility and got fully healed.
There were also surprisingly many people with some kind of respiratory problem – they had a hard time breathing, and had pain. Everyone we prayed for got healed, and felt “lighter”.
Someone else who walked around praying for healing, got to pray for a woman with a multitude of lumps in both her breasts. I don’t remember the details, except that afterwards, all the lumps had vanished from one breast, and only one was left in the other.
Towards the end, I got to pray for a Muslim couple. They both needed healing, and the woman also wanted to receive Jesus!
While I was praying for these two people, another Muslim woman watching us from a distance was highlighted to me, but I couldn’t just up and leave right then. When I was done, I couldn’t see the woman anymore. I went to the entrance of the outreach area to get some water, and people started leaving, as it was just announced that the event was over. So I stayed at the entrance and looked for this woman. I found her and got to talk to her. I asked if anyone had prayed for her that day, and she said no one had asked her so far. She came to see the doctor, but as with others, there wasn’t enough time for the doctor to see everybody…
We got to pray for healing for her, and talked some. I said that even though she didn’t get to see the first doctor, there was another, better doctor wanting to heal her right now – Jesus. Did she want to receive Him as Savior and Lord as well? Yes!
So I had my interpreter pray the prayer of salvation with her, and we made sure she (and the other woman as well) would be contacted by local Christians.
What a glorious day! I’ve seldom felt more happy and excited. Or sweaty and dirty..
On Sunday we were another mixed group of four going to a church in Davao: me, Carmella, Christian and Pooh.
We touched upon different things, but especially saw God healing hearts that day. After activating people in the congregation in physical healing as well, we had a blessing tunnel. People took their time going through it, and were encountered by God.
We left Davao and came back to Manila for one last day. We had a loong debrief time in a conference room where all the different teams (9) shared different highlights. Then we spent a lot of time praying for and prophesying over local leaders and whoever else were present. Even that last night we got to see people mightily touched by God’s presence.
The next morning we went to the Manila airport, and when our flight was delayed, some of us got a chance to talk to and minister to other people at the gate. Melissa and I met a woman called Irene, and we got to encourage her and pray for her different needs. Others got to pray for healing for people.
I’ve been very blessed on this trip, also financially. Before leaving Norway, a couple gave me some Filipino money (Pisos) they couldn’t use anymore. I thought it might be enough for a meal or so, but it turned out to be worth close to a $100! Together with the Pisos, was another note I couldn’t identify, but I brought it anyway. When I came to Manila and met my team, I found out that one of them was from Thailand (Pooh), and that I had Thai money. Obviously, the money was for her, and she told me that with this money she could buy food for her two kids in Thailand for an entire week!
I haven’t had this experience before, not even last year in the Philippines: both churches my team ministered to, took up an offering for us (we found out later), so I was trying to give away my money, but ended up getting more instead, each time. I also had people just paying for my coffee, or other things. I ended up using some of the money, but I really didn’t need much, and could give most of it away.
Because of these blessings, I didn’t have to use my credit card at all for two weeks, until April 1st, when I arrived in Redding and needed groceries.
Since I’be been going from Norway – Philippines – USA – and soon to Norway again (east – east -east), I’ve been declaring since I was in Norway that I would have no jet lag (I’ve tried it before, and it’s no fun..) on this trip. It’s been so easy this time! I’ve had so much energy and have slept well at night.
I went to second year at Bethel on Wednesday with some of my friends. As expected, the leadership asked for people to come up and share testimonies from their mission trips (most people came back Monday night or Tuesday night). The testimonies were amazing but we didn’t get very far with them.
Someone shared about a young lady whose ear drums had been completely blown out and she was deaf. She got healed completely from her deafness, but as she went for a doctor’s examination, her ear drums were still missing!
After this testimony, the leadership started going after healing instead. Several people were healed of issues with their ears, including one of my friends who had had grommets before. One of them had left some scar tissue and he had a more minor injury to his left ear. Now suddenly he could tell from what direction a sound came from, which was hard for him before. Many different healings happened. Several were healed of tinnitus which they had had for as long as 25 years!
But my favorite is this one:
One of the students in the group I interned in last year, Timothy, was practically deaf. He had hearing aids, but even if he was right next to me, he wouldn’t be able to hear me. He couldn’t distinguish any sounds; they would just be noise. Instead, he read lips so well, I wasn’t even aware until now of exactly how bad his hearing was!
Today he was completely healed, and could hear and distinguish normal talk and laughter for the first time since he was 6 years old!
I want to thank you all for sowing into this trip, into me, and all the people I’ve met, both with intercession and finances. I have been so blessed by it and have also felt very covered in prayer and in being sent out by my church.
I love you all,
You (God) have filled me with joy, and happiness has risen in my heart, great delight and unrivaled joy, even more than when bread abounds and wine flows freely.
I spent 3 glorious years in an environment where it was relatively easy to stay in community, feel connected, be accountable, get encouraged, loved upon, fed, pampered, cheered on, and be reminded to stay positive and happy.
You could say it was a season where bread abounded and wine flowed freely.
Then I left.
I love God.
He took me from the place I most wanted to be at that time, to the place I least wanted to go to; the place I in many ways feared the most. I didn’t want to go back there, but still felt compelled to do so.
And, what often happens as you go back somewhere is that you’ll find that you’ve conquered what used to terrify and intimidate you.
When God leads you back to something from the past, it’s not to hurt or punish you, but in order to give you victory over it, and so that you can become fully healed.
The place I came back to is a place where one definitely have to be more intentional about getting basic spiritual and emotional needs met. Opportunities for accountability and encouragement aren’t chasing you down every 10 minutes.
This isn’t a place where you can simply lean back, enjoy the ride and think that you’re doing good.
It’s more like this:
You look at the external circumstances and know that this must be God giving you that joy, peace, wisdom, encouragement, courage, strength, etc, cause it’s certainly no one else around to do it, and the situation seldom explains it either.
And knowing this makes the joy and peace even more exciting and overwhelming!
No, I’m not saying there hasn’t been any external source of joy and peace or anyone encouraging me. Oh no.
But there’s certainly been more of the
“This must be God making me so glad, cause what else would right now!?!?” moments,
– and THAT makes me even more happy!
I’ve had so many experiences this year; I would say more than ever before, where the joy feels unbearable, in a good way. It’s almost like a lightheadedness, an energy boost, a deep peace filled with vibrant life, like you’re about to burst.
There’s a joy and peace that truly surpasses everything coming their way. And I believe that this is just the beginning.
And because of this; the joy of the Lord, I would rather be “alone” and have Him, than be surrounded by great people and circumstances where I still didn’t know His joy and peace the way I do now.
Thank You, God, for taking me to a place where Your love, joy, peace and light speaks even louder, where I cannot for a second doubt the source of my joy. Thank You for filling me with unrivaled joy!
Thank You for Your joy which is available to anyone who wants it!
One of the things I’m amazed by is.. our abundance of, yet lack of presence.
How can we be available to a vast number of people at the same time, potentially millions around the globe, and still be unavailable to the one sitting next to us?
I am with someone; they are less than 3 feet away from me. We are talking. Eating. Watching a movie. But they aren’t present. Not to me. Every now and then (or sometimes all the time), they’ll be checking their phones, or ipad, or some other device.
I understand everyone’s different. It doesn’t matter to everyone.
But to me – it feels like they’re not present.
They’re choosing to read, like, comment on, or post something about something or someone, instead of postponing it until later on, when they’re alone anyways.
Choosing to be present at some level with everyone else in the world, means choosing to not be as fully present to the ones closer to you.
In our day and age we tend to think we can be known by and know everyone, and be everywhere.
I don’t think so. Some people are said to be good at multi-tasking. But really, we’re not made to multi-task. If you multi-task really well you simply shift your focus from one task to another, and then back again, really fast. But it doesn’t do you much good in the long run. Especially not when it comes to relationships.
Still though, if I want to have a conversation with you, I’d rather you not use your multi-tasking skills on me. I do not want you to shift your focus every 30 seconds, although that’s very impressive.
Actually, I’d be more impressed with someone who can give me, or anyone, their undivided attention for more than five minutes.
It might feel like a lot of work to shut out everything else and be fully present for one person at a time. Actually, it usually is a lot of work. But your hard work will give back a hundred-fold come harvest time.
Being present to “everyone” will eventually wear you thin. It seems easier to do, but it won’t give you or anyone else a crop to sustain you.
We all tend to want everything. We don’t want to miss out.
As you choose one thing, though, you have to let go of something else.
If you try to get everything, you’ll do poorly at most, if not all, of your prospects.
If you’re afraid to miss out, and therefore try hard to not miss anything, you’ll still miss out.
Let’s try this again:
As you let go of some things, you’ll have more time and energy left for other things.
If you focus on one thing at a time, there’s a great possibility you’ll excel in that one thing. If you decide that you’re OK with missing out on some things, you won’t actually miss out, but instead you’ll be fully present where you’re at.
The greatest present you can give your loved ones – and yourself, today, is presence.
Just recently I met with a friend who I hadn’t had a chance to see for almost a year and a half.
It was truly great! We connected instantly, talked about a million different things and I had a lot of coffee to make up for all the coffee dates we should have had..
One of the many things we touched on was ‘expectations’ in life; more specifically in relationships.
We both acknowledge that we are not the best at keeping in touch with people who live elsewhere.
We both pretty much suck at keeping in touch with each other on a regular basis, yet we had no problem connecting once we finally met. No hard feelings. No one was hurt. There wasn’t any awkwardness.
On top of that we see each other as very close friends.
This is someone I would call instantly if any life altering event was about to happen. This is someone I have had very deep conversations with and entrust my heart to.
It all seems very contradicting.
How can we be so disconnected yet so connected?
In this case I think that one reason that we can be this way toward each other is because we think similarly when it comes to this. We think or expect the same. I don’t feel less loved and known just because we don’t talk every day or every week. Since we both feel this way we are good with the situation we have. We still feel connected.
I wish I could say that every friendship I have had works the same way, but it’s not so. More often than not, what two people expect from each other and need in a friendship or relationship is very different. On top of that, those expectations and needs must be communicated and received by the other party.
Thankfully, my friend and I haven’t had to work very hard or fight to keep our connection and be where we’re at today. Saying that, I’m not saying we haven’t invested in each other or been intentional. We have. But honestly, it hasn’t been very hard. Sometimes friendships are relatively easy to keep alive, and even thriving.
Still, I believe that what my friend and I have now, is also due to a few things which took place while we still lived in the same city.
During that time we established a healthy and deep connection. If it hadn’t been established over time, before we both moved and got more “disconnected”, I’m not sure we would feel so connected now. We had gotten to know each other, personalities and all. That really helps when it comes to knowing what to expect in the future as well.
In addition, we’ve shared so many things with each other. We’ve talked about expectations. As it happens, we share the same expectations to our friendship at the moment, but that’s not a given. Since we know where we personally are at, we can both feel free to be ourselves and not feel any pressure.
However, since we talked about this, we could also have discovered that we had different expectations toward our friendship at the moment.
Being aware of this would at least give us a chance to figure out how to deal with it in the best way.
While this particular friendship is one where expectations have been communicated and everybody’s happy, I’ve been in many other situations with people where I’ve realized (a bit late unfortunately) that we expected different things.
Sometimes I expect way more than you. And I feel hurt when you don’t set aside enough time and energy for us.
“I thought we had something special!
I thought you really valued me!”
Other times you expect more of our relationship than I do. While I think we’re just goofing off, having fun, you think we’re BFF.
While this is going on, hearts can easily be wounded and deep things be shared way before its time.
Other times, negative experiences might make us expect, not too much but too little out of a relationship or a situation. We might expect failure before we’re even started.
Since we all have different experiences and personalities, we will all have different expectations in life – to ourselves, to friends, to God..
I think there are at least two pivotal keys to managing expectations well, though:
1) Be aware of your own expectations in various circumstances.
This might take time, but get started observing what you expect from friends, situations, etc. and once you have some defined expectations, try to figure out why you expect what you expect. Are you believing lies? Are you stuck in some bad experience? Is it time to change what you expect?
2) Once you have some conveyable knowledge about yourself, communicate it to others as well (no, not everybody, but someone, at least).
You wouldn’t want to do this at the very starting point of a relationship or in a demanding way. But find a way of talking about each other’s thoughts when it comes to the specific relationship. Once you’ve found out more about each other, you might find that you have very different expectations.
Sometimes they’ll be so contradicting or different from each other you might have to reconsider or redefine what your connection is.
But most often you will find that you have some differences as to expectations, and that’s ok. At least now you both know, and can do a better job at taking care of each other’s hearts, preferences, and wishes.
Posted a year ago today. Hope you enjoy it!
In my last post, I asked “How good are You, God?!?”
I will proceed to talk about how “He is always better than you think!”
What you’ll read next, is a topic I’ve taught on a few times.
In church we tend to say that God is good! And we tend to say this all the time. But do we really know what this means?!? I want to give you an outrageous claim today:
God is always better than you think!
In Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus says:
“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (NKJV)
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I wrote and posted this exactly one year ago.
May you experience even deeper depths of His love and goodness this following year. Happy new year!
“How good are You God? Will You show me?”
I ask God that now and then, and He always answers. I can kind of picture Him getting that question, His face lighting up (even more), Him rubbing His hands excitedly, and saying: “I’m glad you asked (finally)!”
Or, “Well, since you’re asking, why, yes!”
The thing is, my question is awful big – bigger than I can even imagine. Certain questions or requests take quite a while to answer. I’m sure that at some point I’ve said or thought:
“Wow, God, now I know how good You are!”, in response to something that has occurred in my life.
And I’m sure that God, although I haven’t actually heard Him say this, must have said something like:
“Wait, I’m not done yet!”
In fact, He only just got started. A question I have is, do I stop receiving of His goodness…
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