Monday, December 1, 2014

To Thrive.

I used to stalk the people I thought were incredible and dream about being brave like them, just walking away from all the normal to do what I love. Then one day Miss Beth hugged me and told me to truly be brave and be wildly me. And you don't argue with Miss Beth. So I did. And let me tell you.....Jesus truly is the wildest and most amazing ride of all time. And He truly wants us to live huge and bold, not stuck in the mold. I don't regret my life. Not for one day. Even the messy, ugly, horrible, embarrassing seasons. No...ESPECIALLY those. Because THOSE make me understand and relate to every other human being on a level beyond measure. I wouldn't trade that ability. Think about it. Walk away from the surviving and choose to start thriving.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Updated Update.

First of all, here's a video that my coworker from Elijah Rising created. It explains a lot!    



Next, I have more details about my trip to South Africa with PLAY. It looks as if I'll be leaving the 30th of December to ring the new year in South African style. And I'll be returning mid-April. That doesn't leave much time to gather all I need in order to make ends meet while there! I have raised enough to cover the flight, but we're still needing over $1500 for living expenses and the like. If you don't know about PLAY from Lisa being at Big Valley, I encourage you to look at the website or Lisa's blog. And consider becoming a part of the staggering work she is doing by prayerfully and financially supporting me. It takes every part of a body doing it's job to make things function the correct way. I literally can't go without you. That's the truth!
                                      Give at PLAY or send checks to:
PLAY
127 S. Presidio Dr
Gilbert, AZ 85233
"For Liz" in memo!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Home.

Home.
Even as I was recently saying "I'm coming home!" something in me wasn't settling with that. Part of me felt that Houston was home.  There's a side of me that slides right into the ways of Texan ministry and big hair. Of big, well, everything. The big city. The hustle and bustle. The size of and amount of churches. It's the stuff I've been involved in for the last decade, but from a distance. I know Miss Beth and her lot like the back of my hand. I know how to do the Southern thang. I know the crowd. I've worked with them before. I feel like I can be contented there forever. I can rock those boots.

 I return to Modesto and I immediately notice that there is a difference in culture.
And I feel completely at ease, speaking the language of all things Californian.....My clothing choices are considered normal again. I hike around the forest. I go to Yosemite. The familiar breath-taking beauty draws me in. Because my grandparents were forest rangers, I know the Sierra Nevadas like one knows their oldest of friends. It's in the blood. As we cruz along highways into the mountains I suddenly remember every curb and turn-off, the old unchanged land and stops that I spent my summers traveling as a child. And people here get it when I talk about needing to get "down south" as soon as humanly possible. They know I mean Disneyland. It's an unspoken around this state. And that alone feeds my overly-obsessed, child-like soul.
(They need a CR group for this Disney stuff. It's serious, people. Very, very serious!) 

But oh, Northwest, how I love thee. When I attended Ecola I completely found a vibrant freedom in the ways of the hippie and the granola. In no make-up, plaid shirts, and Northface clothing. I am so drawn to herbal living and homesteading and healthy eating and the green and rain and growth and life and small communities and the friendliness of Washington and Oregon. I try to go at least once a year for a visit. My body and spirit always receive a rest there like I have nowhere else. It's more than just soothing and calming. It's breathing deep of renewal all the way down to my toes. And I never feel ready to return. I could absolutely settle there.  

And then.....then. Then Africa. Oh, the beauty of her people! The glorious ways in which their spirit is strong, resilient, unbreakable, shining and glowing in consistent joy and the light of a culture as bold and beautiful as time. The ways of doing things. The order of priorities in society. The land. The wildlife. The music. The food. Within an hour of my first time there my heartbeat shifted to a new rhythm and I have longed for her since. 

Here's the thing about all these places.... 
In each of them, there is always this nagging element of just not quite being fully what that place or culture is usually about. No matter where I am, I think about the other places. The other parts of me that don't fully resonate with the ground my feet are upon. And I sometimes begin to feel a bit out of touch and out of place. Wondering why I just never quite feel all in one spot. Or all about one spot. And curious as to whether anybody else feels this way often. It's nice to appreciate several different places. It just also causes me to feel kind of outcasted. Strange. Like a drifter. Wondering to myself "Where exactly might 'home' be?" Where might I find a place of haven and rest? Where might I know I can always return and fully crash into being the worn mess of a human I can so often be? Where is safe? Comfort? Warmth? The feeding of my spirit, heart, and soul? Where does healing take place?  Where do I fully flourish in my giftings and ability to serve the Body in excellence? Where is my Eden? 

It's with a bit of grief that I have to admit to myself I don't exactly have such a place.
Yes, that sets a bit heavy on my shoulders. Yes, that hurts rather deeply. It makes me want to freak out just a little bit. Until I remember something very special that I've known and clung to over the years......
I may not have that one place of comfort that I always seem to perceive everyone else to have and covet so strongly. I may not have a spot to call my own or a haven to run toward. Not in land. But what I have is oh so much richer than the soil of all the above places combined. What I have is the very true and real ability to say that without a doubt and without any other options, Jesus is my home. He is. He is all the things I long and ache for. He is my past, present, and future. He is my safety, hiding place, comfort, all of it! He knows every little thing that calms me, brings me peace and rest. He gets me. He understands the love of too many places and peoples all at once. The discomfort that can come with all this. Not everybody gets the privilege of saying that their home is literally just Jesus.  In Jesus, things are so much bigger and better than they would be in any other place. And for that I am floored and thankful beyond measure. Should you ever hit a season of struggling with these things, remember the very real home we have in the Kingdom. Not just in our futures. But right now. Right here. And we can ask for it and live in it here. He is home. Because He is.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Nicole's Story.

This incredible and amazing video is a perfect picture of all I was entrenched in while in Houston. THIS is happening everywhere in our country, y'all, not just abroad. And I find it strategic that the person who introduced me to human trafficking runs the organization who made this beautiful picture of what it looks like right here. A21, my love for you only increases. Here is Nicole's Story.

Getting Along.

The last year was wild, mind-blowing, painful, challenging, beautiful, and simultaneously one of the hardest yet most amazing years of my life. And those things all drastically change a person. I've seen and experienced things I wouldn't even want to begin describing here. And you don't walk away from that unmarked. 

I've had a few curious friends wondering if I've "gone off the deep end". Worried that I've become someone who might make them uncomfortable. Who might do or even believe things that they'd disagree with. I mean, I grew up in an extreme sessationalist environment and spent the last 6 months living and working in one that is in every way sensationalistic.  I used to laugh at those on the other end of the spectrum from me. Judge them. Assume they were off their rockers. But after the last chunk of life, here's what I've learned....

Every end of the spectrum is beautiful. I can't negate the solidity of the traditions. I love liturgy. And I can't deny the ways in which I have now experienced the Holy Spirit at work in a Charismatic ministry. He's fallen so hard on me that I've ended up on my face in His presence...... My take and my response to the criticism I receive is this: "I love and serve the body of Christ. All of them. Every single denomination and kind. I
will not overlook the beauty of ritual and I will not quench the fire and power of the Holy Spirit. My desire is to see the body vibrant, alive, actively advancing the kingdom into the corners of darkness in this world. I long to see the unification of the Church and acceptance and learning from those who're not just like us.  Because if we don't flow out of a place of unity, our focus remains on ourselves rather than those out there who desperately need to encounter the hope and redemption of Jesus Christ." 

Don't tell me I'm living in a dream-world. Don't tell me we can't all get along. Don't tell me the old rhythms and practices aren't necessary. Don't tell me to quench the ways in which I've experienced the Holy Spirit move and breathe in my own life and before my eyes. Don't tell me God isn't into performing the impossible these days. He's into miracles alright. I know this because I AM ONE. Don't tell me this "world-changer" mentality is all just the hype that's going around. Last time I checked, God's Word says who wins.  Guess what? It's US!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Updates, Open Houses, and South Africa




 It's hard to believe I'm home from over a year of doing intense ministry in Houston. One part of me hates being ripped away from all I've been entrenched in and the other part is mighty relieved to rest and be seeing the faces of those I love after so long. Even if it is only for 2 months.   

Yes yes it's true! I'm hoping to go to South Africa in January!
My friend Lisa needs some assistance with PLAY .
Go check it out! She's making a ginormous and eternal difference in the lives of many children. I intend to leave the first week of January for several months of helping Lisa with some camps among other things.
If you know me at all, you know I have a passion for Africa and am delighted in this opportunity. Hopefully you also know that I firmly see and believe in the importance of every part of the Body working fully together. That means that while I love the traveling and the ministry in other places, I also do not ever discount people who are here, working very hard, and faithfully supporting me in various ways. Because I quite literally live on that. No joke! I have video and pictures and so many pieces of the last year to share with you. Because of your support you are a part of these pieces. I'm having an open house on the 14th. Also, feel free to contact me if you're interested in seeing and hearing about it all. I'd love to get together and share my heart and life with you.

Here are my very real and very serious needs at this very moment.
Please think very hard about possibly entering into them.
Because by doing so, you are sowing into the work Jesus is doing in Pretoria.
In each of those children. And even in me. (Probably more than you know!)
Thank you and I love y'all more than words.

Needs:
1. Prayer. Major prayer warriors.
(I've got some junk going on. I can tell you more if you sign on.)

2. At least $3,000.  The flying is $1500-2000 and the other costs of living for the few months equal about $1000 more dollars. The flight itself needs to be booked NOW. (It's only 2 months away!)

3. A camera to borrow. My iphone 4 is an 8g with no memory space.
(Hashtag ministrylife)











Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Exhibit A.......

If there's ANY reason we do what we do around these parts, this is it right here: an email we sent out about a team I was delighted to be a part of on Friday night. When I was speaking with the young lady mentioned, I asked Jesus for a miracle.
And Saturday it came! Amen and pass me more cards..........


Dear Friends,
I am frequently asked why Elijah Rising does the work of intervention.  Is it worth sending teams into sometimes treacherous situations to reach women being exploited?  Allow me to share a testimony from a recent outreach. 
During October’s Fourth Friday Outreach, one team was deployed to an area of town on Bissonnet Street where young women are being sold. Nearly 100 business cards for a 24/7 helpline number were distributed. (On the street, these are called “hope cards.” And pimps have been known to call our outreach teams “hope people”!)

Outreach lasted late into the night, but no women chose to exit FridayOn Saturdaya call came in to the helpline. A faithful older saint was on the streets sharing the love of Jesus when she stopped at a restaurant on Bissonnet to rest her feet. Inside she spotted a young girl with an older woman, and an alarm went off in her spirit. Something about their appearance caused her to suspect trafficking.

When the “minder” excused herself to the restroom, this saint approached the young woman asking if she needed help. Pulling our helpline card from her pocket, she said: “YES! I need to find a way to call this number!”

This precious young woman—we will call her Kay—received three hope cards Friday night but was waiting for an opportunity to escape her traffickers’ glance. She was quickly driven to a police station for her safety, then to a stabilization facility where she is receiving wraparound care for her trauma. Kay is originally from the Midwest and was picked up by a nefarious truck driver only a few weeks ago. She was soon to be moved to other Teas cities. We reached her just in time.
So, is it worth sending teams into sometimes treacherous situations? It was worth it for Kay.

For justice,
Cat French
Founder and Executive Director
Elijah Rising

#LoveJesusEndTrafficking