Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mexico City re-cap... and now - Kalgoorlie + Coolgardie!




Hello from luscious Kalgoorlie! Our 1st week here's nearly up, and I'm happy to say the flies aren't nearly as bad as I'd thought...
To re-cap the last part of Mexico City outreach.....

Our last Saturday church sesh at Bellas Artes was incredible. In case I forgot to mention it previously, our team held informal 'church' sessions in a large park. We offered free art and English, with a Bible study afterwards. So the last Saturday we had in Mexico saw 9 people come to Jesus.
The last public painting we did in the Zocalo brought another 10 people into the Kingdom.

God gave us an exciting surprise on our last night in Mexico City – at our farewell 'do, Uni student and his sister gave their lives to God, after being witnesses to the whole 7 weeks the AES was in Mex. :)

So after a 2 day break to get over jetlag, the Transformation School and my team have joined forces for the last 3 weeks of outreach in regional W.A.

The 2 teams had a jolly 10+hour drive from Perth to Kalgoorlie, a country town north of Perth.
Our mission here is to serve and minister to the Aboriginals.
The ghost town of yester-year gold rushes, Coolgardie, is a half hour drive from our cabins in Kalgoorlie. On weekends we hold 'fun days' at the local recreation centre for the Aboriginal youth and kiddies; which include games and sports – most of the kids are crazy for basketball – and they're not shabby at the game, either!

We do BBQ's for the youth, then in the evenings the TS and AES hold a short service – great opportunities to goof off in testimonies and skits. After my staff Alex preached and gave an alter call last night, I think 6 kids came up.
I led 2 11-12 yr olds to Jesus – it was the coolest feeling! :)

During the week us YWAMer's are serving the schools – I'm looking forward to imparting practical truths to primary and highschool students. This will be my 1st time ministering to school kids – I'm praying all will go well! :)

We have plans to hold small groups for indigenous adults and parents of school kids. There's been a few suicides in this area recently, so the community's kind of closed of and hurting while they process these tragedies. But God wants healing transformation! And if He brought us here, you can be sure His plans have a good chance. :)

After 2 weeks here in Kalgoorlie, our combined teams will travel to Esperance, down south past Perth. Not quite sure what ministry plans are for Esperance atm.
Thanks for your prayers – Mexico City exceeded my expectations, and God answered many prayers in random ways. The Mexicans we met were just beautiful and I could see God's got many redeeming plans in place for that incredibly diverse nation. The Mexican churches have caught God's vision for good changes in their country, and they have a new passion to evangelise their own country.

I'm excited now to be back in Australia; excited to be investing into my own country. I've never worked with Aboriginals, but I've asked God for His heart for them, and He's done exactly that.
God has blessed the Australian Aborigines with particular gifts and traits; which I can see there are positive ways to direct those gifts. I'm praying for more wisdom in encouraging the youth to use their gifts and abilities positively for their future.
Love + blessings,

xx Cody xx

Friday, February 4, 2011

Here's to being broken, open & vulnerable!


Brilliantly beautiful, you can almost forget this glass shard has been shattered from where it belonged.














This morning, the AES said 'goodbye' to a couple I'll never forget - my staff Alex's parents. They're pastors in their home town of New Jersey, and a more powerful couple of God I've never met. :)
Joel and Alicia Adevai joined the AES for ministry to encourage us (and spoil us!) and were an injection of vitality and hilarity for the few days 'roughing' it with the AES here in Tepito.
God's used them in love to make me face a powerful truth, that were I to face & fight this giant I live with daily, I would actually enjoy life the way God intended. The giant I have is 'DENIAL'. 
Please don't misunderstand me while you read this entry; I'm not a whining, sobbing broken-hearted mess 24/7 whilst endevouring to be a good missionary. 
That would be pathetic. :)

I hope this isn't too jangled, but thoughts to God lately have kinda run like this...

I was expert at walking away from anything that was messy & painful.
"God...I appreciate all You do in my life; but it's not necessary to dig up wounds from the past, recent or ancient. If you live on this earth, you're gonna get hurt. Period. Parents, friends, strangers, whatever - it's life! You deal with it, forget about it, squash it down deep inside so you can focus on the present, and soon, it'll all be a distant memory.
 I feel fine now! I feel pleasantly detached & numb when life throws lemons. Mission achieved! So why reawaken memories I've worked so hard to bury? What's the point??"

God waits till I've calmed down, or replies immediately. Always with wisdom and deep compassion. Go figure.

"Daughter, you can't hide forever. Everything you work so hard to forget WILL one day come to the surface - in a time you'd rather it not. You were created to come to Me when you're in pain. If you deal with brokenness by yourself, there will always be parts missing - because only I am able to completely heal you. I am your Healer! But it's up to you - do You trust Me with you heart? Your pain? You're numb now - but believe Me, it's not all roses inside."  

Joel Adevai, Alex's pastor-Dad from New Jersey, USA, talked to our team before he left.

 "To be an effective evangelist, you need healing. Like the Samaritan women in John 4, you need to experience Jesus' healing before you can run off & excitedly tell the Good News. 'Coz people won't be moved unless they see the LOVE of Jesus in you." 

The reality I see now is, that no matter what, people WILL hurt you. Whether you protect and wall up your heart or not. 

So, for me, being Miss Independent actually stems from rejection and abandonment. Like millions of women in the world. But it's not a healthy foundation for independence. Because anything not built on Jesus, will certainly one day fall.
I'm still figuring out how healing'll look for me. And there's no need to have it all together + answers.
I'm human, and Jesus is enough for me.
If we let Him, God brings beauty & wholeness from what cripples us.
Love is choosing to love & getting hurt; because no matter what, God's always there to heal and protect. 
I have a Dad who's never too busy for me, and who's arms are permanently open. 
Good to know. :)



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Something for you to chew.

I'm reading this phenomenal I bought from Koorong in Mt Lawley, Perth before I flew to Mexico City. It's called "The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning. 
Not the biggest fan of posting up portions of books, but this passage grabbed me by the hair and yanked me into God's heart this morning. So, I really want to share it with you, and maybe you will get a little something out of it. :)
Ready?
"Imagine that Jesus is calling you today. He extends a 2nd invitation - to accept His Father's love. And maybe you answer, "Oh, I know that. It's old hat....Lay a new word on me. I know the old one." 

And God answers, "That's what you don't know. You don't know how much I love you. The moment you think you understand is the moment you don't understand. 
I am GOD, not man.
You tell others about Me - that I am a loving God. Your words are glib, My words are written in the blood of My only Son. The next time you preach about My Love with such obnoxious familiarity, I may come and blow your whole prayer meeting apart.
When you come at Me with studied professionalism, I will expose you as a rank amateur. 
When you try to convince others that you understand what you are talking about, I will tell you to shut up and  fall flat on your face. 
You claim you know I love you. 
Did you know that every time  you tell Me you love Me, I say 'thank you'? 
When you son comes to you asking, "Do you like Susan more 'cause she skates better and she's a girl?" are you grieved and saddened over your child's lack of trust? Do you know that you do the same thing to Me? 
.....Do you understand that, motivated by love alone, your God became your slave in the Upper Room?
Were you grieved by the divine command to Abraham that he slay his only begotten Isaac on Mt Moriah? Were you relieved when the angel intervened, Abraham's hand was stayed, and the sacrifice was not carried out? Have you forgotten that on Good Friday no angel intervened? 
Mexican kids enjoying art at church in Alemada Centrale :)
That sacrifice was carried out, and it was My heart that was broken. 
Are you aware that I had to raise Jesus from the dead on Easter Morning because My love is everlasting? Are you serenely confident that I will raise you too, My adopted child?" 

Faith means you want God and nothing else." 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Zocalo Antics.

An Aztec dancer 'blesses' a tourist with smoke
Things are heating up in the Art Evangelist's Zocalo ministry!! Some fast facts for today -

*Our team does public Bible reading - my team mate Marsha reads pretty loudly, and a group of Mexican police walked up to her...she kept going till God said, "ask them if they want their portrait sketched" so she did, and before you know it - police were crowding around her, wanting their faces captured on her sketch book. Marsh got to evangelise Catholic Mexican cops :)

*Alex, Jancia and I met up with a Mexican pastor who's been incredibly helpful with YWAM teams for Megacities today. His name's Pastor Eduardo, and after hearing I was Australia, told me in broken English that he saw on the news Australia's experienced bad flooding. He then said his church had prayed for us. 
I'm so used to praying for other countries - so to hear this man I'd known for 10 mins say he and his church cared enough about Australia to pray for QLD's flooding, totally blew me away!

*My staff Lynnea led the way this morning through a black market. Coming out the other side, we had a mini worship sesh in front of stall holders, and prayed for God's protection for the people in this dodgy area. From feeling fear and intimidation at the start, we felt God move incredibly and were filled with His confidence by the time we left. 

*God provided a translator for me, just at the right time to pray for a Mexican girl. My Spanish is practically non-existent, so I'm leaning on God quite a lot in these situations!

*There are lots of Aztec dancers in the Zocalo, and the last AES team here experienced some conflict with them...as the team's Bible reading 'disrupted the spirits'. We got talking, and my staff Lynnea asked them if he'd mind if our school did art next to them. The dancer said it was ok. !!

God is moving in the randomest ways. And it's incredible to be here, to see how God wants us to love and serve the Mexicans. 

Adios mon amigos! 
The Zocalo!!

Marsh sketched these policemen's portraits. :)

Hola!

Janica & Chris checking out the National Art Gallery of Mexico City.

After prayer walk, we found the Mona Lisa chalked on the pavement!
Hola! 
Day 4 of January - next week it'll be Christmas again! :)

I've been here in Mexico City 4 or 5 days, it's hard to keep track as the days all run in together.
Since the day I got here, it's been on the go go. Our days look like: 8am morning chores, 8:30 devotional by one of the team, then it's off to the city for ministry - which looks like prayer walking, to cover the areas we'll be doing ministry in, one-on-one evangelism. Last week my staff have been  organising previously made Mexican contacts who will translate for us when we perform skits and publicly tell the Mexicans why we're here in their city, and how Jesus wants a relationship with them, not religiosity. 
We've found sketching portraits are always a winner! Mexicans just love sitting down having their portraits done.
It's honestly been a bit of a culture shock for me being here in Mexico; I'm not used to being started at constantly (I'm told red hair is liked a lot here!) and I'm very white as is another Finnish team member.
It's a very funny experience! :)

But the Mexicans are some of the most hospitable people you'll ever meet - they're so happy to share what they have with you. 
When I catch a Mexican staring at me, probably wondering what I'm doing in their city, I say "Hola" and the Mexican face breaks into a shy, warm smile, as they "Hola!" back to you.

Mexico City is bright with colour, clashing noises and people, people, people everywhere! Mexican food fumigates your sense...and the street food is crazy cheap. We can't eat the fresh food without disinfecting it first, though.

Families reign supreme here - babies are adored, and you don't leave home till you're married. 

Black market wares are sold on the street everywhere you see, even some places in the heart of the city. Many Aztec items are available near the Zocalo, and have been 'blessed' before selling - jewelry, clothing, etc - but we've been warned by YWAM staff not to buy from the black market vendors (on outreach) as previous teams have, then suffered from horrific nightmares and sicknesses afterwards. It doesn't bother me though, as I'm not here as a tourist. :)

Yesterday was our day off - so 3 of my team walked from our warehouse accommodation in Tepito into the city centre, and passing through the Zocalo, my Finnish team mate Janica said out of the blue, "Oh, I love Jesus too! We love Jesus too!" 
Totally thought she was being funny, stating the obvious, when I turned around and nearly bumped into a Spanish lady who was looking doubtfully at Janica, who was waving excitedly at her. The Mexican Mum had a cap that said, "I love Jesus".
Turns out the lady was a Christian who was out for the day with her family - we had the amazing privilege to meet her family, take photos and exchange contacts.
It was my first meeting with a Mexican Christian family - we came away incredibly encouraged and stoked!

Much love to all! I miss you and am incredibly thankful for your prayers. It goes both ways though - if you have a prayer request, I'd love to pray for you!
God bless!
xxx

Cody