Thursday, 20 February 2014

...Just Breathe...

...Just Breathe...
{The Finale}

The last days have continued to be incredibly filled and long,
& your prayers have continued to lift us on wings.
Yesterday, during our second last day in French Polynesia, we had a pre-wedding celebration for Mathieu and Farrah Tahitian style! 
There were so many blessings filling our last days.
We were reminded of the incredible generosity of the French Polynesian people. 
Now we have nearly half a day left before we embark on our 25hr journey back home to France.
Just remembering to keep breathing as we reach the finish line. 

“Never have I been anywhere where people gave us so much, so freely.” ~Anna

“The very last day has been filled with many moments of little but powerful encouragements where God reminded me to ‘Just Breathe’” ~ Casia

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Our finishing struggle

Our finishing struggle
Making it to the end 
& Finishing strong.
{ When you feel like you have nothing left to give. } 

"This last winding down week in Tahiti has been a lot harder than most of us expected. 
We have taken a lot more time to debrief together before going back to France, as well as process individually with God. Even though we have been doing a lot less ministry things in this last week as we wind down, in many ways it is one of our harder weeks. This is because we are nearly at the end of it and it’s easy to shut down and just look towards the next season of our lives instead of remaining in the present. It has been raining almost nonstop, and many of us are getting sick as a result of our exhaustion. We need to continually encourage and lift each other up as we finish. We want to finish strong."

During worship the other day, Kelly had a scripture and analogy to encourage us to finish strong:

Hebrews 12:1-3
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

"For my last year of high school, I decided to run cross country. For each of our meets or races we would have to run a 5k (3.1 miles). In each of our practices we would train to not only endurance run, but also to sprint, which at first didn’t make sense to me...My coach told us that at the end of the race when you have that .1 mile left, you are supposed to sprint. So when I ran my first meet, I had to put this into practice. It was extremely difficult for me, because usually after mile 2 I am dying. My coach would not only push me to keep that pace, but to be ready for the end as well. So when I was at the last .1 mile marker, I am able to see: all the people waiting for me, the timer, and the finish line! It is such a great sight! haha. But when I get to that point, I have to run as fast as I can, in order to get a better time, pass others next to me who are slowing down, and to finish strong. So even though at this point I am exhausted, fatigued, drained, and just ready to be done… I know that I can’t stop and this is the time I am supposed to give my best for the race.”

Prayers for our energy, health, & perseverance would bless and lift us so much.
We are almost home!!!
We are going to finish strong.


Saturday, 8 February 2014


Raiatea Perspective
Jan 22nd - Feb 5th

Philemon 4-7
"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” 

"We've all really loved our time in Raiatea - we've been blessed so much by the church group that welcomed us. The church/house group meet at the grandparents' house. Many of the members are part of the same family (aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins) and we were welcomed warmly, as members of the family too.
It's been so much fun to hang out with all the young people, many of whom I had the pleasure of meeting 3 years ago. We've had the opportunity to take part in several organised cultural activities like weaving hats out of palm leaves, making flower crowns, sewing and dying our own sarongs and learning Tahitian dancing! We also got to go to the 'motu' one of the mini islands just off the mainland, but within the barrier reef, where we got to fish for our supper!
Each student had the opportunity to share a teaching at the cell group on week nights and at the church meeting on Sunday. We all joined in helping to lead worship during the meetings too!
The church group is amazing and so much fun to be around. They are very good at getting everyone to participate in events, whether it's serving through singing into a microphone or praying for the meeting, or joining in with spontaneous activities like playing sports or presenting dances in front of the group!"

"Our last two weeks on Raiatea were awesome! We stayed with an incredible church who blessed us so much. For me, the highlight of our time there was definitely the relationships we were able to make with people. From spending days learning how to make local crafts and day trips out to the smaller islands, to the evening meetings where we were able to help lead worship and share teachings, I was so blessed by how willing everyone was to accept us into their lives and spend time with us. One of the days on the motu (small island), we sat with some of the girls and talked about God and life and questions that often don’t have an easy answer, but it was awesome to share and encourage each other. I love that on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, we found family. This is the Body of Christ as God intended it, and I’m so thankful that He gave us the gift of knowing these people on Raiatea."

“We all got an opportunity to teach on something one of the nights during our stay in Raiatea. It was such a great opportunity to pour encouragement and truth into the lives of this family that we had been welcomed into. I really felt God weighing on my heart the topic of hearing His voice and it was confirmed by Farrah having the same message on her heart. 
It was really important to me to emphasize how He speaks to ALL of us INDIVIDUALLY and as with every relationship PERSONALLY and therefore DIFFERENTLY. The best way I felt I could exemplify this was by giving them each a prophetic painting to show them how God often speaks to me through images. This meant asking God for a prophetic word and picture for each of the 43 members of the church. After writing their names on the backs of 43 watercolor paper squares, I turned them over and shuffled them up so that when I asked for the prophetic word and image, only He knew who the card was for. It was a lot of work to finish on time, and a bit frightening to take on, but sooo worth it! 
I started my message with highlighting how God speaks differently than He spoke in the Old testament:
In the old Testament God often spoke to His people through prophets and priests. We were separated from God because of our sin. When Jesus died on the cross, the barrier between us and God was torn. The veil to the temple where only priests could go, was torn from top to bottom. God chose to literally break down the barrier between us and Him and now speaks to us all individually. Mark 15:38 "And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”  
The way that God brought this message together was really incredible for me and has taught me something new about how God confirms His message within me. It was very similar to when I spoke in the prison in Papeete as well. God obviously put a message on my heart and then confirmed it through someone else. While preparing for the message He brought to mind a story within my own life that exemplified the theme of the teaching and then highlighted points within the story to emphasize. The coolest part is when He brings me to a story in the bible that perfectly parallels the points within my own personal story. It’s as if I had to put absolutely no effort into preparing the message… the effort came with preparing 43 paintings before the teaching.
I got to share two stories from my own life of How God has spoken to me, and highlight 7 points within the story about How God speaks to us and why. These points paralleled the story of Jeremiah.
#1.} God knows our heart… when He speaks to us, He shows us how He knows our heart intimately.
Even before we were formed, God knew who he was going to make us to be. 
He had fully decided who we are, and established our identity.
Jeremiah 1:5a
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you…"
~ ~ ~
#2.} God speaks through us. 
Jeremiah 1:5b
"I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
~ ~ ~ 
 #3.} God asks us to step out in faith… God often gives us a small part of the picture… but usually not the whole picture right away because He wants us to step out in faith…. to TRUST THAT HE WILL SPEAK TO US.
Jeremiah 1:6-9
"Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
 Do not be afraid of them,
 for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth."
~ ~ ~ 
#4.} God is always speaking to us and directing us about our future and destiny…
But often we need to get into a place to hear Him speaking… to set aside time just to hear Him.
   Jeremiah 1:10
"See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
 to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant."
~ ~ ~ 
#5.} God can speak through anything… {People, bible, nature, stories, objects, words, graffiti, movies…}
   Jeremiah 1:11-12
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it

In Hebrew, the word for "Almond tree" is the same word as "watching over"
God used a play on words to speak to Jeremiah.
 ~ ~ ~
#6.} God Confirms His words within us. He speaks and speaks again.
Jeremiah 1:13
"The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north."
~ ~ ~ 
#7.} Prayer - Is powerful. God wants us to talk to Him and ask Him about everything. He answers our prayers.
    Jeremiah 29:11-14a
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…" 
Afterwards I did a brief exercise in hearing God’s voice and then gave them each a prophetic painting. Afterwards several people came up to me confirming that their prophetic words were really accurate. It was so encouraging for both me and the people who received the words/paintings. God confirmed that He speaks to each of us, and He confirmed that He wants to speak through me. Before leaving to come back to Tahiti, several people said that I was a prophetess. This blew me away and brought me back to the promise of God’s plan for me… of the word He spoke to me last summer: “I have anointed you as a prophet to the Nations. Speak to my Nations. Don’t let my Nations die.” I am so honored that God wants to bring His words and encouragements to others through me.”

"I would say Raiatea was one of my favorite islands! I absolutely loved the family -like atmosphere that was developed during our stay! We bonded and connected to this group so well and we all shared so many great memories together! 

For my teaching I felt like God wanted me to talk about His provision and timing. Often times we ask ourselves: What does God have for me next? How will God provide for this ? How can I trust God with that?

I used 4 stories from the Bible that talk about the different aspects that God works in these areas. 

1.} The Israelites and the Manna ( Exodus 16)
 God always provides the exact amount that they need for the day. He doesn’t say store up for tomorrow, but He says trust me for this day!
When they did store up food for the next day it became spoiled.
God wants to give fresh, new blessing each day!
2.} Sarah and Abraham ( Genesis 15:2-6, Genesis 17:19, Genesis 16:1-2)
God gave them a glimpse into their future by promising them a son. 
Sarah became doubtful at her old age and she grew impatient, so she took matters into her own hands. She thought she could do God’s will her way through Hagar, her servant, to fulfill the promise of a son.
Ishmael was born- not the promised son- though it brought difficulties and it wasn’t God’s plan for them, God still used this situation for His good will. 
Even if we do mess up, he still keeps His promises.
When we wait for God’s timing in faith, we receive the full blessing of what He promised, without any added difficulties. Be patient! His timing is always perfect. 
3.} Elijah ( 1 Kings 17:2-6…7-16)
God told Elijah what he needed him to do, He talked Him through the situation. 
God promised He would provide food for Elijah, but in His own way. 
Many times when we pray for something, we have this expectation of what the answer will look like.
Elijah probably wasn’t expecting to be fed by Ravans and a widow who had barely any food for herself.
God Provides for things in unlikely ways, for a greater reason. We should embrace what God has without having expectations. 
4.} Walls of Jericho ( Joshua 6: 1-7)
The Lord gave Jericho into the people’s hands, but God wouldn’t allow them in until the 7th day.
They didn’t sit around waiting for God to do something, nor were they being impatient and going ahead of God.
They were proactive with their waiting.

After this these four points I shared a testimony from my life in how God called me to France and how He provided for the whole trip, plus outreach. I used the examples from my points of how God told me to be patient in His timing, but also proactive in how I waited. He always gave me what I needed for the day and when I waited for Him to act, He gave me the full blessings of a fully paid trip! God has been so faithful in His promises, even if they come in unlikely ways!"

"Our last full day on Raiatea was probably my favorite. We spent the day on a nearby motu (a small island within the reef area just a bit away from the main island). We swam, hit the volleyball around, played some games, and shared a meal. My favorite part, however, was when we had an opportunity to discuss some questions that came up regarding the weeks' teaching. We were all able to share stories about how God works, even in the difficult times. Sometimes thing happen that we do not understand. Life is full of things that can not be explained, even if we feel like there should be an answer. Life can be hard. Somehow, through it all, though, we can discover God is good. He loves us through the difficult times even when we don’t understand. I enjoyed sharing stories and connecting on a deeper level with the wonderful people we shared our time with in Raiatea.