MY MIND JUST GOT BLOWN

1)  God has no past/present/future. It’s all the same for Him, so there’s no need for faith. (Just bear with me here.) With us, we see yesterday, and right here and now. We don’t even see the very next second. We know nothing about tomorrow. That requires an element of faith. We see what He’s done in the past, so we can have faith that He will do that tomorrow. If faith wasn’t required, what would be the point? Revelation is a beautiful and powerful thing (no matter how simple it may seem when written out, like this one ;).

2)  When God provides, then you know what you needed. It’s simple algebra. When you have the answer, you can solve for X. Wow. A math analogy?? I definitely didn’t see that one coming. 

It’s amazing what God lets you in on when you lay all your cards out on the table in complete honesty!

Greetings from Kosovo!!

We arrived in Gjilan, Kosovo, on Saturday after 34 and a half hours of travel. That was definitely an experience. We’ve been working with the church here and helping them with the kids’ camp they held this week. The camp had a circus theme, and I ended up painting faces. I’m really thankful that it’s World Cup time, because for the first three days they mostly wanted country flags that were rather easy for this non-painter to paint. We started out the week on Sunday (barely over 24 hours after we got here) with sharing a couple of testimonies during their Sunday service. I was honored to be the first to share. When I use the word “honored,” it isn’t lightly, by any means. I didn’t have time to share my entire testimony (i.e. days), so I focused on the “depression part.” I knew a few of the things I wanted to say before we got to the church, but I knew I would just go with whatever God gave me. When I got up there to speak, it justflowed. I have never really experienced a ” Holy Spirit flow” to that extent before. As I spoke, He would give me the next thought, image, or…”whatever” to say. It was a perfect partnership. I think stepping out in that obedience of following His nudge (for me personally, and from Him through others) opened me up for the several revelational downloads that followed. One of them was realizing that I feel truly honored that He would choose me to go through “hell” so that He could bring me out of it and then use that to speak through me about His freedom and love to others who need to hear it. I can truly say I “count it all joy.” I could never really say I fully understood that verse until now. 

I would love to stay and tell all the amazing things God has been doing, but we leave for Albania seven and a half hours, and I need sleep. If you would like to pray for me, please pray for healing of this cold that came upon me in the night. It will take us eight hours to get there by bus, but God is so good. I am not concerned at all. 

So long for now. See you on the other side of Albania!!

Weekend in Czech and Outreach to Kosovo

Tomorrow my team leaves for Kosovo. But before I get into that, I’d like to give you a brief overview of what our time in Czech included. We spent the entire weekend helping a great church in Litvinov, about an hour and a half northwest of Prague. From the time we got there, I felt very welcome. Czech just had a very different feel from Germany. They were very open and ready to receive everything we offered them. On Saturday we spent several hours in the town square playing worship music and just talking to people. We also invited them to an event we were holding with the church that night. The event included several testimonies, some worship, a skit, and lots of fellowship. Some of us had spent time earlier in the day at a skate park. There happened to be a skate competition that day, so there were probably at least a couple hundred people there. We were able to have lots of conversations and give people words from God. Some of the skaters came that night to the church. Another group of us has spent some time talking to and getting to know a kid named Martin. He’s 17, and was completely open to hearing about the Kingdom and being prayed for. He ended up going back to the church with us from the town square and just hanging out with us all night. We didn’t speak the same language, but that didn’t hinder us. The presence of God was so thick throughout the night that no one wanted to leave, and around 10 pm a group of us and Martin were sitting in a circle on the floor making animal noises. It seems like a simple (and somewhat childish) thing, but it was amazing to see Martin open up through the course of the night. God was obviously working in him. He had told some of us about his troubles in life, and as I watched him that night, I could tell that God was “relieving the pressure.” On Sunday, the church had their service out in the square. Martin came early to the church to walk with us. Vera, a wonderful lady in the church who works with the young people, had spent some time talking with Martin and praying with him Saturday night. She was also there with us Sunday morning. Right before we left to walk to the square, Vera made the announcement that we had a new brother in Christ! Martin accepted Christ as his Savior! I love knowing that Martin has been completely taken in by such a wonderful church family. I know that he will be nurtured and allowed to grow. Martin actually came to the castle last weekend with several people from the church just to visit, and I loved seeing how happy he is. It’s such a switch from the first time I saw him. He was quiet and…searching. Now he’s found the answer.

On to Kosovo…

Tomorrow morning at 6 our team leaves for Kosovo. We will be working with a church there for about a month.We’ll be helping with a kid’s camp, a youth camp in Albania, an evangelism week where we will hold different workshops (including one where I’ll hopefully get to teach knitting), and possibly working with a drug rehab center. We’ll also spend a short time in Macedonia. 

Please pray that our team will continue to grow in unity. Pray that God will prepare the hearts He wants us to encounter while we are there. Pray also that God continues to release finances into our team. We know that He has called each and every one of us to be on this team. We serve a God who is bigger than money. Our Father takes joy in providing for His children. 

I was finally able to finish paying off my lecture fees today so that I can leave with my team tomorrow, but I still need my personal outreach fees. At this point, the total is 700 Euro ($1,006) and includes transportation to and from Kosovo, housing for the entire outreach, food, ministry, and blessing the lands God takes us to. If you feel God wants you to be a part of this amazing opportunity to bring His Kingdom to Kosovo (and Albania and Macedonia), please get in touch with my mother, Cathy Godwin. (cpgodwinATgmailDOTcom)

Thank you so much for reading about what God has been doing in my life lately, and I hope it blesses you even more than it blesses me!

Kingdom Update

So much has happened over the past four weeks. I wouldn’t know where to start if I were to attempt to cover everything, so I will just start with last week. Last Wednesday they divided up my school into four groups. They gave each group 50 Euros as well as money for transportation, and told us not to come back until Friday. We had begun our “Mini Faith Week.” Trusting God, evangelism, loving people, and having fun with each other would play a huge part in the next few days. I really love the team I was in. There were four of us, and we were all very relaxed about the whole thing. We left the castle with absolutely no plans. We ended up getting a free ride to Lobau (the closest town with a train/bus station). We spent some time walking around and praying. After a couple hours we just stood outside the station and prayed asking God for what we should do next. Kaitlyn, one of the girls in our team kept getting the color red. I actually saw white in my head. Anne, the other girl in our team (and only German) saw a lady in a red coat with a red umbrella standing a ways off. As we started walking towards her, she starting walking away to a bus. The bus was red and white. We decided to get on the bus that happened to be going close to the Czech border. After we sat down, we noticed that several people were wearing red, and there was a boy who looked like he had sprayed part of his hair red. It couldn’t have been more obvious that we were doing exactly what God wanted us to do. We got off of the bus in Neugersdorf. As we walked around the town (for quite a while), we got to know each other. It was good. It was also raining. God seemed to use the rain to guide us. We went into a jewelry shop the first time it started raining. We talked to the owner a bit, and we also got to pray for him. When we were done there, the rain let up. We spent some time sitting in a grocery store parking lot listening to worship music. The rain started to come back, so we moved under the awning of a closed store. That was a great time to just sit in God’s presence. As we started realizing we were getting hungry and started talking about going to the doner down the street, the rain let up again. We went to the doner and asked if they had fries (Nathan, the only guy on our team, wanted some). They didn’t have any, but they sent us next door. We got the fries, took them back to the doner, and ordered three teas and a coke. For the next hour and a half while it rained some more, we played a few card games, shared testimonies, and really bonded as a mini-unit of God’s family. We left around 9 pm. We still didn’t have a place to stay for the night. God suddenly brought to my mind the neat old church in the town. You could see part of it from the street. So I said, “I want to go check out the church.” Off we went. There was a gate around the church, which was locked. I looked further down the street and said, “What’s down there? Let’s keep going.” Right after the church was the parsonage. The gate was wide open, and it looked very pleasant and welcoming. We looked at each other and decided to go for it. We all walked up to the house, and Anne rang the doorbell. A woman stuck her head out one of the upstairs windows. Anne explained in German who we were and that we were on our faith week and needed a place to stay. The woman (who turned out to be the pastor) came down and let us in. She asked Anne if we needed beds. Anne said we just needed a roof (we had brought our sleeping bags). The woman grabbed a key and took us across the street to the church’s “meeting house.” She opened a room on the first floor and said it was the warmest room. After pulling some chocolate and rolls out of a closet, she showed us a kitchen stocked with coffee, tea, a water kettle, a coffee maker, and an oven to warm the bread in for breakfast. She then gave us the keys and said we could leave them in her mailbox in the morning! She said she was doing this in faith and trust (just like we were). This kind of thing does not happen every day, especially so close to the Czech border. I’ve never actually been to Czech, but I’ve heard that it’s definitely not the safest place in the world. After a really good night and a nice relaxing morning, the pastor actually came back to check on us and let us know that she had to go run errands. She gave us God’s blessings. She was such a blessing to us, and had such a kind spirit. 

The next day we ended up in Dresden. God led us to several people He wanted us to talk to and pray for, including a group of international high school students who were there on a class trip. We talked to them for about an hour and a half telling them about the truth of God - how it is not all about rules and regulations, but about the fact that God loves them. It was great to be able to speak truth into their lives. That night we found ourselves back at the Dresden train station. We took the first train and got off in Bischofswerda. Kaitlyn felt that God wanted us to go to the fifth stop after Dresden (which was Bischofswerda), and I’ve always been intrigued by the name (and had just recently decided that I was going to actually get off there while I’m in Germany this time). We made a unanimous decision in about five seconds (to the amusement of one of our fellow passengers) and got off. I think it was about 9:30 pm at that point. There were maybe five people and a dog in the town. After walking around and praying, we went to the church there. As we approached it, we could hear organ music coming from inside. We went around to every door, but they were all locked. I sat down on the steps to the meeting house facing the church, and the others went to the end of the meeting house to check the other door. I started praying for “green pastures” (like in Psalm 23 - “He makes me to lie down in green pastures”). As I was praying, the organ playing stopped. The others came back, and stood by the front door of the church discussing what to do. The door opened and the lady who had been playing the organ came out. Anne again explained our situation, and the lady was very friendly. She took us to the pastor’s apartment, rang the bell, and walked away. Anne explained again when the pastor answered the bell. He came downstairs and after a lengthy conversation with Anne, took us to the meeting house. He took us upstairs to the room where the youth met. He was reluctant at first to “take us in,” but he did in the end. As soon as we walked into the room we would be staying in, it was extremely stuffy and just felt heavy. Before we went to bed, we played worship music and spent some time praying in all the rooms that weren’t locked. When we were finished, the air wasn’t thick anymore. I really felt like I was walking through pockets of cool, fresh air. The church was over 1,000 years old, and there was a lot of “religion” hanging around. I feel like God had us there to bring in freedom and freshness. We were there to bless the pastor. 

On Friday, we slowly made our way back to Herrnhut. God had a different purpose for each team during faith week. I believe that for our team, His purpose was for us to bless and be blessed. That’s exactly what happened. We never went hungry, and had a roof over our heads both nights. We spoke the truth wherever we went, and tried to love as many people as possible. I love how God is a personal God who takes care of His children.


As of this posting, I still need about $100 to cover my lecture fees. (God has already provided $1400. GO GOD!!!!) I also need about $850 for my outreach to Kosovo. I will be posting more about what we hope to be doing once we get there very soon. Let me know if you would like to partner with me in this amazing adventure that God has written! I am working on getting a paypal button on my blog to make it easier to donate. Until I get it up, you can just shoot me an email.

Tomorrow we leave to spend the weekend in Czech where we will be working closely with a church doing several things including evangelism. I will post a recap when we get back.

Since coming back from Outreach, I have started knitting headbands for people. I love doing it because 1) it’s fun, 2) it’s a great way to be productive, 3) and most importantly, it makes people happy. On Outreach God gave me so many new ideas and just really opened me up to receive His imagination. I can’t wait to see what He does through me.

Joy

The final part of my collection, “Joy,” followed me to Ethiopia on Outreach. Sock yarn can be one of the most colorful things out there, and I have been able to find my fair share of it. Towards the end of lecture phase I suddenly had the idea to crochet bracelets out of bright and colorful sock yarn to give to the children I would meet in Ethiopia. I am very happy to say that I was able to carry out this plan very successfully. Shortly after we arrived in Jinka, a small town in the south of Ethiopia, we started a play school at the church right around the corner from where we were staying. We wanted to provide a place where the street kids could come and just be kids - something they don’t get to do on a normal basis. As I spent more and more time at the play school, I completely fell in love with those children. It was so amazing to watch them go from being almost completely emotionless to laughing so hard that they couldn’t stop. It was such a blessing to be able to show them God’s love, as well as my own. On the last day of play school, I was able to give the children the bracelets that I had been making. I know that they will remember how much they are loved whenever they look at them. I was also able to bless a woman named Booku with a scarf that I crocheted. During one of my first couple of trips into town, I found some “Ethiopian” yarn. I knew that somewhere along the way, there would be someone we would want to thank for what they’ve done for the team. Around the time that we started the play school, we discovered Booku. She attends the church we ended up holding the play school at, and has a huge heart for the street kids of Jinka. She truly is one of the most amazing women I have ever known. Halfway through making the scarf, I knew that it would be for Booku. I love this dear woman and know that many, many children will be blessed through her.


Dignity

One of the speakers we had during lecture phase spoke on injustice. During one of the workshops, she showed a video chronicling the journey of several Ethiopian women with fistula. Something about their stories resonated within me. I loved the looks on their faces when they were told that their surgeries had been successful and that they could now live normal lives. This experience was what inspired the “Dignity” part of my collection. Jewelry makes many women feel beautiful. Beauty can bring a feeling of dignity where it did not exist before. My plan was to knit earrings and send them to the women in fistula hospitals. Unfortunately, the yarn that I ordered for this project never made it here. As soon as i am back home where the yarn is, I will finally be able to begin knitting the earrings. The video also helped me decide who would receive the proceeds from my collection. The Fistula Foundation is a great organization that provides the much-needed surgery required for these women to function in a way that they’ve never really known.