I will be posting soon about my experiences in Brazil and Haiti. But I’m giving myself a little more time by posting some great revelation I had this past summer about my spiritual heritage. I found it today and thought it was worth sharing.
I’ve shared a little bit of intro of why I’ve joined full-time missions staff at Gateway House of Prayer (more to come), but I’m going to veer off a little and talk about the most immediate thing that is happening in January.
I’m headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!
Why? Is Gateway sending you there? Are you doing nursing? How long will you be there? Do you speak Spanish?
I’m glad you asked. That’s why I’m here, to answer the questions that are lightbulbing off in your brain. Unless of course you’ve settled yourself on the likely theory of, “It’s Britt, she’s a free spirit, taking in all the opportunities she can to travel and do missions work.”
Well, around the beginning of August I had a night at work at Lancaster General Hospital, where I had the simple thought of, “I think I’m done with this job.” Slowly I began to look into jobs and contemplate what direction I was to head with nursing.
No job I looked into seemed right, and I was really just hoping the perfect job offer would come knocking at my door. It didn’t.
End of August I spent about a week out at International House Prayer, in Kansas City, and during my time there I felt like God really began to expand my vision. The boundaries of what I could do or where I could go were lifted, and people around me began to encourage me to dream and pray for big things, for the desires of my heart.
Through prayer I came to the understanding that I was supposed to quit my job and do something in January. The “something” was an open door of opportunity, which was exciting but a little nerve wracking because I just wanted to know what it was, so I could explain to people (and myself) where I was headed.
Along the way, I decided that my long term plan was going to be to join full-time missions staff at Gateway. Through talking to my parents I realized I still felt called to the House of Prayer for this season. But that didn’t answer the questions of where and what I was supposed to do in January.
My eyes and ears were open to where I might go, and I initially thought I was going to do medical missions work.
Then I had conversation with someone who began talking about Heidi Baker and as he was talking I was thinking, “Wow she sounds like a woman I would like to grow up to be.” So I went home and looked her up and found out about Iris Global ministries, founded by Heidi and her husband, Rolland. And as I looked up missions opportunities I found this global school in Rio de Janeiro. It was the first time it was ever happening, it was happening in January, and it was one month long.
Below is a description of the school, it was one of the first things I read. And after reading it I felt like a little kid in a classroom, after the teacher asks for volunteers, and I’m raising my hand saying, “Pick me! Pick me!”
“There is a new breed of missionaries being released across the earth, transparent saints, with oversized hearts, beating in rhythm with the heart of their Bridegroom King Jesus, carrying His glory across the earth. Fearless, laid-down lovers that know a love that has no boundaries, and are ready to run into the darkest places of the earth and bring in the lost, the dying, the poor and the broken. Jesus came with ceaseless love for both the one and the masses. Now we must do the same: stop for the one, but believe for the multitudes.”
It actually wasn’t immediately obvious to me that this was for sure where God was leading. But as I kept searching and praying it became clearer and clearer. The confirming point for me was when I was in the prayer room at Gateway one night and I was in turmoil asking God to confirm to me if I was to go to Brazil. Then one of my friends got up on the mic to pray and said, “Tonight we are going to praying for Brazil.” At that moment I realized that we had been praying for Brazil for the past several months, because human trafficking is on the rise due to the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. I got really excited in that moment, because it’s such an awesome opportunity to get to pray for a nation and then go there. It’s like being the answer to your prayers.
That’s the story. Here are the details.
It’s a global school, what that means exactly I don’t know. But I think it’s mostly going to be learning by doing. It’s called a school because it’s only a month long, so even though we will be doing a lot, it’s short term, so the emphasis is learning. I love this outlook on missions, because so often missions work is viewed as what “we,” the ones going, have to offer “them”. But that’s only half the story. God is doing amazing things all over the earth, especially among the poorest and unlikeliest. So I’m going to learn from the poor. Also the focus of the school is preparing people for third world missions, which is where I see myself in the future.
Will I be doing nursing? No and Yes. No, because its not a medical missions school. That’s not the focus. Yes, because I usually always end up doing medical work on trips and it’s one of the skills I had to list when applying for the school.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Do I know Spanish? I know a little, but that doesn’t even matter because they speak Portuguese in Brazil. Rio is the second largest city in Brazil. You probably have seen pictures of this beautiful city because one of the seven wonders of the world is there, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor). Like most cities there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Rio is three hours ahead of eastern standard time.
Heidi and Rolland Baker are originally from California, but Iris ministries is based out of Mozambique and they have bases all around the world. Because of that there will be students in Brazil from literally all over the world.
I leave for Brazil January 7th and will arrive on the 8th. I will be there until the end of the month and then I will be spending a little over a week in Haiti. My close friend, Ashley Messersmith (pictured below), has been living there for 6 months teaching English, so I will be taking this opportunity to visit her.
I don’t know when and I don’t know for sure, but I believe one day I will live and minister in a third world country. I don’t have a clearly articulated answer as to why I feel that way. I know that as I get to know Jesus and His kingdom I see that “the least of these” are the people He especially loves, or at least the ones that He points out. He chooses the things unseen, the ones that are low and even despised of this world (Corinthians 1:26-31). He loves the orphan and widow (James 1:27), and many that are last now will be first in His coming Kingdom (Luke 13:30). Also to be honest these are the environments and cultures that I feel most at home in.
Amy Carmichael and Mother Teresa are two of my biggest heroes. There are so many famous quotes spoken and written by both of these women. Their words are so filled with truth that we can’t help to say “AMEN” in our spirits when we read and hear them. But the reason their words are powerful is because they lived their words. They lived lives abandoned to Jesus. Leaving lives they could have had to love the poor and the needy, because of the love of Calvary. I can’t help but be inspired by them!
“I had feelings of fear about the future…The devil kept on whispering, “’It’s all right now, but what about afterward? You are going to be very lonely’”….And I turned to my God in a kind of desperation and said “’Lord, what can I do? How can I go on to the end?’” And He said, “’None of them that trust in Me shall be desolate.’” That word has been with me ever since.” – Amy Carmichael on ‘weighing the cost’ of missions work
Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus. – Mother Teresa
*Would you consider partnering with me? I still need to raise about $1,000 for my trip to Brazil. Email me (Brittany.firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information, or Click Here to donate online. All support is tax deductible.
My senior year of college (Fall 2010) I started attending Tuesday night equipping services at Gateway House of Prayer (GHOP). Amidst the pressures of nursing school, something kept me going on a semi-consistent basis. During that season I had a lot of “mixture” in my life. Which inwardly looked like a continual pulling toward the Lord, yet also wanting to remove the ‘Christian sticker’ from my forehead and in doing so walking in compromise.
At that time Jimmy Nimon was the director of GHOP. Something about the messages he preached was unlike anything I had ever heard. Now I describe it as he was putting language to the emotions, thoughts, and desires in my heart. And, like most profound and true ideas, it was simple. Simple and pure devotion to Jesus.
After nursing school I somehow ended up at a conference called Onething, put on by the International House of Prayer. Day one of the conference I was hit with a reality check the Lord had been leading me toward. My “mixture” was exposed against the backdrop of the reality of who God was. I felt the severity of what being a true disciple of Jesus meant; full surrender of my life.
Before I even got back from the trip I signed up for the Gateway internship. I knew that revelation only lasts for so long if you don’t act on it. I’d had moments of revelation like this before on missions trips and youth retreats, but the normalcy of everyday life would eventually dull my passion and I’d find myself back in complacency. So I put myself in what I considered an “extreme” setting. The internship had many aspects, but the two biggest ones were doing 10 hours a week in the prayer room and fasting all media.
I could tell you that the internship changed my life, and it did. But not because of any new or profound information. See the 10 hours of prayer and the subtraction of the endless noise of media created this space within me where I actually was hearing from God. Where my inner man, my spirit, was awakened to the reality and pleasures of communing with a God who is the embodiment of all that we long for; truth, hope, justice, peace, righteousness, and above all else love. My paradigm of what it meant to know Jesus completely shifted, as I began to actually meet with Him and spend real time with Him.
At this point you may be confused as to what the point of me telling you all this is. I actually started this post with the intention of articulating why 24/7 prayer and worship is important and why I’ve chosen to join full-time staff at Gateway House of Prayer. But for some reason I couldn’t do that without first sharing my testimony of how God has transformed my life, and my relationship with him through the house of prayer and through the prayer movement. See at the heart of the prayer and worship movement is this one thing focus (yes, that’s why the conference I went to is called Onething). That one thing is the worth and beauty of the man Jesus. The firstborn Son of God, the one who is preeminent in all things, who reconciled us to the Father by his death on the cross, that we, by his blood may be holy and blameless (Colossians 1:15-22). Knowing him, really knowing him, because he is a real man that can be known, is the core of the prayer movement. Because when you know him, you can’t help but adore him, when you know him you can’t help but talk about him, when you know his love, revealed at the cross, where he gave his life for yours, it beckons you to offer yours in return. I could go on and on, but the reality is He is an all consuming fire.
Thus, my life pursuit has become seeking the face of Jesus. I want to know the man that loved me first with a matchless love, and be transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:12-18). I minister in the house of prayer for many reasons (which I will expand upon in coming posts), but the biggest one is my belief that Jesus deserves to be praised day and night. If you check out the Tabernacle of David in 1 Chronicles, you’ll find this isn’t a new idea.
Psalm 27 has become my life psalm. In verse 4 David proclaims:
“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.”
David’s heart was to know God, to behold his beauty. It was his one thing desire and pursuit of his life. Likewise, it is mine.
Many of you know I write some poetry and most recently have started doing some spoken word poetry, which is simply poetry that is spoken. Here’s one I wrote about my one thing desire and pursuit.
“What about evangelism? The Great Commission? Isn’t that a bit monastic and religious to be sitting in a barn all day praying?” These questions are valid and I will be answering them in coming post as I talk about intercessory prayer.
I’ve finally given in and joined the blogging world. If I’m being honest, I’ve wanted to be here for a while. But the bandwagon seemed pretty full already, so I needed to identify a solid reason of why my inner thoughts needed to be shared with the world.
So here’s the reason.
I’m about to embark on a new part of my life journey. And I’m extremely excited to be moving in this direction. The flip side of excited is usually anxiety. Sometimes the two can be hard to distinguish, at least for me, because they both give me funny feelings in my belly and make me feel like I have to pee. Ok but seriously I am mostly excited, with maybe spurts of nervousness.
See I’ve just quit my job where I was earning a stable income for about the past 3 years, to become a missionary (of sorts). Now wait wait wait, before you start thinking “O, I know this story: twenty-something-year-old, white, American girl who thinks she’s going to save the world, one 3rd-world country at a time,” hear me out. While I can’t deny some aspects of that statement to be true I want to let you know from the start I am not writing this blog to receive any sort of applause from people. In fact that’s probably one of the main reasons I’ve stayed away from blogging this long.
I do not, by any means, believe my decisions or way of life to be anything more than simple obedience. I’m quitting my job and joining full-time missions staff at Gateway House of Pray because it’s the step I believe I need to take on this journey toward knowing Jesus and surrendering my whole life to him.
But I have yet to get to my main point of why I’m starting to blog.
In order to do what God is calling me to, I am taking one more piece of my self-reliant flesh and laying it at the cross and in doing so becoming more dependent on him. I mean the initial thought of that isn’t too scary. I love Jesus, and we’ve been together for a long enough time that I trust him. But there is one key component to this step where the excitement easily shifts to anxiety. I am not only dependent on Jesus, but also on his body, the Church.
For most Christians, we can usually grasp onto the idea that Jesus is a dependable guy. But haven’t we learned that to be true because people are so undependable? I’ve even used phrases like “People will always fail you, but God never will.” And while there is some truth to that idea, I think it enforces individualism when applied to the Church, which as we all know is not how the Church is supposed to function. In Ephesians 4, Paul talks about the Church, being one body, called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit.” And as Paul says elsewhere, (Rom 12) each part of the body has a different function. Simply said I’m just a limb, maybe a foot or hand or something cool like a knee cap, but without the rest of the body I am of no use. My function will not function without attachment to the rest of the body with the lifeblood of Jesus surging through us all.
As I step out in faith I’ve come to the realization that my faith is in a God that chooses to work through his people. Sure, he could drop provision from the heavens, but that’s too easy. And it probably wouldn’t take much faith, which has rightly been said to be “the currency of the kingdom.”
So I’m starting to blog because I am dependent on people to partner with me in what I’ve been called to. Even though my life hasn’t been my own since I exchanged it for Christ’s, now in a fuller way I’m realizing what that looks like. It looks like living in extremes and serving the “least of these” and pouring out love on Jesus through prayer and worship. But it also looks like vulnerability, which at times can be harder for me than leaving the comfort of my wealthy first world country.
I’ve opened up the door of my heart for God to see, but it’s no surprise to him because he could see it all along. But I’m now opening up my heart, my life, for people to see, to comment and “judge me” on. Ahh that sounds scary and terrible! But as a wise friend used to say when the phrase “don’t judge me” was popular, “no, judge me please, I’d rather be judged now than later.” This isn’t asking for criticism that leads to negativity and endless introspection, rather it’s asking for accountability unto the call we’ve been given to live above reproach, because we bear the name of Christ.
I desire real partnership with people. I want those who support me financially and in prayer to know and feel, as much as possible, that they are truly a part of what God is doing in and through me. Because they are. Because you are.
So as I journey forward I’m inviting you on this adventure with me. I want to share my experiences, I want to share my revelation, and even the small details of what I’m doing, because you have invested in my life. It’s a real investment, a heavenly one. And all that I do, I couldn’t do without you.