Friday, February 26, 2010

God Always Knows Best

Last June we did our first Children of the Nations ( ) food assembly for our Celebration. We ended up donating and assembling 8,000 meals that day, but also challenged people to host "Parties with a Purpose" where they could invite their friends and neighbors into their homes to assemble food.

All together, Missio Lux saw the ripple go to 46,440 meals! This is enough food for 100 kids for 18 months....

Imagine our delight when we got this email from our good friend and kingdom partner, Fraser Ratslaff, who told us that our 8,000 meals got shipped off to Haiti to help the children who are at risk there....God knew long before we did how these lovlingly packed meals would be used:

Dear Missio Lux,

I'm so excited to let you know that the 8,000 meals you packaged on June 7th, 2009 has been loaded into a shipping container that is headed to help the people of Haiti right now!

The container was packed by Children of the Nations staff and volunteers on January 28th in Kingston, WA. The container was then put on a train to New York and is now on a ship to the port of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. The food will be unloaded by our staff in Barahona, trucked into Haiti, and distributed to those in need.

It is because of your generosity and decision to take action in packaging this food that hungry children, women, and men will receive nutritious meals in the mist of this disaster.

Thank you for being the 'hands and feet' of Jesus Christ and feeding the hungry.


Fraser Ratzlaff
Feeding Coordinator – Seattle
Children of the Nations – USA

"Raising children who transform nations in Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda and the Dominican Republic"

Direct: 206-200-9108
Office: 360-698-7227

Note: Missio Lux is going to be part of a great big food assembly, a food marathon, on May 1st. Come and join us in being Jesus' hands and feet to the world!

For more information about food packaging events visit our website: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Freeing Up the Money

One of the most unique aspects to Missio Lux is how we structure the finances. Laurie Bunnel writes a great blog about this on her blog: Laurieonlifestyle. click here

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Seeds are Beginning to Sprout

Read about our first two graduates from the Seeds of Hope Project of educating Sudanese orphans, so that they can begin to plant seeds of hope in others! CLICK HERE FOR LINK

Friday, February 19, 2010

An Insight into Homelessness

This is an email that I received from a woman that has recently become homeless. I met her at a retreat where I spoke last year: I think it is a helpful insight into some of the reasons that people become homeless and a picture into some of their experiences. It is quite moving, so let I encourage you to let the writings touch your heart, like they did mine:

A friend and I have a weekly check in where we talk about "God sightings". I have had many of them in surprising ways since I began this journey of faith and a deeper place with God than I have ever been before. I adopted a theme song when I began to face the brain tumor issues and all that happened in the months after I met you. The song is called "Christ or Else I Die" And the chorus "give me Christ or else I die, echoed in my heart, day after day during the worst suffering I've ever had. I was grieved on every side but could say I was not cast down or ever out of the mind of God.

You told me my life would be turned around and it certainly was. I kept my testimony under extreme fire working for the State and when at last was more than I could bare, the Lord released me to go. I literally fled and he has taken care of me, while stretching my faith. Today, was a day that was tougher than usual but I had a medical appointment at Centro de Barrio a clinic for homeless folks. In the midst of hunkering behind a book to avoid looking at other people in dire straights, a man of color stood up and began to sing. What an exquisite voice, truly breath taking but more than anything the message was stunning. He sang a gospel song about the faithfulness of Jesus and that his eye is always on you, whether you stand or fall. He sang that I know he loves me, and he is with me every minute of the day, and he looked at us all and said "he loves you so much" Tears were rolling down my face and all 30 people in the waiting room were abolutely silent the entire time he sang. We applauded loudly--the entire waiting room.... and he changed the atomsphere.

It occurred to me this old African American on disaibilty and inpoverished was a faithful servant of the Lord. Later that day running errands and aware of my how alone I am, how betrayed by my workplace, I turned the radio on just in time to hear Nicole Mullins belting out I KNOW MY REDEEMED LIVES>>> HE LIVES... and it reminded me of the reading of Job, and Jobs confession "I know my redeemed lives and I shall yet see him!" I have long said, Job is my hero.

There was a God sighting the day I said, Oh Lord, I want a cup of coffee so BAD... then I saw the Car insurance company accross the street and forgot about the coffee remembering I needed to give them my change of locations. I walked in and the receptionist said "Can I get you a cup of coffee--not only that she served it on a silver platter with cream and sugar--a nice large cup freshly made and hot." Not a big deal, but the fact that I had asked God for coffee less than 5 minutes before demonstrated that his eye is on the sparrow and he can make a way=even for an extravagance.

Another homeless friend told me a lady in dire need of 25 cents asked her for a quarter, it was ALL she had to her name. She said the Lord told her to give it and it was tough but she did. The lady gave her 10 cents in exchange. So she had 10 cents and then 5 mintues later got out at a bus stop to change busses, sat down and there was a quarter so she had 35 cents which was to her a major God sighting because she could get two bus transfers with that. Our lives are pared down to very simple things.

I'm in transitional housing and my case worker is a believer who said "Write what God has done for you because many other women afraid to leave abusive situations need to know that God can and will provide what I call "bread for the journey"

I'm going to look into starting a blog. Yes, I have learned so much about homelessness these last 2 months. I had an MPA before but I feel what I learned about this population from joining them has opened my eyes to many things I did not understand. To start with I am amazed how many of them have profound faith in God and love the Lord. This, in some cases makes them the familiy reject and has resulted in several of them being homeless. Meanwhile, ministers come in and talk about our bad decisions, like Job's comforters not understanding that we, particularly the women, did not all end up here because we are are all alcoholics, drugs addicts and mentally ill although we may have those issues. Many of us are here because someone sinned against us.

There is much to say about God's faithfulness and some misguided policies and assumptions about homeless people. We are also, as a group far more open to hearing about God's love and faithfulness than anyone might imagine. And we need things like small bars of soap, toilet paper... toothpast. I think those wet handy wipes are an excellent thing, I gave some to another homeless lady trying to clean up for a maid job interview and she said it helped immensely.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

God's Family Expands this Week with the Old and the Young

This week God has surprised us with giving us the privilege of ushering in two new members of his family.

This is how it happened!

Monday night, the Healing Prayer Team was at the worship and healing service they lead each month at the local nursing home. One of the Healing Prayer members, Dave, read a passage from Rev 20 about the hope of heaven. One very old woman responded, "I want to live in a place like that." So, when she heard that she could follow Jesus and make heaven her home for eternity, she invited him into her life on the spot!

Last night Missio Lux held an Ash Wednesday Service. It turned out to be a rather eclectic group which included a family that we are just getting to know. They have 3 children, the youngest is a 5 year old girl. She was shy about getting the ashes put on her forehead, so I told her that if she changed her mind after the service, I could still do it.

When it was over, I came over to talk to the family and her Mom said "She has many questions about communion." So we explained more about it and the little girl said, "I believe in Jesus. I believe it's true." She kept insisting that she believed and made the decision to invite him into her life--and then wanted to experience communion.

I just smiled when the night was over, as I realized that when we invite Jesus to come into the atmosphere and tell the simple truth of his Word and promises then we can expect to see God surprise us with many wonderful gifts; which include helping usher a very old woman and a very young child's names into the book of life!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ashes for Invitation

What are your plans for tomorrow? Let’s see: it’s Wednesday, so I have my regular schedule of meeting with people, as well as preparing for Huddle and the Celebration. But, tomorrow is a very special Wednesday; it’s the beginning of Lent.

When I was a child, Lent meant that the Catholics would come to school with Ashes on their forehead. I didn’t know what it meant, but it sure looked cool. Today, I understand that the practice of putting ashes on foreheads is a chance to take a pause, to reflect on what Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem entailed as he “set his face towards Jerusalem.”

When Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem, he was telling his father that he was serious about his decision to intentionally walk to the cross. He was choosing to go the road of death for his life.
Missio Lux has chosen to adopt the practice of observing Ash Wednesday because in this busy, hurry up world, we need to schedule times of slowing down, pauses, to not miss the invitations Jesus gives to us at specific points within the church year life.

The forty days of preparation for Holy Week and Easter are vital to our faith because they call us to a deeper level of commitment. However, even before we can commit, we have an invitation from Jesus to be with him on the journey.

Matthew 16 ends with a conversation that Jesus has with his disciples. It takes place right after Peter tells him that “You are the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” It is at this point that the disciples move to a new place with Jesus as he begins to speak to them about his plans.

Now remember, the disciples were following Jesus in large measure because they believed he was the one who would free them from the bondage of Roman rule. When Jesus begins to speak of a death through their own religious leaders, Peter bravely steps up and tells Jesus, “No, this will never happen to you.”

Peter’s statement is often our statement. We have a picture in our minds of what we believe will happen and we want to protect that picture, often spending great amounts of energy to do it.

But, Jesus teaches us a different way: the way of invitation, the way of life coming through death. It’s paradoxical, isn’t it, because Jesus came to give us life. John 1:4 says, “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.” Jesus says himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” But, his invitation to follow him involves dying: dying to our own ways, and becoming alive to his ways.

My encouragement to you this week is to accept the invitation to be alone with Jesus and to hear his words of challenge to us to live life on his terms. When we do this, we not only live a more obedient life, we step into the place of experiencing the freedom that comes from letting Jesus lead the journey, which always brings us to the place of greatest meaning and fulfillment.

Jesus’ Invitation to his Friends: Matthew 16:24-26:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for a person if they gains the whole world, yet forfeits their soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for their life?

Or from the Message: Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Valentines Day Gift: Hearing Larry's Miraculous Healing Story

Yesterday my husband Bill and I went to see Larry and Priscilla in their home to hear the amazing miracle story of Larry's healing. Larry wasn't just healed of a headache or even cancer: Larry was literally dead several times, and he is now very much alive!

Here's the story. Priscilla was rushing him to the emergency room because Larry had chest pains, when at one point in the drive, Priscilla knew that he had died. She turned into an animal hospital where a Vet gave Larry CPR until the EMT's arrived. Larry had no pulse when they came and it took them over a half an hour to be able to take him to the hospital.

The Dr. told Priscilla how grim his situation was: he had been without oxygen for several minutes, he was literally dead and his heart was in shambles. He had very little brain activity to top it off.

Larry had a night where he was given the paddles 25 times because his heart kept stopping.

But, God's people never gave up hope. Our Missio Lux prayer team, amongst many others, went into his hospital room and spoke like Jesus, "Lazarus Larry come out!" We literally told his spirit to integrate once again with his body because God had more he could do with Larry on earth.

God heard our prayers and answered! Just 10 days after Larry entered the hospital practically dead, he walked out and is now walking 2 miles a day just one month later. He is looking forward to riding his bike next week!

When Larry checked out, his doctor told him, "Your chances of leaving the hospital were 0%. You were dead for over 30 minutes and you continued to die several times." God defies the earthly odds by giving us his Kingdom on earth!

It was just like all the other times that I've visited with Larry yesterday, but this time, I kept pinching myself because I could have been visiting his grave instead of his home!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Amazing Missio Lux Colorado Adventures, Part 5

My last experience in Colorado was one of my highlights: spending time with our sister healing ministry: Living Free Ministry.

I have been mentoring and coaching their leader, Terri Parzybok, since they started almost two years ago now. She is a very dear friend and an amazing woman of God!

LFM usually meets every Monday night, as well as Wednesdays during the day, to pray for those that want to be healed. But, occasionally, they hold a team time on Monday nights instead of being open for prayer. I was invited to share and do ministry with the team my last night in Denver.

I have grown to love these dear people! They are so passionate about Jesus, one another and their missio of healing. They are able to speak often about the miracles of healing that they are experiencing and the transformed lives that are taking place within their midst.

In fact, 8 or 9 new people are currently joining their team because of the healing that has taken place in their lives!

I first shared about abiding! This is one of the most important themes in the Bible because God takes rest seriously and we are invited to rest as well. It comes first in Genesis where the God rested after 6 days of creation. Rest shows up again in the 10 Commandments, which I like to call the 10 Boundaries for Living. These rules are there to protect us; not keep us from living a free life. Finally, Jesus invites us to abide with him in John 15 where he tells us that without abiding with him, we won' t have any fruit to share with the world.

After examining the abide concept, I encouraged the team to take time to abide while I did personal prayer ministry with each person. The time flew by as Terri the leader and I spoke prophetic words over each person. I was thrilled and amazed at the powerful words of love, hope and future that God gave to each healing prayer minister. He also gave some great keys for the development of the ministry.

Finally, it was time to go. One of the great privileges for me is that my brother-in-law has just joined the team so he was the one who drove me home. It is a gift to see and to hear of all the ways that God is working in his life. How fun that Missio Lux is structured in such a way that even though I live a 1,000 miles away, God is still using me to help equip and support the ministry that he serves in.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Amazing Missio Lux Colorado Adventures, Part 4

I have a friend in Denver named Vaun. We went to seminary together and partnered together to start the Journey Project, the front runner ministry to Missio Lux.

Today, she is doing something really unique for women. She bought a lovely old home in Denver in the Capital Hill area that she, along with a troop of other women, have transformed into Pomegranate Place: an Oasis for Women!

Pomegranate Place is an open door, an invitation to grow: emotionally, spiritually, artistically, academically: it's open for women from all different walks of life and interests to use to bring others into a place of community and expression of the whole self. Their brochures states "We provide a sanctuary in the heart of Denver that supports, encourages, and inspires women to live well."

Each room has a unique bent to it. Some will be perfect for spiritual direction: others are meant to be writing rooms, or creating rooms, or others are perfect to hold a seminar or neighborhood gathering for important topics. The brochures lists others too: service projects/special events, life coaching and mentoring, reflection garden and of course, what gathering place would be complete without a "coffee bar!"

It was a gift to visit Pomegranate Place and absorb the vision Vaun has had for many years. I am so pleased to see it becoming a reality. I can't wait to hear more of the stories of how women will be nourished, enlivened, and empowered in more meaningful lives through their connection to Pomegranate Place!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Arbors Missio Community Life Shapes Takes Shape

While I was in Colorado, our family community, Arbors, took greater shape!

Read more about it on Laurie's blog: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Acknowledging God as Soveriegn King, Part 2

What’s your most common process? To come to God as King expecting his provision first, or to try to figure it out on your own and then when nothing else is working, to turn to God and ask for his help?

My guess is that for most of us it is the second answer: to go to God when we’ve exhausted all our own resources. For those that say they go to him first, it’s most likely because they’ve lived a life of the other way and finally knew that it works far better just to trust God to provide in the first place.

Why is this? If we think back to the Garden and Adam and Eve, we remember that they were tempted to believe that God was holding out of them; that basically, he had a provision that he wasn’t sharing with them. We are tempted to believe that lie as well, because if we can stop believing that God is the provider of all good things; materially, financially, relationally and spiritually, then the Serpent has pretty much succeeded. The thought has become so deeply ingrained in us now that we barely notice that it is present.

Jesus spoke this out to the crowds who followed him, “Seek first the kingdom and it’s righteousness, and all these things will be added onto you.” Or the NLT states, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

So, that’s it? If we seek to live a kingdom lifestyle like Jesus, we will have everything else? What does that include? Does it include a fulfilling vocation? Does it include sufficient income? Does it include healthy and happy relationships?

What does the context before Jesus’ stunning statement include? The fifth chapter of Matthew includes all kinds of teachings on relationships and how we are to live in them. The sixth chapter of Matthew is entitled, “Money and Possessions.” Jesus’ kingdom seeking statement ends the sixth chapter as if to say, “Here is the key to a fulfilling life of healthy relationships and financial provision.”

It comes out of a priority of putting Jesus’ ways first, not after! Do you see the rub? We like to create our life and then fit Jesus’ priorities in around them. That isn’t what Jesus is teaching us, however. He wants us to discover his way of living life and then watch how he brings the rest to reality.

Missio Lux followed the worldly way this past weekend. Faced with the reality that our Celebration was scheduled over the Super Bowl, I decided to reschedule the Celebration, rather than challenge people to make a choice between the Super Bowl or the Celebration. There’s a good list of reasons why I made the choice, but digging deeper, I think I was unwilling to take the risk of having an empty room because people prioritized a football game (albeit the largest watched show on television history), over worshiping Jesus. We can rationalize our choice by saying “the Super Bowl only happens once per year,” but it is still a choice to put the worldly choice first.

Digging even deeper, was it more important to me to have a room full of people rather than to seek an amazing worship experience of the King? Would a few people have had a much deeper worship experience because we prioritized Jesus first if we had met over the Super Bowl? We won’t know the answer for this year; but the questions are definitely provocative.

What about you? Where are you consciously or sub-consciously choosing to put the world’s way first, and then fitting kingdom life around them?
Are you trusting your hard work at your employm

ent to get you the bonus or are you praying for Jesus to show you how to seek first his kingdom at work?

Are you trusting your vitamins, work out regimens and facial creams to help you to live a healthy lifestyle and look great, or are you seeking Jesus’ kingdom in a lifestyle that creates health?

Are you trusting your studying and testing patterns to win you the highest grades so you can go to graduate school, or are you seeking Jesus’ kingdom in your academic pursuit?
The list of opportunties to live a kingdom lifestyle with kingdom priorities never ends. It is the challenge of our lives as kingdom people!

This week, sit down and evaluate your days. Pray through them and ask Jesus to show you areas where you have misplaced priorities. When he shows you, ask him to help you make the shift from a worldly focus to an intentional kingdom focus. Watch and see how what happens. Journal it as a kairos moment and after you have reflected on it; tell someone else! Share how Jesus is taking us as disciples on the adventure called Life and making it intensely satisfying because our lives are aligning through seeking the Kingdom of God first!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Amazing Colorado Missio Lux Adventures, Part 3

Monday was the day that Covenant Midwinter Pastor's Conference began. I was really looking forward to attending since I had missed the past two because of family and Missio Lux commitments.

There is so much to look forward to in a Covenant gathering ( The Evangelical Covenant is a small but thriving denomination which sets it priorities on six affirmations:

New birth in Christ
The Bible is God's Word and Authority
Mission of the Church
Fellowship of Believers
Dependence on Holy Spirit
Freedom in Christ

I can definitely attest that the Covenant follows these priorities. I love that freedom in Christ is on the affirmations because each Covenant church carries their own unique identity, there is nothing cookie cutter about their approach.

I have been given much freedom to form and shape Missio Lux as God is directing me. I enjoy the fellowship and friendship of the Church Planters in our area, as well as across the US.

So, what did I do at the Covenant Midwinter?

I talked, a lot.

People had a lot of interest in Missio Lux, curiousity, questions, people to connect me with that may be interested in an organic, simple, flexible structure that seeks to know God, love one another and serve the world through a relational network of missio communities.

Our mission: "To experience and share the freedom and hope Jesus offers everyone."

I also made some new friends, one of them is named Bret. He is writing his doctorate at Fuller on different approaches for church planting. We had some valuable conversation as we shared what we were both hearing from the Lord.

It was a gift to be present at Midwinter this year....I am glad I went.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Amazing Missio Lux Colorado Adventures, Part 2

One of the gifts in Colorado is our Sudanese Brother, Arok Garang. Arok is a Lost Boy who has come to the US and is making a difference in the world with his life. (Arok is on the left and his friend Joseph is one the right).

Arok is a leader of Seeds of Hope, a Missio Lux Missio Community. Seeds of Hope has a mission to educate children from the Southern Sudan village of Pauliu. Arok has been chosen to be a village leader in this village, even though he has never returned to it since he had to leave when his village was burned and his parents were killed.

Arok has a big faith and an even bigger heart.

Arok came to Covenant Village where my parents now live and gave a presentation about Seeds of Hope. Since I happened to be in Colorado, I also joined the presentation. It is always a gift to be able to tell the story of how 15,000 young boys between the ages of 3 and 7 walked a dangerious trek of 1,000 miles with very little adult supervision to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. They were there for about 18 months when Ethiopia had a war and the Sudanese orphans had to leave again. This time they went to Kenya and ended up in the Kakuma Refugee Camp.

When Sudan made a peace accord at the end of 2007, the UN closed the Kakuma Refugee Camp. All the children, most of them orphans, had to leave in January, 2008. This also happened to be the very month that Missio Lux began to form.

So, Missio Lux and Seeds of Hope formed together at the same time. We were literally running, out of breath, as we sought to catch up with God's plan for us. Within a few months, we had 34 children in boarding school in Nakuru, Kenya where the children are safe, fed, treated for illness, and most of all, educated.

Education is the key to a future of hope.
Arok understands this and it is why he is has worked hard since coming to the US to get his GED, put himself through University of Colorado with a degree in Economics.

Now Arok commits himself to tell the story of his life as a Lost Boy and the redemptive dream of educating his village children so that together they can return to the village of Pauliu to rebuild it.

34 children have seeds of hope planted in them every day. However, there are still over 75 children from their village who are basically homeless because funding for their schooling has not yet been secured.

Please pray together with Missio Lux for all the children, that God would find a way to bring them out of Egypt and into the promised land of safety and education.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Amazing Colorado Missio Lux Adventures, Part 1

I just returned from 11 days in Colorado. It was a mixture of 3 focuses: Covenant Midwinter Pastor's Conference, ministry for Missio Lux, and time with family and friends since I am from Denver and we lived there for 18 years before moving to Seattle.

So much happened during my time in Denver that I am going to blog about it a few times. This is a bigger picture of how God is working in Missio Lux shining his light in many different places.

One of the first things that I did was gather some intercessors who are longtime friends for a time of blessing, update and connection. It was so thrilling for me to go around the room and speak to each person a blessing about how God used them in very specific parts of my life. One woman said that when I was four years old and wearing a yellow dress in church, God spoke to her and told her to "Pray for that one." She has prayed for me my whole life. What an awesome gift she is to me.

Another woman mentored me in seminary. She knew that she was supposed to come over one day as I neared the end of seminary and anoint me. I remember it so well. I was wearing an ugly purple jogging suit and we were sitting in my kitchen. She brought out an entire bottle of oil and poured it over my head. It was a life changing experience to receive such an overflowing (literally) anointing.....I still have that purple jogging suit, I haven't ever worn it since, it feels too holy.

Two women present were friends that I met six months before I left Denver. Their names are Terri and Holly and they are some of my dearest friends I have today. The reason: we are kindred spirits in our love for Jesus. God has used us to minister to his people in amazing ways, and he is still connecting us for lifechanging ministry through Holy Spirit.

I will treasure that Sunday afternoon gathering for a long time, just as I cherish the women that came to be blessed for their significant blessing in my life.