A Personal Invitation: Conference & Prayer Journey in Spain

Have you ever dreamed of traveling to a foreign country? Learning about the culture and history?  Walking through the historic or religious sites that are centuries old?  Do you have a desire to visit Spain?

If you follow my blog you know that I’ve done that. Twice!

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In Segovia, Spain on mission, October 2014.

A Personal Invitation to Visit Spain

Since those two trips I’ve become somewhat of an ambassador for Spain, sharing about the country, its culture, and the religious climate any time the opportunity arises. I’ve come to realize that Spain is a very popular tourist destination with Americans—often running into people who have traveled there.  I’ve not heard a bad review of this beautiful country.

Friendly people.

Easy to communicate despite the language barrier.

And a place where Americans and our tourist money are welcomed.

So do you want to go to Spain?

Next spring, missionary and Pastor Josh Fajardo, from the church where I spoke last fall, is leading an organized prayer journey through many of the same places that I traveled to on my personal pilgrimage in 2013—from Madrid to Southern Spain.

As a writer who fell in love with Spain, and has a pulse on the spiritual climate, my desire is to put Spain on the radar, so to speak, for others. So I’m putting on my ambassador hat and inviting you to follow your heart to Spain!

Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, where I worshiped one day while on mission to Spain, October 2014.

Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, where I worshiped one day while on mission to Spain, October 2014.

The Trip to Spain

This 10-day trip to Spain, scheduled for April 14-24, 2016, starts with a women’s prayer conference in Rivas, a suburb of Madrid. The conference is sponsored by Women’s Ministries International, a nonprofit that supports and empowers programs in under-developed countries. Male attendees will have separate speakers and be involved in other activities during the women’s conference.

Prayer Journey 2016During the 10-day trip to Spain travelers will ride via motor coach to sites with historic and religious significance in Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Málaga, and Seville. Each day of the prayer journey portion of the trip starts with a devotional and time spent in prayer.  The mornings are organized group time visiting cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, museums, or royal palaces.

After the traditional midday meal, you are free to explore the city and familiarize yourselves with the culture and the people in a more personal way. Everyone reconvenes over the evening meal (very late by American standards) to share what God is doing in their lives and where He met them in the streets of Spain.

Here’s what Pastor Josh, who organized the trip has to say about it:

“If you studied Spanish history you learned how Spain has influenced continents and has contributed to the economic and spiritual development of many countries in both hemispheres. Today, it’s a different story…Christian history informs us that Spain never experienced spiritual reformation.  This is why we are inviting you to join us in praying for God’s power to be revealed on this nation!  God is calling His people to participate and intercede!  Is your heart moved to pray for a people that have strayed away from God?  Consider becoming a prayer partner, join us on this journey and be a part of a spiritual awakening in our generation in Spain!”

My Personal Experience

As someone who has been to all of these places except Málaga, I can attest to their amazing beauty, and historical and religious significance. Spain was conquered and divided into regions ruled by Muslims and Christians. It wasn’t until the fall of Granada in 1492 that Muslim rule ended in Spain. Granada and the Alhambra, the palace and fortress compound from which the Muslims ruled, will be visited as part of the prayer journey in Southern Spain.  (I toured that in 2013—incredible!!!)

I can also attest to the breadth of religious history and context that Pastor Josh has to impart to those on the trip. For instance, before I returned to Spain last fall, Josh told me about the auto de fé (religious courts) held in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor during the Spanish Inquisition several centuries ago.  I was shocked to learn that after the judgment was pronounced, heretics were burned at the stake (in Plaza Mayor).

Auto de fe by Francisco Rizi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Auto de fé, Plaza Mayor, 1680, painted by Francisco Rizi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I returned to Madrid for the CR mission last October, I visited Plaza Mayor again and saw it in a new light. Josh also told me to look for the sculptures depicting scenes from the religious courts.  This historic scene along with others was barely noticeable on the backs of public benches surrounding the lamp posts in the outdoor plaza.

Plaza Mayor is one of the most popular tourist sites in Madrid, but there is no marker or mention of this piece of history at the plaza. Having this new spiritual context of Plaza Mayor led me to pray for healing in the country in new ways.

Why go?

God got a hold of me and gave me a heart for Spain and the need for spiritual renewal in the country during my first trip there, which was not part of an organized tourist package. What I reference above about Plaza Mayor is just one example from my own personal experience of how seeing a country from a spiritual perspective (like Josh provides) makes it a truly enriching, moving, and life-changing experience.  It will awaken stirrings in your heart for the people of Spain.

I could go on and on about Spain, and as a self-proclaimed ambassador for the country, I will in time write more about it. For now, check out the brochure about the conference and prayer journey, Spain-Prayer-Journey-Brochure-2016, or visit the registration page at Women’s Ministries International.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1, NIV)

Present day Plaza Mayor at night

Present day Plaza Mayor at night

Trusting the Writing Process (Year 4)

Four years. Forty eight months. 208 weeks. 1,460 days. Any which way you describe it; I’ve been mindful and reflective of passing another writing milestone. And I’ve learned a lot about the writer’s life along the way.

4th annivMy 4-Year Blogging Experience

Earlier this month I passed my 4-year blogging anniversary. That’s over 250 posts across three blogs (here, Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau, and Journeys to Mother Love), church devotionals, and guest posts on other author blogs. When I published my first blog post, What’s in a Name, I had no idea where my writing would take me. It just felt like the right time to flex my writing muscle.

In 4 years’ time I’ve written from a Christian perspective about emotional and spiritual healing, recovery, and finding our identity. I’ve dug into my own mother wounds and shared the unexpected beauty that surrounded the passing of my mother and my father. I’ve shared the ups and downs of relationships and the challenges of living with ADHD. I took readers with me on my personal pilgrimage to Spain, my mission to Europe, and shown them the joy of partnering with my musical protégé and friend, Pedro González Arbona on his journey into film composing.

A lot of my original posts were only shared with a handful of friends who I felt safe enough to share my writing with. I recently re-read some of those posts and was surprised at their transparency and inspiration: It Takes Courage, When Life Imitates Art, Leaving a Legacy. The formatting isn’t as polished as my current work, but the content is still relevant and poignant.

A few years ago, I submitted my site for a critique by a literary agent who was focused on marketing. That led to the highest hits on my site in one day. Normally I’d think that was a good thing. But her critique of my site drew the interest of other bloggers to see what not to do. That served as an embarrassing reminder of how brutal the publishing industry can be.

Thanks to the interview with Dan Davies last month, that changed! The post, A Behind the Scenes Look at Tempting Fate with Actor Dan Davies, now holds the single day record, and with it a very pleasant reminder of an entertaining interview.

Blogging

So 4 years of blogging has ended on a positive note! I’ll continue as the Holy Spirit leads me, and maybe tackle a revamp of my blog layout in the coming year.

The Ups and Downs of Traditional Publishing

It was also four years ago that I joined the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association. Membership has its benefits, and one of those is receiving notifications of story submissions. Days after attending my first meeting, I received the notification that set my writing in motion:

“Cladach Publishing is seeking authors with an encouraging personal-experience story of healing in mother/child relationships.”

That story submission, my first manuscript, led to publishing “Walking my Mother Home” in Journeys to Mother Love. It seemed like I was on the fast-track to publishing. I did all the right things: attending conferences, marketing, speaking, blogging, and posting on social media like Facebook. It was a lot of work.

Journeys To Mother LoveWhat got lost along the way was my dream to have my memoir published. Except for an intense month of writing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November 2012, work on my memoir, Emerging from the Cocoon, stopped.

An author friend told me back when all of this started that ‘overnight’ success in the publishing world can have its setbacks. She was right.

The publishing seemed to come relatively easy for me then.  Step by step the opportunities opened one after the other, with the Lord aligning all of the people and places at the right time.

Then He directed my writing endeavors towards Spain. While there are a lot of posts here related to my Spanish connection, there is still a great body of work buried deep in my journal.

Sometimes it haunts me, beckoning to be published, at least from a travel perspective.  (Like today, the anniversary of my departure for Europe on the Celebrate Recovery mission.)  But after returning from that mission (my second pilgrimage of sorts), my writing has remained an inward work in progress.

It left me wondering, “where’s the fruit?”

Trusting the Writing Process

The last year has been the hardest part of my writing journey thus far.

At the beginning of this year, I decided to take a sabbatical from serving in CR leadership. It was a difficult decision, but I knew I needed a break.  I had poured myself into the mission, writing all about it, and also launching the website and blog for that ministry. I needed a season to rest and abide in the Lord (John 15:4). Surprisingly that took me into the next layer of the therapeutic process related to my ADHD. The internal work has been intense and too raw to write about publicly.

What has happened along the way though is that I have started to accept that all of the writing I am doing is the normal path of a writer. It is especially so for someone like me who wants to bring meaning to their work and make it truly authentic.

Maya Angelou quote

I’ve often heard that writing is a process. My path to publishing happened so quickly I skipped over that part. Now I have to experience the process and trust the path that other writers have walked before me.

I’ve learned the importance and significance of solitude. I’ve learned that reflection is a part of the craft.

Writers live a life of discovery and look at the inner experience of it. As such, we often need to distance ourselves from our experiences to be able to get the right perspective on it. That takes time, patience, and perseverance.

So I’ve come to accept that this season of my writing journey has been about doing the deeper inner work and trusting the process. I know it will be harder for me because of my ADHD. I’m not giving up.

For now, I’m continuing to take notice of what is going on around me and in me through the lens of ADHD. It’s a blessing, or so I’ve been told.

I know I’m worth it.

And so are you. I encourage you, my friends and readers, to take the time to invest in yourself and reflect on your experiences. You don’t have to be a writer. Any writing you do about it will lead to healing and emotional health though.

Thanks for supporting my writing and journeying along with me.  May this blog be a place of encouragement and inspiration on your journey.  May He turn your healing into hope too.

thank-you

On Mission for God, Part 7 ~ Review & Gratitude

I am struggling! It’s not like last year’s return from Spain.  But I am at a loss on what to write about my trip and how to re-engage in my writing discipline since my return two weeks ago.

I’m not sure what’s up with that. Writer’s block?  Writing fatigue from the mission?  Spiritual attack?  Or just plain brain drain from the last eight months of intense planning and preparations?

The one thing I am reminded of is to have an attitude of gratitude. So I cannot help but write a post about how grateful I am to have experienced another trip of a lifetime.

My Week in France

I am grateful for…

  • The Air France strike. My flight from Paris to Lyon was cancelled so I took the high speed train to Grenoble instead.  That provided me with more time to explore Paris.  I attended mass at Notre Dame, stopped by the Eiffel Tower for a quick photo opp, and bought some souvenirs.
  • The invitation from my American missionary friends to come to France to share my testimony at their church. My hosts showered me with their generous hospitality and acclimated me to life in the French Alps.  We explored nearby villages by foot and scoped out some old cemeteries.  They literally took me to new heights (on a perch thousands of feet above the valley and on mountaintops). God took me to new heights spiritually.
  • The opportunity to share my testimony at the Celebrate Recovery meeting In Grenoble. I met women who resonated with my story and shared my desire for spiritual revival in France.

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My Week in Rivas

I am grateful for…

  • The invitation from Pastor Josh Fajardo to come to his church in Rivas and teach about Celebrate Recovery. I hadn’t even met Josh at this time last year.  God beautifully orchestrated all of these steps.
  • The opportunity to share my testimony in front of a Spanish audience. This also provided the opportunity for Rosa and Pedro to attend and hear me speak in their native language.  It was an amazing blessing!
  • The connections that I made with people in the Rivas church, old and new friends, committed to life transformation through Christ.
  • The privilege to announce that the Spanish version of “Walking My Mother Home” was published as a gift to the church in Rivas.
  • The hope of continued partnership with the Fajardo’s, the church in Rivas, and that CR will take root in Spain.

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My Week in Madrid

I am grateful for…

  • The generous hospitality showered on me by my Spanish family, Rafa, Rosa and Pedro.
  • The hours of walking around Madrid and being able to physically keep up with it all. Some of my walks took me to sights I saw last year, but this time around I was able to appreciate them more fully and explore more leisurely.
  • The opportunity to visit and pray in several local churches.  I treasured each one and especially being able to attend mass multiple times.
  • The comfort and safety I felt with my family and in Madrid. I was able to explore one day on my own, taking the subway, meeting new people, walking to new places, and dining out by myself.  It gave me great freedom to experience Madrid in a new way.
  • The short visit with Pedro’s extended family allowing me to reconnect with a niece who stole my heart last summer and Pedro’s grandfather. We enjoyed the giving and receiving of gifts.
  • The ability to give signed copies of my Spanish story to Pedro’s family and that it can now be shared electronically with other friends and family.
  • The closure and peace I had leaving my Spanish family. I have no idea when I will see them again, but I am trusting the Lord to bring us together in His timing.

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Most of All

I am grateful…

  • To the Lord for allowing me to be His Hands and Feet on the ground in France and Spain, and for perfectly putting all of the pieces into place for me to go on this mission of hope. I am grateful that He stretched me outside of my comfort zone and has grown my faith in new life-giving ways.
  • To everyone who prayed for the mission (before, during or after) and for all of the generous donations that allowed me to follow God’s call to Spain.
  • To Timberlake Church for donating $1500 to cover the cost of CR launch materials for Free Methodist churches in Spain.
  • To the CR leader team at Pine Lake Covenant Church for sponsoring and supporting this mission across the globe.
  • And, to my family for taking care of the household for three weeks and supporting my call to Spain.

thank-you

Yes, today is Halloween, but let’s not forget to be thankful for the blessings in our lives. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving.  Let’s start a season of thanks-living.  What are you thankful for?

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Looking for updates on the CR mission to Spain, check out the blog post series on the ministry site where I serve,  celebraterecoveryontheplateau.org or re-blogged here.

CR Mission Update 4 – Additional Meetings in Rivas

I’ve been back from Spain a few days, still dealing with the effects of jet lag and trying to re-integrate into life in America. I’m feeling very blessed that the Lord would use me to be His Hands and Feet on the ground in Spain. There is so much I’d love to write about all of this, but for now am passing on the latest in the series from the ministry where I serve at Pine Lake Covenant Church. Muchas gracias for your support and prayers while I was on this mission of faith.

Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau

In my (Ardis Nelson, member of the CR leader team at PLCC) last post about the Celebrate Recovery (CR) mission to Spain, we had just completed the seminar portion of our time at the host church in Rivas, Comunidad Cristiana Luz y Vida (Light and Life Christian Community). The following day was Sunday, October 5. We were given the Sunday school time slot to present more CR information to the overall church.

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CR Mission Update 3 – The Seminar in Rivas

My time in Spain is coming to a close. I’ve walked what seems like a hundred miles this past week around Madrid and visited over a dozen churches and one Egyptian temple. Thanks to all who made this mission and prayer journey possible. I’m excited to see what God does in the physical realm next. Adios España! Vaya con Dios!

Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau

The seminar to introduce Celebremos la Recuperacion (Spanish version of Celebrate Recovery) was a big success! The people in attendance at the seminar were very open to this ministry and interested in bringing it into their churches or para church organizations.  The host church in Rivas, Comunidad Cristiana Luz y Vida (Light and Life Christian Community), is prayerfully discerning how to integrate CR into their cultural context and what their next steps will be.

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CR Mission Update 2 – Leaving France

Buenos dias! I’m winding down my time with the church in Rivas, Spain. The Celebrate Recovery seminar here was a big success. People were moved and interested in the ministry. Please continue to pray for churches and organizations in attendance, how to support them, and what the next steps are. Thank you for your prayers and support of this mission. Hasta la vista!

Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau

On my last mission update, I (Ardis Nelson, member of the CR leader team at PLCC) was preparing to give my testimony at the Celebrate Recovery meeting at the Klein’s church (E.P.E.G.E.) in Grenoble, France. That was my last full day in France, so the day was spent in preparation to travel to Spain and also working on our bi-lingual PowerPoint presentation for the seminar. There were lots of spiritual attacks on both fronts.

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On Mission for God, Part 6 ~ On My Way

I’m on my way! Six months after church meetings here in the States with Spanish pastor and missionary Josh Fajardo, I’m going on mission.

I’m numb. No time to make this pretty. Long lines at security. Rush, rush, rush.

I’m definitely heading to France because all flight announcements are in French and English. Lots to adapt to already.

When I land in Paris 10 hours from now, I’m heading to Notre Dame to take in the majesty of the Gothic architecture and to thank God for the life transformation He orchestrated to bring me to this place and time.

Bon jour.

Update 9/26/2014 ~ I made it to France, with a whirlwind tour of Paris by taxi. My driver spoke no English! I attended mass at Notre Dame and jumped out of the taxi at the Eiffel Tower for a selfie!  More updates to follow.

 

 

On Mission for God, Part 3 ~ Not Standing Alone

I just returned from the 3-day Celebrate Recovery (CR) Summit at Saddleback Church in Southern California.  The worship songs are still running through my brain.  I am totally fired up and excited to move forward in serving in this ministry.  I venture to guess that there isn’t a single person out of the 3,400 attendees who doesn’t feel similarly.  The Summit is like CR on steroids with thousands of people who all want to bring or advance this ministry of hope and healing at their churches.

CR Summit 138

On the Saddleback campus

International Mission Focus

This was my third trip to the Summit in my ten years of recovery.  My previous two trips were with leader teams from two different churches.  This time I traveled alone, representing Pine Lake Covenant Church (PLCC), where I now serve as a CR leader.  I was sent as an envoy for the international mission I am leading to Spain in the fall.

My focus for this Summit was to meet other CR leaders who run this program in foreign countries and learn as much as possible about their unique obstacles and cultural differences.  Although I’m an introvert by nature, for this 3-day Summit, I was a woman on a mission with a razor sharp focus–meet international leaders.

I attended the session on International Mission Strategy and a late night connection event with international leaders or others going on short-term CR missions abroad.  I hung out daily at the international tent meeting representatives from other countries.  On my last day at the Summit, I had a one-on-one meeting with the new director of International CR, Jana O’Guin.

Other Summit Activities

I am grateful that this wasn’t my first time to the Summit.  I knew the lay of the land:  my way around the Saddleback campus, my way around Orange County, the 3-day schedule of events, and the line-up of speakers.  Even with all of that though, the information never felt stale or boring.  It was all inspiring and encouraging with multiple sessions of daily worship, powerful testimonies of redemption, and a chance to laugh at ourselves through the biblical wisdom and wit of The Skit Guys, like “God’s Chisel.”  All of this time and money was a great investment in advancing God’s Kingdom abroad.

My favorite times were the few times I got to unwind a bit with some CR leaders over dinner.  One night it was with a group from a local CR that I met on my flight to California.  One of those leaders is also going on a mission next month to China.  My last night in California, I had a relaxing dinner with a friend who moved to California shortly after we met in CR at PLCC last year.  These recovery-related conversations served up good food for thought and were a welcome time of fellowship.

While at the Summit I also took time to meet with my favorite authors:  Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  I have been a big fan of their work since I first read “Boundaries” and “How People Grow” early on in my recovery journey.  We’ve met several times over the years.  (They’ve spoken at every Summit for the last 18 years.)  I could easily write a post just about each of their presentations.

I Don’t Stand Alone

My biggest takeaway from the Summit was that I am not alone in my Call to bring CR into another country.  Jana has been on over 25 mission trips into places like South Africa and Rwanda.  CR materials have been translated into 28 languages.

When I first started to tell other international CR leaders about my short-term mission to Spain, they eagerly suggested connecting my missionary partners in France and Spain with them.  These international CR leaders are pioneers in Christian recovery across the globe.  They have persevered over the years to break ground in their native country.  Often times they had to fund the translation and publishing of the CR materials in their native language as well.  Now it is Spain’s turn.

This is not an easy task.  It is not a ‘parachute’ ministry.  It will take follow-up trips to Spain by me, my missionary partner from France, or others who are experienced in CR and called to share this Good News abroad.  I’m grateful that I’m not alone; and I’m grateful that the path has been blazoned before us.  We’ll do our part; the rest is up to God.

CR International Map

Countries where Celebrate Recovery is established, developing, and has been introduced.

Mission update

This week I got approval from Timberlake Church, Redmond, WA to fully fund the start-up materials for several Spanish churches and for the seminar this fall.  That was welcome news on this joint church partnership with PLCC.

Only 6 more weeks!

Only 6 more weeks!

I’ll be leaving in six weeks, and the mission is not fully funded yet.  Won’t you please consider giving to this mission of hope and healing—not just for Spain, but to share the message in France as well?  Click here to donate online or fill out my contact form to support the cause through prayer.

If you live locally, I’m inviting you to hear me speak on Monday, August 18, 7 PM at Pine Lake Covenant Church in Sammamish, WA.  I’ll be casting the vision for the mission and sharing more about CR International endeavors and my Call to Spain.  Hope to see you there.

On Mission for God, Part 2 ~ Surprise Me, God

In Part 1 of this series on my mission trip to Spain in the fall, I wrote how I was taking a leap of faith with my public announcement and asking for donations.  I’m happy to report that my prayers were answered; I am walking on solid ground.

Actually I will be flying through the air nine weeks from today, on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.  (I’m starting my countdown calendar on the right sidebar of my site.)  However, I won’t be flying to Spain, not directly anyway…

number 9

Counting down–9 weeks until I leave on mission.

Praying for the Mission

My prayer all along has been to align my will with God’s will for this mission, for spiritual revival in Spain, and for the timing of the mission to align with His timing.  As a person who used to earn my pay as a project manager, it is often hard for me to let go of control when working in ministry settings.

In early June, I sent out an appeal letter to friends and family to support my mission, as well as emails, and the public announcement on my blog.  Then I was inundated with family commitments and travel that pushed all of my preparations for Spain on the backburner.

I know that was God’s way of building my trust muscle.  Not only that, I chose to take myself out of the reporting of any updates on who was contributing to the mission and how much.  I didn’t want my attention on any mission planning or obligations.  I released it all to Him and began to pray a new prayer:  “Surprise me, God!”

I wanted and NEEDED God to surprise me.  Surprise me He did…in multiple ways.

Surprise me GodGod’s Amazing Surprises

My first surprise was how God has already provided a large portion of the financial provision needed for the mission.   So far, donations are $2,125 including the $1,000 match by Celebrate Recovery at Pine Lake Covenant Church, who is sponsoring the mission.  That was truly welcome news—allowing me to purchase my airfare last week!

I also received word that the 10-day organized prayer journey segment of my mission was postponed until 2015.  As a prayer warrior for Spain, that came as a bit of a disappointment to me. However, when God closed that door, He opened another—a really BIG surprise.

I was able to accept a long-standing invitation to speak at a church in Grenoble, France, where my mission partner (and American missionary), Marvin Klein, lives.  I will arrive in France one week before the CR conference in Spain, giving us time to prepare for the conference and to travel together with him and his wife to Madrid.

CR internationalRevised Mission

While the second surprise dramatically changed the physical itinerary of the mission, it did not change the timing or focus for the CR conference in Spain.  In fact, it supplements it and builds on that in new ways.  Not only am I and PLCC CR investing in a partnership with Spain, we are also building on our relationship with Marvin, in France, and possibly other areas where he has global connections.

The revised itinerary also provides more dedicated time at the church in Rivas, with leaders and at prayer meetings.  While I prayed globally for unity in God’s Church in Spain last summer, and for spiritual revival in their country, I didn’t have opportunities to pray one on one with people.  I know the Lord is answering that desire of my heart through this new avenue—His surprise for my time in Spain.

Next Mission Steps

In preparation for the mission I am attending the annual Celebrate Recovery Summit at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.  I will also be speaking at the CR meeting at Pine Lake Covenant Church on Monday, August 18 at 7 PM.  I will share more information about my Call to Spain, provide a mission update, and share new training information from the Summit.

Click on above image to donate to the mission.

Click on above image to donate to the mission.

This mission is still not fully funded.  With the revised itinerary, the new donation goal now stands at $3,000 (a reduction of 25% of the original estimates) to cover travel, meals, and materials to hold the conference.  Won’t you please consider giving to this mission of hope and healing—not just for Spain, but to share the message in France as well?

Please Join God’s Work Abroad

The easiest way to donate is to use the secured giving link that directs all monies to the church for the mission.  All donations through this link or mailed directly to the church (information here) are tax deductible.

This mission is also in need of prayer support.  To pray for the mission now and while we are traveling and teaching, fill out my contact form on this site.   My on-going prayer request is for the remaining financial provision to be secured in advance of the trip, for protection and safety for our travels, and for receptivity to the CR materials and spiritual revival in Spain and France.

Surprise me, God!  Surprise us all!

I invite you join God in what He is doing in Spain and France by supporting and praying for this mission, and you too can plant seeds of change across the world.

 

Now the Lord had said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1, NIV)

Qualified or Called, Part 2 ~ Learning to Lead

It was two years ago that the Celebrate Recovery (CR) ministry launched at my church. I had dreamed and prayed for this ministry to launch there for years, but was never given the go-ahead. Now a team was in place, thanks to the arrival of Marvin and Lisa, missionaries from France who were planning a launch of this same ministry there.

On a spiritual high, at the CR 1-day conference in Portland, OR, February 2012.

On a spiritual high, at the CR 1-day conference in Portland, OR, February 2012.

The Highs & Lows of Ministry Leadership

Marvin was the ministry head, and I served as the trainer on the team. I’ll never forget the sheer joy I felt when the team all went to a CR conference together a few weeks before the launch. I had been to several CR conferences in the past, but never one representing my own church. It was such a spiritual high.

However, launching a recovery ministry like CR isn’t (wasn’t) all fun and games. There were a lot of spiritual attacks to me personally and to much of the team. We were on the battlefront in the war to take back people’s lives from the throes of addiction, abuse, rejection, depression, and hopelessness. As distressing as those experiences were, they helped to build my faith and trust God in bigger ways.

It was a difficult decision to leave that ministry later that year. However, with the release of my first book, God made it pretty clear He was stretching me in new ways and wanted to use my voice in the publishing arena.

Giving my CR testimony, March 2014.

Giving my CR testimony, March 2014.

A New Testimony to Share

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this 2-part series, I recently re-wrote my testimony. I never publically shared my testimony at my church, where I served on the CR launch team. It was something I had dreamed and hoped would happen when that ministry was forming. When the circumstances and timing didn’t align for that to happen, I trusted God’s purposes.

Then a few weeks ago, I gave my testimony for the first time since the launch of that ministry—not at my church, but at another where I serve on a CR leader team made up of individuals from multiple churches. As I re-wrote my testimony to share that night, I more fully understood the reasons behind this timing and venue to publically share my testimony.

I am now being called into a new territory to share the Good News of the Gospel. It is through Celebrate Recovery. It is not in Washington State. It is not even in the United States. It is in Spain.

Josh Fajardo, pastor from Spain visits a local CR meeting, March 2014.

Josh Fajardo, pastor from Spain visits a local CR meeting, March 2014.

Alignment of God’s Timing

The chain of events that led to this opportunity had seeds in several connections and God orchestrated meetings over the past few years. It started with Pedro, an exchange student from Spain who lived with my family in the summer of 2010. Then I met Marvin, the French missionary, who asked me to be on the CR team at my church. Marvin in turn introduced me to Josh Fajardo, a Spanish pastor and missionary, whose church I attended while I was in Madrid last summer.

Josh was in Seattle recently visiting local CR meetings and talking to pastors about this program. I was honored by his attendance the night I gave my testimony at the ministry where I now serve. We are jointly pursuing opportunities to partner with bringing this ministry to Madrid. I have high hopes of a mission trip to Spain—maybe in the fall, but most assuredly when the timing is right and God’s provision is in place.

All of these things seem so unlikely to me—the ups and downs I’ve persevered to get to this point. They don’t make any sense unless I keep the lens of His eternal purpose in my mind. I believe I am called for a time such as this. God has been putting these pieces in place since before time began.

Attending to last minute details for the CR ministry kick-off meeting, with Marvin, March 2012.

Attending to last minute details for the CR ministry kick-off meeting, with Marvin, March 2012.

Qualified or Called?

After ten years of recovery and going all in for the Lord, my ministry resume is full of training and conferences I’ve attended. It’s full of groups I led, and times I shared my testimony. The one thing missing is an official degree or letters behind my name that qualifies me in the work world to do this.

Ultimately what qualifies me for this Call is my testimony of faith and the ever increasing challenges that the Lord has walked me through. I have a B.A. in Business Administration; I have a master’s degree in Brokenness. It is based on His biblical principles to be a Light unto others.

So Marvin and I are joining forces again, along with Josh, to build a team, and embark on a new area of ministry, into more uncharted territory. With God as our guide, who can stand against us? (Romans 8:31)

Prayer is definitely appreciated as we seek God’s will and ways to train and launch this ministry of Hope in Spain.

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays and Missional Women/Faith Filled Friday.

  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

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