img_6670

Love in Love

Everybody wants to be loved. But what does that really mean? The terms, “I love you”, and “I’m in love with you”, are overused, underused and often misunderstood. 

Some people tend to link love with romantic relationships. This is a big shortcoming for love. Love is so much bigger and greater than just romance. When used in a relational context people say I love you. In the initial stages of romantic relationships people will say “I’m so in love with you”. Let’s break down these terms.

By definition

*Love*

 (Merriam-Webster) 

-A strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Attraction based on sexual desire. Affection and tenderness felt by lovers. Devotion. A beloved person. Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. 

(Bible 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

– Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Then the scripture goes further to say,

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

Self-sacrifice is the ultimate form of love. Loving somebody else more than you love yourself. 
The dictionary definition, focuses on mainly physical aspects. Anything physical will eventually perish. The biblical definition focuses on actions, emotions, feelings, and focuses on the betterment of another without the intent of personal gain. Weber, when done correctly the personal gain is so great and so fulfilling because you have learned how to love and you will have fulfillment. The biblical definition of love is a difficult type of love, but I believe it’s the only solid type of love. It is unconditional. That is the love that people truly desire. To be loved unconditionally. Persevere through hard times and not to fade away. 
People tend to say, “you said I love you too soon”. I don’t think there is ever a “too soon”. I believe that love is a choice. You choose to unconditionally love somebody. There is no timeframe for when you can choose to do so. I favor the biblical definition of love. If you meet those qualifications there is no timeline. It’s good, healthy and admirable to love somebody. And it’s selfish for you not to tell them. It’s amazing what changes in a relationship, romantic or personal, when one truly feels loved and when one truly feels that they are accomplishing the art of being loving. 
Clarification needs to happen. Love is too often tied to romance. When in fact love is a lifestyle you should be striving to walk in. 

When people say, “I’m in love with you”, that is VERY different than saying, “I love you.” To be in love, is to be infatuated with somebody and to be pursuing them. Everything around you fades and you focus all your energy on one person. People tend to say that people are crazy for saying they are falling in love. They say “it’s too soon to tell” and that “it’s just a feeling.” Well, the feeling of falling in love in this sense is a feeling. It’s a good feeling at that. You like the way that you feel with this person. It feels good to be wanted and pursued and to have somebody who desires to please you. Those are all beautiful things. You like their physical affection towards you and you are falling for them. Keep in mind…. these are physical things. It’s part of it but it’s not the whole picture. It’s not complete until it is proven and sustains. That doesn’t mean that the process of falling in love is not happening. This means that you were letting down your walls and you were letting somebody into your heart. This doesn’t mean that it’s perfect love, it just means that it feels good and you’re falling into the process of love. With romance it begins there. Those feelings can come at any time. They are just feelings and not actions. So you can’t say you truly love the person. However, falling in love is a process towards achieving romantic love with a person. If somebody tells you that it’s too soon to say I love you, they’re probably bitter and have brokenness in their own heart to deal with. We are all bitter at some point. Bitterness is not healthy. That is not loving. It is wrong. Love is a healthy thing. It should never be scorned or blown off. Even if the definition is not met, when somebody moves to say I love you, they have a deep feeling towards an individual that needs to be expressed. 

There is never a right time to say I love you or to fall in love. But rather there’s a right way to love and to fall in love. You dont want to fall in lust. Physical attraction is the first thing that draws us to most people. It’s easy to lust and we end up getting to know them physically/sexually before we even know them mentally, spiritually, or personally. Once we cave to the sexual aspect, the other elements are missed and a solid foundation was never placed. If you build your house on a solid foundation it will last through a storm. If there’s no solid foundation and you build your house in the sand, it will fall away in the storm.  
Anytime you have sex with somebody, you are giving them the deepest most intimate part of yourself. That is why it’s so difficult to let go of somebody you have been intimate with. Sex has become an addiction. It has become an action. People have devalued sex by having random hook ups and friends with benefits. Sex is a beautiful thing it was designed by God to be so. There is a reason that relationships fail and hearts are broken. It’s because it was not built on a solid foundation. Sex is great, it’s fun, but in and of itself is not fulfilling. When you have somebody that you are in love with and that you can honestly say, “I love you”, to, the intimacy and passion and sex is greatly increased and you can feel the difference. It’s not the same feeling that you get with a random hook up or casual sex partner. It’s just not. It may feel good physically, but you will be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually hurting and not understand why you can’t heal and move foreword. If you’re trying to get healthy, you can’t keep living in unhealthy ways. Until you are ready to make life changes, you will never truly heal and you’ll never be healthy. The inner satisfaction and true joy of finding the right form of love and finally being fullfilled radiates from an individual and everyone around consider friends. You feel different, you look different, and you live different. Life without love is a life lost. You don’t have to feel lost. Learn to live in love and begin the journey to truly understand what it means to love. When you find it, you will know. True love never fails. 

RELATIONSHIP 101: Rebounds and moving forward

The first question people ask when they are the first date after a break up is ” Are you sure that I am not just a rebound?”. The answer that the person usually gives is “Of course not”.  That is a lie. With every relationship you enter into it will either end in a breakup or a marriage/permanent relationship.  So with any relationship you enter into, you must go in with the expectation of either one. So many times we will hope that the relationship ends in marriage but when it ends in breakup we are heart broken and in shock that something  “so tragic” could happen to us. We have all been there. When we go through a breakup it is hard to deal with. We spend so much time with the person. We have in some cases changed our lives for that person, and changed friend circles. When a relationship ends, so does that friend circle and current circumstances.  The first few days we are depressed and seek counsel from friends. In most cases we lock ourselves in our bedroom with movies and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream for days and shut ourselves off from all outside communication. Eventually we put ourselves back together and we realize that the time has come where we need to stand back up and get back into the dating game. 

We all will have the “first person after the breakup” that we date. This person is termed by society as the rebound. 

There are a few definitions for a rebound 

1. Urban Dictionary- Going from one relationship to the next right away to avoid the pain of a breakup

2.  A rebound is someone who you date/go out with to keep yourself busy and you use him/her to keep your mind off of your ex who you still have feelings for
 
3- The freedictionary.com-  To recover, as from depression or disappointment. 
 
These definitions fit societies view of a rebound well. Any time you start a relationship it will end in a breakup or a full commitment…EVEN with a rebound. The problem is that most rebounds end up failing which give them a bad reputation. The reason they fail s typically because the person who just got out of a relationship “settled” for the quickest new relationship, or the person started a relationship with a potentially good match too soon after the breakup and did not have time to fully heal emotionally.  When you start a new relationship without fixing the problems you brought over from the old one they will not just disappear, and you will end up with the same problems in this new relationship. 
 
People tend to believe that a rebound is not fair, or that it is a bad idea. I beg to differ. I believe that a rebound is a necessary part of the process. without a rebound right away, the mind can wander and depression can set in. To end a relationship depressed and down on life is sad. When the rebound steps in and starts taking you out and building you back up, it is a positive thing. They will help you through the healing process and will allow you to realize that the problem is not you. You will then be able to have a sense of hope. By the time you rebuild yourself through this rebound, you will now see clearly that the rebound is not quite the level you deserve. When you end that rebound relationship, you are on your way to full self healing and realizing your full potential in a relatonship. You will then learn what you want and what you DONT want. That is key to understand in a relationship.  This is a learning process for both parties in the rebound relationship. One can argue that it is unfair to the person to be used as a rebound…..but by definition as listed above… the person is going from one relationship to another quickly….so then wont the person who just got “dumped” move on to another relationship? Absolutely! It is all a part of the cycle and it is all necessary in the process. Each breakup requires two people to move on. A rebound is simply the first person you date after a relationship. Just like any other relationship you are in, it will either fail or move forward.  The key is….If you have gone through a breakup, move forward. Date more. It is ok to “rebound” don’t be afraid of that term. Everyone has to get back on the horse to date again eventually.  A rebound is a healthy part of the healing process.  Have fun with dating and tread lightly. Try to remove ALL EXPECTATIONS. Just enjoy people. 
Image

Just say, “NO”. 

How many times have you taken a day off and said, “today is my day”. And then you pick up your phone…. And the day is no longer yours. In order to have time to give away, you need to make time to get away. 
We live in a world of busyness. REST is just missing a few letters to read as STRESSED. We add too much to rest and then it becomes stress. Stress is DEADLY. Many evidenced based studies show the negative impact of stress on our life. Rest is the easiest cure yet we never get enough. 

We need rest. Sometimes when we get away from everything we take a vacation and we take our friends with us. This is not getting away from everything. This is taking your life with you and you are not truly getting away from it all. There is a difference between traveling and vacation. 

So many times, we find our identity in our work. This is not who we are. The problem is that we feel as though people need us. That’s just it. People don’t need us. Everyone is replaceable. That’s life. We can give more of ourselves when we are fulfilled and recharged as opposed to just being and constantly draining ourselves. How can you be inspiring and of use to somebody if you are no different and no more passionate than before, because you never stepped away to learn more and get rid of the old and allow yourself to receive the new. 
On the 7th day of creation, God rested. How in the world do we think that we don’t need what God wanted. We need rest. Sometimes we need to simply learn to just say, “no”. …. And when you say, “no”….. Be okay with it. Otherwise the stress from your regret or saying “no” will eat you alive and ruin your rest. Set boundaries in your life. 
We live in a world that doesn’t stop. We work so much and push ourselves so hard that we are literally killing ourselves. 

You don’t have to have the answer for everyone, everytime, everywhere. Take time for YOU. 

IMG_5201

Thailand days 1,2 &3 …human trafficking

Day 1 So!! I am in Bangkok and it has been an amazing trip from the start!! So many breakthroughs …. Today we focused on local people during the day and went around praying over people and we saw blind people healed in order to see and people with chronic pain healed and people who couldn’t walk, walk. People were healed and it was powerful! Some people on our team even began to speak in Thai when they were praying over people and the Thai people understood and fell to their knees in tears… It has been a miraculous trip!!! I cast a demon out of a woman who was twitching and pouring sweat and heavily afflicted and walked up to me asking for me to pray for her… And in the name of Jesus I cast it out and it latched on to my arm and my arm was moving uncontrollably and it was intense pain. Others from the trip laid hands on me and got rid of it. It sounds unbelievable … But it was intense and it was like nothing I have ever experienced before.  
People did not understand what we said half the time but they knew we came to bring love. So many lives were touched and this was only our day ministry on the first day. We are now cautious and aware of the battle we are fighting here. 
The spiritual battle is intense here! The sex industry is big and it is furious! We walked the red light district at night tonight and saw the grounds we are going to do ministry in tomorrow. There are so many broken sad faces. The children are everywhere and they are right in the heart of it. The people are selling their children!!!! We are going to be trained tomorrow during the day by those who have been here laying the groundwork for us, and then going out with our teams and translators tomorrow. I am with a strong group who has been awesome and I have learned so much already and my heart is breaking and changing. I am experiencing things that I thought were only on TV. There is going to be restoration… Justice… Freedom and revival … I can barely put into words what I have experienced… It is supernatural … Unfamiliar and intense … But it is real and it is a battlefield. 
Crazy thing that happened … When we got to our hotel the group leader told us to pray over our rooms since we are in a hotel in the middle of the red light district where so much evil goes on.. I was tired and said meh.”. We are fine.. I got this” then I got into the shower and I looked down and the tub was filled with blood and I realized my nose was bleeding uncontrollably. I saw visions of death and pain and things that have happened in this room. It would not stop bleeding for 5 minutes and then finally I began to pray and I prayed over the room and when I said that there will be no more blood shed in this room and that the blood of Jesus is powerful and covers me, my nose stopped bleeding instantly. Bizarre!!!! And when I left my room a girl on my team said, ” so I feel like we need to go out prepared and claim the blood of Jesus because that is the only power we have!” I told her what happened to me minutes before and it was amazing! 
Then when I went into my room the closet had handprints and marks on the smoky glass door that were multiplying from the inside. ( sounds crazy ) I was freaked out but then I asked God to show me why this was happening and if it was a spirit or a sign… And I saw children and faces in the glass. And I opened the door and my roomate walked over and said ” what just happened, because I just saw a little boy skipping out of the closet like he was just freed” God told me that he wanted me to open the doors that nobody is willing to open out of fear because if I don’t, then who will.  

Random things people prophesied to me today: 
A girl who didn’t know me and didn’t know about my brother committing suicide last week came up to me and said ” God wanted me to tell you that it’s not your fault and you need to stop blaming yourself and put your focus back on the mission he has you on” I told her that was crazy that she said that because I have been struggling with self blame with my brother’s death. 
Another guy came up to me who didn’t know me.. Said that God gave him a vision that I had been working on a farm and God is preparing me to protect people at this farm .. I told him I’ve been working on Kendelton Farms in Houston, Texas and I have been houng there on safe house for women and children survivors of human trafficking. He was amazed.. As was I …
Then another girl came up to me and said that God told her that I have been struggling with a rough past and a lack of family but that He will bring people into my life to become a new family and He has me where I am for a purpose. 
Then Daniel (a pastor preaching at the church in Bangkok we visited) pointed to me in the middle of the service and said he had a vision and declared it before the church about how he saw me standing in the middle of the street and having headlights come straight at me and I was just staring into the headlights… And then the car didn’t hit me and I survived and that God is doing some deer in the headlights moments in my life recently (which He clearly has) and that I am going to survive even though it looks like I’m about to be hit. 
SO needless to say … This has been a powerful trip and it’s only day one. These are just a few things on my heart that I can remember from today… I started off being freaked out and now I just realize that I am protected and purposed.
~~~~~~~~~~~<<<
Day 2 

This is the second day and the miracles have not stopped. From the moment we walked up and saw rain in the forecast and gray skies above us, we knew God was going to do great things. We left the hotel and walked to a local human trafficking rescue chapel. As soon as we all took off our shoes outside of the door and went inside the rain began to pour down. Service itself was awesome. God did amazing things. When we left, we went outside in the rain stopped. The ground was wet and our shoes were dry. We walked back to the hotel and when we got inside the rain poured down again. The forecast said that it was supposed to rain every day, and we have not gotten wet yet. 
While we were in the church our leader told us to go over to the women and start praying for them. We don’t speak the language so we don’t know what they need prayer for. But we believe that when we pray in the Holy Spirit that their spirit will understand our prayers regardless of the language. The women that came up to me I was given visions of different things to pray for them for. As I would pray over one girl for forgiveness of her abortion she finally let go and began to weep even though she didn’t understand my words. The next girl I prayed that God would give her the husband and children she has been desiring. She began to weep and nodded her head yes. Over all of them I prayed that they will feel security and the love that they were never given will be given to them in new ways. and I told them that their families would be taken care of back home, even though they felt that they were abandoning their families by not sending money from prostitution back home to support them. I prayed these things not knowing anything about them. Later the leader who works in Thailand told us that these women have the biggest need for security, love and that their families will be taken care of back in the villages. God told me what to pray for before I even knew. 
Early in the morning, when we were preaching before a group of these trafficked women, our leader that spoke the message was sharing a message of love. The whole time that she was speaking I was amazed at how she was glowing. I saw her shirt and how late it was and it seemed like the white was glowing. I even thought to myself, “I could never get away with wearing white without spilling something on it.” Her message was powerful and pure and brought many of the women to tears. After the service we went to lunch, she sat across from me at the table. I looked at her and she looked different and when I looked at her shirt it was a camouflage dark shirt. I told her that I could have sworn she was wearing white. I told her that she glowed and that her clothing turned white as she was speaking. That message spoke to me that even when we try to camouflage ourselves God will show forth his might.
The whole day the theme that people kept talking about was a spirit of adoption. There are so many young girls who have been taken from their families and feel alone. We told them that they had been adopted into a new family. And that Jesus was their father and they are loved. I resonated with that message since I was adopted and felt alone and I was able to reach women in different ways because of a deeper emotional understanding. 
Different people from the team came up to me and prophesied to me and told me of visions they saw for me… 3 people came to me at different times who didn’t know me or each other and they all spoke the same words and had the same vision. It was eye opening and confirmed Gods power to me. Again, this is something that’s hard to explain if you did not experience it yourself. But it’s real. 3 people told me that they had a vision of an onion and that the layers needed to be peeled back and that there were tears inside that wanted to come out but the process of us peeling had not been done yet. They said I needed to do that in order to cry. They said that I spend so much time helping others that I never give myself time to he. Then a friend back in Michigan messaged me and said he just woke up from a dream where he was holding two onions in his hands and he asked me if I was ready to peel them yet? When he shared that with me I was overwhelmed. 
There was a girl in church I prayed for in the morning and I laid my hand on her stomach and prayed over her baby without even knowing she was pregnant and without speaking my language she began to cry. Later I saw her making jewelry and she put down the jewelry and came to me and just hugged me and wept. 
Later, there was a girl on my team who I didn’t know that came to talk to me and started telling me about her vision for Detroit and a human trafficking ministry….her visions lined up with mine and she talked about a year that God was preparing her for and I shared my heart with her and we both saw the same vision. I told him about how I’m praying that God would bring somebody with that vision to Detroit for this year because I was going to be spending a year dedicated to Houston to prepare myself to better Detroit. She was that girl. This girl also has a desire to be a nurse and to be a sexual assault nurse examiner. She shared that with me and I told her that that is what I specialize in. That was a divine appointment. Before she knew who I was, she added me on Facebook because she felt like she wanted to connect with me. My Facebook was private and she didn’t know what my specialty was but for some reason she felt she wanted to connect with me. I told her that I had been reading the chapter in the bible, Isaiah 61 and that I felt she needed to read it to. She said that she has been meditating on that same passage for weeks. 

ONE OF THE BIGGEST MOMENTS OF AWE- we were walking from the red light district back to the hotel. While walking there was a man walking beside us. He was wearing an Australian shirt. Our group was in a hurry to get back to the hotel because we were late. But I thought that I was supposed to talk to this man. I asked him if he was from Australia. He told me that he was from Sweden. He said that he was here for word and to do some diving. We did not get to talk for long because our group had to turn at the next street. I shook his hand and walked away. In that moment, I’ve prayed that God would bring somebody into his life that day to pray for him. I feel that I was supposed to pray over him but I did not have time. So I asked God to be bigger than the time constraint and to send somebody to pray for him. Later that afternoon, Ryan one of the men on my team came up to me and said that he wanted to hear more of my story. He said that he was intrigued by the power I carry and wanted my insight. He said that he saw me talking to this man and wanted to know more. I told him about my burden for the hearts of the men that buy the women for sex, I told him about my heart for the traffickers. About how I feel that they are filling a void and that they have an addiction and they are struggling too. He commended me for stopping to talk to that man. Later that evening we went out on a night mission on the streets. When we got back from the red light district we shared stories about what happened. Ryan stood up and told us about man he stopped in the street in the red light district. He said that he got the chance to pray over a guy that he walked up to because he was wearing an Australian shirt and asked him , ” are you from Australia.” Then the guy told him that he was here from Sweden and was doing diving and his name was Stefan…….. He got to pray over the man and he told us about it. It was amazing that God used him to reach the guy that I saw earlier that day, especially in a city as big as Bangkok!!!! That right there is divine intervention.
When we went out in the red light district and went into one of the strip clubs it was eye-opening. The strip clubs that I minister in, in Detroit are much different. Here in Thailand the girls are sent in from the villages to work in the strip clubs. They send the money back to the family and is considered honorable. When we walked into ours we looked at all the girls on the stage that have numbers on them. You are supposed to choose a number for the girl and they bring her to your table. They get paid based on services and the amount of drinks you buy them. As the woman danced, I prayed for the Lord to open my eyes to which girl he wanted me to bring to the table to pray with and show love to. I asked him to show me the child in the room. There was a girl on the other side of the dance floor that was facing away from me. It was almost as though God shined a light on her. And I decided that I wanted to choose her. When she turned around and looked towards our table I could see that she was only a child. The mamason (lady pimp) brought me to her and I led her back to my table. She spoke very broken English. She was about 11 or 12 years old. She said that it was her first day. She was very timid and scared. She had blisters on her feet from it being the first time she wore high heels. The shoes were much too big for her tiny feet. She was barely wearing any clothing. When I ordered her drinks, I told her that I was not going to buy her alcohol and that she was safe to sit and drink with me. And I sat there with her and just hugged her and told her how precious she was and that God was going to take care of her and make a way for her to be free. She said that she loved singing and that she wanted to go to school and finish someday to be a singer. My heart broke for her. And it reminded me of my purpose. It reminded me of why I do what I do. To go in, rescue, and love these girls who are being forced into sex slavery. There were Buddhist shrine’s everywhere in the place. They believe that this is honorable to their god. That sacrificing their daughters for sex is an honor to their gods because they are providing for their family. This is the perfect opportunity for me to tell them about Jesus and that they can choose a God who loves them regardless of where they have been or what they’re about to go through until they find freedom. And that they are already forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. That they have hope for healing and redemption. And that they still have worth. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Day 3 forgive any grammar errors. I’m exhausted!! 😊 

Many people think that women in prostitution have a choice and they do it because they want to… Well… That’s a lie….

On day two we went to the local ministry here where they give the women who have been rescued from human trafficking jobs making shirts and jewelry and the sales fund their rescue program and give them a salary and a way to make money outside of prostitution. I bought one of the shirts that said “light up the darkness”. Today at the church I was sitting in the back and in the church was all of the rescued women who have been taken in for shelter and restoration. I felt led to go up to the front pew and lay my hands on a girl and pray over her. The act of going to the front of the church made me very uncomfortable but I began to pray over her in English and she only spoke Thai. As I was praying over her she began to laugh uncontrollably. I was praying in English that the childhood that she was robbed of would be given back to her and that she would have the joy and laughter of a child. Her laughter would not stop and it was contagious. People around her began to feel that same joy and began to laugh uncontrollably. It was beautiful. She looked at me with tears in her eyes after I finished praying.. And In broken English she pointed at my shirt and said, “that’s shirt is that I made”. I knew in that moment that God called me from the back of the room to the front to pray over her for a purpose. 

During breakfast in our hotel lobby our pastor stood up and started telling us what we were going to do for the rest of the day … There were other people in the restaurant eating and my eyes were turned over to a man sitting on the left side of the room and I started praying for him and sensing anger in him. He was facing away from our group and was on the other side of the room but I saw spirits of darkness and anger around him. Once our pastor started praying for our team at our table, when he said “Jesus” the man across the room turned around and waved has hands around and yelled out in anger, ” shut up, just shut up, shut up” the waiter came to him to calm him down and I prayed that God would calm the man and remove the spirits of anger surrounding him. The man immediately stood up and walked out of the restaurant. It was intense! The name of Jesus is powerful. There is so much going on in the spiritual realm that we do not see. And this confirmed that for me once again. 
In a village that our team went up to a miracle happened where a lady had a giant cobra come towards her and when it raised up to attack her, she said, ” If this Jesus that my sister believes in is really the one true God then leave form me and let me live. The cobra dropped down and went away. This was so symbolic. The fact that it balled is amazing in itself but I’m not completely shocked because God is so powerful…. But it’s symbolic as well because in the bible it talks about how satan was a serpent. The things that are happening here in Thailand are beyond belief and I am being stretched so much in my faith!!!
As we left to head to a new place in Thailand, we went to the airport to catch a local flight. I asked God to show me the men in the room that I needed to pray for and I asked him to point out the men who were about to fly to the villages and buy the girls and bring them back to work in prostitution. As I looked around the room I saw cleat the men who were getting ready to do so. I saw it in a supernatural way that was hard to explain. Usually when I go undercover to collect intel it’s all about using my skills to collect information. This was the first time that I actually asked God to point them out to me. I am learning!! 
Then when we went to the food courts I was shown a man that God wanted me to talk to. I walked towards his direction and before I could even say anything to him he said, “you are so happy and it’s like you are glowing, why are you so happy?” And I said, ” thank you I am very happy! I’m in Thailand and I have been able to share the love of Jesus with so many people and I have watched healings and miracles for the first time … So even though I am exhausted, I am so happy” I sat down at the table that he was eating at and asked him if he was happy and he to me that he was right now. When I asked if he was happy with his career he said no, it is very stressful and tense and that he has to leave and go on vacations to get away from the stress of it all. I asked him what he did and he said that he runs the night clubs in London. I told him that was very ironic because I was in London last year and was at the main club that he runs an I met somebody that I gave my business card to that read my books and sent me an email that when I came in he saw light and happiness that he has never felt and that even though I am back in America he will never forget how I made him feel. SMALL WORLD!!!! Without being too specific in order to protect myself in case he was a head trafficker, I simply told him that my mission is to be in nightclubs in order to be a light in a dark place and to show the love of Jesus in the dark places where many go to fill voids and end up feeling even worse after making bad decisions because they were looking in the wrong places. He told me that he appreciated me coming and doing that and that it is a heavy place and he feels so much tension and darkness while he is there but he has to be there to run it because he makes so much money and that he travels as much as he can to get away from the noise. I told him I had to get to my plane but that God pointed him out to me to walk up to in this huge food court for a purpose and that I would be praying for him. He said, ” please, please do and pray a lot especially early in the mornings” that moment was such a reassurance of how God prepares divine appointments far in advance and uses things in ways we will never fully understand.

IMG_5172-0

Miracles in Thailand… Now I’m a believer!! 

Some intense radical things have been happening in Thailand!!!!  

Day 5

  
 A nurse from the hospital came to our healing seminar and asked if some of the group would go to the hospital and pray for one of her patients. The little boy was in a motorcycle accident and was in a coma for 10 days. When our team arrived to the hospital the boys resting heat rate was 80 and his skin was cold. After praying for an hour, we started praying louder it went up to 250 and his whole body started shaking and then his heart rate dropped back down to 80 then all of a sudden he started moving his hand and his whole body got hot he opened his eyes and shut them and lifted his hand on the air. It got really intense and his mom was so excited and crying and then the hospital staff came in and said that our team had to leave the hospital!!! It was amazing!

I learned that in Thailand, the darker the skin— means that you are a field worker and are thought of as less important in the community. To prevent the Thai skin from being darker they wrap themselves in cloth and put sunglasses on and sometimes they look like they are wearing a bedsheet and sunglasses over their eyes. It’s kinda funny but I understand. 
To emphasize how real and strong this spiritual battle is… 
I had a vision during the night of something walking to the elevator and going to her room and taking the voice away from my group leader and suppressing her and quenching her spirit. And that I saw a battle of light and darkness above her. When I told my leader she said, ” that’s pretty interesting because I was attacked last night. I was in bed and I heard my hotel room door open and close. Then, something I couldn’t see, was choking me and I couldn’t speak or breathe. I couldn’t even speak to cast out the demon. Then they physically flipped me over and had my head in the pillow. The other leader from the other room came in and cast out the demon. When she did we saw a tall shadow in the room. I said,depart from me in the name of Jesus. And it left the room and my hotel room door open and shut.” This was real!! This actually happened!! The vision I had was at the same time that she said it happened to her during the night. 
More healing….
In the village There was a lady who had hip pain that didn’t allow her to walk. When we prayed over her she felt a pop and a click in her hip and then suddenly she was able to walk.
One girl in our group heard a voice telling her that somebody in the room was a dancer and has been injured and unable to dance. A woman in the room and said, ” yes that is me” we prayed over her and then she was able to stand and walk and she started dancing. It was beautiful!!!!
There was a woman paralyzed from the waist down. She had cold legs and feet she said as we were praying she felt heat and then her legs felt warm and then she got up out of the wheelchair and walked!!! Yes, that actually happened!!!

  
This woman in the village was paralyzed and lying on her front porch. She had a necklace of Buddha around her neck and she pointed to the areas on her neck where she had pain and it was directly under the gold buddha necklace. We got to tell her about Jesus and that he was the one true God that was able to heal her and allow her to rise. When we started praying she yelled that she felt heat everywhere and she was able to finally sit-up
On the way to the village the leader of my group said, “Rachel I want you to preach the message to the people in the village today”. I was unprepared but I just asked God to give me the words to speak… I can’t even tell you what I said, but I was told that it was awesome 🙂  

   I learned that in Thailand, the darker the skin— means that you are a field worker and are thought of as less important in the community. To prevent the Thai skin from being darker they wrap themselves in cloth and put sunglasses on and sometimes they look like they are wearing a bedsheet and sunglasses over their eyes. It’s kinda funny but I understand. 

In the village, there was a lady in a wheel chair. She said she went paralyzed on her left side 10 years ago and has had pain in her shoulder and no feeling on the rest of her side. We prayed for healing over her. As we prayed she said she felt the pain go away after I rotated and popped her shoulder back in place. She said she finally felt lighter and finally felt release. We were praying for function to be resolved because we thought that’s what she wanted but all she needed was her shoulder to be popped back into place. God healed her because we were obedient and went and prayed but the way He wanted to heal her was different than what we wanted and that was a learning experience. 

The lady with no hearing in the left ear came and asked for healing. We laid our hands over her ear and I prayed that Jesus would stand behind her and put his hands over her ears to heal them. I was praying in English without a translator. When I found a translator to find out if she could hear she said ” my hearing is back, and Jesus was standing behind me and He put His hands on my ears and He healed me!” I was so amazed because that’s exactly what I prayed for! 

There was a lady who was deaf and couldn’t talk and we prayed for her voice to come back and during prayer she was suddenly able to speak. Everybody around her were screaming when they realized she was able to speak!!

On the way to the village the leader of my group said, “Rachel I want you to preach the message to the people in the village today”. I was unprepared but I just asked God to give me the words to speak… I can’t even tell you what I said, but I was told that it was awesome 🙂 While I was in front of the Village speaking, three drunk men that were sitting in the front were laughing uncontrollably during my preaching. They were yelling and being belligerent. I bound the evil spirits in the name of Jesus and commanded them to be silent. They stopped talking and started listening. While looking at them their eyes were empty. At the end of the service when we called people fourth to be healed, we asked one of them, “why do you drink?” He said, “I drink so that I get so dizzy that I don’t have to think”. We asked what we could pray for him for, and he said that he had pain that starts in his back and shoots down his legs. So we laid hands on him and prayed for the pain and thoughts that are making him confused and angry to go away. His legs shook, and he said my pain is gone. He said, Jesus just healed me”. It was powerful!!! He then got in front of the church and told his story. The people in the village who knew him we’re so shocked to see his transformation and that their faith grew.

A lady with fingers in a fist who couldn’t move them was able to stretch out her hands again and she was able to lift her arms above her shoulders. 

A man who had pain radiating from his back to his leg that caused numbness and was unable to walk without a limp was able to walk. 

A woman with cancer and a stomach filled with fluid came for prayer. When I laid my hands on her I had a vision of gold. And I felt I needed to pray over her to let go of that. I asked her to open her hand and when she did, she was holding in her clenched hand a medication of gold oils, then I told her God wanted to heal her and that He would be her new treasure that was greater than Gold and riches on this earth. Then I told her that she needed to release the tears she was holding in and that God will release the fluid in her belly that has built up from the progression of liver cancer and she began to pour out tears and her nose began to run with fluid. Her belly that was once full was starting soften. Her eyes that were yellow with jaundice began to turn white. Her skin regained color. She said that she finally felt relief of pressure in her belly and that she finally had peace. 

A woman who had back pain 10/10 for years was able to stand and walk with no pain. 
There was a blind woman she had a headache and HIV. She said that one day she got this extreme headache and her whole body started shaking and then her vision just completely went away. As we were praying she said that the headache was removed. She said she felt better and lighter. Then she said she can now see light shining through the darkness. She said, “I see the light now and my vision isn’t completely back,but my vision will come in the morning. She said that at 1 am every morning she could see a light in the darkness and that she no new it was Jesus

There was a lump behind this one woman’s knee and the lump diminished after praying 
Four sets of deaf ears opened and they could hear!!
One lady we put our hands over her hears and after we prayed the first time she said she could hear more… We told her we we’re going to pray again. When we prayed the second time we saw a vision of Jesus standing behind her holding her ears as soon as we were done she heard everything as she used to and was complete healed. 
One lady we prayed for came back and said that her pain moved to her knee and asked us to pray again and in her belief she was healed 
In the northern village, before we came a woman had come into one of the Christian church prayer meetings and because her husband was there worshipping God and not Buddha, she came into the door and had a rope in one hand and a knife in the other. She was very angry and told him to choose which he was going to die by because he was believing in Jesus. The lady was removed from the place. This last week she saw the signs advertising that a group from America is coming to have a miracle day at church, so today when our group showed up in this village church, the woman came back through the door and charged at him with a knife. Our team started praying against the demons of anger in her and to bind the spirits driving her to do this. The woman broke down, broke into tears and fell down and she handed up the knife and she asked for prayer for forgiveness and accepted Jesus as her God. 
I have felt a theme in healing… First they feel heat and then they get healed!! It’s happened in most cases!!!
Prophecy
Today our leader was teaching the local pastors in the churches here in Thailand about the gift of healing. He was communicating to them about what the Bible talks about regarding gifts of the Spirit. during the message I was so hesitant, even though I’ve seen so many miracles so far, this was so radical from what I’ve been taught my whole life. During lunch break, I started to tell one of the translators how I was feeling about this . Then from inside the church, walked out a woman who is from thailand and works here came to me and she said that she was looking over at our missions group and God told her to look at me and wanted her to come to me during the break and that when she saw me God told her that I was hesitant and to let me know that he sees me and that He is pleased…. Both the girl that I had just talked to as well as myself were both amazed at the words of knowledge this woman received from God. Yet again, my faith was strengthened.

I have also learned that sometimes healing means finally having peace in their situation … We think the healing is always physical but sometimes the healing needs to happen within.

death

Murder/Suicide: Fate of our friend in Chicago

How do we process this?

 

In light of the recent tragedy, in the death of one of our fellow Couchsurfing hosts, (name protected) I thought I should shed some light on the background of the situation. Many are in shock over this incident and reasonably so. To see the Headline “2 dead in a Murder/suicide on Chicago’s north side” would not phase most. However, when you continue to read and you find that it was a friend, the element of shock settles in.

After staying at his place last year, I gave him a copy of my autobiography. After reading my story, He opened up to me about his background and I began to mentor him, as part of what I do. With the background He gave me, I can’t really say that I am shocked that he committed suicide, however the murder part was more of a surprise to me, although, with suicide comes desperation. I do remember one conversation  when we talked about our suicidal attempts in the past, he said that if he ever killed himself he would want to take all of his enemies along with him if was going to kill himself anyways. I understood the line of thinking, even though it wasn’t rational to most. This was over a year ago.

He was an interesting character to say the least. If you ask many who knew him, you would get many different opinions. Like everyone else, he had a story in life. His childhood was not the greatest. He went through much suffering as a child and young adult that most would never understand. He faced setbacks and challenges put before him the best that he could. He did what most of us who have been through tough times did, he survived. As an adult, after several life changes, and life decisions that brought him to where he was in Chicago, He came to a crossroads in hos life. He decided that his life was going nowhere and that his alcoholism was gong to get the best of him eventually. He had most of his “community” in online forums and blogs, where people understood him. He came across couchsurfing.org and that began the new chapter in his life.

He opened up his home to men and women from all over the world to stay for days and sometimes weeks at a time. The culture of Couchsurfing is that of helping each other out and experiencing new places and learning about new people. Each person who is a Couchsurfer has a different reason for why they are a part of that community. For him it was a unique reason. He had come to the place in his life where he needed a reason to wake up in the morning, and hosting Couchsurfer’s did just that. It gave him a purpose in life.

He began hosting multiple people at a time. People from all over the world wanted to come visit Chicago so he was busy EVERYDAY! When he had guests stay, it gave him a reason to keep his house “clean” and it gave him a reason to make food- most importantly it forced him to stop drinking everyday- which was one of his greatest struggles. To host surfers was a form of accountability on his journey to freeing himself from alcoholism. His great depression that he faced was easily forgotten about as he had joyful, new faces in and out of his home all the time. With each new person brought new stories to Michael’s world. He began to hear about journeys that others took and he began to gain perspective.

It can be argued whether this was a healthy coping mechanism or not. Couchsurfing was to Him as drugs are to addicts. It was an addiction. His “power hosting” became a race and a point of contention in many threads. He would take pictures of his guests and post them in groups to share with people how many people he hosted each night and what his new tally of Couchsurfer’s was. He began to cling too tightly to the numbers aspect of it and lost focus of what the intent of Couchsurfing really was. This made many avid Couchsurfers upset and uncomfortable and confused many who were new to the community. He began to have unrealistic expectations of guests and would be territorial when they would come and go. He was opening his home to people and yet they would leave during the days to go explore the city of Chicago and come home late at night to sleep and then be off to a new city the next day. To him this felt like abandonment. He then began to feel as though he was being used. This brought back many negative feelings from his childhood and he started thinking irrationally. He started drinking again and would get angry. He stopped hosting for a short period and even ran into some trouble with the Couchsurfing system where his profile got deleted.

There was a case where this was due to two homeless people that he let stay with him for a short period that refused to leave. The cops were back and forth to the home and it was very hostile. He felt like a prisoner in his own home. Once they left he drank heavily again and his past continued to haunt him. After many of us wrote to the Couchsurfing board, he eventually got back onto the Couchsurfing site and began to host. His thinking had already become irrational.

Through a separate online site he met somebody that was willing to move in to his spare room to help him with rent and also let Couchsurfer’s come and stay in the common rooms. This new roommate was a very hostile situation as well. When it got out of hand and He wanted him to leave, the man refused to go. He then became desperate. After cops coming back and forth to the home, and then resuming his drinking habits, He finally broke.

He had reached out to a few people and made mention of suicide and about “getting rid of this man and then himself” but the comments were easily overlooked, because who would expect that from him?! He reached out to his “ friends” on forums and messaged previous Couchsurfer’s, but everybody has their own lives and futures. The people who he considered his new “family” as he worded it, were now too busy for him and had forgotten to write back. It brought him back to a negative place in his childhood where he was neglected and abandoned and in many ways abused. This solution to his problems had now become another “attacking force on his persona”.

He had posted quotes about the imminence of death on Facebook and posted pictures of the grim reaper and graves to his public pages. It was easy to look past. Not many actually understood what was going on inside his mind. He was desperate and looking for help but he looked to all the wrong places. He refused to turn to God or have faith in anything because he wanted to figure it out on his own and not have a “higher power” decide his fate. So he chose his own fate.

That fateful day in June, He and his roommate had a disagreement and he had clearly pre-planned in his mind how he was going to handle it the next time around. I talked to him the day of and he was at a peace about things. The happiest he had been—in his mind, the suffering was finally going to end. Later that day, when he requested for me to call him, I, as many other was too busy to get back to him, and this was only hours before the incident. Who can say what it was he wanted to talk about, I doubt he could have been talked out of it maybe he just wanted to say goodbye, or maybe he wanted me to hear it. I will never know but I will remember the desperation and the hurt that he always talked about and I will always wished he had looked upwards instead of down, but he had no hope and he would not allow himself to look elsewhere for help.

With mental illness there is no rationale in these “psychotic breaks”. Was what the roommate did, worth losing his life over, I am not the judge of that, nor can I say that anybody ever deserves to be murdered- but what’s done is done, and many will continue to wonder, “why?” and we will always say, “what if?”.

What I will say is that you should not blame yourself if you were one of the people whom he reached out to that day or even the week prior. Everybody has their own schedules and lives to live and as much as we try we can not help everyone. As a mentor, and life coach, it is hard for me to accept when I lose one of the people I was trying to help, but it comes back to the fact that you cant help somebody to change if they do not want to change. Change comes from within.

It has been confirmed that he shot his roommate and then he shot his dog, (She did not die instantly, as of 3-4-15, she is at a local clinic and they said that she should survive but will need therapy) following these two gunshots, the final one was to his own head. The autopsy report proved that it was his own hand that shot himself based on the forensic ballistics aspect of the gunpowder and size of the exit and entrance wound on each subject. His ETOH level was extremely high. He had drank heavily prior to this all taking place. Does that justify it, NO! However, it was a factor and alcohol makes people irrational. When you have a mental illness alcohol intensifies the neurological patterns of psychosis. This was a sad day in the heart of Chicago and many are mourning his death while others are sitting back to say, “I told you so”. Regardless, It has happened and his pain was valid and his story affects others.

Maybe this will be a motivation and reminder to you to pay attention to red flags when people are crying for help. Never ignore the small comments about guns and suicide, rarely are they minor comments. Every word spoken has a purpose. Please take mental illness seriously and remember that we all have a purpose in life and our stories all connect somehow. Don’t get caught up in the busy-ness of life where we get task oriented and we forget about the people we meet along the journey. Everybody that you meet is for a purpose. Try to figure out what each one means. Don’t waste your life…it really is short.death

A Lesson In Humility.

While driving to church in downtown Detroit, I was already running late. I had been up late the night before so I was really tired and need a coffee. I passed the Starbucks, I passed Tim Horton’s, and I knew there was coffee at church. Although I was running late, I really wanted a spiced mocha from Great Lakes coffee on Woodward in Detroit. As I went out of my way and through construction traffic to get there, I had this feeling of being too much of a coffee elitist this morning. I kept telling myself, “why are you going out of your way to be late to church just to get a fancy coffee?” I justified in saying that it’s been a while since I’ve been to this coffee shop and I really wanted one. Although coffee is offered at church and I would’ve been perfectly fine with that I stuck with my guns and I went to get this latte. I passed many homeless people who were happy to just get any hot beverage this 25 degree morning. The thought of spending six dollars on this 8oz latte with such poverty around me didn’t phase me today, because I kept thinking, I buy dinner for homeless people all the time and I always give back -so today I’m gonna take care of me……..

When I got to church I walked in late and I sat in the back. I set my fancy latte down on the ledge in front of my chair. I took off my coat and I was excited to finally sit and drink my latte!! … Before I could go reach for it, three girls that walked in behind me walked past to find a seat and as they walked past one of the girls purses knocked over by a drink without even realizing it. It spilled all over the floor in front of the seats. I was dumbfounded. Part of me said, “did this really happen?” My friend sitting next to me busted out laughing. That’s all I could do at this point.. We just laughed. When I went to stand up to clean it up and go get napkins she put her hand on my leg and said “I got this.” Mind you, she is in a walking boot with a cast and is supposed to be staying off her feet. But she stepped over the railing went out to get napkins. She came back to the auditorium and cleaned it up so that I didn’t have to. That was quite the lesson for me in many ways. That servant style leadership shown is something to be admired. I took a few things from that today: 1- if your conscience is making you feel a certain way, listen to it because what’s going to happen is going to happen and we don’t always understand why. 2-The perspective of the girl who knocked over my coffee and had no idea, we don’t understand how little things in our life affects those around us. We go on about our day not knowing who we even affected negative or positive. It’s crucial to remember in life with everything you do. 3-there is no use crying over spilled milk, or coffee.