Pray For Syria

Omran is a 5-year-old young boy who was pulled from the rubble of a building that collapsed as a result of an airstrike on the city of Aleppo, Syria. The medical aid workers pulled him out of the rubble and set him in the chair. They left him there and went back looking for more people amongst the rubble. He is covered in layers of dust, ash, dirt, and encrusted blood. He sits motionless in a chair with a look of shock and pure sorrow. His picture has become the face of all Syrians affected by the war. He doesn’t know it but he is taking the internet by storm.

Omran

When I saw this picture my heart sunk. All I could think about was why this precious little boy had to go through this? What could I do to help? How many more children are fortunate enough to still be living but are living in these conditions?

If I were to have seen this picture a couple of months ago I most likely would have been overtaken by the same feelings and would want to know what I could do. I would have researched and thought about ways I could physically help children like Omran. I would have searched for agencies and organizations that are on the ground in Syria and would have tried to figure out how to help them.

When I saw this picture I did have those thoughts. I thought about how I wanted to help this little boy and others like him. I thought about wanted to go over and give this little boy the biggest hug and tell him I loved him and that I was here to help. But then I realized that I can’t exactly hop on a plane and go to Syria. But there is something I can do. Something you can do. PRAY!

I know. I know. That sounds like one of the most cliché things you could say but God been teaching me a lot about the amazing, gloriously wonderful power of prayer. I’ve learned how prayer can and will literally move mountains. All you have to do is ask.

Can you imagine what would happen if we all prayed for Syria as a country? If we prayed for peace. If we prayed for kids like Omran. Can you imagine the amazing revival that would take place and how God would be glorified??

What would happen if we prayed so earnestly and unwaveringly like the church in Acts 12:5?

What would happen if we really truly expected that God would answer our prayers like Rhoda was Acts 12:13?

What would happen if we as a global church committed to praying for those affected in Syria and the surrounding countries once a day for 5 seconds? For 5 minutes. For 5 hours. For 5 hours. For the rest of our lives.

More importantly what would happen if YOU chose to pray.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. (The Message)

God calls us to pray for everyone we know in every way we know how. This is not just a good suggestion God gave us in a book written hundreds of years ago. This is a commandment in His word that is still relevent today. He commands us to pray for everyone we know. For all the nations and people of the world. In every way we know how to.

I saw first hand this summer how lives can change when we are truly pouring our heart out to God about something. Will you please join me in praying for the country of Syria. Below is a list of some specific prayers for the country of Syria according to Operation World.

  1. Pray for Syria’s influential role upon the Middle East. Peace in that area will not be achieved unless Syria is involved.
  2. Pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Syria. Pray for safety but also for boldness to listen to what God is leading them to do share His love with those around them.
  3. Pray for the unreached people in Syria. Pray that God’s love will be able to reach them soon and that bridges between Islam and Christianity can be made and God’s overwhelming power will overtake them.
  4. Pray for ISIS. Pray that the leaders of ISIS will be exposed to God’s love and that because of that they will begin to turn their lives over to God and that they will then grow up and turn the country of Syria back to God.

These all seem like big, daunting prayers and some of you may be thinking that those are just dreams of the future but will probably not really ever happen. But I do truly believe that if we take these prayers before God’s feet and that we expect the prayers to be answered they will.

On Sunday my pastor at Prescott Cornerstone, Scott Savage, challenged the congregation with something he is calling the #DesperatePeopleChallenge. The #DesperatePeopleChallenge is a challenge for everyone to pray at 12:15pm everyday from August 14 until September 3. I would like to challenge you all to join us in this. I am so excited to see what God does during these 28 days (23 days now).

God can and will do big things in Syria. The only question left is do you want to be a part of it?

Bibliography: Mandryk, Jason, and Jason M. Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation. United States: Inter-Varsity Press,US, 2010. Print. In-line Citation: (Mandryk and M)

 

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He Is Writing My Story

The summer after my seventh grade year was when it all started. I had recommitted my life to Jesus and was totally on fire for Him! About a year after that I was back at the same camp in Glorietta, New Mexico hanging out with friends and so immersed in Jesus’ love. Little did I know God was going to wreck my heart and shatter it to a million pieces.

The missions focus for that summer was in Canada and in Africa. We would spend the nights after worship praying for a specific missionary in either one of those places. One night there was a video for a missionary organization in Johannesburg, South Africa called the Door Of Hope. The Door Of Hope is a babies home that cares and loves for abandoned babies around Johannesburg and on top of that they have a “drop box” that is a place for mothers to place their children if they don’t have the capabilities to care for them. (If you would like to learn more about Door Of Hope click here) Well, after watching this video and crying my eyes out I knew God was calling me into missions in Africa. I didn’t know what country or when but I knew I would go to Africa at some point.

A yearish later I was kind of at the point where I wasn’t sure I still believed God was calling me to Africa. God knew that so He sent a friend to give me the book Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis. God yet again broke my heart into a million pieces for Africa. Katie went over to Uganda during her Christmas break of her senior year and fell in love with the people and the country and knew she had to go back. She convinced her parents to let her go back for a year after she graduated but only under one condition, that she come back and go to college. She agreed and went over and yet again fell in love with the country and saw such a huge need in Uganda. Over the years she has adopted 13 daughters, started a sponsorship program, a feeding program, a primary school, and is in the process of building their secondary school. After reading this book I knew for sure that I was going to Africa!!

Again it was about a year after that that God placed the opportunity to go to Kitwe, Zambia with my church for two weeks. If any of you have been following my journey since then you know that I fell completely head over heals in love for the country of Zambia and the people in Zambia. I knew that I would go back but little did I know that I would be spending my whole summer there the following summer. I fell even more in love with Africa and Zambia and most of all Jesus. I love every aspect of missions the good , the bad, and the ugly and knew that I would go back.

And that brings me to where I am now. I am staying in Johannesburg thinking about the Door Of Hope and how God used that organization to put a fire and gave me a passion for missions and that has not stopped since.  I am so excited to get on a plane tomorrow morning and head to ZAMBIA!!!! I am so in love with how God works and how little things like a short video can impact my life in such a HUGE way like it did 5 years ago. I hope that 5 years from now I can see how God was working in my heart during this trip for where I will be then!!

Prayer Requests and Praises-

  • Praise! As far as I know all of the teams have made it to there destinations safe and sound! Yay Jesus!! haha
  • Pray for safe travels as Jenna, Stu and I hop of a plane to take us to Ndola, Zambia and have someone pick us up from there and drive us to Kitwe, Zambia. We should arrive there around 2 or 3pm.
  • Pray for wisdom and strength with what we will be doing in Kitwe.
  • Pray for Rissa and Johnny that someone will come into their lives and will invest and disciple them so they can be more like Jesus.

 

Thanks so much friends!!!

The Little Things

It’s the little things in life that make tough travel days like today worth it!

It’s being prayed over and supported by so many other young people who all have a huge passion for Jesus.

It’s meeting new friends who you haven’t known for more than a week but know you will be forever friends.

It’s hearing stories already of how God can use you exactly where you are and how He calls certain people to speak to specific people around them and how that can touch those individuals lives.

It’s being told by a stranger they would pray for you while you are on your trip because they saw us praying before we left for the shuttle.

It’s having a conversation with the very unhappy lady sitting next to you about her travel mishaps and missed flights. And being able to pray for her the whole flight. By the end she seemed to perk up and told us more about her life and what she did when she was young. Again very cool to see the amazing power of prayer!

It’s being able to share what God is calling you to do this summer in Zambia and being so encouraged by complete strangers.

It’s sitting in the Atlanta meeting a youth group of 20 going to Haiti to help build a school. And being so incredibly encouraged by them and how young they are but so willing to go and help those in need in Haiti.

It’s watching Tim Hawkins videos during our layover and driving everyone around us crazy because we are laughing so hard we are crying!

It’s meeting a guy who is going to Zambia for work but his work involves bringing sustainable energy and efficient energy to the country on Zambia!

It’s sitting behind two precious little girls probably 3 and 8 years old who behaved exceptionally well for being so young and going on such a long flight. The oldest of the girls became my friend and we talked for a good chunk of the plane ride and after we landed and were getting ready to disembark she told me she would miss me! Totally made my day!

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It’s sitting in our room at the guest house we are staying at in South Africa, being so completely exhausted to the point that the dumbest things we say will cause an eruption of laughter from the both of us- like Jenna trying to figure out which water is hers and her blurting out “I can probably smell my own saliva!!!”

 

Here is a list of prayer requests and if you would like to scroll all the way to the end and join me in praying for these-

  • A good nights sleep for both of us and a quick adjustment to the major time change
  • Safety while going to the game park tomorrow
  • For all the other teams, those who have arrived already and those who have not (not sure on which ones have made it, which ones haven’t, and which ones have had difficulties but will keep you posted)
  • Safe travels from South Africa to Zambia on Monday!
  • Rissa and Johnny (the two ladies we met in downtown Minneapolis) that they will give up on trying to fill this void in their lives with worldly and material things but that they will find their worth in Jesus Christ!

 

Lord Jesus,

Thank you for these little things that make the toughest days worth it. Thank you for getting Jenna and I to South Africa all in one piece with all of our luggage! Please protect all of the other teams that they will have safe whether they are still traveling or on site. Please give them the words to speak what you would speak and the eyes to see what you see. Father work in and through all of the other teams wherever they may be in the world! Lord I lift of Rissa and Johnny to you, I pray that they will turn to you Jesus and will no longer be on the search for worldly and material items but will be completely reliant upon you for everything they need!! We love you so much Jesus!!!

 

In His Name,

Shelbyrae

 

 

Power of Prayer

Throughout the last couple days of training I had an idea of what I wanted this blog to look like. I wanted to share with you all that we are learning and what God is teaching us through these amazing leaders! But God had other plans. Today Jesus completely wrecked my heart in a way that I was totally not expecting, for a city I never knew was so broken, for a culture that is made up of so many different cultures. My eyes were opened to the hurt, the brokenness, the longing, and the nearness of so many hurting people. I knew going into this trip that God has big plans for Jenna and  I in Zambia and I was so excited to see what He is going to do but never in a million years would I expect Him to use me in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But God works in mighty, and often times strange ways, today was definitely one of those ways.

When we first came to orientation we were given a schedule with what we were going to be doing for each day and today there was a big chunk of time carved out, 1-5, and all it said was cultural immersion in downtown Minneapolis. If I am being honest I was a little hesitant about this, I had no idea what the heck this had to do with preparation for our trip to Zambia but I went along with it. In addition to having that on the schedule we also learned about the importance of culture and how to try to blend in with the cultures we are going to, how to prayer walk, and other ways to be adequate and open vessels to carry God’s word and love to our countries. As 1 o’clock rolled around and we headed to our hotel shuttles that took us to the Mall of America, from there we walked to the public transit line that took us all the way down to downtown Minneapolis. Each team was given a sheet with different addresses of places to go as well as questions to ask people the people we encounter. Jenna and I were teamed up with the the girls going to Costa Rica- Clara, Leah, and Hannah. As we were walking to our first spot we were talking about how we could use this as an opportunity to prayer walk and how we would like to ask to say a quick prayer with each of the people we would meet. Within five minutes of that conversation we crossed paths with this lady whose name was Johnny. She was walking beside us for a little bit just minding her own business and then just started talking. At first it was pretty meaningless, she started talking about the clothes a man she passed by was wearing. Being the sin filled person I am, I wasn’t listening to what God was saying and I was hoping she would turn the corner at the next block so that we could get on with what we had to do but of course God had bigger and better plans. She ended up sitting down and we decided to hang out and talk to her for a bit. Well this lady kept talking, and talking, and talking. It was probably a good 10 or 15 minutes of her just talking and us listening not saying much just being there for her to talk to. She just seemed desperate to talk to someone. She told us about how her daughter died in a car crash when she was two and a half years old and how her daughters dad has so much guilt over her death for various reasons. This sweet lady just seemed so desperate to be heard and for someone to listen to her. We were able to listen to God and what an amazing experience it was!

While we were talking with Johnny this younger lady named Rissa approached us. She had many tattoos and looked as though she had been through some tough things in her life. She came over to check on the other lady and asked if we were praying for her (for a second I thought that she was angry that we were possibly praying for this lady and was going to “help” her, but she ended up being super sweet). Anyway she came up and told us how nice we looked and that it looked like we were having fun and she wanted to join us! She came over and sat down and started talking with us. One of the first things she told us was that she had never been to jail before and that she was a pretty good person but that everyone was mean to her. This statement completely broke my heart. She felt the need to tell us that because she had been judged and hurt by so many others. She continued talking and she told us that she was only 23 but that she had two little boys who were 5 and 7 but they were taken to foster care. (If anyone knows me you know I have a huge heart for foster care and for the children that are in the system but this gave it a new light, I was able to see a parent of some of the kids in foster care and put it into a different perspective for me). She told us that she had overdosed just a week ago and by the time the ambulance got there she had died and they were able to revive her!! We kept trying to reiterate to her that God still has a purpose for her and that she has big things to do with her life. She seemed so hopeless. We asked if she had a church home and she said no but she would like one. We were able to contact a leader of another group and get the name, number, and address of a church in town. We gave it to her and we hope she will go! We also asked if she had a place to live and she told us she was homeless. When we were done talking with her we asked if we could pray for her and she was very enthusiastic about it, so we all huddled around her and prayed for her that God would reveal Himself to her and that He would become her rock!

I am truly amazed by this situation. Neither of these conversations were initiated by any us, both ladies came up to us and started talking to us. I believe 100% that it was Jesus in us that made those ladies come up to us and talk. They saw something in us, a joy, a happiness, and a light!! This is not about me at all, none of this is it’s all about God but after we were done praying for these ladies I was physically shaking and I could not stop. The presence of the  Holy Spirit was SOOOO evident my physical body was shaking. I am amazed to see how God can use little old me, to further His kingdom. Even though neither of those ladies came to know Jesus today with us I truly believe that a seed was planted in their lives and I hope and pray that others will come along and will water that seed until it grows in to a mighty, strong, everlasting love for you!!! I am still in awe with the fact that there are so many broken people in this world and that I will never be able to touch all of their lives but that I was able to hopefully touch sweet Johnny’s life and Rissa’s life!!

I was planning on writing prayer requests for each girl but instead I decided to write out a prayer that I would absolutely love if you guys would pray this prayer for these ladies!!!

Lord,

I pray for Johnny and for Rissa that their lives were changed because of us today Lord. Both of these sweet ladies have been through so much hurt and pain and have seen so much God but I pray that they will turn to you and that they will be able to use their past experiences to further your kingdom Lord. I thank you for the opportunity that Jenna, Clara, Leah, Hannah and I had today God. I thank you for opening our eyes to see these women the way you see them. I pray for Rissa that she will take the initiative and will go to Salem Evangelical Free Church and that those there will reach out to her and love on her! I pray that the team that is doing work here in Minneapolis this summer will run into her at some point and will continue to water that seed that we planted in her life. I thank you again for always being sovereign, loving, and merciful. I pray that each of these ladies will come to know that Lord Jesus. Thank you for all you have done today!!! In Your Name I pray, Amen.