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I want to share some of the lessons that God taught me while Bret Wade and myself were on a missions trip to India. I hope that these will be a blessing to you.
The first lesson God taught me was not really a new lesson. It was more of an ongoing lesson that God repeats over and over in my life.. and probably in yours as well.
Lesson - TRUST GOD (and do it His way)
A while ago God gave me a teaching on trusting Him, based on Proverbs 3:5-6. Ever since He gave me that teaching, He seems to keep repeating "Trust Lessons" in my life, always managing to hit a new area where I still need to learn to trust Him. He did this again on this trip to India.
I got home from Italy 11 days before I was to leave for India. My main agenda for those 11 days between Italy and India was to prepare for the India trip, as this trip has a very aggressive teaching schedule. However, the Lord told me that His agenda for me was NOT to prepare but to rest. At first I was afraid I was hearing wrong. I still had to go to my secular job each day... I have two full time jobs, one as a software engineer (to pay the bills) and another as a minister and head of GodSpeak International. When I would get home from work, I would stretch out on the sofa and watch TV or read a good book. The first few days I was really nervous that I was missing it.. I did not see how watching television was preparing me for ministry in India. I did not see how it might be drawing me closer to God. Yet every time I asked God about it, the only answer I would get was "just rest" or "trust Me." After a week, something changed. There was this great depth of intimacy with God. As I become rested, it became easier than ever to clearly hear His voice. I like to think I walk close to the Lord at all times, but I began to draw near to Him in a manner that I had not been in a long time. The clarity of hearing had really increased and I was even having angelic visitations (which are a very new thing for me). The Lord gave me Luke 10 for this trip.. where He sends the 70 out to preach the kingdom, heal the sick and cast out demons, so I knew that He was planning to make this a powerful trip.
Despite all of this, something within me cried out that I really ought to be preparing for this trip.. studying, preparing teaching notes, pondering what I was going to teach, etc. But God kept saying "No" and "Rest" and "Trust Me."
On Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving), God told me to print out all of my teaching notes and take them with me to India. He said not to look at them before I got there, but that He would show me what to teach when I was there. (Now, you have no idea how hard that is for me, as I am one who really likes to prepare in advance). I had done a great deal of teaching over the past few years, and to my surprise, my pile of teaching notes was 4 inches thick!
I was both excited about the trip and also a bit nervous. I could feel a strong anointing on me for it, but in the back of my mind I wondered if I should have prepared more and rested less.
The trip was quite lengthly.. a 14 hour flight to Hong Kong, a 2 hour layover, a 4 hour flight to Singapore, an 10 hour layover, a 3.5 hour flight to Chennai (Madras). That 10 hour layover seemed to take forever. During that time, a little plastic bag in which I was carrying a water bottle and some crackers broke. I tried to find a replacement bag, but the airport shops would only give me one if I purchased something.. and the prices at the airport were not cheap. We finally sat down in this longue area to rest after wandering around shops for several hours. I prayed, "Lord, it sure would be nice if you would provide a plastic bag for me..." and I was interrupted as Bret said, "What's this?" in regard to an object left on the chair next to us. "Oh," he said, "it's just an empty plastic bag." Now, Bret had no idea I wanted one and no idea what I'd just prayed silently. But in my spirit I said, "Thank you Lord!" and took the bag. The Lord spoke to me and said, "My hand is upon you, I will supply all you need. You can trust Me in the little things and you can trust me in the big things."
When we arrived at Chennai, to our surprise, both suitcases had arrived with us and in perfect condition. This was a first.. the first trip I'd been on where all the luggage arrived ok. The Lord spoke to me and said, "My hand is upon you, I am watching over you. This will be a smooth trip for you. You can Trust me."
We arrived in Chennai about 11:30 PM on Sunday night. Sherath met us at the airport. It was so good to see him again. We took a taxi to the YWCA, which was about a 40 minute drive from the airport. Now I had been in Indian taxi's before, so I was prepared for how they drive over there. But it was Bret's first time. On more than one occasion, he was prepared to meet his maker.. India driving can be very "stimulating". They had a totally different set of rules than we are used to, involving a great deal of "near misses" and a lot of horn honking. But we arrived safely, and checked into our rooms. Our trip out was far from over, we still had a 13 hour train ride to Kovvur and then a 2 hour taxi ride to the Razole area. But our train did not leave until 6:00 PM Monday, so we had a bit of time to shop for native clothing in Chennai as well as take a nap that afternoon.
It was about 1:00 PM Tuesday when we finally arrived at our destination. Shanti, Sherath's wife, met us with the traditional Indian greeting.. we had lais of flowers placed around our necks. Then we had a rest, followed by a late lunch. We were finally taken to our hotel late that afternoon. The first meeting was that evening. Bret was very tired, so I offered to speak at it. I began to seek the Lord for what to share, and He reminded me of a teaching on Intimacy with God. I dug it out of my notes and looked it over. I realized I would have to throw away large portions, such as the first half, because it would not make sense in the Indian culture. Then the Lord told me not to worry about what I was to say, because He would anoint my words. That was a non-trivial instruction to someone who is used to running through her entire teaching at least twice before presenting it. But I decided to trust God, and I did not spend much time preparing that teaching. In fact, I did not read all the way through my notes. When we arrived at the meeting, I did not have a clue what my introduction was going to be.. I could not remember the main points of the teaching and I half expected it would be a disaster when I got up to speak. But as I stood up, God's anointing came over me. I can't explain it, but the words just flowed. I hardly even looked at my notes. The Holy Spirit had come through. And at the end of the teaching, many people received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
The next day I was given feedback over and over again from many different people of how they thought the teaching was excellent. One person said that in India they have a saying when something is easy to understand. They say, "It is as if you peeled the banana for me and put it in my mouth." Then they told me that I'd fed everyone bananas that night. I wish I could take credit for it, but it was all the Holy Spirit. And I learned that God was really trustworthy.. I did not have to prepare when He told me not to because He anointed my words.
That night was the first of many times where God anointed my teaching. He would bring truths, verses, illustrations etc to my memory as I was speaking. He lead me very clearly and it was easy to hear and understand Him because I was rested and fresh. God really does know what He is doing. Sometimes God's instructions to us will seem counter-intuitive, as when He told me to rest instead of preparing my teachings. But He knows what He is doing and we can trust Him!