Coming alive

We’ve been here for 11 days now and it’s been a whirlwind! Lots has been done, organised and put in place so that the foundations are set for the next year.  Anyone that knows me, understands that it’s important to me to have the basics done.

On last week’s blog we left off on a Saturday, before we’d even visited the Church we came over to be a part of. So, today, let’s start off with our very first visit to Bethel.

BETHEL CHURCH

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We picked up the two young South African girls that we met at Walmart at 7.25am and all arrived at Church at 7.40. The first of the Sunday services starts at 8am, with the following ones being 10.30am, 1pm and 6pm. There was PLENTY of parking (which is a huge novelty for us) and as we walked in we were greeted by a lovely lady at the door. The lobby is about as big as our minor hall at E5 yet the auditorium is about 1/3 larger. The atmosphere was very friendly, with people greeting each other and lots of little pockets of conversation happening all over the place. It felt good. As ever, I was eager to go and see all that was happening and all that was on offer, while Frans was content to sit and drink in everything from where he was seated. I sat by him and the girls and I got talking about life and things and IT began to happen. You see, the overriding aim of me coming here was to grow into more of who I am. To become fully who I am created to be, free of history and patterns of behaviour that I’m not sure were really mine. I want to get into the groove God created for me – and stay there. As soon as I started talking to the girls, the encourager in me  just came to life and by the end of our conversation, I was on fire and their faith was supercharged! That was the first confirmation that being an encourager is an innate part of me and definitely one of the gifts that I am to walk in.

The worship was fabulous, but what I noticed most was that the quality of the sound was really rich and beautifully balanced. True surround sound. It was like you were being enveloped in the physical sound of the worship and it felt wonderful. On the other hand, Frans hasn’t engaged with the worship at all. Our different journeys, together, are so interesting.

Bill Johnson did a sort of welcome and intro and then the worship continued and then he came back up to preach. It felt like we were all sitting in his lounge having coffee and he was just chatting to us. The atmosphere was laid back and simply friendly. It felt like we’d known him for years. Just as we’d seen on countless episodes of Bethel TV, the revelation poured out of him and I found myself making streams of notes, until I realised that it would just be better to listen and absorb and go into deeper study later when I listened to the recording. It was lovely.
During the ‘say hi to your neighbour’ time, we introduced ourselves to the couple in front of us who had just come to drop their daughter off for First Year. As we were worshipping, the Lord gave me a message for them. At the end of the service, they snuck out because they had a 10 hour drive ahead of them and I followed them out. I gave them the message and they both started to well up with tears. They looked at each other and then at me and said,’ You have no idea what those words mean to us. It’s the answer and confirmation we’ve been praying for!” I LOVE it when God does that.  What a privilege to be a part of changing someone’s life! Second confirmation icon smile Coming alive

The girls and I went back for the evening service. The prayer room is open from 5pm and it was lovely to see people just praying and loving on God and on each other, in preparation for what God was doing. We went in at 6pm and had a lovely easygoing session of worship. There were 3 painters on the stage and each did a painting that portrayed what they felt God was saying to them. Look at how beautiful they each are, but also how very different. That really spoke to me. We are all amazingly created by a loving Father, but we’re all unique and each of us will show our gift and anointing in a different, yet equally significant way.

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THE WEEK SO FAR

Over this week, we have seen more and more favour as we did the basics of setting up electricity, gas and internet at our new apartment. We’ve collected pieces of furniture from all over – charity shops, garage sales, estate sales etc and now we have almost all of the basics that we need. We’ll be sleeping at our place from tomorrow and then we can finally gear down and settle in now that all the foundational things are done.

We’ve met loads of people on our travels around the various stores and I think the thing that has struck me the most is the impact this Church has had on the town of Redding. Everywhere we go, people ask about our foreign accent. As we get talking and say we’re going to school at Bethel, without fail everyone knows what we’re talking about. Everyone from the guys that helped us load our furniture at the Goodwill charity shop to the guy that opened our bank account for us. From the salesman at the car dealership to the checkout lady at Walmart. It’s quite astounding. Each of them then have their own story of how either the Church or the people from Bethel have impacted their lives. Every one of them. Wow!

Over the week, we’ve seen a lot of things that we thought we’d share with you…

This is Sundial bridge. It’s a ‘one-of-a-kind’ bridge that is a landmark in this town. It’s beautiful and a real gathering place for people.

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This was the reading on our car thermometer for most of the days this week. 105 fahrenheit is 40 celsius! We have truly discovered the meaning of ‘keep hydrated’.

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Frans loves to have a treat every now and then by getting a ‘Caramel Frappuccino’ from Starbucks. As we were walking through a supermarket, look what we found in the dairy section. Too funny!

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Look at this jacuzzi that I saw at Costco! Can you imagine switching on all the jets at the same time? Bubble heaven icon smile Coming alive

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I need to plant some flowers etc in our new little garden, which is just a patch of dirt at the moment. I walked into the ‘Dollar Store’ and saw these ‘dancing daisies’. As soon as the sun hits them, they start to move. They were so cute that I took a picture to show the lady we’re staying with and told her I was going to buy them all and fill the garden with smiling, dancing flowers.

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There are so many grocery stores to choose from over here. One which was recommended to me is a place called Winco. Look at how huge it is! It was like walking into a warehouse. I spent about an hour and a half just walking through and looking at all that was available.

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FRIDAY

There have been several socials that have been held over the past week. It’s basically people opening up their houses and inviting students to come and get to know each other. We arrived at Steve and Jen’s house, along with 3 young girls we’d given a lift to, and over the next few hours, we got to hear testimonies from all over the world. Stories of how God had met with each person and what their journey to Bethel looked like so far. After most of the youngsters had left, we sat talking to the hosts. Again, our (Frans and my) individual gifts and anointings began to flow and by the time we left people were encouraged by all that God can, and wants to, do. Third confirmation.

SATURDAY

Last week at Church they advertised a ‘Shindig’ that was being held at the Civic Centre. We were up early and got there at 7:40 to see what we could do to help set up. I was struck by several things:

  • There were more volunteers than were actually needed
  • The different giftings of the individuals that were serving, seemed to be honoured and enabled to flourish. People were encouraged to use what they had in order to serve all of those that were coming. Those who were creative were arranging flowers. Those who were technical, were doing sound and video. Those who loved kids were setting up the bouncy castle. Etc. etc, etc.
  • Everyone seemed to be working together with only the goal of blessing those who were coming.

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 Us filling balloons with water for one of the stalls.

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We left a couple of hours later as we had to go and pick up our ‘U-Haul’ van. It was so cool picking it up because it’s such an iconic thing that we’ve only ever seen in the movies – and here we were driving one!

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We picked up the first lot of furniture and then went on to the second lot. We sat and talked to the couple whose house we were at and found that they needed a) encouraging and b) their computer fixed. Fourth confirmation!

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The overall theme of this week seems to have been “whatever your gifting is – embrace it!”

We’re starting all over again in a place where no-one knows us, and the same stuff is flowing out of us that did when we were in a place where people did know us. Our calling is  having the same impact here as it did there!

So, we want to encourage you (;-)) to be all that God has created you to be. Let the gifting and purpose that He put on the inside of you be activated. Embrace what He’s put you on Earth to do – it’s the most amazing way to live. He gets to show off and let the world see how awesome He really is. He gets to love on people, heal them, help them, encourage them and draw them closer and closer to Him. He gets to turn their lives right side up and the result is that He gets a huge smile on His face, you live life ‘in your groove’ and the world at large is thoroughly blessed as His love flows through you.

You are amazing! Please embrace what God has created you for and see what He will do! You’ll be blown away icon smile Coming alive

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In the coming week, we’ll be creating an opportunity for you to partner with us as we travel the road of finding out what God is calling us to do and what our ministry is to look like. It will be such a privilege to be good soil into which you can sow a seed in faith. I’ll give you more details in next week’s post. icon smile Coming alive

Please use the links below to like and share this adventure with your Facebook and Twitter friends. The more love we can spread, the better!

See you next time! Have an amazing week as you begin to embrace all that God has planned for you to do. We look forward to hearing all of your stories. xx

 

 

 

 

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