Surely there was SOMETHING I could do? But WHAT? I cried myself to sleep that night deeply moved in intercession for the Yezidi's. Weeks passed and I spasmodically kept praying. I Asked God; "What about this, God?"
I had completed my training that year in Chaplaincy 1 and Disaster Response with Crisis Response International, believing that one day God could use my Emergency & Medical background in the Disaster sphere of influence. One day during the Disaster Training in Virginia, I heard "Katie" share about a Safe House in Kurdistan where the Yezidi women were going through a program to heal them in Jesus name. My heart was touched. I knew that God had "hooked me", like a fish on a fishing line!
Another time I was praying about being involved with the "Safe House", and on the TV directly after I had prayed I saw a Yezidi woman dressed in white holding a placard, demonstrating to the world about the injustices that the Yezidi women were suffering. Not long after that the Director of CRI suggested I contact a fellow YWAM'er who is the Director of the Safe House and take the steps needed to go. I didn't have the finances. I needed $2,800 for airfare and ground fees to go to help at the Safe House. So in faith, I asked God. He has it all. I decided to put out a newsletter to family and friends and to believe that if God had spoken and I heard, loud and clear, He would provide the means for me to go. I held onto Isaiah 52:7 - my life verse...
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news of happiness, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns."
- Isaiah 52:7
I am already called to Go and preach the Gospel, but what did He say specifically?
"To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Me." - Acts 26:18 (Amplified Version)
That I would be part of "Turning people from Satan to God" and that they would be sanctified by the Holy Spirit…WOW! The finances for me to go came in. One friend from my Bible study had a giant coke bottle full of change. In that coke bottle was $276.00. It ALL helped and it was not just an investment in me "Getting there" but an investment in the lives of the Yezidi women and their Salvation!
My plane soared and circled down into an un-named town in Kurdistan. I was met by staff at the Airport and taken to the Safe House. Kurdistan, Northern Iraq was a shock (after living in Afghanistan where it is very strict and oppressive) I saw women did NOT wear burka's or even head scarfs. They wore jeans and long tops and loved bling. Many beautiful women who were dressed well, wore makeup, and had self respect. Most of them had the most beautiful long naturally straight hair. I did notice there were more men than women everywhere!
There was a few days to prepare before the women came. Our preparation was “Presence”: being in "God's Presence" as a priority. Out of THAT God would move and direct us and speak. God unfolded His plan, no method, but fresh life! Then the women came. Ten women whose ages ranged from ten years to forty-five years old. They came in very fearful and full of shame. All of the women had seen either their husbands murdered and other men and children from their villages, right in front of their eyes. The women were taken to be sex-slaves, some trafficked to Syria, repeatedly sold from man to man and owner to owner.
Through Art & Movement, First Aid, Self Defence, English Language, and Therapy classes, we watched the women begin to soften from the hardness they arrived with. By living in the house with them, we were able to serve and love them. THIS melted their hearts. There was a Graduation ceremony which included washing the women's feet in rose petal water and crowning them with tiara's and treated them as the Princesses that they truly are! Daughters of the King of Kings! True royalty! They received a certificate which is most sought after for a job reference and highly coveted in the refugee camps, (If you have gone through the Safe-House program, you are essentially "The Bees Knees!") We also celebrated with a special meal of Biriyani and ice cream, yummy! We danced the "Shingali" to loud music (ok, I did it for two minutes) and we also gave gifts of new clothing and other treats that women love. YWAM Myrtle Beach gave shells and beautiful shell necklaces as many had never seen the ocean. The Yezidi women had literally graduated out of darkness into light! There was much inner healing as private stories were told and women were embraced as they cried about the abuse, rape, and treatment they had endured, but were met with arms of love as they cried on our shoulders. They were even able to paint their stories of how they were freed or escaped.
Eventually it was time for the women to leave and return to the refugee camp. (There is a second level program being implemented as I write; as there is a waiting list of over 500+ women for this program. Some commit suicide because of the deep bondage they carry from being in captivity before they can even get to the program.) With shouts of "My habibi!" (My love!) "My Herati" (My life!) and much hugs, tears and prayer, the women went on to the next stage of their lives… to being FREE! My life will never be the same. I absolutely loved my time in Kurdistan and want to say thank you to those who prayed and sent me. You have an inheritance in The Yezidi Women! I am looking at returning later in 2016 with Jeff to work in the refugee camp and possibly the Safe House again. Pray for The Yezidi's that "He makes wars cease".
“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” - Hebrews 11:32-34
Often I find even as believers that the cares and busyness of this life can cause us to be distracted from keeping our eyes focused on our First Love, Jesus Christ. With all of our responsibilities in life, work, school, family, friends, errands, etc, we can often become overwhelmed and caught up in "doing" things. Sometimes this can spill over in our relationship with our Father. But even amongst the business of our lives, Jesus continues to call to us and draw us into His embrace. When we stop for just a moment, and look into the eyes of Jesus, we find nothing but His unconditional love and adoration for His child, His beloved.
"You have dove’s eyes..." (Song of Solomon 4:1)... says the Lord.
We are the beloved of Jesus Christ! What a beautiful, divine reality. Our own love story with Jesus is the greatest love story ever told. Therefore we watch only for the things of God. We train our minds to only see things through the Word of God… with faithful, innocent, peaceful, loving, spiritual eyes. It’s already been decided… just as a dove has one and only one partner in their entire lifetime… we have but one… and only one… steady gaze, all the days of our lives. We look intimately to Jesus… and to Him alone.
"I am my Beloveds and my Beloved is mine..." - Song of Solomon 6:2
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
- Hebrews 12:1-2
Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not another thing on our "to do" list, but it is a love relationship that encompasses our entire person. Jesus' desire is to be the centre of our lives, the Lover of our souls. This love is not an idea we believe in our minds, but it is a deep love that pierces our very soul. He is our First Love because He loved us first; and nothing can separate us from His love. Therefore...
"Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on the earth (Colossians 3:2).
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."
- 2 Corinthians 4:18
"Even though David was a great prophet himself, he at times called for the prophets so he could enquire of the Word of the Lord. That is the kind of humility that draws God's grace." - Rick Joyner
Many years ago I heard our founder Loren Cunningham share this message on the text of Mathew 6:25-34 which tells us that we shouldn't worry about what we will eat or drink or wear. Our Heavenly Father feeds the birds though they don't "sow or reap or store away in barns." "Are you not much more valuable than they?" Your Heavenly Father knows that you need these things."
Yet, as I thought of this recently, with a pile of bills and not enough money to pay them, I was feeling frustrated. I said "Lord I need more than food clothing and shelter. We need money to pay all these accounts. You have called us here after all." During one of our staff meetings, we had been praying in faith about our finances as a YWAM base. When the meeting finished, I began to open the mail. In one of the letters we received a large check from a local church which would cover our expenses for the next 1-1/2 months! Our team was overjoyed at God's provision and we all gave thanks and praise to God.
The second portion of this Scripture tells us to seek first God's kingdom and his righteousness "and all these things will be given to you are well."
Working with the bookkeeping at YWAM Myrtle Beach this past year has been a challenge, scary at times. But looking back, as our team prayed and sought God, answers came and God provided in unexpected ways and we were able to pay all our bills.
Yes, we are much more valuable than the birds of the air. God is our provider and He loves us. He has shown us time and time again that as we seek and draw close to Him - He will give answers and meet all of our needs. He is a good and faithful Father who knows our needs before we even ask Him. We must have faith in God and seek Him with all of our hearts for He cares us.
While living in Central Asia for two years with my family of four, we had an incredible time in some of the remotest parts of the world. Our living conditions were very rustic to say the least—no running water, no electricity, and an outhouse. We did have a generator that we were able to run from 7pm to 9pm every night. Having a hot dip bath once or twice a week meant having enough firewood to heat up a bukari (kind of like a five gallon water heater) and sharing it with our family of four.
Aside from the two year long camping trip, the Lord blessed us with great relationships with those in our village and surrounding community. The first person we lead to Jesus was one of our language teachers. She was a young girl named Sheena who was my daughter's age and they became great friends. It was Jessica who talked about having a relationship with God and answered all of Sheena's questions. Coming from a Muslim background the concept of knowing God and having a relationship with our heavenly father was difficult to be grasp. Over time though, and lots of prayer for Sheena, her spiritual eyes began to open. She asked Jessica to pray with her to receive Jesus.
I thought it would be hard to share the Gospel in this region of the world yet there is a harvest. It's just a matter of finding those whom the Lord has prepared. He was there long before we arrived and he is there now working in peoples lives. Altogether we prayed with 27 people to receive Jesus. Some of the towns we worked in have underground churches where new believers get teaching and fellowship. Please pray for the Lord to continue to move in Central Asia.