July 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
I guess this is when “post-missions depression” begins…Sigh (I am currently replaying the songs we listened to while on the road).
As it may seem, this past week has changed all of our lives. It is amazing what God has done both externally and internally, through and in each of us, to the point where it is difficult to put into words. When I look back on Milk+Honey, I don’t just think of memories. An overwhelming feeling of love and joy literally fills my heart and I can’t help but smile and re-read/re-watch everything on our Facebook page. But, one thing I’ve realized is that I can’t sulk in this post-missions misery. There’s so much more in store!
Prior to this trip, God revealed to me one of His many plans for our team. As I was praying over a broken relationship between two of my sisters, God took me into a new direction and showed me the importance of healthy relationships within the body of Christ. He promised that through this trip, He would build good relationships that He desires for His church. I can confidently say that such relationships have been created, and that God has been tremendously faithful to us (as He always is). It makes me want to cry just thinking about it.
Every waking (and even sleeping) moment with these people has caused me to love them deeply. I truly believe that not one minute spent together was a waste, and that God was moving through it all. This trip was absolutely the definition of riding a roller coaster. I didn’t know it was possible to have so many ups and downs in one week! Because we made a firm choice to expand the kingdom, the enemy inevitably wished to tear us down. I can’t deny the fact that Satan was constantly attacking us and trying to distract or even oppress us. However in His faithfulness and love, God allowed us to experience what it truly means to mourn and rejoice with one another. Through every moment, from struggling and feeling oppressed to celebrating June and Ezra’s birthdays, God was there and allowed us to have His heart for one another.
Whether we slept together, ate together, prayed together, or evangelized together, we were always TOGETHER. This is what God desires for His church. He wishes for us to experience the power and fullness of being united as His body, and let me tell you, there is nothing better. When we are one, God’s love can’t be ignored. The people around us are able to see that we are children of God and that we possess something very special. Even amidst the troubles and attacks, we are still able to lift one another up and fight together. I purposefully say all this in present tense, because yes, the Milk+Honey team was able to experience glimpses of this, but I believe that this unity will grow and continue to expand. This is a choice that we must make together, to love deeply and to constantly ask for unity, because He desires it so much for us. So I challenge you today: create, build, mend a relationship so that it may grow into one that is completely centered around Him. Jesus died for us so that we may be free to receive His perfect love, and to give it. So let’s do it yall…let’s change the world together.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loves us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:10-12
July 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
I had just finished a fast before the trip. I had started to read God’s Word again. I was spending time in the secret place again. On the outside, everything seemed to be going fine. I was fine. But inside? Deep, deep down inside? I was struggling. Little things had begun to pop up. Insecurities. Fear. Envy. Lust. Many other things. I had asked God to prune me and mold me to make me fruitful. And He was doing exactly that.
It didn’t exactly feel like an answer to my prayer request. I began struggling like… never before. I felt like such a disappointment and failure. I felt that as a leader, sister, daughter, and as a Christian I was a failure. I wasn’t seeing the transformation that I so much desired. By the grace of God, I survived. But I was not flourishing. I was not overflowing. I was not loving. I became guarded, insecure, and fearful. Instead of turning to God at this time, I began to turn inward. I listened eagerly to the voice of condemnation and shame and blocked out the loving, kind, forgiving voice of my Dad. My head became filled with thoughts of my disobedience and dishonor towards my parents, my insecurities, my fears, my hurts, my doubts, my shortcomings, and my failures… I began to question why I was on this team.
So from the beginning of the trip, as we were on our way to Santa Barbara, I was struggling with myself. I tried to find the source but I just… couldn’t. I felt attacked, oppressed, unwanted, unqualified, frustrated, annoyed, and hurt. So, so hurt. So I turned to my number one defense mechanism: pushing everyone away, getting alone, feeling and embracing depression. I was.. running with Satan. It came to a peak at Davis. I actually had some good talks with some students at UC Davis but as soon as I got into the van… All my pent up emotions surged up and I became a swirling mess of tears, anger, frustration, bitterness and hatred. I ran out of the place where we were having lunch and sobbed. I had no idea why. I felt like my heart was bleeding. Joanne came to pray for me and we ended up realizing together that we really needed to forgive and let go of all the footholds we’ve been allowing Satan to grab unto. We prayed in faith for the Holy Spirit to come…
And He did. Jason decided to cancel our evangelism that day and have an emergency team meeting. I listened skeptically at first as Hannah explained that we needed to share with each other our hurts, pains, thoughts so that we could shine light on the darkness. I was too tired of being vulnerable, of being hurt… I refused the thought and waited for someone to start speaking. But all of a sudden Joanne started prophesying and it was amazing. All of us started crying and sharing our hurts, pains, thoughts, feelings and pasts… God brought so much healing and unity during that time. It was amazing. I shared after almost all the people who went before me spoke of the same things I was struggling with. I shed light on every area of darkness that I had been holding onto quietly and secretly. I realized Satan works quietly in cycles. Anger, hatred, bitterness is passed down to create endless cycles to spread death and destruction. We all were struggling and hurting and so we just ended up hurting each other. But no more! I felt freedom in sharing about my past and hurts. I cried a mighty river… but in it I felt the healing touch of God.
Afterward, I began to feel oppressed and in the van, I was set free. I declared, “I am God’s daughter and I have been clothed in righteousness.” And as I shouted that, all oppression left. I felt so much joy, so light, so free. I felt His heart for me. I knew that it was going to be okay.
And I realized… changed people change lives, they change the world. People changed by the love of God have the security, the mercy, the grace to love others and provide them a sense of security and acceptance that this world cannot offer. I had to first be set free so that I could set others free. And that’s exactly what happened. The very next day I encountered someone who was struggling with insecurity. I prayed over her and she said that she felt lighter! She began to weep as I heard what God was speaking over and shared His words. Instead of feeling drained and tired, I felt more alive than ever. As I spoke truth that was mine as well, and I felt that I was finally living in my identity.
I thought I was okay before this trip. But God saw in me little roots of things He knew would bring me down and keep me bleeding. He saved my soul… but so much more than that. He wanted me to live this life abundantly- free to love, free to be, free to give, and free to go and share the gospel. He healed me of so much… and now I am free to go and share that healing. God changed me with His love and I’m not going to let this fire to burn out. Milk & Honey will be a lifestyle. I’m going to live to see people enter this land of peace, hope, joy, and love that God has taken me into.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
July 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
Oh man, where can I start?
I was in a very awkward place in my life before this trip. I was at a stage where I was so sick of my old life that I decided to follow our daddy once again. Even though my mind was set on going for this new life style , it was hard to live it out especially because I forgot how to run this journey with God. When Jason Ham, our leader, announced that he was opening Milk and Honey for the kids, I immediately signed up. Few weeks before and even first few days at milk and honey , I regretted signing up. I felt out of place and unworthy . However, I am so glad that God made me sign up because this really changed my life! The changes didn’t instantaneously come, but God slowly showed me something different each day. Through this experience, I’ve learned to love others even more especially the strangers, to have more intimate relationship with God, and to become a world changer. I was too shy to evangelize because I’ve never done it before, but through encouragements of my partners, Tony and Arthur, I finally stepped out of my bubble. I’ve never experienced something so real in my life such as healing people inside and out. I thought I was going out to bless the strangers, but through laughter and tears , I learned that they were blessing me. I’ve already said this in the interview, but Milk and Honey to me is like a new pair of glasses. It really opened up my eyes to the things I’ve never seen before. I am so excited to get out of my bubble and CHANGE THE FREAKING WORLD. Gah, only if I can fit everything that had happened during this trip in one page… but I can’t so I will sum it all up by saying…….. GOD IS FLIPPING GOOD. That is all…. AMEN
July 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
It has literally only been three hours since we got back from this trip… and already God is moving so mightily!
My brother and I have been praying for our family for years now. We’ve been asking that Jesus would reveal Himself again to my mom and her boyfriend so that they can go back to their first love. Honestly, there were times when I started to question God and His faithfulness to my family and I. I felt like I was fighting for my family alone. It got hard at times and I began to become weary. But even in the midst of hopelessness and frustration, I knew I still had to keep pushing for my family. I always thought to myself, “If I don’t pray for my family, who will?” With this conviction I continued to pray for them despite the circumstances that came my way.
During the Milk &Honey trip I thought about my family a lot. As I heard many stories about other people’s families I instantly got reminded of mine and it made me think about my family. I thought about all the ways I in Christ can bring change into my household. Even during this time, when the topic of family came up I felt so stuck and stagnant in the status of my family’s salvation. But God kept telling me that He is faithful over and over again. I heard that so many times from Him so it was normal for me to just brush it off. I continued to be in prayer for my family during the trip. On the car ride back down, I started to feel a little anxious about coming back home. I wanted to bring about change and shift the atmosphere in my church, community and most importantly my home. As I started to ponder on these thoughts, I silently prayed until I arrived home.
During family dinner, my mom was so curious in what we did for the past seven days. After briefly explaining to her what the vision behind Milk &Honey was and what we did in the cities we visited I showed her the videos. I started to see tears in their eyes. They both started to cry because the spirit came. They started to say that they should repent and start going out to church themselves. They became inspired by the work we did through Him and strong conviction fell on them. I couldn’t believe those videos softened my mom’s heart so easily. It was definitely the Holy Spirit working. My brother and I are so thankful that our prayers are slowly (but surely!) getting answered. I pray and declare that this is only the beginning of what God is going to do in my family.
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good!
July 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
This trip has been definitely something so different then what I had expected. I thought through Milk &Honey we would be mainly focusing on impacting the cities that we were ministering to. But little did we know, Holy Spirit wanted to heal us first. All the strongholds in each of us had to be pulled out completely in order to go and spread His love in the way He wanted us to. Two nights ago, we had a prayer meeting and the Holy Spirit fell on us. It was very unexpected but very necessary at the same time. Holy Spirit brought issues that were in darkness to light. He graciously used us to minister to one another and revealed bondages that had to be broken. Things we didn’t even know were inside of us were identified and broken. When we cried out to Him, He took all our pain and healed us instantly. After prayer, we saw the fruit through a time of ministering and reconciliation. This is how we knew it was the Holy Spirit because it took us into another level of intimacy with one another. Our unity grew.
The enemy was obviously not pleased with this. After, he did everything he can to distract us and bring the team down. He literally tried to take our eyes off of Him by bringing confusion, and heaviness in different members of the team. We got attacked a few times but we stayed strong together and declared His freedom over us. Through these attacks we learned that the enemy knew that we were going to do great things for the kingdom so he got scared. His plan utterly failed because we recognized what satan was doing in the midst of our group. Even though tomorrow is our last day, we expect great things to happen in the church of Fresno. These past two nights from the Holy Spirit was just training for what is to come in the near future. We really want bring change into the culture back at home by bringing deep healing, and deliverance within the church. With His spirit in us, we can do anything!
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:4
July 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
Before this trip, my life really revolved around me and how I was going to live my life with God. But during this trip, God revealed to me the importance of the world around us. God moved in Santa Barbara on the first day of the trip. I was honestly scared to death when we first started evangelizing in UCSB, but God gave me peace and a hunger for the people. That carried out to the whole trip and through that, I got to talk to amazing people and share the love of Christ to them. One of my favorite moments is when I talked to a guy named Scott. Jason and I went out in SB and we caught him lying in the grass. To simply put it, we all opened up and he really appreciated it. God poured out to me that each soul on this earth is precious and we are called to go out and share his love. What’s the point if we just keep it all to ourselves? This trip really did change my life and this team was AMAZING! Everyone was like family and IS family.
July 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
Prior to Milk and Honey, I went through a difficult time where I felt like every time I tried to seek God, He was silent and distant. After several months of this, I started to feel hopeless and lost and couldn’t help but feel betrayed and abandoned by God. I started feeling bitter and started wondering, “God, are you even there? If you are why won’t you answer?” I was confused and hurt and started dipping my feet in doubt; doubt in God, doubt in myself, and doubt in His promises. I continuously prayed for God to show me His glory and His power in a way so powerful that I could never doubt Him again. As I tried to recover from the several months of “running with Satan (as some of we M&H girls would put it)” I felt condemned and it affected the way I saw myself especially when I went out to evangelize. I felt weak and I let the lies of the enemy seep in and bring me down.
In Redding, I had the privilege of meeting J—. He had grown up as a Christian but had denied the faith when he started “learning” and decided that there was not enough evidence to support the Christian faith. As I started testifying to him all I could think was, “J—, God hasn’t forgotten about you. You have such a special place in His heart, and even in times when you turned your back against Him, He was and still is pursuing you.” I believed that God sent Shua, Sally, and me to J— to show him that God was still pursuing him. As we walked away, I felt hopeful and at peace knowing that God would stay faithful to J—, but also mind-blowingly grateful because I realized that if I had gone just a couple months longer the way I had been shortly before Milk and Honey, I would’ve been on the same boat he was currently in.
For the remainder of the night, I got super blessed at the Bethel service, I had some awesome prophetic words spoken over me, I had a long and freeing talk with my beloved sister, Juyoung, but most of all I got reminder after reminder of who I was in Christ; a daughter, a princess, a warrior, and word after word to cling onto His promises of a coming breakthrough and freedom in my own heart.
Jesus Christ came to me in my weakness, not in His glory or mighty power, but in His love. His sweet love and kind mercy is what brings me to my knees in joyful repentance, and through revelation after revelation, I felt God saying to me, “Julie, I haven’t forgotten about you. You have such a special place in my heart, and even in times when you turned your back against me, I was and still am pursuing you.”