My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

SMG: Day 12 February 29, 2008

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 10:57 am

One of the greatest rewards for a teacher is observing your student grasp the concept being taught.  Both yesterday and today I had the amazing privilege of opening this present.  After putting myself “out there” as a resource for people needing help in math – I FINALLY had someone follow through with their “yes”.  Thus began my tutoring extraveganza with a 9th grade student in Cairo.  Yeah, so I’m kind of dorky and actually like math – I minored in it at UW.  It’s good to know that this buried skill is being put to use to help others.  In coming up with various ways to describe graphing, I was able to see “A” go through various stages: struggle, frustration, perseverance, and finally victory in understanding the concept.  At one point she even said, “Wow, this is cool.”  A teenage girl commenting on her math homework being cool – now that is a major reward.  It is really powerful for me to see students truly caring about their education and pressing forward to understand.  Really, this is not a common observation in Cairo.

Of course this next paragraph is totally random and has no connection with the first, so bare with me.

 Something I have always wanted to do is become a Personal Trainer.  Tonight I was able to experience this in the smallest of ways.  There is a small group of us gals who go to the gym a few times a week together.  Some more than others.  Sara and Stacy are actually training for a half marathon.  Charleston, the neighboring town to us has a pequeno health club that we have been members of since moving here.  The owners are overly trusting and allow almost 1/4 of their members to hold a key to the gym in order to exercise at their convenience, when the gym may be closed.  How awesome is that?  Did I mention that I am starting to really like small town mentality? – Okay, only sometimes.  Anyway, back to the story…tonight I was able to impart some basic knowledge to one of the gals as we lifted free weights together and did some random isolation type exercises.  Fun stuff!  I really like motivating, encouraging and pushing people to their limit.  So, who knows, maybe someday I will actually be a certified Personal Trainer.  Thanks for this simple reminder tonight Lord.

Added bonus:  We pray every Thursday morning at the high school (before the bell rings), usually in the green hallway (that is only used for the naughty kids).  Today when we went in to pray they told us we could no longer pray in that hallway because there had been a fire (some of the students tried setting a couch on fire during their tutoring session after school – what?!?).  They repositioned us in the office – the Principal’s office.  Check that out!  There was a fire in the hallway where we were praying and now we are praying in the Principal’s office – talk about a shifting! 


SMG: Day 11

Filed under: Ministry Spotlight,Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 10:16 am


My surprises are spilling over to Amanda! The whole Two Rivers family is welcomed into this experiment. When one rejoices, we all rejoice. She just got hired with two amazing companies in the last two days. Quizno’s – which happens to be one of my fav. sub shops and a missionary position with AIM (Adventures in Missions). “Yay God!”

Let me introduce you to my dear friend Amanda. We met while in college at UW – La Crosse. WE’ve shared many wonderful memories together including mission trips to Detroit, Mexico, and a summer with YouthWorks out west. It’s great having her back in Cairo after a year of traveling the globe. That’s right, world tour – 11 countries in 11 months. She served as a missionary with AIM bringing the love and compassion of Christ to many. To read about her journey:

She’s been back in the country since November and has been sent on a new mission. God has been downloading this strategic Kingdom plan for community, prayer, and equipping people for the mission field. It’s pretty sweet – the blending of her two loves. While at Two Rivers she enountered the blessing of strong family/community relationships – not always a blast, but refining none the less. And of course a strong dose of prayer was thrown in the mix. AIM through the World Race provided great training and experience on the mission field. TR + AIM = Hashem House. Hashem is pronounced – heh-shem. Not just a house, a place for launching people into their unique destiny on the mission field.

Here’s a little ditty from her blog…

 Hashem House, at its core, is a bridge between Missions and Prayer.  It’s a Luke 10 meets Luke 18 lifestyle; a team of missionaries being sent out two by two like the disciples with a heart to cry out day and night to God in prayer.

It’s a place of apostolic kingdom family and intentional community.  It’s a place to dream and scheme with other likeminded people and hear from God about His heavenly strategies for the redemptive work in the nations.  It’s a network of people with resources to help accomplish these dreams.  It’s learning how to ‘BE’ a missionary, ‘BE’ a servant, ‘BE’ a child of God and not just another program of ‘doing good things.’  This is life.  And this is a household that seeks to bring life, both to the people that live within the walls and to those that live without.  This is community life as God designed it.  (read: Acts 2)

Okay, so that explains the house a bit, but why the name Hashem you ask?  Well, after a day of praying over the property God highlighted the address sign of ‘2044’.

The corresponding number in the concordance told me that ‘hashem’ is a Hebrew word meaning wealthy, fertile, abundant, and enriched. To me these words describe the fertile land of growth and the wealth of inheritance that can be had for those going after the abundant life of Jesus Christ on this earth.  So naturally, the name Hashem House followed quite easily. 

It seems as though God is renaming this plot of land that once held a spiritually rich heritage as well.  While talking with the homeowner I discovered that the house used to be a minister’s training school more than 50 years prior.  I believe God desires to continue the lineage of this place by sending out more ministers of His Kingdom by raising up the young people of this generation to love a dying world.


Prayers for Amanda:


~Resources to purchase the house and fill it with wonderful furnishings

~People to live in the house

~Partnership between AIM and Two Rivers

~Preparation stages



SMG: Day 10 February 27, 2008

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 1:01 pm

The day began with a reminder from Stacy that we didn’t have our team worship until 10:00.  Doh!  I thought we were heading over to Elmwood at 8:00.  This gave me some study/prayer/worship time in my room before advancing out to the housing projects. 

At Elmwood we encountered much guidance and encouragement from the Lord as we prayed for His Spirit to touch the people living there – each home, each family member Lord. 

Come, meet with each one.  Reveal yourself to them.  Strip them of all the world, the enemy, and their own sin has placed upon them that resists the truth of the gospel.  Strip them of all that is hindering your fruit in their lives.  Come Jesus, come Spirit, come Father.  We are desperate for you in this place.

There was a lot of singing, stomping, asking, agreeing, and dancing as we worshipped together.  I am loving this place more and more.  Yeah, both Elmwood and worship. 

Elmwood Clubhouse was especially fun today.  Stacy lead a Bible study/discussion about angels.  Funny how we are taught lies as kids, “We become angels when we die.”  “Your __________ relative who passed away is now an angel watching over you.”  All sorts of crazy things are taught to children – not rooted in anything but imagination.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all about imagination, but let’s stick to truth in the Word.  Stacy did a great job answering questions while still being her compassionate self in addressing heart issues.  After the Bible study split up into our two groups – knitting and games.  Sara and I played Monopoly with the boys and had a great time.  It has been neat seeing them interact in this new setting.  Something so simple to most has been pretty incredible for me to be a part of and observe.  These kids rarely interact with adults in this type of environment.  They lack structure and discipline at home – most of the time.  It is good seeing them do simple things like count their money to purchase the railroad company, take turns, and even remain honest in the game.  I know, sounds pretty basic.  If you saw where these kids are coming from you would understand that it is a big deal.  I praise God for the changes I see in each one.  They are being transformed – from the inside out. 

Class tonight – round 2.  I love that this class is offered to people in the region free of charge in order to bring new economic opportunities to the area.  There is great need for people to be mobilized in the area of launching business.  Many in the class already own their own business, but are further educating themselves.  Some however have never owned a business and are intrigued by the possibility.  I am beginning to get to know a few people who sit next to me.  They all have interesting journeys that have brought them to this place in life.  I am probably one of the youngest in the class – with a few others in their 20s.  An added blessing is dinner being included with the class.  The instructors truly encourage fellowship and networking within the class, which is great considering the size – about 45 people.  Two of my favorites – fellowship and networking!  I love it.  It’s great meeting new people and hearing about their passions, dreams, and goals.  I look forward to the new doors that will open as a result of this class.  Lord – I am just asking for the patience and self discipline to sit for 3 hours every Tuesday night, I get a little restless sometimes. 


SMG: Day 9

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 12:41 pm

Catching up tonight on my blogging.  This SMG experiment is a bit more work than I had envisioned.  Writing each day and all.  It’s a good self discipline and allows me to reflect after each day.  I just keep some notes in my little stripy journal and report back to you all.  It’s fun. 

 Let’s see, Monday…what happened on Monday?

“Let my People Go” written by Preston Ewing is a book that I have been meaning to read for the past two years.  Finally I picked it up at Kristy’s house and read through it during my prayer room time.  It was terrifying reading about the racial strife in this community.  From local testimonies, I understood the tension was horrible in the late 60’s, but I had no idea it was that terrible!  Reading through this book and viewing the pictures gave depth to the racial tension that still exists.  N0w, 40 years later, I see the Spirit of God moving – breaking off generational sin and hate.  I see the Spirit coming in with a wave of refreshment, a wave of healing and forgiveness.  This wave will usher us into the new life for the people of Cairo.  Life they have never encountered.

Jesus has given us reconciliation through His blood to the Father and we are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation. 

We ask for the saints in Cairo to be raised up as Ambassadors of Reconciliation Jesus.

We are asking for you to reverse the curse.

During our staff meeting we discussed the plan for 24/7 prayer and worship this summer.  This would include more than tripling our staff in order to rotate prayer shifts.  8 weeks of intense spiritual warfare in the reclaiming of this territory for the Kingdom of God.  Not an internship or another ministry experience.  As our team discussed the possibilities I found myself getting excited (when do I not get excited about a new opportunity – come on.) and a bit overwhelmed all at the same time.  I know God is able to do it…the thought of our team tripling or quadrupling is a bit exhausting, not to mention all the other stuff that goes into a summer in Cairo.  One step at a time.  We are asking the Lord to supernaturally prepare us and those joining our team for the summer.  We are asking for His divine strategy to be released.  We are asking for buckets of grace, love, and mercy toward one another.  We are asking for a release of resources in order to walk this out. 

Lord, let your Kingdom come in Cairo – as it is in heaven, let it be on earth.


SMG: Day 8

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 10:29 am

The Sabbath. 

A little work out at the gym and back to the good ol’ Farmer’s Kitchen truck stop.  This is pretty much the closest thing resembling a “coffee shop” near Cairo.

The other day I listened to a message by Kris Valatton (Bethel Church in Redding, CA) – “The Context of Justice”.  It moved my heart.  The message focuses on the injustice of abortion.  I used to consider abortion a social issue within…now I see it as babies being robbed of their destiny on earth.  An offense toward their creator God.

We have decided that these are not humans and therefore we do not value their life. 

As believers we have neglected this as a personal offense toward God.  I repent of not being a mouthpiece for LIFE.  Truly there is more that we can do in the realm of speaking and educating others about LIFE.  The starting place is always prayer.  Bringing this to the Father – asking Him to change hearts.  

Lord, send your Holy Spirit to convict us of truth.   

“Open your mouth to defend the mute.” 

Proverbs 31:8-9

We are to defend those who do not have a voice.  I believe this includes the unborn population.

There are many scriptures that speak of Jesus’ great love for the children.  He welcomes them into the Kingdom.

Kris spoke about Pharoh’s declaration of the killing of the firstborn male in the Old Testament…a redeemer was about to be born.

King Herod declared a killing of the firstborn male in the New Testament…a redeemer was about to be born.

Presently there has been a mass killing of children…God is raising up a generation of those will will speak and act in accordance with His redemptive plan. 

Shocking statistics:

-5 million babies have been aborted since 9/11 in our country.

-1.3 million children die each year in the US because of abortion.

Is the reversal of Roe V. Wade going to cure this social ill?  Of course not.  Numbers may decline, but there is a deeper root here.  We need to pray that our eyes would be opened to the value of children.

Kris even mentioned Russia’s current situation in regards to the birth rate.  In 1955 abortion became so common that the average woman had 10 abortions.  Now this country women are desperate to conceived children.  There is a serious problem. 

Psalm 127 “Fruit of the womb is a reward from God…”

Psalm 17:14 “You fill their womb with treasure, they are satisfied with children.”


Missing Mozambique February 25, 2008

Filed under: Ministry Stuff,Music,Travel — charredsmore @ 11:48 pm

I love this song!


SMG: Day 7

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 10:34 am

Jacob’s Well in Mount Carmel hosted a regional worship gathering yesterday.  Walking into the large warehouse looking church I was encouraged to see many friends and acquaintances already there.  We have been tremendously blessed by our partnerships with regional ministries.  The sanctuary was set up with various stations for worship – an art table, folding chairs in the main area, cushions on the front carpet area, a small table with communion elements, and flags in the back open area for dancing.  I really appreciated the diversity in options for worship.  During the worship time we broke into a bit of Jewish circle dancing – some of the guys joined even joined in along with some older grandma type women.  It was great.  The Lord filled us with great joy.

A nice ride home with lots of laughter topped off the day. 


Ministry on the red carpet February 23, 2008

Filed under: Ministry Spotlight,Music — charredsmore @ 11:51 am


SMG: Day 6

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 11:26 am

Ode to my mother.

I love my mom so dearly and I am encouraged to see how she is being molded and transformed into the likeness of Christ.  God is showing me the evidence of answered prayers from thyears past.  There has been a lot of family stuff in the last few years, where the enemy has tried to rip us apart and tear us down individually.  In the midst of this madness the Lord is moving in tremendous ways – He is lavishing His love on my family.  I especially see His sweetness on my mom right now.  The things she says and does are so different than what I witnessed in her three years ago.  I am amazed at this movement in her life.  Thankful for how Father is loving on my family and using my mom as a bridge between family members.

I met wi my 5th grade friend today for a little Bible study action.  She has such a hungry heart for the things of God. We started reading the book of John.  Afterward we prayed it up with Stacy and her men-tee.  These two precious ones are growing in the faith. God has them on a fast forward track.

I’m not sure what else to write about…tonight was pretty crazy. 

We had Uprising at the Elmwood housing projects, which we do once/month.  While getting out of the car, I met a man who was stumbling down the sidewalk.  He admitted that he had had a few beers already, but was interested in what we were doing.  I invited him to our worship service and he decided not to get beer and join us.  As we started worshipping, he turns to Amanda and me and says, “I like this church, this isn’t like other churches I have been to.”  We ended up praying over him.  He desires freedom.  He desires to be the man God created him to be – without all the addictions.  God loves him dearly and is also craving freedom for this man.  It is available.  He is available.  I trust the Lord will set him free as he submits to Him and releases all the baggage he’s been lugging around.  Freedom is available! 

Tomorrow should be interesting.  Our team is loading up in the big white van for Mount Carmel’s House of Prayer – which is 3 hours away.  A day trip.  We get accustomed to these long road trips together.  I like it.  Time in the car with the family, worship, fellowship…good times. 

Surprise me God!

How is it going for the rest of you crazies that are doing this experiment?  I would love to hear updates!


SMG: Day 5

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 10:42 am

We were iced in today.  No school, no group at the women’s shelter, no office time…a bit of a lazy day.

My time with Jesus this morning included a look into Genesis 24 – Rebekah is brought to her husband Isaac.  What a beautiful story of God’s divine orchestration on a marriage.  If you look at this story with eyes of faith you see the beauty between the relationship between the servant and the Lord.  He is looking for a wife for his master’s (Abraham’s) son Isaac.  He decides to throw a fleece out there, ask God for some specifics.  Before he even sees Rebekah, he puts this request before the Lord, “Let the woman I ask to get me water also get water for my camels.”  This is no small thing friends.  How many camels did he have accompanying him?  10.  That’s right 10.  A camel can drink up to 25 GALLONS at one sitting.  They are some thirsty creatures!  Do the math…25 x 10 = 250 gallons of water.  Dang Gina! 

The next woman approached while he was still chatting the the Lord.  While he still putting in his request to the Lord, here comes his answer.  Can you get me a little drink?  Yes, and while I am at it, can I also get some for your camels?  Oh my word!  Can you imagine the look on this servant’s face?  Am I hearing correctly?  Did you just volunteer to get water for my 10 camels?  This woman had some muscle and she wasn’t afraid to bless others either.  She had no idea what prayer had just gone up…for her own benefit and blessing.  Now, this woman Rebekah is presented with the biggest surprise of her life – a husband.  He pierces her nose (see, it was cool back then too) with a gold ring and gives her some jewelry before they head to her crib to meet the parents.  Of course there is much more to the story, but she ends up agreeing to go back with the servant and meets her beau Isaac for the first time and they get hitched.  I wonder what was going through her mind and heart as she put the veil over her face before meeting Isaac for the first time.  I

So, tomorrow morning think about the possibilities.  God wants to surprise us.  He wants to bless us, teach us, and refine us – because He gets the glory.  He loves that. 

Lord, surprise us tomorrow. 

Let us be the answer to someone else’s prayer.

Here’s a random one:

I had just been praying for Mexico the other day while we had our prayer/dance session in the gym.  I asked the Lord to re-connect me with a couple I met at a retreat who had just returned from Mexico in January because I wanted to hear more about their mission trip.  Joyce called me last night to tell me about their mission trip.