My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

Live Offensively November 28, 2008

A couple summers ago Kristy, Jess and I took a little road trip to South Dakota for a music festival to sell our Kingdom Fuel necklaces. While there we hooked up with some amazing people. Other folks who were selling “christian merchandise”. One really stuck out to me, this young guy about my age designs and sells t-shirts for a living. Really, he has lots of passions, and one of them is mobilizing youth for battle. I’m not talkin’ bout crazy Jihad stuff, I’m talking about the real spiritual battle we face everyday. Most saints don’t even recognize it in the first place, that’s where the enemy catches us off guard. If we don’t even believe we are in a battle, where is the sense of fighting? Check out Ephesians 6 if you are confused about all of this. The battle is NOT against flesh and blood – but against the principalities, the evil forces. Stand firm saints, the road is about to get rockier. Our nation is about to go through some difficult times. BUT, we know the ONE who has already claimed VICTORY over death and the grave. So, have no fear and walk in love as we see tribulations coming (Matthew 24).

Okay, back to this “Live Offensively”. This brother travels a ton ministering to youth – at schools, at music festivals, pretty much wherever the Lord opens a door, he’ll walk right through.

Recently I found the shirt in my closet that he had given me. We traded, some guitar pick necklaces for a shirt. Sounds like a deal to me! I love this shirt because it is pretty bold in your face.  I like the shock value.  People don’t expect me to wear a shirt that has the word, “porno” on it. 

(Every porno has somebody’s daughter in it)every-porno



I really want to get a couple shirts about being a Virgin and wear it at the high school here in Cairo when I am volunteering. A couple of the teen girls saw my anti-porno shirt and were wondering about the others that were sold on the website. I told them about the “Virginity Rocks” shirt, and one of the students said, “I want to where that to school!” Coming from a girl who has not committed her life to the Lord, a girl who is saturated with an environment that is completely sex crazed…pretty much a big deal! I told her that if I got permission from the principal (he should have no problem with it) that I would where the shirt on the same day that she wants to where it – making a statement. She said, “We need to have other girls where these shirts, we need to start something!” This was exactally my thought, get a bunch of righteous (only by the blood) students to where these shirts, declaring PURITY in the halls of Cairo High. Warfare baby! Remember, I’m talking about the spiritual warfare, no school violence here – only in the SPIRIT realm.


(I’m loving my husband and I haven’t met him!)

So, I had an idea…find people who want to support the teens in Cairo (remember, they are economically challenged) by purchasing a shirt or two (av. cost is 16 bucks) for them to where to school. Really, it WILL change something in the spirit realm and the natural realm. If you only heard what the boys say to the the girls and how they brag to their boys about you know what. It really makes my heart sad. Just the other day I was subbing and hanging out in the gym with some students. One boy was sitting with six girls and he began to call them “whores, sluts and Bs”. In front of ME, a teacher! What the heck? Seriously, there is a major demonic force at this school. The light of Christ is entering and crushing the enemy. After I told that boy to get out of my face, I calmed down and had a conversation with him about the power of words. He is a leader at the school, he has the power to influence…for good or evil. Once I broke it down to him, I think he understood a little bit more. Pray for him. God wants this one.

Here are some of the shirts, I suggest checking out the website:







jesus-died-for-terroristsi-heart-homosexuals1(I heart homosexuals)homosexual-back(Jesus has compassion for those who are looking for love in the wrong places)


(it was me)


(check out the website for the writing on the back of the shirt)

If you are interested in supporting this minsitry (purchasing a shirt for a teen to wear), please comment or email me personally at: If 15 people committed to doing this, I believe we would see SIGNIFICANT change!

Pray about it.

More importantly, pray for these teens.


Blessings from heaven… November 17, 2008

Filed under: Cairo Kids,Dreams,Ministry Stuff,Power of Prayer — charredsmore @ 5:38 pm

God has been blessing my socks off lately!  Really, each week when our team gathers for our staff meeting we begin with highlights from the last week.  Usually there are too many to recount!  So, I decided to begin a little list.  These are blessings from the past couple weeks, no last couple months (not in chronological order).


  • Two Rivers was able to move the computer lab into the Shawnee Ext. in town.  We have a unique partnership now with the college – in fact, Kristy is even employeed by them to run the lab.
  • Our home (aka. Hannah’s House/CHOP – Cairo House of Prayer) is now mostly complete.  Over the past three years hundreds of volunteers have spent time getting the house ready.  God has provided for the materials and labor.
  • My sister is ENGAGED to Israel Heard, a wonderful man of God who I look forward to getting to know better as he becomes my brother in law.
  • New doors are opening in my family – communication, love, serving each other.  Praise God!
  • My friend Anthony in town is teaching me how to play the keyboard.  He is pretty much a rock star – oober talented and patient.  Thanks Jesus.
  • God is anointing me to write songs and record them.  Yipppeeeeee.
  • My friends (away from Cairo) are really growing in the Lord.  I am hearing amazing testimonies from their mouths of the goodness of the Lord.
  • In the midst of financial struggle for our nation, I am not stressed or anxiety filled.  The Lord has been my provider and continues.  In fact, the more I give (by direction of the Spirit), the more He provides.
  • My confidence has grown for being in Cairo for another season, as long as it lasts.  I really feel like Cairo is home (one of my homes :)).  No that is not a double chin, it is a double parenthasis. lol.
  • God is constantly reconnecting me with old friends from high school and college. 
  • New friends want to join my support team.
  • My Bible study with the kiddos has expanded from 1 to 2 to 4.
  • The Bible study is now held at one of the kid’s homes.  I will write a seperate blog for this one!
  • God has given more favor in the community – people are trusting us and calling us in crisis situations (daughter running away/daughter needing a place to stay…)
  • I am on a mission trip with our Colfax (IL) friends in Biloxi, MS and I didn’t have to pay a cent.  More importantly, God has built a unique partnership with this group.  First they came to Cairo on a mission trip, next we went for a visit to Colfax for Harvest of Hope, and now we are serving TOGETHER in Biloxi.
  • New doors are opening at the high school.  I have been volunteering in the junior high math classes (the high school and junior high are combined), and now I help out in the band class once in a while.  I have been helping take pictures for the yearbook.
  • The Bennett Elementary students trained for a 3 mile race for 5 weeks.  I was able to help out two days a week and ended up running the race with them.  I beat my time too.
  • I have started working with a small group of boys to help them record their beats and rap.  They are only allowed to rap about Jesus and the Kingdom when they record with us.  I am AMAZED at the lyrics that come out of their mouths!  The Holy Spirit is totally speaking through them.
  • We had more regional friends coming to our Friday worship time.
  • I have “randomly” met new friends in Paducah, KY while hanging out at the Books a Million coffee shop.  Friends that are wanting to come to Cairo for a visit and to join our team in fellowship.
  • Started going to a new church in Paducah, KY – Faith Center.  I am blown away by the way these people conduct church.  It is not your typical bless me club, but true preaching and true community of believers who have faith in an almighty God. 
  • Southern IL is going to have a Call – a gathering of saints for worship and intercession.  God is gathering the believers in this region, something we have been praying for for three years.  Others have been praying for this for over 20 years.
  • Amand and Jess (who both worked with Two Rivers and lived with Stacy and I) are now working with Adventures in Missions (in Gainsville, GA) with Community Life.  Basically a program that is very similar to what we do in Cairo. They came on a mission trip to Cairo a couple weeks ago, which was an incredible blessing to both us and them.

SMG: Day 38 April 2, 2008

Filed under: Cairo Kids,Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 9:59 pm

Club House at Elmwood Tuesday was all about the Bible study.  They were so into it that we didn’t even do our activity.   A lesson was taught about salvation.  Many of these kids have grown up thinking, “If I am a good person I will go to heaven.”  And many children think, “When I die, I will become an angel.”  Somehow these cultural views creep into their minds, and they need to have a transforming of their mind (Romans 12:2) – just like I do. 

The lesson was hands on, with props, and questions for them to answer at the conclusion of the lesson:

1. What is heaven like? 

2.  What is not allowed in heaven?

3.  What is required to take care of our sin problem?

4.  Who are God’s children?

5.  Who is Jesus?

6.  What did Jesus do to take care of our sin?

7.  How do we get into heaven?

The answers to these questions were all given in the form of a scripture.  The kids were really listening and soaking it all in.  Next we had them teach the lesson to us.  Teaching is the best form of learning and retaining information.  Brilliant!  So, they got up front and began asking questions.  It was precious to see them think about the answers in their mind and agree, “Yes, that is correct!” or even call on someone else for a different answer.  Of course they got a little silly with it too – being the teacher and all , they were the ones calling the shots in the classroom.   The Spirit is our greatest teacher and He was there,  moving upon their understanding.  Thank you Lord for guiding us into your truth.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you.” 
John 16: 13-14


SMG: Day 25 March 14, 2008

Filed under: Cairo Kids,Ministry Stuff,Power of Prayer,Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 9:07 pm

Gary prayed for divine appointments this morning.  One of my favorite prayers…a surprise me God all on it’s own.  I shouldn’t have been surprised as the days events unfolded, but I was.  Thanks Lord for a day filled with ministry to women. 

While praying in the teachers lounge at Bennett we were able to pray for a teacher.  He had his first year in Cairo last year, he was actually the third teacher to enter that wild and chaotic 4th grade class.  He stuck around, by the grace of God he stuck around.  He has such a father’s heart for these kids, it’s incredible to see this male role model loving these kids.  He shared a “mini-miracle” that had happened yesterday.  One of his rebellious students from last year (who had gotten written up at least 9 times) came to him and apologized for her behavior (no, she was not prompted by a teacher, she went on her own) last year.  She has not been written up this year.  Praise God!

On the way out we are greeted by a pastor in town as he drops off his grandchildren.  He said it has been his morning ritual for the past 5 years.  He talks about his desire to spend more time with us, to fellowship.  Not just once, but to regularly get together.  We talk about the Youth Revival his church is putting on next week – a couple other pastors are actually speaking at this event.  Before he leaves we pray for him, hands held through the car window.  God has been moving on Gary’s heart for the past 4 + years in unifying the Shepherds of this town.  This man is one of those faithful le pieces.  

Instead of driving to the Kitchen Table I felt the Lord wanted me to walk.  Yes, silly, I know, but the Lord can even direct these “little” steps in our lives.  I should be walking anyway, it is less than a mile away and the weather is getting warmer.  Everything in Cairo is pretty close.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping.  The BIRDS, oh man, if you come to Cairo you will know what I am talking about, those dang birds!  It’s like we are in a Hitchcock movie or something.  Anyway, back to my divine appointment story.  I see two of my friends walking on the other side of the street.  I love these women dearly even though I have a hard time understanding their life.  Prostitution, drugs, violence, and alcohol are all too common in their world.  I don’t have a clue.   I just love them.  We chatted for a while and then I prayed for them.  Usually they break down in tears wondering why their defenses are down when we pray.  The Father touches their hearts, He brings hope to their spirit.  He lavishes His love on them.  They don’t understand and have a hard time receiving, but they are always open.  One of the ladies is truly desperate for the Lord, she is desperate for change.  She is hungry for more.  She recognizes this is not the life the Lord has for her, He has more.  She continues to ask me to pick her up for our Friday night worship.  I’ve heard this before, but I don’t get offended.  I tell her I will pick her up and that I want her to be a part of our family.  She is not meant to be alone.  Before we depart ways, a man walks by to give one lady a message from her ex-boyfriend.  Now, this man has his own story.  Without going into details, he has been in and out of drugs for many years.  He truly loves the Lord and is experiencing victory over his addiction.  Every time I see him he has a song in his heart.  As we stand there on Washington street – the main street in Cairo with cars whizzing by, I feel so content.  This is how ministry looks in Cairo and I love it.  I feel the Lord prompting me to have this man minister to these women.  They really don’t know him in his new identity.  So, I ask this gentleman if he has a word from the Lord to share with these women.  Without hesitation he starts declaring truth from Psalms 1, the importance of remaining in the council of the righteous, and staying away from the council of the wicked.  He explains how important this has been to him in his relationship with God.  The women look at him, look at me and shake their heads in confusion.  “Heather, is he right?”  “I believe so, let’s look at what Psalms 1 says.”  He reads it to them.  They are still shocked that this man knows the Lord and his scripture.  When he is done with his mini-sermon, I ask if he would pray for us.  We all join hands and he blesses us in prayer.  Victory for this man has not come easy, but the Lord has taken him step by step.  Pray that this time the enemy will not snatch away the seed.  Pray for these women, I believe they too will be mouthpieces of VICTORY in Cairo.  That people will look at them baffled by the power of the Holy Spirit in transforming broken lives.  Lord, do what you love to do. 

Tutoring went amazingly well!  I just prayed beforehand, “Lord, breakthrough, allow __________ to understand and give me continued favor.  I want to do more than tutor, I want her to know you Lord.”  After I picked her up we sat outside and worked on her homework assignment.  Well, we talked for about 20 minutes and then started her assignment.  It was so good to hear her story, where she came from, hear about her family.  It was so funny, as I would give her advice, she would say, “You sound just like my sister.”  Ha, talk about favor!  We move onto math.  She doesn’t really like math and struggles, but she presses on.  She really tries to get it.  Today there was much progress.  Praise you Lord for answering that prayer.  It is so hard for me when I have to leave a tutoring session knowing that she hasn’t grasped the concept.  Today was different. 

B and B is not really happening (Beads and Bible study), but that’s okay.  Structured programs rarely work here, so you have to flow with it.  It’s good though because it got me out there talking to women again.  Tonight we visited with another community friend.  It is hard to hear about her struggle, her fight to survive in this town, her bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness.  The conversation transitions from gossip to prayer.  She soaks it in, receiving each word from the Lord.  After we finished praying I was surprised to hear the words,

“You know, we have to forgive and love those people who hurt us, or else we are just bound up.  We need to let go of it and be freed of it.” 

 “Yes, yes, yes.  You are exactly right, and the Lord will be the one to allow us to do that. – It’s pretty much supernatural to love your enemies.” 

Loving the wicked, Jesus did.  I can not forget His words,

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Talk about a day full of surprises! 


Beloved Cairo February 2, 2008

Filed under: Cairo Kids,Ministry Stuff — charredsmore @ 11:20 pm

Catching up with the events of my small community on Stacy’s blog, I caught a glimpse of the faces I miss dearly.

 Faces of Cairo

by SIU students


Ebeneezer in Ms. G’s Classroom December 15, 2007

Filed under: Cairo Kids,Friend Spotlight,Ministry Spotlight — charredsmore @ 10:23 pm

My friend Melissa has a history with this little town.  Before returning to teach 5th grade, she has had quite the journey.  Melissa had spent two summers working with YouthWorks and the in between months doing an internship called GreaterWorks in this “hidden community”.  The Lord spoke to her powerfully while she was in Cairo working with the children…He told her that she would become a teacher and return to Cairo.  Now, there posed a bit of a problem, since Melissa did not have her teaching degree or certificate.  She had gone to school for Social Cultural Studies.  Hmmmm….what is a girl to do?  Go back to school of course!  So, that she did.  For two years this gal perservered through classes, exams, PSAT tests, lectures, curriculum writing and wallah, she is now a teacher at Bennet Elementary School!  I am amazed at the Lord’s provision and faithfulness in her life. 

This story was written by Melissa and Sara while reflecting on one AMAZING day! 


December 5, 2007. 

Bennett prayer.  Stacy prayed for specific things, for specific breakthrough to happen, that God would release things in the school and classroom.  Melissa and Stacy prayed that God’s power would be evident in the classroom. The morning at school was surprisingly decent, mood-wise and attitude-wise.   In the afternoon, when Sara came in, the atmosphere change.  Students began to get a little more rowdy, began to argue with each other, had a hard time working with each other in teams.  Basically, things weren’t going too well. Melissa takes kids to Gym.  Meanwhile in the classroom, Sara prays for the atmosphere to change, for God to move and switch things around, where there was loudness for there to be quiet, where there was chaos there to be order.  For peace.  For the Spirit to come. 

[Enter Holy Spirit…ha ha ha…Spirit was already there ;o)] . 

D and K were beginning to get at each other downstairs on their way back from Gym, they were told they couldn’t come back the next day.  Melissa determined from their attitude that silent reading wasn’t going to happen, so on the way back to the classroom she changed the lesson plan.  Melissa grabbed the Chanukah reading that Ms. Case had given her a copy of earlier that morning.  The class read through the reading.  K asked if the Jewish believed in God.  Melissa explained that they do believe in God but unlike Christians don’t believe in Jesus. Then D raised his hand and asked, “How can they believe in God if they don’t believe in Jesus?” 

Then Melissa explained that the Jews were waiting for someone to save them, but did not believe Jesus was that person. 

Then D raised his hand again and stated, “I don’t get it.” 

Melissa asked them, “Okay, who was Jesus, what did He do?”

D: He died on a cross.

M: Why did He die?

D +(several other kids in the class): For our sins.

C: for our sins….I go to church

M: The Jews believe that he was just another person dying, not dying for our sins for purpose of everlasting life. Do you understand? 

D: Not really.

M: Think about it.

K: Why did they whip Jesus, like in that movie Passion of the Christ, cause it was all gross and stuff? 

Melissa explained that back at that time they used to hang people and whip them because they had committed a crime.  They used to do it publicly, mockingly, to set an example to others to not do the same thing.   

D: (raising hand again) I still don’t understand how they believed in God and not in Jesus. 

Sara explains how the Jews were waiting for a King.  And how the Old Testament gave them clues to what a King would be like.  But they expected a King with riches and power, Jesus came humble and poor, so they didn’t recognize Him as a King. 

S begins to explain a movie she saw about Jesus.

S explains about another movie she saw about Jesus.  She said it was really sad when Jesus died.

V shares how Jesus died with nails in hand.  The class discussed how they were real nails in His hands.  Discussion bounced between kids and different things they remembered about movies about Jesus or church experience. 

 A shares about Tribe of Judah (ministry Two Rivers had for the children) and a time when they did a lesson about blood on the doorpost and how it was icky and she didn’t want to touch it. 

Melissa tells the students that the bell is about to ring, and they needed to do their jobs, but that she would love to continue this conversation as they did their jobs.   

D says to Melissa that this could be their community circle time. 


M: Yes! This is an awesome community circle time! Children clean. And conversation about God continued. 

Sara tells D he asks good questions.  He asks again why the Jews didn’t believe.  Sara tries to explain again about prophecy in the Old Testament and the pride of the priests, helping him see that Jesus was a threat to the power of the Jewish priests.    

K’s job was to clean off the board, then he wrote “I love Jesus” on the board. 

Then S went up to the board, erase “I”, Keenan got mad.  And she replaced it with “We all”

And K was satisfied.   During this entire time there was order and peace, the class was not out of control or loud at all.

Other students went to the board and began to writes praised to God, including “Jesus is da man”. 

Class ends. 

Students leave. 

Sara and Melissa do a happy dance, praise God, and pray. 

Amen Lord.