Although these are great and encouraging things that are happening at the Children’s Home, there have also been some difficult times for us. Like adjusting to the eating habits and types of food and portions they are eating here at the home. And sometimes feeling like we haven’t had enough! We eat our meals in the home because we don’t have our own place to prepare meals. We also cannot afford to buy and cook our own meals. We have been learning to adapt to different personalities as well as spending nights away from each other, because of the way it is set up here at the moment. Millie and I take turns sleeping in the home with the girls.
Although the visitor’s quarters are nice, it is just a room and bath. It’s not easy adjusting to a whole different culture, living situation and being in a new place without the “comforts” you are use to. You can’t go to the store and just buy fresh milk, it may be sour. The ice cream may not be fresh so we don’t buy that. They lose power here sometimes so the ice cream can melt and refreeze. I mention ice cream because it is so hot here! Anyway, it really doesn’t taste like we are use to. There are a few small stores in the area, but the larger stores are miles away in the city. But even they are expensive.You may have to find an American store to find something you are use to. They have bleaches here called “Clorex and Clorix”, to fool you.
Unfortunately, they are not as effective as “Clorox”. Things are imported here, so that is why it is so expensive. We eat what Millie buys, and what she or the staff cook. We started buying peanut butter, jelly, and bread when we could afford it, to keep this as a standby if we got hungry later.
The Chinese have built a lot of stores here in Belize. I went to one of those local stores one day and saw no crackers. Crackers are a good standby. When I asked for them, the guy, who was Chinese, didn’t know what I meant. So I tried to slowly explain, “Crackers, you know, that you put cheese on?”, and he said, “No we don’t have cheese.” Ok, well,…needless to say….. I gave up. I thought that was funny, but I probably didn’t explain it right. I think they may call them “biscuits” here. But they do have them in the stores in Belize City.
Forsaking Our Comfort
Anyway, considering all that I have said, I am learning that I have to guard my heart so that I don’t complain. The scripture comes to mind…
”Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil 4:11.
God is teaching us.
This whole experience is so different and foreign to me, sometimes I feel like I am just “walking through” daily. Like my body is going through the motions, and “I” am just observing. Sometimes I’d say to myself, “what am I doing here?” Then I’d answer, “I am walking in obedience.” I have to learn to do whatever presents itself. No matter how unfamiliar or strange to me. Sometimes I wash clothes with a washboard,
and hang clothes out on a clothes line in very,very hot weather. I’ve ridden in the back of a pickup truck over a “tiny wooden bridge” that was flooding over.
The river flowing under this “tiny wooden bridge” has crocodiles in it, although I haven’t seen any personally, and I was told that it goes 20 feet down under the bridge! Pretty scary to drive over flooded or not! I’m also getting tons of mosquito bites, so remember if you come to visit, bring the Super Deet “OFF!” There are a few other things like extremely hot and humid days,where it is difficult to remove you clothes because they stick to you, long rainy seasons that cause sticky mud that is hard to remove, fire ants, and poisonous snakes on the grounds called Tommy Golfs. Thank God we have not had any bad things happen with them, except a few scary episodes, and the fact that Poppy was the one who had to kill them.
Above left is a poisonous Snake (tommygolf/fer-de-lance) coming down from a shelf in the laundry room, in front of the bottle with the red top. Look closely…, no, that’s not wood! It’s a snake!….and Poppy had to kill it! (right)
This brings to mind a time when we first arrived when Poppy and the guys were working on the grounds. One young man said to Poppy “Can you do me a favor and brush that thing off of my back?” Poppy looked at the young man’s back, saw a large tarantula,
and ran the other way! The young man laughed and said “You know Poppy, you can’t be scared if you’re gonna work here. You won’t be able to do it.” Well Poppy kept that is mind and jokingly said to himself “I can’t be afraid. I have to believe that God is going to protect me and that if a snake or anything is going to get me, then God ordained it!”
I believe God has us in a kind of “wilderness”, both “natural and spiritual” to teach us to rely on Him alone. Not to place anything above Him. Even “our comfort.” I’ve been feeling like the children of Israel when they complained and wanted to go back to Egypt, but I want to please God. And that’s what keeps me here. My daughter is going through her own journey like mine; and God parallels our journeys. She received encouragement from my journey and read something in the book we have both been blessed by, “Just Enough Light for the Step I’m on by Stormie Omartian.” It was just what she needed to hear and she shared it with me. It was also what I needed to hear. “Knowing how to pack for the wilderness” is the title. One part says…
“The reason God takes us through these wilderness times is because He wants us to learn a “walk of faith” whereby we “trust Him for every step”.
We recognize that the wilderness is a place where God calls us to forsake what’s “comfortable” and move into the unknown, so He can guide us where we need to go. We have to understand that in a place where there appears to be “nothing”, God will provide everything we need. It liberates us to allow God to do a new thing in us as He wills….” I had a dream before all of this began where God showed me “leaving something big to go to something small… believing that something BIG can come of that small thing.” In the dream He asked me if I believed it and I said yes. God is our creator and the Holy Spirit can bring out of you what He has placed in you. I believe He can do the impossible through you. I have to have Him to guide me every day. I need to read that chapter on the wilderness “every day,” and take each step forward with God. He is my strength for each moment.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to “strengthen” those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2Chronicles 16:9
I believe that although we know it was by the hand of God that Millie and Dad were able to bring this home together and bless these girls, over the years the enemy has been able to get a foothold into a weak spot. There has been a principality, a stronghold that has been hindering the Holy Spirit from flowing freely here at the home. When Nelson and I first arrived things seemed fine, but as we continued, it began to be revealed to us that things were not so right. I in particular was getting persecution and attacks from the enemy. The enemy here has also attacked certain Christians before us that came here. The Spirit of God was welcome, but “not to get too close” without an enemy attack.
I found myself combating so much of this in the natural realm from attitudes and words and then one night I was talking to God and He revealed to me that Nelson and I needed to begin Spiritual Warfare. Our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness in high places… And we have begun doing that.. We believe the Holy Spirit will turn everything around and God will get all of the glory! It’s interesting because while I was wrestling with these “issues”, I began to receive devotions through my email concerning Spiritual Warfare, “waging war right where you are, knowing that God has you there for a reason.” Nelson forwarded one to me, because I hadn’t noticed it. God is giving us “Rhema”, a clear word through these. So we know the victory is ours.
We began the warfare and fasting. We noticed some effectiveness, and it first began “in us” so that our attitudes were right.
“God is giving us strength beyond natural strength to continue to bear these things in “grace”.
And we are beginning to see changes in others and their attitudes, in our everyday affairs.
After one fast, I had a dream that showed me that there was a controlling principality, a stronghold here that had to be dealt with. Another time I went into prayer and fasting for 3 days. During that time, as I was in worship, I was moving “as though I was shooting and arrow.”
I shot 3 arrows towards the area that the Lord showed me the principality. I then looked toward my Bible and went to read it, thinking, perhaps God had a word for me. As I turned the pages I began to read Psalm 63, and continued to Psalm 64. The Lord answered my prayers with a precise word. He let me know the situation would be taken care of.
These are highlights of what was in the scripture, as though I was praying this:
Guard my life from the terror of the enemy
Who sharpen their “tongue” like a sword
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows, “even bitter words”:
(a lot of the attack came at me through bitter words)
That they may shoot in secret at the perfect (upright): suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
They (encourage) make themselves strong “in an evil purpose”
“But God shall shoot at them” with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. (their wounds shall suddenly appear)
So “they shall make their own tongue” to fall upon themselves
All those who see them are shaking their heads at them.
And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God
(make public the works of God); for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
I suddenly realized I was shooting those arrows representing the Lord in the Spirit! Amazing!
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement, thou shalt condemn.” Isaiah 54:17
Continuing in Warfare
So we kept up the warfare. The persecution continued. I know the enemy did not want me here. Eventually I was accused of lying, stealing, and there was much rejection. ( for more details of my battle, “The Cinderella Story” “click here“)
Many times I wondered what God was doing in our life. What was he really calling us to?
Sometimes I did not want to be doing what I was doing here and I really needed the “grace of God” to do it. It seemed as if “I” was doing things, yet my will was not in it. “Thy will Lord, not mine”, became my daily meditation. I realized through all of this that God was “making us” through this experience. I began to remember another book, “Hinds feet on High Places” which speaks of a little flower named…”Acceptance with Joy” who learned a valuable lesson.
“I have to learn that even though my will is not in what I am doing, I have to lean on God so that He can give me His Joy in it, and through this I will have strength and others will be blessed.”
I trade my pain for His Joy and Power in my life. During prayer one night in the home God seemed to impress upon my heart, “the greater the sorrow and pain, the greater the blessing and Power of His love in my life.”
That brought to mind this song, “The Power of your Love”:
Lord I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I found in You.
And Lord I’ve come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the power of Your love.
Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side.
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love.
Lord unveil my eyes
Let me see You face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As You live in me.
Lord renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living every day
In the power of Your love.
“We are being made to be what God has called us to be. By surrendering our will to His, and accepting the place He has brought us to as part of what He is doing in our lives, we will find that our weaknesses become His strength in our lives.”
“The Lord God is my strength, He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” Habakkuk 3:19
Nelson was also dealing with many things on his level. But he tried to keep me encouraged and told me that the moment I wanted to leave, we would go because he said his first ministry was to me. I was very comforted by that.
We didn’t know for sure what lied ahead, but God was always encouraging us so we knew we had to just stand and continue to pray, taking one day at a time.
For a good while, we did get confused, not knowing what the Lord was doing. Still asking what was my role? Anything I did, it seemed like I was not good at it. Because what I did was always rejected or ridiculed. I was continually told that I was not in the will of God. God comforted me, but told me “little” about our purpose and future here. But I wanted to please Him so I continued moving forward in faith, dying to self. Denying the “self ”, that did not want to do this! It was hard because “my flesh” did not want to do this, but I knew the Lord wanted me to persevere, “so I painfully put down my will.”
“Slowly, as I feverishly searched the scriptures to find out what the Lord was doing, the Holy Spirit began to show me what we were going through and that this was the pattern of many who come this way.”
He began constantly to give me new understanding and revelation, and I was strengthened, and moved forward with more determination, continually giving “my pain” to the Lord in exchange for “the greater thing” that He had for me. After a while “nothing seemed to have purpose to me except the Lord Himself.”
“He alone became my purpose for living, not what was in His hand. My pain was exchanged for “knowing Him, being able to spend time with Him.” Just knowing His love and comfort and finding Joy in the things He was showing me in His word daily. “That” is what kept me moving forward.”
Now some of you may be saying, ” hold on, wait a minute! How can you be saying all of this…it is such a wonderful blessing to be called to a children’s home…. for the wonderful children… who know nothing… who don’t really understand their actions. Well, this experience was very different than the picture you may have in your mind.
” It was a children’s home but it was a “situation designed to break me.”
Yes, there was rejection from the children, a rejection that was not originated by them, so of course they were not at fault. But nevertheless, it was there. And there was rejection “from the source.” All of this was designed by the enemy to break me.
Where most would say, in this situation, “ok, I must have made a mistake…I am going back home”…or, “I need to pray more about this because surely God did not bring me all the way over here for this…this cannot be God!”; But I heard the voice of God saying to me stay…”stay through the pain….”
“I have something greater for you if you stay. Through your obedience will be victory.”
Give me your pain, for My glory.
You see God had something great in mind, a greater purpose. Take the example of Job…although mine is not this drastic, the principal is there. God said to the devil, “Consider my servant Job….” And the enemy was given permission to buffet Job…. to a degree… and this would all work for the Glory of God.
God had a work to accomplish…while He allowed the enemy to torment me, He had a greater purpose in mind that would “only” come about, “if I stood the test.” One purpose was what He was doing “in me”.
“Through this I would learn to know the voice of God, and to trust and obey Him through all things, even painful, so He could accomplish His purpose in me… that would also enable me to walk with Him at a greater level.”
Another purpose was, “He was accomplishing something in this place, the children’s home.” But it would only be accomplished if I stood through the trial and testing. By standing, I would defeat the enemy who knew more than I did about what would happen if I stood the testing. So he (the enemy) was trying to cause me to turn and flee so that I would lose the battle and God’s mission for the children’s home would not be accomplished. So this for me was not only a trial and testing, but spiritual warfare.
One day while going through this spiritual pruning of God, I was really feeling the weariness, and all of a sudden one young lady began to sing “Lord give me the strength to carry on” as she was getting ready for school. Then a few minutes later another girl began singing the same thing. It was a song they had learned in school and I had never heard them sing this one before, but it was “amazingly timely”.
Another song that the girls would sing kept going through my spirit, “Lord… fuel the fire… I want to be holy, set apart for your use, ready to do your will. Purify my heart, let me be as gold….”
“Let us “cleanse” ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He “prunes” so that it will be even more fruitful.”
The word “cleanse” comes from the same root word as the word “prunes” in John 15:1-2. It means “to purify.”
“The Lord was speaking” and
“I believe that through this process we are in, “He is purifying us so we can be ready to do His will.”
Thinking on the young lady that was singing, this is not the first time this has happened. When we take the girls to youth night, while riding in the van, they begin to sing songs and it is as though the Holy Spirit is giving them songs of encouragement to my heart. It is so amazing to me that God is using the girls unknowingly to minister to me, with just the right song at the right time. And how often do little girls sing these types of songs at will?
There is a young girl here that is “always” singing, Tamika, and I believe she has a special gift. I think she is going to have an anointing. As I said the Lord uses these girls sometimes as if they are a part of a story book that I am reading…”about us.” One will begin to sing a “specific song” that I need to hear. Usually this girl and her sister. The 360 Church in Sarasota, sent down some things and one of them is the book of Esther which I was led to read right away. Then I placed it into their library. Tamika asked me one day, where is the book of Esther? I went to find it. She said she was doing a report on it. The next day I slept in the home with them and was feeling a little down. She proceeded to tell me about the book of Esther. She wanted to tell me the whole story. Before long I noticed that 3 of the other girls had stopped their playing and were listening to the story and one of them even asked a question. Tamika told me the whole story and she knows it well.
Then they also wanted to sing. 3 of them sang and when Tamika sang her song,
“It was a song that God always uses to minister to me and Nelson at just the right time.” “God will make a way”.
I didn’t know she knew this song, and had never heard her sing it before! This was the night before we were to have a special meeting with the board and I really needed to hear this. “God will make a way!” Sure enough, the next morning at the meeting, I hardly had to say a word. Others there were “speaking my heart” and as they left, “comforting me for what I was having to live through daily.” They knew more than I expected! “God had made a way!”
The book of Esther was an encouragement to me because it was about a young girl who was chosen to be in a place, at a specific time, but the reason she was there was to save her people. She had to make a hard decision. “Her comfort” or what she knew she had to do.
I look at myself being chosen to be here, “for such a time as this.” I had to choose to follow the Lord, and trust Him “beyond what was comfortable”, no matter what, because He wanted to accomplish something.
The girls here needed love and I would go over to try and interact with them daily. Yet because I met with so much opposition, it made it difficult for me to go to the home at times. One time I took a break for a day or 2 from the home, struggling in myself. I used the time to pray and spend more time with God. As I was praying the Holy Spirit fell upon me in a way that was so powerful, as if I was in a church in corporate worship. I felt it so strong. The Holy Spirit gave me a “New Grace” that day, I felt strengthened and went back over to the home. I felt more power to do what had to be done. What is more amazing is that the atmosphere had changed there also! The opposition and persecution I had previously been experiencing there, had suddenly stopped as though it was never there! This lasted for a couple of weeks! God is so amazing!
Praying Through the Ridiculous…
It has been a long year in this wilderness. Many times things seemed like they were going to change… and then…. they would just go back to more of the same. Things, “in the natural”, happened that you could not “intelligently wrap your mind around.” Nothing made sense. Things we said were misinterpreted. Our intentions were constantly being “misread and misunderstood.” We frequently walked around with a “wrinkled brow” wondering “what in the world was going on?” We felt like we needed an interpreter, and “not only for the Creole language.” It seemed like we would never come out of this crazy cycle. It was evident that the Lord wanted us to seek only Him for everything…even counsel, because we were cut off from most of those we would have sought counsel from. We did get to share some things with Pastor Todd. It’s significant that this is the same Pastor we connected with in Sarasota.
My letter to him in response to his:…
“God also keeps sending me to the book of Esther, reading it and studying it. Strange, because this is what you wrote to me (about Esther) in your last email. Just this morning Nelson got scriptures on being strong and not dismayed. Songs were playing (random) and as “The Battle is the Lord’s” was playing it became “Rhema” to me. I was about to write you, then noticing your last email, you said “The Battle is the Lord’s” also. You then said
“Your faith will always cause you to prevail. And many times you must pray through the “ridiculous” to get to the “miraculous”. That is a Gem!!”
He also said, “Prayer is the only solution. Along with fasting!! Tearing down strongholds is so significant in exercising strategic methods to victory. Tough times will not last, but, tough people do!”
We knew the Lord was doing something, we just had to have patience and endure til the end. We even began to speak to others here that things would change……those who watched us and had been affected by the power of control of this enemy for years. We told them “things will not remain the same, just wait.” Some how we just “knew” and…
“…we began “calling those things that be not as though they were.”
They became encouraged by our faith, but after so much more time passed, they were not fully convinced, and continued to say , “things will never change.”
About a year from the time we arrived in Belize, the Lord “finally gave me a sense of a freedom” and began to speak the word “released” to me. But, after being in this so, so long, I needed to be sure. I didn’t want to be swayed by my own desires. So I sought confirmation. A series of circumstances began to happen to point the way to our release from this oppression. “The impossible became the possible.” The thing the Lord said would change, and that no one thought ever would, “finally began to miraculously change.” The enemy began to lose his hold.
The Lord released me to be “refreshed” for about 2 months among those that understood and knew me. My family and friends. Nelson stayed in Belize to continue helping out at the Children’s Home. I visited URM, our church in NY. I enjoyed much fellowship and developed new relationships with many who also “know the walk of faith”.
The Lord provided the finances for me to go back to the states. I also took a small plane there and yet “it did not affect me the same as the first time.” It’s amazing how that changed!
God’s Amazing Answer to Prayer!
I met a young man on the plane who was planning to start a children’s home in Belize. I had no idea of the awesome significance of this meeting! I will tell you more about that later.
God made a way for me to get around to take care of the things I needed to, and get a discounted flight to NY and back. I also needed to get a new pair of glasses while in the states, my old ones had broken. I worked it out to about $300 that I would need. My money was low and even though I ordered them, I was thinking I might have to send for them later. I was sharing my situation on finances with our same Pastor friend. Now I was back in Sarasota where he was, and he said to me ‘sometimes there are “giants” in our way to try to keep us from getting what we are suppose to have.’ I began to speak to those giants to release the funds. I had always been ‘believing and speaking that the funds would be placed into my hands before I returned to Belize.’ I needed $300.
I had previously called a sister so that I could connect with her before I returned to Belize. We had spent some time together before Nelson and I went to Belize. This sister sent us a blessing to Belize of $200 a year before and I wanted so many times in the past to thank her and could not. When I called her, I received no answer. I think it was ‘the day after I “spoke to the giants’, that I said,” let me try one more time.” She answered and was overjoyed at my call!
We met for lunch and as I thanked her for her gift to us she said she had something else for me. She gave me an envelope. I was so blessed, because I really did not expect her to give to me again, and certainly not at the spur of the moment! We went to the store to pick up some things. I was thinking of what I might need to buy to take back to Belize. As I walked into the Walmart store, on the one side they have an ‘eye glass’ place. This made me think of my glasses and then suddenly realized that God had provided the money I needed! In the envelope she gave me was “exactly $300!” She had no idea previously what I needed! The year before she had given us $200, so “this was definitely an answer to my prayer!” I remember saying by faith that “the money was going to be placed into my hands before I left the U.S.” That was what the money was for! Praise God!
Return to Belize
I had a great time of rest and renewing, and I returned to Belize.
In addition, though bittersweet, and after much thought, Nelson’s Dad and Millie had made the decision that the Lord was leading them to leave Belize and retire to the states, taking a much needed rest. They were the founders of the Children’s Home and had served about 10 years. Many young Belizean girls lives have been changed because of their compassion and commitment. They will leave a legacy.
When we first arrived here, Nelson’s Dad had agreed to give us a small monthly allowance, for our personal needs. Well, as he was now leaving, he apologetically let us know he would no longer be able to give us anything. So now we wondered what we would do. We left everything when we came here from the states.
“We had no money of our own. But we remembered that God was the one who initiated this thing, so it was God that was going to make sure we had what we needed. I always said over and over, “This is His Story.” So we thanked God for His provision and rested in Him.”
A short time later, I believe, within a week after Nelson’s dad told us he could not help us anymore, we received an email from a brother who we had met at the church in Sarasota, Florida. This brother, Andy, had stayed in touch with Nelson constantly. Not knowing anything about our money situation, he told us that he had been praying about taking us on and being a support to us personally, monthly. He asked Nelson how much he thought he would need each month. Praise God! God is so good!!
“We had told “no one” but God about our situation! He alone is able to supply our needs!”
Me, Nelson and Andy
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mat. 6:31-33
The Head and Not the Tail
It was now time for my husband and I to be the head and not the tail. We were moving from a place of oppression, as servants in the home, and were getting ready to take a role as administrators of this place. A role that we were constantly told we would “never have”…. “especially me”… although, we did not seek or desire this. We wanted to come out of the oppression, but this was not a role that we were trying to take. It was the Lord who placed us in position to take it.
God told us in a dream that he would turn this whole thing around…do a 180…. shoot arrows at the enemy that was shooting at us. And he certainly was doing that! Even the many things that were said about me, when I was not given a voice to explain myself…. the Lord fought my battle. I was amazed to find that those that had never met me, but had heard negative things about me, were unanimously in favor of my husband and I stepping in and overseeing this place. Others told me that they had heard good things about me from those who “had” met me. God is so amazing!
All of the things that the enemy “did not want me to do and said I never would do”…. in the natural…. like for instance, live in a “particular house” that was there, “drive the car”, “be in charge the office”, “the keys” and “even the girls”…. God now has me doing! That’s a 180 degree turn around!
“What is impossible for man is possible with God!”
So we are almost out of what I would call the 2nd phase of our journey.
Phase 2 is where the “twisties” came in. When we left NY, our pastors and Bishop prayed for us, and Bishop, sensing my concern about leaving said to me, “You’ll be alright.” And then he said,
“Be prepared for the unexpected. God has a way of doing twisties!”
Well, expecting to walk into whatever “Wonderful Destiny” the Lord was calling us to when we arrived in Belize, we were surprised when we ended up in a maze of rejection, accusations, humiliation, …. and going through a constant barrage of ridiculous situations. A wilderness journey, filled with constant delays each time we thought things would change. But God had a purpose in it.
“His purpose was to tear down strongholds at the home, and at the same time to build our character, teaching us to be led by Him, moment by moment, and to learn a “walk of faith”.
The enemy is still trying to hold on from afar. But that will not last for long. We believe this is a last attempt to hold on and control, to keep us from gaining the full victory. But the victory is ours!