Hello, everyone. So the Create Justice Tour has reached it’s completion. Here’s what happened and what we saw God do from when we arrived in San Francisco until the end of tour (Read what happened before San Francisco in the previous post). Sorry this is so long. I didn’t get many chances to update on the road.
San Francisco, CA:
In San Francisco one of the first things we got to do was speak at a church called The Church of The Open Door in San Raphael,a city North of San Fran. Kate, our tour leader, explained to the church what God had been doing in Eastern Europe while we there last year. She also gave some information about human trafficking, including statistics and ways to help and pray. Afterwards we talked with people one-on-one about YWAM, human trafficking, and had the privilege of praying for and encouraging different people. It was a good time and in our conversations the name of a certain doctor from the local seminary kept coming up. People kept saying,”If you’re interested in arts and ministry, then you should talk to him.” So we went out to lunch with some lovely people from the church and afterwards we asked if they could take us to see this doctor (I’m not sure what to really call him without using his name on the internet). Our hosts graciously agreed and said his house actually wasn’t a far walk up the street.
Long story short, we met him and ended up talking about God’s perfection and Who He is as a creator, among other things. Here are some of the major themes that came up: God was in community with Himself, a perfect example of fellowship within the Trinity before He even made us, and that as artists and Christians we need community as well to be as healthy and creative as we were meant to be. We bear the image of God the Creator and so we also are creators. To squelch or ignore personal creative potential is to not fully embrace the essence and image of who God made us to be. In fully embracing our identities as creators we honor the purpose and creativity of God and become more like Him, as He intended. An interesting example of God’s encouraging our creativity as His children is when God told Adam to name all of the animals He had created. After a very encouraging and God centered palaver with the doctor, we headed off to the church’s baptism event where Kate and I got to play with the worship band.
Another night in San Fran we were very blessed to have a family arrange a night for us to share in their home. They invited quite a few people and we had pizza with everyone. Our team took turns telling stories about some of the amazing things God had done while were on outreach in Eastern Europe. I felt the Holy Spirit intensely as we were recounting God’s faithfulness to us in the past, and could tell He was working because the group had so many questions leading into quality discussion. Looking back it seems that the theme of the night was God’s faithfulness to complete the goodness of His will even if His followers (me and my friends) are weak, useless, and have no idea what we’re doing. Some of the stories we told will be in the ‘Stories‘ link above at some point.
A night or so later we screened Nefarious: Merchant of Souls at our host family’s home for a small group of friends. Afterwards we held a prayer and intercession time where God not only turned our attention and prayers towards those in need, but He also healed some of our personal wounds and insecurities. We later got an e-mail from our host family about how the morning after our intercession time a ring of twenty or so child pornographers were arrested in their neighborhood. They told us that they are still praying and excited to see what God will do next.
The very first night when we drove into Madras, Oregon, we did ministry in the State Prison on the outskirts of town. It was a new experience for all of us, and we were understandably nervous. I was unsure how we would be received by the inmates and was expecting to be ignored, I guess. I was wrong. We all got checked in and taken to the chapel, where there were about eighty or so inmates and the chaplain plus his wife. The service opened with worship done by the prison worship team, all inmates except for the chaplain’s addition of lead vocals and keyboard. I was floored by the evidence in some of the men’s reverence that this was everything to them, all they had. Others weren’t as comfortable, but their brothers would explain things to them during the service. It was a beautiful reality; no matter where you end up, Jesus will find you there. You cannot escape the providence of His love and His longing towards you, you can only reject it, and even if you do reject Him, He is relentless in piling opportunities on your life to change your mind. Ashley spoke first after the worship ended about why God reproves and disciplines us as a Father. God corrects us because He loves us and He doesn’t want us to hurt ourselves. Kate spoke next about the Father heart of God. It was a powerful message because we all have misconceptions about God, partly because of our earthly fathers that weren’t perfect in mirroring God’s heart. Some of us have no earthly father. The focus of the message was to debunk our false view of God and help bring understanding of His love for us as our Heavenly Father. After this I led the church in worship and spoke about grace and God’s desire to have has children come home, regardless of what they have done. Ashley spoke up and said that she felt like God wanted to heal people that night, specifically a broken toe and an upper back. Twenty people or so came up to receive prayer as we continued worship and Ashley and Kate prayed over the men. God physically healed several people that night, healed many spiritually, and spoke deep things to us about the wildness of His redemption and His plans for that prison. God is so faithful. I feel that He wants us to believe and pray for a massive outbreak of the gospel in that prison and that many will be saved.
The next morning at Living Hope Church, Kate gave a short presentation on our missions trips and about human trafficking during two services. After the second service, we went down to the “kids’ zone” to have a time of worship through prophetic art with the kids. There were about thirty children and each received a blank piece of paper and a random colored pencil. Next they were instructed to spread out across the room and find their own place. We opened in prayer and asked God to give us pictures or to move our pencil for us as we drew with Jesus. Kate and I played some worship music and jammed out a little bit until everyone was finished drawing. I know, for some of you this might sound really kooky, strange, or some other adjective, but wait ’til you hear what the kids drew! There was a time of sharing where any of the kids could come up and share with everyone what they drew, why, and if they drew it for somebody. Some of these blew our minds, not only because of what we saw on paper, but because of the immense purity of these children’s hearts and how Jesus had clearly been drawing with them. One girl drew a picture of her and her sister standing on top of a hill together. I immediately thought of Psalm 23. A little boy came up sheepishly and smiling. We saw his paper, just a bunch of blue scribbles really, and we asked him what he drew. He said,”I drew the wind.” Ashley asked if he had drawn it for someone specific. His answer was,”I drew the wind for my dad.” I was floored, and I still am when I think back to it. Many of the children drew pictures of themselves with their friends and family standing next to Jesus, which at first glance we might be tempted to brush off as too simple to be from God, but what else would God have from us except that we abide and be near Him? The common denominator of all of the drawings was pure, simple, and the heart of God; that we would be with Him, as individuals, as family, and as friends.
There was another screening of Nefarious arranged by some members of the Living Hope Church at a host family’s house. It was a large group of people this time, and whole families came. The intercession and worship time that followed was powerful, and there was no inhibition from prayer that night. During worship I could hear each voice in the room clearly resounding with mine in harmony. It could have been the beautiful acoustics of the room we happened to be in, but it gave me the oh-so-relieving feeling that I wasn’t just dragging everyone through a worship and prayer time, but that we were a community of believers calling in unison for the kingdom of heaven to come on earth as it is in heaven.
The rest of the week, we spoke at a couple of home groups, went on a prayer walk around Madras with some friends and local prayer warriors, spoke at the women’s jail inside the local Native American Reservation, met with a prophetic artist for a workshop, and some other things that either would take too long to say or I’ve forgotten for the moment (my memory fails).
Anacortes area, WA:
Washington was an interesting place for us to go, because so many people from our Discipleship Training School in Germany came from Washington State. It seemed during our stay that every day was a reunion with three more people we knew from our time in Herrnhut, Germany. Lots of fun! One of the things that we all did together was serve at a homeless ministry put on by the Anacortes church in a local park. There were hot-dogs, burgers, watermelon, free clothes and other items, plus a lot people to hang out with. A couple of minutes into my time serving watermelon on the lunch line, someone (I can’t remember who) said we could play worship for everyone. We got out our instruments and had a good time of worship. It was nice to have Karissa singing with us again, and I’m glad we got to worship together.
On Sunday morning Kate gave her presentation to the local church about our missions trips in Eastern Europe and explained some things about human trafficking. We invited everyone to a screening of Nefarious that we had graciously arranged for us at the church that night.
Yakima is where my good friend from DTS is living and doing ministry. He recently started a Christian community house there and has been encouraging his housemates while working nearby at an assisted living home. The house is fueled by Christian community and we came to support what they are doing there with worship and prayer times. While we were worshiping the first night a man walked up to the house and asked if he could come and inside and hear the music (from what I gather), so one of the housemates led him into the living room where we were worshiping. The man got very nervous for some reason and said he needed to get home even though no one had approached him or said anything uncomfortable, and Remy tried to assure him that everything was totally fine and he could stay if he wanted to, but the man ran out the door, hopped on his bike and was gone. We felt God leading us to pray for the man, so that’s what we did for half an hour, hoping he would come back. He didn’t come back that night, but we believe God will use Remy’s household to minister that man again at some point. What an interesting event!
The next night Remy had arranged for us to lead worship at a local college-age group. Reme played djembe with us and we had an awesome time in the Lord’s presence. I would ask that you pray for Reme’s community house: that God would use it as a bright light in their community to reach the lost and those that we as Christians often overlook.
That kind of wraps up the tour as it looks on paper, except that we had to drive all the way back across the country to Michigan to return our rental car and catch our flights back home. We learned a lot from everything God led us to do and all of the interesting situations He put us in, especially from living with each other as a touring missions team. I and the Create Justice team would like to thank all of our host families everywhere we went, we were so blessed by you and we thank you so much for supporting God’s work in and through us, all of our supporters back home and abroad, we couldn’t do what we do unless God had arranged for you to help us, and most of all to Jesus, for being our Savior, our Lord, our Supplier for every need, our One Agent of redemption, and our personal affectionate Lover.
Where the tour members are headed next:
Kate will be spending some time in Michigan resting and praying to see what God wants for her to do next. Ashley will be on a plane to Herrnhut, Germany, in the beginning of September to be staff at the YWAM base. I will be flying out at the end of August to be staff in Herrnhut at the YWAM base and to do outreaches in Eastern Europe. I’ll also be preparing to record an album of original worship and praise songs, maybe a hymn or two as well.
I can’t believe you read all of that… Thank you.