Thursday, July 26, 2012

God, can I go?... Off to Russia!

It was a pretty uneventful take-away. As always though, I expect a bit of adventure and moments that you can only trace back to "There is a God and He has revealed himself to us clearly."

It's exciting to think that God would include any of us in His plan for this world. His plans for this world are quoted so often from Jeremiah where He was speaking to the Jewish people. However, it is a promise I know that fits within his character for all people who put their hope in Jesus.

When I was invited to go to Russia again this summer, I begged the question, Lord, can I go?" Is that what you have for me to be a part of?

If you are asking God how He can include you in the BIGGER picture and His plan, He won't just throw you out there, He prepares you in every way.

Sometimes that means enduring various obstacles, lessons, difficulties, sorrows mixed in with Joys, triumphs, lessons learned, freedom which yield both the best of times and the worst of times.

But, if out of those times you can keep yourself from becoming angry with the circumstances or people in those circumstances to the point of a hard heart, bitterness, or unforgiveness, then you will find yourself in the middle of a real life Bible story where God begins unfolding your life and it's narrative is triumph in the midst of looming defeat., adventure, hope, and a certain awe of, "How is this even happening, Lord? I am nobody!"

Or, we can resign ourselves to a life of constant bickering with loved ones, ones we don't care to love, and a monotony of life mostly enjoyed by the animal kingdom: live, devour or be devoured, pro-create, and die. Except
for the fact that our destiny without truly seeking after God for His purpose and Call on our lives, leaves us with a loss of something special, wonderful, and beautiful to be a part of.

This wonder, beauty, and special undertaking comes with the cost of denying ourselves, our right to surrendering our rights and allow God to have the Glory and Vengeance that only He has the right to undertake. He is the one who paid all penalty for all sin, and He is the only one who has that right.

Surrendering ourselves means we can offer him all we are, long to be, and all we lack... It's coming to terms with who we are without Him. It's coming to terms with what is hidden in iur hearts that we dare not admit and hence, deem ourselves broken or imperfect. It's the sick who need a doctor! Be quick to recognize sin you don't want to acknowledge: bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, pride are ones that go on unnoticed.

Oh how I pray you and I would surrender ourselves so that He can use us as His loving hands and feet that being good news, and tongue that gives life through the sharing of His ability to rescue us from death and all that makes us fall short of Him.

He's calling you by Name... Will you respond?

Russia & South Dakota Summer 2012

What a summer this is turning out to be! When you surrender your life to Jesus and you say, "Here I am, Send Me!" He does. I have experienced some highs and lows during these missions/music trips and all of it has such value and learning to be had.

Russia was filled with times on the streets of playing the guitar and singing as passersby stopped to listen, or receive a Gospel of John handed out by the team. I was partnered with CCCPM and Riding High Ministries along with my dear friends/family Perry and Maryann Willer.

We had some wonderful laughs and time together in addition to "if it can go wrong, it will" moments. But in the end, You see Jesus bring others into Himself and encourage the sheep who already in the fold to step out and be bold enough to be used to rescue other lost sheep! I learned alot and gained many new friendships/relationships and solidified others!

I posted tons of pics on my facebook page. Internet was extremely spotty!"
South Dakota
Dupree Indian Reservation: David and Roseann Mapa have become dear friends through knowing my "home away from home" Maryann Willer. I was invited to come out to South Dakota to do missions/music in Dupree on the Reservation. A missions team from Calvary Chapel Melbourne, Florida was out and they became instant family and Background vocals and a choir! I was in a parade for the town which was just adorable and sweet, sang the National Anthem to start their first ever 3 on 3 basketball tournament during Alumni Weekend, did a few concerts: some planned and some impromptu, and led worship with a new friend, Glenn from Hills View E. Free. Many in the community came out and made the service such a special time. CC Melbourne Team did skits and gave a small message, and we shared in music when my new choir joined me for the last song... it was quite the surprise for those in attendance. A few other folks from Hills View W. Free like Fay and fam were also a huge help in Dupree! Pastor Chug and Karen are the pastors at Calvary Chapel Dupree and their hearts for people was evident and I am honored to have come alongside and been a part of their ministry to their community! I also made some really sweet little friends who were wonderful helpers and assistants throughout our time there!

Rapid CityBenefit Concert: I also did a benefit concert for a missionary named Mitch Hildebrandt who is in desperate need of funds for His continued emergency medical care in Swaziland. $11,500 was raised that night! What a miracle! I met Pastor Ron of Hills View E. Free church in Piedmont at the Reservation and what a beautiful and sweet couple he and his wife are. Pastor Ron MC'd the Benefit Concert and it was wonderful. The concert was held at South Canyon Baptist Church were the Church Family there was SO helpful and accommodating to all the needs for that night! Some wonderful folks, Pastor, Paul, Bob, Mary, Dale (Sound) and do many of the Church family so warm!!! Thank you for amazing sound and servants' hearts!

Rescue Mission: Oh, this was sweet. I did a one hour concert of music and sharing. It was such a sweet time with such sweet people. I love them all!!! Maryann and Roseann also shared their stories and what was on their hearts. They asked if I would return to do a benefit concert of which I am so willing, should God provide the way and means for me to return to them. Such a beautiful place!

Alternative Fuel Coffee Shop: Did an almost 2 hour concert here with a couple of breaks to meet people. I managed to learn everyone's name in the room which was ALOT of people! IT HAD to be God! We became a family and had so much fun and a sweet time of worship. I loved every minute and felt so at home. Had quite a few there who Jesus touched and I am so thankful to have been a part of what He is doing in people's hearts. I made LOTS of friends who just kept coming around and so we got to see them alot.

Korean/Japanese Restaurant: Oh what good food and I sang for the owner and the patrons before dinner and shared CDs for everyone who happened to be there. It was so much fun, that one of the patrons requested I sing Happy Birthday for His friend who had just turned 30. :) The owner, Grace, is a jewel and she and her staff treated us so well. What an honor that was.

Visiting with a new friend in Custer: Mourn with those who mourn, and laugh with those who laugh and was this ever that opportunity to come alongside a VERY special lady and family and encourage her that the Lord is near. We prayed with her and sang songs of peace and hope for her, praying that Jesus would comfort her, and HE DID and Is, and continues to. She prayed for assurance in committing her life to Jesus and having His peace, and I just LOVE this gal and her family. She lost a brother whose life brought life to many others through organ donation. This is a special family and I ask you keep them in your prayers.

Hills View E. Free: Beautiful church service where I again had the opportunity to lead with Glenn Bailey and then shared some songs from Five O'Clock AND meet MORE new friends and Church Family. It was a sweet time and we just loved the morning!

Fatima and Samuel: are a mom and son whose lives have touched me deeply. They are my new family as a result of David and Roseann and those four are bound by a yearning to see God raise up Sierra Leon in Africa. I pray that God would touch them and supply their every need, and if He wills, allow me to share in any way to see their hope for this country come to pass... that all would know Jesus!!!

Misc: We had opportunity to see the sights and visit Mount Rushmore. Loved it! Maryann was such a huge blessing to me. She manned the CD table, prayed with people, handed out videos, Gospels of John, and Cd and made sure I was taken care of.

This really was a remarkable trip and I am so excited for when I can return to South Dakota in God's timing.

Remember, we just have to sit at the feet of Jesus, He'll unfold His plan for us. There is no striving or worrying, just walking and following and HIM unfolding and doing through OUR hands and feet as His!

I have left out SO many intricate details, but these posts really cannot endure lengthy novel-like sentiments. Oh how I wish I could replay the week for you so you could experience it. Please pray for all the people we had divine appointments with. Some prayed to receive Jesus, some reconciled and returned to Him, and some are still pondering, I am sure. There were a lot of these appointments, and God knows if you help pray how to respond! Thank you to all of you who bought CD's to help support the work I do in music and missions. I am forever grateful!

That's the quick recap. Now off for my East Coast Mini-tour with my mom making a surprise visit to the stage with me and Kenya with Maryann! Please keep us in your prayers. Calendar and locations can be found on
I cannot close this without saying that NONE of this would be possible if I did not have the most WONDERFUL husband in the world whose company I always long for and whose heart is one of Gold. He is the best husband anyone could ask for and I thank Him for being my "sender" in so many ways. Truly, a gift I have received in my brian.

love, e