Monday, June 03, 2013

In My Pila

Sooooo, this is kind of exciting: "Rejoice with those who rejoice!" I was really rejoicing the other week when the proof copy of En Mi Pila (In My Pila) arrived at my doorstep. A back-burner project of over three years (that is REALLY back-burner), it was a big learning curve to get a handle on the book industry, different publishing venues, etc. There were a lot of set-backs, a lot of months of idleness, life was just busy when working full-time for a ministry, but things finally moved forward this year.

In My Pila is a Spanish/English bilingual children's book birthed from the unexpected discovery that there is actually a severe shortage of relevant children's books for the children of Latin America. In sourcing books for the at-the-time new library in the Global Shore school in Tizate, Guatemala back in 2009, I came across various issues which in the end, inspired me to pen my own book.

Forgetting that I was only a wannabe artist, I bought a drawing book from Chapters and started trying to capture the little girl in my mind who is the central character in the book. After this embarrassing attempt (right), I knew it was hopeless!

Invited for dinner one night at my friend Krista Reimer's place, the idea of the book came up and she jumped all over offering to do the illustrations! It had not even entered my mind to ask her for, although an extremely talented artist, Krista was busy at the time launching her own art career, mothering two children and being a busy farmer's wife. I would never even have dreamed of asking her to be part of the project, especially because from inception it was to be a non-profit project that would bring in funds for literacy. But she was in. All the way.

What a God-send!

Her illustrations took the book to a whole new level.

So, three and a half years later, we give you In My Pila, a story featuring a Spanish girl and her day to day adventures with her "pila" --a common household object in Latin American households but here, the object of the playful habits of an imaginative and somewhat accident prone little girl!

Available for purchase at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca or from me directly.

For more information on this initiative, visit our project website at www.inmypila.org

Friday, January 04, 2013

Pink Slippers

I will write this in such a way that if you find yourself either completely inspired or completely skeptical, you can test it for yourself and go and do it. ;)
Foundational Premise: Words of Knowledge.
Now if you’re anything like me, you may think (or may previously have thought) that someone who has the spiritual gift of “knowledge” is simply someone of above-average intelligence. This is what I thought my whole life until I learned otherwise and now I see that perspective is completely ludicrous.  If a spiritual gift is something of the “Spirit” and man cannot take any credit for it…then of course a “word of knowledge” is something entirely different than natural intelligence.
In scripture, Jesus had a lot of these.  He was a man completely filled up with the Holy Spirit all the time and he modeled the Spirit-filled life for us. There are countless examples of him receiving words of knowledge through the Spirit. My version often translates this as “perceives.” Jesus “perceived” thoughts often, with the Pharisees, etc.  There are other examples of him receiving words of knowledge and maybe the clearest one is his interaction with the woman at the well. (to brush up on this story, read John 4). 
Jesus asks in John 4:16, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.”  Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband;’ for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
This is an example of a word of knowledge. The Holy Spirit gave information to Jesus that he otherwise would not have known. As you can see, it is not at all related to natural intelligence. It is a tid-bit of information that the Spirit imparts in a given moment.
Okay. So “words of knowledge” are the foundational premise of “treasure hunting.” If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit, and if you have the Holy Spirit, you’re a candidate to receive a word of knowledge.
Now, how Kevin Dedmon (author of "The Ultimate Treasure Hunt") has turned this into an evangelism exercise is the following: get a piece of paper. Make these five categories:
Location.
Name.
Prayer Request.
Physical Appearance.
Unusual.
Draw several lines under each category. Set your stop watch for three minutes. Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about who his treasure is that day. We know that God wants to encounter people. We know that he has told us to Go. Ask him for clues to help you to go and encounter that person that he wants to encounter through you that day.
Start your stop watch and start writing! Whatever comes to your mind (remember, you prayed asking the Lord to give you thoughts…) so write your thoughts down. Even if they seem totally out there, write them down. Place them in whatever corresponding category they fit into. This sheet of paper becomes your “Treasure Map.” When you are finished your three minutes, look it over, and follow your map. You might start at one of your location clues and once there, see who you find.
“Location” might be anything from “Walmart” to “park bench” to “bus stop” to anything that would lead to a location. “Physical Appearance” could be height, ethnicity, clothing, hair color, etc. “Prayer Requests” may include a specific body part for physical healing, it may be finances, a strained relationship., etc. Name = name, and “Unusual” is anything else that doesn’t fit into one of the other categories.
Several weeks ago I was sitting in my car. I had just come out of church, I knew I was going to Superstore to buy groceries, so I thought I’d manage two lists at once: a grocery list and a Treasure Hunting list. I prayed, started my timer, and filled out a list. I had some really weird names come to mind and probably the weirdest clue of all was “pink slippers.” I actually shook my head when that came to mind, thought, “You are ridiculous Kat” but, wrote it down anyways as instructed.
I went to Superstore. I had things like “cherries” and “lemons” on my paper too, so I lingered in those sections for a bit but didn’t find anyone who matched my other descriptions. I thought if my ridiculous clue of “pink slippers” were to miraculously show up, it would maybe be some little kid in her mom’s cart, swinging her feet with pink slippers on. Or maybe some out-there teenager, wearing big furry monster slippers or something. Nope.
My cart was filling up. Now, as mentioned before, I was in Superstore. By this point I had wandered into the women’s clothing section and was browsing when I looked over and there! There was a woman, holding TWO SETS OF LITTLE PINK SLIPPERS IN HER HANDS! I honestly could hardly believe my eyes, this was my most ludicrous clue, the one I was sure I had made up myself by accident but there she was. Little baby slippers, pink ones for girls, two sets in her hands. Clearly, I was crazy to go up to her, but clearly God is crazy too and made it way too obvious for me to be disobedient. Woe to the disobedient! I could hardly ask to be used by God and then back out when he had so directly pointed someone out to me. And she was in a “grocery” store and had “glasses” which were two other clues on my paper. 
So, I maneuvered my full cart over to her and said something awkward like, “Hi, I know this is really strange and all, but I believe in the Lord and I asked Him to show me who he would like me to pray for today and I wrote down the clues that he told me. And one of them was pink slippers! And you’re holding pink slippers! Here, look at my paper and see for yourself!” at which point, I showed her my paper and she gave a little surprised start and smiled and said, “oh my, I guess I am holding pink slippers now aren’t I!” Anyways, I had her look over the rest of the paper to see if any of the other clues made sense to her. She browsed through it, the names, prayer items, etc., but none of it related to her. So I just asked if there was someone I could pray for in general and she said her son Trevor was sick, I could pray for him, and so I did. Right there in Superstore, I prayed for Trevor to be healed. 
Now this is not some ka-POW! story where someone’s leg was healed and they came to Christ or anything like that, but it was very encouraging to me and was encouraging to the lady and was just a great start to obedience, to practice listening to the Lord, to making myself available, to being a vessel that the Lord could encounter someone through. And, chances are…that woman will never, ever forget the day that some Christian young adult came up to her, with a piece of paper with clues on it, one of which obviously pointed to her, and prayed for her son’s healing. Maybe her son even got healed, I probably won’t ever know, but it was an opportunity to represent the King and the King’s kingdom.  A-men. 

p.s. here is a link to purchase your copy of "The Ultimate Treasure Hunt." I highly recommend it. Get more familiar with the content of a treasure hunt and read countless testimonies that will literally leave you laughing at the sheer goodness of God. A-men!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Treasure Hunting (prologue)

I’ve been pretty into this trilogy of documentaries over the last number of years, the final one has only just recently been released, “Father of Lights” and the first and second were, “Finger of God” and “Furious Love.” They’re an important part of my ever-growing personal resource library and I show them to our Summer Students every year. They are real eye-openers and faith-stirrers. To others, they are controversial. 

One year, the faith in the room was so stirred by the powerful testimony presented in the movies that shortly thereafter, under a beautiful moon on the back lawn of the student residency here in Ontario, at 10:30pm at night just before another full day of asparagus madness…one of our students was instantaneously healed of a very severe case of carpal tunnel. Right on our lawn, right in the middle of nowhere, right with a bunch of 20-somethings, right here in Ca-na-da. Three years later…she is still healed.  

Now the reason we were so stirred to even consider praying such bold, faith-believing prayers that we did that night, was largely due to a section of the movie where we watched people our own age, young adults, off doing street evangelism and praying bold prayers for total strangers and incredible things happening. And that happened right in Redding, California.  It wasn’t in Sri Lanka or anything and they weren’t some crazy latinos, It was the United States of America and a bunch of awkward looking white people. Just like us! Nobodies! Those documentaries were the first I ever caught a glimpse of the ministry “Bethel” that operates there in Redding under the leadership of Bill Johnson. “Incredible” and “of the Lord” would be two ways to describe what is going on over there on the west coast.  [If you are up on your worship music at all, you have probably been listening to/singing much of the music arising from there and possibly didn’t even know it.] 

In that section of the documentary showing these students going around the city “treasure hunting,” following clues to find specific people and then praying for them…I was totally intrigued to say the least. You see, just prior to that time, God started doing something a little bit radical in my life, it was a gradual lead up to a pivotal turning point and then all of a sudden, it was not gradual anymore. It was kind of a…supernatural earthquake in my faith journey that brought not devastating, but glorious results. A one-time pivotal turning point, but not a one-time event if that makes any sense. Since that time (4 years later) I’ve been playing catch-up to what the Christian walk is all about. 

Somewhere along the way in those four years, evangelism began growing in my heart.  It really is not rocket-science to figure out why, but that would make a great topic for another blog some other time. Needless to say, I kind of knew that I was going to become one of those people. Who was really bold in my faith. And went and talked to strangers. Here in my own culture! And it would be in the same spirit of those students from Bethel: going out willingly, with joy, to share the love of Christ.  An overflow, really.

Anyways, back to four years ago. So this building of evangelism started there. And I really wanted to incorporate evangelism into our Summer Program somehow with our university students that we work with for four months, two months of which are a missions trip to Guatemala.  But I didn’t seem quite ready, or maybe I was stalling because of the fear of man, who knows. Anyways, we finally took the plunge this summer. And we had “Evangelism Wednesdays” where we headed into Antigua to…evangelise. With no tools, equipping sessions or really anything. But we had to start somewhere, and the group this summer had the disposition to be our guinea pigs. We prayed a freaked-out kinda prayer every week, something like, “Lord…we’re freaked out! And this is….scary. but….we love you! And loving you means obeying you! And there’s just no way around the fact that you commanded us to GO! GO GOG OGGGOG GOOO! And share about You! So receive our love! And we believe you have divine encounters for us this day. Amen.”

And….BREAK!

And then…God did some really cool things. And you can read all about that on our ministry website, there were five stories penned out and posted. They are titled “Evangelism Story #1” …”Evangelism Story #2”… and onwards to #5. Click here and catch up: http://www.globalshore.org/category/blog/ 

[WOW. This background is taking more time then I thought it would.]

Now, because of our extremely positive results in our experiences this summer, we as a ministry want to incorporate evangelism all the time. On every trip! And see Christians participate and grow in this and become a vocal piece for Jesus.  And love on people in the process. And pray for people! And share Jesus with people! HELLO PEOPLE: mission of Jesus! SOULS. Right. Onwards! 

So we are developing resources to prep teams to do this. But I’m just a baby evangelizer myself, but the truth is folks (here’s the truth) you don’t learn how to walk out your faith by sitting in a classroom. You learn to walk out your faith by walking! Getting off of your butt, out of your house, into the world, dependent (not on yourself) but on the Holy Spirit. And that’s where you learn. It takes. A little. Bit. Of. RISK! (I am all for teaching and equipping and discipleship; don’t get me wrong. But at some point…there’s a practicum.)

And so I am learning. But I need to learn more. And fast. And our teams will be involved with this. And I host those teams. And one strategy of evangelism that is good for newbies/babies is “Treasure Hunting.” 

And…this blog is way too long already. Consider this a prologue.

(a great song: "I See Heaven" by Bryan & Katie Torwalt.)