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Monday, April 23, 2012

For Him, For her

This woman that I've met at DUO on Saturdays keeps telling me that I'm wonderful. I told her, "I'm not wonderful, I just know Someone Who is." She sees me the same way I see her; she doesn't see the worst of me, she sees the best of me and I don't look at her and think of the kind of mother that she was, I look at her and see her for the beautiful and gentle woman that she is; even if I knew the full extent of her past, that wouldn't change how much I love and adore this woman.

On Saturdays I feel like everything that is good in me comes to life, Jesus really takes over. I don't say that to toot my own horn because if you knew how I wrestled during the week you'd be able to acknowledge the miracle that Saturdays are, as I do. This woman is going through a really hard time and is really asking some big God questions about why bad things happen; she's lost her trust in God by way of pain. As she opened up to me tonight I realized the great responsibility that is being entrusted to me by her sharing these things with me. I realized that I really am going to have to be Jesus for her. She doubts the goodness of God, but thinks that I'm wonderful... And she doesn't believe that God is trustworthy, therefore I'm going to have to be trustworthy in the gap for her. People are meant to know Him by looking at us....yikes!

I want to be like Jesus in every way and tonight really just opened my eyes to the pressure that exists to follow through and not just want it, but be Him. This woman needs to know that He's good and I'm the simile.

"It's not just about me." I've heard that phrase so much, we all have, but I look at my weeks and I don't live like it's about her; I don't live, making sure that I'm doing what I need to do so that she'll see Jesus on Saturday... I tell you what though, I'll make sure from now on. Because at the end of the day it's not just about her either, it's about Him and I can't misrepresent Him.

So I'll wake and I'll live for Him cause she needs to see Him and I need to please Him.

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Approach


"Why don't you go to the cross?" I thought during worship this morning, but instead of physically approaching the "Holy of Holies" I approached in my heart and in worship. Some moments later I saw a little girl, maybe only a few years old, come up from the back of the crowd, went up to the cross, kissed the nail that was placed at the feet, and then she turned around and looked at all of us...at me and then she began to clap to the music.

A child could approach without shame, fear or thought; where was I? I can tell you where I was not; I was not at the foot of the cross kissing His feet.

Approach.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Die To Self

"God I just want to live again!" I screamed through the ink on the page of my journal and softly but strongly I heard the reply, "Then first you have to die."

Death #1

Looking at the time I had left in Adelaide and the pack of seeds I had left to use, I decided to staff the DTS. My intention for months has been that I would go home in May and it was understood, when I signed on to staff, that I would miss the last month of the DTS but meet them in London. Challenges from people around me started coming directed at me laying down and sacrificing my trip home in May; I thought they must be crazy until I realized my unwillingness to lay it down was the very reason why I probably needed to do it. Further examination led me to realize that I would be the only one benefiting from my trip in May, but the it would really affect the students negatively. Death #1: Trip in May

Death #2

Sometimes I get to do what I want to do and say no to the things I don't. I had a nice teaser session of this when I was able to turn down doing the Certificate 4 in Missions course, here on the base, because my visa did not require me to take it and nothing in me wanted to do it. Freedom short lived. 'I have bad news. Your visa states that you can only work in one place for 6 months and then you have to move' (tempting) 'or you can study in the same place for 4 more months. So I'm sorry but you have to take the course.' I'm still trying to figure out in what universe YWAM is considered work since I don't receive a paycheck, but pay to volunteer.....but in order to finish what God wants me to finish - Death #2: Certificate 4 in Missions course.

Death #3

What was God going to ask me to do next? I was almost fearful of what He would ask me to do and I was completely unwilling to ask Him about it because I was completely unwilling to hear it. Things were coming up around the base, people being asked to pray about certain things and all the while fear is building up in my heart that God was going to ask me to be an answer to things that I felt were beyond my ability or desire to handle. But that's not God. Weeks went by and I found that things were getting harder; almost unbearable. In God's perfect timing, one of my leaders of YWAM in New Zealand came to the base and we got to talk and I got to process all that happened with the base falling apart in Auckland. This man gave me some questions to take to God and I gave God a question of my own, "What's been hindering me Lord?" "Jealousy. You are jealous for New Zealand, for what you could've had and hope to have... How can I take you to the promised land I have for you if you are still clinging to your own?" Death #3 New Zealand. I was publically released from my commitment to Auckland by this man and to symbolize my release, I gave him the shells from New Zealand that I have always kept in my wallet and asked him to take them back home.

Death #4???

It's been a couple of months since I heard God tell me that in order to live I needed to die and in between these 3 deaths, there have been so many little daily deaths that have needed to take place. I don't know how much more God is going to show me that I need to throw on the altar, but what I do know is that after the altar comes the bronze laver where we are washed and we are able to enter into the inner court with confidence. "It's Friday but Sunday's coming."

I don't know where you're at, if you're at an altar yourself, but I would encourage you that death is only the beginning; that there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning; that there's a laver up ahead and the altar is only one part of the tabernacle, hold on for the Holy of Holies...I know I am.

 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

DUO

One of the new major ministries we are doing now is called, "DUO" which stands for "Do Unto Others." We've partnered with the Salvation Army to put on something for those in need every Saturday that is unlike anything else currently operating in the city.

Homeless shelters are almost non-existent in Australia. The closest thing to a warm bed these people have access to is at the detox center which requires them to be intoxicated in order for them to be admitted for the night. We start at 5pm with a sit down, home-cooked, meal. This is a time where they get to catch up with old friends, friends that we are working to become as well. At 8pm everything shifts; the xbox and playstations are brought out, the free clothes shop is set up, the rest area made available, the coffee shop opened, and the live music starts and we remain with them until 5 am.

Being with them through the night says far more than we could ever verbalize. It says that we care about them enough to stay awake so that they can have a place to sleep; that we love

My main roles are to 1st be with them and 2nd to communicate. I'm always trying to communicate love, value and belonging in which ever way presents itself. I really enjoy getting to use music in this way; whether it be singing worship songs that are clearly communicating God's love for them or whether it be playing a song they've requested...it's all saying something and every week I can see more and more that they are getting the message.

I met one lady and had a long and deep conversation with her way back in December before DUO even started and we were still going to the park to just pass out food. About a month ago at around 4 am she came around again and she's been coming back at random times. Last week she came when we opened for the first time because she said she wanted to be able to spend some time with me. I gave her a hug when I saw her and she said, "You have such nice hugs. When you hug me it's like you really mean it." If she only knew how much I do.

There's another lady who has been coming pretty consistently for the past month. She travels over an hour to get there every Saturday. From the beginning she's made us go deep; talking about forgiveness, why God let's bad things happen and really just opening up. Last week I went for it and shared the gospel with her. And let me just tell you that we serve a God that would send someone across the world to be with someone who needed to hear that they are worth the trip. If God told me that He brought me to Australia to communicate His love to her, I'd say that makes more sense than all the other reasons I try to conjure up.

 

They say that openness begets openness and DUO is teaching me that sacrifice begets change. Please keep these two ladies, who will remain nameless, in your prayers and all of DUO. I look forward to the future stories that I'll get to share with you. Thanks for sending me here to be apart of this.

 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Release of "Home of Hope & Dreams"

Today marks a truly special day. Today is the day that my song "Home of Hope & Dreams" has been released. If you click on the tab above this post; you can buy the song and read all about the project surrounding the orphanage in Uganda.

This song marks the first of many. It marks the first bridge that I get to help build between us and the broken world. It marks the first time one of my songs for justice gets a chance to do more than just raise awareness. This marks a huge point in my life as a missionary, as a musician, and as a person who never imagined something like this happening.

It was just a year ago that God gave me this dream to use music to fight injustice in this way and now He's brought it all together. I'm truly blessed.

 

Please share the song and help it spread so that more people can get involved in helping The Home of Hope and Dreams" in Uganda.

Thanks for all your support in helping make this happen!

 

Blessings,

Stephanie Gray