Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

We arrived in Israel two days ago and we are very happy to be home. We were supposed to arrive on Wednesday, but we we laid over in Atlanta for a day. For those who have ever flown standby, even with the blessings of cost and comfortable seats, it can be a little troublesome at times. If the plane is relatively empty, there is no problem getting a seat. However, when flights get canceled or it is high season for flying, it can be nearly impossible to get a seat...let alone two seats. So we ended up staying the night in Atlanta and leaving the next day. It really turned into a wonderful blessing in disguise. Just having that one day gave us some time to decompress a bit before entering into this heavy spiritual environment. We are both really happy bout being here and are excited to see what the Lord will do.

When I say heavy spiritual environment, I may by understating it a bit. I have never felt such a spirit of depression and hopelessness over this country before. It has always been part of the spiritual makeup here, but the intensity has grown since we were here last. It seems like nothing positive is happening in this country and there doesn't seem to be any answer. There was some real hope that a new government would bring some much needed change into the economy and government decisions in general. As things progress, it seems like there is little hope of that really happening. Please pray that those who are entering into this government will have a revelation of the Messiah and bring the true change this country needs. There is something else that really needs some prayer. In this new government coming in, the political party who is being given the control of the Ministry of Interior is the Shas party. Shas is the party that is ultra religious and very antagonistic towards believers. It may become extremely difficult for believers to enter and function in this Land while Shas has control of this ministry. Please pray that the Lord would intervene in a mighty way in this situation.

With the way things are going all over the world, I have really felt strongly from the Lord that we are to be about building community in a very concentrated way. I know there have been many books written about this concept and many ideas thrown around about what exactly this means. To me, it is a very simple concept. The form it takes is less important than the effort put forth to build it and the humility needed to keep it together. Communities are not started most of the time because of the effort it takes to build them. Communities break down because of the spiritual pride that we all seem to carry a measure of. Invariably it happens that someone you wouldn't think would carry pride, once in community, will feel that he or she is not getting the recognition they deserve and will allow this pride to direct their actions. Many of us have seen this type of thing happen, and it even further helps to discourage us from putting forth the effort to build community. What we don't quite get is that when the world really starts to crumble, God will use those who are in community to support each other through the calamity. Here is the deal, building community is about seeking Yeshua together, being changed by Him, and lovingly sticking together through that process. The numbers or shape that a community has is less important than this. We are MADE to have a relationship with God and each other. If were are not focusing our attention on these two things, we are NOT building community. The time has come for us to stop being religious snobs. This is when we look at songs we sing in the community or the positions we hold in the community before we see the need to cultivate the relationships involved in building a community. In a time of great trouble, we will suffer more if we have jumped from community to community because they didn't quite sing praise songs the way we wanted them to. The relationships we cultivate and the community we build will matter in this time of trouble ahead. I pray we would all start to build relationships for Kingdom glory.

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gifts of Healing


Around this time two years ago, I found myself in Gambia, West Africa serving the Lord alongside a dedicated group of believers from Korea. The Lord sent me to Gambia for four spectacular, stretching, and supernatural months. One of my favorite experiences while I was there was ministering to a little boy named Lamin, in a village called Brikama. The Lord gave me a tremendous revelation about the healing ministry through this brief season. It was a revelation of His love.

Journal Entry from February, 2007:

“Today I dressed wounds. It was incredibly unsanitary and I’m going to go ahead and thank God for not letting me catch any diseases and making me strong like steel inside (a woman I worship with in Cincinnati prayed that I would be steel inside before I left!).

One boy, a burn victim who I met Monday came again today. The day I first met him he was wearing blue. It was a traditional style outfit, matching shirt and pants. He sat on the bench at the table where we were working and pulled up one of his pant legs to expose a wound that was about six inches long and three wide. The skin around it was heavily scarred. When he uncovered the wound, I was hit with a pain that stung deep in my heart.It was so much a shock for me to see that I almost had to leave.

“Touch him.” I heard as I was fighting the tears. I put my had on his back, offered some sympathetic words, and gave him a hug. He gave me a huge smile and confirmed what I had suspected, that we had just become instant friends.

Lamin returned today and this time he was my patient. I prayed for his healing and then began cleaning the wound. This little one has been trying to recover from the burn for over six months now, and as I was cleaning, I felt a tremendous amount of anger welling up inside of me. I felt furious that so many experiences were being stolen away from him because he could not get the care he needed. The Holy Spirit in me started praying out loud over his life with passion and conviction. I prayed the whole time I cleaned and bandaged.”


My heart burned with a love for Lamin that the Lord undoubtedly placed in my heart. It was this great love that motivated me to pray for his leg to heal. And goodness, do I remember laboring in prayer for him! Up until this point, the healing ministry had always seemed more like an exciting way to experience the Lord's cool supernatural abilities in this age, than an expression of His sacrificial love and brokenness for us when we hurt. This time, I felt His sorry for Lamin's injured leg, and I ministered to him out of that sorrow, with hope that by Yeshua's wounds, Lamin would be healed.

And he was healed. It wasn't an instant on the spot healing. In fact, I didn't even see it. As I prayed for Lamin, the Lord gave me a word that his leg would be healed by a certain date. A friend reported to me that a week after I left the village, his leg with the huge gaping wound that had been there for 6 months, was completely better! Even though I did not see it, the date reported matched the one the Lord gave me! In faith, I believe his leg was healed and I will see that little boy RUNNING one day! Please pray the Lord's blessings of salvation and the Holy Spirit over little Lamin. And remember to love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3


callie m.


Good Resource:
Iris Ministries Rolland and Heidi Baker

Related Posts:
Frozen Flowers

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

The countdown for us to return to Israel has started. Callie and I are spending our last remaining days in the States with her family in North Carolina. After a very stressful two weeks, we managed to get everything organized for our return. We still have some things to finalize, but we are hoping that our time here can just be one of rest. Please pray that the Lord would make us both ready to once again jump into the spiritual furnace that is Israel. There are so many things that we will be focusing on when we get there, but with the Lord's help, we will get it all done. Callie will be starting her job with the firm in Jerusalem on April 1st. She is very excited about working there again. Please pray that the Lord would go into that office and shine His light on her co-workers. I will hopefully be getting my drivers license, setting up things for the arrival of our shipment, getting an interview for us at the Ministry of Interior, and starting a language school somewhere in the middle of all that. Please pray that the Lord would order our steps and provides for our needs. We have seen His faithfulness and we put all our trust in Him.

We are entering Israel when she is in a very precarious place. Everything seems to be hinging on what will happen with Netanyahu's efforts to form a government. Please pray that the Lord would apprehend him and reveal who He is to this man. Israel needs Godly leadership now more than ever. It is time for the name of Yeshua to be heard all over the country and for the power of God to be seen among the people. Along with all the other things we will be doing, it looks like the Lord is leading me to link up with an Intercessory Prayer ministry in Israel. This might develop into a position with the ministry, but we will have to see how the Lord leads. Prayer for Israel is crucial at this time and it seems the Lord is leading at least some of our ministry in the Land in this direction.

Vision is so important right now. The Lord has been really speaking to me about it and how much we need to hold on to the vision the Lord has given us for our lives. The world right now is in a state of great upheaval. In the States, we are looking specifically at the economic situation. But if we were to look outside of ourselves, we would see the upheaval being much larger than we think. This is NOT something that should cause us to curl up in fear! This is where our vision from the Lord comes in. When we have a vision for our lives, the outside circumstances surrounding us don't really matter. We know the Lord is with us, because He gave us the vision. We know he will provide for us, because He WILL see His plan through. Do we KNOW the vision God has spoken over our lives? This is the question that we need to ask ourselves. What is the Lord's vision for our marriage, our families, our ministry, our job, or our personal lives? The vision of the Lord for every part of our life will hold us on our course and by His grace, we will not stray from it. We will also see that our materialistic tendencies will start to disappear. Our eyes will be on what the Lord has us to do and not whether we can afford a huge, flat screen TV. When we have received this vision, we must remind ourselves of it. As humans, we tend to forget what has happened in the past very easily. The continual reminder of the Lord's vision for our lives will give us a solid foundation when the whole world seems to be shaking. May God renew His vision for all of us in this crucial point in history. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie



Good Resource:
Intercessors for Israel

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sojourning: Homesickness

“Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God,” declared Ruth the Moabite to her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi. As a gentile with eastern North Carolina rural roots, I made the same declaration on December 13, 2009 to my Jewish Israeli husband, Devin Mitchell, when I committed my life to him as his wife and to his people as a sojourner. Devin has lived in Israel for 9 years now and we plan to reside full time in Jerusalem after I complete my degree. With my Devin by my side, I will raise children and venture on the pursuit of some creative form of architectural practice in Israel—as a foreigner in the land.

Last summer I spent three months in Jerusalem working in an architecture office. Many drawings of Jewish homes uniquely suited for the holy days, lunch-break shwarmas, and two terrorists attacks later, I found myself wondering how I could ever even attempt to be part of a society and culture who's heritage is so different than my own. The wondering caused me to feel lonely. As my heart ached for summer baseball games, cotton fields, and a non-kosher sausage biscuit, I realized that my homesickness was one of the greatest starting points for identifying with the nation that I had been grafted into by the blood of Messiah, and would soon journey with for the rest of my life.

“My heart is in the East [Jerusalem] and my body is in the extreme-West.” Laments Jewish poet and Rabbi Judah Halevi. Finding roots in Israel, but living scattered through out the Diaspora for approximately 2,000 years, the story of the Jewish people is one of great displacement. It is this displacement between longing for Israel and living in the Diaspora that Halevi speaks of. After making Aliyah and moving to Israel, the places of longing and living reverse; as the ideal place of Israel becomes a reality, the hardships of daily life in this young nation surface.

As a nation of immigrants, Israel is full of variety in expressions of traditions and cultural foods, shaped by each family’s experience in the Diaspora, but some things remain constant. This conflict of “longing and living” is a shared experience amongst Israelis, no matter which nation they are returning from. Since I am not a Jewish believer (or a Jewish not-yet-believer for that matter), I will never claim to know and understand the hardships of persecution and antisemitism this chosen nation has faced. I will never know so many things, but I do know how it feels to miss home.

Last summer as I was praying about feeling homesick on my daily bus ride to work, the Lord took me to a passage about Abraham, Hebrews 11:13-15.

...they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.


It occurred to me that even when I'm home, I know I'm supposed to be serving the Lord overseas. No matter where I am, I still feel a sense of displacement because I either miss my friends and family in America, or I feel the call of God on my life to be away. The Lord has purposed this ache to produce a love-sickness for the Messiah's return, and a longing for the place He is preparing for us. It is out of that desire for Him that I must minister to the people of Israel in the last days.


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Special Note:

As Devin and I are preparing to leave for Israel on March 24, 2009, I feel such a tremendous release from the homesickness I felt last summer. More than anything, I am so excited to get there and nest with my husband! Please keep us (and our furniture!) in prayer as we travel and continue to pray that I will feel a new sense of home in the Land!


Good Resource:
Your People Shall be My People By Don Finto


Related Posts:
Shabbat Shalom - March 1, 2009
Our Messianic Wedding

Friday, March 13, 2009

2010 Basebal Draft

Just recently we found out that ESPN's Perfect Game has ranked Connor as the possible number 10 draft pick overall in 2010. The nine guys ahead of him are all pitchers, which makes Connor the first position player on the list! All of Connor's professional review's have been excellent. Several years ago, Perfect Game ranked him 4th overall for his high school graduating class (2010) and the number 1 high school short stop overall.

Devin and I are incredibly excited for Connor and bummed that we will only be able to see a handful of games this season! We will be praying for him from Israel this summer. :)


Here's Connor batting left handed. He's a switch hitter known to hit homeruns from both sides of the plate during the same game.


Connor doing some fielding during a game.


This is Connor, our dad, and two of our sisters, Clare and Cara, at the All Star Game in Pittsburgh. Our dad was selected as an All Star Coach that year. Caitlyn and I were unable to attend the game. :(


Connor with our dad, Jerry Narron, at Fenway Park when he was on the Red Sox's coaching staff. This was year the Red Sox were one pitch away from the World Series. Thanks Pedro. Click here to read about Connor as the lucky batboy.

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"Connor Narron is a 2010 SS with a 6'3'', 175 lb. frame from Goldsboro, NC who attends Charles B Aycock HS. Narron has good baseball bloodlines, but more importantly he has a lean athletic body and some serious talent. He's another that could easily be named the top prospect at this event in LA. He has Big League smooth actions as a shortstop with a big arm. He is a switch hitter with a polished swing from both sides. He simply squared everything up in BP and he also did it in the game. Narron is a good student and one of the top 2010s in the nation and he has verballed early to U of North Carolina. It's early, but he has first round potential as well."

From Perfect Game Cross Checker.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your wonderful prayers for us. The Lord has been gracious to us and He continues to pour out His mercies. We are in the midst of so many things that sometimes it is hard to keep it all straight. Callie is pushing hard toward the end of her quarter at UC. She has many big projects coming up soon, so please keep her in your prayers. I have continued my work at the Christ hospital as a chaplain and it has been an amazing blessing to me. I am learning things about ministry and care for people that I would not have earned otherwise. We are also going to be shipping our things to Israel within the next couple days. Please pray that everything will get to Israel with no hassle and with nothing missing. These companies make moves like this all the time, but sending so many of our things in one shipment is a little unnerving.

The political landscape in Israel is shaping up to be a very shaky one. A right wing government will be taking power soon, but the coalition is far from solid. This is something that Israel does not need now. Israel needs a solid leadership to face the things that will come against it. We need men who will humbly lead the nation and who will be open to the Lord's direction. Please pray for Israel. We need the Lord to show up in a big way so that the people of Israel can know where their safety lies. As we go back, please pray that the Lord would show us how we fit into His plan for His people.

Of the many amazing experiences i have had at the hospital, I would like to share one with you that struck me in a profound way this week. I went into a hospital room and introduced myself to the patient. I said simply, "Hi, my name is Devin Mitchell, and I am a chaplain here." The patient looked up at me, smiled and said, I know you are a chaplain." I wondered how she knew who I was, because I did not remember this patient. So I asked her, "Did I visit you before?" She said that I had come to visit her as she when she got out of surgery. "I don't know your name, " she told me, "but I know your face and I know that you are a chaplain. Of the many faces I saw after my surgery, I didn't remember any of them but yours." This really touched me and made me wonder why she would remember my face. After a brief re-introduction, we had a great conversation and I left really feeling blessed. I asked the Lord about the whole thing later. He said that it was His desire that those who love Him would reflect Yeshua in their faces to the scared and lost of this world. This reflection in is to be so great that others would remember our faces, distinctly, in the sea of people that they encounter everyday. That shining light of Yeshua in our faces will cause the world to remember us in the time crisis. This remembrance will draw them to us in their sear for the Lord. I pray that we would all be the true reflection of Yeshua in these difficult times.

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fill the Earth

God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Genesis 1:28 NASB


As I've been meditating on this scripture, searching cross references in the bible, and praying into it, the Lord has been opening my eyes to the depth of His command in this short passage. In Earth Worship and Child Sacrifice I noted:

Limiting families to one child, or intentionally not having children for the sake of the earth is an act of rebellion against God's command on man kind. In Genesis 1:28 we are called to both "be fruitful and multiply," and to rule over the earth... not the other way around. This is a command that the Lord never revoked as mandate for obedient living.


The persuasion of this age is that we should decrease in number in order to protect the earth. The thought process goes something like this:

The less people we have, the less we consume; the less we consume, the less we rely on fossil fuels; the less we rely on fossil fuels, the less the carbon emissions we release; the less carbon emissions, the greater chances of decreasing global warming.


This ideology is easy to absorb. It is easy to follow and in many ways it even makes sense, but the problem is that one simple verse, Genesis 1:28, indicates how directly opposite this mindset is from the word of God. It places us in submission to the needs of the earth, rather than recognizing the call of God to increase in number and "subdue" the earth. Anything that is opposite of God's word is a doctrine of demons, which deems this logic as deception.

This idea, "fill the earth", occurs all throughout the bible. In Genesis 9:1 God blesses Noah and commands him and his sons to "fill the earth." Again He reiterates in verse 7, "Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it." In Leviticus 26:9, the Lord states "I will turn toward you, make you fruitful and multiply you" indicating that an increase of number is related to His favor. Psalm 127:3-5 confirms this belief. "Children are a gift from the Lord," He says, and "Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."

Not only does the Lord desire that the earth be filled with his children, but He too desires to fill the earth. The Lord proclaims in Numbers 14:21 that His "glory fills the whole earth." The Psalmists agree rejoicing "May the whole earth be filled with your glory," (72:19) and "the earth is filled with your love!" (119:64) The Prophet Habakkuk even states this claim in the midst of a harsh word, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. " (2:14) "His glory fills the heavens and His praise filled the earth (3:3)

The Lord desires to increase His presence through out the earth and one means of doing this is to increase His people. While the great commission is a great means of increase, it does not negate the Lord's request for godly offspring. As Candice and Steve Watters mention in their book Start Your Family, raising children to be disciples is even a means of participating in the great commission. One does not replace the other.

Any increase in population that we've experienced in the last century has not been related to increases of birth rates, but rather increases in life span. According to Phillip Longman, author of The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birth Rates Threaten World Prosperity, we are actually in an age of detrimental depopulation that is threatening economic systems world wide. Longman's research indicates that woman need to have 2.8 children to maintain population. Currently, in American the birthrate is 2.02 children per women, and in Europe its even lower at 1.3 children per women. With less children, who will care for an aging population that will continue to live longer and longer as medical advancements increase?

And the biblical truth of our increasing life spans: even with an American life expectancy passing 78 years old, we are still living about 40 years less than the 120 years Lord has blessed us to live. Providing us with a lifespan that is much longer than what we are experiencing now, the Lord has still called us to "be fruitful and multiply." We will not out-populate the Lord's purposes for the earth.



Resources:
Click here to listen to a podcast of Candice and Steve Watters interviewing Phillip Longman. (Scroll to 14:00)


Related Posts:
Earth Worship and Child Sacrifice
Start Your Family - Review
Deceived by Social Justice? - Part 1

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

As March begins, there is so much that will be happening quickly for us. We are in the process of shipping over to Israel the things that will help us settle into our apartment there. This has taken a lot of effort, which hopefully will be finished this week. Callie is in the last leg of her quarter at the University of Cincinnati. We have so much to finish, that sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about the work that must be done and the changes that are coming upon us in such a short time. Please pray for us as the Lord prepares us for what is ahead. We are both seeing how incredibly important the Shabbat is and Callie was moved by the Lord to share her impressions with you all this week.

In today's busy world, it can be a serious challenge to consistently keep Shabbat. Most of us are pulled from every direction to do something or go somewhere. I know I am. Rest just isn't of high value in our culture. As an architecture student, rest is a rare commodity. Our education process demands long hours of rigorous and physically demanding work. Its not uncommon for faculty members to stop by our design studio in the middle of the night to see who's working and who's not. Sometimes they are kind enough to bring snacks or coffee. With the intense homework demands that I face on a daily basis, its really hard to take time off, especially on a weekend. Days without interruptions for classes are usually the most productive, so keeping Shabbat has become an act of trust for me.

I've noticed that when we meet on Mondays, my classmates typically have about double the work from the weekend that I have. For the most part, this isn't a problem. I try to be caught up by Friday, but when I realized we had two Monday deadlines scheduled, I got really nervous! "How in the world am I going to be prepared for a review?" I would think. When we have a review, we display all of our models and drawings, then faculty members and our classmates critique our work. It can be both a rich and encouraging experience (if the project is good) or it can be totally embarrassing (if the project isn't up to par). Keeping Shabbat on a weekend before a deadline would likely place me in the latter category. So, I started praying and as I prayed, I had one of those mystic moments where the Holy Spirit opens your bible for you, exactly to the passage you need to read. This time it was Isaiah 56:6-7:

 
"And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."


That was the word of the Lord on the matter, so I trusted that even if my reviews were not the best, at least I was storing up treasures for the next age. But the Lord likes to bless us in this age, and that He did! Both of my Monday deadlines were moved to Wednesday, and a Thursday deadline following one of the Wednesdays was moved to the next week! The Lord totally rearranged everything so I could keep his Holy day and still complete my work with success. What a faithful God we serve! I hope you will all be encouraged to keep Shabbat and experience the workings of the Lord as I have. Please continue to keep me in prayer as I finish up this quarter! Just a few more weeks to go! Blessings to you all!

In Yeshua,

Callie and Devin