Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lifted

"Your love is liftin' me higher than "Your love is liftin' me higher than I've ever been lifted before..." Rita Coolidge

Every morning this week the fog has been thick across the bay. Today was no different. As I walked toward the dining room, I noticed a crowd gathered at the window looking outside. "Curious," I thought to myself since all they can see is fog. But as I joined them, I saw what had grabbed their attention - a hot air balloon rising into the mist!

The soldiers and their families were eagerly waiting their turn to take flight and be lifted. The main purpose in these gatherings of wounded warriors is to do something similar spiritually and emotionally. In the presence of the "fog" of disability, mental state and circumstance they are lifted to see a different perspective on their situation.

"....Now once, I was down hearted, disappointment was my closest friend..."

They have had a few days away from the regimented life of the military, the schedules for treatment, the questions without answers, and the absence of joy. They have been lifted out of wheelchairs into the basket of a balloon, and even strapped into a tandem para-sail to take flight! They have shared stories and shed tears, but rest assured they have laughed more in these past few days than they have since they returned from the war zone.

"...But you came, he soon departed, and he never showed his face again..."

The children have bonded with other kids whose parents have been affected by disability. They have understood they are not alone. They have learned Bible stories, enjoyed crafts, played games and busted a pinata filled with enough candy to keep every dentist on the East Coast employed.

There were boat rides, fish caught, rock walls climbed, extreme swings swung, zip lines zipping, chicken dancing and open mic karaoke.

The talent came out as their inhibitions faded. I was touched at the renditions of love songs husbands sang to their seated wives. One soldier made his way slowly limping toward the stage with his cane. He apologized but related he really wanted to share this one song. Most of the lyrics have escaped me but the most painful and poignant, "I just wanna go home."

They have thanked us repeatedly, they have embraced us often, they have been served completely, and they have been loved well.

"...I can stand up and face the world again..."

High and smiling
Charlynn

PRAY
For hearts to be eternally changed as the Gospel is shared tomorrow

For those struggling with faith issues to experience healing and comfort

For the children who need to make a decision for Christ to do so

For continued spiritual and emotional healing of the trauma of war

For comfort and mercy

For safe travel

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lost at Sea

"There's a man across the sea, never heard the sound of freedom ring, only in his dreams..." Where There is Faith by 4Him

As the sun set across the Chesapeake Bay, a warrior walked to the edge of the embankment with his wife and two small children. They held hands and watched the crimson ball sink behind the treetops. It made for a beautiful photo opportunity as the family's silhouette was captured in the changing hues of a closing day.

Across an ocean too vast for our comprehension many of his friends are still fighting. And although he is not carrying a weapon on the war front, he is learning to do battle with a new enemy; one that has invaded the very personal territory of his mind.

Americans have little understanding or appreciation for freedom because we have never been persecuted and jailed for speaking our mind, anytime, anywhere. However, as believers, we all can grasp the bondage of sin and the freedom and deliverance faith in Christ brings to us. Yet, too often we fail in fighting the good fight in "bringing many sons to glory!"

I received an email from our host in Tanzania today. She asked for prayer for the horrible ferry accident that killed so many. The best friend of her daughter had two brothers aboard the ferry that night. They were Christians. They were saved - from death at sea that night but more critically from eternal separation from the Father.
Ninety-nine percent of the people that were lost at sea really were lost!

A father, a fighter, a soldier, and a saint stood upon the shoreline tonight. He was willing to cross an ocean so that others might taste the freedom he cherishes.

Thank you for faithfully supporting the work of Sunshine After Ministries that we may continue to "throw out the lifeline for someone who's sinking today."

Setting sail for souls

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shaken not Stirred

"He's told us this quite plainly—He'll also rock the heavens: "One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern." The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered."

We must have had some junk to rid ourselves of before the soldiers and their families arrived. When our team met this morning for training the retreat director stood to speak, said "We need to pray," and then stepped away as the composure fell from her eyes like the rain we had heard all night. Another staff member stood up and told us our trainer (the director's sister) had walked away from the breakfast table and gone back to her room violently ill! To add injury to insult their ailing elderly father had just been admitted to the hospital and was failing to improve. And as if "Murphy's" law of averages weren't already against us, the forecast for the evening (all our programs with the soldiers and their families were scheduled outside) a severe thunderstorm from 5:30 to midnight!

When life brings you to your knees, there is only one thing to do

clear a spot and worship God!

That we did. We surrounded the director, extended our hands, opened our hearts, and burst into the throne room of our King with boldness. We rose from a kneeling position, armed with the full armor of God equipped to do battle for the wounded souls of men, women and children who would arrive in a few hours.

The schedule was adjusted, the training was modified, rooms were decorated, supplies were assembled we were prepared, and we kept praying. A few attending drove here on their own, but the majority of the 23 families came in a military transport bus from Bethesda Walter Reed Medical Center two hours away. Kids and adults came out of the monstrous "rock-star" style caravan and were met with ample and able helping hands and hearts. There was only one soldier left on the bus who was making his way out the back utilizing the lift for his motorized wheelchair. The sun was shining, the birds were singing there was laughter in the air and the devil in the details (again/still). About six inches down from the platform the lift stopped! No going up, no going down; stuck six feet in the air like a roller coaster ride gone awry.

Alrighty then! Misery, your friend company just arrived.

Several mechanical-minded men began to work on the solution - because there definitely was a problem. The soldier remained good-natured and patient during the process in spite of the sun shining directly on his side of the bus. Our hearts skipped a beat when the lift made a crushing sound and dropped about 6 inches.
By the time the repair was complete and he made it off the bus it was time for the activities to begin.

We had something to celebrate -

the freedom we enjoy

that cost him both his legs.

From the start of things, the next few days will be an unforgettable time for us all.

We laughed, we played games, we danced (the young man led the conga line with his wheelchair) and we sent lanterns soaring into the CLEAR night sky.

I've had my share recently of "boat moments," when it seemed like a "sleeping Jesus" was not being mindful of my circumstance. Sometimes it definitely "feels" like He IS sleeping (or looking the other way) but the Word clearly says, "He never slumbers or sleeps."

Our day began with a storm of circumstances that were definitely out of our control. Our evening ended knowing our Master is at the helm of this ship. He controls the wind and the waves. He is speaking "peace" in the place of war.

There is healing in His wings!

Clear and uncluttered
Running
Not weary
Walking
Not fainting
And smiling still

Charlynn

PRAY!

For the leadership: for the health of our trainer and licensed counselor who is in charge of the breakout session; for their father to see improvement in his health condition; for their mother to have peace about her two daughters not being at her side

For the volunteers: joy, joy, joy. For patience! 17 children under 4. That's a handful and a handful of dirty diapers to boot. Pray for peace for the children as they make a separation from their parents tomorrow morning. For the 6 other children aged 8-14 to have some good old-fashioned fun, to have life changing encounters with Jesus

For the soldiers: many who are experiencing their first family break together. And as one of the Texas attendees said, "it is better than Disneyland." That the Getaway would be a safe and emotionally healing environment

For the caregivers: to be validated and ministered to equally as important as the wounded warrior

For a supernatural hedge of protection around the facility and the health of everyone. The enemy would love to shoot sniper fire at the "field workers." Let no weapon formed against us prosper!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

United We Stand

"Take on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:13

I'm listening to praise music before I finally call it a day, and it has been a long one. I left my house at 3:45AM to head out for the airport and catch my 5:00 flight to Philadelphia via Detroit. Driving in the dark, barely conscious I came to all my senses and awareness when I reached the north entrance to the airport only to see it SHUT DOWN and under construction. There I was detouring through Grapevine praying not to have a flat tire or a fainting spell. "Lord, just get me on that plane!"

He did, and here I am, trained up, prayed up and armor on! The setting is beautiful, the volunteers ready willing and able and God - well He is a palpable presence! Kneel with us for the "standing" days ahead

Suiting up and smiling
Charlynn

SPECIFIC PRAYER REQUESTS:

Warriors and Families: packing and preparing to be at the getaway; ease tense situations, bring supernatural peace to their spirits

Program Team: Logistics and their energy, Weather! Many of the activities are outdoors on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. Another rain storm came in this evening. Pray it stops and goes south to Texas.

Child Leaders and Workers: 17 children UNDER the age of 4! 9 of those are UNDER 2!!! Pray for good rockers, few tears and lots of naps.

Middle School Child Workers: Energy, fun and an atmosphere where they can be safe to be kids

Caregiver Sessions: pray for emotional healing and spiritual blessings to be abundant

Warrior Sessions: pray for the soldiers to feel comfortable sharing. At past retreats this has been an opportunity for them to begin the healing from the trauma of war so needed.

Host Table: a place where soldiers and their families can grab a snack, chat with the hosts and get to know each other

Worship Team/Speakers: pray for open hearts to hear the comfort of the Father. Pray for ministering angels to walk alongside those in attendance

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Who Will Roll the Stone?

"And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" Mark 16:3

I have aged!

In the time since my return from East Africa another birthday has been crossed off the calendar and I am one year older and wiser. How much longer can I, will I continue to make these trans-oceanic flights? As noted, I am NOT getting any younger, the travel is not getting easier, but my burden for the lost and broken of this world is growing greater. We are all one day closer to heaven whether or not we realize or admit it.

In one of our final meetings with the leadership in Tanzania, our host affirmed how difficult the whole process had been. She related the scripture in Mark when the women went to the tomb of their Master with oils to anoint His body. They KNEW they had no way to get in to do the job, but they went anyway.

She turned to us and said, "Sisters, there was so much that you did not know, but you came anyway! What was impossible for us to accomplish God had already taken care of."

Once again, I am packing up the "oils of ministry" and setting off for a "tomb" I have no way of entering. This weekend I will be heading up to Maryland to work with Wounded Warriors who are undergoing treatment at military facilities on the East Coast.

The opportunity came with short notice and little time to request funding. But when I heard the soldiers and their families arrive ON September 11, I knew it was a place I had to be.

For this generation, remembering "Where were you on 9-11?" has become the same iconic question that for my generation was "Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated?" This year marks the tenth anniversary of the attack and the day the world changed forever.

Soldiers went off to foreign soil to protect and defend, to be wounded and die, and to be forever altered mentally by the horror and tragedy of a broken world under the influence of evil and terror.

It is with great honor that I serve those who selflessly guard my freedom.

Pray for divine encounters

Pray for spiritual and emotional healing

Pray for the weather as the East Coast is currently being affected by the tropical storms

Pray for FUN! This getaway offers the family a reprieve from the medical and military environment that has become their new normal

Pray for the speakers and leadership to be directed by the Holy Spirit to influence the hearts and minds of those attending

Pray for the volunteers (like me) who are showing up for duty!

Pray for ministry funding that continues to be at an all time low

"And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land..." Ezekiel 22:30

Getting out the bricks and mortar with a smile!