Sometimes, my arms just aren’t big enough.
What do you do when a whole room of women start crying?
My arms aren’t big enough.
But God’s are.
And oh, how He loved them! Each one, individually.
It all started when I had the 25 women in the Prison Discipleship Training School, ask God for a word for each other. When I asked one lady in her 40’s for her testimony, her eyes filled with tears, she cried out “I have never, never been loved before”, and flung her arms around me, sobbing. The other prisoner who’d prayed for her started crying too and they were both hugging me so hard I could hardly breathe. But breathe I did and prayed too. ‘God, touch them! Heal them! Love them!’ And then it was like a wave of His love hit the rest of the ladies and they started hugging each other, weeping. Even as I write this, tears spring to my eyes. Oh, to see God’s children be loved by their Father!
In prison tears are pushed down, hidden. You have to look strong, be strong. But oh, the tears are there. And here, in the Women’s Prison DTS, they found a safe place to let them flow. It wasn’t the room. It wasn’t the course. It wasn’t me. It was God who became their safe place.
The day before, I’d taught on Mark 5:21-34. I felt God tell me to say to each one of them, eye to eye, “ My daughter”, and have Noiy, the Thai leader of the PDTS, put his hand on each women’s head and like a father, bless them. Oh, you should have seen their eyes as I said, on my knees in front of each one as they sat on the floor, “My daughter”. Many started crying then, as they found out that God, their Father, had never rejected them, always loved them. One lady testified, weeping, ‘in my whole life, no one ever called me their child’.
Two days in the women’s prison, one day in the men’s..and Jesus came, walked among us, touched, loved. And I, farm girl from Alberta, got the privilege of being with Jesus as He does what only He can do: ‘bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners..giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning..” (Isaiah 61:1-3) Wow God.
This happened 5 days after I got back from Canada. Jet lag had no time to land on me! I love the scripture that says the ‘joy of the Lord is my strength’, for He is! I got back from the prison, had less than a week to prepare (full of meetings as well) and then it was off to Hong Kong..once more off to see God ‘love up’ on His children.
This time, it was speaking to the students of the Hong Kong Compassion Discipleship Training School for 3 days, speaking at a YWAM Hong Kong base and church community night, plus ministering/speaking to the interchurch and YWAM team working with prostitutes in Hong Kong. All were amazing times.
The ministry working with the prostitutes is called “Sons and Daughters”, and once more, God broke hearts with His love as the S&D team heard Him say to them “Beautiful Daughter. Good Son”. Two of the men said their parents had never told them they were a good son. Some of the women quietly wept. God knows we need to know who we are in Him, to Him, before we can give that truth to the broken. For we are all broken, aren’t we? Whether we live in the highrise push and shove of Hong Kong or in a crowded prison cell, brokenness is our common heritage. But when we say ‘yes’ to Jesus, we get a new life, a new heritage, and praise God, He is in the building business, taking our brokenness and making ‘all things new..turning all things to good’.
THANK YOU, my faithful wonderful caring, sharing friends (and my awesome prayer warrior sister Karen and my family) for all your prayers for me and for these who I get to love in Jesus’ name. I need your prayers. I met lots and lots of you in my 6 weeks in Canada and got full up on hugs, smiles, prayers and lots of good food.
Sleeeeeeep. Started catching up on that when I got back from Hong Kong Friday. Slept 11 hours straight. Ahhhh, thank you God for my own wee bed! And that black sewer water didn’t flood my house while I was upcountry or in Hong Kong. Have a new leak in the roof, so my printer got baptized, but it still sort of works.
In the weeks to come, I’ll be catching up on a long list of things I need to do from my time in Canada, and the mounting (mountain??) pile of ‘must do’ things on my desk. I continue to coach and be consultant to people and organizations both in Thailand and overseas, face to face or by Skype (wonderful invention!), and I am moving forward with the role of YWAM Thailand Mercy Ministries Network Coordinator – one of the items on my heart is developing an Emergency Relief Preparedness Plan. I have it written on paper but there is so much more to be done before it is reality! What I need prayer for most though right now, are two things happening through the YWAM Thailand Leadership Development Team I am a part of:
1) Coaching Mission International Course – our LDT sees coaching as a vital part of leadership development and so does CMI so they kindly agreed to do the first ever CMI course in SE Asia with the workshop in Bangkok Sept 22-28. That means guess who gets to help set the whole thing up? Yep..the LDT which means me and 3 others (Ian Talbot leading
2) Leadership Development Course – again, our LDT is putting this on, with the main teaching team coming from England (but all of doing some teaching, and all of us being staff). This is a 6 week very intense time of walking alongside YWAM leaders (in leadership at least 5 years) as they assess where they’ve been, who they are now, and where they are going. I did my LDC in 1998 –it is much changed and better than ever. That means I am on a crash course to ‘catch up’ which means reading and DIGESTING the ten LDC booklets we will use during the course. For the LDC, we have the entire YMCA in Chiang Rai (northern Thailand) for 7 weeks, so that will be my home from October 14-November 30.
What a year, eh? My cat looks at me sometimes like ‘who are you??’. I understand! I am hoping to stay in Bangkok between now and October, but many YWAM mercy ministries in the Northeast have emailed and phoned saying ‘when are you coming back?’ Mmm. Isn’t it good to know in GOD’S plan for our lives, there is always enough time? That in Him is peace and rest?
I pray His peace and rest for you and those you love. It’s now 8pm, time to take a break and have some dinner. Yes, that means rice.
In Christ Jesus, our joy and our strength,
Linda in Thailand firstname.lastname@example.org August 11, 2013