Hello there lovers,
I wanted to share with you the little people of Ambato. Ambato is a city about 4 hours from Quito that we visited towards the end of our trip. On this particular day we had the option to go help a woman who needed her home painted or to serve the little people of Ambato. We were warned that their living conditions were pretty dirty and that they were living in poverty. I could sense resistance or at least hesitance from many of the people in our group. But the pastors encouraged us all to push ourselves in new ways. For some of us that meant getting on a microphone and sharing a word that God had given us for a total stranger. For others it was serving the little people of Ambato ;).
Honestly, this was my favorite part of the trip. I was born to do this kind of work so I jump at opportunities like this. When we got there the six siblings made their way back to the house (some were carried inside from the field) so we could meet them. They ranged in height from 3 feet to 5 feet and are believed to be between the ages of 65-80. No one knows for sure. Three of the siblings are high-functioning and the other three are low-functioning, but they all have deteriorating health.
It’s believed that they were abandoned when they were children and somehow managed to raise themselves without outside help. The government finally built a small home for them but they weren’t taught how to use things so they don’t shower or bathe. We were told that the only time their clothes are changed is when a group like ours from the church comes to do it.
When I walked inside their home I immediately connected with the two sisters, Zoilita and Margarita. Margarita was the older sister and was higher functioning. You could tell she kind of ran the place, though she didn’t really speak. I washed her hair for lice and cut it, but not too much because she likes to have some length. After that, I washed Zoilita and changed her clothes. I then had the chance to wash her feet and apply lotion. Her feet were caked with mud because she never wears shoes or socks, even outdoors. I had a moment when I was washing her feet where the scripture of Jesus washing his disciples feet came to mind. At first I was washing her feet without much thought. But as I thought of Jesus and what this act of service meant, I suddenly saw her as a woman getting a pedicure in LA. I wanted it to be the best foot cleaning/massage she ever had. And she smiled and laughed with joy.
But Zoilita carried more joy than anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life. I’ve never seen anything like it and I doubt I ever will again.
Before we left, our whole group prayed over them and sang a few songs for them. They were so sweet. And on the way out the door Margarita made an “X” on me. One of the girls from the church gasped and said that Margarita was blessing me. That totally made my week.
I’ll never forget the little people of Ambato. They changed me and I’m grateful. If you want to read more about them and how you can possibly help, check out this blog post “The Little People of Ambato“. And thanks Katie Shinn for the couple of photos towards the end of this gallery ;).
I won’t forget the woman in this photo even though I only captured her back. Why? Well I actually took another photo of her as we passed her in the car and got the front of her. I was busy snapping away the people and the sites of Quito and for some reason she caught my attention (probably her colorful shirt and hat). When I snapped the photo of her from the front she pointed right at the lens and said something. My camera jammed. It still had a full battery and it never gives m problems. But I kept trying to start it and it wouldn’t. I mentioned it to Miranda because it was strange. Finally the red light went away and I was able to see the images on my camera. Guess what? The image of the woman from the front wasn’t on my camera. This woman exercised some kind of power, for whatever reason, and didn’t allow her image to be taken.
I’ve heard that some people believe that if you take their photo you take their soul and so they refuse to have their photo taken. Maybe this was the case with the woman in the orange shirt. Maybe it was something else. But I know what I experienced in that split second with her and my camera and it was really bizarre. It got me thinking about the many supernatural, and really just spiritual, encounters I’ve had. I know many Christians who are fearful to go into the world and even more who are fearful of the enemy. Though I think it’s wise to have discernment, we certainly shouldn’t be afraid. If He is for us, who can be against us?
Throughout my trip I read Miranda’s book called “Take Your Place In The Kingdom“. She has a chapter on power vs authority and I couldn’t agree more with what she wrote!
This is the difference of power and authority: power demonstrates signs and miracles, but authority demands respect. We know that the Holy Spirit releases power on God’s people (Acts 1:8), but Jesus also commissioned us with authority so that we can walk in His power and have His backing. Authority is the higher realm. Even demons have a form of power, but they flee at the name of Jesus. Sometimes all it takes is speaking out truth and then watching as God does the rest.
What’s your experience been like with power and authority? Have you seen signs and wonders from both sides of this spiritual battle? Do you walk in authority?
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.
This has always been one of my favorite quotes. If you know me personally, you know I adore butterflies. So it was a real treat to be able to visit a butterfly garden while we were in Ecuador. The name of the place was Jardin de mariposas Nathaly and it was in the middle of the Ecuadorian Rain forest. A few of the women on my team and I decided to visit after we hiked through the Rain forest and went zip lining. This was a peaceful way to end our trip.
What I found amazing was how beautiful some of the cocoons were. Check out their actual colors in the photo gallery. They are stunning and they aren’t even what they were created to be yet in this stage. It made me think of our spiritual journeys as we allow God to transform us. The degree that we allow our flesh to die and to pick up our cross and follow Him is the degree to how we will be transformed. I believe many people get stunted in the caterpillar stage or the cocoon stage. Life is hard, no doubt about that. But we have to press through and finish the race, finish the process of sanctification and transformation. If we trust Him and allow this to happen in our lives we will wake up one day and realize we are butterflies (in the spiritual sense lol).
I sense that I am in the final stages in my cocoon. And I dream about the day that I’m transformed, it’s coming soon.
When I was a little girl I was on a jumprope team through my school. I was the youngest kid in the pack, a 2nd grader in the midst of 3rd-6th graders. The name of our team was The Jetsetters and we traveled throughout Texas and performed jump rope tricks and routines for various crowds. One of those crowds was the kids from the Special Olympics. I vividly remember after performing my trick, jumping with my own rope in between a pair of double dutch ropes, walking off stage. The music began to play and all of the Special Olympic kids walked out, or rolled out in their chairs, to dance with us. A little boy around the same age as me with Down Syndrome walked up to me and smiled and tried to grab my hand to dance. But it was the first time I had ever encountered a child who looked like that and I was afraid of him. I walked away from him and my team eventually got on the bus.
But something happened in my heart and mind at that very moment. I felt the love of God for that little boy and others like Him. And I remember crying for years afterward whenever I saw his face in my mind. I wanted another chance to dance with him and to tell him that I was sorry for not treating him like a regular child. Although I was small, I learned a valuable lesson that day and I believe it was because of that encounter that my heart opened up to those who are “different”.
One of the days we were in Ecuador we spent time at a school for children with special needs. I immediately bonded with a couple of little boys and they wanted to dance and play sword fights. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that the Lord reminded me of that memory as a little girl with that little boy. I began to weep because I realized He gave me that second chance that I had longed for for years in my heart. It was a healing moment and it was so awesome to see that I was in fact a different person today than I was years ago.
We had a dance party with the children after Miranda preached on David & Goliath to the children and invited them to know Jesus.
I recently returned from the lovely city of Quito, Ecuador with my friend Miranda. It was my first time ever in South America and I fell in love with the people and the culture. God is doing amazing things in the city of Quito and I am so grateful I was able to not only witness it, but be a part of it. I snapped that photo above in a church called San Francisco de Quito in their town center. Legend has it that the church ran out of money to pay for the completion of the church, after all every square inch of it was decked out in incredible works of art. And so one of the church elders sold his soul to get the rest of the money to complete it. Whether that’s true or not, we definitely felt a strong oppressive spirit inside of this place, as well as in the town center. So we prayed for the people of the city, for their freedom and healing.
Speaking of healing, I witnessed multiple miracles through Miranda. She has a healing ministry with her husband Jerame so this is her daily work. But it was such an honor to walk beside her and witness it all unfold. One of the nights our team (about 30 people from the LA area) were praying for people at a local church service. Miranda got on the microphone and began to share words of knowledge for people that needed healing. And I watched one by one, people get healed. Their eyes opened up and you could see the shock in their eyes as they felt the pain or issue that was once there totally gone. So she said “lungs”. She kept saying it and by the 3rd time I thought, “wow is God speaking about me?” You see, as long as I can remember I have had a hard time getting deep breaths. I’ve had shallow breathing all of my life and I just learned to deal with it. But she kept saying it and when she gets a word it’s accurate. So I raised my hand and you should have seen the look in HER eyes, lol. “Lezlie?!?! well alright, thank you Jesus”. I went up. She prayed for me. I literally felt a space in my chest cavity open up that had never been there before. I was healed and He used my friend to do it.
When I got home from Ecuador I slept like a baby… for several nights in a row. This is unusual because Clarence has sinus issues and usually snores. But after about a week of sound sleep I had to bring it up to him. He then shared, “yeah, the night you came home from Ecuador I felt something open up in my nose.”… You don’t say?!
Just as we read in scripture, God still heals today. Have you ever experienced His supernatural healing?
Be grateful, optimistic and positive like this little one :). What are you grateful for today? I’ll start…
- My husband
- My family
- The freedom to do what I love in life
- The ability to travel the world
- My hair
- Mark Blake
- Hearing God’s voice so clearly
- My creativity
- My friends
I heard this song today on the radio and I knew she was speaking to God. I often struggle since returning to Christ with being this empty vessel and at the same time a woman with great dreams and personality and will. In the past I knew that I was destined for great things because I had this inner confidence that no one could steal. But when I returned to church I worried that that quality was possibly arrogance. Though I once had an elder pray over me and say “you know the difference between confidence and arrogance and because of this God will use you for great things”. Still, I have lived very close to narcissists in my lifetime and a part of me is afraid that this confidence when met with success will slowly turn into “I Am A god” . (warning the link to the song is awful but I use him as an example because he started off with “Through the Wire“, oh Kanye).
I did have another elder pray over me and say that God is giving me a scepter to declare and do great things but that I shouldn’t worry about success because He will keep me on my knees (prayer). So why do I still have this internal struggle? I don’t know. I guess because I’ve been to the dark side but at the same time I have seen the glory and power of God. This is a season of learning to trust Him and that all things are used for the glory of God. But it’s also a season of learning to walk in the fullness of who I am and not be apologetic about it. Because I have dimmed who I am for many many years out of fear of people hating me too. How do you balance this?
Lord, write your story on my heart and I will follow.
This song made me smile. That is all.
I’ve missed you all and wanted to say hi. Today is my birthday and I can’t believe another year has flown by. I’m always grateful for another year because I know that tomorrow isn’t promised to us. I was praying about what this year should be about, if anything more or less. And I was brought to the same verse over and over again.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
I was just invited to go on a trip to Ecuador with my good friend Miranda where we will work with orphans and other things. I was also invited to help at an orphanage in India this October for a week. I’m going to do both. But the second part of that verse is to “keep oneself polluted from the world.” I believe this touches that cord in me that wanted to be a nun as a child. When I was in Hawaii last fall God gave me that dream where I was dressed in white and I knew it was about being set a part. Over the past several years I have grown to love the things of this world less and less. But I think this is the year I am called to really live a separate life.
What does that mean? Well, I’m sure some of you have gone through this and continue to go through it. For me, I will just have to find that line with working in Hollywood and not being polluted because a little bit of leaven raises the entire loaf. Or maybe this is where my life completely changes and I work with orphans and widows for my life’s work. I’m not sure, but I am walking by faith and not by site. I trust that whatever is in store for this coming year is exactly where I need to be because I am abiding in Him.
When I look back at who I was a year ago I’d say that I’m much more comfortable in my skin. I think part of this is being happily married and the rest has to do with changing the way I eat and also finally using my gifts when it comes to the work of my hands. I don’t feel like I have to search for God anymore because I am secure that He is always with me.
I’m very grateful.