Sunday, March 28, 2010

World Awareness: experiencing a taste of the persecuted church

Living at Teen Mania gives a wide range of unique experiences because it is like it's own little self-sufficient community a lot of the time. Because we can be so far from the rest of the world, we are able to mix things up for weekends at a time and experience role-plays of situations. This is something that can only be done in such an environment.
This past weekend, I was given a unique opportunity to experience one of these experiences. This was a perspective changing LTE which was created to let us experience on a minor scale what the global church experiences in the way of persecution on a minor scale. We spent a weekend (from thursday night til saturday afternoon)living out this crazy alternate reality.

The set-up:
As the internship was finishing up a movie on Thursday night(Hotel Rwanda), we were interrupted by an ambush of "government facilitators" led by their president. They invaded our campus because they thought that christianity was full of hypocrites and people that were careless of others & only loved themselves. The government wanted to try to reform us.

The play-out:
As soon as Mr. Hasz, the director of the Honor Academy was captured by the government, we all took off and ran to our refugee camp, at this point it was around 2AM. Suddenly, it felt as if we were in the middle of some alternate reality. We had to search around in the woods for some fire wood to build camp fires for our family cores. If we needed to retrieve anything from the dorms, we had to organize runs to get the stuff so we could orchestrate how not to get caught. If we got hungry, we had several different food drop times at different locations that were all being monitored by the government as ambush points. These couple of days were definitely great perspective changing days. One of the most exciting points of this LTE, was when the government decided to ambush our refugee camp. We received some intel telling us that they were coming about 3 minutes before it happened, so we had enough time to grab our water bottles and run. As soon as the government vehicles started showing up, it was like an incredible stampeed of people just running for their lives through the fields of the back 400 acres of campus. At first, we all tried to stay together and establish a new kind of refugee camp, but before long, we realized that this would have to change. My family core knew that this was the time to split off from the group. As we split, a few other people decided to join us as well. So here we are, in the middle of the woods, crouched low so no one from the government would find us, just listening. Listening to the sounds of people getting arrested all around us. Listening to the sound of the distant work camp. Listening for any movement so that we could take off if it happened to be the government. After about 45 minutes, a few of us decided to take off and split off from the group, so the left, leaving the majority of my family core. After a short time, we decided it was time for us to get going too, when all of a sudden someone decked out in camo came walking out of the woods toward us, letting us know that there's been a safe place set up for us, all we have to do is get there. As we were walking, trying not to be heard amongst the crackling leaves, our group got split up as an ambush started happening. My part of the group dropped & waited until the ambush was over since we hadn't been seen, then we booked it back deep into the woods in an effort to stay safe and unseen. This provoked a huge sweep of the area by the government, which luckily for us, stopped right below the ridge that we were looking down on them from.

The movies:
To help give the situation a new perspective and provoke some empathy within us, we were all called back out of the woods at certain times to watch movies that dealt with persecution and things along those lines. Just a couple of the movies we watched were: Hotel Rwanda, The Invisible Children documentary, and others. These definitely helped us build more of a reality of what people go through daily all over the world.

In conclusion:
This has probably been one of my favorite LTE's yet. It was a huge perspective changer, and allowed us to really experience (on a minor and more safe scale) a little bit of what it would be like to be in this situation 24/7. Even though it was only from Thursday night - Saturday, the sense of time definitely blurred & made it hard to keep the time straight. I know that I probably wouldn't have the same empathy and desire to keep the persecuted church covered in prayer as I do now, had I not experienced this weekend. The biggest take away points were probably definitely learning how to have the joy of the Lord in all situations, even in persecution. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, learning how to have the LOVE of the Lord, even in the midst of persecution. In all reality, the reason that these people were overtaking us in the first place, was because they were all hurt by the christian population in general, and we, in an effort to change their minds, had to minister to them in the midst of our persecution. After all, look at Paul. Before he was Paul, when he was Saul, he persecuted and killed christians. Now we have the majority of the New Testament as his letters encouraging the churches.

What kind of impact are we making on the hearts of those around us daily? Are we real with them and showing the love and the joy of the Lord in ALL situations?

Monday, March 22, 2010


This past weekend, we had an awesome opportunity to take part in something that was a complete perspective changing opportunity The Unreached People Group LTE. This LTE (Life Transforming Event)was a simulation of global missions to unreached people groups. The campus was split into two different jobs, missionaries and tribal people. The tribes were spread all throughout the back 400 acres of the campus and had to develop their own language, do research on the tribe which they were assigned and role play as the tribe would for the entire 30+ hour LTE. The missionaries had to 'catch their flight', 'go through customs', make sure that the hostile 'government' didn't find any Bibles or Christian contraband, and minister to their tribe while constantly being harassed by the government who just wanted to keep the tribes' traditional beliefs intact. It was an interesting challenge for both sides of the spectrum, and definitely a pretty sweet experience altogether.

The role that I played in this LTE was that of a tribal person. I was the tribe leader of the Bhil tribe. The Bhil is an unreached people group native to India that has Hindu beliefs, especially in the goddess Shiva, and they are involved in ancestor worship & consequently, reincarnation. I was over a tribe of 10 other people, and we role played as if we were really the tribe. The missionaries had to find us, get accepted, and then minister to us to try to get us saved.

The whole LTE overall was great. I absolutely loved it, but on Saturday it dropped to ice cold temperatures and high winds and rain, so we had to end early. Because the weather made us end so much earlier than expected, the results weren't as positive as we would have wanted, but I still learned so much!

Biggest Lesson: Whenever I think of missions, I ALWAYS come at it from the perspective of the missionary. I mean, since we are Christians, and we are the ones with the good news... why not? right? WELL, This LTE gave me the opportunity to come at it from the opposite side of things. I got to think of missions as a native to the country of India would. I had to role play in my beliefs and really ask myself Why would I (HYPOTHETICALLY) believe in hinduism,reincarnation etc.etc., and What is holding me to this belief. Talking with my missionaries, I had to really dig deep and have the mindset of Bhil tribesman, and answer as if I were really one.
I think that this LTE was extremely beneficial because it allowed me to get into the mindset of a hindu person. Coincidentally, I'm going to India this summer! SO I believe that God completely set this up for me so that my heart would grow even BIGGER for the hindu/indian people.

Coming soon - a blog about the LTE that's happening this weekend. World Awareness. Be in prayer for all interns and that they would prepare their hearts as this LTE is about the persecuted church around the world. It's gonna be great! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Boise, ID Acquire the Fire

Hey y'all,

So, I just got back from the Boise, ID Acquire the Fire event. It was an awesome time, paired with a not so awesome 30+ hour bus ride, but it was definitely worth it. I got to represent Global Expeditions while we were at the event and talk to people about summer mission trips.

Basically, what my week last week looked like: We left Tuesday at 5PM, drove from Tx to Boise, and arrived in Boise at 12AM Thursday morning, slept in the bus til 7AM, then set up stuff until 6, went to our host homes, went back to the venue at 8 Friday morning, set up more, opened doors and worked registration from 4 til 8, and then worked the booth a little bit then, got back to our host home at approx 11, got back to venue at 6:45, and worked the event til 9, then finished packing up by 12AM, and took off back to Tx midnight on sunday. We then drove and arrived back today at 11AM.

Despite the hectic schedule that Acquire the Fire entails for interns, God definitely does tons through our efforts and shows the fruits of our labors in every single thing that happens. One of my favorite things that happened this weekend was something that was an incredible divine appointment, it happened like this:

We woke up at 7AM on Thursday and decided to get breakfast before we started setting up for the day, so we took the bus to the nearest McDonalds. While we were standing in line, a little girl and her mother came over to us and asked us if we were performing at the Morrison Center this weekend. We explained to them that we were setting up for ATF, and gave them the times for the event. They came to buy tickets friday evening, and attended the rest of the weekend. We were pretty excited that God was going to be presented to them, but we had no idea how much of an impact this event would have on this woman and her daughters. Friday night is the night which the drama takes place, and if you've ever been to an ATF, you know how intense the dramas can be. This drama is no exception, it touches on subjects such as teen pregnancy, abortion, pride, losing children, and forgiveness, just to name a few. After the drama, we saw the woman walking out of the theater with her family, and she was crying A LOT. Jessica and I walked over to see what was going on & if we could pray about anything for her. She told us that the drama touched her life in an amazing way because 15 years ago (in a month) was the birthday of her first daughter who miscarriaged. She said that she had never realized it, but she had never dealt with the emotions or dealt with forgiveness within this situation. God had shown her how to use this forgiveness in her life during this event, and had broken her even more with His love than she's ever been broken before.

There are hundreds of stories like this that occur every weekend thanks to the ATF Ministry Team and the support crew of interns that travel out with them. I'm so blessed to be a part of an organization that acts as a missionary organization in every opportunity that it gets.

So that was one of the biggest things that happened to me this weekend. :)
I'm trying to blog more frequently, so keep an eye out :)