(Note: Nate is NOT Jesus. Nate is but a man in awe of his Creator, seeking to do our Father’s Will by being a willing vessel for the LORD Jesus. I am telling you my story through the lens of how I saw Jesus’ ministry come alive right before my eyes while walking from Nazareth to Capernaum. Each person has a different story and even though it is through the same Spirit.)
“There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” – Matthew 27:55-56
Definition of Minister verb: attend to the needs of (someone). synonyms: tend, care for, take care of, look after, nurse, treat, attend to, see to, administer to, help, assist, succor; cater to, serve, wait on, accommodate, be solicitous of, pander to.
Tuesday May 21, 2019: Mount Precipice
In Nazareth, we went up to Mount Precipice. Moshe drop some knowledge and afterwards Nate lead a message. They were so kind to allow us some quiet time and I went down on the cliff overlooking the Jezreel Valley. In awe of view and in that moment, I asked for forgiveness for not trust Him for His ways are higher than mine. I surrendered my control and stepped out in faith knowing that even in my doubting I can truth Him.
So then it began, hiking down the slopes. This was the hardest to me out of all the hikes. The heat was extreme and I kept having to reapply sunscreen. The sun felt like I was under a heat lamp slowly cooking my skin. A few people couldn’t continue. In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit saying, “This how you respond to me.” (Note: I am NOT saying this is for those that went back- this is a personal thing between God and I.) I was encouraged and determine to finish. I was sitting next to Lyncoln when Nate addressed her and then the group. Asking if we needed to call it quits and that is okay to go back. Immediately I thought “No, I am good.” He asked again adding “if anyone has the littles of doubt” and even glanced in my direction. Aw man, I thought to myself, why did he have to say doubt. But I stood to my first conviction and after a few went back, onwards we went. Going up the hill, I began to struggle to breathe and the air felt like I was breathing in a sauna. I started having a conversation with God about my regret. “I feel like a fool, God. I should have went back. I wasn’t trying to be prideful, I am sorry. I just truly wanted to finish this hike with you, Jesus. I’m going to ask to go back. Ugh, this is going to be so embarrassing.” As I reached the top of the hill and started to state, “ But you did said….” a breeze washed over me like flesh water refreshing my soul, “Thank you Jesus,” I said. Walking around the corner, there I saw some shade to stand under. I thanked Jesus again. You do give me just what I need God. And as hard as it was that day, in God’s provision with what I needed I finished that part of the hike. Along with some unexpected encouragement from my brother in Christ, Nate.
Wednesday May 22, 2019
It was an early morning, for those that finished the first hike as we continued walking. The purple flowers during this trail reminded me of 8 years ago when God used a purple flower standing alone surrounded by dirt of clay and said “I am His Flower that can grow against all odds.” After that experience with that purple flower, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105 became my life verse and I see now how not reading the Bible has an affect on our spiritual growth. And here I was in Israel, hiking this trail and seeing purple flowers on and off as we were walking. How much I was reminded of that promise God gave to me and I thought I was too far gone to believe it.
Thursday May 23, 2019
God woke me up an hour early from when we needed to. My heart felt a heaviness for everyone. With the lesser light hanging high in the sky and the camp fire was still lite, the Holy Spirit stood with me and I got on my knees to prayer. During this hike, I came across a mustard seed and held in it my hand the whole time. Little did I know, that would be brought back to me the next day. My brother Freddy, made a comment I looked like Mary Magdalene (I had a covering over my head) and my first thought was “Oh NO, I don’t want to be the woman with 7 demons.”
I spent most of my time on the hike encouraging some of the ladies around me, NOT I but as a vessel for LORD Jesus. Heading down and through the valley I was walking along side the Father of the group, Robert. He spoke with such grace in his voice but with the power of truth and love. As I would think a Father should. He told me this trip wasn’t for me but Matt and Liberty. I started to cry because of doubt. I thought I was doing what I needed to do and was meant to be here. Doubt started raging a war inside my head while walking this out with him. He went on to explain I had all these ingredients but missing a main one. Along with a few corrections, that was challenging but was needed. I listened mainly because for one, I was crying too much. Two, we should never brush off wisdom out of fear that it is for us. Use discernment, not out of our feelings but through the Holy Sprit by knowing the Word of God. I will always treasure this moment with him. By the end of this hike. I spent the rest of the evening wrestling out my feelings. Talking to my roommate Katy, (Oh gosh, I think we spent like 3 to 4 hours talking every night digesting everything. She saw my heart, the pain, and we laughed together. At each other and with one another. I am so grateful for her.) That is when I came across the verse Matthew 27:55-56 mention above. And started doing research on Mary who was from Magdala. Was it really 7 demons, I questioned to myself.
Friday May 24, 2019
Friday, we were standing by the Sea of Gailee, still feeling a bit shaken from the day before. Fighting the fears and the urge to withdraw. I was standing by Robert when I started opening up some mustard seeds for people back at home and as I was pouring the seeds into a container, I looked up at him and said “this is my one ingredient,” Faith.
After Nate got done sharing his testimony of surrendering it all by the Sea of Gailee, I started remembering mine from 2011 but not knowing just yet God was calling me back to surrender. We all know surrendering is a daily action. Everyday, every hour, and in every minute. It can be hard with the pressures of the world and some days are better than others. Mercy.
The Beatitudes on the Sermon of the Mount. My bible page is still wrinkled with the tears that were shed after Nate’s teachings and how at the time 7 Blessings were underlined already. Were these like my insecurities? The 7 demons Mary had battled? I don’t know but in this present time something was developing.
That night, Moshe and his lovely family was so nice to explain and show us the Shabbat tradition. When I saw Jeannette pray first. That was truly a moving moment for me. The wife prays first (like the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf) then the husband (like Jesus the Humble Servant) closes. There is so much more to unpack by this tradition that within time I want to learn more about the Jewish culture, God willing.
Saturday May 25, 2019
It was an hour drive to Jerusalem. Angelina, oh I love her so! She was so kind to remind us that no one should have any appointments for 5pm; I had plans to get a tattoo in Jerusalem for that time. But God had other plans. I hear you God, reluctantly. There goes my pride for my plans. I can be such a Jonah and a David sometimes. Crying out in despair in the riddles of my emotions and grumbling over God’s Will for my life. Honestly, just fearful to step out in faith.
When we arrived at the Mount of Olives, I found myself almost falling asleep. Trying to stay away, I looked to my right and saw Nate praying. As he stood up, he dropped a piece of paper. I walked over to hand it to him and he started to pray again. So I sat down and waited patiently. Well mostly feeling awkward waiting for him to be done. I even put my wallet over the writing on the paper because I know I can be nosey sometimes and that wasn’t for me to read. I still don’t know what he was praying about but when he open his eyes, I handed this paper to him. In that moment, I felt the presences of the Holy Spirit. I did read the words but today I couldn’t tell you what they said. Because it wasn’t for me to know. But he needed that reminder for whatever was written. In that moment, I meekly shared with him that I overheard him mentioning he had his 12 disciples during the hike, and I said if that is true then I am your Mary Magdalene in this story. Then he responded with a possible illumination for himself. And off he went to share something for everyone to hear.
We got to Holy Sepulchre and it was so beautiful but extremely busy. I felt overwhelmed by crowd of people and the rudeness of the priest. I felt the Holy Spirit morning, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36. Feeling overwhelmed by this, Kristina asked me what was wrong. I started to cry. It just breaks my heart seeing how religion can take away what Jesus did and still does for us.
At the Garden of Gethesmane, looking back I started sitting in the back row instead of up front. Why is that? Could it have been because of my insecurities? While Nate was teaching, here I was again falling asleep. Trying to stay awake. I was getting upset at myself. I guess I was experiencing what the disciples were feeling while Jesus was praying. My spirit didn’t want to but my flesh was weak. Then I heard Nate call out for Lyncoln to come up to the front. I jumped for joy because I knew what God was going to do. I reached for Lyncoln’s hand (overwhelmed by joy) and walked with her to the front. Nate asked for everyone to lay hands on her. We prayed for healing for her and her body. So beautiful! While we were walking to the Pool of Bethesda, I was nervous but in trusting the Holy Spirit leading, I asked Robert if he would lead a prayer for Nate before the end of the trip. Humbly, he said yes. At the Pool of Bethesda, Angelina shared a beautiful testimony that she witness there.
At the Garden Tomb and I didn’t care to go inside. It is not in His death we worship, it is in the fact that he is RISEN. Sitting near a tomb that represented Jesus’ death and burial, Sara came and sat beside me. While trying to hide my tears. I saw my sin for what it was and reflecting on Jesus’ act of love by dying for me. I know I don’t deserve it but He Still Does. I thought of Mary Magdalene, as she watched it all take place. Watching his suffering, crucifixion, and death. Imagining for a moment, as the stone rolls over the tomb. Could this have been how she felt? My heart felt heavy. I felt lost. Grace. We went to hear Nate give another teaching and it was his first time doing communion. Hearing this pastor preaching from a distance to over 300 people on a microphone and Nate teaching us without one; noticing the contrast of the two. And how pleased I was to be apart of this moment.
Sunday May 26, 2019
While headed out to the Jordan River for the Baptisms. Everything came full circle, from 9 years ago, when the Holy Spirit prompted me get baptized and here I was getting baptized by the guy I meet 7 years ago. God wasn’t surprised by my disobedience and God used one man’s obedience by giving an open invitation for strangers like me, to be lead back to full surrender and obedience in Jesus Christ. I was meant to be on this trip and even in my doubting, foolishness, and breaking God used me. To be a vessel of Jesus’ love onto this group of men and women. God uses our obedience for His Glory. Even if it is just a seed of faith planted and someone else comes along to water it.
While reflecting on that, GOD blessed me with a message too. That morning Nate taught “It’s not about being worried about what you should be or what you should become, it’s about what you are called to do” And just like that the veil was lifted. Marks a new chapter, a new beginning! When Robert stood up to talk, I moved to the front. No more allowing my insecurities to hold me back. I believe that is what Mary Magdalene’s 7 demons were. Insecurities, at least in this story it was for me. Robert lead in prayer over Nate and we joined in. Afterwards, I told Nate how much that message struck a cord with me and with a brief dialogue about it, I left with him a blessing. Onwards to the baptism site we went, a lady approached me with someone and asked if our priest could do baptisms. I said YES without hesitation. Then I asked her a few questions and ultimately encouraged her to talk to Nate about it. I giggled. God is so good. Not only was this Nate’s first time baptizing people he got to baptize strangers with Robert by his side. Such a beautiful site to see.
I remember at the beginning of that week, my sister, Katy left me with this question. Could it be that I was fearful of the responsible that comes with healing. She was right I’ve been too Much-Afraid.
That day in the River, I traded my fears for Faith. My main ingredient. A mustard seed of faith to fight off the feelings of my insecurities (doubts and fears). Faith in his Word (God), Trust in his Heart (Jesus), and Obedience in his Spirit (Holy Spirit). Just like that, everything of my past and present battles were left in the waters of Jordan. Never again, did I ever want to be disobedient again. And like a fire the Holy Spirit set ablaze in my soul and brought me back to my first love.
“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”— and that he has said these things to her.” – John 20:18.