It’s unanticipated and unexpected. It comes in like a rushing wind. It nearly blows you over with force. It’s fierce, but gentle as the morning dew, and sweet as the song bird wooing his mate. It will leave the ninety-nine just for you!
What is this gift?
The Father’s love!
Have you experienced it?
If you look to the right, or the left, you will miss it. Time stops for no one. So looking back to the past is just that – the past. You must look boldly into the wild wilderness of the unknown and root yourself in God’s goodness, and all his promises. God’s promises never say living a life in Christ will be a road map avoid of speed bumps or lane closures.
You know it won’t be easy. You know you will be uncomfortable at times. You know more than anything you will make others uncomfortable using the gifts the Lord has given you, but you also know the mission. Jesus is not in the business of making us comfortable in an easy chair. It’s the opposite. He calls us from our place of comfort. So you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
You, just like Jesus can only do what you see the Father doing (John 5:19).
How do you make that happen you wonder? You grow deeper roots in prayer, and intimacy with God so rejection no longer uproots you, or sways the mission. You don’t fear abandonment or rejection by others, because you know your beloved will never betray, nor abandon you. So you GO!
In the middle of a pandemic and world fear, you GO! You GO once again to the foreign lands of Piura, Peru. You know God always shows up in the sun and the sand. Besides, fear never comes from God. That’s the devil’s play.
You tell no one under God’s direction, but a select group of ten disciples (and a few others) who at times believe in you more than you believe in yourself. They breathe life into you, not fear, not worry, and not anxiety. Not one of these warriors ever casts doubt, fear, or says, “don’t go”.
This small, but mighty army of ten are like jet fuel behind the mission engine. They pour themselves out in prayer and fasting for you! They pray rosaries, and spend hours in adoration. You aren’t a gambler, but if you did gamble, you’d bet the bank that these watchmen probably made other sacrifices and devotionals you’ll never know. All for the mission.
Their support, kindness, prayers, and encouragement for the mission humbles you. The grace and energy they pour into the mission cracks the hardened parts of your heart.
This mighty army calls you an inspiration, which humbles you. In reality, you are only being obedient to doing what you heard the Lord tell you in prayer long before the pandemic madness began… Yes, God still talks to his people.
“Lisa, I’m sending you to Peru. Invite Alberto. Invite him into the sacrifice. I will tell you what to do, anoint the one(s) I point out to you.”1 Samuel 16:1-3
It takes every ounce of courage you can muster up for a variety of reasons that only the Lord knows to GO. You fear the Lord with a holy reverence so you obey for “THE ONE”. (Luke 15:4). You don’t know any one who’s done something so bold, as to go out into a far out village in the sands of Peru with nothing, but a translator to evangelize in power.
Sounds simple, yet the battle was fierce. You know when the warfare is that intense, there’s going to be an abundance of fruit. So you fight! The enemy uses every weapon in his tool kit to get you to quit, and abandon ship. When fear was no longer a playing card. The devil laid down rejection, discouragement, anxiety, doubt, extreme fatigue, and a few night terrors. All tactics to scare you into abandoning the mission, but you know God’s word trumps all fears.
So you get off the cruise ship and hopped on the battle ship. You never fought for something as hard, as this mission. Like a dog with a bone, and a mama bear protecting her cubs, you fought like the Lion of Judah that dwells deep within. You let out a battle cry for the heavens to hear. Giving in and giving up was not an option for this warrior. Warriors do not relent or recoil. They change strategy, and fight from a seat of victory.
So you waged war in in the courts of heaven like never before decreeing and declaring God’s word in prayer . You fought through fear and tears. You fasted like the saints every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, water or juice only for weeks at a time. You prayed a rosary daily. You sought healing and deliverance which sent the enemy packing in your blood line. And… You begged for grace to step out so boldly, and asked “why me Lord”? He responded, “because you are willing”.
You sat in front of your laptop for more than an hour buying your plane ticket. You convinced yourself, you were looking for the best flight and cheapest ticket. When in reality you were stalling, and avoiding the assignment God put on your heart. You knew canceling would be easier than going for some many reasons. The least of them being a virus. Getting it, spreading it, or traveling amidst the madness of fear (travel was the easy part).
However, in the moment of spiritual amnesia you remember by the grace of God, you are now a new creation with a renewed mind (Romans 12:). The enemy’s tactics hold no power to the sword you hold. You learned to wield your sword in truth. Knowing your identity in Christ grants you all power and authority in heaven (Matthew 28:18). Therefore, you rebuked every tactic of the enemy in the name of Jesus.
You knew Goliath had been been taken down, but you also knew Goliath had brothers (2 Sam 21:18). So you fought in the courts of heaven, on your knees and on the floor. You stopped allowing the stronghold of fear to have a hold on you – it’s a past time.
You choose to be of sober mind (1 Peter 5:8-8). You are humble enough to reach out when drowning, as you prepare to GO. Daily, you reach out to your army. Your watchman on the walls and say – I need a flotation device – I’m sinking.
They toss life preservers and keep you afloat. They prophesy over you with holy boldness. They send scriptures for you to pray which gives you strength, guidance, and wisdom for the mission. They pray for angels to be sent ahead of you, to protect you, and surround you within a ten miles radius. They get on their knees in prayer for you and Alberto. Daily one of them sends words of encouragement. Once again, the crack in your heart gets bigger.
You invite Alberto, knowing full well you are pushing him to the very edge of what he is comfortable with regarding the supernatural nature of God. You know he has many reasons to say no. You also know you will be fully exposed when ministering on the ground to him, and others. Therefore, to muster up the courage to even ask Alberto takes hours in front of the tabernacle. Eventually, you call and invite him.
What comes off your lips is this…
“If you go with me, I will go, but if you do not go with me, I will not go.”Judges 4:8
He asks what villages? You say, “The one where the water flows.” He responds, “That would be Monte Castillo!” He too knows the place, so there’s not need to explain. It’s a special place.
Alberto then blesses you with his yes! He agrees to following your lead where the mission is concerned. So you GO.
You don’t have laid out plans, no real agenda, project plan, or specific instructions. You have no idea how this is all going to go when your feet hit the sand in Monte Castillo. You are following the Spirit so some days you are making plans in the taxi on the way out to the sand. You don’t have expectations other than knowing with expectant faith that “Anticipation + Expectation = Give God space to move powerfully”. You know there will be signs, wonders, and miracles.
Alberto gives you the space to walk, speak, and pray freely. The way the Holy Spirit moves you, even when he’s totally uncomfortable. He translates, and asks the hard questions when you need some additional information to pray with certain individuals. He never once tells you, “don’t do that”, “that’s weird”. He gives feedback, which was heard, applied, and greatly appreciated to help translate.
His generosity, kindness, hospitality, willingness to help, and translate for you humbles you in a new way. His love for the poor, like you, are the rails that keep the mission train on track steaming toward heaven. Once again, the crack of your heart is widening.
Multiple friends in Peru invite you into their homes to visit and stay. They come and pick you up, and take you back and forth to where you are staying, and the airport. They send you back with food; fruit, coffee, leche, and gifts etc. You feel undeserving of such kindness, generosity, and radical hospitality, but you receive it all with grace. It humbles you, and that crack just keeps getting bigger with each gesture of God’s goodness, and love.
So many moments like the ones above stir your hardened, and guarded heart. Then there were moments in the mission field that broke in like an rushing wind. First, meeting a six year old boy who stop talking after his father was murdered. You heard him speak for the first time after you prayed, and laid hands on him. God is so good!
Then there was Carlos Alberto, who endured unspeakable tragedy of two wives and three children abandoning him in the midst of a fungal infection that ravaged his face and body, caused by diabetes. He was unable to say good bye to a loved one who passed during this time. He was riddled with grief, and sadness. Maybe, he was like the leaper to those that left him, or a sinful person for some of his actions. To me he was God’s beloved son. My brother in Christ. In need of a wink from the Father, and a touch of his love. We saw God deliver him as he transformed from dark to light right before our eyes, as we prayed. We made two visits to see him.
These encounters were small accumulations toward one particular encounter of God’s love. The site of a church full of little children in Monte Castillo. The assignment all along. When asked how many remembered Lisa, more than 80% raised their hands! That out right humbles you, and leaves you speechless. How’s that possible you wonder?
You preach the gospel in this Church. You speak of Jesus and the love he has for them. You witness and tell them you were once a very sad woman on your first trip to Peru, but then you found Jesus and he healed your heart. You share God’s promises with them. You speak of the love the Father has for each one of them. You tell them God sees you, knows you, and delights in you. He died for you, and forgives all sin, but we need to always honor God, and our mother and father. You call down the Holy Spirit and fire. Then you lay hands on every single child. Praying they receive an experience of the Father’s love, fire, and power to fill their hearts with zeal for Jesus. Fearing missing “THE ONE” (Matthew 18:12).
They wait patiently, and quietly with great anticipation for you to come. You’ve never witnessed children so well behaved in waiting. You watch their eyes sparkle, and twinkle in delight as you come to them and pray. When finished to each one you say, “Jesus loves you” in Spanish again, and again.
Then you speak of a great missionary, name St. Francis Xavier who traveled to Japan and India, and known for miraculous healings. He became so bombarded by requests for prayer, he taught the little children to pray. So you ask, “who wants to learn to pray like St. Francis Xavier?” They all raise their hands!
So you teach them, and demonstrate how to pray prayers of command in Jesus name for physical, and emotional healing. Without hesitation, you send them out to the village to pray with expectant faith for family and friends. It’s going to be the children that bring revival to the sands of Monte Castillo!
When finished in the Church. You step outside, and see so many more children. All in need of the Father’s love. You oblige, and touch every one. There is no fear of getting sick, or spreading anything. In fact, it’s never a thought in your mind. Your fear is missing “THE ONE”. You fear the Lord more than man or any illness in this moment. You realize quickly there is no fear in this village. Mother’s are bringing their babies to you for prayer and holding them up to your face. (Luke 18:15-17). How does one say no to a mother and her babe?
So you bend a few rules. No, you are not rebellious, but fearless. You are cautious, but not careless. You do not wear a mask in this village (most aren’t unless in the church) so the children can see your smile, and quite frankly so you can breathe in God’s oxygen. You hug them when they nuzzle up against you, and squeeze them tight. You kiss them. And yes, you lay hands on every one, careful to not miss the “THE ONE”. All 150-200 children!
You see, you believe the great commission comes with divine protection. Besides, when you have the army of Saints behind you. You, “fear not” (Mark 16:18). If God sends you, he will protect you. Indeed he did. Both myself and Alberto – the making of twelve apostles.
When you’ve touched every one, you ask the little children to pray over you, and Alberto. You both kneel down on the ground in a position of surrender, and humility. The children gather all around. They lay hands on both of you, and over you. There is some pushing, but you don’t mind you are lost in the moment. You forget you are kneeling on concrete. They loudly, and boldly pray the “Our Father” in Spanish over you both, as you kneel next to one another.
Yes Lord, let your will be done in our lives!
The innocence and purity of their hearts for you, and Alberto is force to reckon with. Oh the graces!! The graces!! The courts of heaven being stormed for us by the purity of those little hearts does you completely in.
When the prayer is over you stand up. You know something powerful just happened. A shift, a breakthrough, a supernatural move of the Lord’s grace. It’s like when Jesus comes up from the water after being baptized, only there is no water in the desert, just sand and love. I was coming up from a pool of love! The Holy Spirit descended upon us both as the heavens opened, and the Father said…
My beloved daughter, my beloved son, I am well pleased with your “yes” to me.Matthew 3:17
You realize in that moment the East Gate opened in Monte Castillo! Jesus walked right in and broke your heart wide open for him and his people. It simply was the overwhelming, reckless love of God. Ultimately, an encounter of the Father’s love for you, Alberto, and his people that left your heart unraveling in divine love.
The love you have for Jesus compelled you to go, to give, and do what you did in the first place. What breaks your heart wide open is the moment when the children give back and you fully receive the Father’s love. The graces following from those tiny hands and little lips are treasures stored in heaven.
Alberto and I are more blessed than we know, or can even comprehend right now. For that was a special kingdom moment! The earth trembled I assure you, and the devil was on the run. For the harvest has just begun.
How God could send a simple woman like me to share his precious love blows my mind. It wrecked my heart, and I’m completely undone.
So I cried the whole taxi ride back. I cried at mass that night, and the next day in prayer. It’s two weeks later, and I’m still crying. In fact, I can not think about it, or talk about the encounter of God’s love without tears welling up in my eyes for the goodness and love of God. And let me tell you…. I’ve had some powerful, earth shattering encounters with his love and electrifying power over the years, but this was something else. I’m undone.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I am not the same. The Father’s love for me and his people has shaken and trembled me to the core of my being.
We sowed in the past in Monte Castillo, and now we’ve planted. In time, we will build. For something has powerfully been birthed. This once barren womb gave birth to something that will touch generations to come.
“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”Galatians 4:27
Therefore, I am not the same. I am sold out. I am compelled by the love of Christ to live life differently than the way in which the world instructs us all to live. I’m not weird, crazy, strange, reckless, or radical, I’m just sold out for Christ, and I’m not for sale to the world.
I fear “not living” more than I fear death – truth. For far too long, fear had a hold on me. I now choose life. Faith over fear. I am not reckless, but motivated by the reckless love of God. I am no longer a slave to fear, but a beloved daughter of the Father, the king of kings, and the Lord of Lords (Rom 8:15) who will lay down her life to serve Christ in the way he calls.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather of power, love, and self control.”2 Timothy 1:7
For now, I will wait for divine alignments, blueprints and strategies.
I know the Kingdom is calling.
In the end I’m that not special.
I am not the nicest, the prettiest, the skinniest, the smartest, the richest, most qualified, talented, or most gifted.
I’m simply a willing vessel not afraid to say “YES”.
Send me, I will GO! (Isaiah 6:8 )
What is God calling you to?
One “YES” changes everything!
GO and RECEIVE God’s reckless love!
Yes you don’t deserve it, and no you can’t earn, but God loves to give it away! (song lyrics-Reckless Love)
God’s LOVE, and God’s FIRE is what will change the world!
Nothing more and nothing less…
For those who’ve been praying all these months, I ask that you continue to pray for Monte Castillo. https://holyfireperu.com/monte-castillo/
THANK YOU!! Please Pray at Hail Mary & a St. Michael for those listed below.
Covert Ops Team: Brad, Julie, Kelly, Rich, Jan, Janet, Curtis, Laura, Carla, and Kerry; My heart was broken open by your love and support for me, and this mission. I am beyond grateful for your support, encouragement, words, and the labor of prayer you poured out, and sacrifices you made for myself, Alberto, and this mission. I didn’t go alone. YOU all were with with me every step of the way! I never felt more protected and safe than I did under the mantle of your prayer and Our Lady! Thank you for saying “yes” I will be on the team.
Susan: Your friendship, and understanding of my heart has been a precious gift when I wandered into unbelief, and discouragement of what God was calling me to do. Thank you for your love, support, prayers, and the offer of suffering for me!
Mom & Mary: Thank you for your motherly wisdom, advice, and love. You both were right! Glad I listened!
Fr. Joe: Thank you once again for your hospitality, support, openness, and trust in how the Holy Spirit is moving in my life, and providing the freedom to move as the Spirit moves. Your morning conversations assured me I haven’t lost my ability to discern, because I see through a different lens than what the mainstream media reports. Thank you for the encouragement to stand on truth – Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (Jn 14:6), even when unpopular, and costly.
To all the Friends & Families in Peru (especially the Montoya family): Thank you for the open welcome. For the friendship, all the wonderful conversations, for feeding me, transporting me, housing me, and gifting so much to me during my trip. Your actions were a display of God’s love, and I am most undeserving of such kindness, care, and love. I have no words for the goodness and beauty you showered upon me. I’m simply overwhelmed by your love, kindness, generosity, and radical hospitality.
Alberto: You are one of the holiest men I know. Most cannot see, or know of the heart of gold you hold, and the blessings your heart bestows on so many (including me)! Thank you for everything! Especially for your courageous yes, and for bravely trusting me when you had no clue what I was going to do. I am beyond grateful for your yes.
The Lord always sent his disciples out by two. We did it, as I couldn’t of done it without you! And now Alberto… they are following you too! In which I say – – ya…ya…ya…ya…
Welcome to the Harvest!