Imprisoned – NightLight International

The following is from an amazing organization called NightLight International. Please read the following and find out more information on how you can help at http://nightlightinternational.com/
NightLight International

Imprisoned

Beng and I had just stepped off the plane in Bangkok from a trip to Uganda when we received the news that some African women were in jail. During a late night police raid, three Ugandan women were found on visa overstay and arrested.

The next day I stood face to face with a woman at the jail. I reached out to touch her fingertips through the bars of the cell door. The jail was crowded and the bathroom leaked water all over the floor. The women had huddled together over one little dry floor space in the night. They couldn’t sleep. The prison door flaunted their reality. They were not free inside or outside the jail cell.

One of the women, Anita, pleaded with eyes and words for help to get out. Anita’s story followed the patterns of the 26 women we sent home last year. From a poor family in Uganda and abandoned by her husband, she needed desperately to find a job and support her children and aging father. A friend told her of a job at a beauty salon in China where she would earn $100 a night. The agent would make all arrangements for her trip and provide travel documents. Anita could pay her back once she started her job in China. Anita believed that she had finally found the door to financially stability for her family.

In China, a woman met Anita at the airport and immediately collected her passport. Anita was tired and ready to rest, but the agent told her, “You are a prostitute! There is nothing else here for African women.” Anita cried and asked for her ticket home. It had been cancelled. She was threatened and told that if she did not pay back the $6000 debt, she would have witchcraft done against her, or even worse, her family. Anita was given skimpy clothes and pushed out to the street. During her time in China, Anita was beaten and forced to do many things she had never even imagined possible. Anita’s dream of opportunity abroad quickly turned into a nightmare. She was trapped and saw no way out.

When Anita’s visa expired in China, she was sent to Bangkok and to another controller. Other than a change in ethnicity of clientele, Bangkok was not much different. Anita paid a man to get her a visa, but the man stole her documents and the money. Now Anita was even more vulnerable. Anita’s only reprieve was Sundays when she was able to worship in an African church. But Anita could tell no one about her situation. Her goal was to work off her debt and return home with at least enough money to start a small business. She felt ashamed and did not have the courage to tell her family what had really happened. Anita often thought about committing suicide. It seemed like the only way out of her situation.
Then she was arrested. A steel door slamming shut and locking her in. She would not be taking customers, but she could find no comfort in being arrested and possibly sent home as a criminal with nothing but shame to face a hungry and uneducated daughter.

I listened to Anita’s story and explained how we could provide shelter, a ticket home, and assistance with the needed documentation. But Anita was scared because she still owed money to her trafficker. She was worried about her children’s school fees coming due. She wasn’t sure if she could trust us.  Anita excused herself for a moment. I heard her sobbing a few feet away. She came back with a wet face covered in tears and agreed to accept our offer.

The Thai policeman willingly released the women into our custody. The prison door was opened and the women walked into freedom. They looked up at the sky and thanked God. God had used the door they thought was sealing their fate to become the very door to freedom.

At our shelter, the women received rest, counseling, prayer, and preparation to return home. My Thai colleague, Beng, worked with the Thai officials and partnering NGOs to navigate through the complicated and unfriendly immigration process. The women have returned to their country in freedom and with dignity. Anita hopes to attend Bible school and become a worship leader.

Globalization has changed the world. There are benefits to globalization, but human trafficking is taking advantage to exploit and destroy women from around the world in our cities and backyards. Such a large and seemingly impossible situation requires kingdom work and partnership. It’s time to rise to the challenge and to join in the fight against human trafficking. In Bangkok, my Thai colleagues are working alongside of missionaries and volunteers who speak multiple languages to reach the vulnerable and exploited, and who would otherwise fall through the cracks of church programs and government policies. We work together with organizations in China, Central Asia, and Africa to break through the systems that hold people captive and to bring holistic restoration.

When it seems like the doors have slammed shut and there is no way out, wait on God – have no fear – God can turn a door of captivity into a door of freedom. What He has shut no one can open; what He has opened no one can shut. The door to freedom is opening around the world. We stand at the door ready to receive the captives with singing. Thank you to all of you who support the work, and have risen to the challenge alongside of NightLight to join in the song of freedom.

by Annie Dieselberg, Founder/CEO
NightLight International
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Community Transformation Testimony – Take the City

Here in Columbus, GA we began doing outreach efforts consistently in 2013 all over the Tri-city area through an initiative called Take the City. In the beginning we would go sporadically from place to place each month and see some great things happen but we quickly realized that we needed to begin to plant ourselves in communities on a consistent basis to see the impact that we knew was possible. God led us to a neighborhood called Wilson Homes one month that summer and began to open up doors of relationships there like we had never seen before. We knew that God was leading us to key People of Peace who would help partner with us as we pour into this neighborhood. We decided then to stay in that neighborhood consistently and watch God move.Take the City outreach

Over time we began doing things on a weekly basis and watched God move powerfully. We would host activities for the children and have bible study each week in the activity center of the neighborhood. We saw people getting saved, healed and delivered each week as God began to move powerfully! It was amazing to see the momentum in this neighborhood as we partnered with People of Peace to see lasting change in their neighborhood.

Today we have a consistent Kids Club that happens each week. We are pouring into the children there and believe God is raising up a new generation of kids in that neighborhood. The kids know our team all by our first names and have grown to love everyone who has committed to serve there. The kids often go around the neighborhood with us during our outreaches to pray for the sick and share the Gospel. It’s amazing to see how God is using the kids to impact their own neighborhood for the glory of Jesus!

Take the City outreachWe also have a Living Free group that happens there in the community and are currently raising up the leaders from within that community who will continue to lead Living Free in that community under our guidance. It’s exciting to think of the day that we have empowered these community members in a way that we can move to another neighborhood and start to see God do the same things there! We are believing God for a multiplication of our efforts in these areas.

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities” Isaiah 61:4

As we see the church rise up and join together in unity to reach the lost I believe we are going to begin to see our cities rebuilt, restored and renewed. Our goal is to go and help raise up people in broken and devastated communities who will rise up out of the ashes and be used by God to bring renewal to their community. We are all called to be those who take part in the rebuilding, restoring and renewal of cities as the Kingdom of God advances. As we depend on God, abide in His love and go to the lost we will truly put HOPE within reach and see God transform our cities and nations. 

Let me know if you would be interested in somehow partnering with this effort over the next year! We are always in need of people who are willing to donate supplies or finances to help us with these efforts.

Step Out, Sacrifice, Simply Obey

Most everyone who is involved with or heard of Teen Challenge knows the story of David Wilkerson from the book, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” When David Wilkerson was just a 26 year old preacher he heard God calling him to sell his TV and spend the last two hours of each day in prayer. To his surprise, the next day he sold the TV for the exact price that he had in mind for it. Then he began to spend his nights in prayer and seeking the Lord. David Wilkerson had no idea that not only would this time in prayer change his life but it would also forever change history.

Michael Farmer Teen Challenge Life Magazine19 days into this new experiment he had a radical encounter with the Lord when he saw a Life magazine article about a young boy named Michael Farmer who was killed by a gang in New York City. As he looked at the article he heard the Lord speak to his heart that he was supposed to go help those boys. The thought would not go away. It filled his heart with such an unction that the very next night he stood in front of his small country church to try and raise enough money to drive to New York City and help the boys in the gang. He had such an encounter that suddenly he was filled with a boldness and a passion for pursuing the unknown. He now had an unnatural measure of courage because he had a word from God that had possessed him.

There are some really amazing observations that I want to make from this story and also I want to talk about how this story can really apply to our lives today. I see that first of all David Wilkerson was willing to step out and sell his TV. I also notice that he was willing to sacrifice and give up an extended period of time each night to be with The Lord. Lastly, I see that he was simply obedient with the word that the Lord gave him. These three things all brought David Wilkerson to a place where he was positioned to receive a word from Heaven that would not only change him but all of history. We are called to change history and impact the world around us.

What separates those who simply exist and those who change history are those who are willing to do the following:

  1. Step OutStep out

Many times God calls us to do things that are really unusual. When we listen to him this opens up the ability for Him to break into the everyday and ordinary places of our lives. We can become so complacent and comfortable and it is in these times that he challenges our faith and brings us to new places. We must be willing to step out if we want to step into the destiny that God has for us as world-changers.

This is demonstrated to us through the story of Peter when he steps out onto the water towards Jesus. That act of faith is what separated him from every other person that was in that boat. All of the men in the boat were disciples of Christ but Peter stood out because he was willing to step out. We see the fruit of this willingness in Acts Chapter two when he is the first to step out and boldly proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven to those in Jerusalem. The church was birthed because of Peter’s willingness to step out. God is calling each of us to do the same!

  1. Sacrifice

Everything great that we do in life requires that we sacrifice other “good” things for the greater. We make sacrifices and choices every single day on the way we spend our time. We may sacrifice time watching a football game to be with our kids or sacrifice our relationships with friends to pursue a deeper relationship with our fiancé. Sacrifice is natural and is something that we all do each and every day. Every decision we make in life bears fruit in our lives. When we are willing to sacrifice some “good” things in our life for the better things that God is calling us to is when we begin to step into our destiny as world changers.

We can see an example of this in the life of John the Baptist. He was set apart as a forerunner of the coming messiah even while he was still in his mothers womb. Even though he had angels tell his mother that he was to be especially set apart from birth he still had to make a choice whether or not to comply. He was set apart in a Nazarite type vow and chose not to partake of certain things because God had a special plan and a special purpose for his life. Because of his obedience in this and making such a huge sacrifice he got one of the coolest privileges in all of history… He got to baptize Jesus! God has huge plans for each of us and when we are willing to sacrifice the good for the best then we are able to step into them.

  1. Simply ObeySimply Obey

Once we have pressed in through sacrifice and stepped out God will eventually give us a word that will not only change us but will also possess us. This is what happened to David Wilkerson. He waited on the Lord until he had been given a word that absolutely possessed him and drove him along the path of his destiny in Christ. After we have received the word it is important that we practice simple obedience and do what God has shown us to do. When we begin to walk in this simple obedience to his word then we will begin to see greater miracles than we ever could have imagined!

When Jesus told the man to go wash in the river to receive healing the man practiced simple obedience by going and washing even though it made no sense at all. Because of his simple obedience to Jesus he was healed of blindness as recorded in John 9. This man’s simple obedience led to an astounding miracle! When we walk in simple obedience to the Holy Spirit we will see even greater things in our lives.

I believe that God is calling each of us to consider how He might be calling us to step out and where we can make sacrifices. He has even greater things for our life than we could ever even imagine but sometime we are too complacent to find out what these things might be. I feel like He is calling each of us to take some time to consider what He might be calling us to do. I can only wonder what might happen if the body of Christ began to set aside 2 hours each night like David Wilkerson did for those 19 days. The Lord is just waiting for people who are willing to step out, sacrifice and simply obey.

Word of Knowledge @ Lifepoint Church

I was talking to my good friend Keith Fountain today and he told me a really amazing story of something God did through him recently and I asked him to send me the testimony. It is so cool hearing how God is using His kids to release His Kingdom here on earth. God hasn’t made us to simply be sidelines followers of Jesus but rather to be on the field and doing the greater works that Jesus promised we would do in John 14. I thought this was a really cool example of how God can use us when we are willing to simply be obedient to the Holy Spirit.

Here is the story:

shoulder-bursitis1“On June 6th our family visited Lifepoint Church in Douglasville for the first time. We went home and talked about how much we enjoyed the service and we really wanted to go back. So we went back thatWednesday night and Sunday morning. On that Sunday morning during worship I felt the Holy Spirit begin to overwhelm me and bring me to a point of listening to His voice. I began to feel my left arm go numb from the shoulder down, and excruciating pain to begin to shoot down my arm. I knew that this was not for me, that this had to be an indication of something that someone in the service was going through. I asked the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to me who this was for. His voice spoke to me and said that there was a lady in the service that was experiencing numbness in her left arm, and excruciating pain shooting to her fingers. I leaned over to the pastor and told him what I was experiencing. Immediately after I passed the word on to him, the pain in my arm left. I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me once again and tell me “tell the lady that today I will heal her arm completely in the name of Jesus.” The pastor remained in a state of worship but gave the word of knowledge to the congregation. There was one lady who stood up and came up to the front, she just happened to be the piano player. She came up and stood for prayer and I walked up behind her to pray for her. I told her what the Holy Spirit said to me and we began to pray over her. She immediately began to raise both arms, which she couldn’t do. She had been to doctor after doctor and they all told her that she was going to have to have surgery. She was actually going in the morning for a surgical consultation. She told me that when we began to pray for her that she felt a sensation like fire go through her arm, and that she had been having this problem now since the beginning of June and hasn’t been able to lift her arm since then. She is now 100% with complete feeling and sensation back in her left arm with no side effects.”
 

Testimony – Shoulder/ Elbow Healed!

Last thursday I was at a local Teen Challenge Thrift Store grand opening and saw God do something miraculous while waiting in line. I wanted to share this story because I really think it will be an encouragement to others to allow God to use them more in every day situations and also to show how amazing our God is!

The line at the grand opening was really long because so many people had come to see the new store and show support for Teen Challenge. I found a couple of items I liked and eventually got in the line knowing I would probably be waiting for quite some time. As I waited I started talking to the woman who was right in front of me. She began to share with me about her life, her kids and where she was from. Her name was Gladys. 

When I first began talking to her I felt like the Holy Spirit spoke to me in a quiet whisper and simply said the word, “Elbow.” I remember thinking to myself that maybe God was trying to tell me that I should pray for this woman’s elbow but thought that was just craziness or some weird idea I had. I hate to admit it but I kinda just ignored it and kept talking to this woman for the next 15 minutes or so. 

Suddenly while talking with her it’s as if the Holy Spirit got my attention and reminded me again with one simple word. The word he said was, “Elbow” and that was it. (It’s kinda funny looking back at it now…) I had no other clues or anything; just a simple word. So finally I got the hint and asked her with a smile if her elbow was hurting. She stopped with shock and said, “Yes! and my shoulder has been really bothering me too!” I told her I felt like God told me that her elbow was hurting and asked if I could maybe pray for her. At this moment the other shoppers around were just staring at me like I was a crazy person.

I put my hand on her shoulder and began to pray out loud. I commanded her shoulder in Jesus name to be healed and for all pain to leave. As I was praying I literally began to feel something underneath her skin move. Her shoulder did not move, her arm did not move… It was something in her skin that seemingly popped up and literally moved my hand. In shock I backed up and asked her, “Did you feel that???” She was shocked and told me yes. Then she began to move her arm around and started crying. She said that all the pain in her shoulder and elbow was completely gone!photo

Once that happened another woman who was also in line began to shout, “Thank you Jesus!!!” I began to agree with her and so did Gladys who had just been healed by God. Right there in this line, with everyone watching we all began to shout and praise God! We started to have “church” right there in that line and Jesus was made famous in front of everyone who was in that line. Afterwards she told me she was so thankful because now she could go home and get some work done. She told me that she was so blessed because she was reminded that God cared so much for her and that He saw every need that she had. 

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…

James 5:15