Sisterhood Northern Ireland 2015 – Day 6

•June 23, 2015 • 1 Comment

IMG_7760We had the privilege to serve at an organization called Drop Inn.  Drop Inn is a non-profit organization that exists to bring hope, help and healing to people who are living in situations of desperate need.  Drop Inn has over 30 charity stores across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  The location we were at today was a newly purchased property (a castle) that was undergoing renovations.  We spent some time helping them clean, garden, and organize.

When you have a true servant’s heart and get in there to do the dirty work, it allows God to work in your heart and clean out the dirty spaces there, too.  Serving other people puts them before yourself and gives God a chance to change your perception from self to others.  Not only were we able to bless Drop Inn by serving, but they were a blessing to us for giving us this opportunity to work and be “worked on.”IMG_7780

A true servant finds a need and fills it no matter what the cost.  This trip has given us many opportunities to be servants.

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you IMG_7756have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

When God gives you an opportunity to serve, it usually isn’t for the person you are serving.  God has given you a divine appointment to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you.

– Krista Anello, Sisterhood Ireland Mission Team 2015

 

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Sisterhood Northern Ireland 2015 – Day 5

•June 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

We had another wonderful time serving the House of God today for Sunday services.  CCNI is still a mobile church and a lot has to go into each week to make a service a success.  Every week the CCNI team sets up the Hub to make the atmosphere welcoming.  Setting up a stage, rolling out chairs, preparing the children’s classrooms, and making the environment welcoming are just a few things that are going on to prepare for services.  From the moment you step into the Hub, it feels like home.  It feels like an other Celebration Church campus you would attend in the states.  CCNI has done an amazing job capturing the vision of our mission statement as a whole, Leading people to lead a God-First Life. 

IMG_7356Our team split up today to bring extra hands in the set up process.  If you have never been a part of a mobile church, this experience gives you just a glimpse at the sacrifice and dedication the volunteers here at CCNI have.  As some of us served in children’s ministry and some served tea and coffee, we watched as the people greatly appreciated all the effort that went into it.

We came back for the evening service to help Kate Richardson and Rachel Croizer with Holiday Bible Club, which is known as Vacation Bible School in the states.  IMG_7541This is the first year CCNI has done Holiday Bible Club.  It is amazing to watch how much the kids want to learn about Jesus.  Holiday Bible Club makes church fun and exciting and draws the kids into the life of the church in a different way than a normal Sunday service.  As we pretended to go on an adventure in the jungle, we listened to music of sounds you might hear.  We walked around the room and had to tune into different sounds the jungle music was making.  First we heard frogs, then rain.  Next we heard some birds and lions.  But if we didn’t have previous knowledge of what those sounds were, we would not have been able to distinguish all the different sounds.  That is a lot like our walk with Christ. If IMG_7604we are not intentional in spending time with God, reading His word, and listening to what He wants to say, we will never be able to distinguish His voice.  Our world can quickly became bogged down by busyness, work, children, etc, that if we don’t intentionally spend time with God, His voice will just become another noise in the mix of life.

~Krista Anello, 2015 Sisterhood Ireland Team

Sisterhood Northern Ireland 2015 – Day 3 & 4

•June 20, 2015 • 1 Comment

We are already in day three of ouIMG_6816r trip.  The days are flying by as we stayed busy with preparing for our Sisterhood weekend event.  Our team came to support the Sisterhood Leadership team here at CCNI – lending our hands and hearts to whatever was needed. Every year, this team brings such a lift to the house and the church.  The CCNI ladies know how to do Sisterhood.  They had everything planned and prepared down to the smallest detail.  We were able to come along side them with support, encouragement, and a heart to serve.  The amount of love these leaders show truly makes the women know and understand their value.

This was the first year CCNI has had a two-day Sisterhood event.  The last few weeks they have been going through the Sisterhood Effect series.  These two days we continued that series, and it is not only effecting the women in Florida but the women at CCNI.  IMG_6799

Friday night we opened the event with Lea Sims giving a message on identity.  She explained how different circumstances in our lives cause us to pick up lenses like rejection, anger, and fear and begin to view life through these lenses.  When we carry these lenses around, it makes it difficult to have relationships. They change our perception and make our vision blurry.  God is asking us to lay them down and trust Him enough to make us whole through our obedience.  May times it is hard for us to obey and allow God to have full control in our lives.  But God paid the ultimate price for us and, in turn, we should trust Him a little more.  After the message, Lea had an altar call.  The prayer team went to the front to pray for anyone who wanted to step into God’s loving arms and lay their lenses at His feet.  This was the first time the prayer team went to the front for an altar call and the response for this call was remarkable.  We had the privilege of praying with 15 women who decided to take God at His word and trust Him by laying down the lenses they have carried with them far too long.

Today we startIMG_6963ed the day with the smell of hot scones, tea and coffee as we prepared to serve the ladies waiting with anticipation for day 2 of Sisterhood.

Pastor Rachel opened the day by focusing on our third Sisterhood – impact.  She hosted four women, including Dawnyale Wolfe from the Jacksonville team, on a panel about how we can impact others with our testimonies, time, treasure, talents, and trials.  Lea covered the fourth Sisterhood value on relationships by talking about how all women in the House of God need to have reach-up, reach-back, and reach-out relationships in their world, stressing the importance of having close, girding, and lantern-baring relationships that sustain them on their journey of faith.IMG_7019

But the highlight of the day was when Telia Goudeau, a young woman from Louisiana who is now serving on the CCNI staff, shared her powerful testimony of redemption, one that impacted every woman in the room.  Her journey from abandonment, brokenness, and abuse to a triumphant and powerful walk with God was inspirational and brought many women to the prayer room after the service was over who were seeking support to walk out of rejection and fear and into a life of purpose.

After cleaning up, packing all of the beautiful decor, and helping the Sisterhood team wrap up the event, we came back to the CCNI team house to do something else we love to do — serve other women by taking care of their children.  We hosted a Parent’s Night Out, and spent some amazing time with some future kingdom builders.

Tired, but fulfilled, we spent the evening in fellowship, devotion, and thanksgiving for an incredible day.

~Krista AnelloIMG_7106, 2015 Sisterhood Ireland Missions Team

Sisterhood Northern Ireland – Day 2

•June 19, 2015 • 1 Comment

After a wonderful lunch at the local’s favorite cafe, we headed to the streets for a prayer walk.  We entered a tunnel where the local teenagers hang out.  The whole inside is covered in graffiti.  As you walk through, you can feel the despair, the heart ache, and the hopelessness.  Over the top of all the graffiti are words of encouragement written by other missions teams and by people from the church here.  We had a chance to write some words of our own and pray over the area.  That was so powerful to be a part of and be able to write words of hope, love, and value that may impact someone’s life one day.  God entrusted us with an opportunity to sow these seeds and to speak life into someone.

IMG_6465The teenagers here are looking for an identity.  Whether they find their identity in labels placed on them by themselves or others, circumstances, or from their past, they will pick up an identity and continue to live according to that identity.  We want to break this cycle of defining ourselves with the wrong identity and help everyone at every stage of life find their true identity in Christ.  We want their identity to be found in Christ and not in their circumstances.IMG_6459

Identity is a value of Sisterhood and another way we were able to instill this value today was by preparing things for the Sisterhood event this weekend.  We want to make every women feel loved, valued, and appreciated from the moment she walks in the door at the Hub.  We want her to find her identity in Christ and be able to walk it out.

Another value of Sisterhood in value.  We confer value on women at every stage of life.  We were able to confer that value with the words we wrote on thIMG_6590e walls and with every small preparation for Sisterhood this week.

~ Krista Anello, 2015 Sisterhood Ireland Missions Team

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Sisterhood Northern Ireland 2015 – Day 1

•June 18, 2015 • 1 Comment

This is the first blog entry for the Sisterhood missions team on our trip to Celebration Northern Ireland.  We are spending 8 days in Craigavon to support the Sisterhood event being planned for this weekend and bring the heart and values of Sisterhood to the outreach opportunities being planned for us this week.  We left Jacksonville on June 16, 2015, full of anticipation.

As we began our journey yesterday in the Jacksonville airport, Lea kicked us off with a devotional about taking up our cross and dying to our flesh.  One of her points was to crucify our need to control.  Your willingness to control can not be based on circumstances.  Soon after we finished our devo, our flight was delayed and gave us our first chance to relinquish our control over to God.  Knowing that He ordained our footsteps to be on this trip, we knew we needed to fully trust in Him to get us there no matter how long it takes.  As we continued to have delays, our trust was continuing to be tested.

IMG_6355Tonight we went on an outreach to clean up litter and go into the neighborhoods where the young teenagers hang out.  When we got to the park, there were a group of teenagers gathered along the perimeter of the woods, where a lot of the youth come to drink, smoke, and hang out together.  As we approached the group, they quickly dispersed, wanting nothing to do with us.  We began to play music, sing, dance, and laugh.  No matter what we did, how fun we made it, and how much we tried to entice them, we had to trust in God that He would do the next step.  We couldn’t control how they would react to us.

Slowly they began to emerge from their hiding places, 2 or 3 at a time.  They began to allow us to start conversations with them.  Even though our time with them was short, we learned that God will use every opportunity He can to speak to these IMG_6422young kids, including the short time we had with them.  We can trust Him in knowing that we did our part in what He needed at that moment.  We may never see the fruit from the seeds that may have been planted tonight, but we can rest assured that God is in control and when the time is right, we will welcome a new brother or sister into our family.

– Krista Anello, 2015 Sisterhood Missions Team

A21 Greece Sisterhood Trip -A light for those forced into darkness!

•August 30, 2014 • 3 Comments

Toda10542414_10203750360191266_2973022352438797415_oy we walked down some of the same streets as the Apostle Paul, we also got to help the A21 Campaign put on an awareness event. “One phone call could free her” 1109 is the number to the hotline in Thessaloniki,   to report any injustice or  suspected  human trafficking.  Today we handed out 2700 candles, each light represents a woman who has been forced into the darkness of modern day slavery.  In reality there are over 27million victims, Women and children are often kidnapped into the industry or sold into it by family under desperate circumstances. The average age of victims continues to grow younger as clients seek “fresh” product.  When I first signed up for this mission trip, my prayer was for harsher punishments for the traffickers, while doing my daily devotion a few weeks back, I was reminded that God can change the heart of man.  Saul was persecuting Christians left and right, one day he was on his way to Damascus to murder even more, and God brought him to his knees and revealed himself to him.  

Acts 9:3-9 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

If God can bring Saul to his knees and change his heart, he can do the same with these traffickers.  I pray for God to meet them where they are, bring them to their knees, and change their hearts!

~Erica Smith

 

A21 Greece Sisterhood Trip – “In Her Shoes” in Bulgaria

•August 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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We have learned so much as a team since we arrived. The journey began with education about human trafficking and about the specifics of the A21 Campaign. Friday we ventured deeper into the darkness to gain a different perspective… One of walking in the shoes of a potential victim. In the morning, we traveled a short distance away and crossed the border into Bulgaria. Of all the victims rescued by the A21 Greece team, 40% have been from Bulgaria. So this was a day to learn why these girls were so at risk. There are many small villages within the country that are rather run down. The communities function on growing their own produce, and some of the men have jobs in the city (a little ways outside of the village). As you can see from the picture, while there are homes that are falling apart, they still have a satellite dish. So these young girls have access to western culture, see the lives of famous people on TV or come to know that there is a different world out there … Only to look around at their home, village and their limited futures. So these girls fall easy prey to traffickers who come along and offer them a better life just a short drive across the Greek border. Education and prevention is key! … Friday evening was a unique experience. We traveled with the team through the Red Light District in Greece to see how wide spread the issue really is here. Sadly, there has been a drastic influx in the number of brothels in the area since A21 landed on the ground. Since prostitution is legal here, there is a fine line that the team must walk to battle the injustice of slavery. Difficult yes, impossible no! For all things are possible with God. Please join us in praying for the amazing A21 team in Greece. They are doing great work here! …. And that’s the end of my blog. ~ Lindsey Hill