Taking a relaxing break in Texas

On Saturday February 25th my friend Sarah sent me a private facebook message inviting Come to Texasme to visit her and Christopher her husband there in Texas at their home during my sabbatical time in Canada. When I received the invitation from Sarah that day excitement filled my heart to be invited to their home in Texas for a week because I never asked them or anyone if I could visit them so I thought it was really nice for them to invite me to visit them and to have a week to relax and also to have some time to seek God but honestly I knew the plane ticket would be quite expensive so I kind of just put at the back of my mind to go on the trip.

However on Wednesday April 26th at 12:19am, I sent Sarah a couple of Facebook messages and I asked if her offer was still open. After processing with the counselor that I had at the time with my Mom on Tuesday evening I decided to reconsider Sarah’s invitation to get away for a week for a time of rest and to also seek God as well.

I am so very thankful that I decided to spend a week in Texas and I am still to this day very surprised in myself that I decided to make such a spontaneous decision like I did especially to book my plane ticket on April 26th which is just under a month before I flew there because I am not a very spontaneous person so I do believe in my heart that God helped me make that decision to go on this trip. In the fall of 2012, I went to Pemba, Mozambique for 2 ½ months for the Iris Harvest Mission School which was so very life changing for me and this is where I met Sarah and her husband Christopher. I haven’t seen them since we were in Mozambique so it was really great to see them again and to be able to spend some time with them.

On Sunday May 21, 2017, my brother Jonathan just took me part of the way to the

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Christopher, Sarah and I

Toronto airport, then my Dad met us and he took me to the airport. It was a real blessing from God to be able to have some time with my Dad at the airport before I left. I checked in for my flight, we said our good-byes and then I headed to my gate. It was a real blessing from God to be able to have a direct flight from Toronto to Dallas.

I flew out of Toronto at 5:59pm and I arrived at 8:33pm which was around a 3 ½ hour flight. When I arrived I felt a bit tired from travelling plus I had to adjust to an hour time change as well in my body but when I saw Sarah at the airport I was very excited to see her again. After Sarah and I met at the airport we went to her house and then Sarah, Christopher and I all went to Denny’s for a late dinner.

On Monday (May 22nd), I began my week in Texas where I spent some time writing inIMG_0107 my journal to express to God what has been on my heart lately and to surrender my week to Him. I haven’t spent much time lately writing in my journal so I am really glad that I began my week doing that and I also spent a lot of time during the week writing in my journal to be able to process my thoughts more with God. When I wrote in my journal one of the things I had realized was I had felt very frustrated both with myself and even with God especially of how I had allowed myself to get extremely distracted and stressed during my time in Canada and I was also battling in my mind and heart with confusion of the length of time that I had originally thought I was going to be in Canada too.

I am very thankful that Sarah and I were able to take some time to share some things that have been on our hearts, pray together and also take communion together too. In the afternoon I went on a walk with Sarah around her neighborhood (the town she lives in is called Mesquite). It was really nice to get out and go for a walk and then we had dinner. Christopher barbequed steak and we had a nice relaxing evening at their house. It was a really great first day in Texas and I began to have an expectation in my heart that God is going to do something really great during this week.

On Tuesday (May 23rd), in the morning I spent some time reflecting and processing withWriting in a journal God in my journal.  The couple of weeks before I arrived in Texas I felt I was in a bit of a whirlwind with everything that had happened regarding work. On Monday May 8th I felt very discouraged about the lack of supply hours at the daycare I was working at so my friend Leanne encouraged me to consider to do a nanny job.

I decided to make a profile on the Care.com website that day but when I checked the next day nothing seem to catch my eye so on Wednesday of that week I decided to broaden my horizons/options where I made profiles on other nanny websites and I even filled out an application and sent it in with my resume on the Cardinal Nannies and Caregivers website. Then the next day (Thurs. May 11th) I was very surprised to receive a phone call from the agency for an interview for Friday. I am very thankful to God that the interview went very well and then the following Monday (May 15th) I received a phone call that they decided to hire me.

The nanny agency connected me to a family that has four school age children that are inCardinal Nannies and Caregivers 1 need of a new nanny because their current one they have will finish her contract at the end of the children’s school year.

On Friday May 19th I met with the Father of the family. The Father seemed very nice and I felt quite comfortable to talk to him which I thought was a real blessing from God. The Father was looking for a nanny who would be committed for at least one year so the children would be able to have stability in their lives and not change nannies half way through the school year which is understandable. I expressed to the Father of this family that on Sunday I would be flying to Texas to spend a week with friends there and I asked him if it would be alright to give my answer to him in a week when I returned because I felt that I needed time to think about it before I committed to my decision to say yes.

When I spent time on Tuesday processing all of this with God I honestly felt a bit overwhelmed. I mainly felt overwhelmed because I didn’t expect any of this to happen regarding this job opportunity, I was quite blown away that over a couple of weeks my friend Leanne encouraged me to consider a nanny job which I have never done before and then just a couple of days before I flew to Texas I met with a Father to possibly be a nanny for his children and now I need to make a decision to commit for a year when I return for my trip. I felt overwhelmed with being so very thankful to God for this new door that He has opened up to me because I honestly believe that it is from Him especially to be able to invest in and to be able to personally impact a specific family as well.

To be honest though when I processed all of this in my journal I was also struggling and Isaiah 55 v 8 - 9battling in my heart to do this or not because last year in the fall I honestly thought that God had spoken to me to stay in Canada for a “sabbatical season” until the end of the summer 2017 but now I needed to make a decision to commit for an entire year which is a whole year longer than I had originally thought I would be in Canada for. There is a verse in the Bible that says that God is not the author of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).

I also realize that it does say in the Bible that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8 -9). I personally think and believe that it is okay to wrestle with things in our heart that we struggle with because God is big enough to handle all of our questions and our struggles.

In the afternoon it was a real blessing to be able to go out with my friend Sarah and do

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Texas Discovery Gardens

something fun. We spent a couple of hours at the Texas discovery gardens which is a sanctuary place for butterflies. I thought it was really neat to go to an indoor sanctuary place for butterflies especially to see hundreds of butterflies all around you up and even get a close look at some of them as they are just resting on a plant.

I never seen so many butterflies before or even been that close to them so I thought it was pretty neat to see God’s beautiful creation so close. After we walked around the indoor butterfly sanctuary we went outside to see the gardens and there was even a small building where snakes were kept in these glass boxes. The only thing was the IMG_8339weather was overcast and it even rained on that day so unfortunately a lot of the butterflies were “hiding” in the small indoor forest that was inside because they prefer the sun light but we still got to see a lot of butterflies which was really great.

On Wednesday (May 24th), I decided to have a day just to stay at Christopher and Sarah’s house to spend time with God journaling and waiting/ resting in His presence. I am really glad that I was able to have a whole day where I was able to spend time with God which was such a blessing from the Lord that He gave me that time with Him. A lot of the things that I wrote in my journal were prayers of surrender to God and my heart yearning with a deep hunger and a desire to be in a sweet place of intimacy of my Abba Father again because lately I had been really distracted from being able to spend time with Him and to listen to His voice as well.

One of the things that I reflected on in my journal is this chart that has specific examplesGod's Voice and Satan's Voice of the difference between God’s voice and Satan’s voice.

I think it is a really great chart and a simple way to tell the difference between God’s voice and Satan’s voice. When I looked at the chart that day I had realized that I sometimes I do listen to the wrong voice so I took some time to repent before God, taking captive every thought that wasn’t of God and also pulling down any strongholds as well especially any voices that had brought me confusion, discouragement, worry, obsession, condemnation, etc. I am so very thankful that Jesus is my good shepherd and it says in the Bible that His sheep know and recognize His voice (John 10:3 – 5, 14 and 27).

I absolutely love the Passion translation version. If you are not familiar with The PassionThe Passion Translation - Psalms Translation it is a new, heart-level translation that expresses God’s fiery heart of love to this generation using Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts, merging emotion and life-changing truth of God’s word. I have the Passion translation for Psalms and also Song of Songs so I decided to bring it to Texas for my trip and I am so glad that I did! I took some time writing a prayer from Psalms 23 in my journal from the Passion Translation which was really refreshing to be able to do that.

This is the prayer that I wrote from Psalms 23:

“Lord Jesus, I thank-you that you are my best friend and my Shepherd. I thank-you that I Psalm 23shall not be in want because I always have more than enough in you. I thank you Jesus that you make me lie down in green pastures and you lead me beside quiet waters. I am so very thankful that you offer me a resting place for me in your luxurious love and you take me to a place of peace that is a quiet brook of bliss.

I thank you Jesus that you restore my soul and you revive my life. I thank you Jesus that you guide me in paths of righteousness for your name sake. I thank that you are the one who opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and you lead me along in your footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to your name.

Lord Jesus, even when I walk through the valley of death and the deepest darkness in my life. I thank you Lord that fear will never conquer me, for you already have and you remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. I thank you Lord that your authority is my strength and my peace, for you are my prince of peace.

Jesus, I thank you that you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I thank you that you become my delicious feast, even when my enemies dare to fight. I thank you Jesus that you anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows. Jesus, I thank you that you anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit and you give me all that I can drink of you until my heart is overwhelmed by your love.

So, why would I fear the future? I thank you Jesus that I am being pursued only by your goodness and your unfailing love all of the days of my life and I will dwell in your house forever.” (Psalms 23 – NIV and The Passion Translation)

God reminded me of this scripture verse that talks about being still in Him:Psalm 46 v 10 2

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

I love this verse in the Passion Translation. This is what it says:

“Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all nations and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.”

I wrote a prayer from Isaiah 40:29 – 31 and this is what I wrote:

“I thank you Lord God that you give power to the weak and to those who have no might you increase their strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary and the young the young men shall fall but I thank you Lord that those who wait and rest in you will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall walk and not faint.”

I also reflected on the scripture passage from Matthew 11:28 – 30 which says:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

After I took spent some time to reflect and process in my journal what has been going on The Passion Translation - Song of Songsin my heart and also some scripture verses I decided to read through the book of Song of Songs which is one of the books in the Bible. I decided to read through Song of Songs in the Passion Translation and to read it through entirely without stopping. When I read the book of Song of Songs I decided to read it out loud so I can hear myself read it and as I did I sensed God was speaking to me a lot especially of how He drew my heart to His heart in a renewed love for Him. It was like God was speaking so softly that His heart is longing to be so very close to mine and also to have a deeper intimacy with Him.

I believe the Song of Song is like a beautiful story of Jesus longing and calling his bride to himself. It is God’s deepest heart’s desire for us to know Him with a close intimacy and He is constantly chasing and pursuing our hearts for Him.

Here are some verses from Song of Songs the Passion Translation:Song of Songs

“Listen, my radiant one—
if you ever lose sight of me,
just follow in my footsteps where I lead my lovers.
Come with your burdens and cares.
Come to the place near the sanctuary of my shepherds.” (1:8)

“Look at you, my dearest darling,
you are so lovely!
You are beauty itself to me.
Your passionate eyes are like gentle doves.” (1:15)

“His left hand cradles my head
while his right hand holds me close.
I am at rest in this love.” (2:6)

“Can you not discern this new day of destiny
breaking forth around you?
The early signs of my purposes and plans
are bursting forth.
The budding vines of new life
are now blooming everywhere.
The fragrance of their flowers whispers,
“There is change in the air.”
Arise, my love, my beautiful companion,
and run with me to the higher place.
For now is the time to arise and come away with me.” (2:13)

“…show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet.” (2:14 from NIV)

“Every part of you is so beautiful, my darling.Arise my darling...
Perfect is your beauty, without flaw within.” (4:7)

“For you reach into my heart.
With one flash of your eyes I am undone by your love,
my beloved, my equal, my bride.
You leave me breathless—
I am overcome
by merely a glance from your worshiping eyes,
for you have stolen my heart.
I am held hostage by your love
and by the graces of righteousness shining upon you.” (4:9)

As you can see by looking at just a few of the verses from the Song of Songs from The Passion Translation it gives us a fresh passionate version and you can really sense God’s heart felt love for us when you read it as well. Some of the words and phrases that stand out to me in the Song of Songs are: beloved, dignity, awakened, bride, “come…”, my darling, my lover, “come away with me”, listen, “you are beautiful”, “I am at rest in this love, arise, pure, lovely, royalty, rest, “undone by your love”, and passion. I hope by sharing a bit of the Song of Songs with you God has captivated your heart as much as I am.

On Thursday (May 25th), in the afternoon I went on a walk with Sarah on a nature trail IMG_8360which was really nice to be able to get out and take a walk. We even saw a turtle but he looked too shy to let his head and legs out. In the evening Sarah and Cristopher’s church had a special service. The service was really great especially to be surrounded by passionate people after God’s heart in worship and in prayer.

Lindell Cooley was their guest speaker. Some of the things that stood out to me when he preached were: We need to know “who we are called to”. Who are you called to? What do you listen to and who do you listen to? Are you really listening to God and are you making provisions to Him? Are you pushing aside the distractions to really listen to God? We need to make time to listen to God, to focus on listening to Him otherwise we will drift away from Him. God wants to rise up prayer warriors.

There was a missionary family there that came for the special services at the church when I was in Texas. This family has a ministry at the border of Texas and Mexico. I felt very touched when Christopher and Sarah’s pastor asked Lindell to pray for the missionaries. I thought it would just be a special prayer for this missionary family but their pastor also wanted me to receive prayer too. I guess I was hesitated to receive IMG_8370prayer because I am not currently serving on the mission field but I am having a sabbatical season right now so I didn’t know if I should also go up front to receive prayer but I was very touched that they wanted to pray for me too.

After I came back with Cristopher and Sarah to their house after church I saw Christopher feeding his birds so I asked him if it would be possible if I could hold one of them. I wasn’t sure if one of the birds would be comfortable with me or I would be comfortable to hold one of them or a couple of them but I thought it was the coolest thing that I got to do it and a pretty special experience too because I don’t think I had done it before. I am very thankful that Cristopher let me hold his birds during my visit in Texas.

On Friday (May 26th), I felt like it was an extremely busy and long day but it was IMG_8371definitely well worth it. Early in the morning I think around 8:00am we went to WhataBurger fast food restaurant for a quick bite to eat for breakfast and then we drove around an hour to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre. I am so very thankful that both Cristopher and Sarah were able to get the day off of work so we were able to have a whole day together which was such a blessing from God.  One of the things that I had always wanted to do was to go on like an African Safari trip so going to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre was kind of like doing that but it was in Texas instead and I didn’t even know that this would even be a possibility to do something like this until I arrived in Texas so it was definitely a huge surprise and blessing from God!

We spent around 3 hours at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre and it was such an incredible IMG_8457experience that God gave me beyond what I could put into words! We took Cristopher’s truck which was such a blessing from God to be able to ride in comfortably and we were also up higher than we would have been if we took a car. We saw all different kinds of animals: Ostrich, Red Deer, Wildebeest, Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Addax, Blesbok, Gemsbok – Oryx, Fallow deer, Giraffe, Zebra, Aoudad, Axis Deer, Southern White Rhino, American Bison, Emu, Cheetah, and others. One of my highlights during our drive through this safari that we did was when we got to feed the zebras right from our hands when we sat in the truck which I thought was the coolest thing ever!

After we went to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre we went to the Creation Evidence

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Creation Evidence Museum

Museum too. It was a real blessing from God to be able to also have an opportunity to go to the Creation Evidence Museum as well which was really close to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre. This museum provides scientific evidence for the creation message opposing the evolutionary theory to thousands of people each year. I thought it was really interesting to see the different artifacts, documents, a Noah’s ark replica and many other things. I know and I believe in my heart that God is the one who is the creator and everything in the Bible is true of what it says about how God brought about His creation to the world.

In the evening, I went with Sarah and Christopher to their home church for the second special service they had at the church. The worship and the prayer time was amazing. Lindell Cooley spoke again and it was really great. He preached on the scripture passage on Matthew 14:22 – 33 which was about Jesus walking on the water. Some of the things that stood out to me when he preached were: We are going to have times when we feel like we are totally alone and disconnected from God and during this time it is important to remember what will you do with this time. We are all going to go through storms in our lives, we will go through times of testing and during these times it is all about how we will react to it because storms are supposed to help us mature in our lives. We have to pay attention to what comes out of our mouths during the storms in our lives. God works in the process. Storms will bring the presence of God, the provision of God and the power of God. We cannot believe God for the miraculous if we stay in the boat and we have to stop saying to ourselves “what if?” but we must believe in God and have faith.

After Lindell finished preaching he prayed for everyone who came to church that evening. I remember when Lindell prayed for me, I fell down because the presence of God was so strong at church and the Lord spoke to me a lot as I just rested in His presence. I sensed in my heart God speak to me very clearly that He hasn’t changed His mind about the calling that He has on my life of me being a missionary to the nations, reaching out to the vulnerable and hurting ones especially girls who are being trafficked. However, in God’s mercy the timing and the length of time I am in Canada has changed because there are still things that He wants to teach me and “train” me during this season in my life of being in Canada. I just want to praise God for Him speaking to me during the service and also during the prayer time as well.

On Friday May 26th, my aunt Phyllis sent me an e-mail with some very challenging You can trust in Godquestions for me to think about which were:

  1. Do you fully trust God?
  2. Do you believe he loves you and has a plan for your life?
  3. Do you believe he will open and close doors along your journey through life?
  4. Do you trust him fully with your future?

My aunt also wrote this “My prayer for you is that you will surrender all to him and hear his gentle voice as he leads the way. May his peace and love surround you at this time.”

I am very thankful for people like my aunt Phyllis who call me up to challenge me in my faith in God especially when I go through seasons of uncertainly of waiting on God for the next step along the journey that He has placed me on. The questions that my aunt asked me are definitely questions that I really need to reflect and ponder on more. Maybe these are also questions that we can all reflect on as well of how our trust is in God and His love that He has for us. My deepest desire of my heart is to continue every day to know God more and more, to daily know His love and to be able to trust in Him more. I am so very grateful for all of God’s goodness, His deep love that He has for His children and also for all of His faithfulness as well.

On Saturday (May 27th), this was my last full day in Texas and it was such a great day. I

Sheila and I 2

Sheila and I

had a bit of a relaxing morning and I spent a bit of time chatting with my friend Sheila who has become such an amazing prayer support of mine we both realized that we were in the exact same town! I never actually met Sheila but we became friends on Facebook through mutual friends and she has become such an amazing support to me with her prayers and encouragement so when we realized we were in the same town she asked me if I wanted to get together for lunch with her.

What an amazing surprise from God it was to be able to meet with Sheila and I even got to go to a Mexican restaurant for lunch too. I felt in my heart the time that Sheila and I had was such a God moment because we spent time sharing our stories, encouraging each other and we also prayed for each other too! I just love when God blesses us with surprises that are so unexpected!

After I finished lunch with Sheila I came back to Cristopher and Sarah’s house. I decided to go outside to pray and think for a bit in their back yard. As I took a bit of time to pray about my future and other things this thought came to my mind which I believe it is from God. The thought was to do the FCM (Foundational Counselling Ministries) school with YWAM first before I join and begin serving with YWAM again full time of where God leads me to serve and to also possibly do the school after I do this nanny job. I have been praying and thinking about doing this school for a while now and I originally thought that maybe I could serve on staff with a Justice DTS, then do the school and then continue to serve as a full time missionary. I do believe that God spoke to me when I was outside that afternoon and now I just need to give this to Him and to also trust in Him of how it will unfold.

Saturday evening was the last time I was able to go to my friends Cristopher and Sarah’s

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Sarah and I

church during my trip when I was in Texas. The last service Pastor Bennie Baker spoke which was so powerful and I really sensed the anointing of God on the sermon he preached. Bennie challenged us of how hungry we are for God, that we need to carry revival to people and the places we go to. We need to be more connected to God’s heart, to be more in tune to Him in what He is speaking to us and to be very careful with the words that come out of our mouths. We can learn to say to God “I trust in you” when we go through seasons in our lives that we don’t understand why we are going through them. We need to praise God to press in for our breakthrough.

I was really encouraged after Bennie preached he prayed for me and I just want to praise God for what He spoke to me how He sees that I have a heart for revival, that I will carry it to people and the Lord will bring people to me that have the same heart for revival as well. I was also encouraged by other things that Bennie prayed and prophesied over my life as well. God is so good and my heart is filled with so much gratitude of how He arranged for these special services at Cristopher and Sarah’s church the exact same week that I went to visit them in Texas. Those services at the church were such a blessing from God especially of how He spoke to my heart so much and also His presence was so beautiful there as well.

On Sunday (May 28th), well it was hard to believe that my week was now finished with American airlinemy week’s visit to Texas and it was time for me to return home to Canada. It was time to say good-bye again. Sarah drove me to the Dallas airport and then I flew back to Toronto at 1:10pm. I arrived back at the Toronto airport at 5:11pm and it was really great to see my Dad there waiting for me when I arrived.

I am so very grateful of my friends Cristopher and Sarah’s invitation to visit them at their home in Texas. It was a really great reunion to be able to see them again since we last saw each other when we were in Mozambique in the fall of 2012. My heart is filled with so much gratitude for God giving me this opportunity to not only reconnect with my friends but also for all of their hospitality, to have a week to set aside time to spend some time with God, a time of rest, a time of fun and also a time to be able to attend three really great services at my friend’s church too.  

About Andrea

I am from Whitby, Ontario. I have lived in Romania for 9 years as a missionary but I am currently in Canada on a sabbatical break at this time. I have also lived in South Korea for a year and I have also been to Russia, Uganda, Albania and the Czech Republic on short-term mission trips. In 2012, God also gave me an amazing opportunity to go to Mozambique for the Harvest Mission School with Iris Ministries as well. I love children, reaching out to people who are in need and vulnerable, I have a passion to fight against the injustice issue of human trafficking and to simply share the love of Jesus wherever I go. I also love cats too and I have a cat of my own named Minnie!
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