We arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland at 6am last Sunday morning, while you were sleeping. Exhausted from a full day and evening of flying, we tried our best to function like human beings. For those of you who have never experienced jetlag, the time difference truly messes with everything. In all of my travels, I have had my share of jetlag. I have had moments where I felt like I was outside of myself. I could hear people talking but not understand what they were saying. It is strange, let me tell you.
It is so surreal when I think about where I am. I keep finding myself saying things like,
“I’m sitting in a chair in Iceland.”
“I’m taking a walk in Iceland.”
“I’m drinking coffee in Iceland.”
“I’m playing cards in Iceland.”
Friends, it is really hard for me to wrap my head around the idea. I mean, Iceland is seriously the last place I expected to be this year, or any other year. There are obvious places to go and minister. Countries that the Lord has told me I would travel to since I was very young. Countries that most missionaries talk about. But . . . Iceland? God is full of surprises.
I am speechless when I look back and remember how God told me to bring my winter clothes and passport to California. I am speechless because God has moved supernaturally to get our entire team, consisting of Deborah Peters, Stephany Kern, Sheryl Davis and myself, out here.
I didn’t have the money to get here and I still don’t have the money to be here. And herein lies the most life changing lesson that God has been teaching me during this season. Do I have enough for today? My answer is always yes. I have been learning what it means to only think about today and trust God with the present. When you take one day at a time, life becomes simpler and less exhausting. Did I have what I needed for yesterday? Yes. Do I have what I need for today? Yes. Do I have what I need for the rest of the month? I will. As I continue to do my part and go where He sends me, God will provide. I trust that He will provide my “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6
The first few days of our adventure were made up of sightseeing and resting. We were able to visit Gullfoss (Golden Falls), Geysir and Þingvellir National Park. There is so much beauty to see here. The color pallet is phenomenal. Bright and dark greens, oranges, yellows and browns. The water is brilliantly clear and blue, and it is pure enough to drink straight from the rivers.
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20
Throughout this journey, I have been gasping and oohing and awing and marveling and reveling in the glory of God found in creation. My spirit has leapt, over and over again, causing me to throw my arms up in the air in worship, and declare Isaiah 6:3,
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
The more I get to know Him, the less I care about looking strange. I want to experience every part of Him that I can in this life. When you catch even the smallest glimpse of His face, when you look into His gentle eyes, you’ll find that there is nothing else that compares to Him. He is everything. I want Him or nothing at all.
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” – Psalm 8:1
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” – Psalm 8:3-4
One of my favorite adventures, during the first few days, was when we were leaving Þingvellir National Park. We were driving along a highway when suddenly the perfect sheep photo op arose. Yes, you read that correctly. Without really thinking, or explaining myself, I exclaimed to Sheryl, who was driving,
“I’m getting out. Come back for me!”
She slowed down enough for me to get out, though the car was still moving when I did. Another vehicle was quickly approaching behind us, which meant that Sheryl had to speed away down the road—what an adrenalin rush! There I was alone on the side of a highway. The only sound was the wind rustling through the grass. Like a crazy person, I walked over to the sheep, and said,
“Listen up, friends! In the name of Jesus, I want you to pose for me.”
Yes, I really did. And yes, they did pose for me.
After I took my pictures, I stood there, in a safe spot, on the side of an Icelandic highway. I stood there cracking up because I was standing out there alone with sheep, thinking about everything in my life that had happened up until this point, and praising God for being so amazing—my ride had still not returned, so I had a lot of time to do this. There was a moment when I started to wonder if they were coming back to get me, but I was still cracking up. They did return for me, after having a very hard time finding a spot to turn around. Sometimes you have to do spontaneous things like taking pictures of sheep on the side of a foreign highway.
On Wednesday, we flew out to Egilsstaðir, which is in eastern Iceland. Here we are staying at Eyjólfsstaðir Guesthouse during the “Living Under the Open Heaven” conference. The guesthouse is run by Pastor Fridrik and his wife Villa. The building was built by YWAM and was used as a training base. This lovely couple, that I feel so blessed to have been introduced to, put their heart and soul into maintaining a peaceful atmosphere for people who visit from all around the world. They have been so gracious to host this conference and provide rooms for our team and those who are attending the meetings. So far our stay has been filled with beautiful people and beautifully scenery. I have fallen in love with this place.
Thankfully, most of the people in Iceland speak a decent amount of English, unlike some of the other countries I have visited in the past. In fact, many of them are fluent. Having the ability to communicate without a translator, most of the time, truly makes the ministry side of things much easier.
The meetings have been out of this world. God is healing and delivering people. He is showing up in powerful ways. I feel honored to be here and be able to be a part of what is happening. I agree with what Fridrik said this morning, in regards to last night,
“It was joyful, it was peaceful, Jesus was real!”
That is my week in a nutshell. There has been a great amount of joy and peace and revelation of the reality of Jesus Christ. He has been faithful to show up, as we have been faithful to be obedient and step out. And it has been ridiculously fun.
Here’s a fun testimony. The weather is rather bipolar in Iceland. During most of our sightseeing, we have been met with quite a bit of rain and wind. Now, I have not actually been cold here yet, which is something I didn’t expect. I have a very warm coat that is lightweight and insulated, but the outer material is cotton. I very quickly realized that I was in need of a rain jacket. So, I asked the Lord for a rain jacket.
A few days passed and I didn’t think about the rain jacket. I didn’t ask a second or third or fourth time. When it was the furthest thought from my mind, Villa pulled me aside and asked me if I had a minute. She then proceeded to pull out a London Fog rain jacket and put it on me. She said an American had accidentally left it here and didn’t want them to try to mail it back to her. They were asked, by the original owner, to give it to someone who needed a jacket. As I was standing there in shock, Villa asked,
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:28-30
Even typing this out makes me want to cry. Tears of joy that stream out of the fact that God listens to our prayers and He desires to provide our needs. All of our needs. And . . . the jacket fit me perfectly. She had no idea that I needed a rain jacket, or that I prayed for one, but my Father knew!
Another highlight was when we were able to see the Aurora Borealis. It really was bigger than life, there is no exaggeration on its beauty. It was past eleven when Deborah almost knocked down my door in excitement. Fridrik had called her to tell her that it was visible. The locals laughed as we all ran outside in our pajamas, jackets and boots. They are used to seeing the Northern Lights. It would take a long time for me to get used to seeing such a heavenly sight. (Sorry, I was not able to capture it on my camera, but it looked exactly like what you would find on a google search.)
As I already stated above, God is showing up in powerful ways. In the smallest and biggest details of this trip. On a personal level and in all of the lives around me. Deborah has been posting updates that include more details and testimonies about what God is doing in the conference. Be sure to check it out:
I will be posting more stories and accounts soon. So much has been happening. Thank you all for your prayers, they are very much appreciated by us all.