beauty in Manchester...

Well, I just realized I have been a terrible blogger! Please forgive my lack of communication. It has been a gloriously busy and fruitful season in my life, and I am enjoying every moment. :) :)    I just returned  from two ministry trips - one to Ireland and one to England. Both were so full and rich. Ireland was full of surprises, from my luggage not arriving and having to minister with one set of clothes, a violin, and a computer (I actually kind of liked that) to preaching at the first ever Jean Watson Men's Conference (I actually kind of liked that) to meeting a lady who had flown all the way from Wales to meet me and invite me to come minister in her land (I actually kind of loved that!! 

England was stressful but beautiful beyond belief. The stress was just me growing in faith again. I had to learn to drive stick shift with the wrong hand on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road!! Ouch, that was hard!!!  Once, I even got stuck in a car park and could not get out. (my Irish travel companion had to pull us out of that mess!) Then the GPS (satnav) froze on us, and we ended up in cow pastures outside of York, England in the middle of the night. Faith-building it was. 

But it was ALL WORTH IT for one night in Manchester. 

I was able to go out on the streets  of Manchester with a team carrying hot coffee and food looking for hurting women. Before we went out , though, we prayed, and as we prayed, I saw a woman's face in my mind. She had blond  short or pulled back hair and distinct features. I told my friends what I had seen but did not know if it was God or my imagination!. We walked deep into the heart of the city  and stood on a street corner....watching drug dealers, pimps, and was a lot to take in!! Then scantily-clad girls came to us out of the darkness....all ages, all nationalities. Some could not speak English. Some seemed to be young teenagers. It was heartbreaking.
I stood and watched for awhile, not knowing what to do. Then I saw a was the face I had seen in my prayer!!! Without thinking, I blurted out, "YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!" She shouted back, "NO I'M NOT!"  With her response I was able to come closer and explain that the Lord had brought me all the way from America that day to tell her how gorgeous she was. Stunned by my words…this lady began to open up her heart to me. She showed me more bruises and a stab wound., She even allowed me to put my arm around her and to  pray for her.  then she looked up and made the most profound statement. She said, "God is in your hands"…I wondered at that moment if this was perhaps one of the few times  she had ever been touched with love. 
We had a beautiful conversation about God …about heaven, about evil and darkness,  and about love which she doubted could be real.  She seemed to think she was too dirty and worthless to be touched, and yet as I hugged her I felt privileged…like I was hugging a queen. This wounded woman was not worthless, she was chosen. God loved her so much that  he showed me her face in advance….telling me that on a certain night I would find a  beautiful  blond  woman on a street corner in England who needed His love. 
Being able to pray with this lady really changed me. The Lord used that encounter to confirm something He is doing in me....checking my heart, checking my motives, sharpening my focus. Yes, I love to sing. I love to speak. I love to perform and entertain. But the motive has to be so sharp...only to bring His love. Only through His love. Nothing else!!! I praise God that I have the best job in the world. I get to bring God's love to people all over the world through words and music. Thanks for helping me expand the Lord's kingdom! 

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