When God answers our prayers, it is way above anything we can imagine!

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Our E2E Team has been praying that God would connect us with other countries that we could begin a long term relationship with. We have looked at so many needs and situations, but we really wanted to have a sense that “this was it”.

Then, last year in a series of confirming events, we began to hear about a ministry called ‘Sons of the Congo’ and it resonated so loudly with us that we knew that this was a divine connection.

The Congo has been dubbed ‘the rape capital of the world’ and the statistics are staggering and have been rising. According to a recent article in the New York Times, it estimates that nearly two million women have been raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with women victimized at a rate of nearly one every minute. In answer to this growing atrocity a ministry has been birthed called the Sons of the Congo. This is a radio ministry which is  dedicated to transforming men into champions of change in the Congo. Sons of the Congo is a movement of healing that transforms men into influential leaders… champions for their families, churches, government and nation. The program invites men to be a part of Radio Clubs, which are a 16 week Bible Study on what a man of God is and how a man should live and treat others. Its hope is to deal with the root cause of the issue of rape and change the nation one heart at a time.

(Elevated To Excellence has) been invited to partner with this ministry and to take a team to the Congo this year to hold (an E2E) Conference and to teach the women about their value in the site of God. (We are so excited about this new partnership(,) as it is exactly what we have been praying for!) (Then(,) as if that was not enough(,) we have (also) been invited to return to Bulgaria this year and hold a(n E2E) Conference there(. So,) God is clearly giving us many nations to love…the U.S., Canada, Bulgaria and the Congo!

In an effort to find creative ways to help raise funds for this International ministry God is opening up for E2E, so we are thrilled to partner with Manna Relief. Manna Relief is a branch of a Christian company called Mannatech that it allows each participant to ‘Give for Real’ in a ‘donation through consumption’ program. We are so excited about this!  Not only can everyone use a healthy food supplement, but for every NutriVersus we purchase,another of the exact same product is sent to a child in a developing country. So not only is each purchase helping to minister to women through E2E, (since we get a portion of the sale) but the same product of equal value is given to a child in a developing nation to nourish his or her body. I love this because again, it calls us to be a giving people and to bless other nations of the world. To date Manna Relief is helping children in over 80 countries, and has amazing testimonies of what is happening in the lives of these children.

So we are honored and grateful that God is leading us in these areas as we have sought Him for countries we could love and help with the message of the value of every person. He has far exceeded our expectations, as He always does!

Ephesians 3:18…”Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly…

Upcoming E2E Dates…

Save the Date…November 17th Christmas Delights Boutique, Fashion Show and Luncheon

March 2013 All New E2E Conference, Southern California

Keep checking our website at http://www.elevatedtoexcellence.comImageWomen of the Congo

The Suitcase in the Room

I had lunch with a daughter of a missionary yesterday and we talked about the extremes of missionary families. You go through periods of being on the other side of the globe from each other to usually being in close quarters for a few weeks as you have a precious few days together for a visit. It made me think of a recent visit with our own Missionary family in Papua New Guinea. Last fall, our daughter had to have an  emergency surgery in Australia and I flew to to meet them to assist her family in any way possible.

One morning,  I hugged our five year old grandson as we all were waking up for the day, I could see over his shoulder my large suitcase. I was struck with the thought that I longed for the day when a suitcase didn’t have to be in the room when I was with him. The suitcase served as a very constant reminder that this was only a temporary visit and that very soon we would all be on planes taking us once again to opposite sides of the globe.

My life is a series of letting go. In this way, I  identify with Hannah in the Bible.        ( I Samuel 1 & 2) I understand that when we dedicate out children to God He thinks they are His and guides them into His destiny for them.

The problem is we have a tendency to ask God for something and then have the mistaken notion that it is ours to keep. Hannah understood that we hold every blessing God gives us with an open hand not a clenched fist. Each gift is a sacred trust for as long as He deems it is best for us to hold it. Then as we release it back to God His blessing is released in our lives.

I see that as I gave my family back to God,  we received the blessing of ministry world wide. We have new memories and opportunities that we never would have had if we had held on to her in California.

Like Hannah I had suffered with barrenness and  had been told I could never have children because I had a disease that would prevent me from ever getting pregnant. As a young couple we  prayed and cried out to God. Finally, God granted us with two wonderful children, so I can understand Hannah’s heart when she says…

1 Samuel 1”27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer and gave him to me. 28 Now I give him back to the Lord. He will belong to the Lord all his life.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah saw that God had truly given her the desire of her heart and yet this was not hers to hold and hoard but to release to a higher destiny than just being her gift…he was a child conceived in prayer and destined to impact a nation. She could not hold him back from what God wanted to do in his life.

Hannah understood that the presence of God is all she needed and that it is His love alone that we can’t do without. After leaving Samuel with Eli she sings this heartfelt song…

“My heart rejoices in the Lord!

The Lord has made me strong.*

Now I have an answer for my enemies;

I rejoice because you rescued me.

No one is holy like the Lord!

There is no one besides you;

there is no Rock like our God.”

I Samuel  2:1-10 New Living Translation

You would think that she would go back to  being sorrowful because now she had to give up the one thing she had longed for, but as she surrenders Samuel to God she experiences an aspect of a relationship with Him that is wonderful …there is no one besides our God. No one is more important or significant to our existence. It is good to be near God! (Psalm 73) Something about surrender is not only good for us but an essential part of our walk with God.

To Surrender means to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion, to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another.

Hannah saw that giving back to God what she was taking a step closer to an intimate trust in God.  She fully realized that it was all His in the end….not hers to dictate and control. To truly surrender your heart and life to God we have to learn to fully trust Him with all that we have.

Is He a good God who wants and knows what is best for us or do we have to keep our fingers on the wheel of our life like a nervous parent teaching our kids to drive  because He might drive me into a pole!

Matthew 7:11  says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! “

So the suitcase present whenever I visit with my daughter, son in law and grandsons, serves as a very real reminder that we dedicated our children to God. In return God has given us international experiences that we could never dreamt of. He has worked in our hearts a greater dependence upon Him and a deep compassionate love for others.

Hannah might have walked away empty handed that day but not empty hearted. She revealed a strong trust and faith in God as she did what no other woman did in scripture and with great joy!

We are in relationship God who understands at the very core the nature of letting go and the significance of the suitcase in the room!

Romans 8:32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?

Praying that your heart will be full as you surrender fully to God!

Rest???

 Rest….how does THAT word fit into all the Christmas busyness? Do you ever find yourself longing for the days when someone was telling you it was nap time?

To take a break and rest is something that few of us do in the midst of the Christmas season or anytime for that matter. A rest. Truly our souls are desperately crying out for a rest!  Does rest only happen when we find time to take a vacation?

The reason that our souls are crying out for rest is that it is God’s heart as well, to give us rest and peace. It is God’s desire and will to give us that much-needed rest.  In Hebrews 4 we read that as God desired to give people a rest but they could not get it! They just could not take time to rest. I think God was talking about something more than a nap or vacation. I think He was talking about an attitude of heart, mind and soul. Discovering a way to rest in God as well as finding time for our bodies to rest.

I loved this quote “Christ’s “rest” is not a “rest” from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections—of will, heart, imagination, conscience—because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development” J. Patrick

I have asked God for that type of rest, a rest of trust and peace in who and what He is and in His deep love for me. It doesn’t come with inactivity but in peace. A dear friend of mine posted on her Facebook wall

You don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to”.

I found that nugget after an interesting experience that morning and could not agree with it more.

I found myself on the freeway in a lane of traffic that had to end and merge into a lane that was exiting. As I merged (yes, with my signal light blinking) the woman in the vehicle behind me began screaming and pointing not nice things in my direction. I realized at that moment I did not have to allow let her anger to invade my car. I chose to live in peace and rest that only God can give at times of tension and not react to her. I have no idea what was going on in her life to make her that upset when a car had to move in front of her in traffic, but it didn’t have to invade the peace and rest God was trying to bring me. I felt bad for her.

The kind of ‘rest’ God is trying to bring to humanity is a supernatural peace that invades our panic.

That is why He sent the Prince of Peace into this chaotic world so long ago so that His creation could  experience peace and rest. Peace from all the craziness and busyness.

Rest from all the stuff that would like to reduce us to walking worry and confusion. A peace in God that is truly supernatural and cannot be experienced in this life without Him.

May you find the true source of peace and rest this Holiday Season in Supernatural ways!

His Hand Is Never Off Me

We are very significant to God yet  there are times of sifting… 

 

Matthew 3:11-12

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”


Sifting is a significant time in the process of vital effective life that   becomes essential for the removal of  the parts of our life which are no longer necessary so that the most life-giving parts can be revealed.

The process of sifting or threshing Wheat was performed generally by spreading the sheaves on the threshing-floor and causing oxen and cattle to tread repeatedly over them.  Or on occasion flails or sticks were used for this purpose. There was also a “threshing instrument” which was drawn over the corn all with the intent of  pounding the grains to loosen the outer shell to reveal the inner edible core of the grain.

When the grain was threshed, it was winnowed by being thrown up against the wind, and afterwards tossed with wooden scoops .  This part of the process meant that anything loose would fly off in the wind and only the weightiest part of the grain would be left. The shovel and the fan for winnowing are mentioned in Ps 35:5; Job 21:18; Isa 17:13. The refuse of straw and chaff was then burned up, since it was no longer of any value. Freed from impurities, the grain was then laid up in granaries till used.

I don’t know about you but I can identify with the wheat a little too much. I too have felt over the last few years like I have been walked on by more than a few oxen…some pretty weighty ones at that! At times it has felt very similar to a thorough pounding from the ‘threshing instuments’. I can also thoroughly identify by not only the sense of being pummeled  but of being thrown to the wind in a sort of free-falling. Many times wondering if will there be any ground to land on at all.

For the grain, it waits for a time when it will be used along with others who have gone through this same process. For those who had survived the sifting now have a richer taste and the essence of what they are has been revealed.

I believe we have all been in some form of a sifting process the last several years and for many people I know that pounding has been severe. Many have described the free falling feeling as they have been ‘tossed in the wind’. One person described it like standing on the edge of a diving board several feet in the air and hoping there is water in the pool.

But in all of this sifting process there is the promise from the One who hold our life in His hand…

Isaiah 27:12-13

 At that time God will thresh

from the River Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt,

And you, people of Israel,

will be selected grain by grain.

 This is a promise that each of us is significant, each of us is of incredible value. He knows what each of us can handle and we are not going to go through this process forever, there is an end!

Isaiah 28:28-29:1

On the other hand, wheat is threshed and milled, but still not endlessly.

The farmer knows how to treat each kind of grain.

 He’s learned it all from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,

who knows everything about when and how and where. The Message

Or as it says in the New Living Bible…

Isaiah 28:28-29:1

Grain for bread is easily crushed,

so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.

He threshes it under the wheels of a cart,

but he doesn’t pulverize it.

 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher,

and he gives the farmer great wisdom. NLT

I am so glad to know I won’t be pulverized!! Even though it might feel like it at times. This is a promise that His hand is never off me no matter how much this sifting process makes me feel alone like there is nothing to hold onto,  He is there.

Isaiah 43:2-4

 When you go through deep waters,

I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty,

you will not drown.

When you walk through the fire of oppression,

you will not be burned up;

the flames will not consume you.

 For I am the Lord, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;

I gave Ethiopia* and Seba in your place.

 Others were given in exchange for you.

I traded their lives for yours

because you are precious to me.

You are honored, and I love you. NLT

Isaiah 43:5-7

 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.

I will gather you and your children from east and west.

I will say to the north and south,

‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel

from the distant corners of the earth.

 Bring all who claim me as their God,

for I have made them for my glory.

It was I who created them.'” NLT

We are significant to God and sifting is an essential aspect of living with the Holy Spirit and with Fire…he is always burning up chaff and separating the past from us to allow us to be more fruitful for the future. John the Baptist recognized this fact when he said this about Jesus…

Matthew 3:11-12

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

So we can expect sifting from time to time in our life as we live with a loving God who is also going to baptize or immerse us with the ‘Holy Spirit and with fire.’ This just goes with the territory as he looks for something to burn off in my life…I am glad to know that He has promised that I will not be burned.

Oh, I can hear the oxen now…

The Fragrance of Our Lives

Psalms 37:37 says Observe the honest, mark the upright; those at peace with God have a future.

That word future means posterity – something passed on to your descendants…I thought about what has been passed on to me both through my Grandmother and my mother… as it says in Timothy …a living faith.

In my Grandmother I received her passionate love and trust in God. She suffered from migraines all her life so she would sit at her kitchen table and pray for 5 hours every morning until the headaches subsided. She was a woman who prayed and loved God and I know I am who I am because of those prayers.

In my Mom I received many things but two stand out the most and these two items left in her room are evidence of these gifts…A hug would make my day magnet…My mother loved people and saw every person as a future friend. Although she was confined to a wheelchair the last ten years of her life, she reached out to everyone and did not wait for them to come to her. She called them to her and hugged them, which immediately said “I want you to be close” “You are important!”

Second this little guy (a laughing Santa)….She gave me the gift of laughter. When my father passed away leaving her with two young children she would always say “if we don’t laugh we will cry” so she found ways all the time to bring laughter into our lives in every way she could. Many nights we would go to bed listening to her giggle as she watched a TV show or found something else funny in her world. What a legacy she left because the fragrance of her life still lingering in mine.

Each of us by how we live…leaves a fragrance lingering, something that is passed on to those around you.  If we chose to live honestly and upright before God have an eternal, life-giving effect on the lives of those around us

We can celebrate the lives of those who gave us life and  remember that our lives can have eternal impact to the lives of those around us and that we each leave a fragrance.

2 Cor 2:14 Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. THE MESSAGE

2 Cor 2:14  Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. NKJV

So Thrilled to Announce the Sessions for UNMASKED Conference in Long Beach

Rahab – Redeemed and Reborn    Christina Williams                                                                              The Story of Rahab should encourage us all and is the overall theme for this weekend. Here is a woman with a devastating past and a truly redeemed future.  She not only grasps onto full redemption for herself an d her family, but she finds herself in a community that encourages her toward a new life. Find out how you can not only find a new life for yourself but how you can participate in helping others towards redemption and a new life in Christ!

Listening to the Red Flags – Christina Williams                                                                              As Rahab hung a red cord in her window it put  her in the vulnerable position to wait on God as the walls crumbled  around her believing that she would be protected, because she was a woman who had learned to act on the red flags of caution. We will explore the ways God seeks to protect us today by giving each person an ability to hear or feel a red flag. What do we do with those small voices of caution? By the end of your time at Unmasked you will learn to find protection in listening to the Red Flags.

Becoming a Safe Place – Shirley Bridwell                                                                                                       What does it mean to be ‘a safe place’  for others? And how do I grow and develop into that safe place where others can find in me a refuge from the storms of life? We will discuss the answers to these questions and share Biblical and practical principles that will help each of us develop into that “safe place” so desperately needed in today’s society!

There Has To Be More!  Patti Helzer                                                                                                                   Are you surrounded by walls? Fortified walls – armed with fear; armed by lies, unforgiveness – walls that are keeping you in bondage to your past? Have you wondered if you could be free from  the painful things of your past? If you have had that same heart cry, “There has to be more to my life than pain, suffering, fear and sorrow.”, than please come join us and discover your path to freedom!

How to Rebuild Your Life When You Have Lost Everything   Sandra Bond                              What have you lost? Have you lost a husband, a child, a close relationship?  Have you been abandoned, lost your home or your job?  Have you been abused in any way (verbally, sexually, physically)? Most of us would have to admit that we spend our lives doing everything we can to avoid suffering and/or loss in today’s modern world.  The truth is we cannot live without loss.  If you’ve suffered loss of any kind, join me as I share with you the steps God gave me to rebuild my life starting with NOTHING . . . after I had lost EVERYTHING! Learn how to overcome and be victorious!

Forbidden Fruit     Judi Mack                                                                                                                                Have you ever wanted something that was not yours to have?  Went after something that you knew was not right and yet still went down that road? Have you ever found youself in a place that made you ask ‘how in the world did I get here? How do I get out? How do I not go there again?’  Find the answers you are looking for and more as we explore the tranforming of your mind and the renewing of your life. Looking at a journey of God’s redemptive work from walking deceit to living in truth.

Through It All   Shiloah Stone                                                                                                                                      Through life, we all go through some real issues, that bring real hurt…and also leave us with some real questions: Why is life so hard? When is this trial going to end? When am I going to have answers? Why would God allow me to go through this?…Regardless of the season or trial that we are going through, we can be confident in our Lord to carry us through. From start to finish, beginning to end, our God will carry us through it all!!!

Redeemed Destiny  Cherie Francis-Boegeman                                                                                            Sometimes we lose our way in life……… Sometimes we lose our way in an effort to alleviate pain……..When we come to our senses, we realize there was such a different life we could have had……..We may feel disqualified by others or even by ourselves due to shame.  In this session you will be inspired to recall how God made you unique,  what were some of your God given childhood dreams and   where did you go astray.  You will begin the process of identifying how specifically do you walk back to the path of your God given destiny.

Is There A Target On My Back?  Jolene Belsbey                                                                                                Do you ever feel like you have been targeted for the tough times in life? Everyone goes through hard times, some more than others, but God can use these times to produce great things in us. When Rahab was a child do you think she dreamed of being a prostitute? Do you think she looked forward to being used and looked down upon? Life situations and decisions led her there but one day she made a decision that would change her life. She put her trust and faith in God. Join me as we look at what times of trial produce in us. Discover what stormy times reveal about your inner self.

Women in Ministry

From time to time I get distress calls (or emails) from Women who feel called to the ministry.  However, in their attempt to obey what they feel God is calling them to,  find that they are stepping on a few theological toes. They discover that there are those who are not thrilled  about the concept of women in ministry… here is an excerpt from the beginning of my correspondence to one who would be a huge loss to the work of God if she listens to anyone but God’s voice…

“I am so sorry to hear that you are getting grief on this issue (Women in Ministry) and that it has caused you any concern. It never ceases to amaze me the way the enemy will try to take people out of the ministry and obedience to the Lord.
No matter what you can try to prove through scripture the best defense is obedience! You did not do this for fame or money (one is fleeting as Jesus displayed for us and the other is  sometimes non-existent)…but in pure simple obedience to God and that is what matters.
I have lots of information on this subject. What particular verse do you want to begin with?
For now think about the scripture in Matt. 28:18, the Great Commission, does it have a gender qualification on it? No! The laborers are few and the harvest great! We can all be the answer to the Lord’s prayer when He asked the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers,  by obeying what He tells us to do!
I think it is sad how people will try to talk you out of obedience and what I tell people like that is ‘ do you want it on your conscience that when I stand before God and have to say ‘I had to obey what you told me that I could do’, not what Jesus has called me to? No of course not!  So we each need to live in such a way that someday we can hear Him say “Well done my faithful servant!”
I love you dear lady and I want to see you come into all the fullness of what God can do through your life!
It is an honor to help in any way I can!”
Lots of Love,
Christina