Posts Tagged ‘Christian Living’

Missions Trip to Texas, Part 3

Monday, December 10th, 2018

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Let me summarize day 1 of our missions trip to Texas: my two ministry partners and I drove away from Spokane on Sunday, November 11th, 2018. We drove through Idaho and Montana, spending the night in Butte. God prompted us to go to a specific motel (extremely cheap) where He wanted us to stay, and the next morning I understood why: to minister to the woman at the front desk.

It had started to snow, and when we checked into the motel, we were exhausted. Even though the ministry car was straight off the lot, the battery was dead BEFORE I left the car lot, and the car had to be jumped by a worker who worked at the car place. Furthermore, even though the car was in perfect condition when I test drove it, the check engine light came on (and another light came on) when I drove off the lot. I asked the Holy Spirit if the car was okay, and He said yes very loudly into my spirit. I had complete peace that was supernatural.

You see, when you are effective for God’s kingdom, everything comes up against you to try to scare you from obeying what God is commanding you to do. The next morning in Butte, the check engine light and the other light were OFF. I knew that it was an illusion by the enemy. We had been leading people to Christ non-stop for a full month, and we have ticked off the enemy.

That said, I was a little nervous to shut off the car that first night. So when we stopped for gas, I held my breath. The car started right back up again. I praised and magnified the Lord. I take absolutely nothing for granted, and I lean on Him for everything now.

In the middle of the night God woke me up and prompted me to go pray for a man. I got dressed, and one of my ministry partners came with me. While driving down the street of the quiet city of Butte in the middle of the night, God said loudly into my spirit that He loved this city, and that it was His. We prayed over the city, that God would bring revival. God led us to an overlook where we could see the whole city. It was beautiful as its lights twinkled in the night. As we passed several churches, we prayed specifically for revival in those churches.

God amplified a man in a parking lot who was sweeping garbage. Twice I was prompted to stop at that gas station—once on the way out (faintly) and once on the way back (strongly). I parked the car and walked over to the man and asked him if he needed prayer. He was surprised that a red-headed lady was standing in a dark parking lot in the middle of the night asking him if he needed prayer. He finally said yes, and I spoke to him about Jesus. He was visibly moved. After finishing with him, I drove back to the motel for the night.

The next morning the woman at the front desk was sharing with me that she needed prayer for broken relationships in her family. Her kids wouldn’t speak to her any more, even though she had been clean from alcoholism for 26 months. I prayed mightily over her, and she was grateful with joy in her eyes afterwards. This was day 1.

Stay tuned for part 4 of our missions trip to Texas.

Missions Trip to Texas, Part 2

Friday, December 7th, 2018

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I thought God would provide the ministry car one way, but He provided it in a completely different way. All I did was wait on the Holy Spirit, obeying His promptings. We ended up paying zero for the ministry car the week of the missions trip. I repeat: God provided the car, and it cost nothing.

This is how I thought it would go: when God prompted me strongly to leave before the first snowfall to be back before Thanksgiving, God said into my spirit that He would provide the car. I thought God would provide through cash. I don’t like financing cars. I prefer paying cash, so I thought God would act according to my preferences. I was wrong, and God humbled me. I foolishly said that I wouldn’t go unless God provided the cash. So by going beyond what He said, I sinned because it ended up being a lie. I did not know at the time that I was wrong about the way God would provide the car. I was so confident that God would do it.

I have asked forgiveness for my sin for saying God would provide the cash when He never said that. I need to be careful to say exactly what the Holy Spirit says rather than drawing conclusions.

God prompted me to go to a specific dealership that sells pre-owned cars. My family van had been rear-ended by a woman who had a dog on her lap in her car. Our van was totaled. We were given a check for $5,000 to replace the van. My husband and I looked at family cars, and my husband preferred a certain brand. We looked at two cars side by side, and even though the miles were way higher on one car than the other, they were both the same price because they were both the same make, model, and year. So miles do not change the price on the car at this dealership.

We test drove a couple of cars, and my husband looked like he was really enjoying himself with all the modern gadgets, including seeing how to drive backwards on a screen in front of you. Since both of our smaller cars (my husband’s car for work and my 16-year-old son’s car) are junk held together with zip ties and super glue, he sighed at how nice it would be to have a decent car. Neither one of us wanted to finance the car because it was out of our budget unless we put down the $5,000 and made payments for the rest. Even though it is not a sin to finance a car, we don’t like to do it.

Days later when I was talking with my husband about buying a car for ministry (because I was putting so many miles on my son’s car as I was sharing Christ with Spokane), he said he wanted nothing to do with getting a ministry car. My husband loves the Lord and was not sinning by wanting to pay cash for a family car, and I honor him for wanting to be a good steward with money.

Since I was going to be using the family car primarily for ministry, I prayed about how I could buy the car without my husband having to spend a single penny. Other ministries raise money for vehicles. Why not have people give towards the ministry car? So I sent out an email specifically to raise money for the car.

By the time God was indicating to leave, I did not have the amount I needed to pay cash for the car—not even close! I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do. The Lord prompted me to withdraw $300 from my homeschooling ministry/business account to put down on the car. Since I have excellent credit (I have been frugal my whole life and don’t care about accumulating objects), I was given the car loan with $300 down.

This particular company has a policy that you can return the car in 7 days with no questions asked, with your money back. This was NOT what I was planning to do, since we needed a family car/ministry car anyway. When my 18-year-old son is home from Bible college for Christmas, we do not have a car that seats the 6 people in our family, so we need a larger family car. I figured if God was prompting me to do it, He would be faithful to bring in the payments through donations. At the worst, I could work as a bilingual translator, which pays $23 an hour here in Spokane. So I would pay everything one way or another, and my husband would pay nothing, since he did not want to finance a car.

God changed the brand of car to Toyota, which is my favorite brand. Otherwise it looked identical to the car my husband had picked out, and that God had randomly picked out from a parking lot. Yes, God (through my ministry partner who did not know what car my husband wanted) prompted her to tell me to snap a picture of a random car in a parking lot. “This is My ministry car,” was what she heard the Spirit say. It matched exactly what we had test driven the previous day. I was shocked, which is why I said that was the car God had chosen. Once again, I have no right to say that God’s car had to be my husband’s brand. Now that I was going to pay for the car myself (and the car we test drove had already sold), I asked the Lord peacefully what He wanted me to do.

I knew for a certainty that God wanted me to go on this missions trip, so I had complete peace as I looked up to heaven for instructions. God showed me the Toyota that looked identical to the car my husband liked. I smiled at God because He was showing me that the car would be mine for ministry. My husband could keep the $5,000 to pay other bills, including the charges I had made the previous month during our ministry. (I spent no money on myself. I never do. I wait on the Holy Spirit to lead me to minister to others, and many times He led me to give for a physical need before I shared the gospel with them.)

Long story short, by the time we got back from the missions trip, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do with the car, and He wanted me to return it rather than begin the payments. I asked the Lord what I could do to make up for the fact that I put so many freeway miles on the car. It didn’t seem right that it would cost nothing. He reassured me that He would not only bless the people that bought that car (because it had been used for ministry for a week), but that He would also bless the car dealership. I praised and magnified the Lord, and I released the car back to God.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our missions trip to Texas.

Missions Trip to Texas, Part 1

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

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I let my family know that God was urgently putting on my heart to do a one-week missions trip to Texas, sharing Jesus with everyone the same way that the Holy Spirit had been guiding us throughout Spokane. If you missed how powerfully God had been ministering through us the month preceding the trip, here are some of our testimonies:

I sent out a quick email to those who have been following me for years, and some of them thought I was insane to be prompted by God to share the gospel on such short notice. Literally, they were alarming my husband by telling him I was mentally ill. I laughed out loud. It reminded me of Peter and John in the book of Acts, being commanded to stop speaking about Jesus (but Gamaliel telling them that they might end up finding themselves fighting against God), and Paul in front of powerful people who said he was out of his mind to proclaim Jesus to the lost.

“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Acts 5:38-40

While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.” Acts 26:24

I prepared my teens ahead of time so that my husband’s food was cooked and his laundry done during the week I was gone. I had assigned my third teen son to cook hot meals from scratch each night (because he likes to cook more than the others). My teen daughter did the laundry. They had their homeschool assignments and completed them while I was gone the one week. My 16-year-old son who works and goes to college has a car, and he took his siblings to Youth Group on Wednesday, where my third teen son runs the sound system for the Youth Group. I have raised competent and bold self-sufficient teens who love Jesus Christ. I did not neglect any duties. My husband went on a 3-week missions trip to the beautiful Czech Republic back when the children were young, with my full support.

A one-week road trip where we literally slept in the car several times, and each day we drove an average of 8-10 hours was NOT our idea of a good time. I don’t like driving. I don’t like car trips. This was not a fun trip to Italy to build a building and then go home (which is fully supported by churches). No—we were led by the Spirit from city to city, fasting and praying for revival for each city and church. We prayed over about 50 different churches on this missions trip—most of the churches were labeled Baptist.

Many people are commanding me to stop sharing Christ and stay at home all day to serve my husband. But he is at work. He is not at home. My teens are self-motivated and are doing a lot of independent study. To accuse me of mental illness or of sinfully neglecting my duties is ludicrous. The house is organized and runs smoothly.

As long as I am doing all of my duties, there is no reason for me to be prohibited from sharing the gospel with the lost, at least in the city of Spokane. And I did not sin by going on a short one-week trip across half of the United States, proclaiming Jesus Christ to everyone we met, encouraging believers and building up the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit was the One who prompted me.

I saw our car like a matchstick with the red part down, lighting a spark of revival wherever we went. We don’t pray wimpy prayers. In some cities we prayed for over an hour, begging God for revival because we felt the spiritual oppression over some of the cities. The trip was urgent because the time is short before Jesus comes, and now that we have returned, the snow is falling heavily in the passes, and we would have lost the window that God gave us to proclaim salvation to the lost before it’s too late for some people. What we accomplished in the Spirit for each city is something only God can say.

Instead of looking at logic or at the appearance of something, ask God to show you the truth. Often the enemy uses false accusations to silence those who are most effective for God’s kingdom.

I will address the monetary concerns of the trip in the next post (especially the ministry car, which ended up costing zero), but needless to say that we spent almost nothing–only gas and inexpensive places to stay–at very cheap motels, at friends’ houses, or sleeping in the car. We mostly ate the food we brought in the car, so the first half of the trip we spent 99 cents total on food. We honored God in everything we did, bringing Christ to everyone in our path.

Here is a quick synopsis of our first day on the road. My phone memory was full after this video, and since it took so long to upload (2 hours!) and we wanted to focus on the mission rather than on social media, we ended up waiting until we got home to share the rest of the trip, which I will share in future posts.

Dark Streets, Meetings, & Oreo Cake

Friday, November 30th, 2018

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One night God was taking us down dark winding roads. One of the houses was on the far right down a long street, and we parked in front of the house. God wanted us to say, “Is this where the Bible study is?” We had our Bibles under our arms. God had randomly chosen this house, so we were at God’s mercy as to what He wanted us to say and do for this woman. We talked with her for a few minutes and offered to pray for her. She asked a lot of questions, and near the end of the conversation, the Holy Spirit said through my mouth, “You are a true follower of Jesus.” She looked at us with amazement.

A friend of my ministry partner was visiting from five hours away from Spokane, and my ministry partner wanted me to come over and share my testimony with her friend. It had been her friend’s birthday earlier that week, and no one had called her. We wanted her to feel special, so we had my daughter pick out a gift for my ministry partner’s friend. (My ministry partner paid for it.) My daughter said she’d always wanted to put together a themed gift basket, so we were at Ross, and my daughter picked out all the items and arranged them in a basket. We prayed that God’s Holy Spirit would lead her to pick just the right items. When her friend opened her birthday gift, she was surprised that she saw her favorite brands of things that she needed. This could only have been God.

After sharing my testimony and praying and sharing Scripture, we got a spiritual breakthrough for her friend. She left for a get-together with family members, and my ministry partner and I went to buy a cake to celebrate her birthday that night. God prompted my ministry friend to go to Baskin Robins. I asked the Holy Spirit which cake? I asked God yes or no for each cake, and the Oreo cake was the only yes. It was a weird-looking cake, so my friend asked, “Are you sure?” I said, “God is saying yes to this cake and to no other cake, so let’s get this one.” When we celebrated her birthday later, the lady exclaimed with joy that every year in her childhood, she had gotten an Oreo cake for her birthday. She knew she had never told her friend, and so she knew that Jesus was near. Only God could have picked out the exact cake out of hundreds of cakes in the city.

On a different night God took my ministry partner and I to a Chinese restaurant. God drove us there. He literally was taking over my hands when I said, “Jesus, take the wheel.” I laughed because I knew when He was turning because He would put on the blinker. See, I have so much joy because God does everything. I just sit back and watch. Then if I have to get out of the car and say something, I look up and say, “What do You want me to say?” and He tells me the sentence that starts the conversation. Then He takes me over, especially when I am praying for people. Yay!

We parked in front of a Chinese restaurant, and after we had eaten (we had fasted all day and prayed while ministering to people in the city, and my ministry partner paid for this meal), we saw a gray-haired man named Larry in a booth. God pointed him out to us, so we started a conversation. He invited us to sit in his booth, and we talked about our ministry for maybe an hour. Larry had paid for hockey tickets that night, and God’s Holy Spirit had blocked him from entering the hockey building. God brought him to this Chinese food place for a divine appointment. These were his words. We were shocked. His heart was the same as our heart. He heard the Holy Spirit in the same way we did. His best friend was from our church, which is a nondenominational Bible church in Spokane. He was fed up with the way Christians stay in the church building, and he felt that we needed to get out of the church building and bring Christ to the world and actually DO what God commanded us to do.

He tested us with Scripture knowledge and rebukes, to see how we could handle rebuke. We passed every test. There were maybe 20 tests in total over the course of the hour. I have a strange feeling that this man will financially back our ministry at some point. He has my name and address and email. Please pray that God will send more people to support our ministry so that we don’t have to stop obeying the Holy Spirit’s promptings with regards to meeting a physical need before sharing the gospel with many people. And that people won’t have to be dead before they support the ministry. It’s one thing if people put your ministry in their will, but Jesus is coming soon, and there is no reason to withhold funds from people who are doing His work. My husband should not have to suffer financially because of my obedience, so if God is prompting any of you to give to pay for gasoline or any other expense in our ministry, email me at castlesusan@gmail.com. I never spend money on myself, and I am extremely frugal. Ask anyone who knows me. Every penny of what you send will go directly to ministry. I am paid nothing. Everything I have belongs to God.

Stay tuned for “Events Leading to the Missions Trip to Texas.”

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