Full Freedom

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  By Christian Winter

  Yesterday's letter was talking a lot about dependency on Jesus. Dependency is so vital to the Christian life. Without dependency we can't actually be a Christian. We are called to take on Jesus' yoke, which I have to continually do. Sometimes, like this last year, I would continually forget that I had to look at Jesus to look like Jesus.

                I waited in so much anticipation before coming to Kona. I was excited to finally live off campus with some of my best friends, new opportunities were available, and I wanted to finally start growing roots deep in the community after having been here off and on for 6 years.

               The morning after arriving I was full of hunger for the Lord. It was like unlike anything I had experienced before. Everyday I began to wake up at 5:30 to read and pray. From this place of seeking the Lord the breakthrough came. My devotion was like pleasing incense to God. Instead of giving God last week's Chinese leftovers, I began to offer Him the finest filet mignon.

               Things that many people would say need years to heal or significant time addressing began to fall away. Stains that old insecurities left behind were washed away. I began drawing near to Jesus and His holiness cloaked me. His presence kept coming near and my problems kept fleeing. Jesus continued to heal me through communing with Him. I couldn't wait to see what He'd do next.

               While I continued to fall in love with Jesus even more, I had a decision to make. I knew God told me to come back to Kona, but I had no clue why. I would pray all the time wondering what exactly I was supposed to do here. I had 3 options: staff DTS, staff the prayer room, or staff Messengers.

               I really wanted to staff the prayer room. A/C, praying a lot, worshiping a lot, having tons of alone time, and having a concrete schedule sounded magnificent. It was everything I could ever want! DTS staffing was interesting too! It would be my 3rd time and I could pretty much go anywhere I wanted. Staffing was fun for 2 years, but it was always hard saying goodbye to friends. Messengers was an enigma for sure. My friend Frenchie text me as my plane landed in Kona. He asked me to pray about joining them to train DTS and Second Level Schools to preach the gospel. There was no schedule, no promise of anything concrete, no staff, and no clue what it'd look like.

               I prayed and immediately felt like Messengers was the right choice. I thought there was no way that was God because I came back to do what I wanted. God owed me this, right? I staffed twice when I didn't want to and now it was my turn to run the show. Well, I was wrong. After praying and talking to people for a few weeks I finally committed to joining Messengers! I wrestled a lot with it, but in the end God won.

               Since then, I have been having so much fun! I'm an admin for Messengers and learning to love others even more. The team I'm working with is incredible, fiery people of God whose lives provoke me daily in how I walk with Jesus.  I'm so expectant for this season and can't wait to have students to train in the Fall! The testimonies are going to be incredible and I can't wait to share them with you all!

               While typing last night I felt the Lord speak the following to me: 
               The best, most beautiful plants come from nurseries. You don't just stumble upon them in the woods. They are carefully and calculatedly created. There is nothing wrong with being in "a bubble" for a season. We can thrive if grown in the wilderness, but it'd be stupid to do that. God doesn't require us to go through hardship as some sort of penance for our sins. We go through hardship to test what's been grown not to create new growth.
              One problem I personally find is feeling like I'm "in a bubble" and the fire I feel isn't real. These are simply lies and accusations and sometimes they hit close to home. Sometimes I entertain the lie and begin to believe it. I was a wreck when He told me that! I spun around in my chair and told my friend sitting behind me as she was the only other person in the room. God is so kind and so gracious to us!


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