Abandon Ship

Though one can’t argue with my mean backfloat, I do admit that I am not the most swim savvy person on earth. I mean just because you try out to be a lifeguard, and end up getting rescued by the lifeguards administering the test, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the worst… just means you need some improvement on your swim skills. (true story)

Even still… My lack of skill for all things swim oriented won’t stop me this time… I’m abandoning ship.

We’re all traveling on a boat in this great ocean of life. The sun shines some days and it’s easy sailing, storms rage other days, and the journey seems like it will consume us, but how many of us are not moving at all? Just stuck in the same spot in the ocean…day after day…year after year… as we watch other boats sail by.

Our boat has stopped sailing because of FEAR.

Maybe it was a devastating failed relationship, or complacency with the comfortable, or another tragic event that took place in your life that has stopped you from moving ahead.

If we want to move forward we need to ABANDON SHIP.

Sure, there are risks in that. What if we drown? What if something else comes and devours us in the ocean?

But what if we stay in that boat of fear? Will your life, will my life, forever be defined as a life of blessings and growth missed out on?

It may be scary for a while, but we’ll eventually make it to another boat, one that is moving ahead, and may even have some other people to enjoy the journey with. The boat we once called “safe” will be a distant memory, while we enjoy the life of freedom and joy that comes with trusting God and living by faith.

The reward is greater than the risk.

The reward is GREATER than the risk.

The REWARD is GREATER than the risk.

It has taken me quite some time to come to terms with that, but I’m trusting God to help me every single day that I feel I want to doggy paddle my way back into that idle boat. I want to keep swimming, and climb onto a boat that is moving in only one direction (“cuz you’re beautiful, just the way you are”…sorry cheesy tangent)…. ahead. I refuse to let the enemy win and miss out because of fear.

Faith is telling us to “Abandon Ship”. Will we obey?

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

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Is It Always Best To Be Wise? (Travel Blog #2)

written 10/4/11 probably somewhere over the pacific ocean.

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Out of the 100+ seats on the Cathay Pacific aircraft, my seat happens to be the ONLY one whose television doesn’t work. Of course.

I was thinking… “Great! A 15 hour flight? I can catch up on almost every movie I missed this entire summer

After countless efforts of the, super friendly, flight attendants rebooting my television, reseating me (but it was next to a sniffling man, and a woman blowing her nose.. so I bounced from that seat), and the such… I still have not seen one movie… and it’s 6 hours into the flight.

So, I guess a movie is not meant to be on my agenda during this flight.

 I love being around Asian culture. I forgot about some of the quirky happenings of the Chinese culture. When I walked to the back to get the first flight attendant, I passed an old Chinese woman doing squats while holding the counter… immediate flashback to my month in China… all the, not workout, work out routines done by the seniors…the good, the bad… and the train ride from hell!

But after stopping myself from hyperventilating, I started to think about the awesome ministry we were a part of there…the English corners, the beautiful children, the loving underground church, the adorable puppies.

I’m not sure what I’m going to face in Thailand the second time around. I do know that flooding is a major problem right now, and so I am literally flying into a flood.

Talk about “not knowing what to expect”.

I do miss my friends and family already, but I know this is where I need to be… on this Cathay Pacific flight, which has the kindest flight attendants btw, headed towards Hong Kong, next to the most lovable old Chinese couple, who I secretly hope would adopt me, typing this blog.

One thing a lot of people have been telling me, praying over me, and what I have been asking for is WISDOM.

To know when to do what, and how.

Wisdom is the “lady”, in the Bible, that we should all chase after, and yearn for.

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:6-7

 Wisdom... is something that a lot of us lack today.

While being forced to process on this flight (since my light doesn’t work either and I can’t read), I had an interesting thought.

 “How many people have used wisdom as an excuse for their fear, or their lack of faith?”

 “No, I won’t do that… because that’s not wise… or Yes, I have to make sure every detail of this trip, or of this service, or of this campaign is figured out because… that’s wise.”

I wonder how many of us hide our fear, and faith, behind the mask of “wisdom”

 Maybe it’s easier to say “ I won’t take a year off and do missions work…because that’s not wise” or “I can’t go back to school and get a degree, after all these years, that’s not wise.”… I dunno… reflect on your life…what things have you NOT done, or DONE for the sake of “wisdom”. And was it truly because of wisdom? Or was there some deep rooted fear and/or doubt involved?

When I was about 20 or 21, I used to go, with my church, to do outreaches in the projects. I was always drawn to the group of dudes sitting on the stoop, with their hoodies up.

“Hi. We’re having a concert at our church this Sunday, I just wanted to invite you guys.”

When I would find my way back to the outreach team I was with, they would ask me where I was, and I said “over there.” (pointing to where I was).

Almost in unison .”That’s not wise Bethsaida

O.k. maybe it wasn’t….

But I dunno… maybe “wise” won’t always get to the unreached.

Maybe we have to step out in faith a bit more, and do things that boggle our understanding, and common sense, in order to reach people who need to be reached.

 When God gives me wisdom, I want it to be genuine… not a cover up for my lack of faith or my fears.

That’s the thought process going through my mind right now… I wonder if those would be good questions for you to process through as well.

Only 8 more hours to go…then two more flights… then home =)

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Bethsaida Exposed! (part 2)

“When I go to Thailand, I am going to face traffickers, I’m going to face bar owners & it becomes dangerous because you’re dealing with people’s income.”

Part 2 of the interview, is now available. The Bklyn Lotus Interview (Part 2)

Some excerpts from the interview:

“It was almost like I felt the loneliness of the world; I can’t even explain it.”

“They are dehumanized, & used like items or things & it just breaks my heart, it breaks God’s heart.”

“If I get rejected? You know what? I’d rather be rejected and obedient, than disobedient & feel like crap afterwards.”

“If it scares you, do it”

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I really want to reiterate that there is nothing special about me, friends…All God looks for is a peson who knows they are imperfect, but has a heart that is willing.

When His eyes survey across the earth, will He find your heart to be humbly abandoned to Him, and willing to serve in whatever capacity that looks like?

I hope this interview can be an encouragement, and an inspiration to take the steps of faith needed, to live out what God has called YOU to do.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s. The Thai for Thai campaign is still in full effect! And making strides! Let others know how their Thai meal and bring hope to a Thai Girl. Share it on FB, with the FB Thai for Thai page. Thanks!

“Hero” Was Redefined on 9/11/01

I was 17. I had just started attending Kingsborough Community College. I was also working at a record label in midtown Manhattan. My hours started after my morning classes. I was up early enough to start my daily routine of getting ready for school and work.

Only this morning was very different. It would change the history of my city forever.

I had Fox 5 news on, which I mostly relied on for the day’s weather conditions as to what would be the perfect outfit to wear. Then suddenly “BREAKING NEWS”

I remember seeing the images on the television with my jaw dropping, and the first thought that came into my mind was “the world is ending!“. I was terrified. I remember seeing black smoke, then the second tower collapsing.

I immediately called a friend, and through tears, attempted to express the fear and horror I was feeling, because of the images flashing before my eyes. “The world’s ending! We need to get right with God!

Ten years later, we are all still moved and touched by the stories of heroism that the Police Officers, (my dad was a NYPD officer…he was off that day and would have perhaps been one of the first on the scene since his precinct was downtown Brooklyn, just a bridge crossing from downtown Manhattan) Fire Fighters, and all the brave men and women displayed.

The heroes who ran up the steps to rescue individuals, not knowing they were running up to their death. The heroes who stayed with their handicapped co-workers, so that they would not be left alone. The heroes who KNEW they were going to die, and yet still barged in.

There will never be enough memorials created, or words of honor said, that could equate to their heroic sacrifices.

Ten years later, may we continue to keep the husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, daughters, sons, and friends of the 9/11 victims in our prayers.

A hero is a man who is afraid to run away.” -English Proverb

And ten years later, we are still filled with awe hearing the survivors’ miraculous stories. The last World Trade Center survivor, Genelle Guzman who was pulled out of the rubble 27 hours later, will be telling her story tomorrow 9/11/11 at 3:00pm, at The Brooklyn Tabernacle 17 Smith Street, Brooklyn NY.

***Do you know a story of a 9/11 hero, that you would like to share? Do you have a survivor story you would like to share?****.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Angels in the Woods of Tennessee (Part 3)

When I first returned home from the World Race, and I knew I would be going back to Thailand, physical safety was of little concern to me. I was bombarded with the realities of having to support raise, learn a new language, and get all the paper work done that needed to be done.

But I remember a friend back home planting the seed of fear. “Isn’t it dangerous there? You better be careful”, and my simple and confident response was ” God’s got my back”.

But hearing Katharina’s story of an actual experience, and a potential one that I can/will be facing really hit home. Especially because one of the projects I want to get up and running there, deals specifically with the children who find themselves in the dark alleys and bars of the red light district.

I didn’t fully realize, in my naive mind, that they would have a “handler”, and one with no mercy.

After the conversation, the image seemed to overwhelm my mind, and I immediately went to my Dad, and said “God, please, I know you’re greater, I know that you’re stronger. Please help me to see that truth.”

That night, Jonathan David Helser, who’s worship brings us up to the heavenlies and vice versa, starting singing a song of his, I heard 9 months ago.

“Let heaven fall like a wrecking ball and crush every fear in my veins…
You can’t stay away when love starts singing
You can’t stay away when love starts ringing ”

The Holy Spirit inside of me started rising up, and belittling the demonic image that seemed to overwhelm my mind’s eye. I was dancing and singing, and praising God for the power of His LOVE. It is a mighty warrior, and demolishes every demonic presence.

That was the beginning of Truth revelation, but God often likes to work in process form.. and so the image had shrunk, but wasn’t yet gone.

A couple nights later, the serve team I was on had a time of praying over each other, and worship by a camp fire in the woods. There were a couple other alumni who have a heart to fight trafficking, and so we were put in the center, and prayed over.

My ex squadmate Jeremy, began speaking a vision over us…and tears started streaming down my face…how could I have forgotten about them? How could I have overlooked this one truth that all of us humans have heard of, yet never fully comprehend, and we are all intrigued about? God’s ANGELS

Jeremy started prophecying over us the protection of angels on the streets we will walk on, and how they will surround us, protect us, and will be sent by the Father, at a one word call.

Psalm 91 was brought back to my mind, all these years later…it was finally becoming a reality in my life.. a prayer, a promise that I will hold onto so tightly.

“For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.” Psalm 91:11

That demonic image was smashed… God’s truth with the victory…once again.

And yes… the reality is that it will be dangerous, there may be close calls..but

I know God will give me the wisdom I need

I know His Love is stronger than demons and death,

and I KNOW He will command His angels to protect me.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Angels in the Woods of Tennessee (Part 2)

This past week and a half, I was placed in the woods of Tennessee for World Race training camp. It was a surreal experience being there as an alumni, when I had just walked these future racers shoes only a year ago. I was blessed to meet so many new and wonderful brothers and sisters, amongst the nearly 200. Training camp truly, once again, rocked my world.

There were quite a few divine meetings there. Especially one with Katharina. Katharina was part of a group that was there with us called the 18 Inch Journey.

My ex squadmate Micah, met Katharina first, and she hunted me down, with Katharina in tow, and said “You have GOT to meet her.” My curiosity was sparked immediately. So I sat down with Katharina, and the mystery of Micah’s excitement for me to meet her began to unfold.

Katharina had been in Thailand, and worked with Lighthouse in Action (the org I’m going to volunteer with for 2 years). And she said that before she left, she prayed over Emmi, that God would bring her help by the end of the year. So there I was, an answer to her prayer over Emmi, sitting right across from her!

We started to talk about the bar girls, and children in the red light there. And all the things her team did while they were there. She started to share a story that the enemy would use to spark fear, quite rational fear, in me once again. Just like satan, wanting to rob us of joy and peace, amidst all the wonderful things God is doing in our lives.

She told of one night her and her team were in the redlight, and they had already built a familiar presence with the children who sell flowers there. The children were gathered around them, when all of a sudden a man in an overcoat standing in a dark corner summoned them. They each went over, as if drawn to him like magnets, and handed him the money that they had made that night.

Some of the children didn’t meet their quota, and this was evident by the slaps and kicks the man gave them. She said she saw him put his hand inside the breast pocket of his coat, and she thought he would be pulling out a gun, but to her relief, he pulled nothing out.

Her and her team stood there, boldy interceeding. The man took the children away but oddly, or godly enough, a few minutes later, the children returned to the team with expectations of playing once again.

The image of the man with the overcoat in the dark corner was seared into my head. And to me he was no longer a human being, but a demon. And he seemed LARGE and dark.. very large… about as large as the H.I.V. virus seemed to my little 7 year old eyes 20 years ago. I tried to shake the image out of my mind, but instead he just kept getting larger and larger…

Angels in the Woods of Tennessee (Part 1)

The room was crowded with about 200 teenagers. I remember walking in as a little 7 year old girl amongst all of them. It was nothing new to me, I was used to being around so many people twice my age. My parents were youth leaders, and I was the little bossy brat running around every meeting, telling the teens what to do.

Today was a special event though. They were going to be learning about something called H.I.V/ A.I.D.S. Little did I know how impactful that day would be for me.

The only other thing I recall from that day, 20 years ago, was the enormous larger than life size H.I.V virus that was projected onto the screen. I was FREAKED out. It was scarier than any bedtime monster, or boogeyman… even scarier than the dark! I could have that thing live inside of my little body?!

That’s when the fear first manifested. I became fearful of everything…more like paranoia.. an irrational fear. It was irrational, because I didn’t even want to shake a person’s hand, or kiss anyone a greeting hello on the cheek, because what if they had an open wound, and what if I had one that I didn’t know about?!

Well the spirit of irrational fear followed me for quite a few years. I was scared of the most ridiculous and radical circumstances occurring. Sort of like the aunt from Lemony Snicket.

One of the Psalms that I remember reading every night, as a child, was Psalm 91. But still the fears would come.

I’m not exactly sure how I was freed from those irrational fears. Obviously it was due to me walking more closely with Jesus and the transition of His truth from head knowledge, to heart knowledge.

But last week, this intense fear reared it’s ugly head…once again… only this time it was quite rational and looming in my soon coming journey to Thailand…