Hello all! This is my first post of many to update you all on what the Lord is doing in my life lately. You most likely have received a letter from me recently and are aware that I will be in New Zealand for three months. This is such a great opportunity and I’m so honored that the Lord has opened the doors to the team and I to do this externship. Here’s the story of how it all began.
As a part of my senior year at IHOPU I have the opportunity to go to a different region where there is an established house of prayer and do my first semester there serving on that house of prayer’s leadership team. These externships exist to give IHOPU students hands-on training in ministry and leadership. As an extern, I would have a chance to teach and lead small groups in a discipleship setting while under the leadership of very gifted people to give me feedback. There were a few options I was looking at and I was torn between the Orlando House of Prayer (OHOP) where I used to serve as a worship leader and IHOP-Atlanta where they are more established as a house of prayer with amazing leadership.
One night, when I was in the prayer room at IHOP-KC, I went out into the lobby to take a short break where I overheard two close friends of mine talking about doing an externship in New Zealand. This conversation immediately sparked interest in me and I began praying about doing my externship there. At this point, New Zealand was not one of the options for externships. If this externship were to happen it would be the first ever overseas externship at IHOPU. For those of you who don’t know, world missions has always been on my heart to do. I have always seen myself being like Paul and going on these missionary journeys all over the world and having a base (possibly in Kansas City) from where I would be sent out.
So I began praying about doing my externship in Tauranga. I asked the Lord where I should do my externship and heard Him answer with a question; “Where do you want to go?” I replied immediately, “I want to go to New Zealand.” I felt the release at that moment to pursue this externship to make it happen. The next day I emailed the people at the Tauranga House of Prayer (THOP) and told them I would like to talk about the possibility of doing this externship at their house of prayer. One of the members of their leadership and the sister of their director, Nicola Walsh, responded to my email later that day. She said that she was excited about the possibility of having a group from IHOPU come and do an externship and that, as a matter of fact, she would be in Kansas City visiting her parents for a month at the start of April. We set up a face to face meeting for when she would be in town to talk more about it.
When I met with Nicola she began to share with me the heart and values of THOP. Everything she said was exactly what I am all about. She began telling me about how THOP and Youth with a Mission (YWAM) are one and the same and how the convergence of missions and prayer is their strongest core value; something I am very passionate about. I met a few more people from New Zealand and connected with them at the heart level almost instantly. I fell in love with these people and their way of doing things. The kiwi personality is very unique and refreshing and I knew instantly that these are the exact kind of people I would want to run with.
To make a long story short, I began to assemble my team of fellow IHOPU students who would be going with me to labor side by side. The next step was to get it approved by IHOPU leadership. It was only a matter of weeks before this externship that was nowhere on the radar was approved by leadership and the green light was given to us to go forward with it.
Just a few days ago I was talking with Marty Emmett, one of the YWAM leaders from New Zealand, and he shared something with me that blew my mind. Marty told me that there was a man he was talking to recently who had told him that two years ago he had a dream. In this dream, one of the IHOPU senior leaders, Corey Russell, came to him and said, “Don’t tell anyone, but in a couple of years we are going to be sending some of our IHOPU students to New Zealand for a season.” The man who dreamed this knew nothing about the externship that would be happening this September.
I am so blessed and extremely excited to have been invited by the Lord to do this externship. More updates are to follow.