Katrina Leigh Carter is a student at SCS and is currently on the mission field in Asia for a year. We are sharing some of her experiences for the student body at SCS. You can see previous posts here and here.
Delayed to Move
Woo wee here we are! Finally moved in to our second country of China!
We stayed two weeks longer in Mongolia than we were supposed to and thankfully I can clearly see how the Lord Almighty used that time to spread His Good News. All praise! There’s more than enough to write about so I’ll try and stick to the highlighted movements. Out of respect and privacy, I’ve changed names to avoid unwanted exposure.
We last left off with petitions for my team, joy, fundraising, and new experiences of Christ. I’m happy to report that while I’m still praying to meet my final fundraising goal (6k to go), Jesus has graciously provided for the rest of those requests. There has been growth in my team coming together under our Father and getting to know each other through our stories. I’ve had a steady stream of enjoying life and met several wonderful people who contributed to that. My new friends Terry, Ben, and Daisy are just a few that I’ll carry in my heart for years to come and I’d love to tell you about each one of them.
Witnessing Through Relationship
Terry was our hostel mate, who carried an appreciation for fun wherever he went. I got to know Terry through existential conversations centered around shamanism and his supposed belief of the spiritual world. On several occasions Terry didn’t know how to express what he believed or why he believed it and even shared some misconceptions of Christianity with us. There were plenty of questions that came from Terry, mostly to try and refute the Truth, but by the end of the two weeks I could see him start to understand. If I let Holy Spirit speak to me, I fully believe Terry’s disbelief at this point is solely out of stubbornness, not wanting to change his life or the ways he’s invented himself. I feel for Terry and have so much love for him that I can understand why he would have hesitations. It’s hard to change. It’s hard to have your whole belief system rocked and admit that you’ve been wrong for so long. It’s hard to surrender your own will and seek to follow the One who is greater than all else, especially when you can’t begin to fathom how great that greatness is. However, I pray that Terry is continually sent messengers of Christ that show him it’s okay to be the fun person God created him to be. That he’ll understand the way it’s so much better to admit he misunderstood the Truth now instead of waiting for the moment when it’s too late. Terry is a sweet soul who shared much of his life with us. He took us to a mountain one day where we got to sit amongst the beauty of nature, sing worship songs by a campfire and relate in created order. During one of our songs, I looked over at Terry and could see the child in him. I could see the brokenness and the sorrow that weighed heavy on his life. In the moment I began to weep. My heart broke for Terry and I pray that God comfort him in the realization that he is the son of the Most High. That day on the mountain was special for so many reasons. We saw a different side of Mongolia, Holy Spirit was in full motion, I saw Him speak in a variety of ways, and I was happily introduced to Ben.
Ben was Terry’s friend from way back when, they have traveled to numerous countries together and are kindred spirits that are now linked to mine. Ben and I connected on that mountain through (of all things) the word of God. Ben shared his life and the relation he felt to the “spirit” of the mountain. He described this as the love of a father touching his shoulder. He talked of the walls in his life and how he cried to surrender to grateful love. As he was speaking, I was reading. “In the valley of vision, a breaking down of walls and a crying to the mountain… Therefore in that day the Lord God of hosts called you to weeping and wailing…Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open.” (Isaiah 22:5,12,22) Saaaaay what?! When I shared that with Ben it was on and poppin. He immediately drew closer to me as he exclaimed, “it’s everything I was just saying.” Yes Ben….. yes it was. We engaged for a good period of time on that mountain. I saw the songs of worship speak to Ben’s soul and though we parted ways after the day was over it wasn’t the last time I’d encounter Ben or see God pursue Him.
A little back story on Ben…
A few days earlier some of the girls went to release cares in the park (read Jordan’s blog Movement in the Mundane) and saw Ben there. Wanting to speak to him, they turned around and he was gone. They finished up in the park, started to walk back to the hostel, and ran into Ben at the stoplight. They struck up a conversation, found out that he was going to meet his friend (and ours) Terry, and that someone earlier in the day was reading him Bible verses. Another saaaay what?!? If this isn’t the Lord pursuing lost hearts, I couldn’t tell you what is.
The next day I went out to search for a Bible for my friend Daisy (we’ll get to her story). Looking in a few places I finally found the only two Good News Bibles in the whole city. Buying one for Daisy I thought to myself, I’ll buy the other one for Terry. I took them back to the hostel, picked out two note cards I brought with me and settled in for the night.
I woke up in the morning to a prayer session with the Lord and our team. We asked for guidance and what He wanted for the day. After hearing God tell me to be intentional in the moment to moment I received a message from Ben and then a follow up from Jesus. Ben thanked me for the time we spent on the mountain. He told me that he could still feel the energy from those songs we sang and then sent me a screen shot of the Bible app he downloaded on his phone. Oh Hallelujah! In that moment I heard Jesus tell me that we didn’t buy that Bible for Terry but instead we bought it for Ben. Oh ok Lord!
I thanked Ben right back and told him of my favorite book in the Bible, telling him that I was available to him anytime for anything. He quickly asked me what I was doing that day and invited me to a nearby river so we could play the same songs of worship he heard the other day. With no one available on my team, I asked a member from another team in the city to come along because he plays guitar and sings quite beautifully. With a resounding yes me and my squad member met up with Ben but plans quickly changed.
It wasn’t just Ben we were with now. It was Ben, Terry, and their other friend named Dat, who just happened to be a music producer. Instead of going to the river, the guys now wanted to go to Dat’s music studio, stay the night, cut some tracks, and watch the sunrise. Well alright! Both my squad member and I were so on board but first we had to clear it with the teams and our leaders. We invited others on the squad and got the go ahead, but no one else wanted to come so we headed out for quite the night. Arriving at the studio, that just so happened to be a tiny little living space in the middle of nowhere, it was extremely clear that the night was divinely written for only those in attendance.
Watching God Move
Quickly getting down to business, verses and beats began to flow. I sat in prayer for the majority of the night, reading my Bible when I grew tired, and engaged in multiple side conversations with purpose. Jesus was so intentional that night with everything He was doing. As I talked with Ben about making peace, being gentle, and having a heavy spirit, we read the Beatitudes together which I was already reading alone. (Matthew 5:1-12) I heard Terry say he was thankful to be united by Christ in what could have been taken sarcastically but “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.” (Phil 1:18) God gave me strength, He gave me warriors of prayer to come among side me in different parts of Mongolia, and even blessed me with one in that room. The night was off to a great start and it only grew in beauty from there.
The first track of the night was laid down and mastered with everyone having a part. Even my laugh was recorded on the song to bring it a “light and joy.” What fun! 3 AM came quick with only my squad mate, Ben, and I staying awake to greet the morning. We waited around for the sun, deciding to record another song, and felt the presence of God together. This time it was a full on worship song, perhaps unintentionally, but quite possibly not. There was such praise in the words that flew and the instruments that sang, that I’m honored to have witnessed it. While the song stayed on repeat until the morning light, the Fathers light shone right before daybreak.
In a conversation of family dynamics and a day of trial I asked Ben if I could pray for him. All three of us held hands as we sat in a circle and came before the Lord. First I prayed, then my squad mate, and THEN… Ben! Tears covered his face as he prayed of surrender and laying his life before God. He gave thanks for all he had and all that was happening, welcoming the Lord to lead his life. Being humbled to be in this circle, I was thrilled for Ben. I was so in love with the moment and my heart was full. We finished our prayers and I asked Ben if he wanted to hear what Jesus had to say to him. Receiving the expected yes, I grabbed the Good News Bible I purchased from my bag. The card that I put with it read, “God has made everything beautiful in His time.” (Eccl 3:11) The worship song they recorded that night was called “Perfect Timing.” This was kingdom on earth and I still shout praises for that encounter! Ben’s brother picked us up and drove us back to the city that morning. Before we got into the car, Ben excitedly shared the new Bible with his brother, saying it was going to become his favorite book. Hallelujah, amen my King! I pray You continue this good work You have started, leading Ben to confess with his mouth what he believes in his heart, that Jesus is Lord and God raised him from the dead. (Rom 10:9) I can’t wait to see what Christ does in Ben’s life and the transformation he’s going to bring to Mongolia with it. What glory!
The last story I have to share is about Daisy and it will be a quick yet significant one. Daisy is a sweet and beautiful woman still attending architecture school who is 10 (maybe 12 now) weeks pregnant. One day I was walking around Mongolia looking for coffee. The place we were staying has a coffee shop every 50 feet, no lie, but none of them seemed right until 45 minutes later I felt the pull of Holy Spirit to go down this side street into the tiniest cutest coffee shop. Daisy owns this coffee shop. Her boyfriend and mom work there too and I’m happy to call all of them friends. I spent two weeks becoming her “regular” to the point where there were two days I didn’t show up and they were worried I left without saying goodbye. Haha it’s nice to be missed. The first week I engaged with Daisy about daily things, only mentioning that my group was there to share God’s love. The second week she began to ask me about Christianity. I never mentioned Christianity or Jesus but somehow she knew that He was the Lord of my life. Such praise! We didn’t get the chance to go too deep into faith but I left her with a Good News Bible, a onesie for the new life she’s creating, and a card that spoke of God’s loving truth over her. I pray that Christ continues to pursue her, that she see the reality of His Kingship, and that she understand the purpose of worldly encounters like this. I’m in awe.
Thank You Lord for all that You’ve gifted me with this month and a half. Thank You for pushing me and exciting me with the everyday. Thank You for teaching me more about what it means to follow the path You’ve lit and how to walk with boldness in it. I ask that You continue to open my eyes and allow my words to declare Your glorious movement. I pray that others read of Your movement and that Your grace draws them closer. Thank You my love for this life that Your writing and all the chapters of characters You love. In Your faithful and powerful name I pray Jesus, amen!