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Negotiations…at home…at work…

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If you are like me, you might think that this book has very little to do with you, but…we might want to think again! 

My husband (who is in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions) has been reading this book and talking about it for months, and after watching his enthusiasm, I finally decided to pick it up.

I’ve only just started the book, but I’m already hooked.

Starting with real stories of an incredible FBI hostage negotiator, the book unpacks how to truly understand people in order to enter into effective negotiations (or discussions about things that need mutual agreement)–at home or at work. 

Worth a read ūüėÄ…

A Gift…

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In this new season of marriage (to an amazing man, I might add ūü§ó), the Lord is stretching and growing me in significant ways, and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Though I could share many different facets of “learning,” the one that is top of mind is the recent gift that my Father gave me on Easter Sunday morning….

Over the last month, I wrestled with a lack of peace and some uncharacteristic agitation in both my thinking and actions.  I was tired on a regular basis (thinking it was jet lag from a trip back to the US) and I truly couldn’t seem to get to the bottom of it.  In that place of confusion it seemed to me that circumstances and interactions with certain people were causing my agitation. However, the truth was that I needed a revelation from Jesus of my own heart–the part of my heart that I could not clearly see.

The Saturday before Easter, I was so discouraged that I finally started asking Jesus to help.  I know He was just waiting for me to ask so He could pour His grace over me.  I went to sleep that night, and about 2:00 am he woke me up.  As I was laying there, I received a revelation of two words–“scorn and disdain.”  He told me that I was fighting a spirit of “scorn and disdain” and that they were rooted in pride and that I needed to repent.  Wow!!  I knew I didn’t come up with that!  

I cannot tell you how grateful I was (and still am) for the gift of repentance.  I truly didn’t know what to do or where to turn, and in His absolute love for me, He showed up with the gift of His conviction and repentance. I almost couldn’t wait until morning to confess, repent and be done with this thing!  

Easter Sunday morning dawned clear and bright and I had the amazing gift of celebrating the reality of the cross and the power of repentance that was bought through Jesus’ blood as I kneeled with my husband before my Father the King and repented, receiving grace…His amazing and unlimited grace.  

Joy, energy, clarity of thought and peace returned instantly after my repentance, and it was only then that I realized how much energy had been wasted in living with the sinful mindset that I was operating in.   

Repentance…what a gift…one that I want to receive and embrace every time as an amazing gift from my Father who loves me more than I can even imagine.

Blessing to Share?

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During my time at Master Works Foundation while visiting leaders all over the world, I quickly learned that leadership is lonely and tough.  It’s a high and challenging calling, especially the way Jesus asks us to do it.

Because the life of a leader always determines the life of a ministry/organization, the emotional, spiritual and relational health of any leader is vital.  To cultivate personal vibrancy as a leader takes time and intentionality.

The heart of En Gedi Blessing is to facilitate the use of beautiful private vacation homes for leaders to create, explore, refresh and dream–building into healthy leaders who in turn can lead healthy organizations.  

Do you have a vacation home that you would be willing to make available for 2 weeks a year to bless ministry leaders?  If so, please contact Laurie!

From Dry Bones to an Army

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South Africa–a place of incredible beauty, wildness, adventure, and challenges.  From animals, to terrain, to core racial/ethnic groups, to history, to politics, South Africa has more diversity in a relatively small land space than any other country I know.

Corruption and violence have plagued the top levels of leadership in this country for a number of years, bringing destruction and devastation of every kind imaginable.  With a national election coming on May 8th, South Africa is at a crisis point.  We need a miraculous intervention by our GREAT God.  

NOTHING is impossible with Him.

Will you stand with us and pray for a kingdom miracle on May 8th?  We need the power of the united body of Christ.

In 2013 God called me to pray and prophesy Ezekiel 37:1-14 over this nation.  I believe this is the heart of God for South Africa, and I continue to prophesy and pray, along with many others, for the “vast army” of the kingdom to arise in this beautiful land.

Pray with us that for the May 8th elections that “Those who oppose the LORD will be broken.  The Most High will thunder from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.  He will give strength to His King and exalt the horn of His anointed.”  (I Sam. 2:1)

The name of Jesus has the power to change things–ANYTHING.  He is…The KING!

“All Hail King Jesus…”,

Our Miracle Wedding…

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OUR MIRACLE WEDDING…
This is one of the most unusual and Special update letters I have had the privilege of sending to you all!

Some of you know this, and others may not.  In a crazy turn of events and answer to many years of general prayer and 5 1/2 years of specific prayer, I married a wonderful South African man named Daniel Edward Nell on September 8th, 2018!

Our Love Story…(as Originally Printed in our Wedding Program)

Though we initially met at a board meeting in Kenya of
Afmin (now Emit), a ministry we both were involved with, our story together began 6 1/2 years ago.  After being counseled by a friend and ministry leader Chris DeWet, to invite Daniel to go on the first En Gedi Experience to Israel (which he declined), Laurie was making a trip for En Gedi to South Africa in September 2012.  To follow up with the En Gedi invitation, Laurie met with Daniel for an afternoon coffee, which turned into a late and delightful dinner.

Laurie and Daniel enjoyed each other, conversation and time together from the start.  After 3 months of talking by Skype and  a month of officially dating, Daniel came to visit Laurie in the US to meet her family in March 2013.  Though it was a wonderful visit in every way, Daniel was not ready to enter into a relationship and shortly after the visit, he broke off the relationship.  

In the aftermath of that breakup, Laurie was heartbroken with a lot of questions, especially for God, and she went through one of the darkest seasons of her life.  In prayer and counsel in community, Laurie believed she was led to continue to pray that the Lord would restore and bring resurrection to the relationship with Daniel.  This continued to be her place of faith for the next 5 1/2 years.

In a series of events not connected at all to Daniel, Laurie was called to engage in a ministry called Generosity Path in expanding ‚ÄúJourneys of Generosity‚ÄĚ in South Africa, eventually including a move to South Africa in January 2016.

Laurie and Daniel did not see each other at all between April 2016 and January 2018.  Toward the end of that time, the Lord had been speaking to Daniel separately about Laurie and after a series of  ‚Äúdivine appointments‚ÄĚ where they ‚Äúran into‚ÄĚ each other several times, Daniel contacted Laurie on May 1st, 2018 for coffee.  That coffee turned into lunch, which turned into dinner, which turned into today, September 8, 2018, our wedding day.

There are many incredible details that make up our story, and we are unable to share all of those in this short note,  but our Love Story is a series of miracles and a living testament to the glory of our God and Father the King!!  

Our wedding and marriage is proof that NOTHING is impossible with our God! 

Here is a link to our relationship  photo album online for any of you who might want to see pictures.

Here are two short wedding videos that capture the absolute joy, miracle and fun of our celebration:
Wedding Video #1
Wedding Video #2 

Stories of faith breed faith, and my prayer is that our story of God’s work in the “impossible” brings fuel to your own faith journey.  

With great joy, celebration and increasing faith,

Laurie

Nike and Rethinking Sexuality

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I always enjoy passing along resources that have inspired or impacted me. These two books are recent reads, and they did both!  

Shoe Dog is an AMAZING business tale–the true story of Phil Knight and his business journey with Nike.  A hard core and determined entrepreneur, Phil Knight shares the joys, sorrows, challenges, failures of starting Nike as well as poignant end of life reflections in a down-to-earth and inspirational way.   

Rethinking Sexuality by Juli Slattery is a book about sexual discipleship in the church.  One of the BEST books I have ever seen or encountered on the subject.  Full of truth and full of grace–a rare combination around the explosive topics facing us today in regards to sexuality.  Whether you are a parent, a discipler, a person needing healing, a learner, or a curious person, this book is SOLID and such a breath of fresh air!  I highly recommend it.

READ MORE HERE:  Shoe Dog
READ MORE HERE:  Rethinking Sexuality

Faith Book…

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These last 6 years have been a school of faith in a deeper way than I have ever known before.  In my journey with Daniel, the Lord spoke to me repeatedly so many different ways, asking me to continue to pray, believing that He had Daniel for kingdom work and for me even though there was absolutely NO INDICATION that this would ever happen.  In fact, there was every indication that it would NEVER happen!

In 2013 (right after Daniel walked away and broke my heart) the Lord prompted me to keep a picture “journal” of God’s revelations to me, affirming my stand of faith every step of the way.  Little did I know that it would be a collection over 6 years.  If I would have known, it would have led to despair, I think.  SO many times, I thought I was out of my mind to continue on with this journal, but every time I would pray, I just knew that I didn’t have the freedom to walk away.

The week before our wedding, I finished our book of faith–a collection of @ 475 photos in my picture faith journal–each one with an explanation of God’s speaking to me during the 6 years of my faith journey.  What an amazing “Divine Review” with Jesus I had leading up to our wedding as I finished this book.

Here is a sample of the faith book pages…

He is SO faithful.  He keeps His promises. His word to me never changed.  He is the “promise maker and the promise keeper and He finishes what He began.”

What a joy to present this book to Daniel on our wedding day.  It will forever be a “stone of remembrance”–of our God, His word, His faithfulness, and my/our school of faith.  

There is great value in keeping record of our God, His word to us, and His journey to fulfillment of that word.  Journals (of all sorts) have generational power to testify of the greatness of our God and inspire faith in others!!  If you have never kept a faith journal individually or as a family before, it’s always a great time to start!

“How great is our God…sing with me how great is our God.  How great, how great is our God!!!” 

“Out of Africa”–Friends, Gifts and Joy

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On January 23, 2016, I showed up in Johannesburg, South Africa with a vision from the Lord (at least I sure hoped it was!), two suitcases, a place to stay for two months, and not a single friend in a city of 10 million.  Wow!!  Am I crazy or what??

I had no idea what kind of ride this would be, but looking back now, two years later, the Lord has surprised and amazed me…

He brought me here with a picture–a picture of light emanating from South Africa into the rest of Africa, changing the foundations.

As I have walked with Him in the midst of this picture, I have watched Him change hearts here in South Africa through the Journeys of Generosity (JOG)–an experiential encounter with God’s generosity toward us over a weekend of stories, small group discussion, Biblical readings and times alone with the Spirit of God. ¬† People have encountered the Father’s love and generosity in a way that is transformational. ¬†It’s amazing to watch. ¬†JOGs are being done in other parts of Africa now, with South Africans leading the charge! ¬†Light–His light emanating from South Africa into the rest of Africa.

Part of the “light” picture that I felt like He gave me was that there was going to be a strong movement of business people (and even specifically men) who are FULLY surrendered to the Lord and will take His kingdom through business into Africa in transformational ways. ¬†I have seen some of this start to happen as well, and I continue to pray for this “band of brothers” that the Lord will raise them up in POWER to change foundations of culture through business.

In the midst of the joy of watching Jesus at work in the big picture of this country and continent, there have also been gifts–incredible gifts from my Father. ¬†I have a community of friends that I love, pray with, laugh with, and even invite myself over to dinner at their home(s). ¬†I have a beautiful place to live that faces a garden and feeds my soul every single day. ¬†I found a wonderful hairdresser (Girls, you know what a miracle that is!! :-). ¬†I have opportunities to go on safari and WORSHIP (Honestly, I don’t know that there is a greater worship experience for me than watching the majesty and intricacy of His creation as seen on a safari drive. ¬†He’s magnificent, our Creator God). ¬†I have experienced the body of Christ in different cultures and expressions every Sunday. ¬†I had a visit from my family to share my world here with them. ¬†Joy…gifts…friends…Jesus….

All in all, in my two year “review” this month, I am celebrating…GREAT is Your faithfulness, O God, my Father….

His “Songbird”….

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I LOVE to sing, not because I am good at it, but because the Lord constantly seems to be giving me a song…

Growing up at home, we only listened to Christian radio (A shout out for Evie, Amy Grant, Steve Green, Larnell Harris, and Sandy Patti! ūüėÄ) and classical music. ¬†Friends laugh at my limited music¬†repertoire including only¬†two genres–except for¬†Barry Mantalo’s¬†“Feelings” and “You write the songs that make the young girls cry.” ¬†Those were on the 8 track demo¬†that came with our stations wagon. ¬†I secretly listened¬†to it while Mom and Dad were gone.¬†ūüėā”

I laugh, but I am actually grateful. ¬†The¬†Lord speaks to me in song–in prayer times, in the morning, in the middle of a conversation. ¬†There’s a lot of music He has put in to draw from and very little “interference” music. ¬†I even¬†found out a couple years ago, that my middle name “Linnette” means “songbird.”

In the last few years, I have seen Him speak to people in transformational ways through song. ¬†Last year on several occasions¬†I sang something He brought to mind, and someone cried, another received¬†a picture,¬†or a sense of God’s love.

It’s not like I have a great voice. ¬†I don’t. ¬†There’s nothing to take credit for. ¬†It’s HIM!

Right before Christmas, I was at my church and a woman I have never met before from our prophetic team (people trained and tested by mature believers who have the gift of prophecy)¬†gave me a “word.”

She said she saw me with a guitar, asking¬†me if I sang. ¬†She continued by saying that she sensed¬†that I was called not just to sing but to change atmospheres. ¬†ūüė≥ WOW!!! ¬†Jesus has the¬†power to change hearts/atmospheres, and He can do it through His¬†songs!!

Shortly after that, I felt prompted¬†to try out for our church worship team–for the first time in my life. ¬†Last Sunday was my first Sunday. ¬†What an incredible joy it was to look out over His body and sing–sing because He has called me to, because He wants to change atmospheres.

Our team in unity felt called to “sing” in the first service for healing. ¬†My friend with cancer and pain was at that service. ¬†She texted me Monday afternoon to say she had her first night of no pain on Sunday night, and it has continued.

That’s just one example, but praise Jesus that He has the power to change things–ANYTHING. ¬†Nothing is impossible with Him. ¬†He is my Father…The KING!

“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name…”,

Russians and Intimate Relationships…

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What in the world Russians have to do with intimate relationships? ¬†Well, not much, except that they have them! ¬†ūüėÄ

I enjoy passing along resources that have inspired or impacted me.  These two books are recent reads, and they did both!

Red Notice is a book of business intrigue, unbelievable corruption and amazing perseverance, and not only that, it reads like a first class novel, but it’s all TRUE! ¬†Higly recommend it!

Scary Close challenges treasured paradigms of relationships and self-protection. ¬†His¬†style may be a stretch for some at first, but it is well worth persevering! ¬†Don’s vulnerability inspires others¬†to take a closer look at the things that may hinder the type of relationship(s) we so desire. ¬†If you are a couple, you might want to consider reading it together as it is worth discussing.