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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 “Journeys of Generosity” 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  “divine appointments” where they “ran into” 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

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!!!” 

Pete and Deb Ochs

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This next month is FULL of events.

I have been asked to serve over this next year as a “mentor” in an “Accelerator” program for non-profit and for-profit promising entrepreneurs. Our first event is happening next week.

Early February, we are hosting a week with Pete and Deb Ochs—an amazing business couple from Wichita, KS.   God has both humbled and used this couple to build his kingdom in unique ways, including starting a successful business in a maximum security prison in the US while also discipling and investing in the inmate employees.  You can see their story here.

While here, Pete and Deb will be intersecting with the South African business community in many different venues/settings around personal humility and living His kingdom in business settings.  We will also be facilitating two Journeys of Generosity during that week.

The Lord recently reminded me that the next month has NOTHING to do with events but everything to do with Breakthroughs.

South Africa has been at a point of crisis, and other countries in Africa are as well.  There is such a profound need for the children of the King and citizens of His kingdom to rise up in this country and continent, and bring His kingdom in Africa as it is in heaven.

I ask you to pray with me for—TRANSFORMATIONAL BREAKTHROUGHS!!

It’s Time…

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South Africa is at a time of crisis–a serious time of crisis (read below for specifics)…

Even before the crisis arose with the force of the last 3 weeks’ events, Angus Buchan (pictured above.  If you have never watched the movie, Faith Like Potatoes about his life, it is well worth your time.  Amazing…), one of the father’s of faith in this land had already felt lead by the Lord to call a collective time of prayer for the nation–a million people of all colors and races on a farm in Blomfontein (4 hours from Johannesburg).  Here is his invitation.

There is a call on South Africa to be light and life–within its own borders and into the continent of Africa.  There is a significant battle waging between the forces of light and darkness, and we are asking the Light of the World to step down into this darkness in POWER.

Will you stand with us in praying for the nation of South Africa on Saturday, April 22nd.  The prayer meeting starts at 2:00 p.m. in South Africa, which is 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.  The prayer of righteous men/women avails MUCH!

Here is more information about the situation in South Africa right now…

South Africa elects a party, and not a specific person.  The party chooses the president.  Since 1994 the ANC has been in power.  Nelson Mandela was the chosen president of the ANC at the time of the abolition of apartheid.  The ANC elected Jacob Zuma as president in 2009.  There is a two term limit of 5 years each.  He has been charged with over 600 accounts of criminal activity–including rape, corruption and fraud, to name a few.

At the end of 2015, Zuma had a finance minister that was opposing his nuclear plan as well as a South African Airlines bailout, both of which have had suspicion of fraud and racketeering.  Without consulting the party, Zuma fired the finance minister and replaced him.  There was such a national outrage and fall of the rand that Zuma fired the second appointed finance minister 2 days later and appointed one that was acceptable to South Africans.  The 3rd finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, also stood against Zuma’s initiatives for the last year.

Two weeks ago, Zuma, again without consultation, fired Pravin Gordhan, and replaced him with one of his own men who has no finance experience and would agree to his desired plans.  This action has resulted in more collective outrage among all races and tribes of South Africa than has been seen before.  The South African Sovereign credit rating was downgraded to “junk status” at this latest move, which is a huge deal for the economy.

As such, there have been 1000’s of South Africans marching in the streets, demanding for Zuma to step aside.  I participated in one of those as well.

Because of his financial undergirding of so many members in his party and the corruption all around, so far the party has not been willing to courageously demand his resignation.

There has been a demand for a “no confidence” vote, which has been tried twice before to no avail.  The vote has not been secret ballot, and no one wants to be targeted by Zuma by opposing him openly.  There has now been a motion to have a secret ballot, which is being considered by the courts.  The “no confidence” vote, which could essentially impeach Zuma, is not being set for late April or early May.

The prayer is that Zuma will be forced or choose to resign, but an even greater prayer is that the government will be purified of the corruption and that the King of Righteousness will step in through His people to bring justice and righteousness to this country.

Racial tensions can also be very high, but there is also more of a national outrage at this behavior than I have ever seen, but another prayer is that truth will prevail and that there will be unity in this country among tribes and races like never before!!

Thank you for standing with us in prayer for this beautiful and unique nation!!

Boundary Lines

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It was a grand story how it all came about and there is quite a history around the particular street I moved to—one that the Lord spoke to me on when I was jogging almost two years ago now.

Two years ago in April, I was staying at a place called “Mustard Seed Guesthouse.”  I had been looking for a place to stay, and I found this place on line and loved the name, especially as I was standing in faith for some things the Lord had spoken to me about in South Africa.

One morning I decided to go for a jog.  As I ran, I turned onto a street called “Boundary Lane.”  Almost immediately as I turned onto that street, the verse “Your boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places, surely you have a delightful inheritance” starting going through my mind on repeat (Psalm 16:6).  It was the strangest thing.  I was also listening to a playlist on random with 300 songs on it and right at that moment Chris Tomlin’s song “Boundary Lines”  started playing on my iPod.

As all this was happening, I was saying to the Lord, “there must be something special about this street.”  I even stopped at a house where some people were outside their house to ask about a certain property on the street which was beautiful but rundown.  It turned out that the man I talked to was a real estate agent and he knew all about the street and the property.

When I came back last year (a year an a half later), I contacted this same real estate agent to ask if there were any garden cottages for rent on Boundary Lane.  He didn’t know of any.  After that conversation, I didn’t pursue Boundary Lane any further but ended up going to Pin Oaks, the place I stayed during my first year in South Africa.

I started looking for a new place toward the end of last year, as I wanted something a bit bigger where I could have people over and practice hospitality.  I looked at so many rental properties, but most of them looked very stark, and I didn’t have peace about any of them.

So, I was back to square one.  As a last resort, I decided to go on Airbnb and see if there might be a listing that would be willing to take a longer term renter.

I found two houses that might be a possibility that I approached.  I knew the general area the houses were located in, but there is no way to see a specific address on Airbnb unless you actually book.  Out of the two houses, one owner responded and told me I could come over right way to look.  I asked for her address and she said BOUNDARY LANE.  I almost fell off my chair…a garden cottage on Boundary Lane!!

So, I’m now living on Boundary Lane in an absolutely charming little place where “my boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places and where my inheritance is delightful!”

I walk this street on a regular basis, praying and claiming the inheritance that the Lord has given me in this country!

PrayerMate–Incredible Tool

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I always love to pass on things that have been transformational for me, and this is one of them!

I have never been a “prayer list” person, as it just feels a bit like a straight jacket, but this prayer app has been such a GIFT….

A friend of mine told me about this app, and at first I was a bit skeptical…well, maybe ALOT skeptical.  I am not a techie type person, especially when it comes to spiritual activities. So, it took me awhile to actually try it out.  However, when I finally did, I was immediately intrigued.

The initial setup was the hardest part, but as I got into it I loved the options.  I could create categories and tell the app how many items I wanted to pray for each time as well as how many items I wanted per prayer time in each category (I chose 15 per time with anything form 1 to 4 items per category, but you can set it up for any number that suits you).

Just to give you an example, my categories are:

Biblical prayers, My walk with God, My family, My friends, my Church, Unbelievers, World Mission and My Work

Under each category individual requests can be entered.  The World Mission section allows me to import the prayer requests from certain missions’ organizations if I want to.  The App also allows me to import or pick from scriptural prayers that I would like to pray for specific things.

I can take notes on each individual prayer item, which I often do–dates with specific things the Lord gave while praying.  It has been such a blessing to go back and read some of those.  I can also “archive” requests that have been answered and that I am no longer praying for.  That allows me to review answers to prayer from time to time.

Though I don’t pray with this method every day, I do so often and I love thinking and praying for people and things that I care about in such an intentional way.

If you want to hear the history of the development of this app or the testimony of someone else who has used it, click on these links.

This has been SUCH a blessing to me, and I hope it will be the same for some of you as well!!