Sunday, November 29, 2009

What I (Rennae) want for my 40th Birthday...

What I want for my 40th birthday…

1.A house for Bethesda Home. ( $300,000) Yep. That’s all. But if I got that for my birthday that would be my DREAM COME TRUE. If you wanted to buy me this I wouldn’t ask you for anything else my whole entire life. (at least I would try not to ask you for anything else)


2.A whole apartment building for Master’s Commission. This might cost a $1,000,000 but the same rule applies here.


3.A ministry van. This is a LOT les expensive folks $50,000. I want a Toyota so that it will last until Jesus comes.


4.An all expense paid trip to New York City with my BFF, Rhonda Gray. We would go see girly musicals like Wicked or Beauty and the Beast. Eat really good food. And buy fake designer purses in the china town. I know that is totally selfish, consumerist and materialistic. Wow but hey a girl can dream. Oh I miss my BFF today!!!


5.Ok it looks like now this list is getting long. Really I’m not that hard to please. All that I really want is another office chair in my house. You know that kind with wheels. Nelson tells me that we don’t NEED another one. OK so maybe it’s not a need. I just want one. I am tired of fighting over the one chair that all four of us share upstairs.


I could make a long list but I'll just stop there because in reality I have everything I could ever dream of on this day that I am turning 40. I have JESUS. He is my everything and I could not ask for more than everything! As a bonus Jesus gave me an WONDERFUL husband who loves me and four AMAZING BOYS who make my world an exciting adventure. I am also blessed with all my friends and family.

I am so loved and that is a perfect 40th birthday gift. There are too many people in this world who don't have that assurance. They can't say they are loved with an everlasting, not-dependent-on your-mood, not-having-to-earn-it kind of love. For 40 years I have known this love and I will live the rest of my days on this earth making sure that others know this love too.
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Rennae & the Bank Robbery

Last Thursday morning, October 29th, 2009 I woke up with this song in my head. It was a song that I hadn’t heard anyone sing in years AND it was in English. I thought it was odd that it was in my head. I didn’t even sing it out loud because I don’t particularly like the tune. But the words are great. They are taken from the Scriptures “Fear not for I am with you”. I was checking my Facebook and I was just about to write that scripture for a friend who was going to get some medical tests done and something interrupted me and I never wrote the words down. It turned out that the song was not for her. It was for me! The Lord gave me that song!

I had a full day planned for Thursday and it started with going to the bank to pay the credit card bill. We have a Dominican card so that we do not have to carry around a lot of cash. Petty theft is rampant here and we have been robbed at least four times during our missionary career. So we have learned to be careful. I had paid the credit card two days before but came up short and needed more cash. So I had returned to pay it in full. Thank the Lord I would have had over $3000 in cash in my purse had I not paid as much as I could the day before.

As I walked in the bank, I saw a young man who was wearing tattered clothes and had an earring in his ear. Something didn’t seem right. His eyes looked glazed. I never actually processed that this might be a bank robber or that it was unsafe and I should go someplace else. Now that I reflect on this, I really believe that the Holy Spirit was giving me direction and I was too preoccupied with my “to-do” list to pay attention.

Thank the Lord for his grace even when we aren’t listening to the still small voice. I walked up to the counter, took out my wallet and began the payment. I heard some yelling in the background and then I saw that the security guard was on the floor. It seemed unreal and then I looked at the teller with a look like, “huh?” His expression actually gave me peace. He didn’t seem panicked or worried at all. Then the gunman yelled directly at me to get on the ground. I was thinking, “Ok, but let me gather my things here.” Then he waved his gun and said, “Just leave your purse! LEAVE IT! GET ON THE GROUND WITH YOUR FACE TO THE FLOOR!!!” He seemed like he meant it, so I did.

There on that marble floor of the bank Jesus came near to me. I felt his presence SO REAL. Immediately my thoughts turned to my boys and that was too overwhelming. The Spirit directed me just to focus on Jesus and the power of his name. I said “Jesus” out loud over and over in Spanish and in English. I spoke in tongues. I felt the weight of his glory all around me. HE WAS THERE WITH ME, like a weight on top of my back. I can still sense how it felt and it gives me chills because it was supernatural. In the midst of that presence, I had a sense that I would walk out of the bank unharmed. I just knew it. I really cannot tell you how much time passed. It seemed like an eternity.

Finally, a silence fell in the bank and I knew that the robbers must have left. Someone yelled to us to run upstairs to the second floor. The bank personnel began to check to make sure that we were clear and if everyone was safe. One of the tellers came up stairs trembling with tears in her eyes. I ran to hug her. My heart felt for her because she had been threatened directly by the gunman. The other customers were all shaken up but we were all just so grateful it was over. The women had their purses. The men had their wallets. I had nothing. My keys were on the counter! My wallet! My purse!!! Omar, my teller that day ran down to see if anything was left on the counter. He found my keys!!! Praise the Lord! But everything else was gone.

We were then instructed to come downstairs for questioning. Coming down the stairs, I could see that there were already police swarming everywhere. They asked us to wait so that the police could write a report. The other bank customers (there were six of us) were all on their cell phones making phone calls. I watched as they explained to loved ones and felt the relief of speaking to someone that they loved. I didn’t have a cell phone anymore.

A customer who was lying on the floor near me during the robbery asked me, “Were you praying? I thought I heard you praying.”

“Yes!” I responded. “God was with us. I know it! I am sure that is why no one was hurt. He was protecting us!!”

One of the other customers was very kind and handed me her cell phone and I was able to make a call to the office and talk to Sugeily, our administrator at our ministry office. She immediately got a hold of Nelson and LaDawn, a missionary colleague. It wasn’t long and I was able to speak to Nelson and after that I felt like I was able to exhale. Everything was going to be ok. I could breathe again.

It turned out that I was the only customer that had the misfortune of being robbed personally. They did take my purse that had around US $300, my cell phone, an itouch, an ipod, and then just the usual stuff. They asked me to stay and give a police report about the things that were stolen.

The other customers left one by one. But the man who asked me about my prayers came back to me to say “Gracias”. It was a sweet moment. I am convinced that he felt the weight of HIS GLORY too.

I was blessed to be surrounded by friends and family upon my return home. My boys and I shared a very sweet moment together as we prayed and praised God for his mercy & protection upon my life. As my son prayed, he included the thieves in his prayer, asking God to redeem them from the sin that was destroying their lives.

At the end of the day that is why I am here in Dominican Republic. These days the misery of poverty and unemployment, the rise of drugs and the resulting violence only gives me more of a reason to be here. I am here because when you know and love and walk with the POWERFUL PRESENCE of the Almighty God; you want everyone to know and walk with Him. You realize that the only hope for the misery and desperation that I saw in the glazed eyes of the thief at ScotiaBank, is in a real redemption by an authentic Savior.

I have come to understand the power of God’s presence in the moment I needed to know His reality the most. HE is real. His promises are real. His plans are perfect and I TRUST HIM. I TRUST HIM!!! He is worthy to be trusted! And because of HIM, and all that I know about HIM, and the MORE that I know HIM and the deeper that I go with HIM; I ache to know and go more. I cannot stop. Because of HIM. There is no fear, because of HIM and because HE IS WITH ME.

“The best evidence of God’s presence is the devil’s growl.” C. H. Spurgeon

I, for one, am not afraid of the growl.