Welcome to our blogspot, where we will try to keep you up to date on the latest from our trips and happenings with The Sycamore Church
Dusty and team got off to a great start today heading for Nigeria. Aside from the searching and empting of Dusty's carry bag on all went well. (I guess they thought he really DID look suspicious.)
I spoke with Dusty around 8:00 pm and they were on the airplane headed to Germany. Please be in pray for them this evening as this will be their longest time in the air. Maybe God will wake you up to pray something specific for each of them. My prayer is for rest and comfort as they travel-that they will be able to stretch out while on the plane and get good sleep!!!! That God will speak to them in their dreams as they prepare to see Him do great and mighty things in Nigeria! To prepare not only theirbodies but their minds for all the opportunities He has in store for them!Blessings, Audrey
The team is now in Lagos, Nigeria(Friday evening) and will head to Owerri around 5:00 in the morning(Saturday). Dusty said the airport in Lagos was quite interesting and he wished he could film the whole experience. Keep praying-more to come!
We heard from the team this morning around 8:15, our time. They had arrived at their "hotel" and were getting ready to head out to meet the folks there in Owerri. They are so ready and excited to be there!
I spoke with Gary around 6:00 our time (11:00 PM his time). They all did well today with their "preaching." He said he and James had supper with the prince and his wife at the prince's brother-in-law's "fast-food"/disco. He said it's nothing like we'd think and he has lots of pics. He said he does have only cold water in the bathroom, but that's considered a luxury there. He said the hotel they're in would probably be condemned here in the states, but it's like the Hilton in that area. He's enjoying everything, but he did say he had a headache and felt a little nauseated, so please pray for God's healing. He thinks it's just because he's so tired, so please pray he gets lots of rest ( and that he's sleeping right now--and rest and good health for the rest of the team as well!!)God bless,
From Dusty:I am writing this first official post with many things on my heart. Thanks to everyone who is praying. We feel the power of the Lord upon us. I just met a young man who will be helping us. His first words to me were “We have been praying for you!” Isn’t it just like God to speak to the hearts of people you haven’t even met yet?We had a very good flight over. There were times when we were checked and had to empty our carry-on suitcase. One security officer in Lagos, Nigeria looked at the stuff in my carry-on bag and said “There are going to be some happy children wherever you are going.” I am receiving that as a blessing.The most challenging time was trying to get through customs in Nigeria. I probably felt the most opposition there. It was a sea of people all trying to get through a small gate. When we finally got through, there was another sea of people waiting on the outside. I felt very “American.” God got us through. I prayed inside that airport “Lord, break the power of the evil one and open the doors.” He did and we got to our hotel for a few hours rest.We rose early this morning (about 6:00 am) and came to the local airport. It was a much different experience – much more laid back. Dr. Okere’s uncle Dr. Clement Amadi met us at the airport. What a joyous reunion of souls from different lands, but who have the same home! “Uncle Clement” (as James calls him) has given James a new name: Jimmy. I can not tell you in these few words how happy I am to be here. My soul wells up inside and words do not seem adequate to say what is in my heart. We have been received here with open arms of love. These people are expecting God to work in this time. We are expecting God to work in this time. He will not disappoint us. I don’t want to miss anything that God may want to do. Please pray for the power of God to fall fresh on us all.We are praying for you all in Savannah.I am sending three pictures: our departure from Savannah, Jimmy having sweet dreams, and our arrival in Owerri.
From Dusty:Sunday was awesome. We went to three different churches. The worship was great. The power of God was evident in so many ways. Several were saved at Clement's church on Sunday morning. I think I anointed and prayed for every single person there. It was amazing. We did not know until 6:00 pm that we were supposed to start the Revival last night. Dr. Okere waked me out of a dead sleep and we went to the service while I prayed for God to finish giving me the message for the evening. Speaking with a translator is brand new. But I am catching on. They have had some fun with me - which I enjoy a lot. That means they are comfortable. Many people raised their hands last night and prayed to receive Christ. The altar was packed. I think the whole church was at the altar to be prayed for again. We are welocmed here with open arms. I think a few of the little children are scared of me. Please pray for power, strength, wisdom and courage. The medical mission began this morning. The excitement is contagious. The people were already packed in the room where we will do the treatment. It is at the University.
From Stephanie Barnes:James called again around 6pm our time, so 11pm his time. He went to preach at a little village that turn out to be in a different "state" from where they are staying. He said the people there love to sing and could sing very well. He said that the people will sing and sing and the pastor has to tell them to stop! The translator that went with James could not translate very well for James so, He just went without and he said it seemed the people seem to understand him still. He said on the way back to the hotel from the village broke down and the drive fixed the hot broken down engine with his bare hands!! He and Gary (one of the men that went) got to have dinner with the prince, his wife, and her brother! James said he already filled up his memory card with photos and some video. He put all of it on Dusty's (our pastor that went) computer and has an empty card to fill back up!!
How exciting to see/hear all the ways God is moving in the team over there!!! We are praying for you guys & gals; each & every one, and for all He has for you while you are there. Thank You, Lord, for all You're doing, and all You'll keep doing, long after this team is gone, through the Seeds You're planting now.
Laura called yesterday on her birthday. What a birthday it was. She was very excited! Just to start the morning off she said there was 250 people lined up. I am sure as the day went on that number grew. Ar that time she had pulled 10 teeth. One of them was a 7 year old boy whose permanant teeth had grown in with his baby teeth. She said he did not whimper while she pulled out his baby teeth. She said they were all very thankful. Laura is a runner so after sitting so long on the flight her hands and feet started to swell to the point she could not move them. Dr. Burke took care of her and had her prop her feet up. Yesterday when she called her hands and feet were fine. She has seen so much and has taken many pictures. She said the outside of the walls are made of clay and glass. The glass sticks out so no one can climb them. At church on sunday laura loved the children. They were amazed at the color of her skin and loved touching her skin and hair. She said she love how the people loved to sing and how they dance when they brought their offering to the Lord.She is loving sharing the love of Jesus.
Laura called this morning. She is now working in the pharmacy writing prescriptions because they ran out of gloves after 1000 people have come to the clinic in just this short time. She said malaria is running high and the people's living conditions are poor and unsanitary. At church last night she was telling us about the children that got saved. She said when she stood to introduce herself they would laugh because they had never seen a young american white girl. The children still loved touching her and one mother gave laura her 3 month oid baby to hold. The children kept telling laura that they wanted to go to America. She said she wish she could bring them home. She said everyone is doing well. The people love to sing. They also love listening to Gary play his intruments. She has great pictures and videos to share. Keep praying. God is moving fast and His power is great.
Gary called tonight. They're all doing very well. He spoke at the Seminary today for an hour and a half. He said the people at the high school and the college are so eager to learn to read and write music that it's almost overwhelming. He's already written a song. He and Dusty are going to visit some other villages tomorrow. Keep praying for God's power and protection. God bless.
From Stephanie BarnesI talked to James today. He said he is doing good. He said it is hot other there, so hot he really has not been able to eat. Some of the spices that are in the foods have been messing with him and that is part of him not eating so much too. He and Laura ordered some fish and pepper soup because it sounded like they could eat it with not too many spices in it. James said when it came out to he had a whole fish head in his bowl and she got the body! James said about 500 people came to the mission today. There was an old man that came up to James and wanted him to look at his grandson. James told him he was not a Dr. and could only pray for him. The man said that was fine. He took James to his grandson that was about 2 years old. He told James the little boy was lost in the jungle for 2 months and just showed back up!! The old man said it was a miracle and the little boy only had a little fever. Dr. Kennedy was able to see him and everything was ok with the little boy. After the mission the group went a 4 hour service tonight! He said it has been great, but he is ready for some sweet tea and a nice hot shower!!
We heard from laura. Today she went to a village a more rual area with the medical team. She said there were a lot of people line up. They had to take the worse cases. She helped in the pharmacy writing and filling prescriptions. There was one time that she turned her back for a few seconds and someone had reached in the window and took the medicine she had just filled. As they left the people ran after the bus. Laura said that was hard to watch, very sad. She did talk about how they met and ate with the King and gave the same story about the soup stephanie talked about, she added the broth was red. She said Mr. Dusty ate the fish and I hope that it settles with him later. After that they went to the cafe where there was sprite, and cupcakes. Laura told us that was so good. More gloves were found so she may be doing dental again tommorrow. She knows that God would not had brought her over there without His protection from the Malaria. Keep her in your prayers.She talked about the wild bus rides and how there are no laws for driving. They just laugh and hold on. Everyone is doing well. Each day brings something new. God is so good.
I heard from Dusty early this afternoon our time. He apologizes that he's not been able to send any pictures or post anything himself. He went to the internet cafe at the "five-star hotel" and it went down. He's got pictures ready to send out but the internet there is not cooperating. They are so busy therefore it's difficult for Dusty to get to the internet cafe and when he does, the internet is not always working. As we talked today, Dusty was very emotional as he shared what all the team members have been able to experience. He says that he has preached, minister, prayed for folks and seen more people saved then he has ever experienced. At the time when he called, he, Gray and Clement were going out to different villages and looking at church plant sites, etc. He's already given away his suit to a gentleman there! He said that they are treating him like a king which has really caught him off guard. Speaking of kings, he got to meet one of the kings today and they will be meeting another one later. I could tell in his voice that he is strong and excited about what is happening but very emotional when he tries to explain what they have experienced. Thank you for your prayers and please continue as they have a couple of more days there and then prepare to come home. Dusty said that just as we are praying for them, the Africans are praying for us!
I just heard from Gary. Everyone is doing well. Clement took Dusty and him around to some of the other villages today and they got to pray for a lot of the pastors. He said they're going to try to take him to a music shop in Owerri tomorrow. He said when he gets home, he wants my homemade cooking (anything!) and sweet tea. They cook on kerosene stoves, so everything kind of has that flavor. He said he had fish the night of the fish soup, and it was way too spicy even for him. He bought a big bottle of olive oil today for about a dollar and he and James just had rice with salt and olive oil tonight for supper and he said that's the best meal they've had. Music has been great--he just has so much he wants to say that he has to wait. He was kind of emotional, too--God's doing powerful stuff. Keep praying.
Yesterday on a bike ride in Hilton Head, I was prompted to pray against "snakes" for our team, especially "that ancient serpent, the devil."I was up most of the night, praying off & on. I know God is moving so powerfully in our team. I can feel it from here!They must be weary, but now is the time when they will see God's strength in them! He never grows weary!!Blessings, Terri
I pray that when they get home & settled in with their families, the team will hold a special time of sharing about their trip. I want more than a slideshow and a summary at church. I want to hear about every little detail! You guys & gals better be journaling! :)We love you! You are awesome!! You are displaying the heart of Christ to leave your comfort of home and go on a eternal rescue mission for people who don't even know you.
Psalm 66 is for James today.Josh. 1:9 for Dusty.1 Pet. 3:13-15 for Gary.Prov. 16:24 for Laura.Matt. 23:12-13 is for Kennedy.My prayer from the very first day (before I could even figure out how to post a comment!) has been for "exuberant, inexplicable joy" for you all, the kind that bubbles up from the very core of your being..the place where God lives!The kind that will make Dusty dance!
Spoke with Dusty this afternoon-they had a great day meeting the king and several of the "lesser" kings. There was a celebration and the king gave them proclamations in their honor and again, Dusty said it was very overwhelming and something to behold! He's taken alot of pictures, etc. He apologizes for not being able to get to the internet cafe. They are on Nigerian time and when you get there, you get there. That sounds a little like "Dusty" time to me!!! Anyway, they have alot to share and show us when they home. As Dusty was talking to me, he said folks were coming by to say their goodbyes. Also, Gary was playing music in the background and the folks were singing. What a beautiful picture! Gary wrote a song especially for them and he was teaching it to them! If I understood Dusty correctly, James had led one of the employees where they are staying to Christ and he was helping Gary translate the song into their language. Dusty has been giving away his clothes - the gentleman that he gave his suit to said to him, "I accept this gift and I accept the anointing" Dusty was again emotional and humbled by all that has happened. Please continue to pray for them as they begin their journey home!
I spoke with Gary tonight. He also talked about the proclamation from the king, and he had his pic. taken with one of the king's daughters so he can tell our girls he met a true princess (Ellie's really into the princess stuff right now). He gave a flute to the king. He said he's given The Fisheyed Fools CD to several and it was neat to hear it playing in the hotel and to have Clement's nephew playing it in the car. Please pray for their safe return and that they'll get rest in the airports/airplanes. He said he feels like they've done all they came to do there this time and now he's ready to be home--and we're ready to have him home!
Dusty called this afternoon around 2:30 our time. They were waiting at the Lagos Airport to board for their flight to Frankfurt, Germany(they will board around 5:00 our time, 10:00 pm their time). This flight will be a little over 6 hrs. Please pray for them that they will be able to be comfortable and rest. I believe the team is ready to come home - I know we are ready to receive them! I will let you know if I hear any more news. Thank you for your prayers!
Audrey Said...Maybe some are still checking the blog-Dusty called about 3:00 and they were in Chicago. They are gotten through customs and were relaxing. Plenty of time to kill!! He was eating and watching the snow flurries. Kennedy has a brother that lives in Chicago so he was getting to spend some time with him. Not sure if this happened before they left Nigeria or after. But, he got a phone call from one of the folks at the seminary where they had visited - he called to tell Dusty that one of the students they had prayed for who was deaf was now hearing!!!!! What an amazing God we serve! Please continue to pray them home! Should be arriving around 10:00!
We are all so excited to have these dear folks back home. I can't wait to go to the airport in just a few minutes!In John 13:20, Jesus says, "Whoever welcomes anyone I send welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me accepts the one who sent me."We welcome home our sisters and brothers as we will welcome You one day, Lord Jesus!"
The team is back - Praise God! Thank you for your prayers while they were away. God is so good and I know there are many stories to tell of God's provision and grace. We serve an awesome God!!! Please continue to pray for the team as they get back into life as usual; although I don't believe it will ever be the same! I know there is more to come! Pray for our Nigerian brothers & sisters-that God will continue to work in mighty ways there and also right here in the midst of us!!!!! I thank God for the Body of Christ!
My thanks to all of you who prayed and supported the team that went to Nigeria. God bless each of you. I have had a little time to reflect now. I live in a culture that is reluctant to the Gospel of Jesus. I spent a short length of time in a culture that is wide open to the Gospel. I did not share the Gospel of Jesus a single time in which no one was saved. Every time Jesus was lifted up, people came to Him in faith. I must say "This was intoxicating!" (in a certain Jesus freak kind of way). Please understand all of us that went on this mission: we are not experts on anything. This was a very short trip that showed us how much we need Jesus. He carried us through ignorance, weakness, and powerlessness. He showed that He is Lord over all. He just lets us go along for the ride. And what a ride it is. Praise be to God!
Expectancy is a great thing - especially when it comes to the power of God. As we went from place to place in Nigeria and spent time with our brothers and sisters there, we found that they always expected God to do something. "Normal" meant that God shows up and works in powerful ways. They seemed to know nothing of an anemic Christianity with no power and little influence.This sort of atmosphere was very easy for us to get accustomed to. To serve the Lord in this sort of charged atmosphere was a privilege. So, what is the difference? There and here? These folks have few of the conveniences of life that we think are standard to everyone. They have little money and they realize their true position. In our country, all of our things pose a distraction to us. We seem to let other things get in the way. We don't seem to "need" God as much in our lives - when we actually need Him just as much.
One of my biggest surprises in Nigeria was the number of cell phones, motorcycles, and plastic chairs. Everybody has a cell phone. It let me know how connected our world is at this very moment. Our world has never been this connected. This gave a familiarity to every meeting and service in which we participated. It was as if I was back home. It gave things a very home-like feel. One can only wonder how this is changing the culture.The motorcycles are the principle means of transportation in the part of the country where we were. A Chinese built 125 cc motorcycle can carry up to four people. "Necessity is the mother of invention!" Furniture can even be transported on this two-wheeled contraption.And then there were the plastic chairs ... They were made for equatorial Nigeria. The are strong, maintenance-free, weather proof, light, stackable, and best of all ... cheap! Even the King used plastic chairs at his palace. The practicality and ingenuity of this culture amazed and impressed me.