The international launch of CCIM was in the fall of 2011. It was at that time that I took my first ministry trip to Africa. I had been invited, persistently invited, by a gentleman in Uganda and after prayer and discernment realized that it was time to begin what the Lord had been telling me about for some time.
In the year 2000 the Holy Spirit had begun showing me these rolling hills as far as I could see, covered by trees more than I could count. And with this vision came his words, “Each tree represents a life that your words will touch.” Initially I thought I was imagining all of this. Yet as time went by and as the Lord continued to impress this vision upon my spirit and mind I began to take this as God telling me something.
And although some twenty years before the Lord had repeatedly shown me a snap-shot image of me preaching and praying in Africa, I still was not yet connecting the dots. But I began to take God at his word, what seemed his word to me, and began to consider, “If this is true, these many people my words are to touch, then what might I have to do to be ready?”
At the time I was involved with a Christ-centered twelve step ministry as well as receiving and facilitating healing prayer. And through the next half-dozen years I dug deep and did the work of bringing my inner person to the Lord for cleansing and healing. I knew that if what the Lord was telling me was true, that I would need to be whole and healthy from deep inside myself.
The gestation time of Capturing Courage International Ministries was nine years. A few years previous to our general launch in 2009, I had one day been standing at my kitchen window, asking the Lord, “When God? when will all this come about?” (I’ve always been, by nature, my immature self, a ‘get it done yesterday’ kind of person), to which the Lord replied, “You must wait, for once this begins it will increase so rapidly that you would not be able to keep up if it was now.”
This settled me into waiting. I’ve understood the timing of God for many years now and am always careful to walk in Him in this way. It’s a good thing too, for after our international launch within Uganda to about 10 churches, we are now, not yet 3 years later, alongside some 50 pastors, evangelists, and bishops, in 11 countries and on three continents; we cannot even begin to count the number of churches represented in this.
What is so amazing is that none of this has come about by our hands. We have never, not once, sought out anyone. Rather, the Lord simply continues to connect CCIM to indigenous pastors around the world. Even now, even within the timing of our Lord, we can hardly keep up; we have multiple invitations to many countries and are continuing to wait on the Lord’s leading and direction for ministry trips to places we have not yet been.
In many ways, we are still at the beginning years of this work of the Lord. Needless to say, there are many things we have learned, many things I have learned, along the way. I’ve learned that when I show up, God does the work. I’ve learned that in the timing of the Lord there is complete covering and profound peace in the midst of the work. I’ve learned that when God tests us it is for our advancement in His Kingdom. I’ve learned that waiting reaps character development and wisdoms that can be learned no other way. I no longer rush to fix or rush to make happen. In fact, in the last 6 months I have become utterly disenchanted with my own good ideas and I refuse to operate in this or that unless the Lord is directing it.
A couple of us are heading to Uganda in the fall of this year. With airline dates set, I head out September 16th and will be returning home on December 18th. Bit by bit, the itinerary in-country is coming into place. Communicating with more than 9 different leaders for the best times to be alongside each one of them and their congregations and ministries, takes a bit of time, but it is coming together well.
To my delight a friend and co-minister, like-hearted in many ways, will be coming with on this ministry trip to Uganda. Crystal has been alongside CCIM since our beginning days, some 5 years now, and the Lord has continued to pour into her, to grow her, and to implant his passions and heart within her. She brings a passion for orphans and for freedom in the Lord from the lies that bind us. In her the Lord pours out compassion and healing to the souls and lives of those she touches.
We will be tied to the hip, so to speak, for these three months and my own heart is strengthened and encouraged by her presence and the ability to trade off the work; preaching and praying on-end for weeks at a time is a bit tiring (to say the least), now I can share the work.
Earlier this year I settled into just doing the work. For some years I have been in recruiting mode, working to bring others along with me in this work. But that has brought it’s own exhaustion and futility, and so, as I said, at the beginning of 2014 I just settled into the work as something the Lord is calling me to. We have a great team at home, very gifted administrative and money people, and I committed to simple faithfulness of doing the work, whether anyone ever came with me or not.
This entered me into a greater level of rest and peace in the Lord as I’ve removed more and more of myself (my ego self that needs comfort and encouragement and company) from this work. Yet about two months ago I began praying, “God, there are so many open doors, these can’t only be for me to go through?”
I have recorded in a 2002 journal entry what I felt the Lord was saying to me at the time, “Pray that the way would be opened, for I choose to use you all over the world more than you can imagine.” Much later, one spring day in 2009 as our CCIM team met and prayed we recorded, “Pray that the doors would be opened.” These are just two instances among many as the Lord has prophesied and prayed over us.
Well, the doors are open. So many open doors in fact! And so I had been asking the Lord about this; it seems ridiculous and absurd that all these open doors would be only for me to go through. Since that time, in just the last two months, there are a number of individuals that the Lord is bringing forth individuals in collaborations and specific gifting’s and passion to go through these doors as He leads. Again, as I stop trying to make things happen, He brings the pieces together. We may be showing up, but the real work belongs to the Lord.