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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What God did This Week: Part II

As promised, here is the second installment of our on-going adventure here...

Tuesday, June 21

Today in the Walsall town centre we decided that it would be nice to hand out flowers to people as they suffered through another typical English day - cloudy with sporadic periods of drizzle. It went over fantastically and many people stopped to talk. About an hour into the afternoon we were out of flowers and I was elected as the one to restock our little operation. As we were figuring out how much I should spend, I said, "I know, I'll just tell the guy we're doing this because Jesus wants to show people that they are special!" Everyone laughed at me (Thank you, Ned Flanders, and that sort of thing ). So I started laughing, too. Then everyone was laughing with me. Another excellent cover on my part. Anyway, I went and bought the flowers. And we didn't get them for free. But we gave them out for free and people were really touched.

Cool story 1: While handing out flowers, I met this wonderful little 70-something lady named Judy in the town centre who loved the little bouquet she was given. She said she had been here the day before and saw us doing drama and after some one had shared about Jesus. Judy also said that she was a Christian and that Jesus had been the only one who got her through the deaths of her husband and her daughter. There were times when she felt God was so far away, but later, in looking back, realized how close he was and how he had carried her through. Seeing the drama and hearing about Jesus the day before had reminded her of this.

While she was thinking about this, the women sitting on the bench next to her was also watching what the church group was doing and remarked about how she had believed in Jesus but felt so far from God right now as she grieved the death of some one she loved. Well, Judy picked up her cue and told her all about how she'd gone through it, too, and how God helped her. She revived this woman's faith and encouraged her to hang in there, keep believing, and keep praying!

And that woman was...(drum roll)...

Okay, I don't know who she was. But talk about a divine appointment! It reminded me how important it is not just to pray for myself that God will help me tell people about how much he loves them, but also to pray for His others who are out there too!

Later in the afternoon, oops sorry I forgot...

Cool Story 2: We met a 16 year old girl named Sara who is addicted to smack (heroine). At one point last year, she was staying with her older sister in an abandon car. The car caught fire after they had forgotten to blow out a candle before falling asleep. Sara and her sister both escaped, but Sara has some serious scars on her left arm and a nasty one in her throat where paramedics inserted a tube into her esophagus so she could breath. Her sister said that it must have been God that saved them. Ever since then she's been trying to clean up her life. Sara couldn't understand why God would save her though.Why is it that sometimes the simplest answers to givee are the hardest answers to understand? So we tried to tell her in the best way that we ourselves understand it - God loves you! That evening we got together again, and she let us pray that God would help her break free from smack. I was thinking praying for some one to be healed of an addiction to heroine seems a lot more difficult than praying for some one with hay fever, or at least to me. But then that quiet voice from Heaven seemed to drop a thought into my thick head,"you praying for this may seem for difficult, but Me answering it is not." Oh yeeeaaaahhh. Duh. Anyway, there were no flashes of light or the echos of breaking the chains of addiction at that moment, but Sara and her younger sister came to church on Friday night and Sunday. And are planning to continue. Sara found out how to get connected with a Christian agency that helps teens quit drugs and has asked for help from the people she's met, and more importantly, from God.

Cool Story 3: At the end of the afternoon, the guy who sold us flowers in the market came by and gave us a bucket of beautiful blue flowers for free. (I should have joked about a million dollars. )

Today's Lesson: Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen"

And that is the DeLong Report: UK for Tuesday, June 21, 2005. Until next time, take care and God bless!

~Alycia DeLong

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

God Bless You!

Hello Everyone!

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for another update, so I'll use my regular format. First off, I start my emails with the usual: The Apology. I'm sorry that I haven't written for a while. Second of all: The Excuse. We've been very busy. Lame as usual. There, now with that out of the way, let's get into it.

Last week we did a mission with one of the Walsall churches. They did a week of all sorts of activities in the community and town centre to share Jesus with people. We did dramas, music, free food, free flowers, free balloon animals, free Jesus, and ended the week with a free buffet at the church on Friday night. Each day was incredible see how God will touch people's lives in such a special and personal way. Many times we didn't even use anything, we just went to the town centre and sat around. It was INEVITABLE that you would get into a conversation with some one and get to tell them about what Jesus has done in your life and for the world on the cross!

Now, this email is going to be long enough as it is, so I'm just going to send you Monday's cool story and I'll carrie on with the rest later. Oh hey, a little warning here. You may want to grab a snack or a drink or use the toilet before you continue reading because this is a doozey.

Here's my cool story now: So on Monday we went to the town centre for the first time and there were tons of people walking around, going to work, shopping - that sort of thing. This young guy came up to me (probably in his early to mid-twenties) and asked me if I had been in any accidents. He sold some sort of claim insurance just out in the street. I told him I hadn't had any accidents. But he said again, "What about your accident?" I was a bit confused but I restated a little slower, "I haven't had any accidents." He insisted again, "No what about your accident?" Now I was a bit nervous and quickly scanned my shirt and pants to see if there were any 'accidents' I was unaware of. But I could find none, so again I repeated myself slower and louder, "I haven't had any ACCIDENTS!" He looked me in the eyes and replied very slowly, "Your ACCENT, what about your ACCENT?" Then to my embarassment I realized he wasn't asking me about any accidents. "Blonde," I answered, "My accent is blonde."

Ha ha ha. But that isn't the cool part...

I told him I was from Canada. He asked why I was here. I explained that my husband and I (yes, I brought that up as quickly in the conversation as possible) had moved here to plant a new training centre for a Christian theatre company and a bit about why we are doing it. I was brief in my explanation (if you can imagine), but it was because I usually try to avoid conversations with young men I don't know. I mean, why should they get their hopes and dreams up only to find out I'm already married and older than them anyway? Right. Well, we got to talking about Christianity and the Bible and I was able to ask him what he thought about Jesus as a person, not just a church. He said he did believe in God and had believed in Jesus as a child, but was interested in learning about other religions right now and persueing other things. The entire time we talked he was always sneezing and blowing his nose as if he had a really bad cold. He apologized after a fit of about 4 sneezes in a row and revealed that it was hay fever. He'd never had it as bad as this before, apparantly. He took echinacea and a bunch of other herbal stuff, but so far he just had to suffer it out. At that moment, God really did something and before I realized what I was doing, I'd offered to pray for him right there and he'd accepted! I don't even remember what exactly was prayed, it was only a second or two.

When we had finished he looked up at me a bit confused and aked, "What was that?"

I thought, 'Look, I know I'm no Billy Graham of a prayer warrior, but I meant what I said.'

"That was a prayer?" I sheepishly responded.

"No," he said and he took a deep breath, "I feel different! I don't have a scratch in my nose or anything!" And he took another deep breath.

Well, I looked at him sideways thinking, 'Okay guy, what are you talking about?' Then it sunk in. He had stopped sneezing! In fact we continued talking for over 15 minutes and he never sneezed again. At this point the door was wide open to tell this guy about all the things Jesus could heal a person of and share about the things Jesus had healed me of. Every ten seconds or so he would interrupt me and say, "I'm sorry. I just feel so different! I feel so much better!" We talked about many scriptures in the Bible, we talked about Jesus, we talked about the cross. He went away thanking Jesus and rekindling an new relationship with Him!

Okay, I know maybe this isn't the biggest miracle - you know, not exactly some one jumping out of a wheel chair or anything. But isn't it so amazing that God, the creator of all things, the one who sees all the pain in the world, thinks that hay fever is worth helping some one with hay fever! Wow, God is good! I just don't know what more to say about it! I've never really seen anything like it before, and I don't know if I will again. Why not, though, I guess! It's really reminded me of how much God wants to use us to touch other people and bring them to himself! It also reminds me of how powerful the Holy Spirit is that he could totally take over the whole situation and move me around to pray for that guy!

Wow, if you are still reading - three cheers for you! Stay tuned for the next, soon to be released (hopefully), installment of "DeLong Reports: UK!"

You can't say I didn't try to warn you about taking a bathroom break before the story. Hate to say I told you so, but there it is.

Unitl next time, take care and God Bless!

~Alycia DeLong

Hello from the UK

Hello Everyone!

We have landed in the UK! Yes, this is one small step for the DeLongs, one giant leap for LifeFORCE...

(We didn't sleep much on the flight so the jet lag is hitting us something fierce this time)

As we both try to gather ourselves and put a list of priorties together, I just wanted to pass on some prayer requests:

1. The LifeFORCE Base
- Please pray that everything would fall together for getting a place where we can facilitate the teams, the training, the eating and the sleeping for all the students will come.

2. The LifeFORCE Students
- Okay, we need those students to put in the new LifeForce base. We are looking for about 10-14 students, and actually already have one!

3. The LifeFORCE Leader
- We already have one leader for our local team, but we do need one or two more for our international team going to Malta and Northern Africa. If all else fails, Danny and I will lead that team (which may not be such a bad thing. We love Malta and have never been to Northern Africa before).

4. The LifeFORCE Van
- We do have a van, but it is a bit of a seedy thing. We need to get a few things fixed or possibly sell it and go for a new (new to us) one all together. Please pray that God will direct us there.

5. The LifeFORCE DeLongs
- At some point (hopefully very soon) Danny and I would like to be in a place of our own. Right now we are staying with some wonderful friends in Walsall, but we don't want to be squatters in their home forever! We aren't looking for anything fancy. Fancy place equals expensive place. Expensive place subtracts from my chocolate budget. Negative chocolate budget multiplies my crankiness. You can do the math. We do want to be as close to the LifeForce training base as possible.

Well, I think this is about it for now. I'm working on getting things super-organized (HA). I've noticed some of these updates have been getting bounced back to me, so if you wouldn't mind emailing me back if you got this or if there is a different email account I should use, or if you want to be taken off my update list because you're sick of my ramblings, etc. You know, that sort of thing.

Again, thank you all for your prayers and support! It is a bit strange to be here without a team in the physical. But in the spiritual, we know we aren't alone.

Thanks for joining us!

God bless and take care!
~Alycia DeLong

Friday, June 10, 2005

And We're Off to the UK

Hello Everyone! First off (as usual), my apologies for the inconsistent time periods of these email updates. With that said, let's all get caught up!

Sunday, May 15: We returned to Canada safe and sound and exhausted. The following morning we began debriefing with all the teams and students.

Friday, May 20: Early Friday morning, we left Calgary with Danny's parents and drove 12 hours to Vancouver. There we met up with Danny's birthmother and the rest of her family. Danny met his 2 half-brothers, and 1 half-sister, as well as his birth mom's husband. They are really a remarkable, wonderful family and we all had a blast getting to know eachother more.

Wednesday, May 25 (I think): Things get a bit blurry here. We were back in Calgary for 2 nights and a day. Our brains hadn't even recovered from jet-lag yet!

Friday, May 27-ish: Back home to good ole' Regina, Saskatchewan to visit the family for a week. We had a great time, although very hectic! Danny spoke at the Sunday night service at the Regina Apostolic church, then we spent the rest of the week getting in those last minute Tim Horton's meetings with friends before we left again. It was wonderful to see so many people though.

Friday, June 3: Up to Edmonton for a family reunion with Danny's massive family. Thankfully, the weather was nice for a few days so we got in some quality BBQ and picnic time with all the family. We even had a Bacci ball tournament with all the grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second-cousins, second-cousins' kids, etc. There were A LOT of people there!

Tuesday, June 7: We finally made it back to our place in Calgary. Now we've just been spending the week packing like crazy, getting all those little details in order in the house and the office. Needless to say, these past few weeks have been a blur - but it was still great to be back! We fly out to England Sunday, June 12.

I'm not sure what else to say at this point except thank you all for everything! We will do our very best to keep in contact regularly, and we will miss you! So until we meet again, God bless you and take care!

~Alycia DeLong