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Monday, August 08, 2011

Taipei Trip

If you read the post, "JapanTrip", this is part 2.  We spent the 1st half of the week in Tokyo and the 2nd half of the week in Taipei.

Pete and Esther Hsu left Bluewater Mission for Taipei almost a year ago.  Pete was offered a job there and Esther started teaching English as a 2nd language some time after they arrived.  On the site, Esther has been starting a Sozo ministry.  It has gone through a few different stages.  Currently, Esther and Heather (the pastor's wife) lead Sozo sessions, as the need arises.  Our mission in Taipei was to equip those around Esther and Pete with some Sozo training and help lay a foundation for inner healing in general.  Because the training went for a day and a half, we were only able to do 3 ministry sessions outside of the teaching time.  Still, this made for very full days on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday we had time to attend church and then head for the airport, but little else.

Our time in Taipei was quite different than our time in Tokyo.  We still started each day with a "power breakfast" at McDonalds.  Those were times for us to get started on the same page and share (sometimes discover) what we felt God was saying to us individually.  The first thing we noticed was that, spiritually, Taipei felt much lighter than Japan.  The oppression was no where near as heavy.

This was the first time that I have taught with an interpreter.  That was an experience!  I hadn't realized how difficult it is to keep your train of thought when you are stopping every sentence or so for the translator.  After the first hour or so, we seemed to get into a groove and it seemed easier to keep the flow.  Thankfully, I had an interpreter who was familiar with Sozo and inner healing lingo.  There were a few times when my choice of wording gave her cause to pause.  I still chuckle when I think of the "sexual sin" teaching.  She looked at me and said, "Sexual sin . . . . how can I translate that?"  She said something in Chinese and then looked at me and said, "There, that sounds better."  LOL  I knew that I was breaking all kinds of cultural taboos with that part of the teaching!  It needed to be done, though, and the class took it all in stride.  Some of them even nodding as I talked about intimacy attachments.

We did not make it through all the slides I had prepared, but I think I left their brains (and hopefully spirits) quite full.  We stopped often to do breakout groups and practice the things I was teaching.  My heart soared as I saw them practicing their new skills on each other.

The first night that we were in Taipei, I had dreamed about unforgiveness, bitterness and division.  After talking with Monika at one of our power breakfasts, I realized that God had been revealing that those were "familiar" spirits over the region.  I felt the division pretty strongly and observed it manifesting in a variety of ways in just a few hours.  With that in mind, we started off Saturday by circling up with Pete, Esther, Jeff (the pastor), Heather (his wife), and Hsin-yi (our interpreter).  We made a symbolic show of unity before we did anything else.  As we went out to greet our class for a 2nd day, I decided we needed to do something with them to make a prophetic show of unity - not just doing something together, but incorporating our entire self into something - mind, body, and spirit.  I taught them sign language to a simple song and then I had them scream.  I gave them an example of how to do a releasing yell and then had them do one with me.  Esther later said that she had been surprised at my scream - she had never heard anything so loud come out of a human before.  hehe  I was surprised at how willingly the class participated.  Maybe my loud yell had left them a bit fearful of what would happen if they did not obey!  :-)  Having physically released our stress and any other "stuff" we may have been carrying, we worshiped together.  We did the sign language song first and then Pete led us in the rest of worship.  It was beautiful. 

Friday night, I gave an example of how to read into one's gift mix by looking at them and asking God.  They got to practice that on one another on Saturday morning.  Esther kicked off ministry time Saturday afternoon by giving a few prophetic words.  She's still got it!  Monika then stepped in and spoke over the crowd.  We then prayed impartation and release.

I don't have as many personal ministry stories in Taipei because we spent most of our time ministering in a group setting instead of one on one.  Our class had between 15-20 people in attendance.  Some of them had to come and go because of work.  They work a lot in Taipei.

Other fun notes about Taipei:
*Heather and I had a great conversation about dissociation and how it manifests.
*We spent Thursday night in a hotel as we needed some time to rest from Tokyo and prepare for the teaching time in Taipei.  (I also needed to finish my reading so I could do my online test!)  The hotel clerk informed us, as we checked in, that they were full and therefore "had to" give us a suite.  Wow!  It was huge and beautiful.  It was doubly nice because neither one of us had the energy to actually leave the room.  I took care of my homework and uploaded the first half of our pictures onto facebook.  Monika spent a little time catching up with Bill and her family.  Then we skipped dinner and both fell asleep between 6-7pm.  We were tired!
*We had a little adventure as we took the train into Taipei (we had stayed in Taoyuen) and then took a cab to meet Esther at her friends apartment.  We learned that we would be staying there while her friends went on a weekend outing.  It was huge!  Three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  As we were talking about this later, I realized that our living arrangements reflected the work we had to do in each area.  In Tokyo, our space was small and focused - so was our mission.  In Taipei, our space was large and open.  Our training there seemed much more open.  We were giving people tools to use within themselves or in their ministry.  It was less focused on one or two specific goals and more like putting what we had out there and letting people take what they wished.  I am not sure how well that comparison communicates, but it makes a lot of sense in my head.  :-)
*We did one personal ministry session after the Saturday afternoon training session.  Then, around 7pm, we went out to dinner with Pete and Esther.  They took us out to something called "hot pot."  It was yummy.  I was limited on my choice of broth because of the whole "no sea food" thing, but ended up with this tasty Mongolian spice broth.  It would have been a fun experience all on its own, but when combined with the release of knowing our ministry time it created a night I will never forget.  We laughed so hard during that dinner that Esther wondered if they had spiked my soup!  There is a picture in my facebook album where you can see Esther, Monika and I laughing by the ice cream container.  That stuff was frozen solid!!  Monika suggested taking the huge container over to the table and hovering it over our hot pot.  hehe
*Sunday morning was an adventure, in and of itself.  Heather came to pick us up and take us to church.  We loaded everything into the back and closed the hatch.  We then heard, to our horror, the locks latch.  The car was running and Heather's 4-year old daughter who has Down's Syndrome was locked in the car.  We prayed as we tried to find a way to communicate to Amelia how to push the button to open the window.  Before long, a neighbor called 1-1-9 (like 911 here) and we watched as an ambulance and fire truck pulled up.  They were getting ready to break out the window when another neighbor came out with a phone number for a locksmith.  All this time, I am standing next to the window reading books, singing Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle - doing anything I can think of to keep Amelia's attention so that she doesn't accidentally walk around and knock the car into gear.  The locksmith showed up and tried to use a "slim jim" type of device, but it didn't work.  So, he picked the lock.  :-)  We were so happy!!  It seemed a miracle that I, pretty much a stranger, had been able to keep Amelia's attention.  Also, the guy who pursued the locksmith talked to Monika and asked her if we were missionaries.  He shared that he was a Christian.  The entire neighborhood came out to see the commotion.  I am not sure how God will use that incident, but I am sure He will.

After the drama, we made it to church (only a half hour late) and got to be a part of the 2nd half of worship.  It was beautiful.  Pete led.  (I always love it when Pete leads worship!)  As if the worship was not enough, we got to hear the testimony of one of the men who is leaving the church to spend some time in Canada.  He had been at the Sozo training, but I hadn't had a chance to learn his story.  I heard it Sunday morning - and it was powerful!  I am impressed at how he is confident in following God through his pain and recovery process and how he is already dreaming with God for his return.  At the end, the entire church gathered around him to pray over him and send him off.  We got to hear testimony from one of the young kids who is living his life as kind of a missionary outreach in Taipei.  He is a young evangelist!  The entire service was like a family reunion with people sharing what God was doing and worshiping together.  It was beautiful.

This week seems like a blur.  It is hard to believe that in 7 days, Monika and I were in 3 countries, led 15 ministry sessions, 11 hours of teaching, numerous prayer walks, 21 hours in the air, 8 hours in airports, and met many people who grabbed ahold of our hearts.  Whew!  When do we get to do it again?  :-)

Japan Trip - August 2011

Scott and Michica McDonald are friends of ours from Bluewater Mission.  They moved to Japan in the beginning of 2011 to help care for Michica's elderly "Auntie."  Little did they know that Auntie was only a piece of a much bigger puzzle.  On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit with a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  I remember Scott saying, "Now I finally feel like I see the real reason for us being here."

Almost 5 months later, Monika and I arrive in Tokyo and begin our adventure in Japan.  The McDonald's have been working hard.  They have a steady stream of visitors that they shuttle up to the disaster site to volunteer.  They have seen lives changed: those of the workers and those of the volunteers.  In a land that is said to be less than 2% Christian (some statistics say less than 1%), this family has found people literally flocking to their home for prayer and encouragement.  On Monday evenings, they worship with a group of YWAM students.  On Thursday evenings, they host a small group of local Christians in their home.  This small group, as well as Scott and Michica themselves, was the focus of our visit.

When Scott and I first discussed a visit to Japan, we talked about offering support to relief workers and ministering to those who had been in the thick of recovery activity since the disaster.  Instead, we did something much more valuable.  We ministered to those who will be there long term.  As we ministered to the ladies of this group (yep, Scott is the rooster in the hen house) we recognized the beautiful giftings that God had placed inside each one.  One example of this is Lena, our interpreter.  We could sense from the beginning that there was a hunger in her.  She had such a sweet spirit and it came out in the way she interpreted and participated in the sessions.  She interpreted a couple of sessions for us and then had a personal session.  Michica had planned to interpret the last Japanese session herself, but Lena asked if she could translate, instead.  She loved what was happening in the sessions and wanted more!  That confirmed our suspicions.  Lena would be part of leading a sozo type inner healing team.  We met other intercessors, as well as those with gifts of teaching, pastoring, and deliverance.  By the end of the trip, we were referring to the small group that meets at the McDonald's place as their "house church."  We have had a few updates from Scott and Michica already and I can't wait to see what God is going to do with this bunch!

A few extra fun details about our trip.
* Our flight over took about 7.5 hours.  JAL is a nice airline, but there is not much legroom compared to planes of the same size from America companies.  Literally, my knees touched the seat in front of me.  In spite of that, we had a good flight.  I think I watched 3 movies on the way over to ensure that I stayed awake!
* We staying in a hotel our first night.  We thought it might be better to wait until we had some sleep to greet people and step into ministry.  We learned that people smoke everywhere in Tokyo.  You could literally see the smoke hanging in the hallway of our hotel.  Thankfully, our room wasn't as bad and we were able to get good rest.  The next morning, we woke up early (thank you jet lag) and went for a walk.  We found a cute little park and enjoyed playing around there for a while.   Scott and Michica got lost trying to find our hotel.  Since we had a little extra time, we decided to play a little prophetic game.  We jotted down words for Scott and Michica.  We also got words for an unidentified woman and man.  I found it interesting that the words for the woman and man very specifically fit the people Scott and Michica had arranged for us to minister to later that day.  That was fun!  :-)
*Day 2 found us up early again.  The night before, we had gone out to walk and found another park.  This was a real blessing - especially in the midst of a city.  We visited the park again (it became a place of intercession for us) and had breakfast at McDonalds (the restaurant, not the home of our hosts.)  We began to see a pattern of what we referred to as "power breakfast."  The first day, our conversation around breakfast had brought prophetic words.  The second day, it brought about an interesting time of revelation.  You could tell it was revelation by the way I randomly started crying as it came.  It was something to do with Japan, Germany, WWII, and a principality.  If you want to know more, you will have to ask me.  It all still seems a little surreal.  After our breakfast, we went back to the university and felt compelled to stop and pray over the campus.  We didn't understand what that was all about until we talked to Michica.  She informed us that her grandfather had been a devout Christian.  He had taught at the university and interceded for its students.  No wonder we could feel righteousness in the land. . .
*Day 3 started at McDonalds for another power breakfast.  We did a couple more ministry sessions with members of the "house church" and then spent some time ministering to Scott and Michica directly.  They had put out a lot of physical and spiritual energy over the past 7 months!  We then talked about the promise we felt like God had given them and the beauty of what God had surrounded them with.  We ended the evening with our first "Joy Circle" at the university.  From what I understand, they have had regular Joy Circle's every day since then.  Praise God!
*No allergies!  I am extremely allergic to mold and mildew.  Monika is also allergic.  We were sleeping and ministering in a room that had a fair amount of both (I don't know that one can get away from it in Tokyo) and neither one of us had ANY allergic reaction.  We were completely covered!
*I ate a Japanese peach!  I don't like peaches - at least I didn't think that I did.  I was looking for apples when I saw a fruit vendor.  He only had peaches and he offered me a sample.  I took it, not wanting to be rude.  Wow!  It was fabulous!  I have never had a peach that tasted like that.  Amazing.

Check out my facebook pictures if you want more info.  A few of you will get emails regarding some of the more "spiritual" things that occurred.  It is hard to believe that all of this happened in 3 days.  Whew!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Safety First

In this article, I hope to pass on some of what I have learned in the healing world in the arena of creating safety. What is the first thing you are supposed to do when you come upon the scene of an accident or find a person injured? Check the scene for safety. If the environment is not safe you either call for help and let a professional deal with the situation or you break all kinds of rules in order to get the person to safety. Safety comes first.

This is also true in the arena of Inner Healing. When a person comes to you for help, the first thing you do is check to see if the environment is safe. Even after you have determined things to be "safe," it is your duty to periodically check in to make sure it stays that way.

How does one go about "checking the environment" when dealing with spiritual and emotional issues?
  1. Check the physical set up of the room you are using.
  • How is the lighting?
  • Is the temperature reasonable?
  • Are there tissues nearby? (It is better for the person to start out near the tissues so they can choose to grab them instead of you later putting them in their hands or, worse yet, shoving them in their face.)
  • Are phones set to silent or vibrate?
2. Watch the client's body language and adjust your voice and proximity accordingly.
  • Your voice can be loud enough to hear and still be gentle. Sometimes the person will actually feel more secure if they hear some authority in your voice. Watch how they respond as you speak and adjust accordingly.
  • Body language and proximity tend to go together. Be aware if you are leaning in or kicking back. For some, leaning in gives the client a feeling of being listened to and cared for. For others, it makes them feel pressured and intimidated. One person may feel more at home if you kick back, while others may feel that you are not taking them seriously.
  • Reading body language is largely about paying attention. Does the person look comfortable? I will discuss this a bit more later. Hint: If the client is stiff as a board or curled into a little ball, they are probably not feeling safe.
3. Take time for a little small talk at the beginning of your session.
  • This does not need to be a drawn out conversation. Give them five minutes of the session just to discover that you are human and not too scary.
  • Use this time to observe how they speak and act when talking about things that are non-threatening to them. (Note that many are still nervous, especially if it is their first time meeting with you. They may not interact on a completely relaxed level, but it will still give you a decent baseline.) If they relax from that point on, you are fine. If you notice changes later and the person does not look relaxed, be aware that their level of anxiety may be increasing or their ability to be present may be decreasing. (It is also possible they are just getting tired or annoyed.)
  • If you haven't already done it, purposely decide that you care. If you can care during the small talk, you will be able to care as issues arise.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain a healthy atmosphere during the session.
  1. Ask for permission. In many ways, the fact that the person has come to you asking for help offers you a spiritual (and often emotional) authority. However, it honors the person when you ask for permission. i.e. "I would like to walk through forgiveness for your parents right now. Does that sound okay?"
  2. Give them freedom to not be dictated by your instructions. Often we expect people to close their eyes when we pray or when we ask them to visualize something. Not everyone is comfortable with this. I will often say something like, "If you are comfortable, go ahead and close your eyes and relax." If they do not close their eyes, it is fine. It is not unusual for someone who has experienced trauma to be uncomfortable closing their eyes, especially with someone they do not know. I also let people know from the very beginning that I am sometimes wrong and that I will not be offended if they disagree with something I say or do.
  3. Normalize! When you are in the session, nothing that is said should shock you - at least not in any way that would show on the outside. Everything about you should reflect acceptance. This includes your voice and facial expressions. And please try not to gasp.
  4. Do not yell at the person - even if your session turns toward spiritual deliverance. If you find yourself dealing with a demon, take authority and do what you need to do. But do it with honor. The person should come out of a deliverance time feeling special and loved, not dirty and shameful. What scares demons is how much you look like Jesus, not the volume of your voice.
  5. Body Language, Body Language, Body Language. Learn to read it. Tune in to the rhythm of your client's communication and notice when it changes. If the client has been talking freely and then there is silence, pay attention. It doesn't mean you have to fill the silence with your words, but notice it. Look for patterns. For example, a person rubs their forehead every time a sibling is mentioned. Make a note of it. Maybe they start to blink rapidly when you begin to talk about a parent or teacher. Pay attention.
If you feel that the person you are ministering to is beginning to feel uncomfortable or anxious, simply check in with them. "How are you doing?" "What's going on in there?" "Are you still with me?" "Do you need to take a short break?" Give them the option to continue moving forward or to set that topic aside for a while. If they want to keep going, great! Let them move at their own pace. If they want to set the topic aside, that is fine, too. Either way, I will usually pray for them and try to bring them back to an emotionally safe place before I do anything else. (If they choose to move forward and are in the middle of a memory or working through something, it is possible they will not feel safe until we have finished dealing with that issue. Sometimes, the fact that they believe you to be a safe person is what will allow them to move forward, in spite of what they feel.)

As you read through this article, which tools are you already using?  Which areas could use a bit more practice?  What is one tool or technique that you will work to incorporate into your meetings right away?  While we may never reach perfection, we can strive toward safer, more trauma informed interactions every day.