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Stories at Lake

Let a story of faith, healing, hope and courage inspires each and everyone of us to understand God's mercy and His purpose for us.

 

Photo: (Image 1) Terri’s Sister with her Family, (Image 2) Joey, Terri & Bradley

When we make ourselves available, God takes us up on it!

I have attended Lake for 31 years and serve on the Women's Ministries Team. I’m a table leader for both Morning Break and Evening Break Women's Bible studies, and Mentoring. I wanted to share a little bit with you what God has been doing in my life.

Every Valentine's Day, I am reminded of the glorious way in which God provided generous stewards to help two orphaned boys find a family and a home.

It began February 19, 2006, when Lake interim Pastor Denny Bellesi announced, "I need 30 volunteers to come to the podium right now. Yes, even from up in the balcony!" He had just finished preaching on the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30. Seated in the balcony,I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to go forward. I had no idea what I was volunteering for!

To my surprise, the pastor handed each volunteer a $100 bill. He told us to pray and ask God how He might want us to invest this money in His Kingdom work. We were to return in three months time and report how God had led us.

At the same time, two cities away, my sister and her husband sat in their worship service asking God to provide the financial means necessary to enable them to adopt internationally — the decision to adopt had just been announced to the family on Valentine's Day. They had prayed about adopting a child for a number of years. But the time was never right. While at Forest Home winter camp the previous month, they had seen a video on the plight of poor and orphaned children around the world. At the end of the video, a final challenge to the viewers spoke to their hearts. It was this: "You only have one life, do something with it." They knew that God was telling them now is the time to move ahead with adoption. With six children to support already, they wondered how they could afford to do it. They took their need to the Lord in prayer, and heard Him say, "Wait, and see what I will do!"

As the pastor handed me that $100 bill, the Holy Spirit immediately brought to mind my sister and her husband. I knew that God wanted me to use that money to raise the $28,000 needed for the adoption. But how? At first, I thought that I would just give the money to my sister and her husband. But my husband said, "You have to think bigger. Why not tell others about the $100 challenge and see what happens?" Prompted by the Holy Spirit, he said that his company would match all donations that I collected.

Although I hated the thought of "fundraising," I stepped out in faith, trusting God to multiply the fishes and loaves that I had in my hands. As I began to tell others about the assignment, God began to multiply. People gave generously! My Lake friends, my neighborhood Bible study, my husband's work associates, fellow teachers, family members, and even people whom I did not know but who had heard the story wrote checks and handed me cash, often multiple times.

Ten months later, on Christmas eve, my sister and her husband welcomed two beautiful little boys from Ethiopia into their family. The adoption was fully funded by God's generous people. That $100 bill multiplied into $28,000 in just three months — a testimony of God's love, faithfulness, and provision for all of us.

Throughout the year, I kept a journal of all the amazing ways in which God provided. I wrote: "Lord, this Kingdom Assignment has been a miraculous journey and the most amazing lesson of trust, faith, and hope I have ever received. Thank You Lord for entrusting $100 into my hands-- allow me the great honor of another Kingdom Assignment, I am willing Lord!"

Since then, my life has been filled with many kingdom assignments. Each one has both challenged and encouraged my faith. One of those assignments includes my involvement the past six years as Director of Prayer with an organization who encourages women worldwide to impact their communities with the love of God. We inspire, equip, train, connect, and support Christian women representing over 30 countries from around the world through providing weekend retreats, leadership forums, conflict transformation training, prayer support, and a School of Ministry to help women to step into leadership and ministry roles in their church or community. God is raising up His daughters to be leaders all over the world and I am so thankful to be able to join Him in this work! But God had an additional Kingdom assignment for me!

In August, the simulcast of the Global Leadership Summit 2014 was held at Lake. Pastor Bill Hybels led us in a time of listening prayer to ask God what "one step" He might be calling us to take to embrace a grander vision of ministry. I felt the familiar nudge of the Holy Spirit that I had experienced nine years prior. The Development Director of the organization I worked for had recently resigned, and I felt an overwhelming call to take on this position. I reminded the Lord that I did not like fundraising, but He reminded me that when He calls us to His kingdom assignments, there is no shortage of His provision and resources.

The following week I received two one hundred dollar bills from two different people each telling me the Lord had led them to give it to me for His kingdom work! I had my confirmation that I was to embark on this new kingdom assignment!

In my role as Director of Development, I oversee an international team of women who have a passion for connecting and blessing financial stewardship partners who have a heart for women's ministry and leadership development. We are trusting God to provide $150,000 to accomplish our mission this year for reaching women throughout the continents of Africa, Europe, North America and beyond. Nothing is impossible with God!

I would love to share with anyone how God is connecting women around the world to pursue His kingdom assignments and would appreciate your prayer covering as my home church.

Saying "yes" to God and the promptings of His Holy Spirit for His kingdom assignments has been life transforming for me. He asks each of us to offer what we have in our hearts and hands to give, and to trust Him for the outcomes. I give all glory to God who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond what I could ever ask or think! I no longer fear fundraising, but believe that it is an opportunity to see God's provision and that generosity and giving are designed by God to bless not only the receiver but the giver as well!

"So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God." - 2 Corinthians 9:7-12

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