Sunday, September 29, 2013

Is anybody out there?


Driving down the road with my husband, I reach over from the passenger seat to turn up the radio. I heard something that immediately grabbed my attention- (not just because it was a song in English which we don’t hear very much, but because of the question that was being cried out) and I just had to figure out what they were talking about.

I heard this voice on a song singing, “Is anybody out there?”
As they went through the different verses each giving different scenarios, I could recall myself crying out the same thing. The song sings about a guy who grew up with an absent father, angry he ran to drugs because it was the only thing there for him. It sings about how desperate these different people feel- how they all feel so lonely- the chorus is people crying out, “I don’t wanna be left alone, in this war tonight. Am I alone in this fight? Is anybody out there?" 

This song just struck something so deep within me. I listened to it hanging onto every word hoping that it would end with the only true hope that anyone could offer- not one of those “artificial sweeteners” type of hope that the world so often throws at us- you know what I’m talking about; the things that look like they are going to satisfy and may even do so temporarily, but at the end of the day- they aren’t the real thing- they are just artificial sweeteners.

I could not help but remember the day when my dear friend Izzy, who had shortly before that left the life of prostitution, told me that he grew up with something in his heart- that entered the day that he prayed and asking if anyone was out there. But, no one came. I know how the rest of his story went- he grew up alone- starting at 7 years old…. No one ever came. The only people who came to take; they came to abuse and to use. When he first told me about that prayer that he had prayed, or perhaps it was more like a thought, my heart broke…. I can not even imagine how deeply it hurt God’s heart. I can’t image how many people’s hearts he spoke to and asked to go out and share the good news with the broken, with the captive, with the orphans, with the “least of these”.  Maybe those people that God was speaking to just didn’t hear, or maybe it felt uncomfortable, or even weird….. Maybe they were too busy to listen.
Whether we like it or understand it, we are God’s plan. We are God’s plan A and there is no plan B. We are called to literally be the dwelling place of the God of the entire universe. We are commanded to make Him known- to be the physical representation of Jesus here on Earth. Where was the church when this little boy was crying out wondering if anybody was out there? We are the ones who have the privilege to run to these people with the answer- we have been entrusted with the answer!!!! How amazing is it that we get to go and embrace these people and give them the only true hope. It is an HONOR to be that message bearer!

I met another man just last week who had a very difficult life, and was desperate… he was lost in drugs, sex, loneliness, etc. He walked for the first time into a church at the age of 34- never before that point had he heard the gospel. He had spent 34 years crying out in his heart “Is anybody out there? ANYBODY?”

I  can not even begin to count how many people I have encountered on the streets of San Jose being prostituted, or in the trash dump in Guatemala city, or in the church bench beside me I have heard crying out that say cry, "Is anybody out there"?! 

But the song didn’t end the way I had hoped. I was waiting anxiously throughout the entire thing hoping that it would share the truth! But instead, it ended with a question… and unanswered question. I wanted to scream outloud, “YES! YES! A most definite YES! There IS somebody out there- there is! And HE HEARS you! And He wants YOU! He is the creator of the entire universe and He desire to encounter you and fill every last inch of emptiness within your heart!”


For the church: Whose heart cry can you answer today?  Is it a student in your class, is it your neighbor, the homeless community who live on that street that you always avoid, the guy that may seem a little difficult to get along with, the little boy playing outside who has no father influence in his life, or maybe even someone on the other side of the world. It could be sharing a meal, giving encouragement, or donating towards a ministry that devotes itself to this very thing, or being bold enough to make the commitment to invest in others. Ask the Lord whose heart cry you can answer! Embark on this amazing journey of partnering with Him! It is our call; it is our PRIVLEDGE to be the ones who deliver the message to broken and desperate hearts. What a beautiful thing the Lord allows us to do!  Let’s do it together! Let’s make the Lord known and truly change the world! It’s an honor, a privilege, and so very fun!


(As with Izzy, most of you may know that God did answer that cry-He sent people- and Izzy’s life was radically transformed, redeemed, restored, healed.) (As for the man who heard the gospel at the age of 34, he is now an amazing missionary who is madly in love with the Lord).

Here is a link to the song: 

Is anybody out there?


Driving down the road with my husband, I reach over from the passenger seat to turn up the radio. I heard something that immediately grabbed my attention- (not just because it was a song in English which we don’t hear very much, but because of the question that was being cried out) and I just had to figure out what they were talking about.

I heard this voice on a song singing, “Is anybody out there?”
As they went through the different verses each giving different scenarios, I could recall myself crying out the same thing. The song sings about a guy who grew up with an absent father, angry he ran to drugs because it was the only thing there for him. It sings about how desperate these different people feel- how they all feel so lonely- the chorus is people crying out, “I don’t wanna be left alone, in this war tonight. Am I alone in this fight? Is anybody out there?" 

This song just struck something so deep within me. I listened to it hanging onto every word hoping that it would end with the only true hope that anyone could offer- not one of those “artificial sweeteners” type of hope that the world so often throws at us- you know what I’m talking about; the things that look like they are going to satisfy and may even do so temporarily, but at the end of the day- they aren’t the real thing- they are just artificial sweeteners.

I could not help but remember the day when my dear friend Izzy, who had shortly before that left the life of prostitution, told me that he grew up with something in his heart- that entered the day that he prayed and asking if anyone was out there. But, no one came. I know how the rest of his story went- he grew up alone- starting at 7 years old…. No one ever came. The only people who came to take; they came to abuse and to use. When he first told me about that prayer that he had prayed, or perhaps it was more like a thought, my heart broke…. I can not even imagine how deeply it hurt God’s heart. I can’t image how many people’s hearts he spoke to and asked to go out and share the good news with the broken, with the captive, with the orphans, with the “least of these”.  Maybe those people that God was speaking to just didn’t hear, or maybe it felt uncomfortable, or even weird….. Maybe they were too busy to listen.
Whether we like it or understand it, we are God’s plan. We are God’s plan A and there is no plan B. We are called to literally be the dwelling place of the God of the entire universe. We are commanded to make Him known- to be the physical representation of Jesus here on Earth. Where was the church when this little boy was crying out wondering if anybody was out there? We are the ones who have the privilege to run to these people with the answer- we have been entrusted with the answer!!!! How amazing is it that we get to go and embrace these people and give them the only true hope. It is an HONOR to be that message bearer!

I met another man just last week who had a very difficult life, and was desperate… he was lost in drugs, sex, loneliness, etc. He walked for the first time into a church at the age of 34- never before that point had he heard the gospel. He had spent 34 years crying out in his heart “Is anybody out there? ANYBODY?”

I  can not even begin to count how many people I have encountered on the streets of San Jose being prostituted, or in the trash dump in Guatemala city, or in the church bench beside me I have heard crying out that say cry, "Is anybody out there"?! 

But the song didn’t end the way I had hoped. I was waiting anxiously throughout the entire thing hoping that it would share the truth! But instead, it ended with a question… and unanswered question. I wanted to scream outloud, “YES! YES! A most definite YES! There IS somebody out there- there is! And HE HEARS you! And He wants YOU! He is the creator of the entire universe and He desire to encounter you and fill every last inch of emptiness within your heart!”


For the church: Whose heart cry can you answer today?  Is it a student in your class, is it your neighbor, the homeless community who live on that street that you always avoid, the guy that may seem a little difficult to get along with, the little boy playing outside who has no father influence in his life, or maybe even someone on the other side of the world. It could be sharing a meal, giving encouragement, or donating towards a ministry that devotes itself to this very thing, or being bold enough to make the commitment to invest in others. Ask the Lord whose heart cry you can answer! Embark on this amazing journey of partnering with Him! It is our call; it is our PRIVLEDGE to be the ones who deliver the message to broken and desperate hearts. What a beautiful thing the Lord allows us to do!  Let’s do it together! Let’s make the Lord known and truly change the world! It’s an honor, a privilege, and so very fun!


(As with Izzy, most of you may know that God did answer that cry-He sent people- and Izzy’s life was radically transformed, redeemed, restored, healed.) (As for the man who heard the gospel at the age of 34, he is now an amazing missionary who is madly in love with the Lord).

Here is a link to the song: 

Is anybody out there?


Driving down the road with my husband, I reach over from the passenger seat to turn up the radio. I heard something that immediately grabbed my attention- (not just because it was a song in English which we don’t hear very much, but because of the question that was being cried out) and I just had to figure out what they were talking about.

I heard this voice on a song singing, “Is anybody out there?”
As they went through the different verses each giving different scenarios, I could recall myself crying out the same thing. The song sings about a guy who grew up with an absent father, angry he ran to drugs because it was the only thing there for him. It sings about how desperate these different people feel- how they all feel so lonely- the chorus is people crying out, “I don’t wanna be left alone, in this war tonight. Am I alone in this fight? Is anybody out there?" 

This song just struck something so deep within me. I listened to it hanging onto every word hoping that it would end with the only true hope that anyone could offer- not one of those “artificial sweeteners” type of hope that the world so often throws at us- you know what I’m talking about; the things that look like they are going to satisfy and may even do so temporarily, but at the end of the day- they aren’t the real thing- they are just artificial sweeteners.

I could not help but remember the day when my dear friend Izzy, who had shortly before that left the life of prostitution, told me that he grew up with something in his heart- that entered the day that he prayed and asking if anyone was out there. But, no one came. I know how the rest of his story went- he grew up alone- starting at 7 years old…. No one ever came. The only people who came to take; they came to abuse and to use. When he first told me about that prayer that he had prayed, or perhaps it was more like a thought, my heart broke…. I can not even imagine how deeply it hurt God’s heart. I can’t image how many people’s hearts he spoke to and asked to go out and share the good news with the broken, with the captive, with the orphans, with the “least of these”.  Maybe those people that God was speaking to just didn’t hear, or maybe it felt uncomfortable, or even weird….. Maybe they were too busy to listen.
Whether we like it or understand it, we are God’s plan. We are God’s plan A and there is no plan B. We are called to literally be the dwelling place of the God of the entire universe. We are commanded to make Him known- to be the physical representation of Jesus here on Earth. Where was the church when this little boy was crying out wondering if anybody was out there? We are the ones who have the privilege to run to these people with the answer- we have been entrusted with the answer!!!! How amazing is it that we get to go and embrace these people and give them the only true hope. It is an HONOR to be that message bearer!

I met another man just last week who had a very difficult life, and was desperate… he was lost in drugs, sex, loneliness, etc. He walked for the first time into a church at the age of 34- never before that point had he heard the gospel. He had spent 34 years crying out in his heart “Is anybody out there? ANYBODY?”

I  can not even begin to count how many people I have encountered on the streets of San Jose being prostituted, or in the trash dump in Guatemala city, or in the church bench beside me I have heard crying out that say cry, "Is anybody out there"?! 

But the song didn’t end the way I had hoped. I was waiting anxiously throughout the entire thing hoping that it would share the truth! But instead, it ended with a question… and unanswered question. I wanted to scream outloud, “YES! YES! A most definite YES! There IS somebody out there- there is! And HE HEARS you! And He wants YOU! He is the creator of the entire universe and He desire to encounter you and fill every last inch of emptiness within your heart!”


For the church: Whose heart cry can you answer today?  Is it a student in your class, is it your neighbor, the homeless community who live on that street that you always avoid, the guy that may seem a little difficult to get along with, the little boy playing outside who has no father influence in his life, or maybe even someone on the other side of the world. It could be sharing a meal, giving encouragement, or donating towards a ministry that devotes itself to this very thing, or being bold enough to make the commitment to invest in others. Ask the Lord whose heart cry you can answer! Embark on this amazing journey of partnering with Him! It is our call; it is our PRIVLEDGE to be the ones who deliver the message to broken and desperate hearts. What a beautiful thing the Lord allows us to do!  Let’s do it together! Let’s make the Lord known and truly change the world! It’s an honor, a privilege, and so very fun!


(As with Izzy, most of you may know that God did answer that cry-He sent people- and Izzy’s life was radically transformed, redeemed, restored, healed.) (As for the man who heard the gospel at the age of 34, he is now an amazing missionary who is madly in love with the Lord).

Here is a link to the song: 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NEW MINISTRY VIDEO

Hey y'all!
Please watch our new ministry video that talks about our street ministry!

Click the link below:

freedom street ministries- ywamsj


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Let us not forget

It's sad how quickly we forget. It's often even funny.

Today I taught in the Discipleship Training School at our base about human trafficking and sexual exploitation. As I shared stories of lives transformed, of freedom found, of miraculous healing, of encounters with the Lord, of God's hand over our ministry, of the supernatural-undeniable God experiences that we have witness & taken part it- I realized something. The longer I shared, the more excited I became about what we are doing here in Costa Rica. The more my passion increased but more importantly the more my faith was raised. As I told stories about God miraculously healing people after we prayed- I remembered how it felt when I saw God's power as 'God the Healer' that first time. I shared about the depth of brokenness that we encounter but that no depth we have have ever seen has been to deep for Jesus's healing power. I shared about lives completely, radically transformed- people finding the strength to walk off of the streets, out of a life of bondage, and into total freedom. As I spoke the truth of these stories, I felt my faith rise. I began to recall.

We so often get caught up in the going and the doing- the ministry never stops, there are always more needs to meet. Even in other realms of the Christian life- the kids always have one more soccer game, there's always more deadlines, more bills, more business, more running around to do, new stress, new challenges. How quickly we forget.

In the Old Testament of The Bible, the Israeli people built monuments in locations where God did amazing things! They built these monuments so that they could remember- and so that future generations could see them and ask- in order that they may share with them what God did!

They also gave God a new name after each time they had a wonderful encounter with Him or were revealed another aspect of His character through an experience with Him. "Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, 'You are the God who sees me.'" Genesis 16:13


I laugh at myself each month when it comes times for us to pay our bills. Living as missionaries who live off of donations and faith, I often find myself in a very "faith-testing" spot. Almost every month, I find myself worrying 'How are we going to pay ____', 'How are we going to make ends meet', 'I wonder if there will be enough'. And EVERY single month, God is faithful.... AGAIN. And at the end of every month, I find myself laughing at myself again. It's like groundhog day- surprise, God was faithful once again just like He has been ever single month for the past 2.5 years. You'd think after 29 consecutive months I'd finally catch on. God can not change WHO He is- but I desperately need to change HOW I see Him. God is so patient with us- it should have been enough when He first showed me this truth a few weeks before I left for the mission field.... sitting beside the lake wondering if I had lost my mind- why in the world would I ever quit my job to serve God- I knew plenty of people who were amazing servants, heros of God who did it THROUGH their jobs..... but I KNEW that I had heard God loud and clearly- and He had made the details very clear- as I battled these conflicting ideas in my head in near panic, my phone rang.... there was an anonymous donation given in my name that cover the rest of the money that I had needed for my first year in missions. In my spirit, there was no way to deny that it was none other than God.

How could I doubt His love for me when I remember the cross? How could I doubt how personal He is, or that He is a God who speaks to us, when I look back in my journals to all of the times He did speak ever so clearly. How can I forget even for a second that He is the God who Provides when I look back on the past 26 months of my life where His provision has been so abundantly obviously that there is no way to reason or logic myself out of acknowledging that it came from Him.

It brings tears to my eyes to remember the first time when I, like Hagar, had the revelation that God is the God who sees me... what a precious, sweet moment... an invaluable moment when something that you have heard or read all of your life falls from your "mind/head" into your heart- that change of location only happens through a real encounter with the living God.

How can we forget that there is no-one too far from God's redemption and restoration when I have the pictures on my desktop of people we have walked with to leave the streets whose entire life screams "It's never to late." Make no mistake, each person who our ministry has seen leave the streets & find a new life has NOT been our doing whatsoever- it was ALL and ONLY through God!

This is the red-sea parting, the lion mouth shutting, the Sidney's heart restoring, the pimp's wife healing, the broken girl redeeming God! The one who has done such incredible things in my life that it should be impossible to ever doubt!

Maybe we should build a few more monuments in our lives to remember who God revealed Himself to be- let us not forget- let us never be too busy to see- let us not let the enemy whisper in our ears that it was not God who did those great things when we know that we asked in His name! Let us be open and hungry to experience the different aspects of our beloved father God and engrave them so deeply on our hearts that no weapon of darkness can wipe them off.


What an amazing God we have.








Friday, June 14, 2013

Lessons from the homeless


Sometimes those of us who have grown up hearing all of our lives that the Lord has a plan for our lives, lose the real weight that that ‘truth’ carries. We hear that truth and it only hits us like a nonchalant phrase, like any other thing we might hear in the day, like saying “nice afternoon”. 

Last weekend, a man walked up to our car while we were doing street ministry. He grabbed the arm of my husband and rested his face against it and began to sob.... he wept. He told us how he had lost everything in his life because of alcohol. He told us his heartbreaking life story. He told us how many times he had tried to kill himself but each time restrained from doing so out of fear. I pointed out to him that that fear was the Holy Spirit, the spirit of life, stopping Him. I told him that God had a plan for his life and that God loved him.... as I spoke those words, his fixed his eyes on mine. He said, "It was you. It was your voice I heard when I was trying to kill myself that told me to stop". I wanted to giggle. How sweet, but oh so wrong. When we don't know the "voice of truth", how can we identify it when it speaks to us? The Lord was speaking to that man but because no one had ever told him those words before, he was confused. 

I have learned so many things from the people on the streets. First a strong confirmation that satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That is blatantly obvious after just one encounter with these guys. Secondly, that these people need not be treated as modern day lepers, but as broken and desperate individuals in need of a Savior. 
Although everything they may say could be a lie, at least they are looking- they realize that they are desperate and are painfully aware that their only hope lies in God.... they are painfully aware of the fact that they are completely desperate and NOTHING without the Lord.. a truth that we are all at the mercy of but few of us realize.... 
Might they have one advantage over us? Although many of us may neglect, they are constantly reminded that we can not go one day, take one step, have one victory, overcome, or have the least bit of TRUE HOPE without the Lord. They realize their "rock bottom" because it is such a physically obvious reality... how much scarier when we have "rock bottoms" that aren't so obvious and run the risk of going unnoticed... such as the spiritual rock bottoms where we drift away from the Lord, our hope. 

Why are they so moved by such a simple word from God? Perhaps because they are desperately hungry.... longing.... Let us all have that same hunger to hear from the Lord. Let us not grow self-sufficient, or too independent.. or so enamored by the American dream of success that we forget that each and every success comes from the Lord. Let us be AWARE of His hand in our life... and our DAILY need for Him. 

The man we met on the streets last weekend broke my heart in half. As I listened to him weep, I felt not the slightest bit of judgment, but just complete brokenness for him... I can't imagine how deeply the Lord hurts for this man while he watches his suffer. I can imagine how deeply the Lord longs for this man, and knows how his life could be... and how desperately He desires to set him free. 

(The following day this man called Carlos and I... he was clean and ready to start a new life. He was done. And he was serious. We are in the process of helping him find a christian rehabilitation center.) 

(Below: a different friend from the street)







Thursday, May 16, 2013

mother's day- the lost children


"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" Isaiah 49:15

As I sit here as a married missionary with no natural children on mother's day, I am reminded by the Lord what a blessing it is to be a mother- what a powerful thing.. mother's show an aspect of God's character and nature that is so precious and unexplainable.

When we say, "a mother's heart", everyone has an image that comes to mind on just what that means. Most people have a better inclination when they hear "mother's heart" then when they consider God as "father".

I know that when I think of God's qualities that He chose to display through mothers, I understand a side of Him that makes me feel safe, a side that makes me giggle, and a part that lets me know I am dearly loved.

However, this mother's day is different for me. Although I am apart from my own mom- and do not have my own 'children'- nor would I ever claim to have any idea of what a mother feels for her own child- I do have children in my life that to the extent to which I am able, I feel like they are partially my own.

I think of a little girl who I work with who is brutally beaten by her own mother. She has no father- and the mother that is supposed to offer her a loving home sells her to be raped. I think of this little girl just a few weeks ago laying on my lap giggling and I can't even imagine how she finds the ability to laugh.

It breaks my heart in half to see how generations of sin and hate of God's ways has literally destroyed the very thing that God graciously placed inside of mothers.

I think of the young girls who I work with who were kicked out of their house when they were 6 because their mother preferred alcohol over feeding her own children. I have the face of a 7 year old young boy I see throughout the week who roams the streets high on drugs because his own mother, the only person he had left, decided that he was not worth her time. I think of the little girl who cries in my arms weekly because her mother hates her... and this little girl is rotting on the insider, desperate to earn her mother's affections.

It breaks my heart to be the only person who remembers a child's birthday when their mother lives in the same town.... or to see a child sold by her mother for sex just to earn some extra cash...

I think of my beloved Izzy, who died this year from AIDS which he contracted while being sold as a prostitute- who ended up on the streets as a prostitute at 6 years old because his mother turned her back to him... because her mother chose sin over her own child. I can't understand how anyone could 'not' chose him.... Carlos and I loved him like he was our own son, at least to the furthest extent that we (who have never born natural children) can understand or conceive. My heart longs for this boy on mother's day... and my heart longs for the millions of kids who have no one else longing for them this day, this day that we set aside to celebrate the very gift of children, called "mother's day".

Often I question this burdened "mother's heart" that the Lord has blessed me with.... most times it is painfully debilitating... as I watch children desperate to feel a mother's embrace..... my heart breaks within me.... I want to take them all.

I know that the more we know the Lord, and the more than He begins to fill and heal every area of our own lives, the more we begin to see His mother's heart. The qualities of His own nature that He has manifested within mother's, trying to show the world how desperately He loves them, desires to take care of them, and how faithful he is to His children. The Lord has a father's heart indeed, but He also has a mother's heart.... if fact, I believe that His heart is so big that He had to make to genders in order to even begin to give us a little glimpse of who He was. My prayer is that children in this world can know God's mother heart.... that this parentless generation can see God's heart manifested through us, the church. God, heal this broken world.


"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" Isaiah 49:15




Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Herrera 3 in Costa Rica!

We are so happy to add one more Herrera to the YWAM San Jose missionary community! No, we are not having a baby! Carlos's younger brother, Moises, is here with us for 5 months doing the Discipleship Training School!!!!

We are so excited about what the Lord will do in his life in these 5 months! The Discipleship Training School (DTS) changed my life as well as Carlos's when he did it 5 years ago. Carlos describes his DTS as his "honeymoon with Jesus". I don't think I could even begin to describe mine..... dedicating 5 months of your life to SEARCH for God, 3 months in a classroom and 2 months on 'outreach'.... it's indescribable. I encountered God in a way I had never before, He touched my hear like never before- lies were broken about myself and about my image of who God was- and I feel madly in love with the Lord..... God used that time to SPEAK crazy prophecies over my life that melted my heart and that I still have a hard time accepting.... this is the time when God confirmed both mine and Carlos's calling OVER, and OVER, and OVER again- calling us to missions and "to the nations". This is a 5 months of heart transformation- where believers are transformed into disciples. What a beautiful thing! We are so excited to walk this journey with our 'little' Herrera (even though he's tall), Moises. He has such a beautiful spirit and a HUGE heart!

I of course am loving running around telling everyone that there are now 3 Herrera missionaries at the base- (of course I want to remind everyone that I have a latino last name)! We are loving having him over for Sunday night "family dinners"- tonight we even made the El Salvadorian notorious food: pupusas! We can't wait to take Moises to the streets with us, and share our ministry with him! The girls from our ministry came to the YWAM base last week and just had a fit over how cute Moises was! They all love him already! What a POWERFUL thing- for these women and girls to see an example of a Godly, latino man! We are loving watching Moises grown in the Lord and excited for how he is going to impact nations making known the God that he is daily getting to know more intimately!

Pictures at the airport when we picked Moises up!


The 3 Herrera's in Costa Rica! 

First photo, right of the plane!!! Of course, I was like the mom with the camera and the welcome sign! How embarrassing for the guys! 

My brother-in-law!!!!! How fun!!!