Sometime around the middle of January of this year, I remember mentioning to my Mom and Dad that my friends from the World Race would be leaving in April to travel across the country and spread the love of Jesus in every state. Both of my parents were interested and wanted to know more. Since I only knew what little I had gleaned from Facebook posts and a few texts with the guys back and forth, I decided what better than having Derek explain it himself through his original vision plan video made at G42 in Spain. I played the video on the TV for my parents to watch and then after, I listened to my Dad share his thoughts on the idea. My Dad was over-the-top stoked about the whole thing and had plenty of questions about their time in Arizona. At one point he was overcome with emotion that some random guys had been so stirred up by the Holy Spirit to leave their lives (once again) and follow Jesus. He wanted in. He said to me, “We have to be a part of this. It’s important. God is using these guys and I don’t want to miss out on it.”
So several months passed and after a lot of planning, the guys arrived on August 4th at my house. It was so exciting having them here with me after almost 3 years of being home in the States after the World Race. It’s amazing how so much time can also seem like so little time – we all picked up right where we left off and it was so much fun. I had the whole next 8 days all planned out. Part of me wondered if I was being over-ambitious in all the plans I had made but Derek, Josh, and (sir) Jess were totally on board.
Over the next few days, the guys visited my parent’s church, Tree of Life, and met my very extended family. I remember after service that first Sunday, I looked at the back of the building and pretty much the whole church was gathered around the guys, asking questions and expressing their excitement at having them here. There would be a weekend full of gatherings, worship, teaching and prayer to look forward to and let me tell you, nobody had any idea what was in store – except Jesus, you know.
In order to give them a proper AZ experience, we left Monday morning for an overnight trip to beautiful Northern Arizona traveling through the ghost town of Jerome, the beautiful red rocks in Sedona, wooded Flagstaff and of course the Grand Canyon. During this time, my roommate (Lupita) and I had even more opportunities to talk about the first 4 months of the ODM and how God had been moving. It was a great time sharing our state with them and just “doing life together”. Something you probably have picked up on if you’ve known these guys or been following this movement for any time, is that they are intentional. “What does God have for me right now? Who is right in front of me?” During this short trip they reminded me to stop saying, “Where should I go God? How can I serve people like I served on the World Race?” No. The answer is that the opportunities are endless. God is constantly speaking to us and providing space for us to walk in faith.
After the trip to the Grand Canyon was over, we got back to Phoenix and had a lot set up to dive into. Wednesday, Jess shared at bible study a deep and profound word from John chapter 9 on healing and the power of Jesus vs the Pharisees’ “religion”. It led many people to sit back and ask themselves, will I continue in the path of the “religious” Pharisees and question a true miraculous act of God or when I see God moving will I rise up and act in faith?
Thursday included serving at a local food bank, an impromptu “worship” session at a friend’s home where we gathered in fellowship with food, worship and swimming. Isn’t it crazy the places the Holy Spirit is welcomed? It could be in the middle of the desert, in a tiny hut, or even a different planet. All that matters is that the people of God welcome His Presence. Thursday, we saw God move in the parking lot of a church, where people came to the food bank in physical need and we had many opportunities to love on and pray over their other needs, physical, emotional and spiritual. We saw God move in the home of a friend, with a random group of people who worshiped together and had words from the Lord given and received. We are the church – and the church goes where we go.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent at morning and evening gatherings at Tree of Life church. Derek and Josh took turns sharing God breathed, perfect timed, life giving words. I can’t count how many times people said to the guys, myself, or my parents, that the messages they were bringing were so completely ON POINT for everyone. I mean, let me remind you that these guys knew nothing about the history, or current state of the church they’re visiting; I didn’t give them a pre-game rundown of topics that would strike a nerve in someone, but the Holy Spirit had been speaking and prepping them with applicable messages for every set of ears in the church and people were listening. Hearts were turned to what God was doing. The teaching Friday and Saturday night was followed with people coming to the altar seeking prayer for healing, wisdom, unity in their family, new life. So many people stood up in faith and asked God to meet them.
God still heals. God still delivers. In faith, many people came up to ask for prayer over physical and emotional healing, prayer for new life, prayer for wisdom. Sunday, Eva shared that after almost a year of battling thyroid cancer that had spread to her bloodstream and going in for blood work to be done, her doctor gave her results stating that there was no longer a trace of cancer in her bloodstream and she would no longer need to undergo radiation! Praise! Bruce had healing take place in his leg, Janice declared rejuvenation in Jesus name, Jonathon had healing in his shoulder as well as emotional healing over a great loss in his life. So many testimonies and stories could be shared. But I want you to know that if you have been following along this journey, supporting these guys or just spectating from the side, that they are amazing and they have been so faithful and dedicated to hearing God’s voice, but at the end of the day, they’re just humans who have chosen to be in tune with God’s calling. There’s nothing “special” about them that sets them apart – it could easily be you or I with powerful words for strangers, or we could be the vessels God uses to heal, but we must step out, we must open our door.
I am so completely thankful for Jess, Josh and Derek coming to Arizona. I had my own selfish reasons of wanting them to visit but man, did God far exceed any expectations I had. These guys, my brothers in Christ (and kind of real life brothers in my opinion, because I love to mess with them), left a HUGE impact on me, on my parents, on so many people at Tree of Life church, my roommates, friends, and on the hearts of people I don’t even know. I truly could never thank God enough for putting these men in my life and allowing me to share them with Arizona. Though they heard it already, you have so many Open Doors here waiting for your return – and we will hold down the fort and live out the message of the Open Door Movement here as well.
// Kate Ferrell