A lot of people always ask us, “How did you plan out this 7-month journey?!” Well, it wasn’t easy, BUT GOD has made it work in the most beautifully orchestrated way. One thing we had to adjust to was that sometimes (or most of the time): Things don’t always go according to “plan”. But you know what? When plans fell through:
God always had a BETTER one.
Our first real taste of this happened back when we were heading to Colorado. We originally planned to be in Denver for several days, but we were redirected to the city of Boulder when our contact for Denver fell through. At first when this happened, I was in panic mode for a second. But God provided some of the best contacts for us in Boulder AND some of our most memorable interactions on the street happened while we were up there.
A city that was never meant to be on our route, turned out to be one of the most fruitful stops on the entire trip!
With our Colorado incident as a friendly reminder of “trusting God when plans fall through”, we had some high hopes of breakthrough when our trek through Montana faced a bunch of roadblocks.
It’s just so funny when expectations don’t meet reality: But, instead, reality turns out to be better than all your expectations.
The main thing I want to share with this blog is this:
What happened in Montana is textbook “Open Door Movement” heart and vision:
It’s about chain reactions that begin with ONE person opening the door and leading to the next thing in store…and making the most of every opportunity.
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”
~ Colossians 4:5
So here’s what happened in Montana
Originally, we had quite a few potential leads to partner up with around the Bozeman area but all of them fell through. Eventually, we learned about a young adults retreat going on the same weekend we would be there so we decided to go attend the retreat. Our plan after the retreat was to spend the following two days camping out around Yellowstone. What we WEREN’T expecting was the possibility of snow and temperatures down in the 20s (not my ideal weather for camping). So we began asking around for a place to call home for at least a day before heading to Wyoming.
One random South African dude at this retreat (named Ethan), came up and said he heard we were looking for a place to stay for the night. What’s funny is, I still don’t remember how he heard about this to be honest. This guy we just met OPENED THE DOOR for us to come home with him and stay with his family for the night in Billings, Montana. AND it was on the way to where we needed to go! Perfect!
The next morning, our new brother, Ethan, took us around town and we stopped at a local skatepark. Here we met Mark, who also is all about being a positive role-model to young skaters who he meets. We had some great conversation with him about Jesus, art, ministry, and got the chance to pray together at the park. Before he had to go, he told us about a coffee shop downtown called Moav which we HAD to check out before leaving.
From Mark’s recommendation, we headed to Moav Coffee and met several radical guys. One conversation led to writing our stories in a book which one of the employees was looking to get published! Other conversations led to share what the heart of the Open Door Movement is all about. In one of those moments, we met Austin. Austin then told us how he was about to lead worship in a few hours at a local house church and we should totally come visit!
But again, we were supposed to head to Wyoming… But hey, why not ask our friendly South African family if we can crash one more night?
We went back to the house to talk to the family and they graciously allowed us to stay another night! We let Austin know we would be able to come to their house church and in the meantime, we hung out with all the kids of the Collingworth clan (who totally became our own little brothers and sisters INSTANTLY).
RIGHT before we were about to leave for church, I saw I had a text from Austin: inviting me to speak at church!
And I fully believe: as the door opens, we gotta step through!
House Church was one of the most insane nights on the trip. I was able to share my heart with all these young adults, encouraging them with testimonies from our travels, in hopes of inspiring them to go and see Kingdom burst out wherever God has them planted.
This is where things got super interesting.
We hopped back into an intimate time of worship and Holy Spirit gave me a few images and words of knowledge for the people.
While still going deeper into worship, I jumped up to share what I felt Holy Spirit speaking to me. Some of the things I felt God wanted to heal were respiratory problems, mental issues which lead to severe migraines, and also pain in the right foot. There were also a few images I shared which I felt God wanted to encourage some individuals with. I thought all of them were separate and totally unrelated:
That was until I met Emma.
This young girl comes up to me in the kitchen and begins to tell me how the one image I shared described exactly where she was at. Then she says, “Oh and I also suffer from horrible migraines, AND I have asthma.” That was 3 of the things right there! Then I asked her,
“Do you also have pain in your right foot?”
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“Jesus told me.”
She had a shocked look on her face. Then to blow her mind even more, I pointed to the exact spot Jesus showed me where her foot was in pain. Sure enough, it was the exact location of her pain! She broke down in tears on the floor, astonished that God knew ALL of these things about her. So, I said, “lets pray and ask Holy Spirit to take care of these things!”
One issue after another, IMMEDIATELY left Emma.
First, we declared healing over her head: ALL pain was gone!
Then we prayed over her breathing and her asthma: Breathing became normal instantly!
Then we prayed over her foot: INSTANTLY Jesus healed her foot!
This precious daughter was experiencing the love of Jesus like never before. He saw her, showed her He knew everything she was going through and touched her heart in the sweetest way. With eyes full of the most joyous tears, she could only fall to the floor and worship Jesus. It was so beautiful.
The night continued with more people having some surreal encounters with the Lord, spot on words being spoken, and more healings breaking out throughout the room. It was the best night that was never meant to happen!
Emma told us, the next day she would be going to the doctor for an appointment to talk about her asthma (she has had for the longest time). After her appointment, we received this message from Emma:
God is so rad!
And it all started with one young South African dude, living in Montana’s, obedience to let 3 random guys he just met stay at his house for the night:
A suggestion from an old friend led us to a college student retreat in Bozeman.
The retreat led us to Ethan
Ethan led us to a city we had no plans of stopping in.
Ethan led us to Mark.
Mark led us to Moav Coffee Shop.
There we met Austin who invited us to go to and speak at a house church.
And at the house church: we met Emma and where Jesus encountered her and healed her head, her asthma, AND her foot.
One person’s obedience leading to a life forever changed that could not have ever been planned by our own hands. That’s what God does! Plans fall through, and you get led to the most random of places, BUT GOD always knows what He is doing. And His plan is always better than anything I can come up with.
Our time in Montana and the city that was never on our radar will always make me think of the story of the man who leaves the 99 sheep to go after the 1 from Matthew 18.
It’s all about the “ONE”.
It’s always worth it.
And in the same way as the parable of the lost sheep:
To drive all the way around the country and stop in a town we were never planning to go to:
Emma was worth it all.