There is no other way. I have labored over it two days now, wondering how to start off such a letter of explanation, praise, and tears. How is it to take 14 days of residence amongst a rain forest and transfer it with pen, not only so you could know but so I might not forget. Is that not the desire of the Lord? Does He not cease in requesting that His people will not forget His works, His miracles when He delivered them from Egypt? Was it not the sin that entered because of their forgetfulness…their hearts almost welcoming the callouses which breeds, not even a doubt in His works but, a complete inability to recall His faithfulness.

His stories woven in me and my tongue so eager to speak and sing.

Teach me some melodious sonnet and your daughter will write it out…

(and so the feeble rememberer begins the story the Lord gave her):

Driving into the new camp site (new, this site has never been used by Reef to Outback for the camping experience) was most glorious in and of itself. The trees of the rain forest with their length and bright green color stood in canopy fashion littering the pathway into the campsite and I could hear them and I suspect the Psalmist heard such beauty too and wrote in the Spirit Psalm 148.

We quickly unloaded and pitched our tents. Sweat poured down me as I labored. With no warning He came upon me, “Brianne, the way I met Elijah in the wind, I will meet you as that in this place.” He was not quiet about it but strong and reassuring in His words. I knew He had spoken…

The desire for my father to help me quickly became my strong emotion. My dad has been there for many of the times I had needed help and if he were not physically there he was there via telephone, but not this time and every part of my heart and mind felt this weight. Now the desire for my mom, this was of tumultuous awareness within me as well. It came upon me as an avalanche flowing down the side of an unknowing mountain…

We then gathered under a large tent and were given instructions. Watch out for snakes, make sure to stop and back away slowly. Watch out for wildlife, do not go off alone but always in groups of 3 so if someone gets hurt one person can stay and the other go for help. My flesh took hold of me…terror and yearning to leave and seek comfort grabbed my mind (for this is where the battlefield is). No plumbing but a semi port a potty in place and bucket showers or the option to bath in the lake a 10 minute walk away. After instructions I walked to my tent, grabbed my journal and submitted my heart to Him, “Please Abba, help me. My prayer, that I will come to love this place.” What a dangerous prayer I prayed….yet I did not know the weight of what I said.

The first week of lectures, the first week alone, is filled with stories, adventures, and the daily routine of surrendering. Many of you will come to know more intimate details. I see myself 40 years from now sitting down with coffee and starting off with saying, “I remember one time in an Australian rain forest…” but so as to keep this blog shorter (and mostly because of my time constraint) I will skip over these details and move into the 2nd week…

I awake hot and bearing upon my body the feeling of some kind of suffocation (as caused by tents basking in the sun as it rises). “New!” and Lamentations 3:22-25 greet my mind. I change my clothes, grab my Bible, journal, and nalgene (the 3 things which never left my side all 14 days) and set myself in the middle of the makeshift living area. The Lord and I greet each other as old friends and I wait for the Holy Spirit to expose Father’s heart. It is interesting how one learns to lean on the Light in different situations. I remember speaking with Him my 2nd day camping and journaling that I did not even know how to call upon His name in this place. When I have a comfortable bed, with my coffee, my clean skin in the clean air conditioned room I sit with Him and in many ways flippantly say thanks for this day. In a rain forest forged with bugs that attack ruthlessly, i sit down on the dirty ground with my dirty hair and rough skin (which accompanies me to every place) and I move past myself, fight past everything that comes up against me and for the strength of my heart genuinely give thanks.
For those of you who listen to Damien rice and know the power of his words, the melody he composes that can shake my heart and usher a memory into my mind with just one strum…with this intensity I looked unto the Lord….”I can’t take my eyes off of You” becomes my heart’s symphony. It was not a matter of if I wanted to take my eyes off of Him or if I wanted to take my eyes off of Him….I couldn’t. I COULD NOT take my eyes off of HIm. I would have perished (spiritually and emotionally) in a foreign land. My heart bows down as a sign of reverence even as I recall my desperate need for my Savior.
In this time the Lord spoke, “Brianne, I am ushering you into my Tabernacle this week. You are being welcomed as heirs of my Kingdom and as heirs you should walk.” Amazed I questioned the Lord, “Your tabernacle Lord, did I hear you right?” Faithfully He responded, “Yes my tabernacle.” And it was so. That night we all gather under the tent and walk down a path leading into the depths and density of the rain forest. All of a sudden our path greets us with little tea candles and in the middle stands a large fig tree which has grown intricately and elaborate as time has allowed it to. We worship and pray. The next morning we awake to greet the speaker, Mark Parker, who proceeded to teach each day concerning the tabernacle of the Lord. The last day (and forgive me as I rush past details but this analytical mind will not give me rest as to how to present this to you, so I push forward with simple words excluding minor details as if partaking of cherries and spitting out the seeds) we gather around a cross and commit our ways to the Lord coming with peace and sin offerings. We sing, we pray, we worship and all of creation joins us. About half way through we enter back under to the tent to partake of communion and prepare for those people who desired to be baptized in the river. Without warning (and we later found out, without warning from the weathermen as well) winds come rushing in. Amazed I look up to see the intermingled leaves of the rain forest trees part and welcome a clearing forced by the wind. Rain pounds down and I jump out of the tent welcoming the cool rain. I dance. I twirl. I jump up and down. I then retreat into the kitchen to make sure I moved my bag under the canopy, as I turn around my whole school comes rushing into the kitchen. We squeeze to the back and the leaders request we find a buddy as we will have to run into a clearing up the road. Astonished I ask what it happening. The majestic trees (which still had such beauty and majesty) were now displayed in horizontal fashion, they were falling all about. We grab our partner and run outside. Our first obstacle approaches us. A large tree had fallen and blocked our path. Without hesitation two men assemble themselves on either side and help us across. Noticing the rain is reaching past my ankle I remove my sandals knowing I will not be able to run in them. We begin with all tenacity and passion, singing:

Our God is a mighty God
He reigns from heaven above
In mercy, power, and love
Our God is a mighty God

Within minutes the storm breaks and we reassemble. Everyone still singing, still offering up prayers. Not one person harmed, not even my bare-feet which experienced the dirt of the earth as I pounded down with each leap out of the water. Trees surrounded us on each side, fallen from the wind yet not one car was hit and only one tent damaged. Soaked and filled with awe we decide to press forward in ministry. We go back into the tent and praise the Lord. We pray for each other, encourage each other, love each other. Night falls and the stars burst forth as if acknowledging all day what a grand entrance they would have. Rain comes again, we never change out of our wet clothes, we never complain for we have seen the Lord. We then go to the river for baptisms. The baptisms end and we sing, “I am my Lord’s”. We return and take communion with grape juice, biscuits, and honey a feast for such starving children. This was our manna, what was left in the kitchen after the storm. All at once as if we had the same mind (and we did) the speaker plays U2’s song “Beautiful Day”. A dance party breaks forth and the Lord was praised in that tent. My leader comes and greets me afterwards and told me the Lord did in fact meet me in the wind. My forgetful mind is refreshed and I am taken into awe. In the midst of this storm never once did I fear or become downcast. I knew the Lord’s hand was upon us and not in anger but as to rend the Heavens and make Himself known. As we prayed we all agreed (as we were like-minded) the Lord was shaking in this place what could and could not be shaken, for it had just been hours before that we humbled ourselves and exposed sin and brought our small gifts, “Peace Lord, peace we seek.” The night ended, exactly 12 hours of ministry had taken place (from 9am to 9pm).

My mind still collapses when I think upon the two weeks in the rain forest. He is my rock. I feel utterly distraught as I have not even scratched the surface of what had taken place, what honor and glory He deserves that I have not been able to even comprehend.

Now as for my prayer, to leave loving that place, the fondness within my heart is so tender and real when I recall the wilderness the Lord beckoned me to. As far as I am concerned, I have walked on holy ground.

Revelation 2:17
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna…”

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