From April 6th to the 15th, our IHOPU student ministry team was in Charlotte, North Carolina to serve the people and churches of Charlotte. God was with us! We experienced testimonies of miracles and healing, both physical and relational.
I am so proud of our team! There were 20 of us, led by our student leaders, Madison and Faith (amazing MEN of God with easily mistaken gender-neutral names haha), and our coaches Benjamin & Hannah Robinson.
Here’s a recap and celebration of what God did during out time in Charlotte!
Saturday, April 6th
Morning – Lovelife Charlotte @ Abortion Clinic
We participated in a LoveLife Charlotte prayer walk @ an abortion clinic. This particular clinic was one of the largest abortion clinics in the Midwest and performs a high percentage of the abortions that take place in Charlotte.
We worshiped and prayed around the facility and heard testimonies. Meanwhile, there were many vocal dissenters holding up signs pointing cars towards the abortion clinic. There were clearly people who were unhappy with what we were doing, even though we simply held peaceful gatherings and never approached them directly.
After the event, I felt very somber in my spirit. The thought of all the babies that had been killed at that facility felt like a stone in my gut. I could barely speak afterwards, but I truly believe that our prayers are making a difference. It is particularly encouraging to hear Pro-Life leaders speak from their beliefs and say things like, “When abortion ends…” or “When God ends abortion…” It’s not a matter of if but when.
And when abortion does end, in the words of Kris Vallotton, “50 years from now the world will look back on this human genocide the same way we view the Nazis, slavery, and Native America slaughter; with disdain, shame, and deep regret. Our grandchildren will ask us, ‘Grandmother, Grandpa, how come nobody stopped them from killing the babies?’”
LoveLife Charlotte website: https://www.lovelife.org/
Evening – Live Music in Uptown
A few of us went to Uptown Charlotte to perform live music in the squares and pray for people.
I had the opportunity to share my testimony and lead a worship song from the microphone, and amazingly I wasn’t scared at all! I knew that what we were doing would sow seeds of love & life into peoples’ hearts, so this wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. My hope was simply to encourage people and reveal to them the Father who created them and loves them with an unconditional love.
We got to pray for a couple of people who were visiting from out of town, drug addicts, and also a family from Nashville who heard the music from a nearby hotel and came down to see what we were doing.
One of our guys held up a sign that said, “Back pain? Free consultation,” and we saw multiple people get healed!
Sunday, April 7th
Afternoon – Brazilian BBQ & mini convergence gathering
In the afternoon, our team enjoyed Brazilian BBQ at the Reis family home (one of students’ parents). At the end, we ended up praying for their family, which turned into an amazing time of healing and intercession. I was so amazed!
It was like a little Homecoming/Convergence gathering right in front of our eyes. The Holy Spirit moved, and there were many tears. God is truly doing something in IHOP and creating Family among us, since the Convergence gathering last September!
Monday, April 8th
Half-day – Cleaning church campus
We spent half the day cleaning the Eastfield church, which was a new Steele Creek campus. Cutting grass, pulling out weeds, vacuuming and deep cleaning the sanctuary and classrooms.
Evening – Concord House of Prayer
That evening we led a Worship with the Word (WWW) set at Concord House of Prayer (CHOP). A 1-hour set ended up going on for FOUR hours! We just couldn’t stop; the presence of God and spirit of worship was so tangible and thick in the room. I was so inspired by the heart of worship in our team members.
Tuesday, April 9th
Noon – Evangelism @ bus stop
At noon, Freddie Powers, a fiery woman of God who is part of Morning Star Ministries, took us to evangelize at a downtown bus station. We walked around giving out free snacks & candies, sharing the gospel or praying with people.
Many of them were clearly homeless and/or on drugs. It was actually very eye-opening to see the brokenness in so many of their lives. Nevertheless, God’s love broke in, and it was encouraging to see the light that entered their eyes when we approached them with the love of the Gospel.
Afternoon – Children’s Outreach @ Trailer Park
*This was one of my favorite ministry opportunities from this trip.
That afternoon we got to meet and work with a brother-sister duo, Steven & Christina Rivera, to do a children’s outreach at a trailer park. About 30-40 kids showed up. We performed an Easter-themed skit about the resurrection of Christ, played games with them, fed them, and ended it with an Easter egg hunt.
What really impressed me was the young man Steven who started this ministry FIVE years ago. He is no more than 25-years old, and yet he’s never missed one week to serve these kids and demonstrate the Gospel to them for the last five years. Why? He shared the story with us over dinner:
“Who is my neighbor?”
Five years ago, Steven had just gotten back from a YWAM short-term mission trip to Thailand; he longed to go back but the Lord didn’t open doors. One day he was driving around his neighborhood in Charlotte (his family has a big house) when suddenly God told him, “Turn here.” So he made a right turn and discovered this trailer park, just three minutes away from his home. He had no idea it was there—he’d lived in his family home for the prior 10 years and never knew that such poverty and brokenness was just around the corner. God told him, “This is your mission field.” And since then, he’d been going there every week on Tuesdays at 5pm to serve these kids.
I was particularly impressed by his faithfulness and lack of selfish ambition in doing children’s outreach every week at a trailer park. Many children’s pastors do it for a few years and quit because they want to do real “adult” ministry, but Steven has caught a real vision from God. He’s not doing it to promote himself. Sometimes he’ll be there alone, helping to feed and share the Gospel to 20-30 kids, but God has also been faithful to send helpers.
I feel like Steven is the perfect demonstration of “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10, Good Samaritan parable) Practically, our neighbors are those around us. We don’t have to fly to the other side of the world, like Thailand (or even North Carolina), to love our “neighbors.” Our mission field can be right here at home. They may literally be 3 minutes away from where you live.
Wednesday, April 10th
Morning – Breakfast @ the Robinsons’
Our coach Benjamin Robinsons’ parents’ Rob & Erika prepared breakfast for our whole team and shared their marriage & family testimonies.
So inspiring: Every morning Rob wakes up to pray at 3:30am, makes coffee for his wife at 6am, then she gets up and prays until 8am.
Two intercessory promises they use to intercede for their family everyday are, “Me and my house shall be saved.” “Me and my house shall serve the Lord.” And it’s worked! Erica has 500 years of Christianity in her ancestry and NOT ONE DIVORCE! Wow! Now many of their children, including Benjamin, are in full-time ministry.
Afternoon – Q&A with Dr. Michael Brown @ Fire International School of Ministry
We had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Dr. Michael Brown and ask him questions covering hot topics like homosexuality, feminism, and Israel.
He showed us around his studio, and we even got to stay a couple minutes in the control room while he hosted his daily podcast called “The Line of Fire,” which airs throughout the U.S.
Dr. Michael Brown is a Christian radio host, author, professor and noted proponent of Messianic Judaism. See his website: https://askdrbrown.org/
Thursday, April 11th
Morning – We had the honor of prophesying over the pastors of Steele Creek church. I love encouraging pastors, because they don’t get that a lot.
Evening – CHOP worship night with Jaye Thomas
Friday, April 12th
Evening – Worship night with Jaye Thomas
We partnered with One:11 Ministries to lead a worship night. I was able to release prophetic words for healing on the mic, and many people were touched by God and healed.
Saturday, April 13th
Afternoon – Morning Star Outreach
We went out and did Treasure Hunts, which is when you ask God for “clues” about who you might meet (“the treasure”), e.g. location, clothing items, appearance, personal needs, etc. and then you go out and look for those clues. These lead to divine appointments with people to share the gospel, pray for healing, etc.
One young girl had a braided bracelet on, which was one of my “clues,” so I told her about my treasure hunt and that God was highlighting her to me. Her friends said, “Wow! That’s crazy, because she really needs prayer.” Praise God for divine appointments!
Sunday, April 14th
Sunday morning I led worship @ the Steele Creek Eastfield campus. That afternoon, we drove to Nashville to spend the night before driving back to Kansas City.
Monday, April 15th
Morning – Playing Hotel Piano & Praying for Hotel Staff
Here’s a pretty cool testimony. I woke up pretty early that day, so I went down to the lobby and asked if I could play the piano there. The front desk lady, Korrie, was very happy to let me play. I ended up playing free worship for more than an hour, playing and praying that God would shift the atmosphere. Many people, including guests and staff, would stop to listen.
When it was time to leave, Korrie (the front desk lady) didn’t want me to leave. I asked if I could pray for her, and as I was praying I felt prompted to plead the blood of Jesus over her family’s health. She said, “That’s crazy. You have no idea how much that means to me. My husband’s been having health issues, and he was just sent to the hospital this morning.” Both of us were encouraged! God really does speak to us, and He loves us so much.
My biggest takeaway from this ministry trip was how easy and simple it is to bless someone’s day and reach out to the people around us—they don’t have to be on the other side of the world. They can literally be our neighbors.
Some of the most impactful moments on this trip were when I stepped out of my comfort zone to reach out to strangers around me and share the love of the Gospel with them. I don’t need to wait for the next ministry trip to experience this.
Jesus commanded us to “love our neighbors.” “Who is my neighbor?” he was asked. They are the people we pass by on the streets. They are at the mall, at the bus station, literally living next door to us. And even a simple smile and hello or “God bless you” will probably mean more to them than we’ll ever realize. Sometimes simply to be seen and appreciated communicates love more than anything else. But it is so easy to miss these opportunities to really see people and encounter them with God’s love because we’re naturally self-centered.
My prayer is that the Lord opens my eyes to see what He sees and feel what He feels for the people around me, whenever and wherever I am.
Lord, don’t let me wait until the next ministry trip to step out of my comfort zone and love on those You called me to love. They are right here in my city and community, in my school and in my small group. Teach me to love my neighbor, just as You loved me and gave Yourself for me. Amen!