My Yes to the Sending

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to say yes to Jesus. Recently for me it’s been making that effort to say yes every morning. It’s choosing to say “despite my circumstances I still trust you God. I still love you.” It’s drawing near and pressing in when He doesn’t feel close. It’s lifting my hands when I have no strength. It’s continuing to take risks even when I felt let down the last time. It’s waiting for Him to pour out His love and believing He will.

These last several weeks have been challenging. The pressing in, the steps of faith, and the letting go of control is leading me back into communion with Him. God heard me, saw my heart and has shown me His great love.

Last night I had the opportunity to watch a documentary done by Come&Live, an amazing organization with a passion to see a generation passionate to know and demonstrate the love of Christ. They have had ongoing outreach opportunities to Columbia and documented their trips. I was literally on the edge of my seat the entire film. I was so excited about what the Lord was doing in that country! It was such a sweet yet intense reminder of the reality of God’s heart for His people! Chad Johnson, an amazing lover and disciple of Jesus, narrated the video and ministered afterwards. During the video I was reminded that he was one of the people who inspired me to go out, to say yes, to walk in boldness. I was so moved to be able to watch on video the fruit of his life and then to share with him that God used him over three years ago to say yes and do what the Lord was doing!

I just want to be available to Him. I’m so hungry for more of the Lord. I want to be available and willing to go wherever He is sends me. Sent is such a broad word. I know for me it takes several forms. Yes, a sending to the Nations is my heart and the first thing I think of when I ponder that word. But a sending into deeper places of His heart, or a sending in new expressions of my faith. A sending into destiny.

Everything within me shouts “Here I am, Send me!” I have many desires and dreams but the cry within my heart is this! Whatever that means Lord, send me! I have said yes to another season with Gateways Beyond. In just two and a half months before being launched back to Cyprus for another season of seeking Him. In the seeking we are equipped to be sent out to bring to truth of Jesus and the Gospel to the world!

I have a little over a month left to fundraise. My deadline is December 15th and I need to raise about 9,000 dollars to get to my goal. It’s a big number, but it’s not too big for the Lord! If you are able to give I know you will be blessed. This is an investment not only in me,but into the Kingdom! If you are interested in donating checks can be made out to Gateways Beyond International. Email me at julieozbun@gmail.com with any questions.

You can also donate online at http://gatewaysbeyond.org/donate.php If you choose to donate this way please still contact me so I can keep track of my supporters. I will have access to email this year and would love to keep in touch with you about what God is doing there.

Thanks for reading!

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Cyprus Update!

I can’t believe I have neglected to write since January! I left off by sharing about the adventure around the world that I was about to leave on. And now I pick up where I left off. Below is just a small snapshot of what this past year has been like and what is ahead of me.

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I can’t thank you enough for all of your support in my recent journey to Cyprus to take part in the Gateways Training School. I am so beyond thankful for all of you. I want to take some time to share with you just some of the highlights of this past season.

Those five months were absolutely amazing. It was such a joy to be a part of the Gateways Beyond International community. Each day we pursued the presence of God. Week after week stepped into greater freedom. Lives were changed as we were released into greater destiny and stepped boldly into our identities. There are so many stories that I am so excited to share with all of you.

A very significant part of the school is a call to the nations. On a regular basis we found ourselves crying out and interceding for the nations the Lord was putting on our heart. To end the school season each class was sent on outreach to the nations He highlighted. Our purpose was to pour out all that we had received in our training. This year we went all over Europe to love on the people, declare God’s purposes over those nations, and serve in many practical ways. Poland, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy! We saw God move powerfully in churches, on the streets, and even in planes and airports.

The highlight of this past season was the month spent in Israel. To walk in the places where Jesus was and to be amongst God’s chosen people was so meaningful. We rode on camels, floated around the Dead Sea, and enjoyed many authentic Israeli meals. The most amazing part of the journey was the radical transformation as I rose out of the water of the Jordan River.

God is so good and has truly blessed me with the desires of my heart. I can’t thank you enough for partnering with me in the ways that you have. The Lord has made His direction very clear and it is my hope that I will be returning to Cyprus for the second year of the Gateways Training School in January.

I can’t get there without you! The total expenses of this journey will be around 10,000 dollars. This includes Tuition, room and board, and all of my travel to and from Cyprus, Israel, and the nation(s) we are sent to for outreach. Please prayfully consider supporting me financially and in prayer. I hope that you will continually be blessed and encouraged by the faithfulness of God. May He continue to pour out His goodness and provision in your life!

Please contact me for details if you are able to give at julieozbun@gmail.com or on Facebook.

With so much love,

                   Julie Ozbun

 

For more details on my time in Cyprus and the Nations please visit the blog that was updated during the school at : http://gatewaysbeyond.org/gts2014/

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Two Weeks!

I am leaving for Cyprus in two weeks. Deep breath…two weeks.

The reality of this is overwhelming. The good kind of overwhelming. I’m ready. It’s time to go! This is a time to be set apart and to fully engage with the Lord. It’s time to see His heart for the world. It’s time to be sent, to be thrust out into the things He has prepared for me to do!

It wasn’t long ago that I was bouncing back and forth wondering if this was right. I remember sitting in my Pastor’s office questioning if this was the direction I should be headed. I explained all of the obstacles that were in the way of this actually happening. He encouraged me to take this as an opportunity and make an investment in myself and in the Kingdom. I took his words to heart and saw all of those obstacles fall to the ground. I remember sitting at a friends dining room table sharing my heart knowing deeply that this is what I wanted. I remember praying and seeking the Lord for confirmation that this was from Him. Confirmation after confirmation came, some silly and some profound.

I look at the last several months and I am so moved with How much God has provided. Financially my needs were met beyond my expectation. To be honest I was getting worried. I had a lot of money to raise and it was more money than I thought possible. Days were passing by and nothing was changing. Nothing changed until I heard a beautiful invitation. I was invited to lay down this worry at the altar. I was invited to say yes and trust God to believe Him for who He is. I was invited to give more. It was exciting to partner with so many others in their adventures that will also impact the kingdom. I really began to experience what it meant to worship through giving. As I surrendered the finances and as I worshipped, the money was pretty much thrown at me. My first fundraising goal was met so quickly. I still have close to 1,000 dollars to raise but I trust that it’s coming. If you would like to partner with me in this please contact me at julieozbun@gmail.com .

More valuable than physical provision, I have experienced His provision in my spirit. He was so generous in so many ways! He provided so much for me. He has given me greater measures of peace and joy. He has set me free in areas I didn’t know were bound He poured out His love in ways I’ve never experienced.

So in two weeks with my hand in His, I will board that plane. I go with peace and I go with confidence knowing that this is such an rich opportunity before me. I go with the love and support of my friends and my church behind me.

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My Next Adventure: Cyprus 2014

Hello friends!! Most of you may know that I have an amazing opportunity to travel to the beautiful country of Cyprus in just two months!!

I am so close to my first fundraising goal and need to raise about 1000 dollars by December 14th.

If you would like to give send me an email at julieozbun@gmail.com

Below is a copy of my support letter.

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Dear Friends,

Most of you know that I went on a life changing trip to Guatemala last Spring. It was life changing because my passions and dreams were confirmed.  I fell in more in love with Jesus and received more of His heart for not only this country but the entire world. I believe that in Guatemala I was activated into a life of service to the Lord and His people.

Now I am writing you to share with you a very new and exciting opportunity that has been set before me. In January I will be traveling to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to attend the Gateways Training School with Gateways Beyond International.

The Gateways Training School is described as an intensive discipleship program to train, equip and launch emerging leaders into world outreach. My time at the training school will include living in a Messianic community of believers committed to intimacy with the Father and learning from gifted teachers and leaders from all over the world. Halfway through the program we will spend a month in Israel and the school concludes with an outreach trip to another nation.

I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity and all that I will learn and experience. I hope that you will join me in my excitement as I prepare to go. One way you can partner with me is through prayer. As of right now you can be in prayer for all of the details that need to be worked out in order to get there. You can pray that even now the Lord would begin to prepare me for this new season in my life. Of course prayers for safety and good health are always appreciated! I will have more specific prayer needs when my departure time is closer.

Another way you can partner with me is financially. I need to raise close to 11,000 dollars. I am hoping to Raise this by December 10th.  This price includes the plane tickets, room and board, the Experience Israel journey, and the outreach trip. No donation is too small and every financial gift will help me get to where God has called me to go. If you are unable to give I would appreciate your prayers for provision.

If you would like to give please visit this link. http://www.gatewaysbeyond.org/donate.php You may donate online but please be sure to apply “GTS Tuition Julie Ozbun” to your donation. If you mail a check, write a separate note with my name explaining it’s for the GTS tuition.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at julieozbun@gmail.com

May the Lord bless you and your families. May He pour out blessing and provision over your life! With much love and joy,

Julie Ozbun

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My next adventure! Cyprus 2014

Hello friends!! Most of you may know that I have an amazing opportunity to travel to the beautiful country of Cyprus in just two months!!

I am so close to my first fundraising goal and need to raise about 1000 dollars by December 14th.

If you would like to give send me an email at julieozbun@gmail.com

Below is a copy of my support letter.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Dear Friends,

Most of you know that I went on a life changing trip to Guatemala last Spring. It was life changing because my passions and dreams were confirmed.  I fell in more in love with Jesus and received more of His heart for not only this country but the entire world. I believe that in Guatemala I was activated into a life of service to the Lord and His people.

Now I am writing you to share with you a very new and exciting opportunity that has been set before me. In January I will be traveling to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to attend the Gateways Training School with Gateways Beyond International.

The Gateways Training School is described as an intensive discipleship program to train, equip and launch emerging leaders into world outreach. My time at the training school will include living in a Messianic community of believers committed to intimacy with the Father and learning from gifted teachers and leaders from all over the world. Halfway through the program we will spend a month in Israel and the school concludes with an outreach trip to another nation.

I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity and all that I will learn and experience. I hope that you will join me in my excitement as I prepare to go. One way you can partner with me is through prayer. As of right now you can be in prayer for all of the details that need to be worked out in order to get there. You can pray that even now the Lord would begin to prepare me for this new season in my life. Of course prayers for safety and good health are always appreciated! I will have more specific prayer needs when my departure time is closer.

Another way you can partner with me is financially. I need to raise close to 11,000 dollars. I am hoping to Raise this by December 10th.  This price includes the plane tickets, room and board, the Experience Israel journey, and the outreach trip. No donation is too small and every financial gift will help me get to where God has called me to go. If you are unable to give I would appreciate your prayers for provision.

If you would like to give please visit this link. http://www.gatewaysbeyond.org/donate.php You may donate online but please be sure to apply “GTS Tuition Julie Ozbun” to your donation. If you mail a check, write a separate note with my name explaining it’s for the GTS tuition.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at julieozbun@gmail.com

May the Lord bless you and your families. May He pour out blessing and provision over your life! With much love and joy,

Julie Ozbun

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Guatemala: What We Did and How I Was Impacted (part 1 of many)

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It’s been almost a week since I got home from the one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. Spending a week at Hope of Life International in Guatemala was amazing. My words can’t do it justice but I need to try.

The evening before I left was crazy. I fell asleep for an hour and woke up to intense stomach pain. Of course I was worried and frustrated at the timing of this but then the Lord asked me to do something. He said, “give me this trip.” Scared at first that He was asking me not to go, once I started to pray I felt like that’s not what He was asking. I put the trip in the Lord’s hands. I gave Him permission to use me how He wanted and put down at His feet any expectation that I had. The pain began to leave and excitement began to rise. The team gathered and prayed before we left. By the time we got to Guatemala we already had testimonies of how God had worked. We landed and the anticipation and glorious expectation began to rise.

I was so excited to meet the kids. The moment I held the first baby I saw in the rescue center I fell in love. My heart melted and my spirit knew that this in fact is what I have been dreaming of my whole life. I love babies and most people know that about me. With that said, I had no idea how much I could actually love a baby until that moment. And as sad as their situations are, I couldn’t help but smile. I loved singing over them and praying for them. It felt so right, and it felt like home. Of course we all have that one baby that tugs on our heart. For me Carlitos was mine. He is a sweet, wide eyed one year old. He is just amazing and I would have took him home if I could.

Each day was just so full of God’s goodness. His perfect peace surrounded us and His joy filled our hearts. Worshipping at churches in Guatemala was so special. The language barrier was not even an issue. I didn’t understand a thing but at the same time understood everything. Everyday was like a week, and each week the best week of our lives. We did so much. We helped lay foundations of houses, fed the hungry and washed the feet of precious children. We released the love and peace of Christ in the villages, prayed in homes, spent time with widows, and loved on orphans. We laughed, we wept, we worshiped, and we declared the Kingdom of God in the darkest of places. We remained thankful giving God praise  at all times. We were carriers of hope and love.  As the week went on it was getting clearer and clearer that I was made for this. That thought ran through my head almost constantly.

If there is one thing that stands out the most to me it’s that day we spent at the dump. As we drove in my eyes filled with tears. We served food to the poorest people I had ever encountered. Trying to keep a smile on my face and holding in my tears was a battle I didn’t win. My heart was breaking for what I was seeing and my heart ached as I looked into the eyes of these people. When the feeding was over we walked through the dump and prayed for change and restoration. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even breathe. The bus ride home we rode back mostly silence. I turned on my Ipod and began to cry. I felt so near to the Lord. I felt like He gave me His heart for these people. I knew that I wasn’t crying alone and that His heart is broken too. My heart was truly breaking for what breaks His. I cried not only out of sadness but out of surrender. I know with the direction that God is leading me and the things that are close to my heart, this will not be the last time I encounter something as heartbreaking as this. In fact, this I feel like will be one thing that defines my ministry as His child. I just want to love these people, I do love these people. As I slept that night, Jesus came and ministered to me, restoring my heart and bringing comfort where I had none.

Even now as I write this in a crowded Starbucks, I can hardly hold back tears. It’s been hard to hold them back since I got home.  I’ve always been bad at goodbyes.  The first flight back home was rough. I felt like I found my “calling.” It felt so right. If I didn’t have a ticket home I would have stayed. I was so disappointed in what I was coming back to. It had only been several hours and I already missed that place. It has been a overwhelming  week of re-entry and being thrown back into life so fast. I know that even though these emotions are okay to feel, they are not okay to sit and dwell in. There is a process to go through and it’s much deeper than I ever thought. I want to give every piece of my life over to Jesus and the work of His Kingdom. I want to be so sure of His love for me that nothing will stop me from jumping into the River of life flowing for all people!  God is good and I am so thankful for His presence. I am so thankful that He has given me direction and purpose.

Thank you for reading. This is only just the beginning!

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Living in His Purpose

Have you ever been in the place of questioning your purpose? If so you have probably asked yourself a set of very common questions. Why am I here? Where am I going? What should I do with my life?  I have been in this place many times and to be completely honest I can’t stand to be there! When everything is in question and doubt is like a dark cloud, these questions seem to be all consuming.

For several years I have occasionally found myself broken before the Lord wanting to know my purpose.  The lack of significance I felt in my life tore me apart. I thought that everyone believed the same thing about me. Oh how wrong I was…

Over the last year I have been learning about purpose and what that means as Christians. We can get so hung up on His will for our lives or His plan. We want to know and we get frustrated when it’s not clear.

One thing the God has been showing me is not to seek after my purpose but to seek after Him and His presence. I won’t find anything on my own, but it’s in His presence that I find my purpose. In His presence there is fullness of Joy. In His presence He speaks destiny and promise over us. It’s our purpose to dwell there. Our purpose is to worship Him with our lives. It’s to love the Lord our God with all our hearts!

I feel like it’s more about realizing what His purpose is for the World than it is figuring out what our purpose is. Yes, I do believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. There are SO MANY sources in scripture that tell us of our purpose. Two of the most clear examples, in my opinion, have really helped me daily. We read in 1 Thessalonians that the will of God in Christ Jesus is to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances. We are commanded in the Gospels to go make disciples of all nations. What is really amazing to me though is that this can look different for every believer. I really believe that He wants to use the passions and dreams He has put in each of us to accomplish these purposes! But to accomplish these things we must seek to stay in His presence.

Oh what freedom comes from realizing we don’t need to figure out what our purpose in life is. We don’t have to fear missing it. We get to seek Him, find Him, and stay there. We get to fall in love everyday with the Lord. We get to partner with Him to bring about His purposes by living out our passions and dreams.

I would love to hear about how you are using your passions to live out His purpose for the world. It’s so exciting for me to watch the way other people operate in the Kingdom!

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