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The Hive

Hey all! Cheyenne here.

As you may not know, I often write articles based on people I’ve met in missions as a way of helping my self process. I’ve decided to start sharing them with you all, or rather I felt God prompting me to be more vulnerable with my writing. If my experiences can inspire other people, let it be!

“The Hive”

Hello Dear Soul, 

I understand you live in a busy world, demanding of your time and thought. I live there too, and it’s difficult to navigate somedays. Ceaseless reasons to work and worry. Our world is awful messy, isn’t it? But I have story from within that mess, one with love and hope spilling out from between the lines. Won’t you pause your projects and lists to rest and hear my simple story?  

Please, I invite you to sit down, breathe and read with me. Let me tell you about the day I met a hive of Queen Bees. 

Oh, what an experience that will not soon leave the imprints of my mind! Buzzing, they were in all of their glory. Women from many Nations, gathered together, for the purpose empowerment and learning. It was called Melissa, which is Greek for “bee”. 

Melissa is a network for migrant women in Greece. 

Their Hive located in a humble building off of Victoria Square in Central Athens. 

The day I discovered this Hive was a freezing day, I was bundled in typical fashion for someone native to the northern United States. 

Imagine me, black down coat, thick blue jeans, hat hair and bulky woolen socks sticking out of my well-loved (old and ugly) Merrill hiking boots. Not knowing when I dressed that morning that I would soon be meeting Queens. Walking boldly as my google maps led me to an address given to me by a stranger on social media. Catching a few glares from locals as I lead my team in false confidence down their streets.   

Now, I had traveled to Greece that week with a small group at the height of the Syrian Refugee crisis. With nothing but our hands and feet to offer to those organizations bringing relief and comfort to the newly displaced. It hadn’t been many days and I already had frozen bones and a heavy heart. We spent our mornings assisting ships bringing in Syrians from the sea. We spent our evenings trying to feed empty bellies, warm cold bodies and even warm hearts with music, prayers of hope and dancing. 

But this particular day seemed alive with hopefulness. 

It was as if I was stepping into a piece of the bigger picture. This was not just meeting another government relief effort. I was walking into a home of love. One that would live on long after my group would board our return flights for home. 

It was medicine to the soul as we arrived at the given address. Greeted with warm hugs and smiles by half a dozen women. A warmly decorated sitting area, colors captivating the eyes and beautiful handmade art gracing the walls. Stories just overflowing in that space. Coffee and cakes were brought out and offered to us with delight on both the giving and receiving ends. It was almost unnerving the sense of home you felt after sinking down into the soft sectional sofa. After my last several days it was as if my body was asking permission to relax and to rest in this space. A stunning woman, who seemed to me to float rather than walk, Nadina shared her story and the origins of Melissa Network. How they were a safe place for refugee women and their children. Offering the same sense I home I had just experienced as well as practical hygiene needs and multiple educational classes.

However, the emphasis was clearly being put on the heart of the women and children they served. Their story and transition taking precedence, their soul honored. I was soaking it all in. An oasis for the feminine heart. After the introductions and rest our group joined in with these women preparing gift bags for the refugee children. The gift bags were a consortium of fun and practical. Socks and Undergarments with cartoon characters printed on, toothbrushes and coloring books, stuffed toys and rain ponchos! As we packed we spoke blessing over each child that would receive these totes. Someone turned on some beautiful African gospel music in the adjoining room and cranked the volume. This naturally led into a dance party as we worked. And as we danced we learned the story of one of the women there. She told us to call her “Click” because we could not understand her name in her native tongue. She was born in Zimbabwe and her language had many clicking sounds we had never had to use before. She told us of surviving Mozambiki’s guerrilla war and how she had been one of the Child Soldiers. I was floored by the woman in front of me.  

A child soldier in a bloody war? Embracing me with love and joy as if her life had been nothing but happiness?

Something deep welled up in me then, as surely as I felt underdressed I now felt small. In awe of the workings of history and the stories of victory in the struggle. 

This was life. Life was messy, but we were all souls made to overcome. And together was a lovely place to do it. 

Then, the unthinkable happened. Click started to dance, an incredible dance and invited me to do the same. One of the other women told me she was a part of the Mandelas Girls South African Dance Troupe. I felt shy, Scandinavians aren’t known for their dancing abilities.

But she pulled me in and I felt safe. I danced and laughed hard enough to make my stomach ache. But there, in that warm Hive I learned deep truths that day. I made memories that will stick with me a lifetime. And I will never forget those Women, changing the world through a network of kinship. This world is a mess but hope is not dead, it’s in the unassuming corners of our cities serving coffee and cakes to strangers. 

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July is here!

Wow! How did that happen???

On the topic of Summer, Lucas and I hosted our first YWAM Tribe party at our house a few days ago (Tribe is a network for YWAM alumni/friends to gather to be missional communities all over the world and work out the Great Commission in their spheres of society together. Although, they are in the midst of a name change now).

We definitely filled our little townhouse to the max! On the hottest day of Summer so far we crammed many people and good food, good conversation, games & prayers inside the air conditioned space. haha. But it was so good to meet new people in our City and connect with old friends here too. There are so many people seeking God’s heart for the Twin Cities, Lucas and I want to be a connecting point and encouraging force for our kindred spirits here. More of these meetings to come, for sure!

Meanwhile, after much reflection, I am starting a side-gig making people allergen/diet friendly 30 day meal plans. I realized that I want to be adding into our economy as a missionary too and not be so dependent on churches and friends for the events I want to host! I will be saving a portion of what I make from this venture to go towards My new community development initiative.

I would LOVE your prayers, words of encouragement in this! Sometimes in the City it’s so easy to feel like you’re doing it alone. There’s just so many people opposing you! But I often think on this portion of “the Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis.

(In the book, “Screwtape” is the Devil and his demon is “Wormwood”. This is what the Devil says to the demon about Christianity.)

“Wormwood, the church is fertile field if you keep them bickering over details, structure, money, property, personal hurts and misunderstandings. One thing you must prevent, don’t ever let Christians look up and see the banner of victory flying, because you’ll lose them — never let them see the glory of God.”

Much Love, Cheyenne.

 

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Back at the keyboard!

Why haven't I updated our blog in a year___

SERIOUSLY THOUGH. Thank you all for your love and support during this time.

I honestly have not gone through anything that was more difficult to me than pregnancy and becoming a Mother. Like, planting a potato field in Burma while wearing flip flops was easier (yes, that happened). Or getting stuck under a bridge in Prague with a man wanted for homicide, that was easier. Even that one time I accidentally wore my t-shirt that had The Lord’s Prayer in Arabic while walking past 2 extremist muslims holding semi-automatics. THAT was easier!

I will never again think little of the task of Parenthood. Granted, I had a physically very rough go at pregnancy. Sometimes, when you go through a period of pain you just check out mentally to get through it. I felt as if I almost lost 9 months of my life and re-emerged as someone I didn’t recognize. *It’s getting real in here* The emotions that wrack your mind and body are something I’d never had to contend with before. God was asking me to put real faith in Him, just hang on, don’t try to “figure it all out”. You can only deal with so many emotional triggers at one time and Everly has pushed nearly all of them already, just through being her beautiful self and my daughter. I mean, I had faced how many difficult teenage drama situations working in YWAM. I knew interpersonal communication like the back of my hand.

But when something hits you out of nowhere -the pregnancy was unplanned (I wasn’t sure I was courageous enough yet) Apparently, we are the 2% mentioned on the insert.  And that something is something SO deep and questions everything you’ve known. “Do I really believe that God is a good Father?” “Can I raise a Child in this World, where I’ve seen too much pain?” “Can I bear this amount of vulnerability 24/7?”

Now, I realize that many people don’t go through this intense of a process with learning you are to have a child. I don’t share this story often because I get a lot of blank stares or even upset people. I realize how many people long to be a Mother and I should have rejoiced instead of grieved. And I feel for those Women, I do. But this is my story. To understand this you need to understand that back before I became a radical for God I wanted nothing to do with having a Family. Actually, I was convinced for many years that I would die before I was 25 (I’ve since rebuked that lie and will be 28 this August, Praise The Lord). When Lucas and I first met as friends in 2009 I told him I was never getting married and never having children, this was the extent of my fear and pain. What an incredible man to meet me on those terms and then pursue my heart until 2012 when I Married that gem. The days of falling in Love with Lucas were filled with so much fun (we were both working together in YWAM) but also many anxiety attacks when I would feel that deep vulnerability.

I started getting counseling for these issues in 2010 and I can tell you now that I can’t even resonate with any of my past opinions! Father has healed me and my mind so beautifully. However, things get deeper and more real as life goes on.

Enter 2016:

Spring: We finished up an AMAZING series out outreaches with YWAM. So much fruit, we saw people born again and healed on a regular basis that spring. Luke & I felt a pull on our hearts that God was moving us from Northwoods to a major City. We needed to learn to live this lifestyle of worship and spirit outside of our safe “bubble”. In the noise of a City. With Millennials and Immigrants and all the people that Father loves and wants us to reach. *This seemed like a hard enough task in itself*

Summer: We leave Northwoods campus. Have 1 month of homeless wandering, visiting people, weddings, etc. Meanwhile, My entire Family moves from WI to Texas.                      Find a small apartment in Minneapolis in August and move in with only 1 months rent in our savings. Doing this all on faith in what we felt God called us to do. Leave behind all Family, Friends, YWAMers and our wonderful Church family. Starting new with only 1 other couple in the twin cities workings with us. Dreams of starting a Discipleship program downtown. TWO WEEKS LATER. I find out I’m pregnant, I proceed to pass out on the bathroom floor in shock.

So, friends, this is where the rubber meets the road. See, to me, the crazy faith feats come very easily. I’m convinced that if God says jump He will then catch me. He is safe. But people, people are tricky! It took me so long to work out my issues on Marriage, I didn’t feel like I was totally ready for Parenting! I knew I would love this child with every ounce of my being, my whole soul. And when you’ve seen so many suffering children around the world it can kind of mess you up inside. “How can I put my heart through this?”. Lucas is His own man, who I trust to make his own choices. But an innocent child???!!! I was to be her protection. Yet at the same time remain fully in faith and not fear. I feared my own place, Motherhood. In my experience in my own life and in counseling young people at our camps I learned how crucial the Mother’s role was. She has an incredible amount of power. That power scared me silly. “Can I love well?” I kept asking myself. I loved her already, in the womb, and that frightened me. Already, I felt something I had never known before. That innate connection.

I resolved to push onward in love. And then physically my body started to revolt. Rejecting the process nearly every step of the way. Everly had to be born via emergency c-section 4 weeks early (after myself being hospitalized for 5 days). All of this happening in a new, strange land with none of my dear friends around. I was shook. I felt like God spent years building up my trust to let people in, only to take them away when I would need it most. That tested my ability to function in what I know to be true. My test, my trial. And see, even as I type this I have pangs of guilt for sharing my struggle. So many women would give anything for this trial! But such is the state of my heart through my life-lense. I don’t share many of my internal struggles outside of my inner circle, because I believe in healing. I believe in Victory. No matter was has been done to me I will never be a victim. And so I choose to live in God’s power. Overcoming. Not forgetting my past, but loving through it. Not becoming a slave to trauma, but overthrowing it. Maybe one day I will write about my healing journey, but this is good for today.

I should say: Our Church from WI was AMAZING at supporting me through that all. I had visitors come and encourage, it was wonderful. I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been without those moments on pushing me onward. So, THANK YOU ALL. You know who you are.

Annndddd Cut.

I’m rambling now. I just wanted to hare a glimpse into my heart over the last chapter of my life. I’ve come through to this side having wrestled my demons and more vulnerable than ever. But I feel more ready to take on the world than ever before. I can relate in ways I could not relate before. I can serve my community with a heavy dose of the weight someone feels for their Family & how to overcome that fear in the presence of God. Please continue praying for us, we totally don’t have it figured out, just a grasp! But that’s all we need.

One of YWAM’s point phrases is to “do new things in new ways” in Missions. I feel like Luke and I just went through the 101 on serving Families in the twin cities. haha!

Love you all, We will update soon with more of the actual fun things going on here in our Ministry! But this was a “heart check” moment. I hope it can serve you and even broaden your understanding of some people. Let’s be gracious to one another, because even the most fearless among us are fighting their internal battles.

Let God’s love reign.

– Cheyenne (& Everly Lily says “hi”… literally. *oh boy*)

 

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Support the Nahong Outreach

Hey All! As you know, Luke and I spent a lot of time in and out of Nahong Thailand.

Our long term goal was to raise up Thai believers to carry on the work there.

Praise God for our amazing friend P’Taa! He came with us to Nahong as our translator several years running. He has been planting YWAM in central Thailand for the last few years and is now established enough to be taking teams of Thai YWAMers back to Nahong!

Luke and I are giddy with excitement over this! Please join us in praying for him and his team! Thai people respond so much more quickly to the hope of the gospel when it comes from someone in their own culture. They have deep cultural pride and so P’Taa will be able to take leaps and bounds in which we were limited!

So awesome! Let us know if you will commit to praying along side us everyday of their outreach. We will keep you updated here with any updates we hear. Below is the link to his newsletter detailing what they need and will be doing. Also, Luke and I will be supporting this mission with a portion of our monthly support, so THANK YOU for making that possible! If you feel led to give extra there are instructions within the newsletter.

http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=86bfe2ab619dfdd3d37f66b8a&id=fe1060570d#awesomeshare

In other news, Baby Neraasen is on a growth spurt and I’m having trouble putting my socks on! Praise God 🙂 Everything checks out as a perfectly healthy baby thus far. Keep us in our prayers. Much love,

Cheyenne (& the mini-me).