Tag Archives: prayer request

Prayer Request for Spiritual Renewal in Our Household and Ministry

We are currently seeking your earnest prayers for spiritual and emotional renewal in our household with our 10 foster kids/teens ages 9-17. (This is probably going to turn out to be a somewhat disorganized post that is anything but eloquent).

The last several weeks all of our kids have been on school vacation (which has allowed all of us much more family time where we’ve all been together with less distractions), and the Lord has allowed us to go through something akin to the “valley of the shadow of death” (I call it this because that is what it has felt like) with them as we’ve come up against unforeseen challenges, incorrect attitudes, and sin issues in our household one after the other, leaving us all quite broken and frazzled in the aftermath. This has all led to many times of sincere prayer, on-edge conflict mediations between various family members, occasions of asking forgiveness and of forgiving, intense times of counsel with our teens, and moments of various members of our household becoming emotionally undone (myself included).

Seven of our ten kids are teenagers, and all of them come from extremely broken backgrounds. Parenting any teenager is a delicate task, but parenting 15- and 17-year-olds who come from dark places and who entered our lives on the cusp of puberty or several years already into their adolescence is not for the faint of heart. They want their privileges and freedoms as they are nearing adulthood, but they are still in the beginning stages of being trained in righteousness and have not yet proved they are trustworthy. (This power struggle creates much angst in our household).

I am seeking earnest prayers as our household has been shaken several times over the past several weeks, and we are in need of genuine repentance and spiritual maturity for each one of our precious children as they grab hold of their identity as beloved sons and daughters of the Living God. There are always certain challenges and difficulties in our daily parenting endeavor in such a large, mixed household, but for some reason the last few weeks have been much harder than usual. All of this has left Darwin and me quite exhausted and a bit discouraged.

This is a no-frills post; I am simply asking for prayer in regards to a renewed commitment to Christ in each one of our children along with spiritual maturity, the fear of the Lord, and abounding wisdom, joy, peace and love within the bounds of our hearts and household. Pray against gossip, disrespect, rebellion and sexual sin in our household, and please ask God to grant us revival in our walk with Him. Pray that the Lord would pick each one of us up in His mercy and encourage our hearts as we are entering a new year and a new season of serving Him. (Our small, dedicated team of local teachers/missionaries returned yesterday as we are entering a month-long period of team training, house-to-house evangelism in our rural neighborhood, intensive math tutoring for local students, and general preparation for a new school year in our discipleship-based community homeschool that will officially begin at the end of this month.)

Please pray also for me specifically, as these last few weeks have wrung me dry on all accounts, and I’m in need of encouragement and refreshment both relationally with other humans and on a spiritual level in my walk with Christ. I’ve gone walls-up with everyone around me after having been hurt so many times by our kids in these last few weeks, and due to emotional fatigue I feel as though I’ve just been going through the motions of each day, running from one activity to the next, just trying to stay afloat. Please pray that Christ might fully permeate my being and flood me with His peace so that I might be a useful instrument in His hands rather than merely a broken woman who runs around with her hair on fire all day until getting to her room at night and collapsing, exhausted and discouraged. Please pray that my heart might not be hardened and that my being might receive the light of Christ to cast away all darkness.

Thank you to all those who lift us up in prayer and support the Lord’s work through us in Honduras. May God bless you in this new year and fill you with His love. Thank you for considering our humble state before the Lord.

June 2016 Updates and Prayer Requests

Outrageously Fun Learning Curve

At the Living Waters Ranch we are currently riding quite a thrilling learning curve, seeing as none of us has previously done the kind of work that the Lord has currently assigned us.

Special-needs kids, sexual abuse victims, parenting teenagers who spent their childhood in someone else’s family, teaching God’s Word weekly to dozens of people, intimately guiding the hearts and lives of wounded youth, mounds of (sometimes confusing) legal documents to be continually written and updated, designing and then operating a new high school, seeking to cultivate an intentional Christian community, financially stewarding a growing ministry, managing (and guiding, loving, investing in) a team of Christian workers, legal adoptions, a herd of milking cows? 

Our hair is blown-back and our lips are flapping in the intense wind as we daily engage in the outrageous privilege of learning on the fly, utilizing every spare second of freetime to absorb new teachings, devour the Word, go and learn from those ahead of us, listen to sermons directing our steps into this unknown territory of children’s ministry, devour books on topics such as sexual abuse/spiritual warfare/leadership training, sit down to pray and seek guidance together as Christ’s body, and make 1,459 mistakes along the way.

Let us give thanks to our Father who calls the unlikely, and then — miraculously! — equips them to go out and proclaim His name! Amen!

Miss Isis, Primary Teacher and Christian Laborer, Will Move to the Living Waters Ranch in July

Miss Isis, our young primary teacher who has been roughing it with us in the ‘wilderness’ among rogue youth, hard-learned lessons and joy abounding since August of last year, will be moving into a spare bedroom in our office/special needs building with her year-and-a-half-old daughter at the beginning of July.

She is a native Honduran and has been called to leave her family’s home, sell the majority of her belongings, and take the huge step of faith to begin living on our mission base 7 days a week as a way of deepening her walk with the Lord. The step she is taking is very counter-cultural and has been difficult for her family to accept, but it is such a privilege to see that she is assured even moreso that Jesus is calling her into deeper intimacy with Himself.

She is a sponge, has grown exponentially in these 10+ months of laboring alongside of us, and is a tireless worker in proclaiming the incredible grace of a good God.

We are so proud of her and are excited about taking the step to include her into our growing family/community at the Living Waters Ranch as our Father continues to mold us into His family, a beautiful expression of His love for wounded, rebellious humanity.

Sandra’s Mom Begins Attending Bible Study

15-year-old Sandra, who moved in with us in February of this year due to a situation of sexual abuse with her step-father and about whom I have written many updates and prayer requests since then, continues to hold a very precious relationship with her mother.

Sandra´s mom, who is still trapped in a difficult relationship with Sandra´s step-dad but doesn’t have the financial means to leave him with her three younger kids, visits Sandra weekly at our home/mission and has begun to attend Bible study in our dining room with us as she continues to seek refuge in the warrior God who loves her and is constantly seeking to protect her heart from the harsh circumstances in this world. Two of Sandra’s younger sisters (who are not in danger with Sandra´s step-dad because he is their biological father and treats them well) have also become actively involved in Darwin´s youth choir, and their mom is now attending first grade at a school for illiterate adults on Saturdays as she desires to be able to read God’s Word for herself.

Please continue to pray for this precious woman as she continues to seek God’s will in the midst of an unhealthy marriage relationship and deep poverty.

Celebration of Four Years Living in Honduras, Three Years of Marriage

The 5th of this month I celebrated my four-year anniversary since moving to Honduras as a recent college graduate in 2012, and on the 24th Darwin and I will celebrate three years of marriage. Glory to God for these milestones!

Prayer for Additional Supporters

Due to the fact that this is the first year we have offered our discipleship-based 5-day-per-week high school program along with our new special-needs classroom to local youth from our (destitute, gang-riddled) rural neighborhood, we have higher monthly expenses than we have had in years past as we are now serving more people. Each month more is going out than coming in, so I am humbly expressing our need to see if anyone is called to join with us to fill it.

My husband and I currently toil joyfully alongside of four full-time Christian laborers (local Honduran missionaries serving as teachers, prayer leaders, etc) whom the Lord has brought to the Living Waters Ranch and from which they earn their living. All four full-time laborers have been added on in the last year, and thus salaries — however meager they are — are currently a heavy (but entirely necessary) financial burden in addition to the many other monthly expenses we incur (medical/dental/basic care costs for the 8 who live with us full-time, food, administration, legal fees, educational materials for our students, etc).

There are currently 18 individuals/families and  3 churches who financially support this work monthly and several others who give generously from time to time.

Please pray with us that the Lord would raise up a handful more of faithful individuals/families to partner with us in this incredible expression of God’s Kingdom among us here in Honduras. If you or anyone you know is called to participate with us in this work, you can go to http://www.CTEN.org/jenniferzilly

Seeking Prayer for Current Frustrations

We are currently facing many difficulties with the students in our discipleship-based school program. The general attitude in our poverty-stricken rural neighborhood is one stained with a deep sense of laziness, ingratitude, self-pity and dishonesty, all of which is brought onto our property daily as the students pass through our gates.

Weekly we face many instances of cheating, blatant disrespect and/or a total refusal to complete basic assignments, and many times when we look for healthy ways to discipline/correct such behavior the students´ parents come to their rescue, defending and justifying their children´s dishonesty and laziness. Sometimes the family members even accuse us, and in one instance a student´s family got the local educational authorities involved to come against us because we are determined to hold honest, just standards in this culture of complicity that only breeds more ignorance and evil-doing. This is very frustrating and saddening for us, and it makes for long and sometimes seemingly unfruitful days.

Just this morning my husband and I had to rearrange our plans last-minute and go make three personal house visits to talk with certain students and their parents after having confronted a severe situation of cheating/lying/scoffing. Likewise, we have other students who simply don´t come to school or their moms send notes to the teacher saying their child is sick when in fact they aren´t (that happened this morning as well.)

Please pray for us during this continued period of discernment/learning as we are still in our first 4-5 months of our first school year with these programs and students. All of our local students come from the public school system where they were accostumed to missing as many days of school as they wanted, cheating with zero consequence, and passing their grade no matter the effort given because the Honduran government has declared that all students must pass their grade whether they actually learned anything or not. (There are thousands of cases nationwide each year of students who at the end of the school year have earned a 30% or 60%, etc, but the teacher is forced to write ¨70%¨ on the report card and pass the unprepared, lazy child onto the next grade). That system produces, as we know too well, students who are 15 or 18 years old in 7th grade who still don’t know the times tables and don’t understand why it might be important to learn them.

So, please pray with and for us, that we may be granted a right view of these cultural ills and thus know how to inculcate a genuine sense of self-discipline, punctuality, responsibility, truth-telling, dogged work ethic, etc, in these students who are accostumed to the exact opposite. Furthermore, may our Father grant us the perseverance and wisdom to not become discouraged or too caught-up in certain details that, eternally viewed, do not matter as much as our daily labor of sharing God’s Word with the students, loving and guiding them according to His good will, and praying with and for them.

It is a very fine line, because if we implement the godly discipline we believe in and know to be very healthy for rebellious, lost youth, we would currently be left very likely with only one or two students (because the rest would have stormed out or been expelled). On the other hand, if we are too flexible and ¨understanding,¨ very quickly everything becomes permissible and we fall prey to the same evil that plagues the public schools.

Just this morning two of our teen boys from primary school expelled themselves after having reached their fifth strike, a very reasonable discipline system we have put in place to protect both ourselves and our students from contaminating our home/mission with an attitude of uncurbed rebellion. Prior to being expelled their general attitude was deeply marked by a defiant laziness, too many unexcused tardies, cheating during exams (and laughing when getting caught…and then yelling at us and accusing us of being unfair for not having let them cheat), and disrespectful attitudes, oftentimes proclaiming to their teacher that they wouldn’t be coming back the next day because our school is ¨too strict.¨

I share these frustrations so that you may go before the Lord with us in search of the answers.

A handful of students in both primary and secondary are truly succeeding in our program, are actively absorbing God’s Word as it is presented to them, and are in the beautiful beginning stages of being transformed by their knowledge of the Truth. Let us give thanks to God for the receptivity and work ethic of these students, and may the Lord continue to protect them against attacks from the enemy. May His will be done in and among us, and may He continue to guide us with all wisdom, justice and love as we seek to earnestly shepherd the rogue youth He has brought to us for His glory. Amen!

Urgent Prayer Request (A Cry for Justice)

[Written Sunday, March 6, 2016]: Last night around 10:30pm my husband and I put on tall rubber boots and covered up in long pants and sleeves to protect us from the hungry mosquitos as we walked down the gravel road to the big front gate of the 17-acre property where we live and work.

We waited under the large lampposts for quite some time, swatting away hungry mosquitos, before finally turning around and returning home. Our night watchman, who is armed with nothing more than a flashlight, stood guard on his front porch about 100 yards away, having already done his rounds on the perimeter of the property and probably wondering why Darwin and I were doing such a strange night-walk.

The next morning (which is today), as we all got up and everyone started getting ready for the day, our older girls – who very well knew why we had taken that walk down to our large front gate – asked expectantly if the police had come as they had promised. We’ll be there is 10-15 minutes, the officer had told Darwin over the phone the night before. Well-acquainted with disappointments in these last several days, I didn’t even sugar-coat it and simply said, “No. Pa finally called the officer and he told us there was an auto accident on the highway that they had to attend to, so maybe they’ll come today.”

Sandra (15) and Jackeline (12) scoffed and mumbled, “They’ll never come.”

Last evening while our two eldest daughters – Dayana and Sandra (both 15 years old) – were at church with a local family whom they attend with several times per month, Sandra’s sexually abusive step-father (whom she was rescued from) found them and began harassing and threatening Sandra. He passed by the home of the family where they were spending a few minutes before attending the service, and began to verbally berate Sandra and Dayana, listing too accurately all of their movements over the last few weeks – the days and times they’ve left our home to attend music class or to work on a school assignment with their classmates, etc, evening listing the clothes they were wearing every time he’s seen them – telling them that he has ‘spies’ (his friends) in our little rural town (where he, too, lives) that are tracking their every move, and that he thinks that Sandra needs to come back home to him so that he can ‘care for her.’ The mother of the church-going family pulled Sandra inside the house (they were on the porch), and Sandra – obviously very shaken up – said she wanted to go home (to our house) immediately and not stay for the church service out of fear that he would go to the church and harm her.

She took a mototaxi (which is like a three-wheeled cross between a car and a motorcycle) up the long path to our home while Dayana decided to stay and attend the church service, seeing as the step-father is not directly looking to harm her, but Sandra.

Well, Dayana stayed, and later that evening (last night) she told us that as she was standing up to read one of the Bible verses in the church service, the step-dad showed up at the back door aggressively looking for Sandra, and passed by several times after that. Once Dayana had begun her journey home in mototaxi after the service had ended, she saw the step-dad on the way (or rather he saw her), him trying to glance inside the open-air mototaxi to see if Sandra was with Dayana.

So Sandra got home first, and we listened to her and prayed, and then once Dayana got home a couple hours later we sort of repeated the whole process again, inviting 12-year-olds Josselyn and Jackeline (all four of the girls share a room in our home and, thus, a special sense of sisterhood) to join us as we all sat on our bedroom floor – Darwin and I and our four eldest daughters, as we talked openly about many different topics for what I think were several hours. Josselyn sat cuddled up in my lap, Dayana rested her head comfortably on a pile of clean laundry that Darwin and I had not yet put away, and we all sat more or less sprawled-out or propped-up in a circle sharing, counseling, listening and encouraging.

After having prayed, addressed the emotional needs and fears of our girls, and talked once more about the strongholds of abuse that Satan holds in the lives of so many (and how Father God wants to liberate them, see them walk in victory in His love), we then did an honest brainstorm of what-to-do, seeing as normal answers such as ‘let’s-call-the-police’ aren’t hardly worth mentioning.

Already in these past four or five days we have had close to a dozen nothing-comes-of-it encounters with the police about a (different) child molester who our students have seen roaming the long, lonely road up to our property and whom is known to have already sexually abused several children from our community. We’ve called the Honduran 9-1-1 to report the man several times, we’ve called the private cell-phones of several police officers who work in our area, and Darwin even made a face-to-face visit with the police officers at the local police station a couple days ago, and our efforts to protect our students from this man have produced a lot of mind-boggling frustration for us and not much else. And all we are asking is that the police – who have their official command post literally 1.2 miles from our home/mission! – do a once-a-day (or once-a-week, once-a-year!) patrol – in their car, on foot, however – just so that there is a police presence and, hopefully, the child molester gets spooked. The day that Darwin went to file the official complaint at the police station (after we had called with detailed information to no avail many, many times), the police officer who received the complaint just stared at Darwin blankly and said, “Just let us know when he abuses someone. Until then we can’t do anything.”

We’ve called and they’ve (falsely) promised to pass by at a specific time (Friday and then again last night), but the majority of the time they flat-out say that they can’t (won’t) do anything. One of the students in our high school shared in prayer group the other day that his 16-year-old sister was held at knifepoint a few days ago as a man from our small rural community tried to rape her, but thankfully she escaped. Their parents went to the police station the next day to report the man (and they know exactly who it was!), but the police said dryly, “We can’t do anything because 24 hours have already passed.” Our 12-year-old daughter Josselyn shared with us last night that her grandfather had raped a young woman many years ago and that the police had put him in jail. For two days.

‘Utter bewilderment’ and ‘rage’ and ‘exhaustion’ do not even begin to describe how Darwin, our kids and I currently feel toward the ‘justice’ system here. Just yesterday as we passed through the nearby city of La Ceiba in our old pickup truck with our 8 kids on our way home from a dentist appointment I read a new billboard, advertising the police, that says, “I called 9-1-1, I filed a complaint, and that was enough (as in, the police then reacted and brought justice to the situation.)” I scoffed and my heart began to fill with a certain rage that is becoming too familiar.

I do not want to become a scoffer, and I am keenly aware that a deep cynicism is threatening to consume me. This morning as I was in the shower – a small trickle of cold water falling over me – I asked the Lord, “What do we do? What would you have us to do?”

It is all too easy to sit around and invent apocalyptic nightmares, imaging the worst-case-scenario, becoming suspicious of everyone, generally giving in to fear and falling in the same pit as nearly everyone else. (The majority of people here fear leaving their homes at night, don’t send their kids on public transportation, build tall, barbed-wire prison-like walls around their homes and live under a very real cloud of constant fear and doom, which go directly against the peace-that-passes-understanding that Christ wants to bestow on us.)

Darwin and I have intentionally swung the other direction and have even begun discerning if we should go to the step-father’s home in a bold but loving confrontation and share with him God’s liberating Word, possibly inviting other Christian neighbors to join us.

So as I stood there, little drops of cold water sliding over my skin in the shower this morning, the only answer I heard immediately and clearly to my question of what-would-the-Lord-have-us-to-do was this: “Be still and know that I am God.”

So please pray with and for us right now, especially in regards to these two cases – Sandra’s step-father who is following and threatening her (and who knows where we live because our town is so small) and the other child molester who has been hiding out along the road to our home/mission and who several concerned students and parents have told me is trying to grab our students on their way to classes each morning. Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us, so I ask for special prayers of deliverance, repentance and transformation for these two men, whether the Lord chooses to use us as His instruments to confront them or if He reaches them in anther way. Please pray God’s divine protection over all 28 of our students and over Sandra during this time of very real danger. Pray also for the police – that they may be prompted to begin patrolling the 1.2-mile stretch of gravel road that leads up to our property, and that they may actually begin responding to the people’s cries for justice. And, perhaps most importantly of all: pray that the Lord may saturate our hearts and minds with His perfect peace and that we may not fall prey to living in constant fear and dread. May we fear only God Himself and not men!

Amen!

Isaiah 9:1-7 [What we have been studying in our community Bible study]: Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever…The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod…The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!