Friday, July 31, 2009

Post-Trip Recap

            The Rainbow Gathering was phenomenal and words can hardly express my feelings for this trip I went on.  I flew out to Minneapolis, MN where I began to meet everyone I was going on the trip with.  Everyone was so wonderful I knew it was going to be a great experience.  Normally the pre-gathering school is roughly two weeks long, maybe a bit less, due to the low numbers of new attendees the school was only two days long.  During that time they take time to pray for everyone.  This year we only did the newest members because of lack of time, and when they prayed over me I was blown away about what they were saying.  Many talked about how I was a treasure, all in different ways.  One woman said she saw me in a dazzling sequin dress behind a curtain getting ready to unveil what I had.  For a laugh this sequin dress came into play later on.  The other one that sticks out to me is when Nigel said he was thinking of me as a penny and how I think the things I do are small and insignificant but God sees the greatness in it.  Then he stepped on a penny right then and gave it to me.  It’s interesting to see how God places little things like that in out life.

            Finally we packed everything up in the two buses we took down to New Mexico and were on our way to meet Jesus at the gathering.  The trip down was great and with limited stops for fixing the buses.  We had 27 people on the trip and took two buses that have been transformed into homes.  Rachel and Nigel live on a 1963 bus that may have always been livable, but the boys, John and Josh, live in a 1991 school bus that they made into their home.  We drove down into Iowa, took a right in Des Moines to drive through Nebraska (boy, was that thrilling), drove into Colorado, and then down into New Mexico.  The gathering was in the northwest corner of the state near the city of Cuba.  For being a big desert New Mexico was actually very pretty and while in the gathering it wasn’t too hot either because we were in the Rockies at 9,200 feet. 

            Once we packed everything in and found our spot to set up camp we immediately began cooking food and serving while we also built everything in the camp over the next two days.  I was lucky enough to be on the small crew of digging the latrine, a latrine big enough to serve thousands of people for two weeks.  It was a big hole.  I was double lucky because at the end of the trip I was privileged enough to bury that same latrine after everyone had used it.  When I say we built our camp I mean we basically built everything we needed.  The only thing we didn’t do was weave together our tarps and tents.  We built stadium style seating around the fire pit, shelves to store all the dishes, a dish-washing station, a place to serve all the food, and even a spice rack.  You name it we had it, or could have made it.

            After we were all settled into our new home for the next few weeks we began to be able to really connect with the people at the gathering.  It was encouraging to see that those who came in and sat down actually wanted to talk about God and other beliefs.  However, I think that my most interesting conversations were often times the conversations that did not include God.  I enjoyed those times because I was really able to connect with people and try to understand them more by talking about things they wanted to talk about.  It was also great to get to know the other people on the team and we all had a special bond that was like family.  It was wonderful knowing how much I could trust them all even though we just met. 

            God really showed up at the gathering.  It was so evident he was there that it has actually been hard being at home because I miss the whole atmosphere of the gathering.  While there we saw miracles that you normally do not see.  I met a man who had 14 seizures the night before we met him and after we prayed for him he only had two seizures the whole week.  The first one I was standing right there and was actually able to put my new CPR certification into practice, but the second seizure made for a far more miraculous story.  It happened during the night all the Christian kitchens get together for worship time.  He fell over and a man from our camp prayed over him and immediately all his muscles relaxed, then he sat up and realized he was sitting on his knee.  His knee that had a fake kneecap and pins, he then got up and realized he was not hurting anymore and he did not have limp either.  He felt his knee and could not find any hardware and he began to run around the meadow, which is something he has not been able to do since he had the surgery.  Even more things were healed in him that night, and he knew exactly who was behind it all.  For the rest of the week he was showing off his new abilities and praising God the whole time.  God healed a few more people in our camp in a wide variety of ways, from Fibromyalgia to a sore on a nose.  He even healed me of asthma, depression, and my long-term sinus problems.  A few nights before we left for New Mexico God told me to trust that he could heal and put down all my medicine.  This was such a radical idea since I had been having asthma attacks nearly every night and was dealing with depression and sinus problems on top of that.  In any case I believed he could heal me and I have not taken any medicine now for two months.  God is so good and it is purely amazing how much he worked in people this year at the gathering.

            Besides feeding breakfast, lunch, and dinner we also had other ministries.  We set up a foot washing station and handed out free clothes, we had a great shoe repairman, people brought him some awfully tattered shoes and he brought them back to life.  There was a prayer tent we set up and we had one person in there nearly all day by taking roughly one-hour shifts.  We played music during the day too.  This was such a blessing to have for a few reasons, one because we did not really have a worship leader but the few people who kind of knew how to play guitar really stepped up to the challenge and it turned into a wonderful thing, secondly I loved having the music because whenever I had a not so spiritually high moment I could just be quiet and I would hear the music playing which really brought my spirits up again.  Another Christian kitchen that was there was called Bread of Life and they set up a prayer and prophecy tent in front of out camp.  That was such an amazing addition because people would go in there and come out so encouraged and it just made everyone so happy.  Other than ministry we also had our daily duties to attend to.  Such duties included gathering firewood, fetching water for cooking and washing, cleaning dishes, making and serving food, and some people had the dirty deed of tending to the latrine.

            It is extremely hard for me to put my experience into words and the words I have used only give a small glimpse as to what happened.  All I have left to say is that every time I talk about the trip I get so excited and could talk for hours.  This excitement also comes with disappointment though because it makes me realize I have to wait a whole year to do it again.  God has also told me that I’m going to be doing this for a long time, which means I’ll hopefully be joining what is called the traveling Jesus Kitchen.  The traveling kitchen not only goes to the national gatherings once a year, that’s what this gathering was, but it also goes to the regional gatherings all over the country year-round.  Potentially I would be getting a bus and converting it into my own home and joining the other seven people who are currently or about to be on the traveling Jesus Kitchen.  I always knew I was supposed to work in the ministry but I never was positive where I was going to be.  God really narrowed it down for me this summer.  He showed me exactly where my passions lie and that even though I grew up in a comfortable lifestyle this is where I fit in.  This life just makes sense to me and I cannot wait to see what else God has in store for it.  God is so good!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ready to take off for the trip of a lifetime.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 7 am, sharp. It will be about a 22 hour drive to New Mexico and in the buses it will take about two days. I'm in kind of a semi-apathetic mood. I'm excited to go but overly pumped. Which is really just my personality but I still feel a little weird about it all. Maybe it's more of surreal feeling, like "is this really about to happen?" Last night I went to a cafe called Hard Times and it's a very dark place. While I was there I could just feel the heaviness and the enemy in the room. It was very uncomfortable but then I was reminded that that feeling is going to be everywhere at the Rainbow Gathering, times ten. Physically I am not worried about these next two weeks; however, I am a little nervous about the spiritual warfare that will happen. I just have to keep in mind that I am meeting Jesus there and he will give me the strength I need. Isaiah 40:31 has been a verse I have loved for a long time and I will need to pray that verse many times throughout my time in New Mexico. Please pray for guidance and wisdom for our team. Pray we make it safely and quickly down to the gathering and we get enough rest. Pray God leads the right people to our tent so that we may have the freedom to discuss the Gospels the right way and at the right time; pray for discernment. Please pray that we show Christ's love towards people wholeheartedly and simply. Lastly, please pray that the various illnesses I have do not effect me at all for I am not taking my medicines because I truely believe God can heal me. I have been so upset by having to take so many perscriptions for so long and I'm only 20 years old. I have been healed before I know God can do it again. Please just pray for safety while I am in essence fasting from my perscriptions. Thank you for reading my updates and keeping me in your prayers. This will be the last post until I return in early July.


Erin Freer

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 1 of Rainbow Training School

First we all sat in a circle and held hands while we ommed.  Then we started a drum circle and danced around.  Next we passed around the hookah and enjoyed it for the whole afternoon.  Finally we realized I was a compulsive liar...(all that was a joke, including the compulsive lying part).  

Alright, last night we got together as a nearly whole group for dinner and prayer.  Every time we meet together we pray for 2 people.  I was the first to go since I was the newest member.  It was amazing how God spoke such truth into my life through these people I hardly know at all.  Many of them mentioned how they were imagining how I was an extremely special treasure that God had picked out especially for this trip.  One man in particular brought up a story about a woman who though she had nothing gave her last 2 pennies to the church offering, and just after he said that he had randomly stepped on a penny and handed it to me.  It's amazing to hear that all these people said nearly the same things to me without talking about it beforehand.  The penny thing really gets me because I've always cherished pennies, and whenever I come across a penny I pick it up and pray that I continue to trust God because that's exactly what the penny tells me to do, "In God We Trust".  One woman even told me she had a picture of me standing where it was very foggy trying to see out of a window but once I wiped away a bit of the fog on the glass it turned out to be a mirror.  She was not sure what that meant but she prayed God would show me what it means.  The next day while I was at a park praying I think I figured it out.  To my displeasure it wasn't anything very uplifting...initially.  I believe God was trying to give me brutal honesty.  Sometimes I feel like I'm not really sure who I am in Christ, not that I doubt him but that I am not too close with him many times.  I believe this is the fog part and the mirror part is referring to the passage in James where it speaks of a person who looks in a mirror and then forgets what he looks like when he turns away is fool.  I think that at times I know who I am in Christ but then sometimes it gets foggy.  So, I pray that God lifts the fog so that I can see his light and continue following him.

Aside from training I am having a great time here in Minneapolis.  We're going to leave for the gathering at 7 am on Sunday morning and will be back around July 7th.  As a team we all get along together so well.  We're all so different and from various backgrounds but we fit together like a puzzle.  It's bizarre and amazing!


Erin Freer

Today we got together at around 10 am to worship God and pray for more team members.  We then proceeded to drive to Minnehaha Falls to walk around and talk to God and then have a BBQ and our afternoon session.  I was excited because when they said Mennehaha Falls I expected it to be a trail to some small creek with a waterfall.  Oh no, how I was wrong.  It was a city park, still beautiful, but nothing what I expected.  Oh well, we still had a great time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 12, 2009

Yesterday a friend of the girls I'm living with came home from somewhere and we had a tea party. Even though I really didn't know anyone there it was quite fun. While at this tea party I met a few people who would be attending the gathering and learned a lot about past gatherings. Hearing all the stories I got really excited to go and I can't wait to see what happens for our trip. Afterwards I was talking to a woman named Molly and she had just returned from a seminar about Christianity and Islam. After discussing what she learned in this seminar I am highly intrigued and I want to continue learning about the relationship between Christians and Muslims. From what I have learned so far Islam is more like Christianity than I once thought. I would love to go into more depth right now but one, it would take a long time to try and explain with what little knowledge I have on the subject and two, I wish to know more so I can elaborate and what I do know now. Earlier in the afternoon I was sitting down just talking to Kristin, one of my temporary roommates, and I had the opportunity to really get to know her. She even commented how she was surprised that she was telling me some things. I thought it was a real blessing that she was comfotable enough to open up to me. I can already see that God is working here, and I'm glad that he is working first within the group I'm working with not just serving. The girls in the house are already convinced I'm going to one day move to Minneapolis, a thought I'm not opposed to right now. So far I ove the city, the ministry they have here is the reason why I came in the first place, and from the sounds of it I'm going to really enjoy the pastor's teachings. There are a few prayer requests that I have... 1. Pray that even though our team is small we can do mighty things. 2. Pray we find the right camping spot once we get to the gathering and the God really has prepared it for us. 3. Pray for our potential gathering neighbors that we may have good relations with them. 4. Even though this is a gathering of hippies pray for peace, many times the elements and others' beliefes can get in the way of truely being a peacful place.


Erin Freer

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rainbow Gathering Part I

Welp, I've arrived in Minneapolis, MN and I'm a week early for training since Steiger (my host group) pushed back the dates after I bought my plane tickets. I'm pretty much on my own for a week, but luckily Minneapolis is a big city with much to do. I'm living with a couple girls near downtown and they are really hospitable. Yesterday when I got to the house I went to lay down at about 4:30 and ended up sleeping through the night. I don't know what happened but I sure am fully rested now. I hope that God will use me this week since I'm not going to be working too much for my trip. Maybe I'll meet someone throughout the week. The group going this year isn't too big so there may be a some curve balls thrown and a few adjustmens needing to made. Please pray that though our team is small we do mighty things. Thank you for the support you've all given me these past few months and I hope to update you on our progress more often.


Erin Freer