Without a shadow of a doubt I was meant to have gone to Poland this past week. If I'm going to be honest that trip was the main and possibly only thing I was looking forward to coming back to Milan for, apart from friends of course. My heart quailed at the thought of coming back to a country where I felt more of a foreigner and infringer than I ever thought possible. It was like lazing around in lovely salty sea water and then being told you had to do laps through molasses now. Hence the comment in previous post about my heart for Italy needing to be restored.
Now, what do Poland and Italian worship have to do with each other you ask? Well let me tell you! A lovely church in Kalisz, Poland has a pastor with a heart for Israel, and every year during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) he invites nations from all over Europe to join together in 24 hour worship and prayer for the entire week. A herculean effort, but all made possible through an abundance of Holy Spirit blessing and presence. So, less herculean and more spritulean (that word is totally in Webster's...).
So now the pieces are coming together. But as an American what could I possibly have to do with the Italian team going to Poland for Sukkot? And an African-American at that, I can't even make fanciful claims of distant or otherwise ties to European ancestry. Well, God doesn't care about that. He saw my heart was willing, and so for the entire week I was the main vocalist and secondary guitar player for Team Italy. God is AMAZING. Like, AMAZING. I think anyone who experienced my worship leading throughout college and high school can attest to the fact that I have a heart for international and intercultural worship. This was like a really early Christmas present and birthday present and another Christmas present all wrapped up into one big weeklong 24 hour a day
extravaganza. Only God can come up with a team that an American woman prayed over for two years resulting in: her and our English friend as chorus and intercession, me as lead vocalist and some guitar, a 17 year old Italian on drums, a 19 year old Italian on electric guitar, and a 40 something year old (father of drummer) on bass guitar. God is something special. Really special.
Even the painful bits of the week were good, but this particular post is for the gushing "that was fantabulous" portion. My time in Poland was both one of the most intimate and communal worship experiences I have ever had. My own personal worship of God seemed to have grown exponentially. There was such an air and encouragement of freedom that I felt completely comfortable letting go, and before I knew it I was praying and prophesying and declaring words from God whilst hitting notes I never thought I'd reach vocally during our worship sessions (unfortunately that same anointing didn't fall on my guitar playing... ). Each session was two hours long, but when the end of our sessions came up our team was always surprised with how quickly a session had passed. It was like we were all transported to a place where time had no importance and wasn't really all that noticeable. Our hearts were focused on worshiping God, and all was as it should be.
In that same vein, being continually surrounded by and fellowshipping with people whose hearts were focused on God, well that was wonderful. I met so many people who are now so dear to me and who were instrumental in the work God was doing in my heart and in my life while I was in Kalisz. I know also that God had used me to work in the lives and hearts of other people present as well.
God honored so many prayers, desires, and dreams by bringing us together as a group and it was wonderful to see the ways our dreams came together. It was truly a taste of heaven. Nations together, worshipping in various tongues, all declaring "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!"