Trying to Fit God in a Box, God’s Sovereignty, and the Miracle!

God is Sovereign.

What a heavy-duty statement!

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: “‘It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided.’” -Isaiah 14:24

God’s Sovereignty points to the fact that He knows the length of our trials, the reason for our waiting, and the outcome to our circumstances. 

God’s Sovereignty also points to the fact that He knows what He’s doing! My human logic and limited view of the future does not compare at all to God’s All-Knowing character…but I often try to squeeze Him into my way of thinking. 

I try to fit Him into my many boxes too like the “It Makes Sense This Way” box or the “It Would be Faster If…” box.  And the recent one He didn’t fit into was “The Visa Process Should Work Out the Way I Planned It” box! 

As many of you know, I have been compiling my required documents for the visa interview with the Spanish Consulate. I had finally received the important documents from Spain that are allowing me to request a religious visa. All I need is my interview appointment with the Consulate that should occur before some of my paperwork expires in August. Well, the next available appointment is not until September! When I found out, I nervously prayed, “Lord, my paperwork expires in August so when I refresh the appointment website page, can you please open an appointment in July or August? I really don’t want to wait until September.” For the next three weeks after that prayer, I have refreshed that page at random times during the day hoping and praying that God would open a date.  

Is the Lord able to work a miracle and open an interview date before August? Of course He can! 

Can the Lord make a way when there seems to be no way? Yes, nothing is impossible for Him! 

I know for certain He is a God of miracles but I also know for certain that He cares for the condition of my heart. 

His Sovereignty reminds me to surrender. 

My logistical plans are not the ones that need to be aligned to God’s will, it’s my heart that needs to be aligned to His will.  I am quick to strive for the answers to the when, how, and the ever so popular, “Lord is this your will?” But it’s truly a matter of the heart. So I whole-heartedly surrendered and accepted the visa appointment in September.

Let me STOP right here…. I wrote the above BEFORE THE MIRACLE!

A few days after I wrote everything you just read, I received an email from the Spanish Consulate on July 3rd letting me know that I was granted an emergency visa appointment with them for Monday, July 8th!!!

I had 4 days (3 days really because of 4thof July) to get everything I needed for the appointment.  Since my heart was at peace with the September date, I left some things undone.  But God, in the way only He is able to work, allowed me to get everything done in 3 days and I was able to present all my paperwork to the Consulate on July 8th! 

Now it’s a matter of waiting for an email that states whether or not I received the visa.  Payers please!!

God’s sovereignty amazes me! Not only did the Lord open up a visa appointment for me, but He is also allowing me to go to Spain for one week in August! I received an unexpected phone call from Pastor Raf in Spain, letting me know of an important planning meeting we will have for the school we are praying to begin.  Everyone involved in the school, including myself, will be there. More on this one week trip to Spain in the next newsletter!!

I can’t thank you enough for being on this journey with me!! If I have ever needed prayer and support it is definitely now!! This journey has been quite interesting to say the least, but it has been a huge blessing!! It’s never too late to partner with me in Spain. Contact me and I can share ways that you can be part of this team! 

God bless,

Zully

Prayer Requests:

  • For God’s will over the visa approval.
  • Strength in the midst of the spiritual warfare.
  • For the Lord to continue to provide in all areas.
  • For the August meeting in Spain.

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Following Paul the Apostle to Spain…

Paul the apostle went to Spain…well there is a great possibility that he made it there! In Romans 15 we read that Paul had a desire to keep moving to new frontiers to share the gospel; this new frontier was Spain. 

“My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard…I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome….I will come to see you on my way to Spain.” Romans 15: 20, 24, 28

When you look back at Paul’s missionary journeys, you’ll notice that he kept expanding his mission field.  He started off in Antioch and then he kept moving to the west, and a little more to the west, and then farther out to the west!  Heading to Spain meant traveling as far west as he possibly could; for Paul that meant sharing the gospel to “the ends of the earth”. Paul was an amazing missionary with a big vision!

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute Zully, the Bible never mentioned that Paul indeed traveled to Spain.”  You are absolutely right.  Although church tradition and historical scholars indicate that Paul made it to Spain, the Bible doesn’t recount a 4thmissionary journey to Spain.  What the Bible does recount is Paul’s passion to keep moving forward for Christ. Paul was a man with a vision. He was a man with a desire to share Christ.  Despite the hardships he went through in his three previous missionary journeys, he desired to keep pushing through boundaries, both earthly ones and physical ones too. (Read his stirring list of hardships in 2 Corinthians 11:24-30!)

I recently listened to an interview of a Christian marathon runner named Ryan Hall.  He mentioned that he runs because he enjoys pushing himself and loves realizing that he can do a lot more than what he thought he could. As he goes through the pain and exhaustion of finishing a marathon race, he is able to run all the way to the finish line because when he focuses on someone or something outside of himself (i.e. his family, his charity foundation…etc.); he then has a purpose to keep running even though his body is ready to quit. Ryan Hall’s interview made me think about our Christian race. Are we running this Christian race with purpose? Are we willing to expand our vision? When the going gets tough, do we keep running knowing that we can endure this race because God and His calling are worth it?

While I’m not competing in a marathon race anytime soon, I am following Paul’s footsteps to Spain. I don’t mean that just literally. I want to follow his example in expanding my vision for Christ. I want to follow his example in pushing myself a little more to do those things that the Lord is calling me to do. I want to keep asking myself: How willing am I to push myself a little more for Christ each day? Am I willing to let go, to surrender, to sacrifice, to be uncomfortable for Him and for the sake of the gospel? 

What is Christ calling you to do? How is He desiring that you expand your vision? 

Let me tell you that just by reading this newsletter and taking part in my missionary journey, you are allowing the Lord to expand your vision! It’s so awesome that we can expand our vision together in the furtherance of the gospel to Spain! I’m very thankful that together we’re allowing the Lord to do something through us that only He can do! It’s never too late to partner with us in Spain. Contact me and I can share ways that you can be part of this team! 

Thank you for your prayers! I’m praying for you as well, that your vision may be expanded and that you may be amazed at what God can do in and through you!

Blessings,

Zully 

Updates:

~ The visa process is in the works. I’m waiting for an important document from Spain that will allow me to request a religious visa. Please keep that in prayer!

~ The monthly funds I need to have in place before leaving are coming in slowly but surely! Please pray for the Lord to continue to provide in all areas. 

~ My Care Team and I have been meeting once a month; I’m blessed by everyone on my team! If you would like to expand your vision in missions and would like to join a Care Team, feel free to contact me! 

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I’m Just a Branch – A Lesson on Dependence

“Lord, if You were leaving to Spain and you had a long list of things to do, what would You do? How would You handle it all?”

Lately, my prayers have been very simple before the Lord. And His answers have been just as simple and practical!  This is what He spoke to my heart after the above prayer:

“Zully, if I were leaving to Spain, and had a long list of things to do, I would desperately seek my Father’s direction every single morning.”

Pretty straightforward! Two words stood out: “desperately seek”. 

How do you desperately seek for something? Is it the kind of desperation like when you’re parched and look forward to a glass of water?  Desperate like when you’re lost for hours and will do anything for the exact directions to your destination? Desperate as if you were hanging from the edge of a cliff and cried as loud as you can for someone to save you? Yes, yes, and yes.  I need to be desperate enough to surrender everything to Him.     

Shortly after I was learning about “desperately seeking” for the Lord, at just the right moment, I received lessons on John 15:5 that would solidify this new lesson on dependence.  

The following are current personal updates that include a lesson I learned from the book Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray (Ch. 9 – Ye Are the Branches):

Update #1: I have been blessed to share the call to Spain at various bible studies and on platforms like podcasts and webinars.  (The links to those studies & platforms will be at the end.) Those who know me, know that sharing on these public platforms have been a huge stretch for me; I’m amazed at what God is doing! 

“Absolute dependence upon God is the secret of all power in work. The branch has nothing but what it gets from the vine, and you and I can have nothing but what we get from Jesus.”

Update #2: I started the visa process! There are so many components to the visa, so I am taking everything one step at a time. 

“The living connection of the vine and the branches is hourly, daily, unceasingly… Just so, I must take that position…and morning by morning and day by day and hour by hour and step by step, in every work I have to go out to just to abide before Him in the simple utter helplessness of one who knows nothing, and is nothing, and can do nothing…. I have no care, my cares are His. I have no fear, He cares for all my fears.”

Update #3: The Association of Christian Teachers and Schools (ACTS) is providing the needed assistance to help establish the Christian school in Mallorca. Therefore, the Lord has put a team together both in Spain and in the US to help begin the school!

“If I am something, then God is not everything; but when I become nothing, God can become all…We need to become nothing.”

What freedom I found in recognizing that I am just a branch! I don’t have to strive or control anything but depend on the Vine and in His direction.  It’s as if I have taken a front row seat, and I am watching His every move; it’s exciting! My heart’s desire is that you would take a front row seat with me!  What ministry gift does God want you to contribute to this mission? 

Your generosity in financially partnering with me, every prayer you make on my behalf, every encouraging message and counsel you send… etc. are some ways that you can share your ministry gift with our work in Spain. If you want to learn more on how to partner with me in this exciting venture of faith, please do not hesitate to contact me! I’m truly blessed that we’re in this together! 

God bless,

Zully

Some of the platforms God has allowed me to share on:

“One Story” Podcast

Spanish Ministry at CC Downey

“Let’s Talk Missions” Webinar from Choose Right Ministries

Prayer Requests:

  • To desperately seek God’s direction during this time of preparation. 
  • Wisdom for the visa process.
  • Strength in the midst of the spiritual warfare.
  • For the Lord to continue to provide in all areas. 
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Wait Lord, I Have One More Question…

In this time of preparation, I have stepped into a journey of faith that has been more than I expected….where the spiritual blessings have truly outweighed the spiritual warfare and trials!

One of the blessings I have been experiencing is God’s tender care for me as His daughter. A few months ago, someone prayed over me and shared these sweet words:

“Before anything Zully, God sees you as His daughter. He wants to take care of you, protect you, and love you like the Father that He is to you.”

And He has! Even in the way He answered the questions I made at the beginning of this journey. My Heavenly Father answered them in a very tender and beautiful way:

  • Why love people I don’t know? Why leave my family, friends, job, ministry…for people I don’t even know yet?
    • ~God’s Answer: Zully, I want you to learn to love the way I love. (John 15:12-13)
  • Starting a school is a huge task Lord, will I be able to do this?
    • ~God’s Answer: If you have faith as the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. But Zully, don’t forget that I am the Mover of Mountains, I am the Author and Finisher of your Faith. You’re not doing this alone. (Matt 17:20 / Hebrews 12:2)
  • Are you sure you want me to do this? Some things don’t make sense to me?
    • ~God’s Answer:  Noah was told to build something he didn’t even know existed; he had to follow instructions, measurement by measurement. Gideon was told to fight a very large army with 300 men, and their weapons were trumpets, empty jars, and torches. Joshua, a military leader, was told to simply walk around the city wall and shout at it in order to overtake Jericho. Zully, do you see a pattern? I’ve called you and prepared you, all you have to do is obey and leave the rest to me! (Oh, and get used to doing things that don’t make sense!)

However, in the midst of my questions, the Lord as my Father, reminded me that while I’m concerned with the what, the when, and the how, He is concerned with my heart. While I’m concerned with my timeline, He is concerned with my lifeline.  

So, He reminded me that some proper questions to ask should be:

How is my devotional time with Him?

Am I being sensitive to the Holy Spirit? 

Do I truly believe in the power of prayer?

How do I stand strong during times of spiritual warfare? 

He is a great Dad! I’m blessed to be loved, called, and cared for by a loving Father who makes sure my heart is well assured equipped, and encouraged.

But wait…one more question…the question I get asked often…When am I leaving? I am currently in the preparation process where some major things are not exactly under my control (raising funds and the long visa process). So in the midst of that, I know for certain who my Father is and that His timing is perfect! He is my good Father!

Thank you all for your prayers!

God bless,

Zully

Some photos from my dessert gathering:

Prayer Requests:

  • To wait faithfully for those things that are not in my control.  
  • To desperately seek God’s direction during this time of preparation. 
  • Wisdom for the visa process.
  • Strength in the midst of the spiritual warfare.
  • For the Lord to continue to provide in all areas. 
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First Post: Why Spain???

Hello my dear family and friends!! I am in full preparation mode for Spain and I am so excited that you’re part of this journey with me! 

As you know, I am headed to Mallorca, Spain to help start an international Christian school, and through this school share the gospel. 

It wasn’t always easy to type those words, you see when the Lord first presented the call to Spain, I had questions! A lot of questions!! I had a long list of them actually!! Here are a few that I really wrestled with upon receiving this opportunity almost 6 years ago:

  1. Why Spain? 
  2. Why start a school?
  3. I have to leave behind my family, my job/ministry, and my home?
  4. Will I be able to carry out this huge task? 
  5. Do they eat corn tortillas in Spain? (Priorities!)

In His lovingkindness and patience, the Lord answered all my questions. I will share the response to just one of those questions in this post. 

Why Spain?  The Lord showed me that He wasn’t sending me to a specific location per se but to people who need to hear the gospel.  Spain’s population is approximately 47 million people, and only 1% are evangelical Christians and 55% of the young population do not identify with any religion and no longer attend any church 2. Spain and the rest of Europe is known as “The Forgotten Mission Field” – Europe may not suffer from major poverty and/or diseases that lead many humanitarian Christian groups there…but they suffer from an indifference to the gospel.  The need for the gospel in Spain is great! And the strategic geographical location of Spain is exciting!! It lies in the middle of the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.  Imagine the potential of sending out missionaries from Spain to all these locations!!!

The Lord led me to read on the life of Moses.  Before Moses went to Egypt to free his people, the Lord said this to Moses, “And now behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them…come, I will send you…” (Exodus 3:9-10).  It was as if the words of the Bible jumped out and took a hold of my heart. The Lord whispered this to my heart, “I hear the cry of the people of Spain. I hear their cry for something True. I see their hearts. They need to hear the gospel, they need the Truth of Jesus Christ in their hearts.” The Lord had to deal with my heart as I recognized God’s love for people, for the people of Spain.

Just like this question, the Lord answered the rest of them one by one. He solidified my calling as these questions lead me to seek His Word and His presence.  And guess what? The answers to the other questions blew my mind and I will share a few more with you in the next post!

Thank you for being on this journey with me! We’re in this together and it blesses me to know that I’m not doing this alone! 

God bless,

Zully

Prayer Requests:

  • To be dependent on the Lord during this time of preparation. 
  • Strength in the midst of spiritual warfare.
  • Wisdom for the visa process.
  • For the Lord to continue to provide in all areas. 

1  https://joshuaproject.net/countries/SP

2  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/christianity-non-christian-europe-young-people-survey-religion

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