I really did go to Asia this summer…

It really did happen! Asia! It happened! And wow, life really goes so fast! It’s been well over a month since I have been back in the States. And life DID NOT wait for me to take a little power nap upon arrival. I finally sat down to edit photos and begin thinking of how to share the stories of all that happened.

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So just know that stories are brewing….. there’s so many! It is so hard to describe moments that changed you…. moments that will forever impact you.  There are things that happened that changed the way I think and do life…. and I have so few words for those moments. Really I don’t even know what happened other than God showed up. And life was richer.

Mostly I want to shout out to all the people who believe in me….. and believe in the God in me.  Your giving impacted the nations.  This was the first trip I have been on that I truly, with all my heart felt like the planet was changed because of the love of God flowing through me and our team.  And you guys were part of history being made. Travelling and ministering with Georgian and Winnie Bannov was a dream come true…. no MORE than a dream come true!!

Our team spent 3 days in norther Thailand and Burma, loving on kids that were former child soldiers or at risk of being trafficked.

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We threw a party pretty much everywhere we went!  The kids LOVE to sing and dance! Georgian loves to play and party! Excellent combo!

After Northern Thailand, we headed down to Bangkok for a few days.  We went to a trash dump village and threw a party! So many people got saved and healed and filled with JOY, it was blowing us all away!

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This lady saw her neighbor get healed and walk down the street. She called us over to talk. I shared about the love of the Father, the friendship of Jesus and the comfort and power of the Holy Spirit. And asked if she would like “all of that in her life”. She said with tears “yes!’ Her brother and sister also said yes! So we all cried because the presence of God was so strong and sweet…. as they were filled with Jesus…. and filled with the Love of the Father…and filled with the Spirit!She couldn’t stop hugging me…..I couldn’t stop crying and laughing! Then we had a “JOY tunnel” in street for everyone to come through and get more JOY and LOVE!! It was probably in my top 5 days on the planet. His love really never fails.

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they literally live on a trash dump.  It was the most heartbreaking place I have ever visited…. yet I have never encountered  God more in my life than there. He really is with “the least of these”.

 

115One night in Bangkok, we threw a joy party in the red light district.  Our friend played the violin that sounded like angels singing. People would come from streets over just to hear her play.  So we just started cheering for people as they walked by us…. and it turned into this celebration tunnel. We had no translators and had a VERY hard time talking to the workers on the street. But laughter and celebration and love…. needs no translator! The girls were leaving their store fronts to walk through the tunnel! They laughed and giggled their way through! One man just stood with us for nearly the entire time we were out there. He just couldn’t understand why we were there because no one comes to that area to do anything good. You could feel the Light on the sidewalk where we were….. Lighting this dark and hopeless area in the world.

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After Bangkok, we traveled across the border to Cambodia.  The border from Thailand to Cambodia has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the world. You can physically feel the spiritual climate change as you walk the border.

123We stopped to visit one of the sweetest kids homes I have ever been to! They would run down the long drive just to hug us and hold our hands and walk us back to their home.

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We threw a HUGE party with fried chicken, watermelon and ice cream!! We sang songs and made balloon animals and giggled! It was pure bliss!

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the balloon animals just started turning into “creatures”! 

After Siem Riep, we flew to Phnom Penh…..one of my fave cities in the world!  We spent some time in a trash dump village, where I decided trash dumps are probably one of my favorite places to go.

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Trash dumps have a high percentage of women and kids that are trafficked. Georgian and Winnie take the Love of God to the poorest areas…. like take it right to where it’s happening and partner with God to change the neighborhood. So many people got healed and met Jesus that day.  These ladies were rescued from prostitution….. and the ministry we partnered with has been teaching them to make jewelry. And they provide opportunities for them to sell their goods.  They have a new life and the joy that radiated off them was so contagious!

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Ahh! The kids are just sooooo cute!!! Because of where these kids live, they are at risk for human trafficking. Please pray that they will know God is a good, good Father and He protects them and has beautiful plans for them. Please pray for their parents to cherish their children as gifts from God. Pray that heaven would invade that place.

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We also spent some time in a slum area where a very high percentage of women and kids are trafficked.  Again….we threw a party with games and snacks and music and giggles! So many people in the neighborhood got saved that day! Pray for the LIGHT of Jesus to invade that neighborhood.

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I held this little girl the entire time. She would not let me put her down.  Not sure how long it’d been since she was hugged and tickled and snuggled! But affection is not the norm in Asia. I am sure my heart exploded that day with love!

Our trip came to a close with a beautiful team dinner…..which i don’t even have a picture of somehow! My trip extended a few more days to hang with my Canadian family and some other sweet friends and mani/pedi/hairstylin’ at the local Asian spa!

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VERY sleepy faces….but oh so HAPPY hearts!!  #canadianfamily

SO there ya go…… Asia. Don’t you worry…..I have more stories and pics coming! Thank you everyone who sent money and encouragement and love and words…. it was my favorite trip I have ever done. Definitely the most powerful and most restful and most impactful thing I have ever been apart of.  I am indebted to the Bannovs for sharing their feast with us.  The level of Joy and Rest the Bannovs walk in was astonishing….. thank you for showing me “ministry”. It was so beautiful! And I am forever changed by the message you guys carry:)

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Summertime.

We are already craving Pumpkin Spice Lattes at our house. And then we walk outside and hit the wall of stifling heat… the shocking reminder that we are ONLY in the middle of SUMMER!  We have been declaring “This is the BEST SUMMER EVERRRRR” at our house! It was off to a sour start, but is turning into one of my favorite summers ever!!  Sometimes life dumps a ton of lemons in your front yard. No use sitting around crying. Might as well be brave, squeeze those lemons and invite your friends over for frozen hard lemonades!  Fun, joy, happiness…..inside jobs! So here’s a little peek at my summertime so far!

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Zip lining with new friends in Trinidad

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To everyone who said I had a green thumb…. I grew a little garden this summer.

Books

I discovered the “travel writing” section at B&N. Uh-OH! 

ice cream cone

So.Much.Ice Cream. 

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my favorite spot.

ponce city market

Sunset Bike Rides

Baby Nolan

Welcome to the world Nolan!!

biker girls

smiley biker gang:))

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girl’s night on the beltline

Bike rack

one lock. 4 bikes. millions of ants.

me and C

roomies

chips and salsa

best table in the whole place! Right on the corner! And it was National Tequila Day. Lucky us!

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when you’re taking a photography course, somehow you end up photographing everything at the table.

taquitas

i dream of these things….like every other day. #taquitas #puretaqueria

Inman park

i love you Inman Park.

declarations

We are having so much fun declaring THE MOST AMAZING THINGS for our lives!  Stacks of index cards everywhere. Random  outbursts “Today is the best day of my life so far!!” So much JOY and HOPE in the air!

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 So many pool days. So much laughing. So much fun! Family day at the pool!

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old friends. new friends. girlie picnics. worship nights. farm life.

Hope you enjoyed that little montage of summer! Brave New Girl is off to pack her suitcase! THAILAND and CAMBODIA here I come!! Best summer everrrrr!!!

Where dreams begin…

In 2006, I packed 4 suitcases and boarded a plan to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. So young and naive, I had never booked a plane ticket and here I was MOVING to a foreign land. Everyone thought I was insane. My Granddad kept asking “Isn’t there a war happening there?”  And “why would you want to move THERE?!  It’s not safe for a woman to go there!”

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Saigon, Vietnam

Well, I did it. It was one of the gutsiest things I have ever done and I never in my whole life could have imagined how that trip would have changed my life.  You can’t know that kind of stuff going into it.  And some how years later, I feel moments, experiences,  from that trip still changing me.

I moved to Vietnam because I heard God say “I have prepared a place for you there” BEFORE I had even set foot in that country.  Sometimes you just have one word to hold onto and it’s like the view finder you gaze through. When I was on a mission trip to Vietnam a few months before I moved there, it felt more impossible for me to NOT live there than to actually live there.  It just felt like every moment was made for me.  And so I moved to Vietnam because everything in me knew it was set up by God.

The land was magical and extreme. The noises were foreign and loud and constant. The people were strange and beautiful and warm and curious. It wasn’t long before I felt love growing in my heart for these people who were so different than me.

As you can imagine, every day was ALIVE and fast and full of adventure.  I was encountering God at every turn. But after 6 months I was looking for some new challenges. I was working for a ministry that helped kids get off the streets by employing them in a cafe. We loved them, ate their yummy food and taught them English and about Jesus.  We also taught conversational English to university students …like HUNDREDS of them every week! I was burned out and really wanted to find something I was more passionate about. So we decided to develop an outreach program to places like leper colonies, AIDS hospices, homes for sexually abused kids and orphanages.  I was upset with my team mates for NOT choosing the scary places and leaving them for me. LIKE REALLY UPSET!

So, I “got stuck” with the leper colony and the AIDS hospice.  Let me be be super clear, I HAVE NEVER SEEN OR KNOWN ANYONE WITH LEPROSY OR AIDS. (I had only read stories about Mother Theresa) I had NO idea what to expect….And I had NO idea that God chose those places to birth a dream in my heart.

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They just couldn’t contain their affection…

My team and I raised a bunch of money to buy rice for the leper colony. A big gift for our first time to this facility. Also perhaps a bribe to let us through the gate.  We were allowed in to deliver the rice and talk with the lepers. The big scary guard happened to be gone when we arrived (JESUS:)) so we had access!

After a half hour of chatting with the lepers, I noticed a brick wall at the back of the property.  I was curious what was back there, so I asked if we could go and see what was behind the wall.  As my translator explained what I wanted to do, the nurse in charge had a look of terror on her face. She just kept saying “No..no..no..” and then words in Vietnamese that I assume meant “No, the white girl is not allowed back there” To that I said “Oh we are definitely going back there!”  After 10 minutes of back and forth with the nurse, she finally gave in. She would give us 10 minutes. And if her boss came back and caught us, she would deny she knew anything.  (If I got caught, I was looking at jail time and deportation.)

I never in my entire life could have imagined what was behind that wall. Nothing could prepare me. My Vietnamese friend (who admitted she was arrested at this very facility AS WE ARE ROUNDING THE CORNER!) held my hand as we walked to the door. As I walked in I just froze. Stiff. Silent. Taking in everything and trying to sort everything all at the same time. Bodies…left to dye. Cursed with AIDS. They were so young.  So alone. Bones with skin on them. Some of them were chained to the beds because they were convicted criminals. In the back corner, a priest was reading the last rights over a man I am sure couldn’t have been older than 22. I have never felt so helpless in my whole life.  I had no words. No emotions except for this ache deep inside of me that someone has to do something for these people. Why is no one helping them??!!

My friend Bao moved around the room touching each frail person …praying for them. Telling them about Jesus. Just talking to them. They had no one. Every single person in the place had been abandoned by their families and banished to the back of this property to die. They had no one.

That day I was silent for hours. (If you know me, you know this is NOT me!) I went home and locked myself in my room and cried for hours. Trying to sort out what had just happened. My thoughts would just SPIN because I couldn’t think of a solution. All that would come out was “Jesus, someone has to help them!”

Little did I know that He was posing a question by plopping me smack dab in the middle of a scenario I had no idea how to problem solve. I was saying “Jesus, someone has to help them!” and He was asking “Will you be the one that helps them?”

When you walk with God closely, it often feels like there are more riddles and questions than answers and solutions. It is all to draw us closer to His heart so He can show us how to partner with Him because He really does believe ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  I am starting to understand that when we trust Him and take crazy risks (like moving to a foreign land when everyone in your world thinks your insane), He births dreams and passions that maybe wouldn’t happen journaling by a peaceful lake.  (PS-I love journaling by peaceful lakes!)  I’m also starting to understand the difference in a good idea and a passion or dream that you would give your life for.  That day at the Leper Colony, destiny happened.  It rattled me to my core. I knew I could never be the same after that.

I kept going back to that hospice. Each time praying for people. Grieving with them. Crying with them. Laughing with them. And each time I felt more confident that God had a magnificent plan even though I had no clue what it was. I just knew in my bones that before the foundations of the world, when God was creating little me, that He was whispering about the days I was living in and the dreams that one day I would walk in.

I don’t have any pictures of the people at the AIDS hospice. For obvious reasons. However, I ended up finding out about another AIDS hospice that took in kids that either had HIV or their parents died of AIDS.  It was and still is one of my FAVORITE places on the planet.  I would often imagine living there.   Most of my thoughts and time was spent organizing trips to see the kids. It was MAGICAL!

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My sweet friend Bao and the kids RUNNING to greet us..

Each time we would leave, my heart would be in turmoil. “What we are doing isn’t enough! Why are they dying? They are so young! It’s not fair.” My sweet friend told me just to talk to Jesus about it because she had the same questions…and no answers. Just that love compelled her to go back again and again to these places for the dying and destitute.

play time

I moved back to America a few months later. We told the kids that I was going on an airplane ride and wouldn’t be coming back anymore. None of them seemed to really understand because none of them had ever been on an airplane. The little girls only asked if I would come back for their weddings one day.  They were no older than 10. Of course I said YES!!!!!! HOPE FOR THAT!!!!

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As I adjusted back to life in America after living a VERY different life in Vietnam, my heart ached and stirred. I had questions I didn’t even know I had. It was a holy frustration. And the only things that bubbled up in my heart were “Someone has to help them! They are so young! There has to be more to the story than just telling them about Jesus and then they die. It’s not fair that they don’t get to live out their destinies!”  God will let those things stir until you are ready to stop and listen…ready to embrace His plan.

About 2 months after I returned to the states, my former pastors called me to let me know that they found out Jesus heals people.  Like He heals people. Today. Now. It’s really real. If I hadn’t been through the past 8 months of questions with God, I am not sure I would have been ready for that conversation. But sometimes your heart knows something your mind can’t understand. At the end of that conversation with my pastor, i knew that she was telling me the truth and I knew that Jesus wanted to heal those that the world has abandoned and left to die. Those that are diagnosed incurable.

Dung 3

This is Dung (pronounced Zung). He was my little man  He taught me about joy and laughter. Dung was Cambodian/Vietnamese. Both his parent died of AIDS. He had HIV.

Dung 2

This is what he was like every time we saw each other! SO MUCH JOY!

Dung

He became very ill a week after I left Vietnam. I told him before I left that I would one day come back for him. I sincerely believed that I would. He died a few weeks later. In 2010, I got to go back to the AIDS hospice and see his little picture on a box containing his ashes. I weeped and weeped. It felt like I had dreamed the whole thing.

So I set out to learn everything I could about healing and miracles and Jesus. He birthed something in me during that season in Vietnam and I made a decision to radically pursue Jesus and the gifts and healing FOR THOSE PEOPLE. And at the core of it all, my heart is to introduce people ..all people… to the love of an Amazing Father, to my best friend Jesus and to the comforter Holy Spirit.

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Someone said to me a few months after I was back in America and I was looking back with alot of questions…..”Sometimes God will take you half way around the world to teach you how to hear His voice.” Yep… and birth a dream. And prove His love. And set you on the course of your destiny.

In 3.5 weeks, I depart for Thailand and Cambodia. We will be ministering to those the world has cast aside. The dying. The destitute. The lonely and broken. Our message is the extravagant love of a really good Father. SE Asia is a magical land that God is so in love with. They have a beautiful destiny. And I am excited to be part of it.

I would love for you to be part of this journey… it’s just one more chapter in this beautiful love story. Your support means EVERYTHING TO ME!  It is one thing to be called. It’s quite another to GO!

God is FAITHFUL!!!! He always supplies my every need! Thank you for all your support and love and prayers and prophetic words and encouragement! I am a lucky girl to have such amazing friends! Stay tuned here for updates and pictures:))

CIAO–Celeste

Friday Aug 15, $1200 is due to Global Celebrations to complete my trip costs.  

Friday Aug 15 $2000 is due for a plane ticket.

There are multiple ways to give:

Online donations:

https://globalcelebration.wufoo.com/forms/asia-2016-invoice/

(Please email me if you give online so I will know you gave)

PAYPAL: celestejohnson1109@gmail.com

CHECKS–please email me for address info

 

Home.

Fourth of July. Not my favorite holiday, but the food always seems to satisfy. BBQ. Potato salad. Burgers. Beer. Watermelon. A few of my favorite foods.

This year something interesting happened. All my fourth of July plans changed and I ended up going back to my hometown for a quiet weekend with my mom.  A little bummed because I felt like I was gonna miss all the “activity” of the holiday.  (I like to be BUSY! Slow pace makes me restless.) But somehow this year, going home felt appropriate.  I had a sneaking suspicion that something important was going to happen. And i was right:)

I am a city girl that was raised on a farm.  I don’t like to get dirty. I don’t like silent nights (Except for those darn crickets). I don’t like miles and miles of farm land and pine trees. I don’t like 1000% humidity. I don’t like gnats. I don’t like not having cable or wifi. (my mom hasn’t rolled with times) I don’t like talking about how “good” someones cotton field looks this year.  So much I don’t like….. can you tell? I am a CITY GIRRRRL!

I moved to the city in 2011….not looking back once. Not one ounce of regret in my decision. I found my people. My homeland.  Culture, face pace crazy traffic, excellent shopping, excellent food…the list goes on and on.

But somewhere in all of my city loving, my heart ached for “home”.  The place you go back to that smells like home.  Feels cozy like your oldest blanket. Food so good your soul sings. A pace so slow you can’t help but slow down and listen.  The place where tears are shed in the middle of the night. Conversations happen over morning coffee. Endless hours of Gilmore Girls and 80’s comedies (usually Steve Martin the lead).  The coziest of beds because the blankets are old and have been dried on the clothes line in the back yard. (All of this amazingness I realized after my departure in 2011 of course:))

I’ve lived abroad and I always had a home to come home to.  It’s the safe place where I got to just be me.  A place to fall apart as I adjusted back to life in America. Home.  Meals were cooked for me with love.  I was allowed to just go on and on and on with all the stories of people and places and God and what I was learning.

My mom moved out of our farm house in 2011. And renters moved in. ( I may have had a Goldilocks complex…someone was definitely sleeping in my room!) It was the weirdest feeling of not having a home to go home to.  A range of emotions every holiday.  I had no where to go that felt quite like home.  I have spent many holidays with many amazing friends who are like family. But the heart always longs for home. Family. Tradition.

So this fourth of July, I got to go home.  I was nervous.  I had not stepped foot into our old house since I left in 2011. The timing was so perfect.  My whole world shifted that weekend. I said goodbye to someone I love with my whole heart and went home. As I walked in the front door, a RUSH of emotion flooded me.

That weekend the most beautiful thing happened……. The very things I had run away from were bringing me so much comfort.  I encountered the slow paced, let it all go, just be you, cry your eyes out, it’s safe here, let’s make some good food and talk and snuggle and sleep late and drink lots of coffee and talk some more feeling.  And then some more.  Home happened.  I am crying as I write this because God has healed my heart so deeply in the past 5 years. And his gift to me was to go home again.  He gave me a deep longing for home, but He did it by asking me to go on a journey with Him to the city. To leave it all behind.

It’s weird to go back to a place you left once you are healed.  It’s like I had new eyes to see and experience everything.  (I kept saying “Everything seems so little. The counters are so short. Was it always this small? Or did I grow?”)

My home life as a child was hostile and broken and heavy.  It was a place I couldn’t wait to leave. And I found myself sad to leave this time. But with a hope that I have never experienced before. I know that holidays will be spent there now. It’s the place I dreamed my children would enjoy one day. It’s the “country retreat” we joke about.

It is a place. But it is also a person.  God has been so faithful to heal my heart. My mom’s heart. And mend our relationship.  Going home to spend time with her is a dream come true.  She is so good at home. She is so good at love.  She’s so good at so many things.  And I am so thankful that she makes a wonderful, cozy home and opens it with so much love! So much I took for granted because my heart was hurting and broken. And so much God has restored in both of us so that home can happen again. The way He designed it to be.

I pray you all experience HOME. And that God heals your hearts to enjoy home. And the people at home. And make beautiful memories.

I am still a city girl. That may never change. But going home is now an adventure and a retreat.  Good for the soul.

XO-Celestial

A few culinary treats from the weekend:)

BLT

Mom’s BLT waiting for me upon arrival! Tastes just like summertime…

biscuits

I refused..like REFUSED..to learn to cook when I was young. Mom taught me to make her famous buttermilk biscuits. I have so much to learn:)

Bacon egg cheese

When I was a kid, I hated when she would make “Bacon, egg & cheese” because it was NOT like McDonald’s. Let’s blame that on an unrefined palette.

tomato

Heirlooms.  I kept saying over and over “Do you know how much these cost in the city? We just picked like 20 dollars worth of tomatoes!”  

mon picking okra

Okra pickin’

corn field

I love being able to walk out and pick my dinner from the garden.  

low country boil

 After an afternoon of fishing … we had a feast!  I am still shocked that my mom spread the food on the table! She has mellowed to say the least:)

 

A little weekend trip to Trinidad…

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Maracas Bay

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looks like a postcard

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sleepy little fishing village

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we felt like we were in a Jack Johnson video

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fresh pineapple soaked inn green spicy “something”

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scary, buff pineapple man laughed at my request for a straw

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sunny skies foreverrrrr

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Maracas Bay bird’s eye view

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everywhere the tropical flowers grow wild

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Port of Spain

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of course we must stop and taste all the random local treats

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and then more local treats

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Another cove beach surrounded by the jungle

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happy for any chance to wear the Chaco’s

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waiting for chicken and chips

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getting ready to zipline…. first time ever!

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This is my holy-crap-this-is-high-and-i-have-to-jump-off-what? face

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this place is called “Bamboo Cathedral” a beautiful path paved through the rainforest…

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homemade ice cream on the street…. there’s an “ice cream” street… I need to live on that street

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mmmmmm ice cream foreverrrrrr

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our beautiful host home….. we were extravagantly blessed to stay in this beautiful home with the most beautiful family!

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the markets full of fresh tropical fruits…… makes me long to live in the tropics

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papaya for days

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oh to have fresh tree ripened bananas every day

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strumming a little ditty

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it’s amaaaaazing what a 4 year old can convince a grown man to do! Master Negotiator!

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Rituals coffee is Trinidad’s version of Starbucks. We fell in LOVE!!!

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I finally got the Cuban food I was promised…… at the Miami airport:)

We had the BESSSSSSST time in Trinidad.  The people were so warm and hospitable. The food was spicy and flavorful…. ok sometimes spicier than I could handle!  For Kyle it was NO PROBLEM AT ALL!! We spent most of the time hanging with the local church who welcomed us like family.  Our friend Blake was the guest speaker at a conference(he wrote “The Veil”…click here to order his book…. it will change your life!).  We were blessed to assist him and be his ministry team.  We worshiped with the locals (I haven’t encountered God that much in worship in a LONG time.), walked the streets of the neighborhood and prayed for so many people (lots of healing, encounters and one man met Jesus for the first time), ate SOOOOO MUCH AMAZING local food, drank an insane amount of coffee, played endless games of hide and seek with our hosts 4-year old son and laughed so hard every single day that our cheeks hurt!!!

I love you Trinidad! You were so magical! It was such a gift from God that we got to make beautiful memories with you!

Until next time T&T….Ciao!

SE ASIA is calling….

It’s been a bit since I have sent an update and since I have been out on an international mission.  So I invite you into my little world to get a closer view of what’s been going on and to let you in on some exciting news…..

For a little over a year, I have been managing an upscale consignment boutique in Atlanta. I am super blessed to wake up every day and LOVE to go to work! If you know me, you know how much I love fashion. Every day I get to style women and love and encourage them.  And the favor of God in my job has blown me and everyone around me away!   I have had extreme financial breakthrough this year… debts cancelled and paid off! (Thank you Dave Ramsey!)

This past year, I taught a class on Missions at Bethel Atlanta School of Supernatural Ministry, did logistical planning of two international mission trips at BASSM, taught multiple fundraising workshops for missions at Bethel Atlanta, mentored BASSM students who are called to the nations, joined the missions board of Bethel Atlanta, moved to the most amazing riverside community that we call the “Garden of Eden” and traveled to Trinidad on a mission trip.  So as you can tell, it’s been a really amazing year!

I am so excited to announce that I will be travelling to Thailand, Burma and Cambodia on August 7 for two weeks. I will be joining Georgian and Winnie Bannov of Global Celebrations and their team to take joy and the love of the Father to the land that I love the most.  I have been asking Jesus for the next step of my journey and He said “My joy will be your strength”.  I felt so compelled to go with the Bannovs because they carry such extreme joy and love. And I really want to experience how they walk in that level of joy in a land that is so oppressed.

I would love for you to get involved in any way you feel led.  I would love your prayer! Your excitement! Your encouragement! Your prophetic words! Even your monetary support if you feel led to give! Your investment in this mission and the call on my life to take the Father’s love to the beautiful people of SE Asia will certainly not return void.  I pray for a hundred fold return for all that you sow into my life and this mission.

I have this fun game I play with Jesus…. I dream with Him about things I need for a trip , make a written list and then let Him provide extravagantly! And He always surprises me beyond belief. He has already been so extravagant this week in his provision. I wrote out a list of payment deadlines and then a wish list of items I need to travel and within two days someone gave $750 toward my first payment and someone else surprised me with a brand new fancy camera.  (It was on the list!) So I am super excited to see how He pours out his provision as I prepare for this strategic mission to the land that stole my heart a few years ago.

I invite you to come on this journey with me to Asia and into the Father’s heart as we love the beautiful people there.  I promise to keep you all updated! Stay tuned on Facebook and Brave New Girl Blog for updates and pictures. I am honored to know you all and call you friends and family! I love you all!

Blessings and abundance!!

Celeste  (Brave New Girl)

Click the link to watch the Global Celebrations video: (It’s really good!!)

http://www.globalcelebration.com/Southeast-Asia-2016-Tour

 

TO GIVE MONETARILY:

My personal Paypal: celestejohnson1109@gmail.com (if you do not want a tax receipt)

Online donations: https://globalcelebration.wufoo.com/forms/asia-2016-invoice/

(Please email me if you give online so I will know you gave)

If you would like to mail a check please email me for my address.

*A tax receipt will be provided for checks and online donations*

For those of you who like to see the numbers:))

Trip cost: $3000

Flight round trip: $1900

Cambodian Visa: $50

First payment of $1500 due Friday June 10 ($750 raised already)

Second payment of $1500 due July 8.

Flight purchase by July 1.

It is His kindness…

Some have asked if I have gone off the grid…..yes….I did.  🙂

And now I’m back.

There are seasons where people tell you that you are so brave…….and then there are times where you get to BE BRAVE! I think bravery requires a certain amount of danger or risk to really be considered bravery.

When I came home from Cambodia, I literally walked into a BRAND NEW SEASON!

New city, new roommate, no more school of ministry, no more family I was living with, no job, new relationship with Mr Amazing. ALL NEW!

Standing two months into this NEW almost completely blank season, i realize that what I am experiencing is actually what I have been praying for for a very long time.  When I said YES to God….NO MORE PLAN B…..i never realized the level of trust that would require on my part.  I haven’t felt brave AT ALL.  Like NOT AT ALL!

I have felt like I was in a swirling storm with everything coming at me at once and nowhere to hide and no way to comfort myself.

The storm is where Jesus so confidently decided to take a nap….and so confidently asked Peter to come out on the water in….Like walk out of the boat in the middle of the storm just because Jesus asks you to….because Jesus knew the storm was the precise scenario for Peter to encounter Him…and to forever change Peter’s life.

What do you do when the season is brand new? And nothing is familiar? And nothing about your scenario matches the prophetic words over you life?  Somehow my spirit knew that the only solution was just to hang with Jesus.

 He is the Way….Like He doesn’t just KNOW the way…He IS the Way.   When you feel really lost….hang out with the One who knows the way.

So that’s mostly what I have been doing for two months.  Sounds glorious….yes! It has been. But also it’s been one of the most challenging times of my whole life.

Nearly everything I have ever heard from God has been challenged….”Did He really mean that?” Tale as old as Adam and Eve.  hmm…

When I was in Cambodia I realized I was about to go home and I had not dreamed or planned anything for the next season of my life.  Like not one single thing….ok…i did plan to go on a first date (which was MAGICAL)! But apart from that….NOTHING!! It was as if I couldn’t see anything past Cambodia.  My whole vision and life and choices up to that point all pointed to Asia.  So two days before coming home, I had the thought…”hmm….maybe I should plan or dream something.  But I don’t even know where to start!”  So I figured if Jesus had so precisely orchestrated my world up to this point, He probably had a good plan for what was next.  That night I went to a prayer meeting that was supposed to be 30 people that ended up being just four of us.  So they prayed for me…..and finally there was some clue about this BRAND NEW SEASON!

“There is a reason this season is brand new.  The Lord has been very specific in making it brand new.  He had to.  God is preparing you for the greatest amount of favor you have ever walked in or imagined you would walk in. There is a table full of food that is for you to feast on.  The Lord is taking you from the mindset that the favor on your life will run out into a new way of living where you know your confidence is in God and a knowing that the favor on your life will never run out.”

So I walked into a BRAND NEW SEASON with THAT BIG WORD……aaaaaand where everything was unfamiliar and it appeared from the “outside” that everything had gone wrong….that I had “nothing”…..that I had perhaps failed….that I had “missed” the voice of God.  The road to the Promise can sometimes look nothing like what has been promised.

God told me as I was boarding the plane to America that I was going home, but I was still on the mission field.  God also told me that going to Asia was the end of a season and He was literally RESETTING me! What does that even mean?!

I am being RESET to live like a queen….body, soul and spirit.  Who doesn’t live from a poverty mindset.  Who rules and reigns in all areas of her life. Who creates her world with her words. Who walks in favor knowing her confidence in God.

So ALL OF THAT has daily been challenged…..like challenged so much I thought at one point I might go a little crazy!!  So challenged that all i wanted to do was hide until it was all over!

  But is something true because God said it? Or because I see it happening? God often shows us the end and then begins the process to what He has promised.

So I have begun this new chapter of my life…..and it is already so rich and full of God’s fingerprints.  I still have ALOT of unanswered questions and areas of my world…….but I know Him.  And that’s really all that matters to me.  I am learning to live like a queen.  He is revealing ALOT about my little world that has kept me from His promises.  And in His loving kindness, He is teaching me His ways.  And His ways are so extravagant.   It is His goodness heaped upon me that causes my heart to repent….and actually long for Him to teach me a higher Truth and Way to live.

So no more hiding.  Go be brave.

#bng