Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
Read below to hear from Michael about some changes going on in the lives of the men living at the Vatican, including summer internships and where the men are going to be next year!
“There been some changes recently with who is living in the house. My roommate Isaac has basically gotten custody of his 2 year-old son. The son (Mason) moved in and lived with us for a little while, but they recently moved out so that he would be in a better environment to be raised. It was definitely for the best, but it was fun having a 2 year-old roommate for a few weeks. My friend Toby, who came to Jesus several months ago, moved into our house to take over Isaac’s part of the lease. School is ending and summer is approaching. Three of us (Michael (me), Phil, and Zach) will be gone all summer. Zach has an internship doing actuarial science, I have a mechanical engineering internship at Bell Helicopter, and Phil has a Marine Corps camp that he must attend as he is becoming a sergeant. Next year all of the same roommates, and a couple of additional ones, are moving into a different house together. The landlord of our current house is trying to sell it, and therefore it is not up for leasing next year. The house we are moving into has had a group of guys living in it the past 2 years who also do house church here in Austin. It will be cool moving into a house that has had Christians living in it who do the same thing we are doing.”
Below are testimonies from Michael, one of the men living at the Austin I.G. house, of a couple people who have been touched by God on 6th Street.
God has been doing a lot of great stuff with the guys in our house. A few of the guys from the house regularly go to 6th street every Saturday to simply show people God’s love and be led by the Holy Spirit. As I have mentioned before, our friend Chris, whom we met on 6th street, had an encounter with God when we prayed for his leg to grow out and his knee got healed instead. Chris is now a regular attendee of our house church. It’s really wonderful to have Chris come around and feel so comfortable with us. He is 20 years old and has had a rough childhood. He knows the CPS system very well and has never had much family in his life. He has problems like everybody else and just needs more love in his life.
A lot of other really cool things have been happening on 6th street as well. A few weeks ago we were just walking around on 6th and we saw this guy with a boot on his leg. By “boot” I mean one of those black medical casts that people wear when they have a foot or ankle injury. My friend Martin and I walked up to him and asked him what happened. He told us that he fell off a roof and shattered his heel. He let us pray for him, and as we were praying he felt heat flowing through his foot and up his leg. Afterward he was able to put pressure on his foot, which he wasn’t able to do before. He was really excited at this point, and he let us pray that he would experience more of God’s love and presence in his life. As we prayed, he started feeling heat going all throughout him and his hands started shaking. The whole time this was happening, his friends were waiting for him with a cab, so he was in a hurry.
We got to encourage him and let him know that what he was experiencing was God’s love for him. I emphasized that it was Jesus who healed him and that He just wants a relationship with him.
These are just a couple testimonies about what God has been doing through 6th street ministry. Thank God for using us and going with us everywhere we go.
Below is a testimony from Annie, one of the women living at the I.G. house in Las Vegas. She shares about an experience that happened recently in which the Lord moved her heart and taught her some valuble lessons about His love through seeing “the one” and serving ”the least of these.”
The past couple of months have been full of adventures, but there is one testimony in particular I would like to share. It all started with a desire to have a Dairy Queen blizzard. As my boyfriend and I ventured out on our quest to Dairy Queen, we saw a woman with a cart on the side of the road. It looked as if she was frozen to the spot since as we drove, she did not seem to move at all. The Dairy Queen was closed and we wanted to see if the lady was okay. We pulled up next to her and asked her if she was okay, to which she didn’t respond. We thought that maybe she couldn’t hear us, so we decided to pull over and got out of the car to talk with her. It was clear that she was homeless, but it also turned out she had just been released from the hospital, couldn’t walk very well, was freezing, and her clothes were substandard. As Michael prayed for her, I was talking with Papa and asking him what in the world I was to do. Unfortunately, I couldn’t just bring her home without my roommates first being asked, but I certainly couldn’t expect another person to take her in either. God reminded me about the good Samaritan. It dawned on me that the good Samaritan didn’t take him home, but rather put the man he encountered on the side of the road up in a room. So we did just that.
Getting her to the Motel 6 down the street was rather hilarious. She had a hard time moving her legs and the jeep was quite high, so Michael was on one side pushing her up while I was attempting to pull her in as she was talking to her leg saying, “I’m trying to move you leg, now listen and move!” I’m sure we looked a bit hysterical. We made it though and got her settled in a room. The other challenge in this whole situation was that she knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to voice it, so to some extent she was coming off as if she was giving us orders and demanding things from us. We could have been offended by that (especially since we were the ones helping her), but God was speaking to us about a servant’s heart and the position he took when he washed His disciples’ feet being a model for us to follow. By washing their feet, He was doing the job of the lowliest slave during that day and age. So it’s hard to be bitter when God asks us to take the position of a servant without complaining or grumbling. We also recognized that this woman desperately needed help. In the end, we were able to get Maria (the homeless lady) the things she needed and share the gospel with her.
Through this one testimony, God put together many lessons that could be shared with the community at my house and apply it to our relationships with one another. I was able to talk to everyone about Romans 14 and John 13 in particular. We are meant to help bear one another’s burdens and watch each others backs. The idea of being servants to one another is also made even more evident when you live with each other. Even simple matters like doing chores around the house play in to this, since you are no longer just cleaning for your self, but now chores become an opportunity to serve those that you live with.
Hope all is going well for the rest of you, and I hope you are just as blessed by this testimony as we are!
One of the ways you can sow in to what God is doing in the community houses is by praying for them! Below are some points of prayer shared by Ryder, one of the men living at the Austin I.G. house:
“1. A lot of us have recently experienced inner healing, and we would like continued healing in some areas of lives and hearts. Some of my personal issues I dealt with were social anxiety and a general feeling of insecurity about my identity in Jesus but as Jesus has encountered my heart, I am now walking in greater truth and freedom in these things. Please continue to pray for all of us to experience greater transformation and healing.
2. We would like prayer for safe travel over the holidays as many people travel to other places to be with their families for Christmas.
3. We would also love if you all prayed for increasing unity in the house! We are all very close, but want to walk in more of the unity of the Spirit as brothers.
Thank you for your prayers and we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!”
Below is an update from Michael Strickland, sharing in detail some of the exciting things happening at the Austin I.G. house in the past few weeks!
Toby is a friend who I met about a year ago. Someone invited him to our hooka house church/bible study me and a few guys were doing, and at that time he did not believe in Jesus. Toby was actually raised Jewish. After a few weeks of coming, he started opening up more and being more personal with us. We started to have good conversations about Jesus and were reading the bible together. He eventually started to join in when we would pray together or pray over someone. As time went on he started really enjoying reading the bible and praying with us and often said he felt the presence of God when we did those things. I can’t think of a specific date that he started following Jesus. For Toby it was a process of experiencing God’s love at a personal level that eventually led him to realize that Jesus was the one true way. He has probably been following Jesus for about 3 months now.
A few weeks after he really started falling in love with Jesus we went down to 6th street to pray for people. 6th street in Austin is like a miniature Bourbon Street. As we walked around praying we approached a guy who had a sling on his arm. We talked to him for a while about how much Jesus loved him and we got to pray for him. He had a lot of physical problems wrong with him. We prayed for him and his headache went away, and he also said he felt a lot of peace. It was really awesome and I could tell Toby was encouraged. Throughout the night we prayed/talked with some other people and God was really speaking through us.
Later on that night we were walking back to my car and a homeless man approached us. He started rambling about football. We listened to him for a while and he eventually asked for a dollar. I felt like I should give him one. After giving him a dollar I asked him if we could pray for him and he starts to kind of freak out. He says, “Yall are Christians?! Awwww man I cant believe yall are Christians.” I couldn’t tell if he was upset or sad or what. He immediately started sharing about how he had been thinking about going to church the next day and went on to tell us all these stories from his past about when he saw God doing things in his life. It quickly became clear that he wasn’t upset, but he was blown away that here God was still seeking him out on 6th street! It was really incredible. Toby and I just start telling him about God’s love for him and how much God cares for him. We pray over him for freedom from addictions and depression. After about 10-15 minutes of talking to him he says, “What do I gotta do man? What do I gotta do to follow Jesus?” So we lead him in a quick prayer to accepting Jesus. We talked with him for a while, gave him our phone numbers, and referred him to some churches in Austin. This was Toby’s first night out praying for people and a guy gets saved! Toby said it was one of the best nights ever. This was about a month ago.
Last night (12/4) we had our first official house church meeting at our house. It was really incredible. People from all types of circles came. There were people from AA, students from UT, and this guy who is a hair stylist/makeup artist. People were so open with each other and we worshipped, prayed, and discussed the bible for a total of about 4 hours. And to top it all off, Toby got baptized!
Hey IG Family,
I wanted to fill you in on a few of the exciting things that we and God have been up to at the Purple Parrots Community House (odd name, I know.) Towards the beginning of the month, we all went to a showing of the movie “Tony” by Invisible Children. For those of you who don’t know, Invisible Children is an organization that fights for the children in Uganda who are in danger of being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army as lead by Joseph Coney. The children are of all ages and some are even forced to kill their own parents. After watching the video, we all felt it pressed on our hearts to do something about it. As a house we’ve decided to team up and fight this injustice by supporting Invisible Children, fundraising, and having showings of the video at our house to motivate others to get involved as well. It was also amazing to see how the video had motivated us in our studies since it is a privilege for the children of Uganda to have an education whereas we tend to just take advantage of our education.
Since we live so close to school (University of Nevada Las Vegas), we all tend to walk to our classes, which is incredibly nice, since I no longer have to commute for 40 minutes to school. Along the way, there are many homeless people. We began to notice this as a reoccurring theme in our lives. So, a few of us got together to make lunches for them so that on the way to school we’d have something to give them in the morning and hopefully have an opportunity to pray for them as well.
One of our prayers has been for our home to be a refuge for others and for God’s peace and love to saturate every person that walks in. It’s been amazing to see this prayer answered, evidenced feedback from friends who visit, commenting on how peaceful the house is. Even a plumber guy who came by the house was a bit shocked by how calm things were. We’ve also had a regular visitor named Elle. Elle is actually mentally ill and so talking with her is always interesting, but at the same time you can tell behind it all she has a heart for justice and is strongly moved by Jesus’ love whenever we pray for her. Her face brightens every time I ask her if she’d like prayer. We also had a random night where four of us in the house woke up around 3 am and each of us felt God leading us to pray that night.
It’s been absolutely amazing to see God move in and through this community. Although living in community certainly has its struggles, it also has caused tremendous growth in each of our lives. For me (Annie), God has been challenging me in many areas of my life. You see, this semester I had over packed my schedule. Between work, school, logistical matters of the house, leadership in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and a few other things I literally had zero time for any of my roommates and slowly I began to feel the disconnect. After spending a weekend away from everything God reminded me of how he had warned me about joining leadership with IVCF since it would overload my schedule (which it did.) So long story short, I ended up having to go to my IVCF leaders and repent for taking on the role of leadership when God hadn’t called me to leadership in IVCF. Also, as a leader in the house, being spread so thin was definitely having a negative impact. I was also struggling with my school work on top of it all. The amazing thing though is as soon as I stepped down from leadership in IVCF, it was like the flood gates opened up. I suddenly seemed to understand the material in my classes and I ended up acing my tests. Everything just felt like it was moving again, and it seemed that at one point God was challenging me in the areas of teaching, pastoral giftings, and prophecy all at once. It felt great to be where He wanted me.
All in all, it’s been a joy living in community even in the midst of the struggles. Please continue to pray for us, particularly in the area of conflict resolution and the subjects found in Ephesians 4. Thank you so much for your support!
An update on the month of October from Isaac Snow, a resident of the Austin I.G. house
This past month at ‘The Vatican’ we continued to see Jesus dominate all depression, stress, anxiety, discord and sickness that would arise. I personally have been encountered powerfully with Jesus’ love and have witnessed this equally in the lives of my roommates. The enemy has attempted to have sway in the atmosphere of the house and in our lives, but we have been developing a swift recognition that our complete identity resides in Christ. Every moment He dwells in me and I am released from anything other than Jesus himself. There has been a nasty flu/cough/cold/allergy wave swoop through the house several times and it hasn’t affected us negatively. If anything, it has brought us to a place of our dependence remaining solely in Him. We have been praying for healing over one of other during these last few weeks. Everyone is busy with either work or school but we are always available to spend quality time together, and it’s not a strain or obligatory since we enjoy being a part of each others’ lives. Thank you Jesus!
Cameron, Zach, and Michael have been spending time in our prayer room basking, praising, and worshiping early in the morning before they scurry off to school. We all stand in awe that He died and was resurrected for His divine demonstration of this loving grace that is incomprehensible in its fullest. A year ago, I personally was so broken and dependent on drugs and alcohol that I sought out the Lord with the ‘desperation of a drowning man.’ I honestly did not have many options left but to find God. In all reality, He found me, coming to meet me in my brokenness. This past year I have been praying and meditating on Jesus, asking for His help daily as I’ve been working through a 12-step program. I’ve also become more and more involved in recovery groups and house churches in Austin. I never understood fully what the cross meant until I experienced the Holy Spirit supernaturally encounter me, and Jesus captivated my mind when I spoke his name. I now truly experience peace that surpasses all understanding. I never could conjure up faith, but I have been given a strong faith by God Himself and for this I am eternally grateful. I simply began seeking Him a year ago and tremendous growth has ensued.
I have recently been getting my son Mason for weekends and all the guys have been so welcoming of having an eighteen month old boy come and stay with us. Having the type of joy that a child like my son brings to our house is incredible. He sleeps in the room with my roommate Zach and I. On many occasions, he has woken up crying, waking Zach at the same time. I asked Zach to let me know if this bothers him because we could sleep in the prayer room, but he says he honestly is not bothered by him when he wakes up. Last week was Mason’s second visit to our house and everyone told me that they noticed a significant difference in the words he was speaking, and could understand things he was saying. I saw them interact with Mason and it was sweet indeed. They sincerely enjoy him being there every couple of weeks, and understand that he will be a disturbance here and there if he is crying. I am very blessed to have such spiritually sound dudes around my son for the next year to come.
All of the guys that are students are involved with various student Christian groups. Michael has started a hookah house church. We have been going to 6th Street with our friend, Will, praying for people and bringing the joy of Jesus to those we come across. We all have personal friends over that may not know Jesus, but are a bit curious. They come to the house to hang out and we just ‘chill’ and develop relationships with them. We also have plenty of our fellow Jesus lovers over for large gatherings where we fellowship, share, pray, and praise our Lord together. Heidi Baker’s personal assistant Ania Noster came over one night when all the house churches met up to hear her speak. It turned into a crazy night of praying and worshiping fueled by the Holy Spirit.
We do plenty of good ol’ fashioned Bible reading together as a house, but it normally isn’t as rigid or structured as Bible studies can be in the conventional sense. We are immersed in his love non-stop and it just happens naturally. Some weeks we take communion every night and sometimes only twice a week. As a community of brothers in the house, our relationships with Jesus and with one another flourishes naturally. We recognize that we are wholly complete in Jesus, and fruit exudes entirely of Him through us. We no longer must perform under our own will power to pray, read the bible, love on others or do anything else other than that which flows naturally and spontaneously under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit. Lately we have been brimming so full of Jesus love that we love doing all the things listed above that done by our own initiative would of have been missing the whole point of what God did for us through His Son. Guilt to perform is not what we are compelled by. The enemy is tricky, but Jesus captivates our mind through the wisdom of His Joy, and we are fooled no longer. This last few months have been AWESOME! Thank you IG supporters!