At the beginning of 2013, I sent out a letter to friends and family letting them know I was moving to Ecuador and why. The response has been interesting – many have forgotten, misunderstood or just didn’t hear the “why” behind what I was doing, so this is an attempt at a recap of the story. Obviously, it is difficult to compress a nearly five year spiritual journey onto a page, but here is the background of why I’m in Ecuador.
I was raised in a denomination that really had no idea what to do with end times prophecies and the book of Revelation, so they just wouldn’t talk about it. I vaguely knew there were several components – rapture, tribulation, anti-christ, millennial reign – and many theories about what all of them meant. I determined in my own mind that I didn’t even want to go there, because if there were so many opinions and nobody could agree, how could I possibly figure out what was the truth?! One of my biggest pleas to the Lord in my Christian journey has always been that I not be deceived and that He only show me the truth.
At the beginning of 2006, I felt the Lord calling me into an even deeper place of intimacy with Him. The best way I know to describe it was that it was a “Mary of Bethany” season of just drawing near and sitting at His feet. I quit my job in order to be more available to Him for whatever He wanted me to do. During that time, someone invited me to attend a conference (“Passion for Jesus”) at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. It was there that I heard someone say how many verses there were in the Bible about the things that would happen in the end times, vs. how many verses on many of the other topics we give more study and attention to. The question was asked, “If this is something that is so important to the heart of God, should it not be important to us too?” That finally got my attention! Although I had felt for years that we were in the beginning of the birth pains, up until that time I would have been what my pastor jokingly calls a “Panmillennialist” – meaning, I didn’t know what would happen but believed it would “all pan out” in the end.
I wanted to know more, but was still afraid to “lean on my own understanding” or that of others. I am not one to surround myself with lots of information and try to figure it out, because in the end I would end up more confused than ever! I did prayerfully read a book called “End Times Simplified” which was very helpful, and the main message I took away from it was, “If we really are living in the end times, how do we walk out our lives in light of it?”
Then five years ago at the end of 2008, I heard a preacher challenge people to read the book of Revelation once a week for a year. (He indicated that much of what has been misunderstood in interpretations is because there are things that will only become clear as they unfold, and knowing what is in the book is important so we can recognize those things when they begin to occur.) I decided to do that, but having no real background to understand it, I was a “blank slate”. I downloaded notes and study guides to begin studying and then strongly felt the Lord say, “No – just read it.” I questioned Him saying, “Lord, I won’t understand it?” and He said, “Read it and I will show you what I want you to know.” So I began to read it (every Sunday evening, start to finish). I didn’t do so with a mind of trying to figure things out – I just read it like I do the rest of scripture – with the Holy Spirit present and listening for whatever He wants me to see and hear (and honestly just trying to get it “in me,” believing it would all be things I would come to recognize later). But immediately the Lord began showing me that chapters 17 & 18 about the “Great Prostitute/Babylon” were about America! At first I could not accept it and began to argue with the Lord about it, but He kept making it more and more clear. I asked for confirmations (as I had never heard that before) and He gave me several (without me seeking them out). Then He began to highlight 18:4 to me – “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues” – and I began to ask, “What does this mean? And specifically what does it mean for me?” Then the Lord began to tell me that He would call me to leave as a sign to others, just as He did Ezekiel in Ezekiel chapter 12.
After A LOT of time and prayer, I shared this with my (former) husband, and although he did not believe it, he was actually interested in relocating for other reasons. At his suggestion, I was making plans for us to take a survey trip to Ecuador during the summer of 2011, but just as I was about to book it, my mother fell, which began a serious of health issues and hospital stays that ended in her death in January 2012, and my husband left in the middle of that time and divorced me in June 2012 – thus began my new journey.
When I began reading Revelation, I was not at all expecting to get what I did – and in fact I argued with God for some time about it, believing I had to be “seeing things”. But He kept confirming over and over what He was telling me and then what He was calling me to do. Believe me – I was much more reluctant and argumentative than Moses was about his assignment! But after wrestling with Him for three years, getting confirmation after confirmation, and then watching Him “wipe the slate clean” and pave the way for me to actually do what He was calling me to, I had to finally come to grips with, “Am I going to be obedient or not?”
The Lord made it clear that I would be doing this as a “forerunner” and that few would understand at the time, but that in time people would begin to see. He had to do a lot of work in me to prepare me to do something knowing I’m hearing from Him, despite what anyone else would think. That is in fact what many in the Bible had to do in their lives – and the truth is that those who prophesied God’s judgments have been rejected by most throughout history – until it happens.
I had heard it was said that America had not been mentioned in the end times prophecies. I always thought that was interesting – that the most powerful nation in the current world would have no place. Either it would be gone, or somebody was missing something. I now think it is both. It has been God’s nature all through time that prophecies are hidden from understanding until the time of their fulfillment (and then only recognized by a few). Honestly – if we had all known that America was Babylon years ago, would we all still be hanging out there? God could not reveal it until the proper time, lest His other purposes there not be accomplished.
Up until all this happened, I had been a “watchman on the walls” for years, pleading with God for America to return to Him. So once again, this was not at all what I wanted to hear. But something has happened to me that is very hard to describe – God has put in me a portion of His disgust over the corruption and abominations in our nation. I was beginning to feel it before He revealed the Babylon thing to me. It is very hard to describe, but the closest I can say is that it is what was said of Lot, “who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless – for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard.” (2 Peter 2:7-8)
So I am leaving in response to “come out of her, my people”, but it is not from fear, but out of obedience. I am a believer that our role in these times for each individual is to not “lean on our own understanding,” but seek Him in prayer for His direction and only operate out of faith and not fear. It is true that in the last days things will be bad everywhere, but the destruction of Babylon is a different thing. God never wishes for His people to come under the judgment of the wicked and He patiently warned Israel to flee every time destruction was coming, for those who had “ears to hear”. I do believe that although things will become more and more difficult everywhere, there will be pockets of mercy (like the promise given to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation), and I believe that although many will be martyred, there will be those who survive the tribulation, so that when He returns He “will find faith on the earth”.
I’ve asked God over and over, “Why me?” I think there are several answers, including that this answered some things I’d been praying for (but was not what I had in mind!) and that I was a “blank slate” when it came to studying end times stuff. I did not have my mind cluttered with all the theories or already made up. Anyway, for whatever reason, He chose me (and has been faithful to reveal to me many others who have heard the same word around the same time I did – some of who in fact left some time ago).
I want you to understand that although I firmly believe the Lord has shown me that calamity is coming upon America (and it doesn’t even take believing in prophecy to see that at this point), I am not running away! I do believe the Lord wants to warn His people to flee (and He’s using me as one of many voices to do it), but I am doing this because it is what I believe God is telling me to do, not because I’m “running scared.” I also know that although He has called me to “leave”, He has also called me to “go” and there will be plans and assignments He has for me to do here.
I know many of you will think my theology is whacked or that I’m just plain crazy – that’s OK – I’m in good company! Noah, Abraham, Lot, Joshua, Caleb (not to mention Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, just to name a few) and JESUS all pretty much got the same reactions! I did not walk through this in a vacuum – there are several people who have prayed with and shared in this journey with me all along the way. The bottom line is this – when I stand before the Lord someday, I would rather hear, “You totally missed what I was telling you, but I am pleased with your faith to follow what you thought you heard from me,” than to hear, “You heard what I said – why didn’t you obey?!” (If you are interested in knowing more from someone who has heard the same word from the Lord, read John Price’s book “The End of America”. But know that I was told about this book by someone who knew my journey, nearly TWO YEARS after the Lord began to reveal this to me – and interestingly around the same time as for him. It didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know – just gave more details and put “flesh on the skeleton.”)
Those of you who really know me well, know that I long ago stopped making decisions for MY life. My life is not my own – I was bought with a price (1 Cor. 16:19-20). My favorite verse has long been Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will direct your path.” This is the verse I live my life by – therefore I never have to make any decisions about my life except one – “Is this from God?”
I have been asking that question for five years and getting a progressively louder, “Yes!” As I watched the subsequent events of my life unfold (as well as continued events in our nation and around the world), I knew that God was lining things up for me to fulfill what He was calling me to do. I continued to ask, “Is it still Ecuador?” and I continued to get confirmations. So when I returned from a trip to Israel just before Christmas 2012, (with a sense that trip was a line of demarcation for me and that starting the first of the year, things would move rapidly) I simply said to the Lord, “I’m ready to close the door on my past and move forward into the new life you have for me – open the door and I will walk through it,” – AND HE DID!!!
So that is a very long (and yet still very condensed) version of what has led me to move to Ecuador. If you have read this far, “Kudos!” and may the Lord give you “ears to hear” whatever He may want to say through it to you!