5 months strong. 5 months weak. 5 months more dependent on Jesus. Team Ignition has faught the good fight of faith time and time again and now I write a tribute to the 6 people I have called family and partners in crime (Literally at times! Remember? 1 week illegal in Mozambique!). 6 radical folks of character with a natural disgust for pretending people, especially followers of God, that banded together through thick and thin for the 5 best/worst months of our lives. None of us would probably say they were the best 5 months of our lives and none of us could possibly say they were the worst but when combined . . . yes, I believe we would all agree. Expectations out the window, we LOVED. each other and faught for one another with a commitment in the progression of our God given gifts and callings to the point where we are now. Exhausted. Ha! We are tired folks. The Race is not over, nope! 3 months following our current one in India to go but we know in advance that we WILL be split up and separated onto male/female teams for month 9 and with this Race’s history of team change, anything could happen from there! So here I go, a love letter, as accurate of a description as I can give, and hopefully a tribute of sorts to the team that literally ‘started” movements of God all over the world with me this year:
Daniel Whited: What a brother in the faith and in this ridiculous world we call home. He is solid and yet comforting. He is wonderful and doesn’t even know how so. He is humble and yet knows a LOT about many things. He researches but goes with the flow. And for 1 month of my Team Ignition’s existence, he made our little family of warriors for the kingdom complete. Daniel was forced (following a difficult fight for his health) to return back to the US for medical treatment. Daniel and I went from teammates on Team Aletheia to Team Leader (Me) and my “safe place.” When Daniel was leaving the jungles of Kenya and leaving our team behind for the rest of the month of remote village ministry, he looked at me and said, “Don’t cry, okay?” I took his words to heart and sucked up my tears for my brother who didn’t want to leave but had to. He was gone for 1 minute, maybe, and the tears began to fall. 4 months strong, our friendship was deep and so private tears were shed and the comforting efforts of my girls brought me to this realization . . . Daniel, a man of high convictions and deep spirited love for God and His people, would always be in my life. Daniel, wherever you are reading this today, know that you have another sister to add to your own and my life is better because we traveled the world together in 2012 for 4 months of crazy missionary living. Those ties can’t be broken J
Diane LaCour: This girl. She scared me to death when her first encounter with her new team was to cry her eyes out and seem totally rejecting of the idea of being a part of this new group that was said to be “Ready to go” on this mission for God and His love to the world. She seemed ready to “go back” and I was at a loss for about 12 hours as to how to boost her confidence in what would be. No need for me to step in though. She came to our first lunch the next day with a fresh start all over her face! She was indeed “ready to go” and was the main instigator to all of our hearts in seeking the Father of Lights for what He had in store for the 6 of us. Diane . . . she’s a little fire storm and catching her in a moment of worship or a word from the Lord, is to be set on fire by God for the things that are His! The best and closest moments to God on this entire Race have been “ignited” by Diane and her powerhouse mentality about the way God works and how we can jump in and be a part. If someone could represent fire and water at the same time, I would say it’s Diane. She is the firestorm and the title wave of God and she washes through with force when she is free in God’s Spirit. I’ve seen her overcome the wiles of satan and I’ve seen her soar on the wings of faith. Her humor has lifted me up and her clever ways have sent me often over the edge in laughter! She loves children in a way that I try not to envy and their response to her is comforting that if there was just one more person on earth that truly loves the children like Jesus did when He walked the earth, it’s Diane. She took over for me in the area of finance in month 7 and showed a completely new side to what God has gifted her in. She serves now, 2 months in, with a mind for what is just, right, and practical. Three areas that I can greatly appreciate in her every day. She is beautiful and sometimes I feel like I can’t imagine life without her. God is going to change a nation through her and it will be the simple act of walking in the faith she experienced with pennies on ceilings that allows her to be the one to do that. God sees her faith and is daily drawing it out of her . . . she will only fight as long as her spirit can cling. I think that will be forever.
Tyler Lee: Ty is my wildcard team member. He joined us on our 2nd month as a team and has proven invaluable ever since. I love what he brings to the team AND to my life personally. We have close close mutual friends and now are the same, woven together by the fabric of God’s love and plans to form a unique bond of silent knowledge of each other and smiles that say 10,000 words. Our gifting being similar and our ministry minds being much the same, makes us a duo to be contended with and I say that with much priviledge and joy! Ty has struggled these 8 months (1 month back in the US, also for medical care). He has struggled as any human in physical discomfort, and often pain, would. He has walked in faith and literally rested in faith some days as well. He has been vulnerable in his need for us, his team . . .his faith fighters . . . and then he has led. I believe every member of the team, including me, has seen Ty as a strong contender for God’s kingdom on our team, leading us into battle sometimes by example and sometimes by words. His gifting are broad and his spirit leading exotic. He loves Jesus and fights to see himself in the light of Christ. He will. One day, Tyler Lee will lead men in the way that God has called them . . .courage and abandonment, settled by complete and unabashedly brilliant love.
Charlie Nance: There. Charlie is there. Let me explain. Charlie’s a tester, a questioner of all good things. He knows what he believes or he’s figuring it out by each passing day. This is where you will find him. There. You will find him there and present because he has chosen to be. In his belief of the day, he will embrace it and be dependable in a way that everyone else wants to be but just can’t accomplish quite as well. There have been many days that I have felt the need to pray for God’s character of stability that I see every day in Charlie for myself, especially in the way that I lead. This is a man of God. He was not born into faith but acquired it by testing the Spirit of God and coming up with the fact that God is real, truth is available, and that a life without Him is useless and boring! His spirit of adventure is contagious and the way he preaches, LORD! It’s so good! Examples galore and incredible practical for your every day follower of Christ! His friendships are sure and his enemies few. Charlie’s love for children has grown on the Race and his ability to connect to our squad with names AND faces, has shown a deep love for self-improvement and God’s relational character being acquired. I will certainly miss Charlie. He became my “safe place” and he didn’t even know it. Charlie, be yourself no matter what. God has a good thing going in you.
Ashley Francis: Man, that’s my girl now. She is feisty, fun, enchanting, and my greatest iron in the last 5 months. Ashley was a gift from God, an answered prayer, and He has used her in my life to shape my character alongside the shaping of hers. She doesn’t know a stranger and creativity seeps from her pours. She loves past loss and she pushes past pain to be a conqueror in all. Her musical ability is beyond understanding and her care for the every day people is inspiring to all who know her. She is contagious and she’s not giving up. What you expect is absolutely what you get in the very best sense of that thought! She doesn’t let you down and she wants everything and everyone to be people who love to please the Lord. Half-you know what is not in her vocabulary and she gives all she has when God ingnites her heart for the things that are His in kingdom work. Life is a marathon not a sprint and so each day has adventures, even if it’s only conversational in nature. She loves to sleep but makes good use of each day. I promise that there is not a child in Africa that did not get a high five from this life-giving girl. Jesus loves her and you can tell. She has been given a spirit of truth that radiates when she speaks out. When she starts living each day as if God has given her a microphone for His voice, that is when walls all over people’s hearts will come tumbling down. He will use her and the work will be big. Get ready world. Get ready. Set. Go.
Bryan Matthews: This kid will one day know how much he has meant to me these last 5 months, I hope. I love risk. I do. God gave me a heart for the risky children and Bryan is your typical son of God that loves life, freedom, and the out of the box experience in every day. If a day is boring, Bryan is ready to move. He is only ADD in the sense that he wants what God has right now for him . . .and right now for him . . .and right now too. He wants closeness with God and to be a soldier for Him with such passionate desire that every person in a room with him can feel the shift in his spirit from ready to past ready in about 2.5 seconds! His musical ability is the perfect example of God’s love in motion. His voice, guitar notes, and even radical growl with the pressure of the note is on are 3 examples of what I love about Bryan. He is vulnerable, loving, and strong. He fights for the broken, for the lost, and for all that have no one to fight for them. We saw many travesties in our time together. I always have known that what I feel about someone down and out, is also what Bryan feels for them too. We are together, devastated and broken for what also devastates and breaks the heart of our Father God. He is a revolutionist and he has the power of influence to be a game changer for the youth of our American nation. I see it. I see him sitting on a stage in front of thousands of youth, declaring to them God’s promises through basic words, real life stories, and music that will blow their traditional brains out. He wonders about why he can’t get this life right and that’s where my heart cries, “Have patience because as God is chiseling off the rough edges of your actions, He is building in you the most passionate heart that has ever been rescued from orthodoxy.” Stay loud, Bryan. Let your walk be to the beat of God’s heart. Commune with your Father. He loves you so much.
Team Ignition: A group of creative, worshipers who drastically love God and want His best in their lives. Stubborn people who feel really blessed to be called out this year. We want His character for all the days and we desire the change in the world to begin in us. We gave what we could and loved more than we knew we would. Our worlds expanded and our hearts were crushed with every broken life made new. Messy is a word to describe our hearts at any given moment but catapulted in faith is the result of this work and unified is another that brought change wherever we went. We did ignite. We held up to our prophetic name, no doubt! God received the glory as we roughed it in the jungle, as we traversed “trash mountain,” and as we crashed with the waves of the open seas of torn up spiritualism. Nepal brought comfort like a river and India brought a few signs of heaven. Altogether we were Team Ignition and lighting the way was what we did . . . not because we were naturally proficient but because we were called, went, and walked out the best that God had for us or learned that we couldn’t do it like He can. Sometimes He lets us go and sometimes He says stop and look at yourself and your motives. Either way, we learned. We were molded by mud. God was alive in and around us and He never left us alone, even for a single second, as we became what we were sent for. Ignition. First wave. Setting the tone.
“Thank you Jesus for your work in us, through us, and around us for the last 5 months of our lives in this world of Yours! We love you and we know that you LOVED. us enough to see fit to send us as we are in effort to help us become what this world needs. Your love. Your children on fire for You.”
I’m so incredibly proud of my Team Ignition. I’m so proud of all of you. Thank you for letting me “lead” you in all the ways that you have and for trusting me in the role that AIM gave me last year. You’re all so beautiful and an incredible example of God’s diverse character. He loves authenticity. Never change, my friends. You are His hands and feet and He WILL bless you with the fruit of your labor’s harvest. Settle in His love and test His Word to recognize His voice by His Spirit in you. He is with you. Thanks for being with me every day. You have seen my weaknesses plain as day more than some ever will. You are the picture of grace, no doubt. Our time together may be ending but my love for and belief in you never will. My prayers are with you and I am here. Thanks for being 6 of the most unlikely best friends that I have ever had. Jesus revealed himself to me through you every day for 5 months and now I know that He is fiercer, more powerful, more truthful, and drastically larger than I have ever known. Thank you.
Lauren Anne Clement!<><+ (Team Leader of Team Ignition)
PS Ashley Francis and I are still in need of funding! Please donate as quickly as you can if you are called to do so. Our FINAL deadline to be fully funded is March 1st. We both feel called to stay on this Race. You can donate by clicking on the tab to the left of this post (Under my picture!) or by clicking on Ashley's link to the left and scroll down. You may be wondering why I would mention her need when I have a great one of my own?? I have been advocating for my team for 5 months straight, I'm not about to quit now! We both are called and I know there are people called to give out there also! Thank you all and God bless you where you are on your Kingdom Journey!