Follow my Blog by Email

Friday, July 26, 2019

So... If you Haven't Heard... I Am Healed!


Image may contain: Tracy Lucia Galloway, smiling, outdoor 
At Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas with one of my sisters

I can doll up and put on a smile with the best. It's amazing what make-up, a good outfit, and fixing my hair can do for peoples perceptions. I can push myself hard and do what needs to be done briefly out of sheer tenacity, then revert to the daily reality this past year of inability to walk, talk, think, read or write. You may not know that I would rest for two days to be able to try and appear normal for an hour... then rest another two days to recover. So if you have seen me this past year, and I didn't look THAT bad, or maybe I chatted a bit with you and seemed kinda normal, it was all smoke and mirrors. Half of the time I didn't know what you were saying and if you got a text from me, I had to rewrite it 6 times to get it out correctly as every other word was wrong. I may have been sitting by you nodding my head as you shared, but you may not have noticed that I was pushing my hand into my side to keep it from jerking wildly. I didn't want to freak you out. I was biting my lip instead of screaming out when I felt a sharp pain in my heart or my head that felt like an ice pick jamming in. I didn't want to scare you. I was laughing at your jokes while trying to remember your name or who you are, even though we have been close friends for years. My delayed words were actually me talking a million miles a minute in my head so I could get the words out fast enough to keep you from noticing-noticing that I was horribly ill. 

Me on a rare "dressed and out of bed day" leaning on the wall as I can't stand. Sporting my "Reverse Ombre" I created and did myself in my bathroom, has it caught on yet? - Ha ha! Thought I would do something a little crazy with my hair as I wasn't pastoring anymore.

I have been on a 14-year journey of having "something" happen to me every 5 years or so. The first time I was 33 years old, then at 38 and again at 43; the last one I was 45. It is JUST LIKE A STROKE. It's not a stroke (as my brain scans are clear), but all of the symptoms are the same. As I recover in the Stroke Center of the hospital or in my soft memory foam bed for weeks... months... years... the question has remained... what is this that takes my life away?

A brief insight into what happens, as the last thing I like to share or hear from others is boring detailed medical mumbo jumbo... but, to be able to give God the glory for WHAT He healed me from 1 month ago, I will give a list of the top 10 symptoms to get it over with quickly for your sake and for mine.

Yay! This will be fun! NOT.

1. Heart pain, stabbing pain in the head, bright flashing light like lighting, inability to speak, walk, think, read. I could read a few sentences then it became blurry and I couldn't understand what I was reading.

2. Pain in heart, then head, then blank out for 15 seconds, lasted for months repeating every 5 minutes. This was basically a "Zone Out" every 5 min.

3. Lay in a hammock, lay in bed, lay on a sofa, couldn't talk much, follow conversations much, couldn't remember sections of my life and or people I should know. Confused. Seeing leaves rustle from the window took all my brainpower.

4. Felt like a 1st grader, lack of vocabulary or understanding of what is happening around me. Couldn't make decisions, any. "What would you like?" Became my go-to sentence. I didn't know what to wear so I put on the same thing every day. I didn't eat unless someone fed me because I couldn't choose. 

5. Repeating sentences uncontrollably, like turrets syndrome. Couldn't stop. Rarely happened, but pretty wild when it did. Something was definitely wrong.

6. Arms flailed around while I was repeating words and my body jerked. Juan had to hold my arms down with all his strength so I wouldn't hit myself in the face during these seizure-like incidents. 

7. Hands turning into fists, wrists turning under, arms twisting in. Head tilting to the right while arms & head jerked spontaneously. SO embarrassing. 

8. Communication problems, lack of filter in saying too much, couldn't understand what people are saying with multiple people in a room talking. Couldn't concentrate to talk if there was music or any noise around. It sounded like a roar.

9. Inability to drive, delayed response, flashing shadows on the road caused my brain to check out and become disoriented, lost, afraid.
10. Ten, twenty, thirty appointments & tests (some which take months to recover in bed and can't move) with doctors who give no answers and bill us to the hills. Wiped out all of our savings and put us in deep debt.

Holding Juan's arm while he helps me to walk alongside him on the boardwalk before a day at the beach to sit in the sand, rest, listen to waves, just be. 

In the midst of this, I am pretty proud of myself actually. I stayed calm, happy and thankful for the most part throughout. God was with me and I was thankful to be alive which overshadowed everything with a joy deep in my soul that I would drink from daily. I was alive. 

The bummer is my kids seeing me as an invalid and the burden I was to my husband, not that he treated me that way, he was amazing as usual. This was after all the 4th time this has happened, though this time was by far the worst. I didn't want to be a burden, but I had no choice. We called it our "new normal" to keep going through life as best as we could despite the circumstances. My kids told me they thought I may die and were spending time with me as much as they could as no one knew if this was something that would be permanent or even get worse.  That was sad. My poor kids. 

The view from my bed. Not so bad :) 

On the recommendation of my parents, I went to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on a credit card with my husband and sat in waiting rooms all day long trying to get in for tests even though I was scheduled to be there. This is the way they work I guess. Sitting for 6 hours in a doctor's office hoping to get in. Juan wheeled me around in a wheelchair because the facility was too large for me to get around. I received very few tests and had meetings with 2 world-renowned doctors. The neurologist there wanted to test me for Huntington's Disease which is a movement disorder that gives a 10-year life expectancy after diagnosis. It is quickly deteriorating and debilitating. Don't look on youtube to see what it looks like, just don't. It's bad. Hearing that possibility was not easy. We couldn't continue to pay for the hotel and stay the additional weeks to get more tests to confirm as it would be too expensive. I learned the hard way from other patients when you go to Mayo, you are supposed to get a one-way ticket and plan to stay for a month to get a diagnosis. Hotel for a month? Waiting rooms for days? No thanks. I didn't feel well enough to do more than a week of that. Besides, Juan had to return to work for our New York City Relief Gala and our airline tickets were non-refundable. I wasn't well enough to stay without a caregiver, so we headed home. Thankfully before we left, our Mayo Neurologist made a "Mayo Exception" and wanted to continue to care for me from a distance by sending me to one of the few places in the country that offer the tests I needed that happened to be in NYC, Columbia University Hosptial. 

Image result for doctor's office
I needed to meet with a new neurologist at Columbia before getting the movement study test. But then, this new doctor said after evaluating me that I did not have Huntington's Disease so they would not be testing me. That was great news! But at that point, I gave up. I couldn't keep spending money we didn't have to find out nothing over and over again. To be honest, the possible diagnosis of Huntington's Disease the Mayo Neurologist told me he thought could be what was wrong with me... kept haunting me at night. It could be a slow death filled with suffering. I was hoping this was not in my future, but there was no way of knowing for sure as the NYC doctor didn't do the test the Mayo doctor asked for. I hoped the Columbia doctor was right and that I didn't have it. Regardless, I was done. No more doctors. No more tests. No more. 


As of 4 weeks ago, my arms were turning under and flailing uncontrollably more than ever. All-day Saturday my body and head jerked until I was exhausted. I holed up in my bedroom with the door locked so my sons would not see me and worry. It was SO BAD, worse than ever. A normal person would have gone to the hospital, but I knew there was nothing they could do so I suffered alone in my room all morning and afternoon and night jerking over and over again to the point of exhaustion. 

Then I got MAD. I got really, really, really MAD.

I was so tired of this! I was not going to have it ANYMORE. Sunday morning my sweet husband left early to go preach at a partner church and both my boys went to work. I was alone and determined to pray through this. 

Now don't get me wrong, I had read books (once I taught myself to read again) on healing, I had prayed and received prayer for an entire year. I am a believer in healing. I became a Christian in a mega faith church of 8 thousand and even worked there and at the 700 Club on the prayer lines praying for peoples salvation and healing all over the world as a teenager. But over the years, I had drifted from this stance to a more "balanced" approach to my faith. It is good to be level headed, but in this circumstance, instead of believing for my healing the past 12 months, I was asking, begging, hoping, and when it didn't come, I was accepting the sickness as my lot in life and through it, I would "suffer well" and let God's glory and peace shine through my life despite the hardship. 

I believed 60% wholeheartedly for healing and 40% of me was singing "It is well with my soul" accepting the situation and responding with the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control the best I could in my "humanness" -nobodies perfect. Most of the time I felt like I would die soon, or die sooner than most. But at this point, on this day, at the end of June, I was ticked off at the sickness. Angry. Fed Up! 

Image result for introduction to god wants you well
Short Booklet as an Intro to more books and teachings

I took a healing booklet my female minister friend from Foursquare originally from Nigeria gave me called "Introduction to God Wants You Well - Change Your Mind and Change Your Life" I had read it before, but this time was different I was going AFTER IT. I was going after my healing with a fiery rage against it. I went into one of my many hammocks (I had acquired over the past year to lay in and recover) and read through it with authority, praying, declaring, worshiping... and I didn't stop. I just kept going and going and going. All morning, all day, I prayed, I declared, I changed to different hammocks and chairs outside as I prayed, worshiped and confessed healing verses over myself commanding my body to submit to the word of God.  I started around 8am and continued until I felt a breakthrough at 8pm. 

I immediately felt a difference. I am well. I knew it. I am healed. I knew it. It is finished. I knew it. 

I let my husband know that night who hesitantly listened. I emailed my family the story who expressed worry over my declaration. I knew everyone would have to wait and watch to believe. But I believed 100% - It is finished. 

Image result for pastor mike leahyNow I have been healed before. Years before my friend Pastor Mike Leahy from Liquid Church visited me at the church I was pastoring part-time called Garwood Church. He anointed my head with oil, and I was healed that day. Before that, I could not stand long enough to preach on Sunday mornings so I would use a table and a stool or a leather chair to deliver the messages. I couldn't go up and down stairs without hanging on to the railing and hobbling down. I was getting worse by the day. But after Mike prayed, I was set free. Totally well. His church even highlighted my healing in a video here: 

Image result for label maker liquid church

Experiencing this miraculous healing was awesome until a few years after... last summer on June 4th 2018... I was "knocked out for the count" again. It was a long year of horrific suffering until Sunday, June 30th, 2019 I declared in Jesus name that I was once again healed. Both times were miraculous. Both times my healing manifested differently. Both times were a move of God-no doubt! If this was a test of my faith, I was going to pass it. I will fight tooth and nail to fulfill all of God's purposes for my life and this time I had to get ticked at the devil. So ticked!  

It has been four weeks that I have been well and everyone is starting to believe it now. I do have shooting pains now and again and I speak to them with anger and authority, get out! It goes. I am in a battle every day, fighting to continue to believe, continue to walk in my healing, declaring life over my body. I have been praying for the sick more lately as people hear my story and then they ask me to pray for them. I am trusting that God will get all the glory for performing His word in my body every day continually. 

Amen - so be it. 

Beach Day after my healing - Point Pleasant, New Jersey with my husband, son & ministry friends from New York City Relief & Helsinki Relief - That's in Finland Yo! 

Here are a few of the truths that I am confessing, 
and commanding my body to believe every day. 

Image result for the bible

1. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me.

2. Jesus went around casting out demons and healing people all day long. All over the New Testament, He is just healing people one after the other. If Jesus lives in me, then He can continue to go about healing now, here, me. 

3. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

4. "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. Immediately the father of the child cried out, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" 
Mark 9:23-24

5. Proverbs 23:7 "As he thinks in his heart, so is he."

I am continuing to build my faith in this. I am not perfect, and I struggle every day to continue to believe 100% and declare with the faith of a mustard seed, 
"Sickness - Move out of my body!" Nothing is impossible. And as I think I am healed, so am I. When I doubt or have a pain I pray, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief!"

Looking forward to growing old 
and being an awesome "Mombo" for my future Grandchildren!

Just as God gave me salvation, a new life, holiness, purity, authority, giftings, He has given me HEALING. I just need to WALK IN IT just like I walk daily in His other gifts to me. Just as I am saved by faith, I am anointed by faith, I walk in the prophetic by faith, I preach by faith, I counsel and love by faith, I am just as much healed by faith. I will take my healing Thank You Very Much.

So here I am, walking in it, healed, not just saying it. I REALLY AM HEALED! My hand and arms that would turn in and jerk multiple times every day have not done so since my "day of prayer" 4 weeks ago! I am so thankful and I give all the credit to Jesus who has given His life for me, so I could walk in all levels of freedom: emotionally, spiritually, and yes even physically. 

Two Days Before June 4th, 2018 Incident
If:Gathering Leadership with my Selah Women in Ministry Group at my home

Image may contain: 16 people, including River Rebecca Galloway, Chris Mayes, Jess Wright, Lydia Lucas, Jan Conklin, Lauren Elgin, Karen Shannon, Heather Kohler and Denise Pasqualone Cicchella, people smiling, people standing, outdoor and nature

Time to get the "Girls" back together! 

Walking out my Faith - Age 46 - Tracy Lucia Galloway :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

36 Questions Podcast - Do you want to hear my voice?

36 Questions

So my sweet husband Juan and I started a Podcast on a lark really. We decided, downloaded the software, and recorded our first episode all within one hour! Talk about spontaneous!  And so it continues... once a week, we sit down and record a podcast where we answer one of 36 questions that lead to a deeper more meaningful relationship. This is to in turn, help the listener to copy and do likewise with the people in THEIR lives. We have had TOO MANY friends and family go down the rabbit hole of lost relationships and want to do our part to lead them, or others, maybe you, back into the daylight of authenticity, honesty, and hope for relationships with spouses, friends, family, co-workers, parents, anyone really, as long as it is a God-honoring relationship. Below is a link to check out our brand new podcast 36 Questions. Now you Blog readers have my voice to go with my writing -Yay! Lol who cares? No one. But that's okay :) If you enjoy this Blog, you may also enjoy this short fun podcast. I warn you, the first one is super off the cuff rough. But you will see as each episode goes by, we sharpen and polish it to be more enjoyable for the listener with music written by my husband for the intro, fun stories, book recommends, and more to come... 

Here is the link to copy and paste in your browser: 

Image may contain: Juan Galloway and Tracy Lucia Galloway, people smiling, people sitting and indoor

The Princess Bride and Long-Suffering with Hope and even JOY.

Image result for princess bride

Are you of The Princess Bride generation? I remember my high school friends and I would watch it over and over and over again. A cult classic! I can't count how many times we have quoted "Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!" My kids were raised on this quirky movie.

Image result for hello my name is inigo montoya name tag

There was something so attractive that the young farm boy would come for his love, no matter the cost earnestly looking into her eyes and saying "as you wish" which meant "I love you." Yet each adventure is lined with adversity. Each victory is after a desperate struggle - in my life and maybe even yours. We want adventure, victory, and joy without the pain, the hardship, the cost. And yet, one does not happen without the other.

Image result for the princess bride

My struggle, my hardship, my cross to bear, is that out of nowhere, I am broadsided by an intensive health crisis that has no name, has no cause that we are aware of. I can go from traveling the world, speaking and inspiring hundreds of people, to laying out flat on the bed unable to speak. Sometimes accompanied by so much pain I hope for heaven to come quickly. It is a journey that has lasted for many years, over a decade. I am teased with health, and strength, working out at the gym for hours at a time, and event leading events & groups of people confidently, with deep and complex solutions to many problems that came across my desk. And then at other times, I can't even talk without a stutter and feel like a 3rd grader. This from the girl whose greatest fear was to appear incompetent is now desperately so, with this unknown neurological demon that has tormented my body with what mirrors strokes and hundreds of Transient Ischemic Attacks - TIAS and seizures. Kind of like when the main characters in The Princess Bride are traveling through the Fire Swamp and out of nowhere different kinds of attacks jump out at them/you/me and 1/2 the time they don't know what is happening to them/you/me, but somehow, they/you/me survive.

Image result for the princess bride forest scene

And yet, in the midst of the dark parts of this journey of life, there is a victory that has been won this time around. This time around, (there have been about 5 times this has illness has happened to me lasting for weeks, months or years depending...) this time... I am not afraid. I am not sad. I am not discouraged. Not at all. My joy is made full in Christ. It's an unexplainable joy, confidence in God and hope. That if I must suffer, I will suffer well. If I must wait, I will wait patiently. If I must lose all the ground I have gained, all the milestones I have achieved, I freely and humbly offer all my crowns to the feet of Jesus. If I can do nothing, if I can say nothing, if I can achieve nothing, I am still pleasing to God, He loves me. I harbor no resentment. No confusion. No "why me." No, that is not my jam. My heart is to fully offer all that I am, functioning high or low, fast or slow, to Jesus, my savior and soon coming King of my life.

Back to The Princess Bride. There is this scene that is not my favorite, in fact, I think it is the saddest scene in the movie. The one where the farm boy turned pirate is captured and held underground at an undisclosed location called "the pit of despair" hooked up to a torture device that sucks the years out of his life.
Related image

I can relate to this. The years of my life spent in bed, or in a chair looking out the window in a hazy fog of mental nothingness, the years of my children growing up around me while I lay on the sofa barely unable to move, again, with no diagnosis really, no cause, therefore no treatment besides green juices, gluten-free and dairy-free diets, vitamins and prayer. Years of my life have been sucked away due to illness. More than I want to count. And now, as I lay in bed once again, watching the day turn into night, and then again and again and again day night, day night, day night.... as I look out the window not able to think, talk... Now leaning into week 11 of being incapacitated (actually upon posting this blog I found today - we are in month 7), I could be sad. As sad as the young farmboy in The Princess Bride was after suffering pain and loss and then even what seemed to be his time of death in the movie after the torture was just too much to bear, and he cried. I cry as well sometimes.... but honestly, just like Jesus rises from the dead, even death has no power over me. For when that day comes, I will also rise, rise into my new healthy spiritual body, free from sickness, free from pain, and be truly physically free to match my spirit and my heart that already is so.

Image result for the princess bride death first

At one point in the movie, the young farmboy turned pirate fights with such determination, that he shouts death first! Meaning he will die fighting; fighting for his Love. And I will do the same. I will fight until the end to return to health, fulfill my call on this earth to preach, to teach, to mentor, to love, to help, to advise, to guide, to start, to build, to plant. As long as I am here, which in "God time" is like a breath, I will use what mental capacity I have, what strength I have, to love Jesus, my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, and every person and situation He has placed before me with all of my might. Death first! Even unto death, I will fight to stand, and to stand strong in the power of His might, that no weapon formed against me would prosper and that the healing that is in His wings would wrap around my body and set me free.

Image result for images of the princess bride

Maybe now, maybe here, maybe not. But regardless of what happens, I am thankful that I am growing in the fruit of the Spirit that no one wants to have, that no one prays for, that no one covets. It is called "LONG-SUFFERING." It looks different for each of us. To some, it may be a marriage that has found its way into a dark place, for others it may be a job that you despise. For another, it may be a person in your family who acts badly toward you continually, for years and years. For me, it's this health crisis that causes my whole life to be set on hold once again. Regardless, like the old hymn, "It is Well with My Soul" and I know that my "healing will quickly appear" in God's timing. Until then, I am thankful for each moment, each small victory, and how my story will bring Jesus glory over and over again.

Image result for images of the princess bride

Forever Thankful for your prayers,


His bride.

Sunday, September 3, 2017


I am known for having ideas. Lots of ideas. So many ideas that my 2 sons have trained themselves to just say an enthusiastic "great idea mom!" multiple times every day to whatever thought I throw into the air that lands on their ears. They know that most of them will never come to fruition, so they just give an encouraging nod to my latest vision of how to make the world a better place. This could be as simple as how to open a banana more effectively (peel from the bottom instead of the top) or a complete re-design blueprint for a Syrian refugee camp in Greece to be more of a village with a community vibe with jobs, schools, gardens, builders, and open markets within a healthy system. 

But this summer I came up with a doozy - and we did it. I called it THE SUMMER OF BECOMING A MAN. This idea was born out of the limited time I have left to raise my sweet son Corban. We are on countdown mode. Counting down the months until he leaves for college in 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours 20 minutes and 7 seconds no 5, 4, 3.... This makes us panic. Panic. Did we raise him as best as we could? Did we teach him all he needs to know to be a man in the world without us looking over his shoulder? Hovering by his bedroom door peeking in and asking him questions about the latest task we hoped he had completed. How will he survive without us much less thrive? This was the heart of my latest fantastic idea! 

My husband and I talked about all of the things that a GOOD man would do, know about, be aware of. We made a list. Things that he had yet to do or needed to grow in just a bit. It looked something like this:

1. Have a good job - He left Burger King job and as applying for Starbucks. Not bad for 17.
2. Drive their own car. Check!
3. Play a sport well. Ping pong and golf even pickle ball, yes pickle ball. Done.
4. Grocery shop (we can't be sexist you know, and hey, it's a basic) Love how guys just get the list.
5. Cook a healthy fresh dinner - Thank you Blue Apron!
6. Know how to change the filter in the furnace. He didn't know where or what this was.
7. Climb to the roof on a ladder (every boy's dream really) to get his Gumba's half-ball. Don't ask.
8. Change the oil in a car. We nixed this as no one needs to know how with $30 oil changes. 
9. How to change a tire. 
10. Ask a girl on a date and show her a nice time. We may have to give up on this one. He is SO SHY.
11. Play in a rock band. (Juan thought this was important.)
12. Take Dave Ramsey's Full Online Personal Financial Management Class. Check.
13. Take John Bevere's Full Online Workshop on how to know your Calling in Life. Did it.
14. Plan, prepare, pack and execute an overnight camping trip with his little brother. (It rained the WHOLE time but he had a great attitude and they had a great time anyways)
15. Help the poor. Going on The Relief Bus in NYC to help the homeless is a staple in our family.
16. Invite over friends to have a fun time and be a great host with drinks and food.
17. Run errands for the family.
18. Build something out of wood for the backyard.
19. Study 2 hours a day for the SAT with consistency and diligence.  
20. Lead a devotional that is from the heart. 

I am sure we could come up with many more things. And we did do a few that seemed more like chores in the yard to be honest, but for the most part, we tried to stick to things that would help Corban to "BECOME A MAN."

We are missing some of these "rights of passage" in our American culture. The Jewish culture has the Bar mitzvah which happens at the ripe old age of 13. But what about when a young man is on the cusp of venturing out into the world? Why not have a "Right of Passage" created by his very own family full of activities, ideas, and adventures that will help to make the transition more fun. The last night of Summer, the day before his first day of Senior year, we are going to hold a ceremony. A right of passage of our own making. 

The ceremony will consist of our oldest son Corban leading a devotional at Washington Rock. A special place in New Jersey where we live that General George Washington looked out to see the British movements to keep his troops safe. We will then give him a token, a gift to wear that will remind him of his "Summer of Becoming a Man" and of his commitment to integrity, purity, and to be a man of God. Oh, and a BIG knife. Men like that. 

Maybe you would like to create a "Summer of Becoming a Man" for your son one day? If so, enjoy every moment as the countdown clock is ticking... tick tock tick tock. 

Friday, February 19, 2016


 To The Ends Of The Earth...

Just got home a few hours ago... from the other side of the earth. That scripture in Acts 1:8 to preach the gospel in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth have now taken on a whole new meaning for me. Check. Done that. I have done lots of missions before, but never this far away. I left the iron protective gate in Dagupan, Philippines Youth With A Mission Base on Sunday morning Feb. 14th, Valentine's day, 8am. After taking a group photo with our new missionary friends and our "New York Team" - we set off home. Just got home, 11:30pm almost Tuesday the 16th... to my snow covered kitchen porch with an Amazon box from my always perfect gift at the perfect time sister. The ice crusted box that must have been sitting in the snow for days was filled with "Bath Bombs" to relax after returning home from our long journey. 

Door to door, this "to the ends of the earth" return trip was approximately 40 hours of travel by van, a short sleep in a hotel in dark and crowded Manila, taxi, plane to Hong Kong, China, plane to USA with 10 hours of mostly turbulence over the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean to a Shuttle driven by my always cheerful father-in-law and to home. A place of comfort and familiar smells. It is good to be under my soft fuzzy blanket in bed, finally. Yet I am tormented.

Tormented by the girls faces. H___l, P____a, R______e, R______a, and the others, the girls who live in the slums where raw sewage runs past their shanty homes and into the river. The place where dark hovels are the only homes they have ever known. Trying to be cool, whiting out their faces to look more pale, grasping for acceptance and a future that I pray is not in the arms of a tormenter one day. Will they follow JESUS into HIS AWESOME PLAN for their lives or repeat the generational demonic stronghold that trips up even the most hopeful of children... We taught them a drama about keeping safe in the arms of a loving God, away from drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and human trafficking, do they realize that the drama was for them? 

There is a light in these slums though, the light in the eyes of the smiling children, filling the tiny maze alleys, grabbing my hands and hanging on my arms with enormous smiles like I was a long lost mama who finally came home to visit them. 

No white people. None to be seen except a glance of an older white woman in the mall who looked as surprised to see us as she her on day two during a passing glance. All 10 days we were the only non Asian people I saw in Dagupan, Philippines. People don't usually travel this deep in. 7 hour drive from the city into the Northern Philippines. We were far away, very far away from home. To the ends of the earth. Thanks Missionary Gina for taking good care of us.

We stayed at the "Youth With A Mission Beach Base" 1 block from the "red light" prostitution district that was dangerous at night. This beach was not what you would imagine. Beautiful, but a prison just down the street with shanty's on the beach. A prison built to hold 250 but currently holds 850 men in mostly open air minus the thick cement walls, all wearing yellow t-shirts. We ministered there with testimonies and music in what could be called a courtyard but was more like an abandoned factory with 1/2 a tin roof, and tarps rigged up to keep the hot sun off the necks of the prisoners. It was an uncomfortable feeling at first being locked in with hundreds of criminals sitting right in front of me. 

After they started to praise and worship, my soul was put at ease. They enjoyed my husband's band with our 2 sons and great friends playing alongside. The prisoners sang the na na naaas with gusto. Seemingly truly touched by the messages from our team. Genuinely thankful that we would visit them. Prison. That was on my bucket list. I could not believe that after being a Christian for 29 years I had never visited Jesus in Prison as He had asked me to do. I was so thankful to finally get this opportunity. Scared a bit at first, but truly thankful. Thanks Missionary Coy & friends for taking us there. 

You see, God never said He would keep us safe. I was in multiple dangerous situations throughout our time in East Asia. Danger of sickness, danger of being robbed, danger of motorcycle side car wreck or an open air Jeepney fall (not really). Danger of being taken advantage of in multiple ways. Danger. It is dangerous to follow Jesus sometimes. And therefore many people decide not to go. Not to put themselves or their children in danger. It is in the danger though where new levels of faith, miracles and trust come into our hearts. 

You see, our light does shine brightest in the darkness. But if we do not go where it is dark, we may never notice any light in us at all. Thanks Missionaries GiGi, Queenie, Analiza, Aldelfa, Dreb, Fronie, Coy, Joel, Novie, Gina & Manny and all wonderful missionaries for shining your light daily.

So back to the girls. I used to lay awake at night for years thinking of what it must be like to be human trafficked, to have to prostitute oneself to survive, to be forced to do internet porn to satisfy the nasty desires of sinful men and women and in return get paid a pittance while the evil men and women fill their pockets with cash to exploit me.  Now I have names, faces, of girls my sons age, pre-teens and teenagers, women, men, even young children to this horrific practice. I was able to spend time with them. Minister to them. Speak to them one on one and try to help them to find a way out. Their faces are flashing in my mind as I attempt to adjust, to sleep after this 12 hour time change adjustment. 

What will I do now? In the coming weeks I will be recovering, praying, seeking God as to what could I possibly do from 1/2 way around the world - it really is 1/2 way around the world. There are many things that are possible, but what is Jesus calling ME to do? I will seek His face and take action. As usual.

Above is me preaching with missionary GiGi translating.
Thanks for listening, now Go. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. What are YOU waiting for?

Serving Jesus to the ends of the earth and here with you,
Pastor Tracy Galloway

A Shout Out to our AMAZING sons Corban and Connor with whom we are so proud of for sharing their stories so eloquently, loving on the people, and experiencing a new culture with gusto and a great attitude. You rock. Literally! Thanks to my adoring husband for "making me go" it was fun; far away, but fun!

Where are you going to go? Pray about it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Daughter and ISIS

My 17 Year Old Daughter and ISIS

It is crazy what things come down my path of life. ISIS for instance. It is so far away, so terrible, like many injustices around the world. But when it knocks on our families door, how do I respond? Let me start from the beginning...

This past winter, our younger daughter joined University of The Nations, also called Youth With A Mission AKA YWAM, that is just the start of all of their acronyms that can be so confusing to the newbie. Like DTS. Short for "Discipleship Training School." Maybe I have lost you already but basically, there are over 1000 YWAM locations around the world where teens and young adults can grow in their Christian faith by doing a 3 month intensive Bible training called Discipleship Training School (DTS) then go on a two month outreach (helping local people with acts of service) to a country not to be revealed until after the students are about midway through their courses at DTS. After completing the outreach, they graduate DTS, then move onto college, a job, or more YWAM AKA University of the Nations classes at whatever location worldwide they like. These courses are varied from deeper bible courses, first-aide, journalism, performing arts, photography, teaching, and more. They even have a surfing school. Yes, it is that cool. 

Our daughter's goal has been to go through DTS with YWAM and then attend what they call a "Secondary School" in Taiwan for Sequential Arts (Basically Comic Book Art) as she would like to be a graphic novelist one day.  Great. Perfect plan for our younger daughter who has been passionate about reading, writing, and drawing most of her life. Out of many YWAM locations for her DTS, she picked Orlando as she worked there last summer with their SOS - UGH another acronym, standing for "Summer of Service." Ever heard of "Christianize?" This is "YWAMize!" Lost you yet?

So, our girl loved her DTS in Orlando this past semester, great program. She was learning more about God, the Bible, Jesus, and preparing for her outreach. We were told it would be in Northern Africa, great! My husband, his father and mother, myself and our oldest daughter have all done missions/relief work in Africa. Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa. Yay. We are all for it! 

Then the beheadings happened on the beaches of Tripoli, Libya. Northern Africa. Hmmmmm. I googled where that was as they replaced geography with sex education when I was in high school. I was not sure how close this chaos may be to Tunisia where our daughter was going weeks from then. Bam. It was the country next door to her outreach location, and right on the border of her country. She was even headed for the coast north of there less than a days drive.

At this point, I figured she was bound for a different country, 9 hours drive from where the Libya ISIS was currently infiltrating, which when you think about it,  it is the same distance from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina. Not too close right? I was not too worried, but I did want to do my "due diligence" and research more about ISIS which I had limited knowledge of, find out more about why ISIS was in Northern Africa instead of just the Middle East, where they were headed, and why? 

This began my late night hours of research online for the month of March. I searched every news outlet in the US, BBC, as well as Al Jazeera. The more I learned, the more I became concerned. So I dug deeper. I read blogs by people in the Middle East, surrounding countries of Northern Africa, local towns, news in Tunisia and Libya, the most up to date reports daily throughout. I dedicated about 1- 3 hours a night to educate myself on the situation. 
Mass graves of Christians with their organs removed, sold for money to buy weapons. Killings of women, grandmas and grandpas, children, entire villages. Forcing young girls to marry them for one week only to have as a personal sex slave, then divorcing them so the next soldier can do the same, repeat, repeat, repeat to help with their guilt of sex trafficking and rape. The new knowledge that they actually want a war with Europe and America as some militants feel called of Allah to bring about the last holy war, the battle of Armageddon, well, that was worrisome. 
After a week or two, when I felt like I had a grasp on the movement of ISIS in the region, I contacted the leadership of YWAM for Orlando to see if they were aware of the recent events in the area they were bound for with their DTS team of students. Their limited knowledge concerned me. Besides the beheadings, they were unaware of the movement of ISIS headed West toward their relief work location. In addition, ISIS had the most recruits in the world from the country of Tunisia, my daughter's destination. The muslim extremist men were currently returning from the war in the Middle East with the goal of taking over their local North African towns for ISIS to carry the same clout and power locally that they felt on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. Here is a Map of their movement from early in 2015:

We wanted to pull our daughter from the trip. Who would send their teenage child to the middle of a war zone? It  would be like sending her into Nazi Germany as a Jewish girl in the 1930's or sending her into Rwanda during the Rwandan holocaust of the 1990's. It was crazy. Our long time friends who are missionaries in Muslim Burkina Faso Northern Africa even said "Don't send your sweet daughter there."

But, our family, being a family of missionaries, who does crazy things most of the time, like working with the homeless of New York City, helping the poor in Haiti during Hurricane Sandy that struck that Island first, heading into Uganda Africa with a youth group weeks after many Europeans were murdered (hacked to death) in the forest, and many more adventures that most "normal" people would never consider an adventure much less ever consider doing, that is sort of our "thing." Maybe because all of the above experiences are truly the highlights of our lives... so we prayed about it. We found this to always be a dangerous thing. So dangerous that I regularly say, "I don't want to pray about it." But at our daughter's request, we prayed to see if God would have this team go into this area, and maybe even change the heart of one young suicide bomber that would in turn save many lives if they were to let go of hate, and learn about the love of Jesus for all people. 

I then in addition thought about United States military moms who have their children in the thick of battle carrying guns, and knowing that their sons and daughters are currently walking on the most dangerous parts of the earth. They let their children go to protect the innocent. Would I as a Christian parent allow my daughter to go into the battle zone to win hearts for Jesus and in turn hopefully turn people towards peace, restoration, healing, blessing?

Lastly, my youngest son reminded me of the story of Abraham and Isaac in the bible where God actually asked Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son:

Genesis 22:1-2  "After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son."

 I always thought this story was crazy! Why would God tell him to do that? We know that it is a foreshadowing of God offering His son Jesus as a sacrifice for all, but still... Abraham just seemed like a crazy man right? Was God asking me to be a crazy person like Abraham? Was he asking me to sacrifice our daughter? 

To top it all off, I just happened to be doing a sermon series at my church the same week of this decision called "Heroes." That particular Sunday, I was highlighting the Green Lantern who spread light in the darkness and I connected that super hero to Stephen in the bible who was Martyred (stoned to death) and his face shown like a light. I also highlighted in that sermon a modern day hero: Steve Saint - yes that is his real name -  whose father was a missionary that was speared to death trying to reach an unreached violent people group in the Amazon. Steve Saint later returned and led his father's killers to Jesus and even adopted his own father's killer into his family as his children's grandfather to replace his father. It's an amazing story of forgiveness and restoration if you ever want to watch the movie. My brother-in-law Mike did the movie poster :) Hey Mike!

Our daughter grew up around missionaries and loves superheroes. Super Heroes are her passion. She is one of the few girls who has loads of comic books and watches every superhero movie with gusto, repeatedly. She loves the idea that an underdog, or mutant, or someone of not much significance in the worlds eyes, can change the world for the better and defeat evil. That is one of the reasons she is willing to live all the way out in Taiwan, just to perfect her comic book art skills.

The more I prayed, the more I felt, I should let her go. I knew that this choice was going to make a mockery of my mothering abilities, that all mothers and most everyone would disagree and think I was crazy like Abraham. But I was sure, that God was asking me to take a step of faith, and for us, being wild missionaries already who have done our share of loads "are you crazy" things, it would actually take something this crazy, this insane, to test our faith in a very real, heart wrenching, challenging way. 

Before I called to give the "okay, she could go" I just had to speak personally to one or two missionaries on the ground in the city she was going to. All the smaller local North African news blogs and reports seemed to show ISIS was headed in the direction of her destination, and even that ISIS was already there underground waiting to attack. I needed to be reassured that this was media hype, and she would most likely be okay. After contacting our large network of missionaries friends worldwide, I got a connection from the Philippines who had an old friend who was a missionary in Tunisia. After e-mailing back and forth a few times, being reassured that he and his family were enjoying the Mediterranean Ocean, shopping at the mall, and eating out, with many tourists from around the world, in perfect safety, I made my final decision. She could go. We felt good about it. We released her to God fully, whole heartedly. She was going!

I proclaimed on Facebook, "We decided to let her GO!" I shared with my worried congregation Sunday morning who thought, like everyone else, we were insane. But they were too kind and gracious to tell me so. We only had one stipulation. If there was a terrorist attack in the city she was headed to, we would then pull her from the trip, her Orlando YWAM leaders agreed. Otherwise, we were letting her go, hoping and praying that a terrorist attack would not happen during her 2 months in that region, which was a very real threat.

It was a Wednesday morning, just a few days before my daughters planned departure. I was at my Ladies Life Group Bible Study where I talked with my friends and had to let them know "yes, I am letting my 17 year old daughter go into an ISIS area to do missions." But even though I am sure my friends were sick with worry, and wondering if I was insane (I had questioned my sanity myself a few times), I felt a peace that was indescribable in that I knew, come what may, I had passed this test. I was laying my daughter on the alter as Abraham had with Isaac, as the Father God did with Jesus, and saying, come what may Lord, we will follow you. Little did I know what was happening that exact same hour of my announcement. Little did I know as I was telling my friends that I was letting our daughter go to North Africa, that over 64 tourists and locals were being shot or injured in a museum in the exact city she was headed towards in just a few short days. 24 people murdered in cold blood by local ISIS militants who had come home from the war, out of the underground to kill the infidels (which surprises me that they don't consider themselves infidels as killing women and children seems pretty infidevilish - I made up that word) 
(running for their lives outside the museum)

Genesis 22:9-18
11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;[b] as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”[c]

That night, during my nightly ISIS research, I learned indeed a terrorist attack right where I thought there would be one weeks previous, had actually happened in the city I predicted.  I could not believe that my research was actually right. After warning YWAM  that this looked like it would happen, it actually did. I was surprised and saddened by the loss of life, the poor families, the 10 years of democratic progress Tunisia had made, was shifted into a hard reverse, all in one morning. The area was suddenly extremely volatile. 

I felt the Lord tell me, "this is your ram in the thicket, you can pull her from the trip; well done good and faithful servant."  We passed the test, we were willing to give her to the Lord and let her go, but did not have to make the ultimate sacrifice we thought would be required of us to worry every moment she was over there, and quite possibly receive devastating news. Like I am sure Abraham did, we breathed a sigh of relief and called YWAM to let them know she would not be going with that particular team. There was an ISIS attack. That was our ram.

YWAM being responsible, decided to cancel that particular location as they are not allowed to send DTS teams of students into "Hot spots." They would not be going to Tunisia anymore after the ISIS attack. But the new location was likely going to be in the middle east, and we did not know where yet. So we waited a week to hear. Then we were told they were going to Turkey as well as Algeria in Northern Africa. I was not thrilled about Algeria as that borders on Libya as well, but after finding out that the refugee camp she would be building a school at out of sand bags in the dessert was very, very, very far away from the ISIS activity, we were okay with that. Turkey would be fine if it was Istanbul or on to coast, as it is very European and safe generally, and I have a wonderful friend from there, but if they were going near the Iraq border in Turkey, we could not let her go, as ISIS was in control of that region, it was way worse than Northern Africa in that part. After multiple calls and emails requesting where in Turkey the students would be going, and not getting a response from her leadership, we sadly had to decide to pull her from the trip all together. We could not let her go close to Iraq and no one was telling us otherwise. So the Ram in the Bush for us was also a different trip. But our journey was not over, she needed a replacement outreach to graduate from DTS.

15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his[d] enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

So we did not withhold our daughter. We were willing to send her, but where? I went into "Full-Time Find an Outreach Mode" I spent up to 6 hours a day contacting YWAM bases in Africa, Europe, Asia, India, South America, Central America, Australia, America, asking if she could do an outreach with their DTS team so she could graduate her DTS and go onto secondary school in Taiwan next year. I must have contacted and personally talked with over 50 YWAM bases. I got no, after no, after no, after no, after no. Every door closed. Finally I was able to reach The Big Cheese of DTS Leaders with University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii and he was able to ask his good friend to do a personal favor and allow Hailey to join their missions outreach team to Haiti. Thank you so very much!

Our daughter was so kind to be okay with not going with her friends to the Middle East (at least on the phone with us). She said "Dad, Mom, if you guys think it is not safe, I trust you because I know you both do crazy things for God, and if you think it is not safe, it must be pretty bad." When she found out she was going to Haiti she was excited as her good friend went there last year and she was actually familiar with the Haiti training from helping with that team during her Summer of Service (SOS), last summer. Also, her Dad, sister and friends from New York City Relief had all been to Haiti to do relief work a few years back. We were excited to get her plugged in somewhere even though the additional cost was a significant blow to us, somehow, it all came together down to the last day and off she went. It's funny to be relieved to send your daughter to Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, that is not known for it's safety in itself. But we were. We were relieved. It was nice to have a good nights sleep, finally. 

It is crazy what things come down my path of life. ISIS for instance. It is so far away, so terrible, like many injustices around the world. But when it knocks on our families door, how do I respond? Hopefully with wisdom and faith. 

Haiti report coming soon... here is a sneak peak at our daughter in Haiti:
as well as Israel missions report from our oldest daughter who returns next week.... and West Virginia Appalachia relief report this summer from our oldest Son of 15. Yes, we are all about that. That is how we roll, almost ISIS and all.

The Galloway Family 

To learn A TON about ISIS in a riveting video great for Christians, Muslims & Jews go here: