Saturday, November 27, 2010

Relationships, Evangelism, Botswana, and Thanksgiving...Oh My!

11:55 AM
Well I haven’t blogged in about a week or two, but things have definitely been happening! The week after the 50th celebration we had a video teaching on relationships by Dean Sherman. It was an excellent and relevant teaching. I heard a lot of the information that I used to teach in the classroom with IMPACT, but with Scripture and a Biblical perspective. That was pretty awesome. We’ve started moving forward in planning the purity ministry for our South Africa outreach. I was able to present our STD slideshow to the team, to help educate them on sexual health for our outreach prep. It was fun, yet a bit awkward, presenting that message to my peers for the first time. But helpful nonetheless!

The following week’s teaching was on Evangelism. Bob Felder came up from the YWAM Miami base, and gave us practical speaking points we could use while sharing our faith. So many times the reason I don’t share my faith is that I get hung up on what to say, what not say, how to say it clearly, and how to have it make sense. But Bob put all those fears aside and gave us a simple method to begin engaging people in spiritual conversations and follow it up with the gospel. We were able to practically apply the information as well, when we went door to door in our neighbors with the intent of sharing the gospel. It was terrifying and unnatural, nor would it be my typical approach to witnessing, but overall it was a positive experience that I walked away from.

Other awesome news regarding our outreach, we will be traveling to Botswana as well! Located just a few hours north from our Rustenberg, South Africa location, we will be driving up to Botswana to help begin planting a new YWAM base there! While our South Africa will be mostly “Westernized” with some modern conveniences, like electricity and internet, our week in Botswana most likely will not be. Regardless, we are all pretty excited to be adding this to our outreach!

This week was also Thanksgiving, and YWAM Orlando celebrates like none other! Tuesday night, we all went to Publix as a base and bought our groceries because everyone brings a dish. It was pretty entertaining to see 70 people I knew grocery shopping at the same time! On Thursday, 150 of us gathered together for a “family” meal. I’ve never seen so much food in my life! And it was all delicious! After the meal, the guys played some competitive football…the northern states against the southern states. It was a nail-biter, but the North pulled out the win! Other highlights of the game were the halftime show and the Craig & Dean commentary. All in all, quite enjoyable! After the game, we pulled out all the food again and ate dinner and watched Elf.

Me and some friends left for Tampa on Thursday night as well, and I’ve been showing them around the area for the weekend. It’s so great to not only see my family and friends, but also to bring a little of my YWAM world into my home life. But mainly, its been great to relax and sleep in and enjoy the holiday. So that’s what’s been going on in my life. Hopefully I’ll get back to regular blogging again soon!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

YWAM Southeast Conference & 50th Celebration!

12:22 PM
This past week, we hosted the annual YWAM Southeast Conference for all the bases in the southeast, and that was followed by YWAM's 50th Celebration. And, we actually hosted it at our new property! YWAM Orlando has only owned this 198-acre property since August 31, 2010, and our team has been working non-stop on this land to get it ready for this event. It's been amazing to see the transformation of the property just in the 8 weeks that I've been here! The biggest blessing of the week was to see the property used not just for a "work day", but for actual ministry! To see people doing their quiet times down by the lake, enjoying a meal on a picnic table, and sipping coffee at The Depot, it was like a glimpse into the future of YWAM Orlando, and it was super exciting. For example, here was The Depot previously, and then transformed to be our coffeeshop/store!

Also, it was SO fun to meet YWAMers from all the other bases! Nashville had come down a week earlier to help us with some property work, and we all got pretty close to their DTS students. But for the conference bases from Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Richmond, Louisville, Charlotte and Atlanta joined us as well. We were challenged by the speakers to care for our bodies in service to God, to get a vision for our own future ministry, and to be part of the next wave of missionaries called to the nations.

Then on Wednesday, we began celebrating YWAM's 50th Anniversary. Bases as far as Madison, WI and New York City came to be a part. And YWAM founders, Loren & Darlene Cunningham joined us as well! It was such a privilege to be part of this DTS that was able to celebrate YWAM's history as we look to its future. We got fired up for the call to the nations and knew we were here "for such a time as this." We finished the week with communion, a commitment to be part of the Great Commission, and prayer for the nations. It was powerful.

I put together a video of some of the highlights from the week, with photos from some friends and videos I took on my brand new FlipCam. So, check it out!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Everything is Illuminated

2:12 PM
One of the very first verses I memorized as a child was Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” It’s short, easy to remember and repeat when asked. Plus it provided basic truth about God’s Word, it’s a lamp and a light. Illuminating my steps. Awesome.

But this week I read this verse with new eyes. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Notice that first, the word is a lamp for our feet. Meaning giving us light for the next step. Then it’s a light to our path. Meaning its showing us what’s ahead. So often, even more so now, I want my whole path lit. I want to know the big picture. But God’s only illuminating my next step, giving me just enough light for my feet. And when I try to light my own path, I fail. Isaiah 50:11 says “But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.” Yeah, I really don’t want to lay down in torment anytime soon, so I’ll just hold off on lighting my own paths.

I just finished reading the story of an awesome YWAM couple, Floyd and Sally McClung, whose ministry lived this out as well. In the 1970’s they were traveling through India, and met American teens, far from home and begging for money. They were disillusioned hippies, following the Hippy Trail through Europe and the Middle East looking for enlightenment, and finding drugs, sex, and disease along the way. The McClung’s felt God’s call upon their lives to show Jesus to these lost and searching souls. Over the next 20 years, they followed God’s voice step by step to Afghanistan to Amsterdam, loving these fringe kids and society dropouts in the arms of Jesus. At times they were unsure of what their path was or where their next steps going to be, but their faith and trust in Jesus kept them walking.

I can really relate to that. It seems like all God is lighting up for me now is DTS. But my steps afterward just aren’t lit yet. And I’m having to trust in His all-knowing wisdom and perfect timing to light things up as I go. Patience is sure better than lying down in torment, I say.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Letters, Love & Prayers Vol. 6

9:19 PM
Dear Family & Friends,

I can’t believe its November already! Time has just FLOWN by here in Orlando. If you haven’t been keeping up with my blog, God is doing so much in my life through this lecture phase of training. Hearing the Voice of God with John Bills the first week was so revolutionary to how I approach God. It’s such a simple concept and so crucial to our faith, yet it always seemed so elusive...the voice of God. Now, recognizing His voice is a regular part of my day. The week on Biblical Restoration, taught by base director Michael Berg, was absolutely beautiful. We had the opportunity to move out from under the oppression of unforgiveness and past hurts. Favorite line of that week was “Hurt people hurt people, healed people heal people.” Our school leader, Ezra Griffiths, spoke on Lordship the following week. Another challenging and life changing week that had me praying “God, anytime, anywhere, any place...I’m yours.” Humbling. We also learned about the “Mighty Nations” in our lives, or our strongholds, from Mary Sliter as we prayed for freedom. Last week, Al McBryan taught us on the Character & Nature of God, which was so intellectually challenging and exciting. I cannot wait for the upcoming weeks of classes!

Class with Michael Berg, YWAM Orlando Base Director

Coming up the second week of November, we have the privilege of attending the YWAM Southeast Conference and the 50th Celebration, which is being held at our very own new property! YWAM bases from all over the southeast will be joining us here in Orlando for a week of amazing worship, teaching, prayer and intercession on behalf of the nations. We will be also celebrating YWAM International’s 50th Anniversary. YWAM founder Loren Cunningham and his wife will be joining us for the celebration and dedication of our new property. I’m super excited for this event! It’s such an honor to be a part.

Also, our outreach to South Africa is approaching, and I’m looking forward to it more and more! South Africa is a land of many extremes - very wealthy and complete poverty, highly educated and total illiteracy, excessive availability of food and total starvation to name just a few. There is also the very real problem of racial tensions and the pandemic of HIV/AIDS where 61% of all deaths are related to HIV/AIDS. Our team will be going to South Africa with a heart to show all that Jesus stands for; compassion, justice, giving to the poor, relentless love of the sick, comforting those who are in mourning, and those with no hope.

As you can see, the needs are huge. I feel so privileged to be able to go to South Africa and bring God’s grace and mercy to those who have never known it! Through your prayer support, we together can have an eternal impact on these needy lives! Being part of this DTS, I have not only gained statistics about the suffering people around the world, but I’ve gained a heart for those people, children of God, who have faces and dreams and passions.

So that’s what happened so far here in Orlando and what’s to come. Please keep up with my blog for even more posts and updates as I journey through this time. Some areas I would appreciate your prayers are:
• Increased discipline. Now that the newness has worn off, and we settle into real life, please pray that I’m continuing to be consistent with studying, memorization, reading, communication, and spiritual growth
• Continued support. I am still in need of the ground fees for the South Africa outreach, which is about $700 And also, that my awesome monthly supporters would remember their monthly pledge & continue to give faithfully. [You can give through PayPal at my blog, or mail a check to Watermark Church, P.O. Box 7925 Tampa, Florida 33673]

Thank you so much your prayers and your encouragement. I appreciate you so very much.

Me, Katie and our new roommate Mikaela, from Sweden!

Kadie, me, Victoria, Katie and Mikaela waiting for class to start

Playing speed beach volleyball during rec time. I totally dove!

Hanging out at a YWAM open mic night!

Night out at City Walk Orlando with my DTS friends

Staff and students preparing to work hard at our new property.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

God is Real

10:34 PM
Ever need a moment just to KNOW God is real? I sure have. I’ve believed in God since the age of 5, and have been serving Him since 16. He’s shown up time and time again in my life, and I truly believe I’ve encountered Him in a real way. But over the last few years, that sure-fired confidence has waned, and all I wanted just to know that I know that I know that my God is who He says He is.

And that’s exactly what He did for me today. God showed up in such a personal and private way that there is NO DOUBT in my mind of who He is. Man, did I need that confidence! I feel like I had been walking blindly in faith for so long, and I was growing weary. Today was like a warm breeze just waking me up. God pursued me today, and I heard Him. And I got to encourage a fellow sister that her word from God was dead on, which lifted her spirits as well.

I was too excited not too share! I love God-moments!