Author: Blogs

rwjydnhatw-alex-wong

Accepting Freedom

  |   DTS, Lecture Phase   |   No comment

For a reason I cannot explain, I decided it would be a good idea to go for a run under the sweltering afternoon sun yesterday (Saturday). The first mile was a painless cruise, and I smiled and waved at each passerby. Shortly after that first mile I began to feel the intense heat on my face, but shrugged it off and kept on rolling. Eventually I decided to turn around and felt an instant wave of regret. The wind was to my back and the sun was directly on my face. I felt like I was running through a wildfire, and I’m sure I looked about that way too! I stopped for a second to wipe the sweat from my eyes, and then pushed on as hard as I could until I reached home (funny how I now refer to YWAM DP as home). But I didn’t stop running once I made it back onto the path that leads to my casita; I kept going and going until the very edge of our dock and ran straight into the ocean. There was a half a second of air, and then my body immersed into what felt like a cool satin blanket. I stayed under as long as I could as the crisp water tickled my toes and revived my fingers. The ocean felt so invigorating I almost opened my mouth to take a big gulp, but quickly decided against that plan. I eventually came back up to the surface to breathe, as that’s usually necessary (I’m not a mermaid yet but I’m working on it), but the surface just wasn’t as exciting. I went under again and again as I was only alive when I was consumed by this big blue puddle of joy.

As I was reflecting on this joyous moment yesterday, I came across a word that would describe the experience well… freedom. Simple yet profound, like all my favorite things in this world. On my run I was trapped under the hot sun and by the beads of salty sweat running down into my eyes.  But when I took that leap of faith into the water I was free.

I think that little situation of mine is a nice analogy for our relationship with the Lord.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

This past week was ironically called freedom week, and it was taught by the founder of YWAM DP Lynn Toney. Lynn is a passionate woman whose light shines so brightly it blinds those around her in God’s love. During freedom week we talked about being free in Christ, and the amazing life we can live when we are free in Christ. Of course true freedom requires a leap of faith, as I had to take a small jump and experience a second of free fall before I hit the water. But once we do take that leap of faith we are all consumed and covered in his love. I learned that in many different forms this past week. I learned a lot about myself and how the inconsistent and twisted ways that I see myself are affecting the ways that I see God.  I had to approach situations from my past in oder to experience freedom. I had to run a long, hot, sweaty path that I didn’t particularly enjoy in order to experience freedom, but boy was it worth it. Christ accepts us wherever we are, carrying ugly loads and scars, but he doesn’t want us to stay there. I gave him my heart years ago, but as I get closer and closer to him he is asking for more than my heart. He wants my life, my thoughts, my decisions, and most importantly he wants the weights that I am not strong enough to carry. And when I finally surrendered those weights to him He set me free. 

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23: 2-3

If I could give myself a personal “theme” for this season in my life here in Belize I would call it “dare to hope” because the Lord has been beckoning me to hope in the plans and purposes he has for my life (especially because I currently don’t have a clue what’s next for me). Well, in that, the Lord has asked me to accept the blessings that he wants to freely give me. For most of my life I have been carrying the load that I have to earn and work for love, because if I don’t deserve it I won’t receive it. If I made a mistake I lost love, and had to work extra hard in order to deserve any. Well this twisted way of thinking influenced the way that I saw God. I thought that in oder to receive love from the Lord I had to work for him. I had to serve until my eyes bled, and then he would show me his love for me. If I sinned, then I would lose his love and would have to work extra hard and put myself down because that’s what I deserve. Well, in an interesting series of events this week, the Lord revealed to me that weight, and how unnecessary it is for me to carry. One day in class Lynn asked us to write a letter to ourselves from God and to wait and pray until He speaks to us. Immediately I began thinking to myself what God will probably say to me. He’ll tell me the things I need to do better and the things I need to do less of. He’ll tell me where I was wrong and why, and how I need to try harder to do better next time. But when I sat down to hear from Him, I waited a moment in silence and heard “I love you. That’s it.” And that was it. That’s all I heard. I got no other word from the Lord. And then it hit me. I try and earn the love of the Lord. Who am I to say that I can earn the love of the creator of this universe. If I’m going to get it, it’s going to be a gift, and that’s the beauty of it. But that is so hard for me to accept, because I have lived opposite of that for my entire life. **pause for quick dance party outside at the palapa** Anyway, since I have gotten to DP I have been overwhelmed by an increasing and overflowing joy. And at many times I have felt guilty for feeling so much joy. No Lord, shouldn’t I be suffering? Shouldn’t I be struggling? Why are you blessing me? I couldn’t understand why the Lord would want to bless me without any effort of my own. All I did was jump on a plane, and now the Lord keeps giving and giving. He has given me amazing new friends, a wonderful casita full of girls whom I love with my whole being, delicious food at every meal, and THE OCEAN. I do not deserve any of this, but the Lord gave it to me anyway. It blows my mind, and before this week, I was afraid of it. Despite what others have shown me in life, there is nothing I can do to earn or lose the love of the Lord. He has given me his whole heart because he loves me, and that’s it. A basic concept of freedom in Christ is accepting his FREE love; and it is that basic concept that was keeping me from freedom in Him. I was chaining myself to myself because I’m not perfect. I was constantly telling myself that I wasn’t good enough to earn love. I am scared of failing, of falling short, of expecting to feel his love but not being able to. But living in the freedom of Christ requires faith that His love will carry us through this life into the eternal. It requires hope. It comes in a full circle. The Lord revealed to me a weight I was still carrying, asked me to announce in front of my class that I have to forgive myself for trying to earn his love, and He asked me simply to dare to hope that I could sit in my room for the rest of my life and he would still bless me because He just loves me that much. When I obeyed Him and let go I was immersed so surely in his love, just like I was in the water after my run, and today I have felt his love with a new and overwhelming depth.

I encourage you, as Lynn encouraged me, to ask the Lord what unnecessary weights you are carrying, and give them over to Him in order to experience the freedom of Christ. It is a wonderfully beautiful thing.

“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Madison

16444185_1273350966036308_814244527_o

14907087_1533103743383443_1793193946733936650_n

Men Make Plans and God Laughs

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

“Men make plans and God laughs.” Day by day on this outreach God has been making this quote more clear to me. The first time I read it I had mixed feelings about it. Like why would God give us dreams and not allow us to plan for them, and be prepared for what the future brings. And on the other hand there was this thought in my mind that God knows everything that was and is to come. Why wouldn’t he laugh when we try to prepare for the storm when we don’t even know what kind of storm it is?

(more…)

received_997484213693787

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna to get.”  This quote from Forrest Gump holds especially true on outreach. As a team we never know what is around the next corner, whether it be good, bad, or otherwise. The one thing that has been made clear to me is that through it all, God isn’t surprised.  He has a plan. Because of this, we have to become like Forrest Gump and in every situation be willing to say “okay” to whatever God asks. This week has been full of unexpected twists, but when we follow God’s calling they always turn out to be far greater than we could imagine. Throughout this past week we spent time at several different establishments including a hospital , a nursing home, and, for the first time this week, a special education school. We arrived at the nursing home on a Tuesday only to find its outer gates locked.

(more…)

Peru Outreach

Walking into the Storm

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

This last week has been all about relationship for me. God has been showing me the importance of loving Him and others well. This week my team and I have pressed into God’s love, and used that to do some crazy things in Ayacucho. The day that impacted me the most was when I set out with three other members of my team and headed into the town square. When we arrived we all prayed that God would show us what we were supposed to do, and one of the girls, Hannah, prayed that the light in our eyes would bring people to us. Seconds after we finished praying an elderly gentleman approached us and stuck up a conversation. We talked about life, family, love, and God for about 45 minutes, and after we finished the man said that he had come over to us because Hannah’s eyes looked exactly like his mothers.

(more…)

Travis Adams

Live by Faith

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

As week number two is already wrapping up, I am just amazed by this opportunity we have here to grow in relationship with each other and build relationship with both our hosts and the people of Ayacucho. This week our host Samuel, has been extremely  busy with school (I seriously don’t think this guy ever stops). For instance he has had 12 exams in 6 days. Due to that fact, he didn’t exactly have the time to take us to do ministry with the people of Ayacucho. However, we decided to bless him by painting his house for him. We have been painting everything white. Yep, painting the blue walls, white… the yellow wall, white… the brick on the outside, white… and the white walls, white. Although, on Thursday we got the opportunity to paint some letters on the outside of Samuel’s apartment a bright yellow. But hey, who doesn’t like painting? Oh right, one of our team members doesn’t… everyone else here does so I’d say it’s been a pretty fun week.

(more…)