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Pure Joy

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I can’t believe we’re coming down to our last week of outreach. God has been showing me things left and right. Each week just seems to be getting better and better. We traveled through three cities this week. Tartu to Jõgeva to Keila. Here’s a few highlights of mine from the past week.

Pic1Monday night we had the opportunity to go out and get a taste of an Estonian music festival in Tartu. Estonia was occupied by the Soviets, but between 1987 and 1991 there was a singing revolution. Hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered to sing forbidden patriotic songs, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence. Estonia literally sang their way into freedom. So music in Estonia is a BIG deal! It’s amazing to me being in another country, watching the people laugh and sing together. It put nothing but a smile on my face. These are God’s people coming together as one, all dancing, laughing and singing. I couldn’t help but to take a step back and take a look around me. Pure joy. I love how God has given me an eye for the people of Estonia. Oh how He loves this country!

Uten navnFriday night we were able to have a girls only night with the youth of the small town, Jõgeva. We got to share a message and testimonies, it was awesome to get the chance to simply hangout with girls my age and share a passion we all have in common, loving Jesus. It’s crazy because God keeps showing me these visions I’ve had before and when I was in it, it felt like deja vu. Although I know that it was fully from God. As all of us girls were sitting around the table, sharing life together and passing around dinner. It was in that moment I knew I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Pic3As times getting closer to the end and our bodies and souls are becoming tired, I asked God what is one thing I can do to keep improving and growing throughout the end of outreach. “Engaged,” He whispered. So as I wind down this next week, I have nothing but the intention of being engaged. Engaged with people around me, my team, our contacts or people who pass. Fully engaged with conversations and feelings. Being completely and entirely aware. Entirely aware of my surroundings, all of what’s around me. Actively searching and learning in new ways the Holy Spirit may be moving and showing me something. Being open and expectant that God is STILL moving and being fully aware of His presence in each moment of each day that we have left here in Estonia. I want nothing more than to be engaged, I don’t want to miss a thing. After all, we have a God who’s engaged to His fullest in every single moment.

Here’s to the last week!

-Sarah Nasholm

Sarah Nasholm, Oregon USA, 10/31/1996, 19 yrs

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His love is fierce, His love is powerful, His love is never ending!

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Monday morning we received exciting news of our departure on Friday morning to Livingstone. My heart was overjoyed knowing that we’d have the privilege to see Victoria Falls (which happens to be one of the “7 Wonders of the World”), and as if it couldn’t get any better, we were going to see the Lunar Rainbow which happens once a year! As we worked through the next few days finishing up the final touches of slashing the 13096104_10207975822707194_5926977913062081668_nweeds and clearing the Orphanage yard, fixing the drive shaft on the truck so that we could have transportation, fixing and organising the library, removing the rust and painting the trellises for the new school, we managed to have enough time to pack for the 4 hour ride to Livingstone for the night. We awoke Friday morning to hot coffee and oatmeal and piled 7 people into the newly fixed truck, and the rest of the 11 hooligans (including sweet Jacob and Jeremiah) in the Land Rover. We ask God to cover us with safety and for the truck to stay intact, but two hours in..smoke appeared from the truck we were in and we had to pull over. We were in the middle of no where! So the other group headed down to Livingstone while we waited for Jako to drive back again and pick us up. Truth be told, we had the best time! We had the shade, the sound of, well, nothing but the birds chirping and the trees blowing in the breeze. We had a wonderful picnic along with a nap and some fun games. It was a blessing in disguise! So when Jako arrived, we had nothing but too much fun to complain about.

13133164_10206119765382336_4333200733337606577_nWe arrived at the place we were staying and the other group was already setting up our tents in this massive yard. We were blessed to stay at Jako and Amber’s friends house who also happened to be missionaries, amazingly they held a missionary school in their home. This place was beautiful, God is so generous with his blessings! We headed for the Victoria falls and experienced a night I can’t even put into words. I think the best way I can put it is that when you see creation this vast, this glorious. It’s like treasure the first time you see it. You want to keep that feeling you get the moment you see it, somewhere safe where you can experience it again and again. Something I realised was that though this beautiful masterpiece was new to me, huge to me, GLORIOUS TO ME. God made it so I could see it. Just like He made the stars. Yet how often do we take these blessings for granted! Seeing the power in the falls and how it seemed to be never ending, I thought about God’s endless love for us and how it’s constantly pouring down on us. His love never runs dry. He simply wants us to soak in His unending love!

As we said goodbye to an experience we’ll never forget, I’ll never forget the moment I stood near the bottom of the falls where we were being rained on by the powerful spray from the falls. His love is fierce, His love is powerful, His love is never ending.

12998314_10206035001183284_7275910661298264046_oThe next morning we were surprised to hear that the truck would need some extra TLC this weekend in order for it to be reliable to use to get back home. So we were blessed, in such a crazy way AGAIN, with a beautiful weekend with fellowship, worship, walks with God, and even a birthday celebration! Talk about one of the best weekends ever! God continues to amaze each and every one of us. He has wrecked me for the ordinary and I continue to thank Him for allowing us to be a part of his family in this crazy thing called life. Amen.

 

Nanneke Boxall

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Perfect Love cast out all fear

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IMG_8331I have never been challenged this much and to such an extent as I have, being on outreach to Cuba. But in saying so, I’ve also never experienced family like I have with my team. We’ve had to go through some really hard situations where I thought our team was going to crumble and fall apart, but by putting God in the centre of our team and mission, we’ve been able to grow closer in unity. As an individual, God has been revealing so many amazing things while being here. Being in Cuba, we’ve been in 5 different locations so far, and I remember while packing up to leave one place, I found a bag with all my encouragement notes. I asked God to give me a note that I really needed to hear, and I pulled one out that said:

“1 John 4:18, PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR. 

Daughter, there is no fear in me. I couldn’t be prouder of you. Thank you for letting me invade your heart! Stay present, and stay secure in me because I’ll always have your back. I love you darling.

-Papa”

IMG_8356That couldn’t have been better timing for God to reveal this note to me again. Prior to reading that, I was having a hard time here on outreach. I was missing my friends and family, I thought our team was falling apart which made me fear doing anything else to add to the issue and so I started to not be myself and to distance myself from my team members who were getting on my nerves due to our sticky situations. Everything seemed to be going downhill- because I was so zoomed in on my own life and my own desires and priorities.

IMG_8355When God placed this note in my hand, my whole perspective zoomed out and I noticed how I wasn’t living in the moment and how because I was starting to distance myself, I wasn’t allowing our team to unite and I wasn’t letting myself be secure in God and our team. I chose from that moment on to decide to put my 100% into this outreach in Cuba because I was here for God. Since then, I’ve stayed present and I’ve stayed secure in God because I know all things work for His good and I have enjoyed my time so much more. In doing this I’ve also felt more open and vulnerable with our team which has allowed for more unity and growth. It is just so incredible when you put love behind everything you do and staying completely present, knowing that God always has your back.

IMG_8354Recently, as a team we’ve been teaching many people at leadership seminars. One thing I’ve been speaking about is on filling yourself up with God and letting Him use you to overflow to the others around you. Preparing this on my own before teaching this made me look at my own life here and realizing how time with God is so important. Being here in Cuba on outreach is often quite difficult to find alone time, but each time I do, I find myself loving on people so much more easier because I’m filled to the brim with Jesus. And I find myself not only loving my teammates more but also the lovely people I have the opportunity to meet here. I’ve been able to build quite a few really great relationships with some of the Cuban girls who are my age and it’s so sweet to get to know them like I have. Being filled with Jesus and spending time in His presence has made me see everyone more like Jesus sees them.

Cuba is such a beautiful country with so many wonderful people who have impacted my life in one way another. It has been a crazy, unexpected, and fun past 5 weeks here travelling all over Cuba and I can’t wait for the adventures the next 2 weeks have waiting for us!

 

  • Allison Wiebe

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Tere from Team Wildfires!

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pic1Well, it’s week three now. No. Four. Going into week five? Wow. Time flies when you are having fun, or as Taylor says, “Time flies when you love Jesus.”

Tartu is by far my favorite place in Estonia. Maybe because what I’ve seen of it has been incredibly artistic, or maybe because most people we’ve talked to speak English, or maybe because almost everything we’ve done could easily be put in the highlight category. Probably all of the above.

This week has been overflowing with blessings that we have witnessed, been a part of, and received. I won’t be able to include even close to all of them, but without further ado…

Pic2We started our time in Tartu with a prayer walk (that turned into a prayer drive because it was so cold and raining) in an apartment complex. The apartments  hold the largest concentration of people in Tartu, and only a handful of them are Christian. By God’s grace Risttee, the church we are partnering with, has found its permanent home in the middle of this “Jerusalem” as the church calls it.

The next two days we spent out in the beautiful, but quite chilly forest of Tartu working with Lindon Viinalass. He has a ministry called Light in the Forest and spends most of his time working to complete a number of buildings that will form a retreat center for all sorts of Christian camps and events. Hearing Lindon talk about his dream for his farm is inspiring. His whole face lights up with life and joy to be doing the work that God has called him to. It was hard work hauling, chopping, and dragging wood for two days, but we had so much fun along the way.

pic4Something that Lindon said struck me, and I hope I carry it in all the work that I do for Jesus. He said, “I may get tired in the work, but I never get tired of the work.” I want my dreams to hold such a passion in my soul that even when my body gets tired, my soul stays ever as excited for the calling God has for me.

This trip has been a bit strange for me, because it doesn’t feel incredibly like a mission trip. Most of the time, we aren’t conquering forests. Instead, we are babysitting so parents in pic5the church can have a date night or attending church services and youth groups or giving testimonies or having discussions on a car ride or simply praying. It just feels like we are doing life and loving people along the way. That’s the beauty of it. God has been showing me what life can look like, that life can be a mission in itself, and that it doesn’t take extraordinary measures to touch someone’s heart. Things don’t have to feel particularly spiritual for God to be working, and not that we should abandon pursuit of the Holy Spirit’s manifestations, but we should pay more attention to how powerfully God moves through things that seem just plain ordinary.

 

Signing off and gearing up for another incredible week!

Katie Cook

Katie Cook, North Carolina USA, 11/12/1996, 19 yrs

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Zambia outreach update!

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We had a really busy day with going to a local school in the morning and then hosting an open air event in the afternoon. Being at the school was great, we split into groups of 3 and took a class; played games with the students and told them our testimonies. It was really wonderful, having

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the opportunity to share Jesus with the children and let them know how much He loves each and everyone of them. Understandably we were feeling tired so prayed a lot going into the afternoon. There were at least 100 kids when we arrived and we were swarmed by them. We danced and jumped around with them then later some people shared what God had placed on their hearts and we performed some skits too.

DCIM100GOPROWe spent a day travelling from Lusaka to Kalomo, it was meant to take 4 hours but we’re running on African time now. We said goodbye to Nephtali and hello to our new hosts Jako and Amber and their 2 kids Jakob and Jeremiah. We had a 2 hour drive into the bush so piled into 2 cars and made it all safely. It’s such a blessing being here, working with Missions of Love, the charity that Jako and Amber set up. We have flushing toilets, hot water, showers, beds and comfy mattresses. Jako gave us an introduction to the difference in the culture here, it’s based on fear, so our approach with evangelism is different. We had our first experience of church in the bush; it was a beautifully simplistic little building with low walls and then open with a straw roof. We had the chance to introduce ourselves and hear a sermon translated from Tonga, which was a blessing in itself. It’s been great fun moving onto our next adventure and we’re really excited to serve here and see what God has in store for us.

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We’re up at 6am every morning, breakfast is at 7am and we start work at 8am. We’ve been shown round their home here, the children’s home, the pre school and the grade school the community are still in the process of building. We may have the opportunity to help with putting on the roof, which would be really exciting! We have jobs to do here such as deep cleaning the mattresses in the children’s home, organising the library, fixing solar powered geysers, taking out concrete floors, leading bible studies for the mothers at the children’s home, looking after the kids, connecting with the older girls and washing our clothes by hand. Our biggest task so far has been clearing out the children’s home of bunk beds and draws so that we could spray it and clean it to get rid of all the bed bugs and cockroaches.

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As a team we’ve got to experience worship in a new way this week. God put on the hearts of our leaders, Ally and Josh, to use the money put aside for ministry’s to put towards the roof for the grade school. When they shared this with the team it turned out it had been on others’ hearts too! So we had the opportunity to give more towards it too and in the end we managed to buy more than half of the material needed for the entire roof! Hopefully we’ll get to help put it up too.

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One of my highlights from this week has been building relationships with the kids, God has really placed a little girl named Ruth on my heart. I have little brothers so I instinctively look for the boys who are full of energy and loud because that’s what I’m familiar with. She’s very quiet and will just stroke my arms and hold my hands when I sit with her. The other day I went outside with her and spun her around. I saw true joy as she began to laugh and as she smiled her eyes lit up. It was such a beautiful moment for me and I’m so thankful that God let me share in that joy with Ruth. I pray for her to see the love that God has for her through me and I thank Him love for the times when I look for her and see her smiling at me. He is such a good Father.

 

  • Nanneka Boxall