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Perfect Love cast out all fear

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

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!

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

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

Zambia outreach update!

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

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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

Team Zambia Update

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

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Friday 24th of March, team Zambia left the YWAM DP Belize base in anticipation of the new adventure God has lined up for them. We boated, bussed and flew till we arrived in Houston, Texas. Having 2 Texans on our team this was a huge deal. Missy and her family blessed us with a night at her house during our 20 hour layover, we had mattresses, warm showers, Romanian pastry, and real milk!

The team went in two waves to LAX where we met again as we waited for our 22 hour flight with Ethiopian airlines to Ethiopia and then onto our final destination; Lusaka, Zambia. We had such a blessed journey as all our bags came through safely, all our visas were accepted, and other misplaced items were found. Thank you Jesus!

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Our welcome into Lusaka was incredible, our contact Nephtali and all the youth from the church we were connected with met us and greeted us. We rode the bus, African tunes blasting, bags packed into the back and people sat on top of each other. At a stop on the way to our host home we introduced the youth to some of our tunes, we danced and sang and in no time had attracted a decent crowd and there were even a few Asians recording us.

Our hosts, pastor Siame, his wife Aunt Reni and their 2 daughters Faith and Zanji, have been incredibly hospitable and so generous with their time and resources. It’s been another huge blessing and just awesome conformation that God wants us here as He’s providing for our needs. We have a fairly busy schedule here, after our rest day; we prepared a bible study for a home cell group where we split into 4 teams. Each team decided on a topic, then put together some notes and verses and prayed, inviting the Holy Spirit to talk through them.

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We went to the Breath of Heaven orphanage. It’s was incredible! A couple from Ohio had set it up in 2012 and they have created such a wonderful community and its was beautiful to see how much they love the children there. We got to sing some songs and do a skit for them and spent the rest of the day playing with the kids and just loving them.

We spent the morning with the youth and some other members of the Marvels of Grace church talking to people about Jesus. It was a different approach to evangelism than many of us were used to. We went into houses and were asked to simply speak to people about Jesus. It was awesome getting to pray with people and such a blessing to spend time with God’s children.

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We took up a portion of the church service on Sunday so we prepared a dance/drama, Alex and Katie spoke and Josh spoke on joy. We started with a song that the youth had taught us about Jesus being number 1 and finished with one of our songs. But as typical of the culture here they wanted to hear more so we did an additional song and when they asked for another, Ally saved us by praying over our community.

We visited a clinic with the intentions of doing some cleaning and maybe talking to some of the patients. We ended up only having an hour there, the boys stayed outside tidying and cutting the grass with machetes. The girls split into 2 groups, one cleaning and one evangelising. We had the opportunity to speak with and pray over mothers and their children, men and women. It was a huge blessing, some of us felt deep compassion for the patients and others saw the hope that this clinic provided. It was definitely challenging and draining and only possible in God’s strength.

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We had an awesome day where we slit into pairs and went to a Zambian home to experience their daily lives. We got to go to the market, make powder from grinding and sifting peanuts, cook caterpillars, cut okra, make the traditional nshima and eat ALL of it! Others learnt how to hand wash clothes, carry water containers on their heads and carry babies on their backs. It was such a fun day and. So full of joy and new experiences. It was something new and we felt honoured to have been invited into the homes and welcomed so warmly by all the families.

Something vital we’re learning here is dying to self and keeping our hands open; the way of life is very different. We may arrange to leave at 8am for an event but the truck doesn’t pick us up till 10am, or we’ll plan to go back to the house between events and end up hanging around and not get then break we’d hoped for.

 

Nanneke Boxall, Jersey Channel Islands, 09/09/1996, 19 yrs

Nanneka Boxall

 

Life.

  |   DTS, Lecture Phase, Outreach   |   No comment

12592708_907216436059188_1700371316660941651_nOne of the coolest parts about a DTS is that it’s split into two phases: the lecture phase and the outreach phase. I recently had the privilege of assisting leading an outreach team to Costa Rica and it was incredible to witness why the two phases of a DTS are so powerful.

In James 1:22-25, he talks about why it is so important for us to both hear the word of God and do what it says. He relates someone who only hears to someone who is looking in a mirror. While we are in front of the mirror we can see everything clearly. We know who we are, we know what we look like, we don’t worry about forgetting what we know because it’s right there in front of us; but when we walk away it’s hard to remember exactly what we look like. We remember the general idea but we can’t remember the fullness of it.

5471_889969017783930_6086534070828449110_nThis is like when we hear the word. When we are sitting in church or lecture phase or bible study we can understand it, it makes sense, we don’t feel like we will ever forget it but if we don’t do anything about it we will never remember or experience the fullness of it. If we don’t walk it out, if we don’t take that “mirror” with us by DOING what we just learned about we will soon lose the fullness of the experience. We will be left with a vague recollection of what was once so clear and so powerful.

James 1:22 says “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” Having a DTS split between lecture phase (hearing) and outreach phase (doing) is a perfect way to not only remember what we learned during this season but to really bring it home and experience the fullness of it. It helps us to recognize that what we heard really is true and to bring that knowledge from our head into our heart.

10259333_10208016139619501_6791142556242635619_nIn Costa Rica it was incredible to see this happen right before my eyes. In lecture phase we learned about a God who brings life where there is none, a God who heals brokenness, a God who breaks chains and brings freedom to those who are in desperate need of it. Most of all we learned about a God who loves us furiously, relentlessly, completely. We learned that our job as Christians is simply to love him back, and love those around us (Matthew 22:37-39).

The team didn’t just stop there, they didn’t just learn about this amazing God, but they lived for him. They didn’t just hear that we were to love, they loved with everything they had.

12552945_950472205006362_7209092096021733453_nWe did a ministry in Costa Rica named “life.” It was pretty simple, we would go into the city we were in and we would simply love people. We would do whatever we would normally do in life, but we would do it through God’s eyes rather than our own. If we wanted coffee or ice cream we would strike up conversations and build relationships with the barista or with those waiting in line, if we saw brokenness we would pray for healing, if we saw someone sitting alone we would sit with them and get to know their story.

We helped God change lives and bring love to the streets of Costa Rica in powerful ways because we were willing to walk out what we had only heard about before. Throughout all of outreach God was teaching everyone on the team the importance of doing, the importance of not just saying we believe something but actually living it. He was reminding us of who we are, reminding us of who He is, reminding us of love, and helping us to experience the fullness of His word because we didn’t just listen to it, we acted on it.

12465775_10205552070829341_8600612972635113461_oThis is why it is so incredible that a DTS has two phases, because it allows students to get a taste the fullness of what Christ has to offer. It isn’t meant to be a finish line, or a one-time experience, but a starting gate, a launch pad into the rest of life. It allows students to carry that “mirror” with them and not forget who their Father is, to not forget what they learned. It allows them to continue to live “life” with Christ, living and loving people through God’s eyes. It equips them to continue to discover and experience the fullness of who God is.

 

  • Josh Lake

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