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¨Every Experience of beauty points to eternity¨

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It was a very special time in my life.
I was nineteen, and ready for a new adventure with Jesus exploring a new side of the world. Neither experiencing foreign countries nor the belief in Jesus was anything new to me, my parents met each other through YWAM ministries.
Within five years the four of us siblings where born, me being the first. My parents then left Norway and went out doing missions in Turkey for 5 years. They were young, free, and full of passion for Jesus. We had so much adventure and many stories to tell.

One month before I flew over the Ocean from Norway to the Caribbean to do my DTS with YWAM,
my parents marriage broke apart, it was heartbreaking and devastating as you can imagine, nobody could believe it.
In the mess of the heartbreak, I understood that I had to leave everything behind for a moment and enter a time in Paradise and romance with Jesus. It did not make much sense to me at the time; why did I choose living on a boat in the Caribbean when it had nothing to do with what I was really passionate about? Like art and fashion, little did I know I was about to find out. I had always been the shy girl, and so I dove in headfirst to a leadership DTS on sailboats.

The theme of the week was ¨Destiny by design¨. We were asked to spend 30 min drawing down what we felt was our calling for our life. Since I am more visual and visionary then verbal, I liked this challenge a lot. It reminded me of when I was four years old and my mom gave me a blank notebook and wrote on the cover: ¨Jesus and me¨ and told me to draw or write down what I heard from Jesus, and the many dreams I had – That eventually happened in real life. This is how I learned from young age to trust God´s voice.

I found an empty spot on the boat overlooking the bright colored sea and magic sky.
On a piece of paper I started drawing a woman wearing a dress and a crown. With a text saying: ¨Dressing Prostitutes into Princesses ¨. Inspired by the scripture in the Bible: Ezekiel 16:4-14.
It feels really cheesy writing this now, but to the core; It is what my calling and vision is about.
I had discovered the seed planted in me.
Hello Fashion industry!

SN.AD.2 You may not know, but the Fashion industry has a Kingdom of its own. The Fashion kingdom has its own culture, with many languages, with Kings and Queens. No School will teach you the languages; you live and learn though experience. You may be fortunate enough though like me, to meet people along your journey that will teach and mentor you.

It has been seven years now. The seed has become a small tree.
Last November 2015 I launched my High – end brand SarahNeuhard, and showcased my first collection called ´Scandal of Grace´ at Beverly Hilton in Hollywood, CA.
The collection was about Femininity and women’s true identity as children of God, and inspired by Paris – the heart of the Fashion Kingdom.

This journey was not an easy or fast one. It all started back when I left the boat in Paradise and flew over to New York to intern for a ministry called Models for Christ. An international network of Christian fashion Professionals: coming together, serving and being a light in the Fashion Industry. I experienced the Fashion industry for the first time from the inside. It was an eye opening time.
Later I moved on to modeling in Norway and Milan for a short while, I soon decided it was not for me.
I wanted to move into what was pulling on my heart so strongly. Fashion design.

I moved to Copenhagen and studied fashion there; the capital of Scandinavian design. It is a city where entrepreneurs and artist sprout forth. It was intense and rough on me personally. Growth Pains are no fun. Despite the long hours and lonely days, I blossomed. I soon became known for designing Haute Couture. ´You should move to Paris! All your designs are couture´ – teachers told me.
They saw something I did not yet see, but soon to discover.

AD.sn3I later worked for couture Houses in London and Copenhagen. I loved it! I was finding my home.
I then spent one year creating a project called ¨OCEAN ¨.
It started when I was walking on the sea short one day, and I found myself being all captivated by creation and God as a creator, and Designer. ¨ What you create God is just so amazing, How do you do it ?! How do you think when you shape, invent and color? Are there some principles I can learn from you? ¨ I wondered. ¨Study what I have created and I will show you! Trust me. ¨ He answered me. I felt excitement and joy fill my whole body. Seconds later I started seeing visions, creations … I got my little sister to help me pick up as many blue shells as possible. ¨What are you going to do with all these blue-shells?¨ She asked confused. ¨I am going to create some dresses¨, I said.

God led me to create what I though would not be possible. Remembering what He said : ¨Trust me, one step at a time and Ill show you¨. He did, It was a miracle, and turned out better then I could imagine. He taught me essential principles I use today when I create. The amazing thing is that it does not stop; He Keeps teaching me.

I had a team of only top fashion professionals working with me for free on the production of the photos and the photo shoot. It was shot on a stunning Ocean side in Sweden early spring. It should have been freezing that day, but amazingly the sun hit in such a way that kept us warm.
That day was ¨out of this world¨.

Finally the journey lead me to Paris. It was a time to experience fashion at its core.
To Learn the Language, my Parisians network grew rapidly; I meet so many amazing people in fashion; believers and non-believers. Gathering Christians in Fashion and leading MFC Paris.
Time went by too fast, almost a year later and my season there came to an end; But it is not my final season in Paris.

I produced my first collection ¨Scandal of Grace¨, and shot the photos in one of Paris’ oldest buildings.
It was a mind-blowing experience to see my vision come alive. That is the beauty about creating and telling a story through fashion and cloths. Without words I speak to hearts, and my message may reach far deeper and personally, because everyone will feel a little different about what they experience.

I love the quote ¨Every experience of beauty points to eternity¨.
Say if you are a women and you try one of my dresses; I do not need to tell you that you are Beautiful, feminine, strong and have royal Identity – You will feel beautiful and valued. That is Powerful, even life changing.

Today I am living in a small town in Norway. I moved back to reconnect with my Norwegian roots and to focus my attention of creating the next collection and all the start up work on my brand.
I am exited and curious to see where my path will go from here.
Again He whispers ¨Trust, and I will show you ¨.

We are all called to change the world for the good, to bring Heaven on to earth. To speak and share the truth, reaching hearts and bringing back to life the glory we are created for.
We have royal Identity, lets remind each other to wear our crown and not settle for less.

Check out my website, and please let me know what the story tells you: www.sarahneuhard.com

 

Veronica Sarah Neuhard

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Adventure day

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Uten navn2One of the awesome things that we get to do at YWAM DP is go on an Adventure Day! We get to go on to the main land and explore our adventurous side as we zip line, meet some local creatures, and climb Mayan Ruins. Our adventure began at 5am as we struggled to get out of bed and get our casita mates up and going. First we went zip lining Uten navnand cheered each other on as we hung upside down and were goofy together. Then we got to go to the Belize Zoo and see monkeys, jaguars, and a tapir, the national animal of Belize. My personal favorites were the toucan and a spotted jaguar, which jumped towards the fence
because he thought the little kid on the other side was a snack. Then, we hiked to the top of the Mayan ruins and enjoyed ice cream together before we made our way home.

10358915_10207120091534640_3818377099748621749_oPersonally, I felt like this day was a test drive for outreach and I learned a lot. When people are tired, hungry, and crammed into a van they can sometimes not be themselves, but when you love each other you look past these moments and see them for who they really are. I feel blessed to live in a community where people are learning how to walk in grace and love together. I’ve grown so much over the last 8 weeks just from getting to know all these amazing people; I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in our last three months.

 

  • Rachel Collins

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Life changing – Changing lives

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Hello everyone; my name is Seth or some people call me Swethy.

10253754_10205418548171855_5754138120502663433_nThe last five months have been so life changing that it would take to long to tell everything, so I will just tell you a few things. The over arching theme for me was to get Freedom and choosing Joy. In lecture phase, the first 3 months of DTS, God was teaching me how much He loves me, that I’m His child. That my past has been forgiven and that it´s truly just my past. How to step in to freedom, how to choose joy, and how He is calling me to be a leader. God’s love is very personal and it´s not dependent on our actions, but it´s constant because you are his child and there is nothing that you can do to make him love you any more or any less. Being a child of God means you have authority in your Father, you are loved and wanted, He wants to spend time with you, He satisfies you and sustains you, and you are never empty if you are living in relationship with your Father. My past is marked with lust, porn, addiction, greed and darkness, but my Father has forgiven me and placed it as far as the east is from the west and it is no longer a part of me. Freedom chosen: I choose freedom in DTS from fear, past sin and un-forgiveness. Choosing joy is a daily thing of having the perspective that Jesus has bought your freedom, and that He has given you everything that you need. Jesus is calling me to be a pastor in the morning, and calling me out into servant leadership.

12778728_1279101242116650_4520775520126818471_oOn outreach (seven weeks in Ecuador) God was asking me “do you trust me?” He aksed me three questions of sacrifice, surrender and sufficiency. Sacrifice: what are you willing to sacrifice to become closer to me? Surrender: what are you willing to surrender for me? Sufficient: are you satisfied with just Jesus and nothing else?

What God is asking me now that I am home, “Are you truly hungry for me and not anything of this world? What do you want to do next? How are you going to live life? How are you going to deal with porn, lust and greed?” These are the questions I am answering now. Thank you to everyone that supported me in prayer and financially. Thank you to all the leaders at the base and all my brothers and sisters that I got to know on DTS.

 

  • Seth Andrew Kasper

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You’re destined for paradise

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When I was first asked to write the blog post for this week, my mind instantly went blank. Normally I am never at a loss for words, but summing up this past week seemed like an insurmountable task. The question “What has report back been like?” has no easy, obvious, or short answer. My initial idea was to simply write about something like how to cram seven weeks worth of tanning into seven days, but as I was thinking and praying about this post, the Lord elbowed his way through my conflagration of emotions to place something much deeper on my heart.

 

Lately I’ve been reading through the gospel of Mark, and this morning I found myself in chapter 6. Among other things that happen in this passage, several events are recorded. We are able to see Jesus back in Nazareth among his tiny home village (which rejects him), followed by the commissioning of the twelve apostles sent out two by two, and also the feeding of the five thousand with the infamous supply of only five loaves and two fish. And through this jumble of seemingly unrelated stories, God was showing me just how much these three scenarios strongly relate to exactly where our two schools are at during report back week.
The first thing Jesus was showing me was that going home is going to be hard, but it doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. One thing we’ve really been focusing on this past week is making sure everything we’ve learned these past five months is really making a lasting home in our hearts, and that the truths we have come to hold so closely will remain unshakable when we go home. And as Jesus re-entered his hometown of Nazareth, we see people scorning him simply for being different. The people are asking, “Who the heck is this carpenter’s son? What the heck happened to him?” The very place Jesus called home and the people he considered family were suddenly not too keen about having him around – and this is a very likely possibility for a lot of us who are heading home. But I love Jesus’ response to their questions and criticism – instead of launching a self defense or reshaping himself to fit their idea of what he should be like, he does his best to bless that community. He heals people where he is able, he walks with gentleness and compassion, and while he is still dumbstruck at their unbelief, he does his best to teach those who would listen. I love this little scripture nugget more than usual today, because for me and 35 other people it shows that regardless of what environment we’re heading home to, it is still possible to walk like Christ. The receptivity of our families, our friends, our communities is a moot point; we have been changed. And it’s not a phase. During our lecture phase, one of our speakers said, “The generation that the world cannot change is the generation that will change the world.” It gives me great hope seeing that, because we have Christ in us, and Christ himself came against opposition from even his closest relatives, we have power in us that cultivates lasting change. And it also means that, in the face of opposition, our response can still be to love and not to conform.
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Right after the fairly awkward incident in Nazareth, Jesus sends out his twelve apostles, which brings me to my second observation. Jesus sent them out two by two.  He didn’t send them out all together. He didn’t give them safety in numbers. And he didn’t send them all out to the same place. And here’s the kicker – he didn’t even send them with supplies. I’ve been chuckling to myself all morning (ok crying, I’ve been crying all morning, but my spirit has been chuckling) because again, I find our school in the exact same place. Tomorrow morning we will all be sent out. We will be separated. We will be going to different places. And we certainly don’t have a full supply of life experience, emotional maturity, or even gap-less theology to aid us along the way. But like the apostles, we’re being sent out anyways. I’m sure the apostles didn’t feel ready. Like us, they were probably experiencing a wide spectrum of emotions – sadness at leaving each other, apprehension about the future, and there was probably a healthy dose of fear in there as well. But Jesus thought they were ready. Why? Because they had just spent a huge chunk of time with him. A wise person once said, “You are a combination of the five people you spend the most time with,” and I think Jesus might have had this in mind that day as he was separating the twelve into smaller teams. Sure maybe they were still a little unrefined, and yes they still had a lot to learn. But Jesus didn’t send them out because of confidence in their ability – he sent them out because of confidence in their character. They had become a combination of the people they spent the most time with – which included not only the healthy community of each other, but they had been spending time with Christ himself. Jesus was able to send them out to continue his mission because they had ceased to look like their pasts and had begun to look like him. Our school has just completed five months at YWAM DP. We’ve experienced God in some capacity or another on a daily basis, and have seen the same faces day in and day out. We’ve laughed together, cried together, slept, ate, lived, and learned together with God in our midst. And somewhere along the way of all of us starting to say “fricks” and accumulating a plethora of inside jokes, we’ve become like each other. But more importantly we’ve all become more like Christ. So while our send-off is going to be hard and certainly emotional, I have a sense that God is whispering to us, “Go. You’re my kids. You look like me. You’re not perfect but you’re ready.”
The last part of this passage I want to talk about is the feeding of the five thousand. Most of you know this story so I won’t go into much detail, but basically Jesus transformed a meager lunch of five loaves and two fish into a feast that stuffed a hungry crowd of five thousand people. And the application I got from this is short and sweet: Jesus is in the business of doing a lot with a few. Our school just spent the past seven weeks divided up into smaller teams for outreach. We’ve re-joined on base  and have combined with the current school for the past week. At the moment there seems like there are a lot of us (well over eighty), but we’re still pretty tiny in comparison to a crowd of five thousand. This past week we’ve had so many things to share with the current January DTS students – mealtimes, outreach stories, God moments, deep talks, laughter. And as I was reading the story of how Jesus multiplied that little lunch and thinking about the past week, I realized that is his legacy he’s working here at YWAM DP – multiplying our bread and fish. He takes the staff and cultivates a community, a lecture and changes lives, a conversation and creates a friendship. He took all the crap our October DTS drug in with us and turned it into a force to reach nations. And now I’ve spent the past week watching Him working the same miracle of multiplication in a whole new group of lives.
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So what has report back week been like? It’s been like being dropped in the middle of the gospel of Mark – some are being sent out, some are still being fed. But mostly it’s been like watching the heart of God. As we prepare to go home, I’ve seen his heart for the lost. As we spend time with the new school, I’ve seen his heart for his children. As we re-connect and invest in new friends, I’ve seen his heart for community. Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon in a hammock trying to fuse forever in my mind the image of crystal blue Caribbean water framed by white sandy shores and towering palm trees. This base is called “Destination Paradise,” but before the property was a resort called Journey’s End, a contrast in names that I find beautifully ironic. So this past week as some have been prepping to go back to their Nazareth, or are spending more time eating fish and still spending time with Jesus, at the end of the day God’s heart is for all of us to be sent out. And in a moment of divine humor, God whispered to my heart in that hammock, “This isn’t your journey’s end. You’re destined for paradise.” And until that final target, those of us at YWAM DP will be busy making our “Mark” for His Kingdom at every stop along the way.
Emily Coll

Emily Coll, Pennsylvania USA, 09/09/1993, 22 yrs

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Change of attitude – Change of heart

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DP3Satisfaction through God has been an area of growth for me over the past six weeks. The first evening I arrived here, my brain was numb. It was dark, hot, and a brief walk through town confirmed that this place was not anything like my home land. When our water taxi left town and headed for my future residence, I was mentally calculating how far from home I was getting. There was no going back.

For the next few weeks I battled various cravings from home and looked for similarities to cling to. I made a two page list in my journal of food I wanted to eat at home. It was constantly hot and humid outside, which clung to me like a second skin.  Showers were cold, and the fountain sounds kept me awake at night. Paradise.

My internal attitude was not great at the beginning; I was comparing and criticizing many facets of the base. Then, after speaking with one of our leaders, my attitude began to change. They told me when some familiarities are taken away, God will replace them with new things that are unique to the area. We can finddpscenery_635840780886082673_Afterlight_Edit contentment through Him. Armed with this knowledge, the process of attitude adjustment was gradual. I began to look for things unique to our base and the town of San Pedro. The stars are magnificent here, and the sunrises spectacular. Beans and rice is a meal I quite enjoy. The pineapple and bananas are delicious. Cold showers are still cold showers – but hey, at least we have them. By opening my eyes to the wonderful things God has provided in this place, my cravings for things at home have waned. There are still challenges  presented – don’t get me wrong, but I know contentment is possible.

Now with this knowledge I hope to go to my outreach in Zambia with an open mind. Again the culture, climate, and cuisine will be foreign. But instead of comparing or criticizing it for not fitting into my box of familiarities, Zambia can be a whole new experience.

 

  • Sydney Gabbey

Sydney Gabbey, Alberta Canada, 11/01/1997, 18 yrs

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