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California and Heading North

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imageAs we sat around our campfire on the beach, roasting veggies, cooking hotdogs, and sharing many laughs I was given a new perspective on community. Nine strangers, all of us different ages, nationalities, and backgrounds, bonded over the love of Christ and formed a small family on a quaint beach in Santa Cruz, California this past Saturday. We shared our hearts, our stories, and our dreams. We attempted to surf and laughed a lot when we failed. It was the perfect ending to our time in San Francisco.

Last week God brought so many people into our path and really made our presence known in the San Francisco area!

While Megan and I were helping out with a ministry that rescues girls from sex trafficking, we really connected with a fellow volunteer named Lorraine who was just baptized and as we shared our story with her she became more and more ecstatic over the idea of doing a DTS. Through a local church known as PCC we were able to attend a young adults group where we met so many cool people our age. They welcomed us with more enthusiasm than we ever could’ve imagined and were anxious to learn more about our experiences with YWAM DP. We spent the next day at the beach with some people from the PCC crew and Megan and I shared a meaningful time over lunch with some of the girls the next day before we headed out.

A few days before we headed to LA we were also able to volunteer with Francis Chan’s ministry, Project Bayview. We delivered food to people living in a less fortunate area of San Francisco and were able to share about YWAM DP with a lot of the people plugged into ministry there.

After a breathe taking trip down the Pacific Coast Highway we arrived in LA and have had a great time visiting with Tj, a graduate of the April school who just returned from Vanuatu. We have loved hearing about his outreach and supporting him in his transition back to life in the states.

image (2)As a team we were refreshed by our time in San Francisco and poured into by many awesome individuals. God has blessed us in more ways than we ever could’ve imagined and now we are trusting him to provide just as faithfully for our last month. After a fall through in plans we were able to get a campsite at Yosemite last minute and are headed there Sunday. We would be so grateful if you would join us in praying that God brings people into our path while we’re camping that we can connect with and minister to! As a team have been reminded this week that we can never forget to bring it back to the basics – to worship, pray, and study the Bible together daily so that we are all being the best vessels of Jesus’ love and representations of YWAM DP as we possibly can be! We are more than excited to see how God will move as we turn around and start our ascent backup north!

Amanda Harris – Staff11793320_10206084490205032_1387852494_n

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The Beauty In Falling

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“God finds us in the holes we dig for ourselves. Where we see failures; He sees foundations.”
-Bob Goff

4874788_origI wish we had hiking trails in Belize, its one of the things I miss most about being home in Alabama. Waking up early in the morning to hit the trail, planning your trek out on the map, orienteering with a compass, all to spend the whole day working to get to that perfect campsite.

When I think back to hikes I have made I really struggle to remember a whole lot about the locations I stayed in, or the campsites, the things I remember most are what happened on the trail.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend a week on the trail in New Mexico. I can remember my excitement growing as we drove for days from Birmingham, Alabama to Albuquerque, New Mexico. About an hour and a half south of Albuquerque we unloaded our packs from the suburban and hit the trail, carrying everything we would need for our trek, knowing we would go days before having a chance to replenish food or supplies.

886408_origAs with any hike there are always unexpected challenges. Early on in our trek, a fellow hiker almost stepped on a diamondback rattlesnake, realizing the danger moments before stepping on the snake. A few days later injuries and fatigue began to kick in as the miles of hiking per day began to take a toll on us. I can remember running low on water and having to strategically spend an afternoon finding clean water, or having to bandage up a friend after he sliced his leg open.

The funny part about all those memories is during the hike they seemed overwhelming, like they would be too great to overcome, they were not much fun and frankly I just wanted them to be over with, yet they are what I remember best. Those are the memories that made the hike unique and special. They added color and adventure to the trip.

Often in Christianity we forget that some of the most beautiful parts of the race we run are the times we fall and get back up. The beautiful thing about knowing Jesus is that not only do I have freedom to live an abundant life with Him, but I have the freedom of knowing that my shortfalls are not to be shameful or weighty, but instead are what brings color, and uniqueness to my life.

7767327_origTruly accepting and believing that God has an everlasting, and unconditional love for us is not just a one time magical moment. Its an adventure everyday for us to discover the new ways God is pursuing us and loving us. I am challenged to do more than just live a “christian” life, or discipline myself to talk spiritually. I am challenged to wake up everyday and ask God what He wants to do with me, how He wants to love me, and be willing to be loved well by God. As I daily discover more and more of Fathers extravagant love for me, and all those I encounter, it makes getting up after a fall much easier. As we understand and respond to the amazing love, we experience the freedom to find beauty in our struggles and shortfalls and we get the opportunity to let a little more color into our lives.

Will Richardson – Staff10432504_10205099434979267_5474266472758005872_n

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Vanuatu Report Back

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FullSizeRender (1)Last week the April DTS students returned from their outreach for their report back week. It was midway through our July DTS lecture phase, and we were having our restore and reflection week at the same time. That meant we had a lot of extra free time to get to know Jacie, Josh (the outreach leaders) and the students as they returned from their outreach in Vanuatu.

FullSizeRenderThe last school was a blast to have on base at the same time as us! Every person on the team had a very unique, strong personality that really shined through very quickly. As they were a smaller group, their experiences in lecture phase and their outreach were very different than ours. It was fascinating listening to their stories and hearing what they had to say as they were just finishing their DTS.

Throughout the week, we had different activities put together to really connect our two schools. On Tuesday night, the Vanuatu team shared their outreach experience with our school. They showed us the souvenirs they got, the pictures they took, the local music, and we even got a taste of some of the food they ate! It was amazing getting to hear about the different culture they were immersed in! It definitely got everyone from our school excited for our outreach coming up.

FullSizeRender (2)On Wednesday, everyone on base was invited to a volleyball hangout. We had a big tournament, plus a bunch of people had their hammocks out, and someone set up a slackline for anyone to try! It was a great afternoon together.

On Thursday evening, the April DTS had their graduation ceremony. They were presented certificates and got to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing this awesome school.

It was a great week having our two school united before they went home. We still have a while left in our school, but the week of looking back at what we’ve learned and looking forward to what’s to come has truly reignited the fire in our group. We’re all eager to get back to learning about our God, fuelled by what we got from the previous outreach team.

IMG_6470-Kimberly Gorgichuck – DTS Student, July, 2015

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Tour Update: Ministry in San Francisco!

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11909714_10207662085535391_399093281_nAccording to the people here, the San Francisco area is a place brimming with wealth, but void of spirituality. However, in the past week our team has seen God moving in amazing ways here and we are so grateful to be a part of it!

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We’ve been working a lot with a ministry called Streetlife that serves to reach the homeless and less fortunate. The people who come for a hot meal are also given worship, a message, prayer, and just a community of people who care about them and their stories. Demon possession and mental illness is prevalent, but it makes the work their all the more glorifying to God who is victorious over all those things. We have been able to pray over many people there and show them what relationship with God looks like.

11880280_10207662039854249_1621906152_nWe also got the chance to volunteer with a campus ministry known as Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. God stretched us as a team to step out of our comfort zone and in doing so we were able to have great conversations, relate to college students like ourselves, and encourage them to do a DTS! When we’re not helping out with these ministries we’ve been spending time hanging out and encouraging people we’ve met in this area.

From new Christians to YWAM alumni – God is showing us that he wants to speak through us to everyone we meet. We have a packed weekend ahead of us as we wrap up our time in San Francisco. Please keep us in your prayers as we move in to LA and seek a place to stay as well as ministry opportunities!

Amanda Harris – Staff11924668_10207662039654244_1173400512_n

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Tour Update: San Francisco!

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11881009_10207599331926590_1643001685_nAnother Day, another city! We have arrived in San Francisco, California! The past little while leading up to this has been packed full of awesome opportunities for us to really step out and show Jesus’ love for others. Our host family in Salem has a long-time friend named Jay who had been in a bad car wreck a few years ago that we were able to meet, talk to and pray for. We also had the opportunity to meet a girl named April, hear her story about how she ended up homeless with her fiancé with a baby on the way. We bought her some food, and sat with her for a while listening to her, as well as prayed for her and encouraged her. It was also fun getting to hang out with our host family more, enjoy some s’mores and bigfoot stories around a campfire, amazing home cooked meals, and getting to know them more.

11830882_10207567800178316_417189563_nWe said goodbye to Salem on August 8th, and headed down to Redding, California to spend a few days at Bethel Church. We were able to stay with a new friend of Martin’s named Brandon who he met in Germany about a month before the tour started. Martin drove him to the airport in Germany after a big event called Awakening put on by Bethel, so he returned the favour and let us stay with him for two days as we checked out Bethel. We went to a morning service as well as a baptismal evening service on Sunday. It was so awesome to be able to see it, and be in a place witnessing the Holy Spirit at work through the lives of those who were getting baptised. We were able to hear two amazing speakers, one being Bill Johnston the main pastor at Bethel as well as Christine Caine, a well-known Australian speaker and founder of an organization called a21 ministries that was started in Greece to try and stop human-trafficking all around the world. We had an amazing time being able to recharge, listen to some awesome worship and sermons as well as hangout with Brandon and talk to others that we met during our time there.

11872758_10207599332646608_370822197_nFrom there we headed down to San Francisco where we are now staying. We met up with our contact Hannah who found two amazing host families for us to stay with. We’ve been settling in nicely as we were able to hang out with The Wolff’s, the family Donovan and Martin are staying with yesterday. We went to San Gregorio Beach with Natalie and her three little sons Henry, Calvin and Joseph where we spent the whole day making rafts, playing on a driftwood teeter totter, splashing around in the ocean and having a blast and giving Mom the much needed break from the boys she deserves.
God has really been uniting us as a team as we’ve been digging deeper into his word in our daily Bible study and worship time. He’s also been expanding our views of what ministry looks like as we continue on into each day of this tour. We are excited for our coming week in San Francisco but are still looking for a place to stay in LA. We would appreciate you joining us in prayers as we determine what our next step is and where God wants to use us the most. Stay tuned to find out where we end up!

 

Megan Warnica – Staff11868823_10207599334286649_4428147_n