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Vanuatu Report Back

  |   DTS, Lecture Phase, Outreach   |   No comment

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

Tour Update: Ministry in San Francisco!

  |   Alumni, News, Outreach   |   No comment

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

Tour Update: San Francisco!

  |   Alumni, News, Outreach   |   No comment

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

The Final Week at Lambumbu

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

11872016_1484656488513360_8353976004045938428_oThe people of Malekula are amazing, caring, hospitable, hilarious, and fun loving. There are endless positive attributes I would apply to them. On the outside, to me at least, they seem angry or mad about something, but as soon as you strike up a conversation or even say hello, out comes the biggest, most sincere smiles I’ve ever seen.

This week the community started to feel a bit different. I can’t put my finger on whether it was the spiritual atmosphere, feeling completely at home, or just the crisp morning air with faint island music coming from nearby after having a great nights sleep.

Extremely busy week! So many things to do with so little time.

We had another opportunity to teach in the school, so we jumped right on it. The children treat us like teachers inside of class but as soon as we step outside, it’s like we’re their new best buddies, trying to get us to join them in their Volleyball and Soccer games during breaks (which, by the way, they kick our butts at). Many of us are greeted by the screaming of our names from half way across the village and frantic waves from our kids. Something about that is just extremely heart warming.

We also continued on the community work. The girls mostly focused on the unusually difficult custom painting of the new classroom that is about to be finished, while the guys mixed concrete and shoveled dirt for hours on end to begin the foundation of the new community kitchen that is being constructed.

Adam and I had the opportunity to go work with some of the copra harvesters for an afternoon. Driving through the 42 blocks of the plantation collecting bags as we pass them. The majority of the men of Lambumbu, along with a few of the neighboring villages, make their money by harvesting cocoa and/or copra and the plantation buys the bags of collected fruit by the kilogram.

11878992_1484656478513361_4683513133134681465_oOne of our more memorable events was “Freedom Night” where we preformed the freedom skit. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s about Jesus never leaving us in the midst of worldly temptation and sin that we so predictably fall into, and he’s always right behind us when we decide to turn back to him. God was definitely there. I could just feel it when we were preforming in front of nearly the whole village. Afterwards, Taryn gave a small message explaining the skit and we asked if anyone would like prayer, to accept Christ, or just to talk, to come see us. At first it was a little disappointing since people were quite reluctant to come to us, but after a few minutes we had probably 30-40 people come to us asking us to pray with them. Many stating that they have fallen away from God and want to get back on track. Simply amazing.

The following night we spent preparing for an everyday American meal. Spaghetti with meat sauce. More so Italian I guess but nevertheless, something new for them to try. None of them had ever had it before so it was nice to bring something new for them to try, since they eat the same foods every week. We presented our honored guests with Lays (flower necklaces) to thank them for their hospitality and for serving us so much. We also washed their feet as Jesus did and received a very good response. They had never experienced that and told us that we were the first missionaries to do something as Jesus did and they were touched.

Our last day in Lambumbu we went to a neighboring village to speak at their church, and had another service back in our village followed by the community throwing a sort of farewell celebration. SO MUCH FOOD! Most of the mamas spent nearly all day preparing for the feast. The community presented us with Lays and many gifts and speeches thanking us for our time there. It blows my mind that we came there to serve and it almost seems like we were the ones being served for our entire stay. There were many tears shed that night as the speeches went on and actually leaving started to hit us. Many of us went to have some family time for one last time, so bittersweet.

11882347_1484656491846693_5832355642694909555_oOn our day of departure, we had a nice relaxing morning and left at about 11. As expected, our final goodbyes were heart-breaking and the truck we were leaving on took us on one last victory lap around the village. About 10 of our family brothers and sisters tagged along and waited at the airport until we flew off (which was nothing more than 4 concrete walls without a roof). We had some spare time so we spent it having a blast with our Nivan family at the closest beach soaking up the sun one last time. The picture of us all having fun at the beach will be engrained in my head forever.

As an overall experience, I can undoubtedly say this is the most amazing experience I’ve had in my entire life. The ways God spoke to me has never been more clear, and my faith never been made so much stronger as it was in Lambumbu. We are 8 amazingly blessed individuals to be able to take part in such a unique opportunity so far away from home.

-TJ Baxter – DTS Student, April, 2015

You Have a Choice

  |   FCM, Lecture Phase   |   No comment

blog1If someone came up to me 2 months ago and told me “My boyfriend is physically abusing me and now I’m having suicidal thoughts.”  I would have stared at them for about 10 seconds and said, “Well, can I pray for you?”  Sometimes people would come up to me and tell me about major things in their life and I had nothing in my toolbox to help them with.  Well I’ve been here for about a month now, I am doing the Foundations of Counseling Ministry secondary school and I can now say that I have a lot more tools in my counseling toolbox.

 

blog6             Probably one of the most important topics we learned was this week on co-dependency. Lynn Toney and Ally George, our school leaders, were our speakers.  FYI, co-dependency is bad.  By definition it is an “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.”  In other words, it is emotionally destructive and a relationship addiction.  But being codependent doesn’t have to include 2 people.  You can be codependent on objects too like alcohol, technology, drugs etc.   Now if a girl called Sami came up to me and said that she’s struggling with her self-worth.  I start to ask her about how and why she’s feeling that way.  She starts going on and on about how people have hurt her over and over again.  She believes that God does not love her.  Sami believes that God does not love her and does not speak to her.  I know this girl, she is a joy to be around so I give her some encouragements and I pray for her.  She comes to me a week later with the same issues.  Everybody is out to get her, she was having trouble relating to people emotionally, and God is doing nothing.  I notice that she’s starting to possess some co-dependent symptoms such as reliance on others for approval or identity, being always extremely happy or always miserable/depressed, and having the victim mentality (Woe is me, everybody should feel sorry for me.)

blog3            HERE’S THE KEY PART: Fear, anger, and depression are all choices.  You can choose to be fearless, you can let go of your anger, and you don’t have to be depressed.  (This is actually clinically and biblically proven) We learned in another week about these 3 topics.  2 Timothy 2:26 says: “And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”  It may not seem like fear, anger, and depression  are choices, but they are.  Sami has all 3 of these things because she is choosing them.  But James 4:7 says to “resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  She has the authority to tell the devil to shove it up his butt and take a hike.  Then she can focus on the truths that her Daddy is telling her: “You are My child,” “I will never leave nor forsake you,” “You am Strong,” “You are my masterpiece,” “I chose you when I planned creation,” the list can go on and on.

Oh and by the way, I’m Sami.  I am a child of God and he calls me His shining star. Through all these things that I am learning, my toolbox for counseling is getting filled up.   I could not have counseled others without dealing with myself first.  We have about two more months.  I’m going to use those two months being the victor instead of the victim.  Suck it satan.

blog4Sami Johnson – FCM Student, July, 2015