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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

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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

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Tour Update: Heading South!

  |   Alumni, News, Outreach   |   No comment

11850838_10207567802018362_961236323_nAlthough we were definitely ready for air conditioning and a real shower, our last few days at Creationfest were a blast and it was hard to say goodbye. We spent most of our afternoons with friends at the local park playing spikeball, ultimate Frisbee, and cooling off in the river. It was a great time of fellowship where we were able to build authentic relationship and pour into the lives of the people God brought to us during our time in Washington.

11830882_10207567800178316_417189563_nOne way that our team really saw God moving this past week was through prayer. Through our neighbor Cindy, we were given the opportunity to pray for a band called “Disciple”. Their drummer had to put a brace on his wrist because he was experiencing so much pain shortly before they were supposed to go on stage. We prayed over his wrist and over the band’s ministry and later received a message that during their set his pain vanished and he was able to play pain-free. It was amazing to see God use us as a team to bless a band that in return was able to impact their fans with their story and further the ministry of Creationfest as a whole.

11854067_10207567800218317_945917996_nOn Sunday we packed up our camping site, and set off for Salem, Oregon where we are residing now.   We been having such a great time with our host family, the Knospes’.  One thing that God has definitely blessed our team with along this trip so far is amazing host families.  Although making pancakes and soup over a camping stove is fun for a while, it’s also nice being able to have a home cooked meal and enjoy the company and conversations that go along with it.

So far in Salem we’ve had the opportunity to speak at a youth group at Sonrise Church in Forrest Grove. Amanda and Martin shared their testimonies, and God definitely
moved through them to impact the kids and even youth leaders.
We were all able to share with them what YWAM DP is all about a lot of them showed interest in doing a DTS. It was a smaller youth group with about 11 kids, so we were able to have awesome conversations with a lot of them after, create an environment for them to share their stories, and encourage them in their walks with Christ. It was encouraging and got us even more excited for opportunities to share in the future!

11846261_10207537579582820_43496900_nAmidst all the fun, God has been challenging us and teaching us as He always does. During DTS God really taught us the value of each individual person but on this tour we’ve been learning more about what it looks like to live that out.  Every single person we meet is fighting a battle, and every person weren’t deserves to experience God’s love through us. The size of a youth group doesn’t matter and the age of the person doesn’t matter: wherever there is a person there is opportunity. God is all about the little things and being a part of those little things is such a big thing!

11846342_10207537575062707_36480931_nWe are also learning that
productive outreach always begins with your own personal relationship to God. If we’re not keeping each other accountable and growing together than our outreach is hindered. Our times of team devos and worship have become the most important part of our day.  Whether it be sitting outside in the park enjoying worship together, or studying the Bible cozied up on the couch, we are excited for God to reveal more of himself to us as we seek him here in Salem and as we head into California next week.

11793320_10206084490205032_1387852494_nAmanda Harris – Staff

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Casitas and the Wind

  |   DTS, Lecture Phase   |   No comment
image1When I was asked to write a blog post for the base, I was excited for a couple of reasons. Not only was I eager to prove myself as a decently okay writer, but also as a good Christian. As great as that would be, though, I don’t think I could write an honest post and give off the impression that I already have everything figured out. I am a little hesitant writing this post, but have decided to lay it all before you guys. Though I want to sound put together and wise, don’t let me fool you: I have a lot to figure out.
Coming to YWAM, I’ve realized just how much I don’t have figured out, which wasn’t in my original plan. I came wanted to clean myself up a bit before heading back to what I considered “real life”. But I’ve been constantly reminded of just how little I know– about God, about myself, about faith. Little by little, though, I am starting to learn more about God and the kind of relationship He wants to have with me.

From day one on base, I have been acutely aware of the wind. When I imagined what life in paradise would be like, I failed to remember that with the beautiful ocean comes wind and all its glory. It’s forceful, persistent, unforgiving for those of us with long hair, and nearly inescapable. On the other hand, the wind is also a source of refreshment– graciously showering us with breaths of cool air, making the sun and humidity a little more bearable.

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 It’s week three, and I am just learning that in order to form a relationship with God, I have to get out of my own head. How did I realize this, you ask? Let the metaphors explain. If the wind is a reflection of God, let my casita be my brain. Inside our cozy little casita is the only place that I have found that you can escape the persistent winds, which can be both a blessing and a curse. After a long day of battling the wind, our wind-less casita is a nice resting place to let your hair down without worrying about it flying all over the place. However, give it about two minutes and you will begin profusely sweating and wishing for a burst of cool air. I found myself out of sleep a lot this past week, which left me with a lot of time wishing for just a little wind. However, I couldn’t bring myself to just step out of my casita, even if that meant sweating through my pants the entire night.
 With sleep clearly not an option, I had a lot of time to think in the heat of my casita. It seems so obvious now, but I had an epiphany that changed my goal for this DTS: in order to pursue a relationship with God, I have to get out of my own head and let Him in. By stepping outside of my own thoughts and doubts, I can be refreshed and washed clean by God’s refreshing breeze.
I say this not to be poetic or try to impress you with my ridiculous extended metaphors, but to share what God has been nudging me about this week. I am coming to see God’s reflection in the wind; when the wind decided to steal my papers and thrust them into the sea, I am reminded that God has much bigger plans than I have. When the wind leaves my hair in an impossible tangled mess, I am reminded that sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. When the wind brings an unexpected but much needed coolness, I am graciously reminded of God’s forgiveness.
Though I wish I could say I have it all figured out, I am humbled and relieved to say that I have a lot of figuring out to do. My hope for this season at YWAM is that I will learn to have the courage to face the wind head-on, allowing it to break and make me into who God intended me to be.
ClaireBlogPhotoClaire Andersen – DTS Student, July, 2015
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How Do You Eat Soup When You Don’t Have Any Bowls?

  |   Alumni, News, Outreach   |   No comment

11798491_10206084490805047_2028144549_nHow do you eat soup when you don’t have any bowls? And how do you tell a woman who is bearing old wounds and revealing her brokenness to you that Jesus loves her unconditionally? These are just a few of the questions we’ve been tackling this week. We were finally all united as a team last Saturday in Seattle, where we were shown incredible hospitality and probably fed a little too much.

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From there we set out to Creation, a music festival, in Kennewick Washington. We quickly discovered we were incredibly unprepared and amateur campers; but despite our shortcomings in the world of avid glampers (glamorous campers) we’ve already been able to host so many amazing people in our humble campsite and enjoy food, games, worship, and good conversation.

11787377_10207498754852226_1967199665_n (1)Our neighbor, Cindy, has quickly become a part of our “crew” as we’ve been able to share our stories with her and have been blessed by her willingness to be vulnerable and trust us with her story. Our relationship with Cindy has taught us as a team that a simple act of love, done in Christ, goes a long way. We also had our world rocked this week when we happened to meet a young girl who will be attending YWAM DP in October! In talking to her about our experiences with DTS we’ve been able to spark interest within her group of friends as well. God is pretty cool.

11798347_10206084504605392_691525148_nWe have prayed for God to bring people into our path and He has been faithful as He always is. We are learning boldness and praying for more of it everyday! We are learning that living a life focused on relationship means living a life of outreach, and everyday we are striving to reach more, grow more, and love more. We are so excited to see what else God has in store for a Creation, and how he is going to use us as we move on to Salem, Oregon.

 

11793320_10206084490205032_1387852494_nAmanda Harris – Tour Staff/Alumni