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Love, serve, and encourage.

  |   DTS, News, Outreach   |   No comment
African customs

African customs

My latest Outreach journey has lead me to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, along with seven other students. This outreach, while only a week in, has already shown to be one of both challenge and harvest. Upon arriving in Ethiopia we were greeted by a wonderful couple from India, now living and working in Ethiopia. They have been our first contacts here and have provided great knowledge about the culture, area, and spiritual atmosphere. Ethiopia is made up with a religious majority of Ethiopian Orthodox, followed closely by Muslims, which has created a very skewed version of who the True God is. Our heart in being here is never to debate those of different beliefs, or judge the way they live, rather to love them into the Kingdom of God as we carry His Spirit with us.

Sharing at local churches.

Sharing at local churches.

While we have only been here a week we have already been able to dive right into various ministry opportunities ranging from preaching and sharing testimonies in local Christian churches, to working with children and leading Sunday school, to sharing the Jesus Film with the locals in their own native tongue. This week we will continue to share, as well as spend time in the local prisons, and travel to nearby villages helping bring fresh water.

New food with new friends!

New food with new friends!

Children's ministry

Children’s ministry

Africa is a place unlike any other and Ethiopia has proved to have many new challenges that the team has continued to trust themselves, me and most importantly God through. While Outreach is an amazing time to share with others God has continued to remind me that His heart is just as much for my students as those we speak to. Giving them  opportunities to share, see new cultures, try new food, and live a little more simply is much more than a good story for this group of guys and girls. It is an opportunity to have their eyes open to Gods love here, as well as to see the value of  people in new ways.

Outreach is that beautiful time where you watch students shift, as they look outside of themselves, their culture, their comfort zone and truly begin to understand  what loving others is all about. That it’s not about providing new clothes or shoes, it’s not about giving money to those less fortunate; while all that is good it’s about so much more. It’s about living in the present, looking around us where ever we are and asking ourselves what we can do to serve, to love, and to encourage.

While traveling to Ethiopia with seven students my assistant lead, Jaymie Poage fell ill in Washington DC and because of it was rushed to a local hospital. Time seemed to operate at a completely different pace as I called local paramedics, had to request her bags to be taken off the plane, and ran through the options in my head of what to do with my team, Jaymie, and myself. Quickly, after talking to my base director, I asked two students to stay behind with Jaymie, and as they walked off with her, I boarded the plane with the remaining students, all of us confused, heart broken and overwhelmed.

About to show the Jesus film!

Will and Jaymie.

As I sat on the plane and looked out the window I thought of the two girls who had so easily volunteered to stay behind. As great as it may sound to be heading to Africa to help poor children, it couldn’t even compare to the love those girls had shown for Jaymie. They sacrificed their time, their comfort, and their Outreach for a girl they had known only a few weeks, because that is what people in love with Jesus do.

Jaymie is special to me for many reasons but one of the first is that she is my girlfriend and because of that having to leave her behind didn’t make sense in my head one bit, but then again I think love rarely makes much sense. My job, my call, my purpose is to love the students, to keep them safe and to do whats highest and best for them and in that moment God gave me the strength to do just that. And on top of giving me the strength to do that, He blessed me, Jaymie and many others by loving so well through two amazing students that choose to listen and obey. I thank you in advance for your prayers both for this team and Jaymie.

 

Will Richardson – YWAM DP Staff (Outreach Lead)

Viva Bolivia!

“Home” is wherever He is.

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Mallasilla

Mallasilla

Hello from Bolivia! In our three days of travel we went from a boat to a tiny plane to a van to a bus to an even bigger plane to another plane to another plane to another plane to a van, and finally to our home in Bolivia. In Three days we were in 5 countries, sleeping on chairs, floors, airplanes, and buses. When we arrived in La Paz, Bolivia, our whole team was shocked with how beautiful the city is. Pretty much every building is made out of brick, with the city surrounded by huge mountains. I couldn’t help being speechless (possibly from the altitude) by God’s genius creation in the city of La Paz. 

Prayer walk throughout Mallasilla

Prayer walk throughout Mallasilla

The first few days were spent resting a bit so that we wouldn’t get altitude sickness, being 12,000 feet above sea level (slight difference from our home in Belize haha). We got to meet our “host family” Lisa, Scotty, and their two kids Natalie and Jubilee. Not only have they blessed our team so much with a place to stay (their church office), but also have shown us a little taste of Bolivia throughout the last few days. We went on a prayer walk throughout their town (Mallasilla) where they planted their church, got to go on a giant gondola that goes above the whole city of La Paz, all the way to the top peak. They also took us to eat typical Bolivian food which were things called Salteñas (kind of like empanadas. They have meat, veggies, potatoes and more, inside.) And lastly, we got to drink Bolivian coffee and eat gingerbread and their house.

The town of Mallasilla

The town of Mallasilla

Even though we aren’t at home with our families, celebrating, God has blessed us so much by showing us that “home” really is wherever He is. That even though we are in a foreign country, in a foreign house, with foreign food, nothing is really foreign at all because we are resting in Him and with Him.

Eating Salteñas.

Eating Salteñas.

Our team is experiencing tons of Joy, laughter, and peace as we are in the city of La Paz (which literally means The Peace ha ha, creds to God on that one). Tonight we get to go to a Christmas Eve church service, and then tomorrow we are celebrating with Lisa, Scotty, and their family!!

Bolivian coffee at Lisa and Scotty's!

Bolivian coffee at Lisa and Scotty’s

Please be praying that our team can be bold because of Christ. That in everything we do, it’s alongside Him, not just for Him, and that we can be confident because of the name of Christ!
Merry Christmas, and Lots of love from Bolivia!
Shea Salisbury – September DTS 2014
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Hello My Name is… Forgiven

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Take a deep breath.

My heart is racing right now just thinking about it.

Okay, here we go… Freedom.

What is it? Freedom is a choice.

The best thing about God while also being the worst thing about God is how much of a gentleman He is. He gave us free will and we chose sin and death over Him. But through the miracle of the cross we can still have eternal life through Jesus. However, we have to choose that. God is a gentleman. I will say it again and again because that’s what He is. He is willing to go only as far as you are willing to give Him. He wants to take all your crap from you and give you freedom but if you say, “No, God, not this. You can have everything else but you can’t touch this thing,” then He won’t. He’ll stop. Ugh, it’s so frustrating!

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I don’t know what’s best for myself, only He does!

If only we were willing to give Him everything!

But I made a concrete decision during my first week of Lectures to live life with open hands, trusting Him to take anything He wanted to work on in me and make me new. I laugh now because it was nuts. Totally and completely the most tear-filled, joy-filled, wild and crazy week of my entire life.

I learned the true significance of what our God did for us on the cross as well as the gift that we have been given because of that.

Did you get that? We have already been given the gift of freedom.

The package is sitting on our front porch just waiting to be unwrapped if only we would open the door.

I didn’t know that.

Or maybe I did but I certainly didn’t think I deserved it.

The Enemy was bringing me down hardcore with thoughts of unworthiness.

So I owned it.

I said “heck yeah I’m unworthy of this grace and this gift but you know what, I’m going to accept it anyway!”

We will never be worthy of God and of the way He loves us. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. But what really hit me about this was how selfish that thought was. Saying “sorry God, I can’t accept this even though you have already paid for this gift and thrown away the receipt… I’m just not worthy.”

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Isn’t that selfish? It’s done, it’s over, He did it and He did it for me and for you!

The price has already been paid, get over it and accept it already!

So I did. And it was friggin’ unbelievable. All of my chains and my bondage that I didn’t even know I had came out. And it sucked. We literally had a day where I cried for 4 hours straight. I asked my best friend (via Facebook messaging) if that was even anatomically possible. She said no. But it happened, I kid you not!

This is my home and the people I am with here are my family. Through crying together and affirming each other and speaking out what was holding us back from full freedom we grew closer. Don’t get me wrong, it was terrifying. Imagine the worst thing you have ever done or even thought in your head. Imagine your greatest fear. Imagine the lies that were spoken over you as a child that have now absorbed into your identity….

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Now imagine speaking all of that hurty-hurt stuff out loud in front of others. Imagine it being taken away from you. Imagine feeling instantly lighter and more free while also feeling like you don’t even know who you are anymore.

That’s what I felt.

So I am being made new.

I am still the same but I am also completely different.

Sometimes I look at myself now and wonder, how I could even stand up as the old me?

How I could even continue living when so much yuck was weighing me down?

Hello, My name is… Forgiven.

Kara-Beth Amuzzini – September 2014 DTS

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Leading a Crusade

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During our time in Jamaica we spent some time in the community of Spice Grove helping Nadeene (a staff member at YWAM Stones Hope, and the head of her late father’s church) organize and facilitate an evangelistic crusade to bring people in the community to the revelation of Jesus Christ and to help further establish His church in the community.

10743791_10152783399362618_897877074_nWe visited an elementary school in Spice Grove and planned a time of devotional with them. We sang songs and acted out the Bible story, David and Goliath, which the kids really seemed to enjoy. Some of us shared how God had helped us defeat the giants in our own lives the same way He helped David defeat Goliath. We then split up into two groups and went out into the community. We passed out flyers regarding the crusade, prayed for people and established relationships.

Later that week, we went to a home for mentally and physically handicapped children. Some of us cleared brush with machetes, some pulled weeds out of the flowerbeds and raked around the property and others spent time with the kids making connections and showing the love of Christ to them.

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The weekend came and brought with it the crusade we had spent a lot of time organising and planning, we had a great turnout of about 80 kids! We separated them up into age groups and played games with them and let them play in the bouncy house. After two hours of intense energy burning fun, we gathered them in the church building. We had a short time of worship; our team reenacted a Bible story and taught a short lesson from it.

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A speaker shared a short message of salvation and we had an altar call where about 35 kids gave their life to Christ! Then a spokesperson from the non-profit organization Samaritan’s Purse shared some words and we handed out gifts provided by Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. All the kids were ecstatic! We had some trouble keeping order in the small sanctuary but it was well worth seeing all the smiling faces holding their shoeboxes full of gifts.

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The next night we had a street meeting near the church in Spice Grove. We had a time of worship and our team did a few skits and a couple of us shared our testimonies. A speaker gave a powerful message of salvation and 6 young men responded by surrendering their lives to the Lord.

All in all this was a great and very powerful week and it was amazing to get to be a part of! God keeps on doing great things through us and it is so cool to be used by Him!

Travis Adams – July 2014 DTS

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Trusting and Belizing

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In April I decided to make a life changing decision to do a DTS (Discipleship Training School) with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) – I know tons of acronyms!- My DTS was absolutely amazing! I received healing, freedom and SO much joy and my relationship with Jesus became REAL and solid! During it I felt God tell me there was more He wanted for me and it was not time to go back home for good yet. I had plans to go home and get back to “normal life” but His plans are so much better and I decided to continue to pray about it and see what happens.10407361_10152452258496203_9204709750737894705_n

I felt that God kept telling me to trust Him, this was a huge theme during this whole process. I felt like at my age I had already given up so much to come and spend 5 months away from distractions to get closer to God, so in my mind there was SO much to lose if I choose to come back to staff with YWAM DP. I would not be close to my family, I wouldn’t have a regular money making job (I’ve worked since I was 17), I would leave everything & everyone I knew.

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Needless to say this was a hard decision, but again God kept telling me to trust Him and He would provide and make things work out. Many prayers later and tons of confirmation I knew I needed to come back to YWAM Destination Paradise and join the staff team. My role on staff is to be the school registrar, what that entails is a number of different things some of which include; taking all incoming emails, inquiries and student applications, interviews, and accept students into schools. This role is so much more than that though, I get to be the “front door greeter” I get to encourage these awesome students, pray for them, help them take the first step of faith to trust and believe that God can and will do amazing things during this time if they allow it and step out.

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I could go on for pages and pages explaining these past few months but I’m going to try to wrap it up in a few more sentences. So to answer the questions everyone is probably asking; Yes, I do live on a beautiful beach in Belize, and No I’m not getting paid to be here. It may be hard for people to understand the fact that I am living as a “missionary” while I’m in this gorgeous place, but don’t let the location fool you, we still are a community of people seeking after Jesus and helping to bring young adults to an amazing place of freedom and healing. We work hard, pray hard, cry tons, love much, serve, and learn right along side of this awesome community!994186_10152188968776400_8778637326979055455_n

Trusting and Belizing…It might be cheesy but I don’t care. This is a season that God is asking me to truly Trust and Believe in what He is doing and what His awesome plans are for my life while getting to experience His beautiful creation on this awesome island of San Pedro, Belize.

 

Stef Rosu – YWAM DP Staff (Registrar)