They also had the great opportunity to meet up with Dinesh, one of Noah’s roommates from when he was doing his DTS internship in Nepal. Now 4 years later they are both married with children and still in full time ministry. It was a treat for Tracy to be able to see where Noah was and to meet the people he lived alongside during his internship.
Often you hear the analogy of a curve ball symbolizing an unexpected change of plans. Well if you get to live the life of a YWAMer, you soon realize that curveballs are just to be expected. I like to think that God throws some of them them our way in order to grow us and help us to experience more. Over the last 4 months of my life, God has been pitching like it’s the World Series and now I find myself in Washington DC on the American Independence Day watching the fireworks.
We’re a tight little team of 6. We’ve got two BSN students and three DTS students (curveball). We’re embarking on an adventure together to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to follow God’s lead in evangelizing and discipling the lovely people that we meet there.
This team is team is raring to go but one thing has held us back for weeks now. Obtaining visas for the DRC. It’s been a long process and for some reason the methods we were trying just weren’t working very well. So we decided to change tactics, fly to DC and apply in person. This was a blessing in disguise, or you could say, another curveball.
We rolled with the opportunity and left quickly. When we arrived, of course God provided a great place for us to stay near the capital and we quickly applied for our visas. And so the waiting began, and what better place to waste some time than in Washington DC? We got to tour the capital and I was realizing how much of a blessing it was to be stuck in DC. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves walking past the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Monument, and war memorials when I got a phone call.
Our visas had been processed in only three hours, which should have taken three days! At that moment I realized that God was behind this, and this curveball that he threw turned out to be a way to bless us. We spent the remainder of our time in DC bonding as a team and enjoying our freedom in Christ as a nation enjoyed their freedom from tyranny.
The thing about curve balls, if you dig in and swing, it will most likely be out of the park.
Joshua Duft – Currently leading BSN/DTS Outreach in DR Congo
While it has been a crazy trip already, catching buses, staying in hostels, and eating sandwiches on a bus for three days in a row, God is clearly in this trip and moving in the hearts of those we encounter. Officially leaving Belize on Saturday the 21, we jumped on a ferry boat and then a bus heading down to Punta Gorda, Belize. Staying the night with some friends and moving on in the morning to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala where we then caught a ride to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Upon arriving in Honduras the realization hit us that English Speakers are hard to find and the little Spanish I know is much more rusty than I realized. Despite the obstacle we met a rambler from South Africa, traveling through central and South America as a photographer, who was heading in the same direction as us. Our new friend Peter not only helped us book our bus ticket and hotel room in for the next night in Managua, Nicaragua but went on to be sure we had the right tickets all the way to San Jose, Costa Rica. After some fun conversations and a few tips from Peter we parted ways in Managua and headed onto Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica we realized that our timing was not going to work to catch the transport to Panama we had hoped. We were easily able to stay another night at the YWAM base in San Jose and soon realized it was the Lords timing for us to be there.
The base in San Jose hosts many Outreach Teams as well as missions teams from all over the United States. We had the privilege of meeting one of these missions teams from Brandywine Valley Baptist Church, in Wilmington, Delaware. Having an extra day inSan Jose gave us the opportunity to meet this youth group and share the adventures of life together. Our team had the opportunity to share our story, and our heart for the upcoming adventure in Panama with their students. Building relationship and sharing the love and acceptance we have found in Our Father with students choosing to live the same lifestyle with Jesus.
After a night of sharing and a few card games we packed up early on Thursday morning to finish the final haul of our journey into Panama. Despite some trouble at the border and missing our planned water taxi ride the Lord continued to provide and despite the rain got us safe and sound to our Panama home.
Since arriving we are adjusting well into our new location. With limited fresh water, and a hard floor as a bed the adjustments can be a bit challenging but that has not hindered our desire to venture deeper into the jungle to learn more about the indigenous people of Panama. Early next week we hope to travel into our first village, while also helping around the home we are staying in. Our hearts remain geared for relationship and adventure, finding Jesus in new and exciting ways and showing others His overwhelming, never ending love. While the indigenous people have a troubled history and often are feared or looked down on by those traveling through, we pray for awesome ways to connect and to build relationship.
We look forward to keep you posted on our adventure and ask for your prayers and encouragements. Specifically we pray for the home we are staying in, to remain a safe place and a place of joy, peace, and vision. A place where teams can see Fathers heart for these people and this area, a place to embrace adventure and a reputation that encourages relationship.
Will Richardson – April DTS Panama Outreach Leader
I went to YWAM with the expectation that during the 12 week lecture phase I would learn all about God and who He is. It turns out I learned that and so much more! The set up during the lecture phase is we wake up every morning and jump into worship or intersession then move into about four hours of lectures. Each week we have a different speaker that allows God to use them as a vessel to pour out truths for us. It was amazing to watch each week be tailored to exactly what we needed to learn.
Community is the key. On base we get to eat, worship, pray, and play together. The staff created this beautiful atmosphere where anytime anyone needs something, there is someone there to help. As a class of 22, we started off as a bunch of strangers but as the weeks went, all of the awkwardness fell away. Because we got to go through every challenge and victory together, we grew to become an amazing family that I know I will always be a part of.
I believe one of the most crucial things that I had during that time was a small group leader. My small group leader, Brittney, helped me walk through many things that were incredibly difficult to face. We had one on one time each week to talk about how life was going and what I was struggling with. Of course it was strange at first to jump into a relationship with someone that wants to know everything about me. Luckily, it didn’t take me very long to learn that it wasn’t just about my problems, but that she wanted to help me celebrate the victories that I would have a long the way. She was there for me anytime I needed or wanted, even if it was just to hang out. She helped me see who God truly created me to be. I learned to be confident in who I am because my Father made me that way. She helped me see what it really looks like to have someone love on me well.
After some incredibly hard goodbyes, my team of 14 was off to Morocco for an 8 week outreach. While we were in Morocco we learned all about what it means to love people well, and just be ourselves. Morocco was a place where we couldn’t shout out how much we love Jesus, but we sure could love people like Jesus would. And that’s what we did!For us, loving like Jesus does involved a lot of time in prayer. And I mean a lot. While we were there, prayer looked a lot like just a normal conversation. We would walk about and pray out loud because we knew that Jesus was just walking with us. He gave us so many opportunities to just make people’s day. It looked all sorts of ways, anything from giving someone a flower, to gathering a group of friends for prayer
One of our biggest ministries was actually something formed internally in the group. We noticed right away that our family of 14 looked pretty strange. We had something about us that was just different. It was Jesus. We loved each other the way Jesus loves us, at least we tried as hard as we could to do so. Our love for each other was something that everyone we met noticed. We got asked why we love each other so much and how in the world could we live with 14 people. We got to invite people in to be a part of our family and take the opportunity to love them really well.
In the beginning of the outreach God put the phrase “close your eyes and choose to love Me” on my heart. I thought He was just telling me that every day I get the chance to love Him, and I should take advantage of that. Of course that is true, but it turned out that phrase was so much more. God had asked me from the very beginning to love people really well. I got the amazing opportunity to choose to love God everyday because I got to choose to love His people.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
I want to go back on staff to love people really well so they can feel His love. God’s love for us is truly all we need. It blows my mind and fills my heart when I see someone understand that, the moment when it clicks. I hope God will use me to help get His children there.
Taylor Fagan – January 2014 Leadership DTS and Morocco outreach