Arrival In Panama

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

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.


9217554Since 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



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It Has Come And Gone!

  |   Lecture Phase, Outreach   |   No comment

photo-2I can’t believe it has come and gone!

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.

photo-4-8 - CopyAfter 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.

???????????????????????John 15:9-12
“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

Taylor Fagan – January 2014 Leadership DTS and Morocco outreach

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  |   Lecture Phase   |   No comment

10268596_10152377076136203_8114768117264819668_nFreedom is a choice.  It’s a decision to trace back the roots of our scars, the wounds we hold so deep, allowing God to replace it with life. It’s not an easy process, it’s painful and it hurts… but God longs to restore us!  I’ve learned that there is beauty in authenticity. That being real with others builds unity and gives room for healing.  Not only to ourselves but to people who otherwise would not have opened up; it brings conviction.

I’m learning that it’s a daily process, it’s renewing your mind, inviting God to do life with you, and saying no to condemnation.  It’s the choice to own your story, to not allow the bad things in your past to prevent you from living the rest of your life.  The realization that God doesn’t love us for what we do, but instead for who we are.  Freedom is choosing to forgive the person that gave you those scars, to not be burdened any longer by the poison of bitterness but to be reminded that each person is valuable,  and release this burden on God who is so ready to relieve us of the weight.  To fight fear with love, and decide to not hold back but to stand up, to be fearfully courageous over and over again until it no longer is an obstacle.  Perfect love casts out all fear, and Gods love for us is perfect.  He is never going to love us more or less than he does in this moment.  This blows my mind!

10155013_10152377166016203_8767473843862432925_nGod is not complex, he is not trying to trick us or make you solve his jigsaw puzzle to uncover the truth he just wants us to simply choose him.  “Now the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17), and it’s only when I’m here in his presence abiding in him that I am able to fully receive his freedom and walk in it.

Rachelle Tang – April 2014 Leadership DTS student

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A Day In My Life

  |   News   |   No comment

3042383It has been a blessing to be working with YWAM DP in Belize for the past few years. For those of you who don’t really know what YWAM is or what I do specifically here, it would be hard to picture what it’s like. My goal for you and especially those of you who are my supporters is to be included in on this adventure. So in an effort to include you further, let me walk you through a typical day of activities here at Youth With A Mission, Destination Paradise. Depending on the time of year I am involved with one of two different schools. It is the spring quarter so that means it is the Bible School for the Nations. This school is a second level college course so naturally it is a lot more rigorous to staff but it is definitely where my heart is and I enjoy every moment of it.

So I’ll pick a Wednesday because they typically are the fullest day of the week. My mornings all typically begin the same at around 6:30AM or earlier if I want to catch another killer Belizean sunrise over the ocean. The mornings here are peaceful as the ocean is still and a gentle breeze rolls in from the Caribbean. There are docks a-plenty to be alone and start my day with Jesus. In passing I grab some breakfast from our version of a cafeteria and head to a staff meeting at 7:15AM. We discuss life, the school, and make time to pray as a staff team before beginning the day with the students. Next comes one of my favorite parts of the day, worship at 8:00AM. Wednesday is my day to organize worship here on the base whether that looks like putting together a playlist on the sound system or leading with a team on our guitars and voices. It’s an incredible way to start the day and really get’s us focused on what’s important. 1980528_10154012435370232_110891691_o

At 9:00AM, after a small break, we finally we all file into our little classroom. The students all turn on our computers and prepare to for a day of teaching. Depending on the day, either one of us staff or a visiting speaker will then teach from 9:00am-1:00pm. We work our way though God’s word, having discussions, doing activities, and listening to the speaker. It’s very interactive and mind-blowing the things that God brings up as we go. Often we all walk out of the classroom shell shocked at what was just revealed through God’s word. My favorite. Now it’s lunch time, the two schools, BSN and DTS all gather in our outdoor dining area and casually share over lunch what we learned that morning, a nice time to decompress and share in community.

10257039_297707327052221_1895609814518960713_nWhen the dishes are done, we split into our small groups, of one I’m the leader of. We do various things depending on how heavy the morning of class was. We would do anything from discussing an unresolved topic from class, playing games, swimming in the ocean, or just praying for each other.  It’s always good to have a small group who can come together and share what’s on our minds. God can do some pretty cool things during these times of bonding. Now it’s about 3:00pm, time for a one-on-one with one of my students. These are some of my favorite times to talk and pray with a students through what God is doing at this point in their lives. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to individually pour into them and this is where some of those awesome friendships are formed. So cool.

1978353_10200879104894854_796824895270177286_oUsually I get to breathe a little before dinner, which starts at around 5:30pm. The sun is setting, and the breeze is hopefully picking up so that we don’t have to get destroyed by the mosquitos and sand flies. Again, the entire base comes together to eat dinner and be in fellowship. It’s Wednesday so after dinner my girlfriend Jaclyn and I have couples group at 7:30 where we get the cool opportunity to interact and learn from other couples on base most of which are married. As the night comes to a close, I get some one-on-one time with my girl or my heavenly Father, two people who have my heart. And there I find myself again, sitting on the dock ending my day in the very same place it began. My heart is full and my eyes are heavy.

I am so blessed by where God has me right now and I couldn’t ask for more. His goodness is poured in huge amounts every day. Saint Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” I don’t know if I have reached the point where I feel fully alive, but this life certainly often leads me to the place where I have moments of feeling fully alive. God is good, and the life He gives is good.

Joshua Duft – YWAM DP Staff

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In With The New

  |   BSN   |   No comment

Old Testament finished! BSN has been moving right along and are just about finished with our unit on The Exile and Return, which means we will have concluded our study of the OT! Woo! 10264975_771430682867501_6894308959281197067_n

Studying the Old Testament taught me so much; I am just about ready to go back and study the whole thing again. Before attending the BSN I had never realized the heart and emotion of God in the OT. He designs humans for such a beautiful, whole life and when it gets messed up he still walks with his people, loves them and wants them to be free from their idolatry, so they can live the life he intended for them. God has always wanted to be Israel’s God and Israel to be his people. He wants to bless the world through Israel by the blessings he has given to them. My heart has been so transformed by looking at who God really is in his nature and character. God loves so fiercely!1291514_10152152148437893_6485695908911966705_o

Our class of ten always has a great time and we have so much fun together studying, acting and making Biblical jokes. Making a casual reference to Tiglath- pileser and having someone else know exactly what you are talking about is a great feeling.

Recently we acted out the story of Esther, which was full of pillowcase head coverings, bed sheet robes, bucket crowns, and ridiculous amounts of laughter. I am so thankful for the environment of grace in our class and on this base. We laugh so much, but there is always room for sharing, tears and prayer. It’s the best!

10257398_10152181589127893_5711745596400063490_oWe have the privilege of doing our BSN along side the April DTS; it is so amazing to watch them growing, changing and gaining freedom. I did my DTS in September 2013 and on my outreach to Peru, I felt such a prompting to learn more about God’s word and have a really solid Biblical word view. So from there, I went right into BSN; greatest decision ever! During my DTS I gained so much personal freedom, understood how God actually feels about me and built amazing friendships. But I did not have a firm knowledge of the Bible as a whole story and the truth of who God is. Now that we have finished the Old Testament, I have gained an understanding that the Bible is one long story, and I am stoked to see a continued connection of the Old and New Testament.

Vange Kesteven – March 2014 BSN Student

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