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Freedom

  |   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

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

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

Foundations

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903216_10152340839706203_1410631026365352286_o (1)We had the honor of hosting guest speaker, Jim Ramos, last week. He committed to this third week of lectures with a combination of raw personality and intense teachings that shook the class wide awake every morning!

The classes with Jim were light but revealing. Each of us had the opportunity to wake up to our spiritual gifts, personality type, and how our God wants to use us and everything we have to further his eternal Kingdom. We even crafted a mission statement for our lives! Some of the teachings were on all of the ways that God chooses to speak to us, as well as the many ways he can make himself known. God is personal, and he is present! We only need to be still, acknowledge this and let his Spirit draw us to His truths. 10001323_10152310032046071_7661163612462268532_n

One of the more important lessons I learned this week was on personal values and priorities. Our weekly schedules and even daily body rhythms dictate our priorities in life. This at first came across as shallow and a bit mundane, but I quickly realized the kind of future for someone who, for example, spends most of their week watching TV, surfing the net, and buying a two four every weekend. What kind of life is being dictated by those values? We can agree that giving in to sin is no way to live, but staying stagnant in life is just as unproductive. God wants something so much greater for our lives. He makes it out choice of whether or not we decide to grow with Christ in this relationship!

10173704_10152329260511071_177566971831889131_n (1) - CopyOverall, it was a great week! Jim made an effort to spend some one-on-one time with every individual student here. I ended up going kayaking and snorkeling with this guy – enjoying deep conversation while simply taking in God’s natural beauty. I trust in the foundation we’re building up here at YWAM DP, and I can’t even wait for what’s next!

Mitchell Leschied – April 2014 Leadership DTS student

Changing Hearts

  |   Outreach   |   No comment

erSomething I’ve always been aware of, is that God changes our hearts.

It’s very easy to have a moment where everything is perfect, you feel this joy inside of you. You feel loved. And then the moment passes. And you are back to asking God why you’re not happy. You’re starting to complain, because He’s not helping you. He’s not making you feel happy anymore. It’s always easy to blame it on God when things get hard.

So I had to ask myself, “How could I be a light and a tool for Him on this outreach, helping Him change hearts, when my own heart needs to be changed over and over again?” As we were doing ministry and meeting people, I heard God say to me, “Why are you not happy? What is it really that makes you feel this way?” I couldn’t really find an answer. I mean, we all have seasons where we are happy or sad. But is that God? Does God make you feel sad? The answer is so clear: NO! I’m making myself feel this way. Why can’t I just enjoy each moment that He gives me? I need a change of my own attitude, and a way of living. I need to be thankful and to love all the blessings in my life, because I can’t even count how many they are.gh

My life IS a blessing. But how do you make yourself feel happy? Paul knew it. He had a secret. He went through trials, he got tortured and sent to prison, but he also saw things happening and people choosing God. He said that in all those things there were temptations. But he had a secret to satisfy him in any situation: to live with Christ, to have a deep personal relationship with him. That is where he found strength to carry him through anything: “I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength”, Philippians 4:13. As I meet hard things in my life, I can still be the light and the change I want to see around me. Because my God is bigger than anything in this world, and He loves me more than I can ever imagine! So live with love, and be thankful, because you have a lot to be thankful for. “We love, because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19.

Cecilie Kristoffersen – January 2014 Leadership DTS Morocco Outreach