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I Breathe, Therefore I Pray

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The funny thing about leadership and life is that you’re never done learning. There are always scenarios and moments that stretch you and cause you to move past what you think you know and teach you something new.

Every time I find myself in a position of leadership I am very aware of this fact. They are the times in life I know that in the future I will look back fondly on, but usually not enjoy the most while I am walking through it. At least that has been my experience up until this trip to Morocco.bn

I am learning about patience and humility more than ever before, its constantly stretching but wonderfully rewarding.

Leading a group of 12 students, 10 girls 2 guys has a variety of challenges in and of itself, but if we add in the dynamic of being a female leader in a country where woman have little to no value, thats a whole new twist.

Those are my moments of mustering up all the patience and humility that I can.jj

Not being able to walk into a cafe and order my own drink or ask for assistance, but needing to have a guy step into that role, makes me think back to the days of old, how women were daughters then wives then mothers and that was the be all and end all of their existence.

In this challenging culture, I’m fighting it with the strength God gives me every day, what I have been living by is the simple statement “I breathe therefore I pray.”

I ask God to help me love the Moroccans even when it’s hard. To love them and view them as He does. To see their value in His Kingdom despite the culture they know or their misunderstandings of mine.

With the oppressive religion of Islam everywhere I turn, everywhere my eyes land, I also see the infiltration of dedicated apathy and misery. I think back on Easter morning, and the excitement I had to wake up at 6am to walk down to the beach to spend time in worship and prayer, celebrating the risen King.

As we walk out the front door of our hotel we see the religious men walking like living dead out the main doors of the mosque, no joy, no excitement, no celebration on their faces just the residue of fulfilled duty.moo

As we see the sky turn a mix of orange and red over the mountain housing the Kasbah that is inscribed God. Country. King. We sing of how Jesus is risen and we rest in the assurance of the gift of Grace afforded us by His sacrifice. My heart is pleading that my Father would see His lost children of Morocco come to know this same gift of Grace, and learn how to live a life of freedom in knowing that they are the Beloved of the King of the Universe. I pray that they would be delivered from the chains and bondage of Islam and released into the joy and peace living in the presence of the living God.

“I breathe therefore I pray”

I am dedicated to bringing the light and love of God into this nation clouded with darkness. I am fully invested to living life fully alive, loving my team well and loving the people around me well so that Christ can shine through me and spark a curiosity that leads to the freedom of my lost brothers and sisters.

My favorite moment so far was about a week ago after we had a time of worship, prayer and sharing devotionals on the beach, a game of soccer erupted and we were joined by Amina, a young girl dressed in a full Habib. We girls joined forces and the boys had no choice but to be impressed!

Those are my most treasured moments of just living life and being “normal” people, but entering fully into the culture and opening up a space of acceptance and freedom to allow Amina to join our game on the beach.mo

I ask that you would join us in prayer for unity, strength and even more love for each other as we finish out the last few weeks of our time here in Morocco.

Zoe Hewlett – January 2014 Morocco Outreach Leader

Diving In

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Wow! My time here at Destination Paradise has flown by and has already changed me for the best! When I look at what I’ve learned in this short amount of time, I can’t believe how much my perspective on both life and on God has changed. My first week at YWAM DP was definitely scary, but also extremely exciting! I immediately felt at home when I was greeted with smiles and excitement on the dock the day that we arrived. It got me excited and ready to learn and make new friendships!1544489_10152369605504787_5578764901919477406_n

As exhausting as the first week was, it was amazing! After I was able to get over the jet lag and adjustment, we dove into the learning phase. I came here to absorb as much information as I could, and I still am! The foundations of week one of lectures were extremely eye opening and amazing. Laying the foundations of our faith and a broad scope of who we are in God’s eyes was such an important lesson for me. Knowing and learning about the Bible is our strongest weapon in today’s world. I love the fact that in week one I was able to take so much from each day. I came into DTS with an open mind and heart, and I don’t regret a thing!1609805_10152365679029787_9137495646063873226_n

The people you meet here become your family, and the memories I’ve already made are incredible. Knowing that when you sleep at night the beach is only 15 feet from your door, being able to go kayaking out to the reef, or for a swim in the ocean, or being able to go sailing with your friends is amazing. There are so many opportunities to be active and explore as well as learn and absorb God’s word. As I listen to the waves hitting the dock, and as the birds chirp, there is no better place to be than here. I can only thank God for being here right now and I can’t wait to know more of who God is. He is such a mystery, and being able to know how he works is a mystery worth knowing.

Michaela Bragge – April 2014 Leadership DTS

Our Time in Suriname

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bjgAfter leaving the YWAM base in Guyana, we made our way into the country of Suriname. We were soon greeted by our host and guide, Otis, who is one of the coolest people I have met on this outreach so far. We travelled 12 hours to get there and almost immediately after eating our first meal, our leader, Becky, tells us that instead of staying in Suriname for two days like what was originally planned, we were staying a full week. We were excited about this new opportunity!bn

Our week in Suriname was mostly down time and rest after a busy week in Guyana. We had the opportunity to do some kids ministry and evangelism, but our rest time was great because Otis, who is from Jamaica, told us everything we needed to know about Suriname as a country. Although I didn’t get to connect with any certain kids in particular, I loved spending time with them all. However, my favorite time was spent hanging out with the team and walking around town.bjh

Even though we were only there for one week, Otis made us feel like we had been there forever. The main language of Suriname is Dutch and it wasn’t even a problem because Otis was always on the ball. My time in Suriname wasn’t all smiles, but God had His way and I’m glad I got to be there for it. God has raised us up for such a time as this. Don’t waste it.

Kyle Carter-January 2014 Leadership DTS French Guiana Outreach

Keeping Busy

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We have been thrown right into ministry here in Guyana, and it has been both exciting and challenging.

We have done quite a bit of kid’s ministry with YWAM Guyana. Here at the base they have a literacy center that runs twice a week and they help the kids with reading, writing, and computer skills. It is also a normal occurrence to have children show up on base just to hang out. The first day we were here we had the opportunity to do Sunday school at a village in Parika, Guyana. We met about 20 kids, played games, sang songs, talked with the parents, and told the story of Noah’s ark.britt

Kid’s ministry comes naturally to the majority of our team, so we enjoy doing it. We have had numerous opportunities however do to church ministry where the pastor gives us the whole service to do what we want. We are able to do dramas, testimonies, sermons, worship, and pray for people. It has been a challenge, to me at least, to get up in front of a group of people and speak to them. I am so proud of my team for stepping out in faith and giving sermons and testimonies and really putting themselves in a vulnerable position for God to move.ash

It has been intimidating and terrifying to have to step out in our faith. Sometimes we feel as if the ministry we are doing isn’t really effective or isn’t worth our time, but we need to keep in mind that God knows the bigger picture and we may never know how or what effected someone. God is pleased in us simply taking that leap of faith and being obedient to Him.

God has blessed us with full days of ministry here in Guyana. We don’t know what to expect for our next location, French Guiana, but we are prayerfully going with open hands.kids ministry

-Ashley Woods January 2014 Leadership DTS Guyana/French Guiana outreach

Perspective

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Typically speaking, one of the biggest things North Americans like myself lack in life, is perspective. In Canada, everything is accessible and attainable. If you need food there is almost always a grocery store nearby where you can spend your money on frivolous things like chocolate bars and marshmallows. Or, you can hop in your car and drive to the nearest Starbucks and place an order through a metal box with a microphone and a speaker in it and you don’t even have to get out of your car to pay for it and get it. We can often times get caught up in the desperate competitive need to have everything and want even more that we miss out entirely on one of the biggest most important aspects of interaction with other human beings, relationships. I guarantee if Jesus were still flesh and blood walking among us on this earth, He would not drink $5 coffee or drive a Hummer, and He definitely wouldn’t listen to Mumford and Sons. He’d be hanging out with the people that need His love the most, the people who are willing to live against the social standards of “More equals better.” He would be taking off His own coat to give it to someone with more of a need for it than He has.kristina

Life down here in South America is amazing. I am blown away by how people here are so genuinely friendly. If we forget to smile and wave at someone as we are passing him or her they feel dejected. Motorists honk their horn ALL the time, so much so that their horns are worn in from so much constant pressure in one spot. They do not honk out of anger; they do it as a sign of greeting. The people with the least are the ones most willing to give up what they have for relationship. Coming from a society where time equals money, I am blown away by how willing the people here are to forfeit potential money if it means they can greet and spend time with me. God has blessed this country of Guyana so much and the people are aware of it and share it. I wish people from my country of Canada could open their eyes to God’s blessings more too.guyana

God, I pray that you continue to rain blessings one the Guyanese and that countries like the States and Canada could be more aware of your blessings.

Tim Potter- January 2014 Leadership DTS Guyana Outreach