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photoSinking my toes into the sand and allowing the waves to chase away the grains of foundation beneath my feet, I have come to a place that is beyond what I ever thought possible. Surrounded by the sweet breeze lifted on the wings of time, I am complete in the embrace of my Fathers arms. It’s taken many months to plan this adventure, I came with no expectations, and I have been blown away by what God is revealing to me in the Lectures.
I come from a Christian home, but at the age of fourteen I stepped away from God because I felt I couldn’t live up to His expectations, little did I realize that He was not the one placing the judgement on me, but I was doing it to myself by the perception that I was not good enough for the church.
The first week of lectures Noah, our speaker for the week, was sharing on “Pursuing Truth” he asked us, What is Truth? I had never thought of that before. I came up with the idea that Truth is pure existence, it is what is right and true, something that can not be corrupted no matter how hard people try, whether or not they choose to accept it.
Noah explained that truth is an accurate description of reality from an infinant perspective, ie: the way things really are. Jesus is the Truth, and He offers us Freedom!
1451405_400184640127515_1066468339_nThe character of God has been brought into light through Genesis, how God really cared about the world He was creating, He spoke everything into existence, and saw that is was good, that WE were really good. He prepared a place of complete beauty for Adam and Eve, in the garden, gave them everything they needed and more. God took time to engage in relationship with them, walking through the garden together and embracing them. Then sin separates them from the Garden and from God, but even though they denied the protection that God gave them, in their shame He still made clothing for them. Later on, God sent His only Son to bring us back into direct relationship with Him.
1527893_10201297601938874_304438641_nThe perfect relationship and expression of love, is God – He never fails to provide for His Children, He cares for us, and He wants to embrace us in our brokenness and give us freedom from the sin in our lives.
Pursuing Truth for me is knowing that God created me so he could be in relationship with me, I am beautiful because He made me the way that I am. Jesus is Truth, He is the light of my life, and the reason I am here. Without Jesus, I would still be lost in the brokenness this world brings, with no hope, no purpose, no future. But that is not the case, because even though I was filthy with sin, Jesus came to free me from it because I was chosen long before I was brought into this world, to be in relationship with the True King. How blessed am I? The Creator wants ME to be HIS Princess! This is my Paradise, my walk with Jesus and I look forward to engaging in a deeper relationship with Him. He LOVES us!

Melanie Stewart-January 2014 Leadership DTS

Patience, Vulnerability, and Growth

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892277_10151944557697982_2063936203_oBuenas, from Guatemala! To start out, I would love to talk about how much God has used this outreach to teach us how to grow a lot more in our patience and our vulnerability as a team. While we were coming to Guatemala we expected to be entering into a “hot” culture climate where everything is “go with the flow” and never on time. God has really tested us in adjusting to how things work around here and how nothing is ever on time and how we need a lot of patience. Patience is so far the biggest theme of this outreach. Also, while learning patience God has taught us how to be patient with each other as a team as we adjust to a new culture. As we learn to adjust to the loose scheduling we still have had some wonderful ministry opportunities here in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala!

1526273_10151944510577982_789696119_nFor ministry, we have had the opportunity to do a lot of different things. We have also been able to grow a lot of relationships with people because we re-visit a lot of the places where we do ministry. Some of the ministries we’ve had the chance to be a part of are, going to the city dump, the orphanage, nursing home, churches and street ministry. We also have had the opportunity to do a lot of community building, such as, helping repaint a special needs school for the start of the new year. Also, we visit the local park and grow relationships with the locals.

615029_10151944487022982_1382451818_oThe city dump has to be one of my favorite ministry projects we have done. Every Thursday we go and do ministry at the city dump and bring sandwiches for the kids and families that live in the dump. For some of the families it is their only meal for the whole week. Our group sings songs to the children (in Spanish) and we just play and love on the kids. Our goal is to build relationship with people at the dump and pray for them. This coming week we have the opportunity to spend a whole day at the dump and really see how it is to live there. We are being “adopted” by families there and we will help them with their everyday life.

God has stretched us and has taught us so much on this outreach here in Guatemala. It has been really beautiful to see God move in this community, but also just in our group. We have grown closer to each other and closer to God as a group. Recently, Luke Chamberlain made the choice to be baptized. He got baptized in the beautiful mountains of Guatemala in the waterfalls. It was such a beautiful experience. Something unexpected that has happened to us is that we have been living with and teaming up with 50 other missionaries from the World Race and YWAM Mazatlan Mexico. It has been such a blessing and we have made so many new friendships!

-Michaela Lindley-September 2013 Guatemala outreach

900 Banana Trees

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An update from our September 2013 outreach team to Peru!

1505340_10201323905514627_1141787133_n Hola! Last week held a lot for us as a team! Last Friday another YWAM DTS team came from the base in Cusco, Peru. It was great to have some new faces living with us in the jungle. It is so encouraging to meet the Cusco team, knowing that people all over the world in different walks of life are all chasing after a relationship with God. Three of the students were American, two of then were Peruvian and the two staff members with them were Peruvian. It was so much fun to work alongside them and experience more of their language and culture. They were very patient with our Spanglish. :)
Unfortunately, four members of our team, were sick this week with a harsh stomach bug, which put them out of commission for a few days. The “inner mother” in many of us… but really just the girls came out this week in caring for each of the little sick ones. Having some of the team sick in bed challenged our unity, but I believe we are stronger because of it and now almost everyone is back to full health. Hooray!
1510470_10202986379681707_328022575_n we continued weeding trees in the orchard this week we came across quite a few nasty bees. However Francis definitely endured the worst of it, sustaining a bee sting to the eyebrow causing severe swelling. But he was a champ about it and kept working!
During our time in the fields we finished weeding all of the citrus trees and got into the banana trees. Mmmhhh, bananas! Thinking we had weeded over 500 trees in our three weeks at Bud’s, we felt so blessed for this opportunity to help. However when talking with Bud he told us we had actually weeded close to 900 TREES! God enabled us to be little weeding machines.
IMG_0258 we said goodbye to the Cusco team on Thursday we got ready for our own departure on Friday. We are now in the city of Puerto Maldonado staying at a church. This week we have been preparing for this transition and particularly preparing a “Heart Message.” Each of us has been working on a message about something that we have been taught or has been on our heart to share this upcoming week. This week in PM we will be sharing at many different cell groups, which are similar to small groups. Please pray that we will be bold and engaged in our sharing. Please pray especially for Heidi, one of our team members, that she will have lots of energy, as she will be doing a lot of translating for us.
-Evangeline Kesteven 2013 September DTS Peru Outreach

Amazon to the Andes

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From The Beaches of Belize to the Amazon Jungle
IMG_0180And so our adventure in Peru begins! Arrived safely thanks to God’s faithfulness after our adventures at the airport; all went smoothly to start with. We all had to get up at around 4am and say our goodbyes to team Guatemala, which for some rather upsetting. We got a boat to Belize City with team Singapore and again had to say some very hard goodbyes.
Our adventure began when we arrived at Miami airport; we had an hour and a half to get 13 people through. All got through immigration quickly. However, when we arrived to check in we were told we had missed our flight. After some sweet-talking and God’s faithfulness they agreed to check us in, but this still didn’t mean we would make the flight. We had to “throw some elbows” and talk our way through security so we could sprint to our gate and plane.Thanks to God we somehow all made it.

We had a long layover in Lima airport. We all crashed on the floor with 26 bags and 13 people, all sleeping inIMG_1494rather unusual positions. But most people got some form of sleep. Despite all of this there was still a sense of positivity & happiness, it didn’t feel like there was any tension between anyone even though we were all pretty tired.
When we arrived Bud collected us from the airport & brought us to his home, down a rather bumpy trail, and he showed us where we were staying.
The girls are staying on the second floor with no windows or walls, just a wooden floor and door down stairs. Our bathroom/toilet is a large bucket with a toilet seat on top and sawdust to cover it. To start with, I was a little concerned about the fact we had no walls & windows, however at the same time it is exciting & a totally different experience.

Surprisingly it hasn’t been too bad without the walls and windows as you can fall asleep watching the stars and gazing in to God’s creation, hearing the bugs & animals, staring into the treetops.
IMG_0183The following day just involved resting, enjoying company, and a small service with Bud and his 5 children David, Daniel, Felix, Joseph and Caleb, who all seem really nice & friendly. The service consisted of a few worship songs & then it was based on Ephesians 6 about the Armor of God. Then we all shared our thoughts on what Bud had spoken about.

Monday was our first work day, this involved weeding around lemon trees for the morning. We’re pretty excited to be here and see what God has in store. From what I have seen so far it’s going to be a pretty WILD outreach!

-September 2013 DTS Peru outreach

Faith In Motion

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God has sent our team on an amazing faith journey into the unknown realm of His presence. From day one, we knew that God was calling us into something different, something deeper and something that would test and grow each of our faith in a different way. It has only been a few weeks since outreach started, but we have already seen huge shifts in the way we view ourselves and view the will of God. As our journey started on a boat in Belize we all already felt a huge sense of anticipation as to what God was going to do. Not long into our travels we had our first test of faith as one of our team members was not allowed to board the plane to Singapore due to some troubles with her passport. As we left two members of our team behind in Los Angeles, we knew that even during times of trial and times where the enemy would try to separate us as a team that God’s will would ultimately prevail. So, two people short, we boarded the plane to Singapore knowing that God’s timing for things is often different than our own.

Our first week in Singapore was amazing; God blessed our socks off! We were able to get in contact with some amazing people and spend a lot of time interceding on behalf of Singapore; whether it was prayer walking, asking God for divine appointments, worshipping, or spending time in Chinese and Buddhist temples, we were bringing light into the darkness with the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. One of the main lessons we learned, as a team, was the power of living in the present moment and in doing so being in tune to what the Holy Spirit has for us, ready to obey in an instant. We have witnessed the power of being. Just our presence in a place can change things in the spiritual realm. One example of this was when one of our contacts told us that us just being with them (while being with Christ) blessed them more than we would ever know.

76827_10200422168791737_2016312133_n In contrast, the first week of outreach for the two who stayed in LA was also a time of faith building and blessing. In the words of Bethany, “Our time in LA was a time for us to build our trust in God and it was also preparation for Singapore. We were experiencing some of the same strongholds in LA as the rest of the team was in Singapore so God was bringing things to our attention even though we were halfway around the world. The first week of outreach was a week where I had to learn how to be still which was preparation for the rest of my time in South East Asia. When I made the decision to trust God and follow His plan even when it didn’t make sense to me God took care of me and even blessed me far beyond what I imagined.”

seaa We felt such peace and joy once our team was united again 5 days later. We know that there is such power in unity, which is why the enemy had tried to break our unity in the first place. We have taken such comfort and had peace knowing that God has control in every situation. As I sit here writing this I am in Kuching Malaysia. Yes, God has sent us on an outreach within an outreach. We will be here for 2 weeks, minus the five days we will be spending in Indonesia, serving at a YWAM base there. We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be present in 3 different communities, in 3 different cultures. Each day is another day of faith for us, another day of allowing God to lead, another day of learning how to just be. After all, it is not about the doing, it is about living each minute in the presence of God, finding Him where he is to be found. Looking around at the different members of the team I can already see the ways that God has changed them, brought them closer into knowing their true identity. This life we are called to live is a beautiful life of community, healing and faith. As we continue here in Malaysia and head into Indonesia this week pray for those we will come into contact with, pray for unity, a deeper freedom in us and those around us and pray for our obedience to change nations. Down below is an acronym that sums up our outreach so far, our beautiful faith journey. Blessings!

Freedom in Presence

-September 2013 DTS Singapore Outreach team