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Mountains of Fun

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Hey! I’m Maike from Germany. I started my DTS in January 2012, and now I’m in Indonesia with my outreach team. In the last week we went to different slums and sang songs, played games, performed skits and taught some of the children English. We also held a soccer ministry and went to an orphanage, a High School and some kindergarten classes. The teachers there were so thankful that they cooked for us!

My most favorite adventure till now started last week. We drove to a village in the mountains where we stayed for four days. The pastor of the church we stayed in welcomed us with lunch. After a little orientation, we went to a local Christian orphanage. There were about 35 children between two and nineteen years old. We played with them, taught them English worship songs, did two skits and one of us gave a testimony. It was an awesome evening and everyone had a lot of fun.

The next day we drove higher into the mountains to help a farmer in his banana field. On the way we got stuck because it was too steep. So we all had to get out of the van and push it up the hill! When we arrived the people there greeted us with such joy. They opened coconuts for us and let us climb up a thin bamboo ladder to a rooftop so that we could enjoy the beautiful view over the whole island. After working hard on the banana farm, seeing snakes and scorpions, we went deeper into the jungle to visit some people and to pray for them. On the way we had to get out of the car again a few times and push the car up the mountain. We prayed for a Hindu woman, whose right side of the body doesn’t work anymore and told her about Jesus and what he has done for us. Then we went on and prayed for a man who lost one leg and can’t hear anymore. We didn’t see any healing right away, but we could feel a change in the atmosphere and even see a fresh lightness come upon the lady’s face.

In the evening we went to another orphanage and played games, sang songs and made balloon animals and things. The next day, we went on a prayer walk in another village where the people there had never heard about Jesus. Later the pastor we stayed with took us to the youth group where he preached and James gave his testimony.

It was so much fun there! Just to praise God even if we don’t know the language in which we were singing… I don’t think that in any other faith people have so much fun to worship and praise their God!!

Maike Rose – January 2012 Leadership DTS

Getting Oriented!

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Greetings from Belize!

This place is incredible; gorgeous, tropical, warm…and windy!

This week has been entirely orientation…and has been a tad overwhelming, but so good. Getting to know the team and staff has been a lot of fun. We are similar in so many ways, and yet, unique and completely different as well. There are 10 students; seven girls, and three boys. We have a couple girls from Seattle, and the West Coast, a Kiwi, and Floridian. The boys are from the East Coast and England! So far, each person has been really cool, and get this – we all LOVE to exercise! So in the mornings we have been going for runs down the beach, and it is so much fun.

We also really love Jesus, or at least want to get to know Him more…so as a team; we’ve been doing that too. A few nights ago we shared stories of how God has worked in our lives. It was an incredible, powerful, and emotional night. Another night, we asked God to reveal idols in our lives, and prayed for Him to remove them. That was difficult. Most of my “idols” I really want to cling too – missions, exercise, family…but in order to be fully satisfied with Christ, I realize I have to let them go, and TRUST God, when He says He has it all under control. I know we are just getting started here, but already I’m being stretched and challenged.

On Saturday, we had our first introduction to the sail boats and our scuba gear, as well as our chores. My work duty was to clean the Library, and two casitas (The little cabins we
stay in). I may be in paradise…but I’m not completely on vacation! As soon as we finished cleaning the houses, I learned how to cut a coconut with a machete! That was exciting, but the greatest adventure was the boa constrictor eating an iguana! I’m hoping it’s not the big one I just met, and named Thomas, but it may be, because he was about the same size. Our base is teeming with animals. We have two dogs, Hermy – the giant blue crab I almost step on everyday as I walk to and from my casita, and George, our resident lizard living in our ceiling. There are also crocodiles in the swamp behind us, but I haven’t seen them yet. I am looking forward to that! Hopefully in the morning, I’m going spear fishing – I can’t wait for that and to eat the fish we catch!

As we continue our time here, I pray that we all can keep up with the studies and chores, as well as really get to know our fellow students…and above all – to draw closer to God.  I also pray for us to remain teachable and have a humble spirit…and to really trust God in every aspect of our lives. And finally, I pray that I can relax, and just have fun and stop worrying about the future.  God is in control and He will guide and protect me!!

Ann Hefflinger – April 2012 Leadership DTS

A New Chapter

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Early Sunday morning, on April 1, we began our journey. Leaving our temporary, three-month home and family behind in Belize, but individually prepared for our calling to Bali or Mexico.  All 16 of us traveled by water taxi and vans to Playa, Mexico where we then dropped off the five who would be blessing Mexico for the next two months.

Two days later, we made it to Bali.  Upon walking outside, we were greeted first with a layer of sticky residue from the humidity and then by our contact, Sayangi, a bubbly 21 year-old Indonesian woman who loves God.  We tossed all of our packs in the back of a truck and set out. For the first time the majority of us experienced riding on the left side of the road.

Cultural shock soon set in upon seeing Bali in broad daylight.  Temples in front of every home and offerings and incense burning for their gods.  Smoke was smoldering in the air, yet the sky still clear.  There were gorgeous beaches having soft sand and the perfect swimming waves; wooden fishing boats all lined up along the horizon.  God has opened my eyes to His intricate beauties here in Bali, though there is a spiritual heaviness of Hinduism at practice here.  There are many gods that the people of Bali worship, but I can proudly and firmly say that our God is above all other gods and is the only God.

Good Friday was a day of recovery.  The majority of the team made their way to the mall to buy “cultural friendly” attire.  On Saturday morning our team split into three groups and walked around town claiming it for God.  Having a time of devoted prayer to claim
God’s land back to Him was much needed.  Easter Sunday we attended service at Global Church, which was located in a resort’s conference room.  We enjoyed celebrating in the community that He is risen!

We are all finally over jet lag, ready to do God’s will in Bali.  We will be working with a Muslim slum and a Christian slum, orphanages, girls at risk, prisons, plantations and whatever else floats God’s boat.  In the words of Rene “it’s outreach, you got to be flexible.”  This is our time to shine a light on Bali, as long as we are willing to meet God, He will meet us in our weaknesses and use us in mighty ways.

To quote Sayangi, the woman who met us at the airport, “I am happy all the time,
because if you have Jesus in you how can you be sad?” We serve an amazing God!

Katlyn  May – January 2012 Leadership DTS

Path to Destiny

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Hi my name is Chelsea, and I am a student here at Destination Paradise.  We are more than half-way through our school, and as the end draws near, I have started looking past DTS.  Fellow students, along with myself, are wondering what we should be doing with our lives.  Before coming to DTS,  one question I struggled with most, and one I think many people find difficult, is what is God’s destiny or calling for my life?  I have never felt specifically passionate, or “called” to something, so my hope was that God would give me some magnificently clear vision while on my DTS for what He wanted me to do in the future.  We are now in week 11, and as much as I wish I could tell you that is exactly what happened, I can’t!  However, after hearing one of our speakers, I have a new perspective of God’s destiny for me that brought me so much freedom.

Whenever I thought about my future, and making choices, it always made me really nervous.  I would worry that I was going to choose wrong and miss out on what God had planned for me, but that isn’t how it works at all.  God’s call on everyone’s life, mine included, is to be in relationship with Him.  Therefore if we are already in a relationship with Him, we are already fulfilling God’s destiny for our lives.  As we walk through life with God, and choices arise, He will make His will known to us, or He will give us an option.  God created us to have free will, so sometimes we will have to make a choice, but since God loves us so much, He will bless us in whichever choice we make, as long as we are doing it with Him.

This concept was so freeing for me, and completely took the pressure off.  I don’t have to be stuck waiting for God to reveal the whole blueprint of my life to me.  In fact, I need to be moving.  That’s the responsibility I have to assume.  Sometimes in life I think it’s easier to sit back and say I am just waiting for guidance and direction from God.  Yes, I recognize there are those seasons of waiting in life.  But what I have learned recently is that there are other times you have to take action.  Making the choice to step out in faith and rely on God to direct your path.  It may take courage, and boldness at times, but it’s just like driving a car.  You can’t steer it down the road if it’s not already moving.  In the same way God cannot guide a person who is idling through life.

So as I near the end of lecture phase, and thoughts of what to do after DTS run through my mind, I can have peace.  Even though God hasn’t revealed His “master plan” for my life, I have freedom in knowing that it doesn’t matter.  Just by being in relationship with God, I am already fulfilling what He has called me to, and He will guide me as I live life with Him.  Sometimes He may point me down a specific road, but other times He may just put me at a crossroads, and I will just have to take a leap of faith and choose, having the assurance He will catch me whichever way I fall!

Chelsea Funk – January 2012 Leadership DTS

My Heart’s Cry

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Hi, my name is Micaiah and I am a student here in the January 2012 Discipleship Training School.  God put it in my heart to do a DTS at the beginning of last summer when I had finally had enough of the craziness of my life and decided to shake things up and spend most of a year strictly devoted to God.  Little did I know that God was not just going to rock my world, but He was going to crush any misconceptions I had about Him and the way I should live my life.  I have never been the kind of guy to share my feelings and emotions with people outside of my family.  I always thought that if I were to open up to anyone I would have to hand in my ‘gender badge’ because my rights as a man would be revoked.  Crying was not in my vocabulary and hugging another guy was out of the question.

During the first two months, of this three-month lecture phase, the Lord has been teaching me what it looks like to be a true Man of God.  He has been challenging me to open up to my leaders and the people He has put in my life while I am here.  Openness is something that is still a struggle.  The times when I have been able to share what I am going through or what is going on in my head have been the highlight of this DTS, because of the peace that results from it.  Vulnerability is something that still makes me cringe but it is becoming easier and easier as I trust God and do what He asks me to do.  I have learned that opening up and sharing emotions is not something that should cause me to be afraid or ashamed.  God gave me these emotions and He has put people in my life who care and will help me deal with them.

Before I got to Belize, the only ‘manly’ emotion I knew was anger and the only way to deal with it was to punch a wall or person.  God is teaching me to control my temper and to love those who don’t necessarily love me back.  I have learned that crying is not something that should cause me embarrassment.  After all, Jesus himself cried.  If you have ever heard of the Bible, then you probably know the verse, “Jesus wept.” It was kind of a ‘well…duh’ moment when I realized that if Jesus did it, then why would it be wrong if I did?  The days that I put all my pride, insecurity, lack of trust, and misunderstanding of strength aside and give my Creator the worship and praise He deserves are the times where I know how God wants me to live my life.  A real man is someone who is confident enough to not care what other people think and do whatever he needs to do to worship God.  Crying because of the pure humility, joy, and freedom God has given me is something that I think every man needs to experience.  As a Man of God I am learning to embrace the passion the Lord has created in me and to share it with all my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Micaiah Steegstra – January 2012 Leadership DTS