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Y W A M D P | Blog
 

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Meshing Together into Community

  |   Lecture Phase   |   No comment

Welcome to this September 2011 DTS school!  There is no comparison to what happens when you put fourteen young aspiring students together in a learning environment where every lecture, every day, is centered around the God of this universe.  Learning together and worshiping together, we are quickly becoming a family. We are meshing together in a way that is new and fascinating to us. We are learning that living in a community requires compromise, sacrifice, and selflessness. But through this selflessness, this mindset, we are becoming altogether something different; a unique set of Family.

From the first day, we have clicked faster than any of us could have imagined. It is entirely too apparent that God destined for each of us to be here at this exact moment.  We have, in these short three weeks since arriving in Belize and settling down at the DP base, become a family. We are learning that family is everything when you live in community. Through becoming family we are learning that it is only natural to laugh together, to lie on the dock and stare at the stars and the moon, to revel in the glory of our God together. We are learning to work well in team-building situations, and to play team sports such as volleyball. We are learning to hold each other accountable, and to also come to each other to talk out our differences when we disagree. But most importantly, we are learning to cry together. This family is hurting. None of us are perfect, our lives our messy. Our hearts are confused and in pain, they are scared. The beauty of this is that God has given us a community to live in which holds us up. His strength pours into us, and we as one have the opportunity and the strength to hold each other up as we pour out our hurts and learn to trust again. This is one of the challenges of community living; trust.  It is a difficult thing to put your trust into thirteen other people whom you had never met before arriving at your destination, not to mention a staff of eight whom you have only had limited contact with. We aren’t there yet; we don’t have a complete trust of each other, that takes so much more time than we have had. But again, there is beauty in this. The advantage of this is that we have time to open up and become completely ourselves. We are no longer holding the cloak that covered us in our hometowns. We are in the process of discarding the guilt and the deception that have shrouded our faces and are taking off our masks. And from this is being built a beautiful relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with Christ Himself. Through this casting off He is strengthening, and will continue to strengthen our Team until we are unstoppable in His kingdom.

We have been learning these past few weeks about the challenges of living together. One of these challenges is the lack of privacy at the Base. There are moments when one is solitary, when one is sitting on the end of the dock, or on a walk, or just sitting and reading in their room or at the Palapa (the outside soft drink bar), but one is never really alone. Everyone knows what is happening with one another, and because our lives are so open, we know to a degree what each other are struggling with. This can become frustrating. However, the fact that we live so close together is forcing us to become selfless. It’s forcing us to seek God out for a quiet time. It’s pushing us to be more pointed, more intentional about our relationship with Him, and with each other. It is urging us to grow.

On the flipside, there is an incredible amount of benefits to living together. As was mentioned earlier, we are growing as family. Our friendships are fastened together by the joining of our hearts and our minds. Our goals are headed in the same direction. We are forming relationships that will last a lifetime, creating an intimacy with each other that glorifies God in its purity, that bring us closer as brothers and sisters. God is putting into our hearts a tenderness (and sometimes  tolerance) for each other, and He is completely beginning to transform us into a Team. And the laughter. Oh the laughter! We never stop laughing. Even in the hard times, when we are sharing what is grieving us, when we are going through hard times, we always find a joy in the fact that God is setting a fire in our soul and somehow healing us through these experiences. The joy in this community is contagious. We are a work in progress, something that is being molded and reshaped, sometimes starting from scratch. And then there is our Maker, the Potter.

His Holiness has been made evident in this community. This paradise reflects His beauty, His perfect love and His perfect grace. The water, the rain, the wind, they all reflect His raw, enduring power. Our God is truly indescribable. There is no way to contain Him. There is no way to express His majesty. And there is no way to deny that He, and He alone, has orchestrated this school into a flawed, strong, beautiful family. We will grow together as a community, as a family, as brothers and sisters. This is a God-centered home, and we as a family are striving to be closer and closer to Him every day. He truly is pursuing us, and we are preparing our hearts to run to His arms, into His pure, intentional grace. And honestly, there is no place we would rather be.

Called to Love

  |   Outreach   |   No comment

The last two weeks have been spent in Sheffield- it is a town right in the center of the United Kingdom.  It is a town made up of seven rolling hills.  The landscape is the type you would picture in a magazine.  They are so green with stone walls and sheep! (I had never seen a sheep before I came to England).

Being in Sheffield had not been a part of our initial plan, but God knew what He was doing.  He has given us many opportunities to reach out to the community around us. The first week we were here we spent most of our time in a school.  The school was flooded last winter, so they have to redo things very fast before the kids come back this Tuesday.  We have been painting walls and cleaning the school. We also did street work which involved hanging out with kids at the local skate park.  In addition, we have spent time working with a program that helps low-income individuals get back on their feet.  We have helped them in their allotments by clearing them out and harvesting some vegetables.

One of my favorite days we had was the opportunity to redo an elder lady’s garden.  We spent the entire afternoon pulling up weeds, trimming, and digging, and this lady was so grateful.  It was an incredible experience and the yard looked totally different from start to finish.

With less than two weeks left on our outreach, we need prayers on staying focused on where the Lord has us now, and that we can finish this whole heartedly the way we started. God is so good and it has been an incredible adventure!  T- wanted to share what the Lord has taught her here in Sheffield.

For some odd reason, I am still surprised when God does something that I was not expecting.  One of my favorite verses is, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:9-10.  One of the main things that God has taught me while in Sheffield is that no matter where I am, I am called to love.  God will always open up opportunities to love no matter what place we are in.  A lot of the work we have been doing here is behind-the-scenes grunt work, but it brings God glory regardless.  This is a time for me to step back and say, “Ok God, here I am.  I’m out of my comfort zone because this is not what I was expecting, but please use me for Your glory.   Use me to love these people.”  Has He done that?  I can say without a doubt, yes.  If you were to look through my eyes, you probably wouldn’t be too astounded by what you saw.  But, if you were to look through God’s eyes, then you would be completely amazed.  So, instead of “coasting” to the end of my outreach, I am asking God to make each day a greater challenge and to give me more opportunities to love.  Of course, I am also asking for His grace and strength to carry me through.  God calls us to trust Him, even if we don’t see the bigger picture- because He does see it.  He painted it. -Teresa

Derby to Edinburgh…

  |   Outreach   |   No comment

We can’t believe we are already in Edinburgh, Scotland! The Lord has blessed our week in Derby.  From hanging out at local parks, to doing church events with Trinity Baptist Church, to ministry in Muslim communities, this week has been incredible. Bree wanted to share a little bit of her experience this week.

The first week of outreach has been action packed and a non-stopadventure. We have had so many cool experiences getting to share Christ with the people of Derby, England. One of the locations we have been able to spend time at is the cities skate park. The skate park is a local hot-spot, making it the perfect place to connect with thecommunity. I really enjoyed getting to know the people there, they were all so welcoming and friendly. It was disheartening to hear about the rough home lives and hard life circumstances that some of these young people were caught up in, but at the same time I am glad we had the opportunity to encourage them and share from our own life stories about the hope and joy found in Christ. These kids will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers as we continue on our outreach. -Bree

This week we have come together with other YWAMers in Edinburgh to help out with a ministry called Shine.  There is a huge festival every year in Edinburgh called the Fringe Festival, and Shine basically brings light to the people on the streets.  Please be praying for us this week as we perform, evangelize, cook, or whatever the Lord calls us to do!

Working as a part of the Shine team for the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh has been incredible.  We spend the afternoons on the Royal Mile, which is where is Fringe is located.  We hand out flyers, go on prayer walks, hang out with people in the streets, and do performances.   We also spend time in a Christian Heritage Center doing similar things.  We are blessed to serve the other members on the Shine team by cooking dinner for them, so we end the day cooking and cleaning.  Being here has really opened our eyes to the need of Jesus in the UK.  Tina wanted to share her experience here thus far:

This week has been filled with extraordinary opportunities that pushed each of us individually, to grow in our own creativity and push us outside of our comfort zone. We’ve been able to work as part of the Shine team, and with our teammates artistic skills and encouragement we’ve learned and performed group dances and assisted the media team with conducting street interviews.

One of my favorite memories that I’ll take away from our time inEdinburgh has been playing the piano at the Christian Heritage Center on the Royal Mile. My teammate Teresa and I had the chance to perform one afternoon when the church opened its doors to the community for a time of prayer and meditation. It was an incredible experience to worship in such a beautiful and historical setting. Teresa also had a chance later in the week to use her talents on the guitar to lead our Shine team in worship. I’ve really enjoyed listening to her perform, and use her talents to glorify God.

As our time in Scotland comes to an end, this week we’ll be continuing to assist the Shine team in street performances, group prayer walks, cooking for the base and supporting the team as they head out into some local venues to worship and spread God’s love into the community. Can’t wait to see what He has in store for us next. -Tina

Reaching Out to England!

  |   Outreach   |   No comment

After two boats, three busses, and two planes, we made it to Derby, England! Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  We are blessed to stay at the YWAM base in Derby, and have felt very welcomed here.  It has been awesome getting to work with another YWAM base and such an opportunity to get to know the staff.  The first night we were welcomed with a traditional English dish called Daal.

We have already had some incredible ministry opportunities the Lord has blessed us with.  Friday we went to the local skate park and hung out with some of the local youth.  They were mostly ages around twelve to fifteen, and it was awesome just being able to hang out with them and love on them.  It was also entertaining to watch the guys on our team try and learn how to skateboard.  Saturday the girls did relational evangelism in the Muslim community, while the guys did street evangelism in the Muslim community.   Ramadan started last night, so it is a great time to do ministry in those areas.  Sunday we went to a local church, and Teresa and I were blessed with the opportunity to share our testimonies.  The encouragement we received from the church was overwhelming and empowering.  We then went on a prayer walk to a poor area in Derby called Stockbrook where we will be working frequently this week.  We are so excited to spend time there this week.  Last night a few of us went to a park with a guitar and brownies, and the Lord opened up doors for awesome conversation.  It is incredible to see how the Lord can use free desert and worship music for His glory.

It is very evident why the Lord has called us to Derby.  It is disheartening to see the apathy apparent in these people’s eyes.  Please be praying for us as we continue to do work in the skate park, Stockbrook, and the Muslim communities.  We can’t wait to update you on how the Lord is going to work this week!

Following His Leading

  |   Lecture Phase   |   No comment

Hello, my name is Chris Hagel a student in this May school.  We just completed our 5th week of our DTS with Jim Peterson speaking on the subject of leadership.  It was nice to have Jim speak regarding this subject for he has extensive experience as a leader.  I loved the topics he covered and I would like to share them all with you but we might be here for awhile!  So for your sake and mine, I will only cover a few.

We learned the 6 basic points of leadership: vision, get the right people, delegate, firm/flexible, reward success and deal with failure.  I find these extremely helpful and I will be able to apply them to any place or situation as a leader.  We also covered the attributes of a servant leader which are: being patient, kind, humble, respectful, selfless, forgiving, honesty and commitment. I really enjoyed this, because I am actively pursuing how to be a servant leader.  I find the leadership role extremely challenging but through time, persistence and hard work, my skills will improve and someday I will be an efficient and effective leader.

Our class is full of leaders; this is the time for me to be humble, courageous and studious, to learn as much as I can from them and our Destination Paradise leaders.  I feel that I can speak for all of us by saying we are all so grateful to be here.  We have an amazing team; each of us has our own unique gifts, talents and strengths.  Outreach is going to be a blast!  Thank you all for your love and support.

What is Worship?

Hello my name is Monique!  Praise and worship is something that I will never get sick of, and I think I can say that for everyone here. Every morning we all start our day with singing praises to God, I mean is there any better way to start off the day? We get to praise His holy name, rejoice in how awesome, powerful and gracious our God truly is. As a leadership based school we all take turns in leading praise, this may challenge us to get out of our comfort zone, but it’s a good challenge.

One way that we get to take charge of leading praise and worship is that every Thursday nights during our community meetings we have a worship team.  Team 1 drum roll please is…Teresa (she is so good that she is on both! She can play the guitar like no bodies business) Chris, and me (Monique), we are singers. Team 2 is…Teresa, Tina,(she can hold a beat with the bongos, and as soon she will be playing the piano) Bree, and Marvin, they also sing.  We rotate every week, and we all get a chance to lead the praise team. This consists of setting a date to practice, and getting songs together. Just recently we used the bongos, which sounded amazing thanks to my girl Tina!! Thursday’s seem to always come fast around the corner so we have to be on our feet, and be prepared. I love praising/singing on community nights you can really feel the Holy Spirit move.

There are so many ways that we can worship God. This past week our class was split up into two teams. Both the teams had to come up with a rap that showed integrity from the bible. For me I was like a deer caught in the headlights, I am a country white girl and cannot rap, or even come up with a rap. My team talked about Job; how God took everything he had, but Job still had his integrity to the Lord. The other team talked about David, and how he had integrity towards Saul, but also to the Lord. Doing the rap was a lot of fun; we all got dressed up and took the stage! It just goes to show that there are many way of praising God.

Praising God is so amazing, you can get up and dance;  have fun, or just being in awe of Him, either way when I praise God I feel his presence within me, and that is something that I will never get sick of! Can I Get a Halleluiah!! Praise the Lord!!!!