DTS

Vanuatu Report Back

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FullSizeRender (1)Last week the April DTS students returned from their outreach for their report back week. It was midway through our July DTS lecture phase, and we were having our restore and reflection week at the same time. That meant we had a lot of extra free time to get to know Jacie, Josh (the outreach leaders) and the students as they returned from their outreach in Vanuatu.

FullSizeRenderThe last school was a blast to have on base at the same time as us! Every person on the team had a very unique, strong personality that really shined through very quickly. As they were a smaller group, their experiences in lecture phase and their outreach were very different than ours. It was fascinating listening to their stories and hearing what they had to say as they were just finishing their DTS.

Throughout the week, we had different activities put together to really connect our two schools. On Tuesday night, the Vanuatu team shared their outreach experience with our school. They showed us the souvenirs they got, the pictures they took, the local music, and we even got a taste of some of the food they ate! It was amazing getting to hear about the different culture they were immersed in! It definitely got everyone from our school excited for our outreach coming up.

FullSizeRender (2)On Wednesday, everyone on base was invited to a volleyball hangout. We had a big tournament, plus a bunch of people had their hammocks out, and someone set up a slackline for anyone to try! It was a great afternoon together.

On Thursday evening, the April DTS had their graduation ceremony. They were presented certificates and got to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing this awesome school.

It was a great week having our two school united before they went home. We still have a while left in our school, but the week of looking back at what we’ve learned and looking forward to what’s to come has truly reignited the fire in our group. We’re all eager to get back to learning about our God, fuelled by what we got from the previous outreach team.

IMG_6470-Kimberly Gorgichuck – DTS Student, July, 2015

The Final Week at Lambumbu

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11872016_1484656488513360_8353976004045938428_oThe people of Malekula are amazing, caring, hospitable, hilarious, and fun loving. There are endless positive attributes I would apply to them. On the outside, to me at least, they seem angry or mad about something, but as soon as you strike up a conversation or even say hello, out comes the biggest, most sincere smiles I’ve ever seen.

This week the community started to feel a bit different. I can’t put my finger on whether it was the spiritual atmosphere, feeling completely at home, or just the crisp morning air with faint island music coming from nearby after having a great nights sleep.

Extremely busy week! So many things to do with so little time.

We had another opportunity to teach in the school, so we jumped right on it. The children treat us like teachers inside of class but as soon as we step outside, it’s like we’re their new best buddies, trying to get us to join them in their Volleyball and Soccer games during breaks (which, by the way, they kick our butts at). Many of us are greeted by the screaming of our names from half way across the village and frantic waves from our kids. Something about that is just extremely heart warming.

We also continued on the community work. The girls mostly focused on the unusually difficult custom painting of the new classroom that is about to be finished, while the guys mixed concrete and shoveled dirt for hours on end to begin the foundation of the new community kitchen that is being constructed.

Adam and I had the opportunity to go work with some of the copra harvesters for an afternoon. Driving through the 42 blocks of the plantation collecting bags as we pass them. The majority of the men of Lambumbu, along with a few of the neighboring villages, make their money by harvesting cocoa and/or copra and the plantation buys the bags of collected fruit by the kilogram.

11878992_1484656478513361_4683513133134681465_oOne of our more memorable events was “Freedom Night” where we preformed the freedom skit. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s about Jesus never leaving us in the midst of worldly temptation and sin that we so predictably fall into, and he’s always right behind us when we decide to turn back to him. God was definitely there. I could just feel it when we were preforming in front of nearly the whole village. Afterwards, Taryn gave a small message explaining the skit and we asked if anyone would like prayer, to accept Christ, or just to talk, to come see us. At first it was a little disappointing since people were quite reluctant to come to us, but after a few minutes we had probably 30-40 people come to us asking us to pray with them. Many stating that they have fallen away from God and want to get back on track. Simply amazing.

The following night we spent preparing for an everyday American meal. Spaghetti with meat sauce. More so Italian I guess but nevertheless, something new for them to try. None of them had ever had it before so it was nice to bring something new for them to try, since they eat the same foods every week. We presented our honored guests with Lays (flower necklaces) to thank them for their hospitality and for serving us so much. We also washed their feet as Jesus did and received a very good response. They had never experienced that and told us that we were the first missionaries to do something as Jesus did and they were touched.

Our last day in Lambumbu we went to a neighboring village to speak at their church, and had another service back in our village followed by the community throwing a sort of farewell celebration. SO MUCH FOOD! Most of the mamas spent nearly all day preparing for the feast. The community presented us with Lays and many gifts and speeches thanking us for our time there. It blows my mind that we came there to serve and it almost seems like we were the ones being served for our entire stay. There were many tears shed that night as the speeches went on and actually leaving started to hit us. Many of us went to have some family time for one last time, so bittersweet.

11882347_1484656491846693_5832355642694909555_oOn our day of departure, we had a nice relaxing morning and left at about 11. As expected, our final goodbyes were heart-breaking and the truck we were leaving on took us on one last victory lap around the village. About 10 of our family brothers and sisters tagged along and waited at the airport until we flew off (which was nothing more than 4 concrete walls without a roof). We had some spare time so we spent it having a blast with our Nivan family at the closest beach soaking up the sun one last time. The picture of us all having fun at the beach will be engrained in my head forever.

As an overall experience, I can undoubtedly say this is the most amazing experience I’ve had in my entire life. The ways God spoke to me has never been more clear, and my faith never been made so much stronger as it was in Lambumbu. We are 8 amazingly blessed individuals to be able to take part in such a unique opportunity so far away from home.

-TJ Baxter – DTS Student, April, 2015

Casitas and the Wind

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image1When I was asked to write a blog post for the base, I was excited for a couple of reasons. Not only was I eager to prove myself as a decently okay writer, but also as a good Christian. As great as that would be, though, I don’t think I could write an honest post and give off the impression that I already have everything figured out. I am a little hesitant writing this post, but have decided to lay it all before you guys. Though I want to sound put together and wise, don’t let me fool you: I have a lot to figure out.
Coming to YWAM, I’ve realized just how much I don’t have figured out, which wasn’t in my original plan. I came wanted to clean myself up a bit before heading back to what I considered “real life”. But I’ve been constantly reminded of just how little I know– about God, about myself, about faith. Little by little, though, I am starting to learn more about God and the kind of relationship He wants to have with me.

From day one on base, I have been acutely aware of the wind. When I imagined what life in paradise would be like, I failed to remember that with the beautiful ocean comes wind and all its glory. It’s forceful, persistent, unforgiving for those of us with long hair, and nearly inescapable. On the other hand, the wind is also a source of refreshment– graciously showering us with breaths of cool air, making the sun and humidity a little more bearable.

IMG_6294
 It’s week three, and I am just learning that in order to form a relationship with God, I have to get out of my own head. How did I realize this, you ask? Let the metaphors explain. If the wind is a reflection of God, let my casita be my brain. Inside our cozy little casita is the only place that I have found that you can escape the persistent winds, which can be both a blessing and a curse. After a long day of battling the wind, our wind-less casita is a nice resting place to let your hair down without worrying about it flying all over the place. However, give it about two minutes and you will begin profusely sweating and wishing for a burst of cool air. I found myself out of sleep a lot this past week, which left me with a lot of time wishing for just a little wind. However, I couldn’t bring myself to just step out of my casita, even if that meant sweating through my pants the entire night.
 With sleep clearly not an option, I had a lot of time to think in the heat of my casita. It seems so obvious now, but I had an epiphany that changed my goal for this DTS: in order to pursue a relationship with God, I have to get out of my own head and let Him in. By stepping outside of my own thoughts and doubts, I can be refreshed and washed clean by God’s refreshing breeze.
I say this not to be poetic or try to impress you with my ridiculous extended metaphors, but to share what God has been nudging me about this week. I am coming to see God’s reflection in the wind; when the wind decided to steal my papers and thrust them into the sea, I am reminded that God has much bigger plans than I have. When the wind leaves my hair in an impossible tangled mess, I am reminded that sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. When the wind brings an unexpected but much needed coolness, I am graciously reminded of God’s forgiveness.
Though I wish I could say I have it all figured out, I am humbled and relieved to say that I have a lot of figuring out to do. My hope for this season at YWAM is that I will learn to have the courage to face the wind head-on, allowing it to break and make me into who God intended me to be.
ClaireBlogPhotoClaire Andersen – DTS Student, July, 2015

Vanuatu Outreach: Week 3!

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11770208_1475859866059689_1216728857_oBlistering Barnacles…what a week we’ve had! Celebrations all around this week as we have successfully finished the first house for the DTS students. This has given the boys on our team an opportunity to spend the weekend in a proper bed before we head on to our next excursion.  The cement mixer has been working overtime; thanks to a cracking sun filled week, the lorry was able to deliver “five” cubic meters of sand used in mixing render for the speaker’s room. After three applications to the wire meshed walls, it’s now ready to be painted.

We have also been able, through our contacts, to help SIL (bible translation) with some much needed decorating after their rebuilding project. The main homes survived with minor damage to there roof…but sadly having to replace the ceilings in three of the rooms; giving them a nice fresh coating of white paint, along with the outside porch timbers, helping to make it look much loved and homely.

We had chance to celebrate TJ’s birthday as a team, and finished off the week by enjoying the local Friday night Fire Show put on by a local Vanuatu Group. Absolutely AMAZING!!!

11750974_1475856492726693_2034209062_o (1)This Sunday has seen an incredible opportunity for a slightly different type of ministry. After the opportunity of hitching a ride aboard a private catamaran to our next destination not coming to fruition, we ended up putting our scuba and snorkeling skills, gained from Belize, to good use! We had the task of preparing and cleaning the hull for them to set sail with some much needed water filters to one of the other islands close by. This was due to the cyclone damaging their water storage tanks, making safe drinking a problem.

Our next move here in Vanuatu starts with a ferry to Malakula this Tuesday. Jaci and Josh have made contact with Jonathan, who is involved with the peace core, working with a village on a coco plantation. This should give us opportunity to continue building relationally, sharing God’s love, as well as helping out practically with other projects too.

 

Adam Spooner – DTS Student, April, 2015

 

11751558_1475856989393310_680892176_oHello! Welcome to Talks With Taryn & Emily! Coming on outreach, we were very excited. To meet the locals, minister in churches, do physical labor, be a team, and just serve Christ in general. Being at the V2 life base has been a lot different than what we had expected outreach to be like. The many hours of physical labor have worn us out and many times we have lost our focus. Trying to juggle having a relationship with God and working the majority of the day has been a big challenge.  It’s hard to find time for God when, after working all day, all you want is sleep. And honestly, quite a few times we have chosen sleep. Being here reminds us of the phrase “Being a Christian is simple, but not easy,” and that has been the last two weeks. Fortunately, we serve a big God, and He has shown himself true.  Growing our faith and trust in Him, these past weeks have motivated us to push into a more intimate relationship with God. While the work has been hard, we wouldn’t change a thing. Looking forward to the different challenges we will face in these next few weeks!

Emily Saathof & Taryn Dupuis – DTS Students, April, 2015

Vanuatu Outreach: Week Two!

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11733528_1472997546345921_1147365880_oWelcome to Vanuatu V2 Life Base! We have had our first week here at the YWAM base helping with the rebuilding. Everyone has enjoyed getting stuck with the construction work here. We’ve been preparing the insides of the clay bagged house for rendering by fixing the mesh wire to the walls and preparing floorboards for one of the homes to house the DTS group arriving in August. Also preparing the kindergarten by starting the inner construction of classroom space and decorating for the much-needed expansion to allow the village ministry to grow in this area.

11725081_1472997536345922_1510626105_oAlthough there has been no lacking of enthusiasm, the need for materials and specialized tooling has sometimes hampered the progress with this. Also, the weather has not always been our friend as supply trucks have been prevented from their deliveries due to a few days of constant rain and wet weather. This has meant that as a group, we are ALL embracing the outreach lifestyle with washing clothes being more of a luxury, as drying them is a definite challenge here. Matthew 6 verse 25 onward has been a verse very much on my mind; “don’t worry about tomorrow, or what you will wear” as a laid back island lifestyle is to be embraced wholeheartedly.

 

11728257_1472996726346003_1934238260_oWe have also had the privilege to celebrate in the dedication of the Marine Reach Family care center only 50 meters up the road from us in Teouma Valley here in Vanuatu. There is a real heart to not just come and help the local community, but to integrate and have a constant presence here. Building community and understanding the real needs to work alongside family lives, sharing the Love of God on a practical level. This would be a fantastic area for prayer for wisdom and blessing for the future growth here on the island.

 

Again this week, two of our group, TJ and Cole, have been able to attend a local youth group that meets on Friday evening. Alongside Tony, who has been living here within the community for the past 5 or so years, working within schools and villages building friendships with the teenagers in the surrounding areas. This was another fantastic opportunity to share Gods love through relationship.

 

11733902_1472996939679315_2088562792_oThis week has not been completely smooth running with the base’s small truck breaking down late on Friday night on their way back from one of the local villages. The V2 Life Base is also helping to lead a water project here on the island in helping local villages construct water tanks and drill boar holes to help provide clean drinking water.  On the return home, the radiator housing cracked leaving the truck stranded. Today the recovery mission is underway and hopefully a replacement part can be soused quickly as this is an essential part of our life here.

Never a dull moment, but praise God for the blessings we have and the love we can share with that.

 

Adam Spooner – DTS Student, April, 2015