DTS

Vanuatu Outreach Blog!

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11739651_10205942808743084_1859592608_n“Hurray!! We have arrived safe and well after just under 60 hours of traveling, using nearly ever mode of transport known to man!

Our adventure started in on Sunday afternoon catching a boat from San Pedro to the local airport. Then an exciting island hopper via Caye Caulker to Belize City…a nice van ride to the bus station for our first chance to bond as a team (hanging out for 6 plus hours) before catching the overnight bus to Cancun airport. From there, we had the opportunity to enjoy all that the Cancun airport has to offer for the next 12 hours. From there, Virgin America took care of us and delivered us safely to Los Angeles airport where we enjoyed an opportunity to try out Parkour to ensure we made our tight deadline for our connecting flight to Fiji…here was our first test of land life and the culture we are submerging our lives into for the next 7 weeks. Here we had opportunity to visit outside of the airport and explore…after a few hours of freedom, it was back on Fiji airlines for our final flight to Vanuatu…

11736958_10205942810983140_169842024_n58 hours and 40 minutes later, arriving on the back of a truck…our first place we could call home “Marine Reach YWAM” Grace House, Port Vila…this gave us a chance to relax, take stock AND most of all change out of our travel gear…

Grace House was the first chance to really discover what was in store for us…our team leaders (Josh and Jaci), had done a fantastic job of arranging accommodation with the opportunity to take some much needed rest and some first hand experience of island life and local etiquette. Marine Reach has done a fantastic job at setting up a base here at Vanuatu. In 2009, V2 Life was established and used as a base to run DTS groups and outreach opportunities. Grace House was born out of a vision to have a place for traveling groups (like us) to rest and re-group. After recovering from our travels and getting a feel for what might be in store, Sunday was upon us…International Christian church provided the first opportunity to submerge ourselves in island life; even if it was an English speaking church.

11714531_10205942811063142_1950932160_nFrom this, two of our group members, Brandt and Emily, had the opportunity to get involved with leading a church service at one of the boarding schools here in Port Vila; sharing with the high school children their testimonies and praying in a small group setting. The culture here is extremely friendly and very, very hospitable. One of the areas we have been educated in, has been the interaction between the locals and the visitors. The local culture is so pleasing that even the way you phrase your questions need to be carefully constructed. This is because 90% of the time, regardless of what you say the answer will be YES!

The affects of the cyclone are still very visible in and around Port Vila, even V2 Life had been badly affected by this, with the total destruction of five of there buildings and badly damaging four others. Only three out of the twelve buildings survived…this will give us our next opportunity to serve here on the island as there is a DTS planned for August and quite a lot of work to be done to achieve this…to be continued!

 

Adam Spooner – DTS Student, April, 2015

Central Asia Outreach: Final Update!

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IMG_9499It’s all about the small things. Dad has been doing some amazing heart work over here in Central Asia. to those watching us (which is pretty much everyone, all the time) our team looks like a group of students handing notes to random citizens, playing sports with university students, and looking lost 98% of the time. The first two things we do on purpose but the last is just an unfortunate reality. However, Dad has shown us all that He shows up in the small things and makes them big.

1742One of our team mottos has been doing small things with great love, like giving out notes of encouragement to those whom society passes over, or engaging with young people and just spending quality time with them. We have seen and done a lot of “little” things here: playing various sports (badminton, pingpong, soccer, basketball), teaching English in kindergartens, hanging out with locals, and talking a LOT with dad. This past week we were able to invite two of our friends over for dinner and really just love them by talking with them about their lives. We laughed a lot, ate mashed potatoes with chopsticks (the struggle was real), and felt incredibly blessed by their presence. We also recently handed out thankyou notes and snickers to all the street sweepers near us. Seeing their smiles and the somewhat bewildered looks on their faces showed us that it really is more blessed to give than to receive. It also made us realize that Dad will send you crazy places even if it’s just to hand some random person a thankyou note, because to Dad, that person isn’t random. On our last day of teaching English we waved goodbye to the kids and all of them got up and bombarded us with hugs, high fives and smiles. So all in all, we’ve been learning that it doesn’t matter how small the act may be, it can impact hearts and change lives. Dad has been using our small things to bless this place and these people in BIG ways, and he is also using the small things we receive to fill us up, no matter how much we pour out.

Abby Lake – DTS Student, January, 2015

St. Lucia Outreach: Week 4

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unnamed (1)It is crazy how quickly our time here passes. We have just finished week 4 and it feels as though we just arrived! This past week has been a busy week of unity and relationship with our St Lucian Family and locals in the community.
On Sunday we went to a Pentecostal church near to where we are staying. I fell in love with the worship; so full of life and joy that you can’t help but join in and dance! In the afternoon Nadia and I made our regular visit to some friends here and spent some time praying for Merlyn who is sick and was in pain, and having some fun with her daughters and son; we helped teach the youngest how to write, then spent time in fellowship playing dominos in the evening.
Following our visit on Sunday to the Pentecostal Church, we were invited I various youth events happening that week and so on Monday we went to their youth worship evening. Here, were told to find a partner and share some praise moments we have encountered in our lives. I had the cutest, lovable little girl Thomasa. She shared that she loves to dance. One of her praise moments was a  fairly recent one. She broke her leg early this year and was told she might not ever be able to walk again. 4 weeks later she went back for her check up, and was healed! We then prayed and praised God together, thanking Him for her ability to dance and all the amazing things he has done for us. That night, we also did a small drama where we acted out how easy it is to get stuck in sin, and how powerless we are to escape it on our own strength. We combined this with short testimonies, using one word  each held up, followed by a brief description. It was so awesome that we were able to reach and relate to many of the young people there. At the end of the evening a young girl, Leanna approached me wanting a chat, so we arranged to meet on Fridayunnamed
So I was blessed to be able to celebrate my 21st birthday whilst on outreach! Because of this, we chose this day to be our day off for the week. I felt so loved that people here in the community made the effort to visit me and spend time with me to celebrate. In the morning, I was greeted by Sister Lucy who lives down the road. She handpicked me 4 guavas and sang me a birthday song. I then got to experience a waterfall for the first time ever where I had the company of Merlyn and her family as well as a few others. We spent the majority of the day there, it was beautiful.

 

Later on in the week, the unity and relationship theme corresponded;

We held a ‘Bless Giliane Day’ where we blessed our host by treating her to a massage by our very own Massage Therapist, Katherine. We then prayed for her and gave her card I had made her and we all wrote messages inside. She deserved all the love she got and was ever so grateful for the day.
unnamed (2)On Friday we had the opportunity to go back to the Holy Family Children’s home further up the island. We helped out with a fundraising event they were having, preparing food to feed 400. So the day was spent helping with that. In the evening we attended another of the Youth events held at the Pastor’s house. Here I was able to have my chat with Leanna where she shared a lot of personal challenges she was facing and I was able to give advice and encouragement and set a goal for her to try reach by the next time I see her, on Sunday.
All in all, this week has been so relationship focused and being able to spend quality time with these people is such a privilege.
In John 15:12 it says ‘“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” During this trip, love has been shown in so many ways, so many places, through so many people. And no matter what we are doing here to serve and help the community, sometimes all people need is love.
Amanda Griffin – DTS Student, January, 2015

Central Asia Outreach: Week 3

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThis week we started an opportunity to teach English at a local kindergarten/elementary school. We were led to the school while walking and talking to Dad one morning. When we saw their enthusiasm and desire for us to teach their students, we knew for sure that Dad had led us there and opened this door for us. We were so excited we quickly started lesson planning and learning all sorts of songs and games to teach kids from the ages of 2-6. So far we have split into pairs, teaching kids basic English such as greetings, colors, numbers, and parts of the body.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOne of our biggest challenges has been not knowing any Chinese since most of the teachers speak very little English. Because of this it is very hard to instruct the class and to keep the attention of a room full of 5 year olds. Fortunately, their incredibly adorable faces usually make up for the chaos! With each class we enter we have no idea what to expect except for the unexpected. No matter what we can always rest assured that Dad is giving us new opportunities to show His love to the students and teachers.

image (1.2)Amidst the challenges we are learning that when we are given more than we can handle, all we have to do is give it to Dad and allow him to lead and guide us. He is always faithful to deliver! As we begin another week at the school we are confident that Dad will give us the energy, wisdom, and patience we need to represent him well in this place. We can’t wait to see how He uses us in this kindergarten!

Amanda Harris – DTS Student, January, 2015