Renew, Restore, Report Back

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12277983_1208962902453605_2146376080_nRenew, restore, report back. Say goodbye to the normal routine of 6:45 breakfast and four hour lectures and hello to an extra hour of sleep, lots of volleyball, and 22 new faces. This week the July school came back from outreach-a team from Uruguay and a team from Mongolia. Two schools were merged for the week, and there was much laughter, forgetting names, and rain.

On Monday my DTS had a big team building session. We split off into respective outreach teams (Ecuador, Japan and Costs Rica) and had to take our “sick, dying leader” to the hospital. They laid on a pool lounge chair and we had to carry them (blindfolded) out to the dock, onto a kayak and swim them to shore (without getting a single drop of water on them) then communicate with a “local” who didn’t speak English and ask them to help us lead them to the hospital. The whole thing took an hour full of sweat, laughter and some yelling. This was a hypothetical scenario for something that could actually happen on outreach, and it was to get us all working together as a team, instead of a bunch of individuals.

12270248_1208963295786899_1844214645_nTuesday we split up girl students with guy staff and guy students with girl staff and got to ask them questions. Wednesday we had an hour of quiet time with Jesus and then shared with everyone. In the afternoon was a volleyball tournament that lasted about 4 hours. There was loud music, lots of sand, a slackline and, in the end, a winning team. It was a grand old time. Thursday we had a bit of debrief, where we were all given questions to answer and then came back and shared some. It got me thinking about how we’re over halfway through lecture phase, and soon we’ll be heading out on outreach.

Thursday evening the July school graduated! It got me thinking about how in a couple months that will be me-and that’s nuts. And Friday is ADVENTURE DAY! Heading off to the mainland for a day of sick activities, like zip lining, cave tubing and seeing the Mayan ruins. Also a 5:00 wake up.

12270033_1208963409120221_774737864_nThis week was full of lots of free time to spend with Jesus. He has continually been teaching me to rest in his presence. To take time out of my day and just listen to him. It’s been a bit hard for me since I like answers and I like knowing them when I want, but lately he’s just been telling me to rest and he will reveal things later on. Psalm 46:10 says, “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'” It also gave lots of time to reflect on what I’ve been learning. I’ve learnt a ton and I’m already at a totally different place than before my DTS, but I still have a long way to go and can’t wait for what God has in store for me!

12255265_1208963902453505_1757661780_oMaddy Ackermann – DTS Student, October, 2015


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Tour Update: Officially Finished!

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12029109_10207907002658166_1504703233_nThe tour is officially over! Even though we had a lot of time to relax and have fun staying with Donavon’s family, our last week in Vancouver was not lacking ministry. Our first weekend back we hosted an evening designed to provide information about DP to anyone who wanted to know more. We were able to have great fellowship with all different people; some already considering a DTS and others who are not yet Christians.

The next night we hosted a YWAM DP reunion and of course we had a blast catching up and sharing our favourite DTS stories. After the weekend we got to follow up with some of the friendships we had developed and share laughs and good conversation over sushi and pumpkin pie. We even got to watch Donavon play hockey and cheer him on as he scored a goal right on the buzzer!

12025279_10207907007618290_2100436212_nAmidst bonfires, hockey games, and BBQ’s we were able to show people our age what life with Jesus looks like and God opened doors for us to share our stories. We’ve been so encouraged this week reflecting on the success of the past two months – the bond that we’ve formed as a team, the friendships we’ve built along the coast, and most importantly the ways we’ve seen God move. This morning we were able to Skype with a friend we made in San Francisco and as she prayed for us she asked God to help us make this tour more than just an experience.


As we go our separate ways and step into a new chapter of our lives we’re remembering that everything God does in our life is a foundation for the next thing he has in store, and even though the tour is over we will always carry the lessons, relationships, and experiences it gave us.

Amanda Harris – Staff11997008_10207759620613707_1568460027_n

Tour Update: Seattle!

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12026552_10207863533651468_2033535234_nDespite almost losing a tire in downtown Seattle, we had an awesome week staying with Lynn’s brother and his family. We got to spend some amazing time with Lynn’s daughter Jessie who so generously took us on a tour of Seattle. Unfortunately, after faithfully serving us for over 3,000 miles, our truck finally had to be towed and brought to a shop stranding us in the city. But, God is so good and he protected us all from harm, provided us with rides, and got us our vehicle back the next day! We were able to get back from the city in time to attend a young adult group at a church the Chris and Lynn Toney help plant! It was and amazing time of fellowship where we were able to share with the group what we do at YWAM and speak into people’s lives. A group of guys we met that night came over the next day and spent the afternoon playing volleyball with us. We all connected really well and quickly became vulnerable. We shared or stories, our present struggles, and encouraged each other. The next day they invited us to the beach where we enjoyed some competitive spikeball followed by sushi and lot a of great conversation.

12029124_10207863533731470_566477011_nThe night before we left for Vancouver we went bowling with the same group and stayed out until 1am, not wanting to say goodbye. Because of the short amount of time we were able I spend with those boys, one of them who had never heard of ywam before we met decided to do a DTS this year. He beamed as he told us that he can’t remember the last time he was this excited about anything. He is ready to abandon everything for Christ and we are so excited for him! As we drove away from the states and onto our last stop in Vancouver, I couldn’t help but thank God for those moments – the moment when someone gets it and says “yes” to Jesus. We have been blessed to facilitate and witness so many of those moments on this tour.

12023149_10207863533251458_751882034_nBefore we ventured into Canada we were able to meet up with Leanna from Megan and Donavon’s DTS and with a group of friends we had met almost two months at Creation Fest! It was so fun to reconnect and see friends we didn’t think we’d ever see again. It meant a lot to us and them that we were able to see each other again.

As out time in the states has come to a close, and we are now starting our last week of ministry in Vancouver, we’ve been able to reflect and see how much God has truly blessed us. He united us as a team, strengthened us, protected us, gave us boldness, and brought us into so many divine appointments. Week are looking forward to more of this to come in our last week! Thank you all for your prayers, we have certainly felt them!

11997008_10207759620613707_1568460027_nAmanda Harris – Staff

In the Wilderness With the Almighty

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“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.” ― C.S. Lewis

unnamed (2)Lately I’ve been pondering, what does it mean to know God? Do I really know Him? Does my daily relationship with the Lord look how I say it does? How do I continue to seek Him more and more everyday? How do I bring Him into my daily life, into everything I am doing? Because if I don’t truly know God, then how can I make Him known?

I think so often I forget what this whole relationship is about. I get so caught up in knowing the historic Jesus, knowing the facts, the stories, and forget what it is to know Jesus today, right now, in every moment. I constantly find myself only turning to God when I need something, asking for His blessing over this or that, asking Him to make everything work out for me. That’s not always a bad thing, but why not ask God what He wants for my life, how I can serve Him, and obey His call?

unnamed (1)I often find myself trying to trust God’s plan for my life and I wonder why it can be so hard and so scary to step out in faith. It’s not easy to trust a plan when you don’t know where it will take you, when you don’t know what is around the next corner, when you don’t feel like you have any more strength to climb the next mountain that you run into. Let me put it this way, if you found a random note telling you to meet a random person in a random place I think you would be a little sketched out, I know I would. But if you found a random note from your best friend telling you to meet them in a random place then it wouldn’t be quite as scary. This is how it should be with Jesus! If we are trusting in a plan from a person we don’t truly know, then of course it is going to be scary. But, if we truly know Jesus and have relationship with Him then we are not trusting in the scary plans He has for our lives, but we are trusting in a person who will walk with us through the crazy plans He asks us to obey.

Recently I was reading the story in Luke 4 when the Spirit sends Jesus into the wilderness. There He was tempted and went through some hard things. Often we face similar trials, we are “sent into the wilderness” and our faith is tested. In these trials though, we become confused and wonder why in the world God would send us into the wilderness. Why would God, our Father who loves us, allow us to go through hard things and be tempted? We think something is wrong, but really we don’t avoid the wilderness because we are children of God, we go through it because we are His children and He loves us. We have to make the choice to trust God in the midst of temptation, trials, and the hard times in the wilderness. We have to make the choice to resist the devil and to grasp the true freedom the can only be found through God, God’s way. We must lean on God, for His love and the power of the Spirit will anchor us in the wilderness.

unnamed (3)If we don’t lean on Him, and do everything anchored in Him and covered in His love we are wasting our time. The more that we lean into God and let Him take ahold of our lives, the more we begin to understand who we really are, and why God has given us each a our specific call on our lives. This is what I have been learning, to abide in Jesus every hour of every day, in every decision I make, to walk away from predictability and go into the unknown. To continue to surrender my life daily, so that I can begin to know Jesus more and because I know Him more, to know myself and my true identity in Christ more. It can be scary to take a leap into the unknown, but once you hit the water it is so worth it. We have to recognize that our fear comes when we look back on a place where we knew security, and when we look forward into the unknown. Lean on Jesus, give Him your complete love and devotion, and trust that He will bring you through the wilderness.

It has definitely been a challenging season for me in returning to Belize. Working on maintenance for the base was not what I was expecting to do, it has been a season of “walking through the wilderness” with God. But I continually remind myself that I am not alone, God brought me here for a reason and I am here to obey that call, not to always understand it. I can’t do any of it by myself, and every day Jesus wants me to rely on Him, to rely on His strength, and to seek Him more. So I have started to make the times I am working by myself times where I seek God, rather than sulking about and being upset with being on maintenance. God is teaching me to trust Him deeper, to be okay with going into the unknown with Him these next two years on staff, and to have fun in the process whether I am on maintenance or DTS staff or outreach or wherever He places me. Everyday God continues to show me areas of my life that I need to fully hand over to Him. Areas that I need to have more humility, relationships I need to work on, what it looks like to serve Him and others everyday in the work that I am doing. But He is good through it all, and I love living life with Him.

Josh Mason – Staffunnamed