Outreach

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Rest, Beloved.

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Outreach is a crazy thing. No two are exactly the same.

It’s meant to be that way. God works in the places where we think we have the most control, but in reality, we don’t.

He sits back, patiently, and waits until we slowly loosen our grip on whatever aspect of our lives we haven’t fully given over to Him. He waits until our hands are fully open, and then He reveals to us new mercies.

DTS for me was summarized by one word: control. Or a lack thereof.

Life plans put on hold. Leaps of faith taken. Sitting, waiting, wondering.

My dreams and aspirations from home were never given up on, but I definitely put them aside to re-focus fully on my relationship with God.

Slowly but surely, He broke me. He tore down the hard outer layer I had built for myself emotionally, and many tears were shed over the course of the 12 weeks at DTS.

He re-kindled the heart of service that He gave to me as a child, but that over time, society had constantly suppressed and called “weird” and “unmanly.”

Finally, when I thought I had given up everything, He revealed to me other areas I hadn’t yet fully let go of, and opened doors for me at home when I was 5,000 miles away. Literally unable to do anything for myself in these areas of my life where I had dreamed – He made a way that was even better than I could have imagined.

So when outreach came around, and my leaders Josh and Katie named me as the Ministry Lead for our team, alongside my best friend Evan, I was overjoyed. Here is an opportunity for leadership that I can give back to God, so that He can lead me. I’ve learned my lesson!

Here is an opportunity to give up control, but still put in my 100% best effort.

My heart was FINALLY in the right place. I had JOY in giving the things God had given me, right back to Him.

Leave it to God.

Walk forward with open hands.

Peru, here we go.

Delayed flights bus rides boat rides missed buses

Flood relief prayer walks change in travel plans buses planes trains mototaxis lack of sleep more prayer walks encouragement notes Healing a man from his paralysation exercise getting dusty and dirty quiet time with God rebuilding houses painting a church Macchu Picchu team talks prostitution ministry childrens ministry drama teaching in schools Healing a woman of glaucoma in her eye eating lunch at local families houses painting more walls time with God cleaning churches leading youth ministry nights quiet time with God more prayer walks soccer ministry cleaning our hosting base team talks intercession worship

STOP.

Rest, beloved.

“What do you mean, ‘rest’? We head to the jungle towns, accessible only by a 2 hour boat ride, in 3 days! We’re going to minister to Amazonian tribal peoples! We’re going to share the gospel, just as You commissioned! You’ve asked me to be ministry lead – there’s so much to prepare!”

Rest, beloved. 

“Nap for 20 minutes? Spend an extra hour with you in silent meditation today? Okay no problem!”

Rest, beloved. 

“Okay, I’m feeling a bit sick– this is why you wanted me to rest. Just a quick sore throat and stuffy nose, nothing too crazy. I’ll be right back tomorrow, doing everything You want me to do to prepare for the jungle.”

Rest, beloved. 

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A hospital trip later, a bunch of Peruvian doctors pouring over me, and long nights sitting waiting for test results – I’m still here today at YWAM Iquitos, resting.

Unfortunately, because I was still super sick on Sunday, my team had to go on without me to the next ministry location. Wisdom had to prevail – I’m close to a hospital, just in case anything changes rapidly in my health. I’m well-taken care of by our host families here at YWAM Iquitos. They’ve been a huge blessing and literally God’s hands and feet for me.

Now I’m not saying God caused me to be sick – that’s heretical. But I can say with certainty that when a fever hits you (bed rest), then a sore throat starts burning (less food), you have zero energy and sleep 8 hours a day and 10 hours at night (can’t do anything) and painful blisters start appearing on your hands and feet (hurts to walk anywhere, and I can’t even untwist a strawberry jam lid) – I’m pretty sure His message to me is clear:

Rest, beloved. 

When He allows all of the things you love to do to become painful, so that the ONLY thing you can do, literally – is type, write, and sit and listen to Him – the message is, you guessed it, pretty clear:

Rest, beloved. 

“I want to help paint and fix things and once I’m better I’ll do some children’s ministry, maybe run a soccer camp, help clean the base, shovel some dirt for a new home – there’s so many possibilities!”

Then the doctor said I have to stay in bed until Friday. I would be able to rejoin my team in the jungle on Sunday. A whole 10 days, out of commission. In the middle of outreach. What!?

Rest, beloved. Listen, beloved

Here are the things He said to me during my endless hours of quiet time.

You need to be willing to be served by those around you. 1 Samuel 12:24

You can only give to others, what you know how to fully receive. John 12:26

You need to give up just one, more, thing. And you know what it is. Proverbs 3:5-6

My grace covers you, every single day. 2 Corinthians 12:9

You need to spend less time “doing”, and more time with Me. Mark 2:27

You need to continue to press forward towards the true prize, My prize for you. Philippians 3:14

Your plans are so much smaller than the plans I have for you. Get ready. It’s going to be W.I.L.D. Jeremiah 29:11

Continue to pour into love. Because your truth is strong – but truth without love is just the Law that I replaced with my Blood. 1 Corinthians 13:1

Be passionate. Be convicted. Stand firm. The time is now to wake up your generation. Isaiah 26:3

Rest in my arms. You are not sufficient, which is why I Am. I will take care of you, to the ends of your days. Philippians 4:6-7

Rest, beloved. 

I now know “why.” Because He needed to pull me aside for a few days and tell me “why.”

Why His grace is sufficient. Why we can’t do everything on our own. Why His mercy is enough to cover the areas we are constantly falling short in. Why He loves us so much – all He wants to do is spend time with us.

Why He sent His Son to die for us – so that we can find eternal rest for our souls, despite our separation from Him through sin.

He knows what you need. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. If He is that familiar with you, that intimate….. don’t you think it’s prudent to stop and rest occasionally, and just ponder that miracle? 

If you’re feeling far away from God, He wants you to come back.

When you feel like you’re out of solutions……..Sometimes, all you need to do………

is stop.

And rest, beloved.

Mike Stacey

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Personally Encountered

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Through these last couple of weeks here in Paraguay a constant word that keeps coming up for me is “fun.” God is continuing to remind me that doing life with Him is so insanely fun and I have experienced that first hand these last 5 months. He also has been revealing Himself to me through the many little things, as well as the big, crazy moments. He shows up! He is real, and alive, and moves! He cannot be contained in a small box. He is so cool. I have been touched by God and His never-ending love for me during this outreach and through lecture phase. This past week we got to explore some of Paraguay and go see the Iguazu Falls and wow was it breath taking! Seriously one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. We also got to take a boat ride down at the bottom of the falls, where we got drenched but was definitely a moment I will put in the books. Also, during this week we got to work with an orphanage, which is right down the street. During this time we played a ton of games and just loved on all those sweet kids. They have been through so many hard times but still somehow can smile. That for me is seeing God first hand. Seeing Him give those kids happiness and joy. Again, God is showing me that having fun and showing love is how we live day to day with Him.

There are 10 days left of outreach and I have been reflecting a lot on what God has done in my life over these past couple of months. I came to DTS wanting to grow in my faith with my Father and wanting to see Him move and do crazy things, and boy has that happened! I have learned about the best Father, a Father who is kind and one who is passionate about me! A God who will always want the best for me and is only good. I have become even more in awe of my Papa. God has shown up in this beautiful country and in these beautiful people. They bring His kingdom to earth by being in community with each other and I have felt extremely blessed every time they invite us over for dinner or for a pool party. (which is always needed for this heat) The people here also say over and over how we have made an impact on their lives, churches, and their own individual faith. While, for me, I have felt most impacted by them and how they love the Lord with everything they have. They show Gods love well. They love each other with Agape love and I have felt Gods presence in almost every home we are in. They have a mindset of how their home is a way for the kingdom of God to touch this earth and that is why they are so hospitable and generous with what they have. It is simple loving and it is beautiful to see. I have been learning more and more that to bring the kingdom of God onto this earth is to simply just love, and these Paraguayans do it well. That to be in relationship is being close to God, because God Himself is in relationship with the Holy Spirit and Jesus. He has called us to be together with family and friends and to love! So simple.

Another thing that God has shown to me during this time is that He is big and that He provides. We were praying for the patients of a local hospital in the city of Asuncion and we saw healing for one of the patients that we prayed for who was dealing with kidney and liver problems. The power of prayer and the power of faith are so strong, they have no limits. We went into this day and every other ministry day believing for nothing less than healing. God will move and work if we put our trust in Him.

Another sign of Gods provision was at the tribe that we went to for 5 days. Absolutely one of my favorite times here in Paraguay. These people were one of the only tribes who believed in God and while every other tribe was in poverty, these guys were booming with their success! God has provided for them with the machinery, land, money, and every other need that they had. While they still have their difficulties, they continue to trust in the one who provides and He has never failed them! So cool to see! I also loved the kids in this tribe. They were around us 24/7 from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed. They would run around, jump and even climb up onto us. They would also just want to hang out with us. Reminds me of God. He just wants to hang out and chill with us. No conditions or expectations. He wants to love on us 24/7 and be with us through our everyday lives. God is real and He is fun! He has great plans in store for everyone of us and I will continue to pray that those kids will forever feel the beautiful love of God.

I have personally encountered the love of God. It has pulled me in and has given me a big sloppy wet kiss on the cheek. We are forever changed because we follow the most perfect loving Father. God is so good, and He overwhelms me with His greatness. Life is easy with Him. He doesn’t make it confusing, hard or difficult. To live everyday with God is to have fun with Him and to love. My heart has been touched by the people here and by the heart of God. The more I seek him, the more I find Him, and the more I find Him, the more I fall in love with Him. He is the best Father ever.

 

Emily Pankratz

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Paraguay Week 5

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This has been a week nothing short of an adventure. We got the opportunity to stay with the Achè tribe in the jungles of Paraguay. They are a Christian community, who live simply, but love so well. We were constantly surrounded by wonderful children, and although everyone spoke a different language that we’ve never heard before, there was nothing stopping us from building relationship with them. We’ve helped clean up around their tribe, picking up trash, burning piles of leaves and grass, and chopping down bamboo trees using machetes. Once we were done working for the day, we started walking to the river that is right by their tribe. When they see us walking that direction, we’re instantly surrounded by groups of children, running with bare feet in the hot red dirt. They grab our hands and we all start running, and then when we’re almost there the kids start ripping off their clothes and just jump right into the water, without any fear, and without a care in the world. Walking around the community was an adventure in itself. You get to see all types of animals, like dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, turtles and monkeys. Then you walk through the jungle to the house the boys were staying at, and you get to see the most beautiful sunset going down over the horizon. This experience has been completely life changing. I can’t really explain the feeling I get when I think about the Achè tribe, but I know that God has put them on my heart for a reason.

God has shown me a lot through their community, things that I will never forget. They’ve taught me how to be more kind, generous, and caring for those around me. They shared everything with each other. If we gave them a piece of bread, they would look who’s around them and rip it into the perfect amount of pieces so everyone can have some. But the best thing they shared was time and laughter. Very rarely would you see someone alone. They all loved each other, and live life together, as a big family. No one ever got left behind, and no one ever felt left out. They were all so kind with each other. They found joy in the smallest things. The Achè tribe taught me how to live without fear. I have never met a more tough group of people. They live with complete trust in the Lord, in all that they do. They don’t worry about finances, where to sleep, and what they’ll eat, because God has blessed them with each other. They know that God will provide for them in the way that they need to, and that the community will always have their backs. They play with bugs that I’ve never seen before, throw their bodies into running, rocky water and don’t worry about the fear of judgement or pain. I the love the way they live, I can see the way that God lives in them, and how his love casts out fear. The Achè tribe has taught me how to love well. They welcomed us with open arms, got us out of our comfort zone, and laughed at us when we tried shooting bow and arrows. Our team got so much closer during this time. We spent so much time together, loving each other, taking adventures with each other and worshiping our God together as the sun went down. We laid out and watched the stars together, asking silly questions and talking about God.

This week God moved in our hearts. He gave each of us a heart for the Achè tribe, and taught each of us something new. The love of God radiates through this community, and makes it really hard to say goodbye. A piece of my heart will always be in the tribe. The relationships we’ve made will never be forgotten, and the memories we have will last forever. God is so good, He always has been good, and He will always be good. I know that God brought all of us to Paraguay for a reason, and I think mine was to see what true happiness looks like within a community. My life will forever be changed, and I give thanks to God, and the way He moves through the Achè tribe. I’m so thankful for what He’s done for me, and I will always continue to pursue Him.

-Carmen Martinez, 19

 

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Adjusting Your Focus

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When we were in Thailand I realized how important it was to hear God. I also found out how easy it is to not listen to him because we were distracted by the people, the culture and the new environment. When I first got to Thailand all I wanted to do was go out and experience the culture, try the foods, buy clothes and interact with the Thai people. I realized later that all of these things were actually distractions from what God had sent us here to do. We were not focused on God and what He had brought us to Thailand for. As a result our team was negatively impacted and attacked by Satan. When a few of us realized that Satan was attacking, we decided to pray and pray hard we did. After praying we felt a lot better and a peace came over us. The darkness was still lingering so we came together as a team and talked about all the negativity going around. As a team we then prayed and turned our focus back on God and we got back on track. That next week in Thailand I heard God more clearly and we had such an adventure interacting with the Thai students and building amazing relationships. This story goes to show how often we can get off track, so we need to take action against Satan by having a “warrior” mind set. We do this by turning to God with problems and frustrations and talking them over with Him. As I have been told I will tell you a little tip; “When life gets blurry just adjust your focus” back on Jesus.

 

Marissa Fields

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Malaysia Update

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Time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe that my time in Malaysia is already half way over. We spent 3 weeks in KL and have settled into our new area in Penang. We traveled 4 hours north by train, then a 20-minute ferry ride to the busy island to meet our contact for our following 3 weeks here in Georgetown. We are staying in the upper level of the homeless shelter that we are working with. Everything is in walking distance which is huge for us since we had to take Ubers everywhere in KL. We finished our time in KL by spending time with people that we had build close relationships with and of course doing our laundry “missionary style” at the local café that we discovered. Yes, a place to pay to do your laundry then sip on some coffee while you wait. Georgetown and Penang are known for their variety and delicious food and I can speak from experience that they were not kidding on that. Everywhere we walk is filled with cafes, street vendors, and fruit stands clustered together taunting us. After a quick orientation of a possible ministry opportunity on Saturday morning, we were able to have most of the day to explore and get used to the area around us. We are staying right in the middle of the hub of backpackers. Our street is called Love Lane and is filled with hostels and late night cafes. It has been enjoyable meeting people from all over the world and learning of what brought them to Malaysia. Georgetown is populated heavily by Chinese therefore we are extremely excited to celebrate the Chinese New Year in a few weeks. I love the cultural experience that we have had already so quick within our first few days here. One thing that is common etiquette in Malaysia is removing your shoes before you enter into a home. Shoes are left outside even before going into a spa parlor. Another common etiquette is also using only your right hand. The left hand could mean bad luck, the hand you use to wipe with, and rudeness. Walking down the street is truly never a dull moment.

Today we were able to get our ministry schedule finally! We have been waiting in anticipation. The ministries we will be involved in are teaching/volunteering at schools, street evangelism, rock climbing/basketball, prayer/worship nights, and homeless ministry. I’m stoked for all of these opportunities to just be the hands and feet of Jesus and to serve. We were in a school this morning working with kids and it reminded me of how excited I get being in schools and the teacher side of me comes out. I was amazed at how eager these students were to learn the simplest things. They were also intrigued of how I was in Malaysia and of course wondering how I was enjoying myself so far.

These next 3 are going to be full of stories, adventure, miracles, and happenings. I’m ready to finish these last weeks strong and full of passion for the people here. I’ve loved the people here, how they are welcoming and interested in our lives even if we only interact for a short time.
Megan Myers