Uruguay Outreach Blog: Week One!

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IMG_5884It’s been an amazing first week in Rivera, Uruguay! It’s definitely a whole lot colder than Belize, and half of us are from Canada, land of igloos and never ending snow so you would think we would be used to cold weather! Nope, we still freeze at night. But thankfully it’s spring time, so it will only get warmer. Another plus is we definitely won’t starve here, we eat everything that comes our way and you just can’t get enough of it. We also really enjoy the famous latin american, Dulce De Leche. Which is the equivalent of the American Nutella, but only ten times better. They are very generous with giving us enough food to eat, and as a thank-you we gave them a bottle of hot sauce, Belizian heat.

IMG_5873It doesn’t even feel like we’ve been here for a week, it feels like we’ve been here for months! We’ve gotten so close with everybody and their just like family, we feel like we’ve known them for years! Although english isn’t their first language and they speak very little english, and we very little Spanish; it hasn’t put a barrier to the laughs, the games or the unity. I think the teams favourite memories are from just hanging out with our friends laughing and having a good time after meals and long days of ministries, work duties, devo’s and services. We’ve had a lot of amazing ministry opportunities to reach out to the communities and be able to share our stories and passions. We’ve done soccer camps in the villages for the kids and put on arts and crafts activities, and we’ve shared devotionals and put on church services. The church that we went to for the first week was such a cool experience for all of us, since it was all in Spanish, we didn’t understand really anything; other than hallelujah, Jesus and amen. But what we did understand was the passion they had for Jesus, and how they expressed that in how they loved to throwing their hands in the air and shouting as loud as they could and dancing around! We may be two very different cultures but at the same time were so unified and together, we share this passion for Jesus, and it doesn’t matter what language we speak or where were from.

IMG_5826However, outreach isn’t all just rainbows, outreach can also be very stressful! Travelling for 3 days, no beds, no comfort, and no meals; it gets pretty tiring! It creates a sort of “edge” to people that isn’t normally there. But the really cool thing about it is how we’ve grown from it. How something that at the time may seem like the end of the world and we use bad judgement and say things that only cause more disunity; and how it can be used to make the team stronger. That we can slip up here and there and act like a total mole, we just learn from our mistakes. We come together, pray together and walk together, and just be even more unified from it. We came together in harder times and reminded ourselves and each other that outreach isn’t always going to be easy, but that God is full of grace. Grace for our short temper at times, for when were Hangry, for when we don’t want to be around each other, for when were missing home; and for when we forget what were here for. We as a team have been able to walk through hard days and make our other days stronger. Five sticks are stronger than one stick, and their each as equally as important as the other. We’ve been able to see so clearly our strengths and weaknesses individually and use it to become stronger as a team, and learn and grow from it.

Week one of outreach has been amazing so far and were each being moved and touched in different ways. And we’ve loved sharing how God is moving, how he’s opening our eyes more and more. Week one, day one, and we’ve already made lifetime memories.
God is so Good.

Summer White Eagle – DTS Student, July, 2015

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Tea, Coffee and a Choice

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“She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare 
with her” – Proverbs 3:15

My heart is where my passion is. I have a passion for helping others gaining freedom, a passion for women finding their true identity, a passion for women to know they are worthy of love and belonging. Real love and belonging, not just being used for a someone else’s pleasure.

Here in Mongolia, us counseling students have been given the chance to work with a ministry called Streams in the Desert, which rescues women who have been sex trafficked. On Monday, two of us were given the chance to go out on to the streets with some of the Streams staff. Though I knew it would be hard, I still desperately wanted to go. I had some time in the morning to intercede for the women I would be meeting that night on the streets and spent some quiet time with God, asking Him to show me the women and pimps through his eyes, not mine. I suddenly became physically weak with an intense feeling of fear. I thought it was probably just nerves about the evening, seeing as it was dangerous. Suddenly I started sobbing. I couldn’t control it, the tears and shortness of breath just kept coming. I was confused because I didn’t feel like these tears were for me, but if they weren’t for me, who were they for?

The evening came and we set off to the streets of Ulaan Baatar with tea and coffee. It wasn’t anything like I had imagined. We were in a very rich part of the city and most of the prostitutes were older than I expected.The women we saw would stand on show with their pimps close beside them.We saw men approach the pimps, pull them aside to negotiate, then walk away with the prostitute. It was hard to witness, especially seeing some women return to their pimps with tears in their eyes.

My heart broke for these women, and it hit me that my weeping from that morning had been for them. I wept because they don’t let themselves weep, they block their tears and pain. They are so lost and trapped in this lifestyle and couldn’t even see the door wide open they can escape to. Every part of me just wanted to tell these women they are so beautiful and loved; that they are worth so much more than this, but the spiritual warfare was intense and the place felt so dark and evil.

Even though it is sometimes dangerous and the pimps are watching, it is the women’s choice to leave and come with us or to stay. Our intentions were to just love them and show there is a way out and that we are willing to help them. But they have to choose it and make that first step: escape. Some women do choose to leave, but most are too stuck in the lies they are told that they stay with their pimps.

I pray that these women find their worth in their true identity and not through money and lies. I pray for boldness and courage to find freedom, and to want it. I pray for hope.

image1 (3)Mandy Griffin – FCM Student, July, 2015

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Knowing the God Who Satisfies

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image4I was given the chance to share my testimony with students at the Mongolia International University in Ulaanbataar. Stepping up to the podium I set my notes down and looked up to see 100 faces staring back at me. I introduced myself and began to share what little part of my life I could cram into 10 minutes. I started by sharing about an encounter I had with God in Belize. I shared how I looked into the mirror in my very small casita bathroom and realized that I didn’t even know who Reagan Holmes was. If I liked the way someone else did their hair, I would get my hair done that same way; if I liked someone’s shoes, I would go out and buy the same shoes. God began revealing that I had lost my identity and had become a mixture of everyone else’s identities. In attempt to find my true identity, I began by writing truths about myself, and soon realized that I couldn’t think of a single truth. It was after this that God started slowly restoring my identity. I shared with the students that I learned that if I wanted to love and know myself, I first needed to know the One who created me and how much He loves me. I started to read my bible in hopes of learning what God said about me as opposed to what this world said about me. I learned that if you don’t know what God says about you or don’t believe it, then it’s easy to lose your identity.

image3I wanted to share the truths that God has revealed so clearly to me with all the students: No amount of name brands you own and no amount of makeup you wear can cover up or hide who you have been created to be. None of these things can satisfy our craving to be desired or loved, only God can satisfy us completely.

After the service ended, we had the chance to meet in small groups and get to know the students. Me and another team member quickly met a girl named Bubara, a sweet and charismatic student at the university. She was eager to tell us that the “girl from Texas” had touched her heart. I couldn’t help but smile, because I knew that though Satan had tried to make me feel insecure and inadequate, my words had made an impact in this girl’s life.

image1 (2)Not long after that, I saw another girl out of the corner of my eye walking up to us. The young girl grabbed my arm and walked me outside of the auditorium, the first words out of her mouth, “how can I know more about YWAM?” She went on to say that she knew that God had sent me there for her, and that during my testimony she kept feeling God pulling on her heart. She said that she knew just what I meant when I talked about not knowing who I was when I looked at myself in the mirror. As we prayed together, my eyes kept filling up with tears.

This much I know is true: Satan likes to make us feel inadequate, he likes to shut us up so that we won’t step into what God has been called us to do. But it’s our job to realize that God wants us to succeed and has a calling for each of us; He just wants us to step up so that we can claim our victory That’s what ministry is all about– God and His people. It’s about fearlessly sharing what He’s done in our lives so that we can create everlasting relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Meeting those girls was so encouraging, and I’m so blessed to have had opportunity to meet these sweet sisters of mine.

image2 (2)Reagan Holmes – DTS Student, July, 2015

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You Are Not Small

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image2 (1)After several boat, bus and plane rides, our team arrived in the Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on Monday. Despite any jet lag or culture shock, though, we hit the ground running. Our days have been spent dividing and conquering– some visiting churches and schools, some organizing local ministries, and others simply doing whatever comes our way. On Thursday, I went with a group of five others to a youth prison with no clue what we would be doing, but nonetheless ready for a spiritual battle. As has been a theme thus far, things didn’t go exactly as planned. After our plan to eat and hang out with the prisoners was rejected by the officers, we ended up standing before a group of thirty adult male prisoners.

To be honest, I was completely intimidated. There I stood, a four-foot-eleven, white, blonde girl before a group of men who appeared to be bored with the whole situation. I kept thinking that I couldn’t possibly have anything to say that would have any effect on these men. As I scrambled for words to prove myself as more than a stereotype, God kept nudging me with a simple thought: You are not small.

image2It was almost like déjà-vu from lecture phase. Week nine of lecture phase, God told me that it was only in His strength that I would have victory in battle. Though I may have the appearance of being small or weak, with God’s strength, I am a mighty warrior. God alone gives me the strength to keep running, to fight until the battle is won, to conquer the enemy.

I may have looked puny before these men, but I was reminded that my prayers hold serious weight before the King. Though I may be tiny here, I fight for a King that is bigger than anything I could ever face. There is nothing that I can do in my own strength or power that would even compare to what God can and will do through me. So despite my appearance, I was able to stand tall in my identity as a warrior. I may not have fought a physical war in that prison, but there was a spiritual battle going on that went beyond any words spoken aloud.

image1 (1)Though the past week has been filled with numerous God moments and cool ministry opportunities, it was those thirty minutes standing before the prisoners that had the biggest effect on me. I was reminded that I am made a warrior through God’s strength, which has given me a readiness to run back into battle. I may be one tiny person, but I am here to do some damage for the Kingdom of God.

“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:14-17

image1Claire Andersen  – DTS Student, July, 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

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