Community Connections

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

A couple of weeks ago our time in Istanbul came to an end as we packed up, said goodbye to our new friends, and then headed off to the airport at 4am to catch a short flight to Tbilisi, Georgia.

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When we arrived in Georgia we expected to be in the midst of urbanity once again, but to our surprise, while we were still technically inside of the 1.1 million-person city of Tbilisi, we found ourselves living on the side of a mountain surrounded by fields, cows, and silence. This was quite the change from fast-paced, noisy Istanbul! While we loved Istanbul and would not trade our time there for anything, the peace and the quiet were very welcome and gave us much needed rest even in the midst of ministry!

Some of our time spent in Tbilisi was spent running around preparing logistics for the next phase in our journey but we still had ample opportunity to work with the local YWAM base and partner with them in some ministry opportunities. After getting an orientation to ministering to Georgian people from the local leaders we had the chance to run a 2 day kids camp, travel with local partners to see some of their other work in the country, visit and participate in a service at the international church, and get to know and serve our local partners. Our time in Georgia was short, just under 1 week, but a great chance to get out of the city, make some new friends, and enjoy all that God had planned for us there! As we prepared to leave Georgia we headed out to the airport on our way to our next, and final (for this outreach) destination, a place that will not be named.

IMG_0184 We have been here, in this unnamed place, for just a few days but have already had the opportunity to meet up with friends, some old (for a couple of us) and many new. Chances to serve, bless, and partner with the local workers here abound. Already we have begun working with childcare for some local workers, teaching English to people from the community, building relationships with girls who have come out of the foster system, and generally connecting with the local community of workers. We are very much looking forward to continuing to build these relationships and experiencing what God does through this process!

On Behalf of the Central Asia Team

Steps in the Journey

  |   BSN, Outreach   |   No comment
Tracy and Noah Applegate along with their daughter Eliana and 3 BSN students have strategically spent their first week of outreach in Kathmandu, Nepal, so they could submit their paperwork for their India Visas.  While the visas were being processed they were able to attend and speak at a local church, visit the YWAM Kathmandu base, and make a lot of progress on their prep for the first BELT seminar, which starts tomorrow!

IMG_2543They also had the great opportunity to meet up with Dinesh, one of Noah’s roommates from when he was doing his DTS internship in Nepal.  Now 4 years later they are both married with children and still in full time ministry.  It was a treat for Tracy to be able to see where Noah was and to meet the people he lived alongside during his internship.

More team updates coming soon, until then please be praying for the team as they begin teaching!


  |   BSN, DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

Often you hear the analogy of a curve ball symbolizing an unexpected change of plans. Well if you get to live the life of a YWAMer, you soon realize that curveballs are just to be expected. I like to think that God throws some of them them our way in order to grow us and help us to experience more. Over the last 4 months of my life, God has been pitching like it’s the World Series and now I find myself in Washington DC on the American Independence Day watching the fireworks.

10333777_1479333682301344_4351059595867121605_oWe’re a tight little team of 6. We’ve got two BSN students and three DTS students (curveball). We’re embarking on an adventure together to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to follow God’s lead in evangelizing and discipling the lovely people that we meet there.

This team is team is raring to go but one thing has held us back for weeks now. Obtaining visas for the DRC. It’s been a long process and for some reason the methods we were trying just weren’t working very well. So we decided to change tactics, fly to DC and apply in person. This was a blessing in disguise, or you could say, another curveball.


We rolled with the opportunity and left quickly. When we arrived, of course God provided a great place for us to stay near the capital and we quickly applied for our visas. And so the waiting began, and what better place to waste some time than in Washington DC? We got to tour the capital and I was realizing how much of a blessing it was to be stuck in DC. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves walking past the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Monument, and war memorials when I got a phone call.

Our visas had been processed in only three hours, which should have taken three days! At that moment I realized that God was behind this, and this curveball that he threw turned out to be a way to bless us. We spent the remainder of our time in DC bonding as a team and enjoying our freedom in Christ as a nation enjoyed their freedom from tyranny.

The thing about curve balls, if you dig in and swing, it will most likely be out of the park.

Joshua Duft – Currently leading BSN/DTS Outreach in DR Congo

Opportunity is Everywhere

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After 3 days of travel, including a visit with Stef’s family in Houston, we arrived in Istanbul just over a week ago and what an amazing time it’s been.  From sharing through surveys along the Bosporus with local partners, to helping out at a local rap concert on the park, to learning about Islam from a world expert, and even having the chance to walk in Paul’s footsteps in Ephesus, we’ve had an incredible experience so far. 


Our days here have been long, spending upwards of 3 hours a day just traveling back and forth between ministry opportunities, something our local partners have grown quite accustomed to in this city of nearly 20 million.  However, the commutes have been quite enjoyable, walking through neighborhoods that have seen commuters for millennia; sailing from Europe to Asia across the Bosporus by ferry; and hoping on the occasional tram, this city is truly a place where ancient meets modern and East meets West.


The culture we are in allows for ready and easy conversations to be had.  A 2 minute trip to pick up water can easily turn into an hour conversation over tea; an intentional walk through the park can result in sharing truth with over 30-40 people; and the inevitable times of waiting and commuting can lead to valuable time to meet new people or even simply learn from observation of those around us.
Our time here will soon come to an end as we move on to Georgia but we will not soon forget the relationships we’ve built with our partners, our landlords, and even the strangers we’ve met here.  Istanbul is a city of great beauty and great openness to hear what truth may be shared, may God bless this city and His people here and may their numbers grow daily.
Chris – Currently Leading DTS Outreach in Central Asia

Arrival In Panama

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While it has been a crazy trip already, catching buses, staying in hostels, and eating sandwiches on a bus for three days in a row, God is clearly in this trip and moving in the hearts of those we encounter. Officially leaving Belize on Saturday the 21, we jumped on a ferry boat and then a bus heading down to Punta Gorda, Belize. Staying the night with some friends and moving on in the morning to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala where we then caught a ride to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Upon arriving in Honduras the realization hit us that English Speakers are hard to find and the little Spanish I know is much more rusty than I realized. Despite the obstacle we met a rambler from South Africa, traveling through central and South America as a photographer, who was heading in the same direction as us. Our new friend Peter not only helped us book our bus ticket and hotel room in for the next night in Managua, Nicaragua but went on to be sure we had the right tickets all the way to San Jose, Costa Rica. After some fun conversations and a few tips from Peter we parted ways in Managua and headed onto Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica we realized that our timing was not going to work to catch the transport to Panama we had hoped. We were easily able to stay another night at the YWAM base in San Jose and soon realized it was the Lords timing for us to be there.



The base in San Jose hosts many Outreach Teams as well as missions teams from all over the United States. We had the privilege of meeting one of these missions teams from Brandywine Valley Baptist Church, in Wilmington, Delaware. Having an extra day inSan Jose gave us the opportunity to meet this youth group and share the adventures of life together. Our team had the opportunity to share our story, and our heart for the upcoming adventure in Panama with their students. Building relationship and sharing the love and acceptance we have found in Our Father with students choosing to live the same lifestyle with Jesus.


After a night of sharing and a few card games we packed up early on Thursday morning to finish the final haul of our journey into Panama. Despite some trouble at the border and missing our planned water taxi ride the Lord continued to provide and despite the rain got us safe and sound to our Panama home.


9217554Since arriving we are adjusting well into our new location. With limited fresh water, and a hard floor as a bed the adjustments can be a bit challenging but that has not hindered our desire to venture deeper into the jungle to learn more about the indigenous people of Panama. Early next week we hope to travel into our first village, while also helping around the home we are staying in. Our hearts remain geared for relationship and adventure, finding Jesus in new and exciting ways and showing others His overwhelming, never ending love. While the indigenous people have a troubled history and often are feared or looked down on by those traveling through, we pray for awesome ways to connect and to build relationship.


We look forward to keep you posted on our adventure and ask for your prayers and encouragements. Specifically we pray for the home we are staying in, to remain a safe place and a place of joy, peace, and vision. A place where teams can see Fathers heart for these people and this area, a place to embrace adventure and a reputation that encourages relationship.


Will Richardson – April DTS Panama Outreach Leader