It Has Come And Gone!

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photo-2I can’t believe it has come and gone!

I went to YWAM with the expectation that during the 12 week lecture phase I would learn all about God and who He is. It turns out I learned that and so much more! The set up during the lecture phase is we wake up every morning and jump into worship or intersession then move into about four hours of lectures. Each week we have a different speaker that allows God to use them as a vessel to pour out truths for us. It was amazing to watch each week be tailored to exactly what we needed to learn.

Community is the key. On base we get to eat, worship, pray, and play together. The staff created this beautiful atmosphere where anytime anyone needs something, there is someone there to help. As a class of 22, we started off as a bunch of strangers but as the weeks went, all of the awkwardness fell away. Because we got to go through every challenge and victory together, we grew to become an amazing family that I know I will always be a part of.


I believe one of the most crucial things that I had during that time was a small group leader. My small group leader, Brittney, helped me walk through many things that were incredibly difficult to face. We had one on one time each week to talk about how life was going and what I was struggling with. Of course it was strange at first to jump into a relationship with someone that wants to know everything about me. Luckily, it didn’t take me very long to learn that it wasn’t just about my problems, but that she wanted to help me celebrate the victories that I would have a long the way. She was there for me anytime I needed or wanted, even if it was just to hang out. She helped me see who God truly created me to be. I learned to be confident in who I am because my Father made me that way. She helped me see what it really looks like to have someone love on me well.

photo-4-8 - CopyAfter some incredibly hard goodbyes, my team of 14 was off to Morocco for an 8 week outreach. While we were in Morocco we learned all about what it means to love people well, and just be ourselves. Morocco was a place where we couldn’t shout out how much we love Jesus, but we sure could love people like Jesus would. And that’s what we did!For us, loving like Jesus does involved a lot of time in prayer. And I mean a lot. While we were there, prayer looked a lot like just a normal conversation. We would walk about and pray out loud because we knew that Jesus was just walking with us. He gave us so many opportunities to just make people’s day. It looked all sorts of ways, anything from giving someone a flower, to gathering a group of friends for prayer

???????????????????????One of our biggest ministries was actually something formed internally in the group. We noticed right away that our family of 14 looked pretty strange. We had something about us that was just different. It was Jesus. We loved each other the way Jesus loves us, at least we tried as hard as we could to do so. Our love for each other was something that everyone we met noticed. We got asked why we love each other so much and how in the world could we live with 14 people. We got to invite people in to be a part of our family and take the opportunity to love them really well.

In the beginning of the outreach God put the phrase “close your eyes and choose to love Me” on my heart. I thought He was just telling me that every day I get the chance to love Him, and I should take advantage of that. Of course that is true, but it turned out that phrase was so much more. God had asked me from the very beginning to love people really well. I got the amazing opportunity to choose to love God everyday because I got to choose to love His people.

???????????????????????John 15:9-12
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

I want to go back on staff to love people really well so they can feel His love. God’s love for us is truly all we need. It blows my mind and fills my heart when I see someone understand that, the moment when it clicks. I hope God will use me to help get His children there.photo-1-6

Taylor Fagan – January 2014 Leadership DTS and Morocco outreach

Changing Hearts

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erSomething I’ve always been aware of, is that God changes our hearts.

It’s very easy to have a moment where everything is perfect, you feel this joy inside of you. You feel loved. And then the moment passes. And you are back to asking God why you’re not happy. You’re starting to complain, because He’s not helping you. He’s not making you feel happy anymore. It’s always easy to blame it on God when things get hard.

So I had to ask myself, “How could I be a light and a tool for Him on this outreach, helping Him change hearts, when my own heart needs to be changed over and over again?” As we were doing ministry and meeting people, I heard God say to me, “Why are you not happy? What is it really that makes you feel this way?” I couldn’t really find an answer. I mean, we all have seasons where we are happy or sad. But is that God? Does God make you feel sad? The answer is so clear: NO! I’m making myself feel this way. Why can’t I just enjoy each moment that He gives me? I need a change of my own attitude, and a way of living. I need to be thankful and to love all the blessings in my life, because I can’t even count how many they are.gh

My life IS a blessing. But how do you make yourself feel happy? Paul knew it. He had a secret. He went through trials, he got tortured and sent to prison, but he also saw things happening and people choosing God. He said that in all those things there were temptations. But he had a secret to satisfy him in any situation: to live with Christ, to have a deep personal relationship with him. That is where he found strength to carry him through anything: “I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength”, Philippians 4:13. As I meet hard things in my life, I can still be the light and the change I want to see around me. Because my God is bigger than anything in this world, and He loves me more than I can ever imagine! So live with love, and be thankful, because you have a lot to be thankful for. “We love, because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19.

Cecilie Kristoffersen – January 2014 Leadership DTS Morocco Outreach

I Breathe, Therefore I Pray

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The funny thing about leadership and life is that you’re never done learning. There are always scenarios and moments that stretch you and cause you to move past what you think you know and teach you something new.

Every time I find myself in a position of leadership I am very aware of this fact. They are the times in life I know that in the future I will look back fondly on, but usually not enjoy the most while I am walking through it. At least that has been my experience up until this trip to Morocco.bn

I am learning about patience and humility more than ever before, its constantly stretching but wonderfully rewarding.

Leading a group of 12 students, 10 girls 2 guys has a variety of challenges in and of itself, but if we add in the dynamic of being a female leader in a country where woman have little to no value, thats a whole new twist.

Those are my moments of mustering up all the patience and humility that I can.jj

Not being able to walk into a cafe and order my own drink or ask for assistance, but needing to have a guy step into that role, makes me think back to the days of old, how women were daughters then wives then mothers and that was the be all and end all of their existence.

In this challenging culture, I’m fighting it with the strength God gives me every day, what I have been living by is the simple statement “I breathe therefore I pray.”

I ask God to help me love the Moroccans even when it’s hard. To love them and view them as He does. To see their value in His Kingdom despite the culture they know or their misunderstandings of mine.

With the oppressive religion of Islam everywhere I turn, everywhere my eyes land, I also see the infiltration of dedicated apathy and misery. I think back on Easter morning, and the excitement I had to wake up at 6am to walk down to the beach to spend time in worship and prayer, celebrating the risen King.

As we walk out the front door of our hotel we see the religious men walking like living dead out the main doors of the mosque, no joy, no excitement, no celebration on their faces just the residue of fulfilled duty.moo

As we see the sky turn a mix of orange and red over the mountain housing the Kasbah that is inscribed God. Country. King. We sing of how Jesus is risen and we rest in the assurance of the gift of Grace afforded us by His sacrifice. My heart is pleading that my Father would see His lost children of Morocco come to know this same gift of Grace, and learn how to live a life of freedom in knowing that they are the Beloved of the King of the Universe. I pray that they would be delivered from the chains and bondage of Islam and released into the joy and peace living in the presence of the living God.

“I breathe therefore I pray”

I am dedicated to bringing the light and love of God into this nation clouded with darkness. I am fully invested to living life fully alive, loving my team well and loving the people around me well so that Christ can shine through me and spark a curiosity that leads to the freedom of my lost brothers and sisters.

My favorite moment so far was about a week ago after we had a time of worship, prayer and sharing devotionals on the beach, a game of soccer erupted and we were joined by Amina, a young girl dressed in a full Habib. We girls joined forces and the boys had no choice but to be impressed!

Those are my most treasured moments of just living life and being “normal” people, but entering fully into the culture and opening up a space of acceptance and freedom to allow Amina to join our game on the beach.mo

I ask that you would join us in prayer for unity, strength and even more love for each other as we finish out the last few weeks of our time here in Morocco.

Zoe Hewlett – January 2014 Morocco Outreach Leader

Our Time in Suriname

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bjgAfter leaving the YWAM base in Guyana, we made our way into the country of Suriname. We were soon greeted by our host and guide, Otis, who is one of the coolest people I have met on this outreach so far. We travelled 12 hours to get there and almost immediately after eating our first meal, our leader, Becky, tells us that instead of staying in Suriname for two days like what was originally planned, we were staying a full week. We were excited about this new opportunity!bn

Our week in Suriname was mostly down time and rest after a busy week in Guyana. We had the opportunity to do some kids ministry and evangelism, but our rest time was great because Otis, who is from Jamaica, told us everything we needed to know about Suriname as a country. Although I didn’t get to connect with any certain kids in particular, I loved spending time with them all. However, my favorite time was spent hanging out with the team and walking around town.bjh

Even though we were only there for one week, Otis made us feel like we had been there forever. The main language of Suriname is Dutch and it wasn’t even a problem because Otis was always on the ball. My time in Suriname wasn’t all smiles, but God had His way and I’m glad I got to be there for it. God has raised us up for such a time as this. Don’t waste it.

Kyle Carter-January 2014 Leadership DTS French Guiana Outreach

Keeping Busy

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We have been thrown right into ministry here in Guyana, and it has been both exciting and challenging.

We have done quite a bit of kid’s ministry with YWAM Guyana. Here at the base they have a literacy center that runs twice a week and they help the kids with reading, writing, and computer skills. It is also a normal occurrence to have children show up on base just to hang out. The first day we were here we had the opportunity to do Sunday school at a village in Parika, Guyana. We met about 20 kids, played games, sang songs, talked with the parents, and told the story of Noah’s ark.britt

Kid’s ministry comes naturally to the majority of our team, so we enjoy doing it. We have had numerous opportunities however do to church ministry where the pastor gives us the whole service to do what we want. We are able to do dramas, testimonies, sermons, worship, and pray for people. It has been a challenge, to me at least, to get up in front of a group of people and speak to them. I am so proud of my team for stepping out in faith and giving sermons and testimonies and really putting themselves in a vulnerable position for God to move.ash

It has been intimidating and terrifying to have to step out in our faith. Sometimes we feel as if the ministry we are doing isn’t really effective or isn’t worth our time, but we need to keep in mind that God knows the bigger picture and we may never know how or what effected someone. God is pleased in us simply taking that leap of faith and being obedient to Him.

God has blessed us with full days of ministry here in Guyana. We don’t know what to expect for our next location, French Guiana, but we are prayerfully going with open hands.kids ministry

-Ashley Woods January 2014 Leadership DTS Guyana/French Guiana outreach