Outreach

Life is a Choice

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IMG_1509 Life is a choice.

God, You are all that we need.  You rescue us from ourselves, from death to life.

When we choose to allow the light that we have been freely given to shine through us darkness must flee. The power and authority that we carry as a child of the King is unmatchable. Though the “battle” may feel hard and long at times, we choose to praise Him because ultimately through our God we have the victory.

Partnered with Him we are victorious.

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During outreach we have been learning more and more that every day we wake up and have another day to live, we are so undeserving of all that God gives us. When we are disobedient to what God is asking of us in that day, or in a tiny moment, we still ask God to bless us, to be a part of our day when we wish Him to be.

The craziest part is, He does it.

We mean that much to Him. He loves us that much.

In so many ways He allows us to call the shots in our own lives, but when it boils down to it, the only choice we really have is life or death. All that is in between is the journey.

He patiently waits for us to turn to Him, wholeheartedly. He rejoices in the moments when we look to Him, not only when things are bad but also when things are good, especially when things are good.

His greatest desire is to be worshiped and glorified in all that we do, but there is no force. We are in no way coerced into it, but loved so unconditionally and blessed so undeservedly that for us as a team in this time it sparks the question “how can we do anything less than give Him our lives?”

I guess that is why we do what we do. We live the reality of some crazy stories, spend months in weird places doing even weirder things ultimately to give God the glory.

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The calling on our lives, for this time, is to take His word to the nations. YWAM is the doorway that allows us to walk unbeaten paths (sometimes literally) and take the word of God to people who have never heard of Him, but more commonly to those who have heard but don’t full know and have no passion, here in the Solomon Islands.

When these people realize we left all that we have back home and have chosen to come to their country and live in less than desirable conditions simply to share with them our passion and love for God, that is all that it takes to ignite curiosity within them to truly know this God.

Some days the things expected of us as leaders are the hardest things I think we have ever had to do, but within the stretching moments, we are reminded why we are here.

To glorify God in all that we do, to give nothing less than our lives in pursuit of Him.

-January 2013 Leadership DTSSolomon Islands outreach

Just Be

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DSCN1855Throughout my outreach, God has been teaching me that He can use me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. One theme He’s shown me again and again in these past two months is “just being there.”

Prior to my YWAM experience I had been on several short-term mission trips, on each of those we did hands-on labor for what felt like sun-up till sun-down everyday. I was able to serve God by physically doing things for people.

When my team reached our destination, the Solomon Islands, many of us were surprised that a part of their culture is to let their guests be served. Hospitality is a HUGE part of the people of the Solomon Islands. This meant they would prefer to serve us rather than allow us to serve them.

IMG_1409This was especially evident in the Western Province where we spent weeks three through six of outreach. From the time we stepped off the boat, we were all blown away by how eager people were to serve us. This persisted as we moved around from place to place, island to island. Cooking us meals, to sweeping our floors, singing and entertaining us as we eat the food they served, eager to show us the best hospitality, which often meant that they were strongly against us doing things for ourselves and especially for them. With time, we had to simply accept that this is a part of their culture.

As we realized this, our eyes were opened to how God was truly working through us by us “just being there.” The people we spent time with were so moved and touched by the fact that we had come all the way across the world to spend time with them. They were touched that we wanted to experience their culture, to do life with them, to eat their food, to learn their music and dances, and to exchange our culture with them.

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As the only white people in the area word spread; it was like the whole town knew why we were there and what we stand for which blessed us with so many more opportunities to speak at different churches and youth groups, to share our hearts and share our passion for God.

God was able to move through our team by us “just being there.”

I am so privileged to have been a part of God moving in this way! God is so powerful and so good, we have loved discovering new ways that He can work in and through us but also in other people for our benefit.

One thing that is often said here in the Solomon Islands in church services is: “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.”

It is so simple, yet so full of truth, it has been amazing to see it in action throughout our time in the Solomon Islands.

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January 2013 Solomon Islands outreach team

Inspiring Stories

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Are Costa Rica team for the January 2013 DTS is hard at work. Here is a glimpse into their exciting adventures.

God’s Kids

SAMSUNG CSCOne of the main projects we have worked on as a group is to do maintenance work at a school. This has included cleaning up trash from the grounds, scrubbing walls and windows, and making it safer for the kids in general.We get a little time to play with the kids during their class breaks, which makes this opportunity unique because we get to see another glimpse of  God’s children. This week the kids will be coming to our base to play games and build relationships. We will have the opportunity to reenact Bible stories and share testimonies. It is so great to know that we can do the kinds of work that will continue to impact these kids as they grow up.

 

A Bible in Every Home

For over 30 years, Loren Cunningham (founder of YWAM) has been encouraging and challenging YWAMers to put a Bible in every home in their communities…and even in entire nations!  The YWAM bases in Costa Rica have accepted the challenge. About a year and a half ago, YWAM Heredia, the base where we are staying, started handing out Bibles around their community. Each of the three bases have certain provinces that they are in charge of distributing to.

While we are here, we have the privilege of helping with this Bible distribution project. What this looks like is first, praying for those we are going to meet and that they will receive the Bibles well. Then we split into groups, go to the streets, and go house to house. We talk with an adult owner of the house and explain who we are and what we are doing; we also explain that the Bible is a gift. Not every house answers the door, so in those situations we put a pamphlet explaining our mission in the Bible, put the Bible in a plastic bag, and then leave it by the door.

One day while giving out Bibles we had cool experiences. At one house, we were invited in and fed sandwiches, juice, apples, and oranges from their own yard! We had a long chance to chat with the whole family and got to pray with them! We shared some testimonies and they shared a testimony from their family as well. At another house, the other group was invited in and got to pray for an expecting mother who was due very soon.

King’s Kids

DSC_0120King’s Kids is a ministry here at the YWAM Heredia base that has touched my heart; they are taking kids from the ages 8-15 and teaching them to be faithful and devoted to Christ at a young age. It is only held once a month, but I believe the impact that is happening in these children’s lives will then pour out and impact others in the world. The kids get a chance to do a Bible study and worship before they go out and do ministries in the area. What happened during this month’s outing was feeding the homeless. We were blessed to be able to take part in the adventure as well. We made a rice dish that would be handed out in down town San Jose along with juice. The thing that really stood out to me was even though these kids were petrified and nervous they were faithful. It was so encouraging to see young believers doing the work of God. It inspired us to push through the hard times and remain focused on why we are here.

Rolling for Jesus

We had been trying to get into a local nursing home and it just was not working out. We heard about a bake sale that they were having which was open to the public and we decided to seize the opportunity. We showed up and it was not anything that we expected. There was no baked goods; instead, there was different performers and musical acts. We started out by going throughout the buildings and finding people who wanted to come to the fiesta. One lady stood out; her name was Lillian. I was walking her to the party when all of a sudden she started making car noises and took off running with her walker! She had the biggest smile on her face. Even with the language barrier we still attempted communication, and without understanding much I knew she had so much joy in her heart. Probably the spunkiest elderly lady I have ever met with a reverence for life! At the fiesta the residents got an opportunity to be free, let loose, and dance. We went out on the dance floor with them and learned some awesome moves! After a few songs we all got tuckered out, but the seniors just kept going! They inspired us to look at the positives in life, and to keep the joy even in hard times.

-January 2013 Leadership DTS Costa Rica Outreach Team

New Frontiers

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si4Last Monday we safely arrived in the Western Provence of the Solomon Islands and moved into our new home for the week, Rewaki Village. It was here that we learned more than we expected about the Solomon Island culture and formed unsuspected friendships. The people of Rewaki Village held a welcome service for us, the first ever white people to stay in the village, we were incredibly blessed by their hospitality and blown away by how much they honoured us as their guests.

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While living in the village, bathing meant a whole new experience of swimming in fresh mountain water springs and little to no electricity aside from that provided by the solar powered generator. We are learning how to love being constantly followed by some of the most beautiful children we have ever seen. The flies are also a constant companion, but the love for them comes slightly slower along with being awoken by roosters at all hours of the night. By the end of the day all these things are easy to deal with when we look back on all that has happened and the people whose lives have been impacted by God through our efforts.

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Without fail, the islanders are surprised and honoured by our willingness to sit and talk, teach them songs, read the Bible and teach them what we know about God’s Word. Most of all, speak of our own experiences and the love from our faithful Father which we encountered during lecture phase and have actively seen played out in front of our eyes here in the Solomon Islands.

After a long farewell feast with our new friends in Rewaki, we headed across the water to Nusa Roviana another village. We were greeted by “warriors” in traditional dress and body paint doing the customary village dance of welcome, pictures and video still to come!

si5We were able to lead the people of Nusa Roviana in devotions and a church service where a number of our students taught on how they were finding God’s peace among the challenge of outreach along with learning how faithful God is, and how he is our strength and our fortress. This spoke deeply to the heart of the elders of the village, who were continually apologizing that what they were able to provide for us, which was things like donuts for breakfast … (yes please), was not what we would be accustomed to at home. As I said earlier, we have been blown away by how hospitable they are, and their generosity is never ending.

Many of the students are surprised at how their ability to speak publicly, share their testimony, and teach people what they are learning from God has changed from the beginning of lecture phase.  It is no longer scary but something that brings God’s glory into a space so tangibly. We are blessed to be leading such an amazing group of students.

The Lord has been so good to us. After a lot of prayer before leaving Honiara, an anonymous donor provided us with 18 tickets to the west.  Having the knowledge that we are meant to be here in the west, we have the privilege of staying for another two weeks before heading back to the city where we will be much more easily in internet contact.

Parents, thank you so much for your prayers and your support.  The students are all doing really well, and we hope to have the opportunity to bring them into contact with you once we are back in the city, unless there is opportunity before then.

Zoe and Dallas- January 2013 DTS Solomon Islands outreach leaders

New Adventures Ahead

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As I look out at the vast Pacific Ocean, it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we are really here – HERE, in the Solomon Islands.  We are here, on the other side of the world.  We are here thousands of miles from Belize where it is a day behind us.  It blows my mind!

solomon blogWhen I look back on the last two weeks, I am overwhelmed by how much there is to be thankful for.  The fact that God safely got 17 people across the world is an incredible blessing in itself!  He truly blessed us with safe travel and smooth transitions from each of our stopping points.  From long bus rides through Mexico to relaxing hot showers in Los Angeles, God was truly with our team every step of the way.

The Lord did not stop pouring out blessings on us once we arrived at our destination. The moment we set foot in the beautiful Solomon Islands God continued to reveal Himself to us in new and exciting ways.

solomon blog3We have been able to see His glory in the majestic green mountains and His joy in the beautiful smiles of the people here.  The Lord provided rest and shelter when a family here opened their lovely home up to us.  Looking more towards the future, we are heading out to the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.  God has opened up some incredible doors for us to radiate His joy that He has given to us to share with the people there.  I have full confidence that the Lord will continue to provide for us as we start our next adventure here.

solomon blog1From the very beginning of this new adventure, God has blessed us in numerous immeasurable ways.  He has blessed us not only as individuals but blessed the team as a whole.  God truly planned this out ahead of time, and it is incredible to see all His plans in motion here!  There are countless things to be thankful for!glory in the majestic green mountains and His joy in the beautiful smiles of the people here.  The Lord provided rest and shelter when a family here opened their lovely home up to us.  Looking more towards the future, we are heading out to the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.  God has opened up some incredible doors for us to radiate His joy that He has given to us to share with the people there.  I have full confidence that the Lord will continue to provide for us as we start our next adventure here.

solomon blog5As you keep us in your prayers, ask that God will continue to use us during our time here and that we will be ready when He calls!  Please pray for the people of the Western Province as we meet them on Sunday, and most of all, praise Him for being so faithful and so good.

 

 

 

 

Claire Stewart- Leadership DTS January 2013