Transcending Cultural Barriers

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DTS is almost finished; only 4 days until I am back home in Canada.

First off, thank you to everyone who supported our outreach team and myself over the past few months with prayer. There were multiple situations during DTS when major complications were reached and then avoided by the grace of God alone. These past 5 months have not simply been and isolated experience for me, but are a piece of my life which I hope to build off of. DTS has been life changing, as I have found freedom, confidence, truth, knowledge, and a passion to grow in relationship with God.

Truth has been one of the central themes in my life during DTS. Freedom comes from knowing and believing truth. I have overcome lies I believed about myself, the world, and God; lies like I don’t have a voice, I cannot speak in front of people, and that God does not speak to me. There is also great importance in memorizing truth in the bible, for by what other way can you believe than the promises of God? By having a strong knowledge of truth in the bible, memorizing, studying, and meditating on it, the lies and evil in the world cannot take hold and hinder you. By living in truth and constantly being filled with it, I have watched it transform the lives of people in DTS and the surrounding community outside of YWAM. Next to our base is a dive shop, and YWAM has been friends with two of the men working there for a few years. As time went by both gave their lives to Christ, and during our school one of the men was baptized.

IMG_0412 (800x600)Outreach was full of new concepts and changed my perspective on God and how He moves. Going to Zambia, sleeping bags and headphones were lost only to be returned by strangers, flights were almost missed, and half our team had not received their visas to get into Zambia. Our outreach leader and I were included in the half without visas, but we went forward praying to be let into the country.At the immigration desk in the Zambian airport, people with the same problem were denied entry and put on return flights. We were let through. Again we had visa issues when having to renew them after one month. Due to fluctuating policies, our team should have been ordered to leave. Instead we were given a conditional extension. There have been man
y other times where our team could have run into significant problems with ATM’s, attempted theft, and vehicle issues. In many situations not only was the problem averted, but also used for the benefit of our team. From this I have learned to live with open hands, giving every situation to God whether positive or negative, and allowing Him to work through everything.

20160420_095215 (800x450)God transcends cultural barriers and works in amazing ways which are unique to each culture. It was amazing to see how different, yet beautiful church is in Zambia. Worship is often without instruments, and even young children know a multitude of songs, which astounded me. Our team was welcomed with open arms, and the people were just as eager to learn from us as we were from them. During an outdoor ministry event, our team was given the opportunity to speak and perform a story from the bible. After the event finished we were swarmed by children, who often wanted hugs or prayer.
It was incredible to be able to love and pray for so many kids despite the language barrier at times. Being in Zambia also opened my eyes to the true material wealth of North America. The families in Zambia were stewards with the money they had, however much it may be. Most people in Zambia eat the same food three meals a day, while our team had a rotation of dinners. By our standard, our food was simple. By their standard it was extravagant. I can now comprehend
the richness I have been born into. Yes, relationship with God is far more valuable than money, but the belief that people with less money are closer to God is not always true. Prosperity gospel was often preached in Zambia, and rather being gripped by apathy like North American culture, they struggled with animism (worshiping creation over the creator). Every culture has its own problems, and the only lasting and transforming solution is relationship with the Creator.20160429_135645 (800x450)

I will forever hold this time spent with YWAM as precious. It has been amazing to live and learn with my DTS family whom I love dearly. My plans for the future are still uncertain. So far I have been accepted to work at Camp Caroline as a ropes leader. I have faith in God’s plan for my life, and I will continue to pray and trust in it. There are far more stories I could tell, both funny and serious. This however, is the end.

-Sydney Gabbey

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Complaining gets you nowhere

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13133342_10209865383457141_2460739313009464696_nDuring outreach prep week, the first thing we are taught is to not have any expectations, because outreach will be nothing like our expectations. But despite the warning, I can still look back on the past 6 weeks of outreach and say that it was nothing like I anticipated! Even so, my outreach here in Cuba is more than anything I could have possibly imagined. It was because this outreach was nothing like I expected that I grew and stretched my faith so much. I discovered things about myself that I was never even aware of prior, and I now have a greater understating of the person I want to be.

Firstly, God definitely taught me a lot about trusting Him to make the good out of bad situations. We were thrown a curve ball about halfway through outreach, and it has affected our team ever since. It was a dramatic couple of days, but it was because of that situation that I learned to trust God, even in the midst of chaos. It would’ve been easy to be angry and upset with God and our team. Instead, I chose to lean on God, so I could allow Him to bring the good out of it. But, I didn’t pray to God and ask him to weaken my problem. I asked Him to give me the strength to fight against it. So this way, God was able to bring out the good in this bad situation. He was able to teach me the importance of humility, and He was able to give me the strength to help me open up to my team members, and therefore bring us all closer together. To top it off, the Lord even spoke to me and told me to preach a sermon on this topic the very same day!

13119046_1795371314024768_8905198744032966384_nAnother thing that God has been showing me during this outreach is how to tame my tongue. In the past, I have struggled with using my tongue for gossip, lies, and harsh words. Which are things that I will never be able to take back. But during one of our team bible studies, we studied the book of James, and read chapter 3 which specifically talks about taming the tongue. Verse 9 really hit home for me, which says, “with the tongue we praise our Lord and and father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in Gods likeliness”. I now realize that I no longer want to use my tongue to put Gods children down, but instead raise them up.  Encouragement leaves such a greater positive impact on somebody than put downs or teasing. Loving the way that Jesus loves is that way that I now strive to love every single person that crosses my path!

But easily the greatest thing that God has been teaching me about while here in Cuba is my own personal growth. Every single aspect of outreach has challenged me in so many ways. Being with the same people 13118907_10209865384777174_155274234851139150_n24/7, going places I don’t necessarily want to go or doing things that are out of my comfort zone, are just a few examples. But by looking back and self-reflecting, I can literally see and feel differences in my character, judgement, and the way I view life. I will take nothing for granted- simply even just running water is a blessing in itself. Hours spent filtering water, bucket showers and unreliable toilets have become the norm here. Hand sanitizer and baby wipes I’ve learned are necessities. Also, I’ve discovered that I want to rid complaining completely from my life. It gets you nowhere and does absolutely nothing expect reveal negativity. Instead, when I am tempted to complain, I will try and find 3 positive things about the negative situation. Next, I now know that no matter what I will 13061941_1795372430691323_3178561107873311100_nalways put others before myself. Even if it’s as simple as showering last, or taking the worst spot to put my mattress. My goal is to try my best to make other people feel comfortable, more appreciated, and loved. This ties into another thing that I’ve learned, which is the importance of encouragement and affirmation. As well, as much as I tried to avoid it, I’ve realized how necessary short accounts are. Confrontation can be scary and uncomfortable, but it changes relationships for the better. There’s nothing wrong with telling people how you felt in a situation or something that was done that you don’t respond well to. Finally, I will give everything I have to stay positive. It’s easy to get upset or be negative when things don’t go your way, but life becomes so much better when you choose positivity. Without being on outreach, I don’t know if I would have realized these things. I can’t imagine going back home and being the person I used to be. I’m so excited to see my family and friends again, and show them how much I’ve grown and changed for the better.

13001169_10209728817363074_7428733497928207321_nI thought I came to Cuba to change the lives of others and to show the Cubans who Jesus really is. Not only did I do that, but my own life was changed. I expected that after 3 months of lecture phase I would arrive to Cuba teaching, preaching, and evangelizing like I had it all together. But really it was pretty much the opposite. I am still just a student, just trying to figure out how to live my newly found life with God. Outreach is more just like your first test, and first opportunity to really apply everything that we have been taught. It’s no longer just taking notes in the sandroom and listening to speakers- it’s real life. But that doesn’t mean that I’m never going to make a mistake again. Or never going to mess up again. It just means that I now have the knowledge to make actions. To make a difference in my own life, and to make a difference in every persons life that I come across. I now know that I want Jesus to be a light in me, and I want to share his unconditional love everywhere I go. There’s never going to be any less of Jesus no matter if I’m on base, in Cuba, or back at home. I want to know Him and make Him known.


  • Saba Kashuba


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Pure Joy

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I can’t believe we’re coming down to our last week of outreach. God has been showing me things left and right. Each week just seems to be getting better and better. We traveled through three cities this week. Tartu to Jõgeva to Keila. Here’s a few highlights of mine from the past week.

Pic1Monday night we had the opportunity to go out and get a taste of an Estonian music festival in Tartu. Estonia was occupied by the Soviets, but between 1987 and 1991 there was a singing revolution. Hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered to sing forbidden patriotic songs, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence. Estonia literally sang their way into freedom. So music in Estonia is a BIG deal! It’s amazing to me being in another country, watching the people laugh and sing together. It put nothing but a smile on my face. These are God’s people coming together as one, all dancing, laughing and singing. I couldn’t help but to take a step back and take a look around me. Pure joy. I love how God has given me an eye for the people of Estonia. Oh how He loves this country!

Uten navnFriday night we were able to have a girls only night with the youth of the small town, Jõgeva. We got to share a message and testimonies, it was awesome to get the chance to simply hangout with girls my age and share a passion we all have in common, loving Jesus. It’s crazy because God keeps showing me these visions I’ve had before and when I was in it, it felt like deja vu. Although I know that it was fully from God. As all of us girls were sitting around the table, sharing life together and passing around dinner. It was in that moment I knew I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Pic3As times getting closer to the end and our bodies and souls are becoming tired, I asked God what is one thing I can do to keep improving and growing throughout the end of outreach. “Engaged,” He whispered. So as I wind down this next week, I have nothing but the intention of being engaged. Engaged with people around me, my team, our contacts or people who pass. Fully engaged with conversations and feelings. Being completely and entirely aware. Entirely aware of my surroundings, all of what’s around me. Actively searching and learning in new ways the Holy Spirit may be moving and showing me something. Being open and expectant that God is STILL moving and being fully aware of His presence in each moment of each day that we have left here in Estonia. I want nothing more than to be engaged, I don’t want to miss a thing. After all, we have a God who’s engaged to His fullest in every single moment.

Here’s to the last week!

-Sarah Nasholm

Sarah Nasholm, Oregon USA, 10/31/1996, 19 yrs

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His love is fierce, His love is powerful, His love is never ending!

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Monday morning we received exciting news of our departure on Friday morning to Livingstone. My heart was overjoyed knowing that we’d have the privilege to see Victoria Falls (which happens to be one of the “7 Wonders of the World”), and as if it couldn’t get any better, we were going to see the Lunar Rainbow which happens once a year! As we worked through the next few days finishing up the final touches of slashing the 13096104_10207975822707194_5926977913062081668_nweeds and clearing the Orphanage yard, fixing the drive shaft on the truck so that we could have transportation, fixing and organising the library, removing the rust and painting the trellises for the new school, we managed to have enough time to pack for the 4 hour ride to Livingstone for the night. We awoke Friday morning to hot coffee and oatmeal and piled 7 people into the newly fixed truck, and the rest of the 11 hooligans (including sweet Jacob and Jeremiah) in the Land Rover. We ask God to cover us with safety and for the truck to stay intact, but two hours in..smoke appeared from the truck we were in and we had to pull over. We were in the middle of no where! So the other group headed down to Livingstone while we waited for Jako to drive back again and pick us up. Truth be told, we had the best time! We had the shade, the sound of, well, nothing but the birds chirping and the trees blowing in the breeze. We had a wonderful picnic along with a nap and some fun games. It was a blessing in disguise! So when Jako arrived, we had nothing but too much fun to complain about.

13133164_10206119765382336_4333200733337606577_nWe arrived at the place we were staying and the other group was already setting up our tents in this massive yard. We were blessed to stay at Jako and Amber’s friends house who also happened to be missionaries, amazingly they held a missionary school in their home. This place was beautiful, God is so generous with his blessings! We headed for the Victoria falls and experienced a night I can’t even put into words. I think the best way I can put it is that when you see creation this vast, this glorious. It’s like treasure the first time you see it. You want to keep that feeling you get the moment you see it, somewhere safe where you can experience it again and again. Something I realised was that though this beautiful masterpiece was new to me, huge to me, GLORIOUS TO ME. God made it so I could see it. Just like He made the stars. Yet how often do we take these blessings for granted! Seeing the power in the falls and how it seemed to be never ending, I thought about God’s endless love for us and how it’s constantly pouring down on us. His love never runs dry. He simply wants us to soak in His unending love!

As we said goodbye to an experience we’ll never forget, I’ll never forget the moment I stood near the bottom of the falls where we were being rained on by the powerful spray from the falls. His love is fierce, His love is powerful, His love is never ending.

12998314_10206035001183284_7275910661298264046_oThe next morning we were surprised to hear that the truck would need some extra TLC this weekend in order for it to be reliable to use to get back home. So we were blessed, in such a crazy way AGAIN, with a beautiful weekend with fellowship, worship, walks with God, and even a birthday celebration! Talk about one of the best weekends ever! God continues to amaze each and every one of us. He has wrecked me for the ordinary and I continue to thank Him for allowing us to be a part of his family in this crazy thing called life. Amen.


Nanneke Boxall


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Perfect Love cast out all fear

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IMG_8331I have never been challenged this much and to such an extent as I have, being on outreach to Cuba. But in saying so, I’ve also never experienced family like I have with my team. We’ve had to go through some really hard situations where I thought our team was going to crumble and fall apart, but by putting God in the centre of our team and mission, we’ve been able to grow closer in unity. As an individual, God has been revealing so many amazing things while being here. Being in Cuba, we’ve been in 5 different locations so far, and I remember while packing up to leave one place, I found a bag with all my encouragement notes. I asked God to give me a note that I really needed to hear, and I pulled one out that said:


Daughter, there is no fear in me. I couldn’t be prouder of you. Thank you for letting me invade your heart! Stay present, and stay secure in me because I’ll always have your back. I love you darling.


IMG_8356That couldn’t have been better timing for God to reveal this note to me again. Prior to reading that, I was having a hard time here on outreach. I was missing my friends and family, I thought our team was falling apart which made me fear doing anything else to add to the issue and so I started to not be myself and to distance myself from my team members who were getting on my nerves due to our sticky situations. Everything seemed to be going downhill- because I was so zoomed in on my own life and my own desires and priorities.

IMG_8355When God placed this note in my hand, my whole perspective zoomed out and I noticed how I wasn’t living in the moment and how because I was starting to distance myself, I wasn’t allowing our team to unite and I wasn’t letting myself be secure in God and our team. I chose from that moment on to decide to put my 100% into this outreach in Cuba because I was here for God. Since then, I’ve stayed present and I’ve stayed secure in God because I know all things work for His good and I have enjoyed my time so much more. In doing this I’ve also felt more open and vulnerable with our team which has allowed for more unity and growth. It is just so incredible when you put love behind everything you do and staying completely present, knowing that God always has your back.

IMG_8354Recently, as a team we’ve been teaching many people at leadership seminars. One thing I’ve been speaking about is on filling yourself up with God and letting Him use you to overflow to the others around you. Preparing this on my own before teaching this made me look at my own life here and realizing how time with God is so important. Being here in Cuba on outreach is often quite difficult to find alone time, but each time I do, I find myself loving on people so much more easier because I’m filled to the brim with Jesus. And I find myself not only loving my teammates more but also the lovely people I have the opportunity to meet here. I’ve been able to build quite a few really great relationships with some of the Cuban girls who are my age and it’s so sweet to get to know them like I have. Being filled with Jesus and spending time in His presence has made me see everyone more like Jesus sees them.

Cuba is such a beautiful country with so many wonderful people who have impacted my life in one way another. It has been a crazy, unexpected, and fun past 5 weeks here travelling all over Cuba and I can’t wait for the adventures the next 2 weeks have waiting for us!


  • Allison Wiebe



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