Proyecto America Ministry

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image1 (10)Over the weekend we were on the road again, this time to the town of Durazno (which is Spanish for “peach”)! Our team and a couple of the guys we met in Montevideo bussed up to take part in Proyecto America Durazno 2015 from October 30th to November 2nd. We arrived on the 31st, however, due to a bus drivers’ strike that left a lot of people coming in on Saturday instead of Friday.

The project took place in Durazno this year in order to aid people who were affected by major flooding and a tornado in the area. Throughout the weekend there were construction projects going on to build small houses for people and basic furniture like beds and shelves. The Saturday also had many people setting up services for the people including a medical aid trailer, clothing donations, haircuts, and games for the kids. The Sunday some people packed up and moved the show to a different town an hour away to help those affected there. The Monday saw everyone who hadn’t yet gone home head to the neighbourhood of one of the construction sites to do street evangelism and explain a bit about Proyecto America.

image2 (7)It was an exciting weekend for all of us. We got to help build the walls of a house, build some bed frames, and work with kids and adults in need. I even convinced the guy in charge of constructing beds to let me use the skill saw! I never actually thought I would use what I learned in Industrial Arts in real life, but I guess I was mistaken. As well as the work we were doing, we also got to see our friends from the Rivera YWAM base again! It was happy reuniting with them one more time before leaving Uruguay.

image4 (4)It was a rewarding time spent working in Durazno. Despite the frigid nighttime temperatures in the gymnasium we were camped out in with around 200 other people, we had a great time meeting and talking with the other people there – there were even some Americans from Florida who spoke fluent English and Spanish, and some Germans from one of the German colonies here in Uruguay (SHNITZEL!). It was nice to have some tangible evidence of our work – the building and beds we helped make. It was also interesting and different to be doing a different kind of “traditional missionary” work. We’ve mostly been doing relational ministry and evangelism rather than hands-on labour, so it was a bit of a change. We’re also yet to hold any babies in our ministry, except one little girl named Pilar who screamed as soon as she was handed to me and Charis.

If you would like to know more about Proyecto America, please visit proyectoamerica.org. Once again, thank you everyone who is supporting us. We’ll soon be back in Belize and our respective countries to tell you all about everything!

Kimberly Gorgichuk – DTS Student, July, 2015image3 (3)

I Can Do All Things

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image2 (6)Never in my life did I think I could counsel someone. I always thought that I was the one that needed counseling. I wanted someone to hear me complain, hear my problems, someone to tell me I’m not crazy for feeling this way. Though I have never received official counseling before, after my DTS I realized that a lot of that was me being counseled. Then God told me to do the Foundations in Counseling Ministry (FCM). At first I said to myself: “Nobody wants me to counsel them, I would suck at it”, but I went anyway. In the FCM, I learned different tools of how to counsel people and the different areas where someone might need counseling.

Now here I am in Mongolia, having finished the FCM lecture phase and looking for counseling opportunities. If Mongolia is in dire need of anything, it’s counseling.

image3 (2)There are three major strongholds of Mongolia: alcohol, anger, and abuse. For the first three weeks in which we stayed in Ulaanbaatar, it became obvious that despite the need for healing in the culture, there were few counseling opportunities. Now counseling doesn’t necessarily mean a sit-down appointment where someone tells me all their problems. But every ministry we went to, I was trying to connect with someone, learn about their family and see if I can speak truth into their lives. But whenever I tried, they would turn the conversation on me and ask what movies or music I liked and my attempt at counseling would fall flat.

image4 (1)After a few weeks in the city, we left to go to the countryside. We arrived in Bayanhongor, and the third day we were here, a lady named Boldmaa told us that she had a lot of people on her mind that would need counseling. I couldn’t believe it! I immediately volunteered, wanting to practice what I learned in the FCM. The next day we met with a woman that I would be counseling, with Boldmaa acting as our translator. I begged the Holy Spirit to give me the words to speak truth to this woman. I can’t say what went on in this counseling session due to privacy, but let’s just say there was an issue involving the Mongolian culture. Let me put it this way: Say it is a sin to eat meat for this woman. In their country it is an abomination to eat meat* and my goal is to break through that. But if she realizes that it’s not a sin and she eats meat, the people around her will gossip and look down on her.

I felt stuck. How could I speak truth to this woman when her whole life she had been taught differently? At the end of the day, I felt plugged up. I needed to process but I didn’t know how. I would be counseling her again the next day, and felt at a complete loss for what to say to her. All I could do was ask for prayer from my team. The next day I spent the day soaking in prayer. My team prayed for me again. The counseling session went amazing. I could see it in her eyes that she had realized she had been looking at situations the wrong way. She told me that she wanted me to counsel her and her daughter as well. I couldn’t believe it! I had just counseled someone for the first time! I just spoke truth into her life!

What’s that verse again? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13

*eating it is not an abomination to eat meat in Mongolia

Sami Johnson – FCM Student, July, 2015image1 (7)

Taste And See That The Lord Is Good

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 image (1)Since we have been in Montevideo, some things have been evident here. Love, and hospitality – especially in the church we are staying at. People have bought us chocolate, an amazing family made us alfajores, (sugar cookie sandwiches with dulce de leche in the middle) and a wonderful lady named Sandra made us pizza! Ham and pineapple, and a typical Uruguayan style pizza which is egg, bacon onion, cheese and chicken. Delicious! Plus we got treated to chivitos (sandwiches with a thin slice of grilled meat with mozzarella, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, olives, fried onions and peppers, bacon, fried eggs and ham), which we got to have on a fun night with the young adults and youth at the church. Food has been a major blessing to us on outreach. The Bible does say in Psalm 34:8 “taste and see that the LORD is good.” Jesus wants us to be well fed. It’s something I’d never have expected from Outreach though!
image (3)This week we’ve also started doing our candy ministry, which I am loving. It’s something so simple as handing out a little piece of candy to people on the street, but the smiles we are getting from it makes it so much more fun! Uruguayan culture is very self-focused, and depression is really common here. Yet the gratitude that people show towards receiving something is so special. On a side note to that – it’s generated a great example of my awesome Spanish skills. We made a sign that said “Un regalo para ti. ¡Que tenga un been día!” which translates to “A gift for you. Have a nice day!” The word que is pronounced “kay”, but I kept pronouncing it “key”. Even when corrected, I didn’t register that I was saying it wrong. I’m learning.
image (2)Psalm 34:8 continues, “Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” God has blessed us with friendships that I did not anticipate from the church we are staying at. We have created loving bonds with the young people and their families. I am blown away by the love and excitement they have for God. We have been especially blessed by 3 amazing friends, Bruno, Cristian, and Santiago, who have hearts for worship and are super musically talented – and speak English! They have helped us out a lot by interpreting for us. Over all they have been so much fun to be with. We have had a lot of jam sessions and randomly breaking out in signing.
For us as a team, it has been so important for us to go to God. To let Him guide us as we put our trust in him. God has always been there for us and has provided for us more than we could have imagined. “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” -Miriam Adeney.  So far I have left part of my heart in Rivera, and now part of it is here in Montevideo. It makes me so excited to find out what other places God has planned to put my heart.
Jamie Ukrainetz – DTS Student, July, 2015image

Translator’s Note

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IMG_5873So the other day I walked into a glass door and messed up my nose. It didn’t bleed – Hallelujah – but there was a pretty solid ding in my thing for a few days after.

Jamie and Summer almost peed their pants in the street from laughing.

So anyway… Outreach is going really well. The food here in Uruguay is pretty amazing. Here I was, thinking my sweet tooth wouldn’t be satisfied, and instead we made homemade alfajore cookies – sugar cookies sandwiched together with dulce de leche caramel sauce! The weather has been chilly, but nothing us hardened Canadians can’t handle (I write, wrapped in a sweater, a t-shirt, two tank tops, and two pairs of leggings). We made awesome friends at the YWAM base in Rivera we were staying at, and we get to be reunited later on our trip in the town of Durazno! We’re staying at a church in Montevideo now. The family taking care of us have been so crazy nice, everyone has been, really. They’re so hospitable here. We’ve made friends with some young people from the church as well who speak very good English – they’ve been a huge blessing, especially since now we’re not totally stranded on an island of English.

IMG_5826There have been some harder parts. It rained for a week in Rivera and cancelled some of our plans, I missed my sister’s birthday for the first time, and communication has often been a challenge. I mean, we’re using me as a translator a lot of the time. I frequently mix up the words for “hour”, “month” and “year”. The other girls are learning fast – their favourite lesson has been on the difference between two easily mistaken phrases, “tengo hambre” (I’m hungry) and “tengo hombre” (I have man). Then there was the whole unfortunate, but absolutely typical, walking-into-a-door-breaking-my-face thing (and yes, it did leave a face print, and yes, everyone in the store stared as I staggered away clutching my face as Summer and Jamie sympathetically cackled).

IMG_5852But I say this all with a smile. Because every incident, every wrong turn, every time we think everything’s going off the deep end, God shows up and turns it into something great. The rain cancelling some plans opened us up to go to a hospital to pray for some patients, and do a really fun presentation at a school. My sister is going to get a rad birthday present from Uruguay when I get home. The language barrier makes everyone come out of their shells a bit more as we mime what we’re trying to communicate. Walking face-first into that door – well, that hasn’t got a bright side yet, except that it made Summer and Jamie’s week.

We have a choice whenever we talk about an event whether we’ll look onto it with happiness or bitterness. I’ve come to know this really well, since I wind up doing a lot of talking. I can focus on the sucky parts, or I can highlight the bright sides. I know I want to be known as a person who focuses on the silver linings. I want everything I say, no matter what language, to glorify God and brighten people’s days.

So thank you, everyone, for your prayers and support. We’ve been getting to do some really cool ministry here, and we’ve been seeing God move in some really rad ways. Please pray that the Montevideans will learn to speak slower, and pray that we’ll all learn to speak faster.

IMG_6470The Translator, Kimberly Gorgichuk – DTS Student, July, 2015

Greater Things

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image1 (4)This week I was given a choice: try and do outreach through my own strength or surrender to God. It’s interesting how often I choose not to surrender even though I know God should be in control. I like to be in control; I like to control how my day goes, I like to control my future plans in life, I like to control my finances, I like to control other people (or attempt to). I even like to control how and when I speak to God.

But God ripped all of those apart this week. In a soft and gentle whisper, I was encouraged to surrender EVERYTHING to my Heavenly Father. Again. And again. And again. See, it’s a daily thing I find myself having to do. Waking up and saying the hard but oh-so powerful words: “God I give you this day”. Cool thing is that Jesus makes us an incredible promise in the book of John. He says that when we surrender, we can do the works He did throughout scripture, and EVEN GREATER THINGS. John 14:12 says “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do”. Wow, what an incredible promise, right? He hands us incredible power and authority to do his work here on earth.

image2 (4)On Wednesday I had the opportunity to partner with a homeless ministry. I was a little nervous, especially since the homeless have a bad reputation of being rude drunks here in Ulaanbaatar. But God quickly broke my stereotype and showed me how these are my brothers and sisters and how I need to love them as such. It was freezing outside, and there was a fresh coat of snow on the ground. We started off the morning going to a dry river bed (where most of them hang out) and handing out hot soup and bread. Corrie, the women who started this ministry, told us that on average they have three to four meals a week– two of which come from this ministry. Most of them can’t afford any food at all, and go through the winter without any nutrition. They were so thankful for even a tiny bowl of soup. About half an hour after we started, a lady on crutches wobbled her way over to get soup from us. The moment I saw her, I felt a nudge from God to go pray for her broken leg. After about ten minutes of arguing with God, I chose to surrender and do what he called me to do. I asked the woman if I could pray for her leg through hand gestures. She agreed even though she couldn’t understand the words I was praying. I actually like praying with language barrier because I don’t worry about how I will sound or finding the right words to say, I just start talking with God.

image1 (6)I laid my hands on her ankle and started speaking with the Spirit. I wasn’t wearing any gloves so my hands were freezing, but as I continued to pray, my hands starting to heat up. As I glanced at the woman’s face during my prayer, I noticed tears flowing from her precious eyes. My heart began to pound as I came to the reality that physical healing was taking place. After about fifteen minutes of prayer, I hugged her and finished handing out soup. Because of the language barrier I couldn’t ask her if she felt any better, but she left with a smile, holding her crutches rather than using them. I don’t know how much healing came to her leg exactly, but I do know this: when God is in control, hearts are changed. I know God cares about this woman’s broken ankle. I know that our God heals. I know that a smile is understood in all languages. I know that something was stirring in both our hearts.

It was an unbelievable experience to see her carrying her crutches in victory. To see her limping away with a smile was enough of a healing for me. I believe that that woman was healed with all of my heart. If you choose to surrender each and every day to Him, you will never regret it and will never look back. Restoration, revival, and redemption is near for those who choose to surrender their life to God.

image3 (1)Grace Fey – DTS Student, July, 2015