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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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All the details matter to God

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IMG_0336Reportback has been great so far. Although I am ready to go back to my family, I realize that this week is very important. I have had time to relax and have quiet times with God. I have also had time to plan out what I am going to do next in life. The staff have planned out sessions for us that have been very helpful to make us aware of what it will be like when we get home and how to deal with that.

IMG_0438This has also been a time to meet new people and reunite with our school. It was so fun the first few days, sleeping on the dock, having pool parties, and getting ready for graduation with a nail painting party. It´s been great to be able to the April school and share some wisdom that we received during our DTS, also to hear the amazing things God is doing in their lives.

  • Tonya Martin

Tonya Martin, Alberta Canada, 06/29/1997, 18 yrs

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God + Life = Reality

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a0a2352Last Thursday evening we arrived back onto the shores of YWAM Belize in a water taxi full of shouts of excitement and tears of joy. We were home! Back to a fuller family, humidity, and mosquitoes. These past few days have consisted of debriefing, team bonding, combating fears with truths, and preparations for the transitions we’re going to be facing going back home. For a while I thought, “Well, this is just us going back to reality.”

I now realize how wrong I was. God + Life = Reality. God is just as present in California as He is right here, in YWAM. But throughout this time there has been healing in my life that has enabled me to see that.

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I used to think believing in God meant you read your bible, you go to church, you quote Christian Living Books, you go to bible studies, etc. Before my DTS I honestly thought I had it all together because I knew how to do those things…yet those actions now feel like they were hollow and missing the most important thing that gives those actions Life. I needed a reality check, I needed to be stripped of my pride, I needed to stop choosing to wear a crown of shame. I needed real relationship with Jesus. Throughout the Outreach Phase of DTS I asked God if He would teach me how to have humility. I’m laughing right now because it’s rare that we realize how powerful a prayer can be when it comes to saying something so nonchalantly. Turns out he answered that prayer with a whopping YES. It was difficult. Being in close quarters definitely puts a strain on relationships especially when your in a country that already pushes you out of your comfort zone. But He was faithful, He always is. Difficult times always make way for an attitude of gratitude for the times that don’t seem so. With the 3 months of Lecture Phase, we were learning the truths of REAL relationship with Jesus. Then came the Outreach Phase, where the truths were put into action through Love. It was hard and amazing all at the same time. Honestly, my words can’t do justice to the things I witnessed God do.

2016-04-17 08.21.34 2-1It’s coming to that time where I’m going to have to have an answer to, “How was Outreach/DTS?!” I think I’m okay with allowing every response to be as lengthy or as short as God prompts. Never the less, God’s kingdom was extended in Zambia through many of the mercy ministries we did in Lusaka and in the bush. Whether it was door-to-door evangelism, building a school roof, teaching in a public school, building relationships in orphanages, holding a public ministry event in town, or even starting a dance party in the middle of a grocery store parking lot. God was the Love that put Life into every one of those actions.

wp-1463866704071The first week of our DTS we were told to write a note to ourselves about what we were looking forward to for this season, and then after we’d get back from outreach we’d open them. Well…when I revisited my letter, I couldn’t help but start to weep silently to myself.

One of the first things I noticed was how much God had fulfilled in my life in these past 5 months. The second thing was that I was totally speaking ‘Christianese’. Especially with that quote: “Never hesitate to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

I know that before I came here I didn’t want to sacrifice anything that would make me uncomfortable. But after applying and getting accepted, I knew that if I wanted the real deal I needed to let go and let God take hold of my life. One of those things I needed to give up was my home. I had been living on my own and had been working at a job I really enjoyed before coming here. So when I applied and got accepted, by the second week of DTS, I was already asking people if they had a room I could rent out. Well as time went on, I felt convicted that I was talking more about trying to live somewhere rather than praying and asking God if he would give me a place to live. I knew this was something that no matter how hard I planned, if it wasn’t His will for me, it wouldn’t happen. Plus every other time I’ve tried to make things happen, I end up with a huge tangled-spaghetti-kinda mess.

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So 5 days before we leave for Outreach, I’m messaging back and forth with a ministry called The Doves Foundation based in Bogota, Colombia trying to see if I could be apart of their ministry. During Lecture Phase, God revealed to me how big my heart is for missions and evangelism. I remember writing my dream on the Dream Board, ‘Speak to EVERY nation’, and from there on out I was going to do whatever I could to make that happen. So when Lina wrote back to me that they were going to do ministry in the neighboring countries I was in shock because right after she told me that she not only said she’d allow me to be apart of the missions trip, she offered me a place to live!!! I’M GOING TO LIVE IN COLOMBIA PEOPLE! GOD GAVE ME A HOME IN COLOMBIA!!!! I wish I could express the joy I felt when I ran out of the library screaming for joy running around like a crazy woman after I saw her message. But God gave me a home!

 

  • Taylor Mann

Taylor Mann, California USA, 02/23/1995, 20 yrs