Getting our Backpacks from YWAM DP to Costa Rica

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We gave this outreach to God from the very beginning, but couldn’t have ever anticipated what that could mean. It’s crazy to think that it has only been six days! The time has passed in that herky jerky way that it does when we zoom through the country side for six hours, then wait anywhere from two hours to two days until the next burst of transportation.

Day 1: Just six hours after Christmas day ends, we are up, packed, fed, and walking out to the dock for the flurry of hugs and well wishes. The thirteen of us pile into the Coastal Express boat with our backpacks in a mountain in the middle, and we’re suddenly shooting through the water away from base and toward town! The transition between lecture and outreach has officially begun. We walk through San Pedro to the airport, and get to take Tropic Air instead of a water taxi to the mainland. Then we hop into the airport van to the bus station, grab the second bus to Punta Gorda, and set up camp in the gorgeous penthouse suite of a cozy little inn for the night. Day one, complete.

2 Day 2: We walk out the door and down the street to where we buy boat tickets, and go through our first border control experience. We were officially leaving Belize! We squeeze into the boat for Guatemala, but after one of the engines stops working, leaving us at a less than zippy speed, we transfer boats mid-voyage! The delay means that it is now too late for our driver to get us across the border of Guatemala into Honduras and back before it closed at 6pm. Paul, our contact, offers to let us crash for the night. We hand off our bags into Paul’s van and appease the immigration office before getting in the bus to his ministry. We settle in for an evening of conversation, basketball, and good food, and got to build some amazing new relationships with the people there.

UntitledDay 3: The thirteen of us, Paul’s wife, the driver, and Brandon, the doorman, strategically fold ourselves into the “bus”, a glorified fifteen passenger van with our bags strapped to the top. We ride across the border into San Pedro Sula, Honduras. We stiffly unload into a hostel for what ended up being an extended stay. Our amazing leaders, Travis and Josh, stayed calm, attentive, witty, and wise through the next few days of combatting complications with getting bus tickets for the rest of the way to Costa Rica.

Day 4: We eat, worship, and watch a Holy Spirit movie in the hostel.

Day 5: We walk to the mall and break up into small groups for ministry; each group walks, prays, and acts according to what we feel the Holy Spirit is leading us to do.

Day 6: Before sunrise the hostel keeper drives us to the bus station in three groups. We slump into the lovely seats of the charter bus which took us across the border and into the city of Managua, Nicaragua. We walk all the way down the hallway to the convenient bus station hostel where we slept that night, none of us conscious for the turn of the New Year!

Day 7: We find our seats in another charter bus that takes us into Costa Rica! Where we get to meet Darrel! Darrel leads us through San Jose onto another bus. We just love buses. The bus brings us to Grecia, a suburb of San Jose. We walk to the beautiful Strong Ministries base and get to unpack into our cabin-style rooms, one for the girls, and one for the guys.

Team Costa Rica still stands strong. We learned about faith in our times of intercession and mall ministry, trust in each other and our leaders during the potentially stressful moments, and the eternal power of having a good attitude and loving the best we can. Our cultural blinders are being lifted; we’re getting to experience first-hand how God moves. It’s not always as glamorous as we expect, but the effect is worth the discomfort when we are in His will. The funny thing is as long as we are seeking Him, we can’t escape it, any of us.


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Acts of Power

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DP3I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of God. It says in the bible to not be afraid, that we have a Spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7), it says that God is all powerful, and the Holy Spirit lives inside us (1 Corinthians 3:16). Thinking about these things made me ask myself: “Am I truly living a life that shows I believe these things? Do my actions prove to people that I believe in a God that is all powerful and that He has given us that same Spirit of power? What is holding me back?”

Lately, I’ve been studying the book of Acts and in almost every chapter there is a story that blows my mind, a story about the power of God that is so crazy I have to do a double take. People were getting raised from the dead (Acts 9:40), people were coming to know God by the thousands (Acts 2:41), handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul was touching were being used to HEAL PEOPLE (Acts 19:12). THAT’S CRAZY!

It seems like every time believers get together in this book, God does something extraordinary through them and the thing that amazes me is that they are just ordinary people. Time and again it says in Acts that the Pharisees or other rulers were astonished that the disciples were speaking with such authority and acting with such power because they were “common, uneducated men” (Acts 4:13). How are these people capable of such amazing things?

dpscenery_635840780886082673_Afterlight_EditI think the answer lies in the fact that they are completely sold out for Jesus. Everything they do is an act of obedience, an act of love. They knew who their Father was and they knew that seeking Jesus was more important than any comforts of the world. They sold EVERYTHING they had and shared everything with the other believers (Acts 2:45). They went wherever the Holy Spirit told them to go and did whatever the Holy Spirit told them to do (Acts 8:29-30).

Something important to remember is that there was no recipe for God’s power. Selling everything they had didn’t buy them the ability for God to show His power through them. They didn’t earn it in any way or complete a series of steps to get to the power of God. They just listened and obeyed. They just loved people with everything they had. They were all in, wherever they found themselves. They knew that when Jesus said they could do even greater works than He did (John 14:12), He meant it. They understood that they were nothing and God was everything.

Living a life like the disciples in Acts, living a life that truly embraces the power of God means recognizing that we are nothing and that God is everything. It is simply being obedient to whatever God asks us to do. If he says “Go pray for this person,” do it. If He says “lie on your face during worship,” do it. It is simple loving everyone we come in contact with to the best of our ability and letting God do the rest.

RRR_635833559884041055_Afterlight_EditIf we let our fears or insecurities get in the way we make our fears bigger than God. If we think we can do powerful things on our own strength or somehow earn God’s power (and I am guilty of having done all these things) we make ourselves bigger than God. But if we just love people the best we can, if we are just obedient to whatever it is that He asks, even if we don’t see results, we put the ball in God’s court and leave the rest up to Him.

The power of God is not gone. It didn’t just happen in the book of Acts and now we are on our own. The enemy would love to have us believe that darkness is winning, that we can’t change the world. You can. You have the power of God in you. What is it that God is asking you to do? What is holding you back? Is it worth missing out on what God wants to do through you?

_A0A7884Josh Lake – Staff

Week One!

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IMG_0059“You can only be loved to the extent that you’re known.” were the words that began this past week, our first at YWAM DP. A sandcastle building competition, drama night, and testimony sharing helped prayerfully matched small groups, academic groups, cooking groups, work groups, casita mates, and the community get to know each other. We’re intent on knowing each other so we may love each other better, in an attempt to echo God’s agape.

On Saturday, our neighbours at White Sands were generous to take the base snorkelling at Mexico Rocks, where we swam among nurse sharks, rays, and green turtles. Other memorable moments include heated beach volleyball games, walks in the blazing sun to San Pedro for D and E’s frozen custard treats as well as Kyle and Micah being our first successful spearfishers.

IMG_0067During Wednesday worship we were individually moved to jump over a rope, physically symbolising our commitment to give God 100%, to be all here, to invite our creator to move from the questions in our heads to the depths of our hearts. Thanks for diving into the healing journey, the passionate adventure with us!

P.S. We welcome prayers for the mosquitoes to vanish so we may all sleep under the stars on the dock in peace 🙂

imageMichelle Chan – DTS Student, October, 2015

The Beauty In Falling

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“God finds us in the holes we dig for ourselves. Where we see failures; He sees foundations.”
-Bob Goff

4874788_origI wish we had hiking trails in Belize, its one of the things I miss most about being home in Alabama. Waking up early in the morning to hit the trail, planning your trek out on the map, orienteering with a compass, all to spend the whole day working to get to that perfect campsite.

When I think back to hikes I have made I really struggle to remember a whole lot about the locations I stayed in, or the campsites, the things I remember most are what happened on the trail.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend a week on the trail in New Mexico. I can remember my excitement growing as we drove for days from Birmingham, Alabama to Albuquerque, New Mexico. About an hour and a half south of Albuquerque we unloaded our packs from the suburban and hit the trail, carrying everything we would need for our trek, knowing we would go days before having a chance to replenish food or supplies.

886408_origAs with any hike there are always unexpected challenges. Early on in our trek, a fellow hiker almost stepped on a diamondback rattlesnake, realizing the danger moments before stepping on the snake. A few days later injuries and fatigue began to kick in as the miles of hiking per day began to take a toll on us. I can remember running low on water and having to strategically spend an afternoon finding clean water, or having to bandage up a friend after he sliced his leg open.

The funny part about all those memories is during the hike they seemed overwhelming, like they would be too great to overcome, they were not much fun and frankly I just wanted them to be over with, yet they are what I remember best. Those are the memories that made the hike unique and special. They added color and adventure to the trip.

Often in Christianity we forget that some of the most beautiful parts of the race we run are the times we fall and get back up. The beautiful thing about knowing Jesus is that not only do I have freedom to live an abundant life with Him, but I have the freedom of knowing that my shortfalls are not to be shameful or weighty, but instead are what brings color, and uniqueness to my life.

7767327_origTruly accepting and believing that God has an everlasting, and unconditional love for us is not just a one time magical moment. Its an adventure everyday for us to discover the new ways God is pursuing us and loving us. I am challenged to do more than just live a “christian” life, or discipline myself to talk spiritually. I am challenged to wake up everyday and ask God what He wants to do with me, how He wants to love me, and be willing to be loved well by God. As I daily discover more and more of Fathers extravagant love for me, and all those I encounter, it makes getting up after a fall much easier. As we understand and respond to the amazing love, we experience the freedom to find beauty in our struggles and shortfalls and we get the opportunity to let a little more color into our lives.

Will Richardson – Staff10432504_10205099434979267_5474266472758005872_n

Vanuatu Outreach: Week 4!

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This week started with a 21+ hour boat ride from the island of Efate to the island of Malekula, then to hop on a truck that drove us an hour into the jungle to reach our destination…the beautiful village of Lambumbu, Malekula– home of the cocoa plantation!
Greeting us was 100+ Nivan (the native people of Vanuatu) villagers eager to meet the first group of Christian missionaries to ever set foot in their village. SO COOL. With this, came the most hospitable host families I’ve ever seen, eager to invite each of us into their homes. Each one of our team members got adopted into a different family, where we will spend the next two weeks living, eating, and sleeping in their weaved, palm branch homes!
Their way of living here is absolutely beautiful– the heart of the culture, the smile on their faces, and the way they serve is a humbling experience for each of us.
This past week there has been many cultural celebrations– starting with “Children’s Day”, two days after we arrived. A day to celebrate family, give gifts to children, eat food, sing, play sports, eat more food, and perform skits. Being adopted into a Bislama family has given each of us an opportunity to seek out relationship and invest personally into each family, making our presence here in the village, a great one.
My Bislama mama is also mama to our contact Jonathan, who works for the Peace Core, who isn’t currently here. Because of this, she has a pretty good understanding of how to communicate in English, making things a bit easier. She is a mother to 4 pretty Nivan girls, Jonathan, and now me! This past week she has taught me how to weave baskets out of branches, which gives me a good insight into how much hard labor and love goes into creating such a beautiful piece, which they then take to sell in the local market in town.
As a church community, they are eager to have us lead while we are here– teaching them new worship songs, giving testimonies, leading bible studies, and preaching on Sunday’s! This past week, one of our students, Cole, got the chance to give a sermon on the destructiveness of shame, and how to deal with it, followed by a bible study led by Brandt.
Being in the village has given us an opportunity to fully invest relationally with the locals of Vanuatu, being able to bring light into the everyday, and has given us a community of people to not only serve, but to humble ourselves enough to be served by such hospitable people.
Tankyu Tumas!
Jaci Duft – Staff, Outreach Leader