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Blessings to Belize

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Hi! I’m Paige and I am one of the students in the April 2012 school. We’ve been in San Pedro for a little over a month now, and have been blessed recently with two outreach teams from other YWAM bases coming to Destination Paradise. Around two weeks ago, YWAM Pachuca, Mexico came to minister to the children and people here. They are an amazing team of ten and have been such a blessing here in San Pedro. A week ago, another team from Switzerland also came to do their debriefing (processing their completed outreach).  They had been in Belmopan, the capital of Belize, doing ministry as part of their outreach prior to coming over to Ambergris Caye.

The Pachuca team has been doing evangelistic dramas in the park, helping out in classrooms and tutoring children in the afternoons. They also have been doing intersession for San Pedro and San Mateo, and been visiting local homes cleaning and developing personal relationships with the people. Almost every day they rode their bikes into town (4.5 miles each way). It has been such a great time getting to know them and I even got to practice my Spanish with them!! For the most part it was mostly Spanglish, but I have bonded so much with them and will miss them when they leave.

When the Swiss team came, I was super excited to hear about the ministry work they did in Belmopan. They were there for 3 weeks and then came to stay for 5 days at the base. During those 3 weeks, they did much work with the local churches and did painting, passing out flyers for a new church, and doing prayer walks around town praying for the people and the city. They went to the University and shared their testimonies, helped out in schools and painted doors and their base. It has been such a great time getting to know them and hearing some of their stories and it has helped get me excited for the ways we will serve in Europe on our outreach.

It is really amazing how so many people, from all over the world, can come together to one place and just after a short time of knowing someone, you feel like family because we share the same Father and desire….to love others!!  We were so blessed by these teams and their willingness to share with us and with others throughout Belize.

Paige Furukawa – April 2012 Leadership DTS

Boldness in Borneo

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Selemat siang! [Good day!]

Hey! Camille here, to give a re-cap on the happenings of this past week in Indonesia!

The crew said our goodbyes and we made our transition from Bali to the lovely island of Borneo, officially called Kalimantan.

We drove a bumpy road, before arriving at our new home.  We stepped onto a beautifully landscaped base, with red stone, white tile, lush gardens, and yes… air conditioned bedrooms! God is so good! There’s even a pet monkey on base (but I personally prefer the dogs… the monkey is temperamental). The staff here are so generous and hospitable.  I pray we bless them as much as they are blessing us.

After settling in, we re-packed smaller bags and headed to a village for a few days.  Several steep, muddy hills later, we miraculously arrived at our destination. It was a typical farmhouse, surrounded by multiple rice fields and other neighboring homes (no electricity or indoor plumbing).  We were greeted by a porch full of Indonesian kiddos (I counted about thirty of them), all with smiles and jumping in an enthusiastic manor. God’s kids are so stinkin’ cute!

That night, we got our beds ready to go with all the floral-patterned mosquito nets
hanging above our sleeping bags. We also had our first serving of chicken and rice; we would have many more to come over the next several days. Following dinner, we traveled with Andre, our YWAM friend and interpreter to a nearby house. There, we joined in an evening of worship, prayer and fellowship with some villagers. How cool that our God can meet His children-all so different, from all over the world, multiple languages and in the middle of a jungle in Borneo…the scene was awesome!

The next day, the team had the wonderful opportunity to help out in the local
school.  The kids were dressed in their well-worn uniforms and big smiles.  That
morning was filled with loads of laughter. We played games, sang songs and played soccer and volleyball.  It was a privilege to love on them.

While we were still adjusting to the “squatty potty”, constant rooster sounds, and new beds (AKA hard wood floors), God met us on this new day…and it turned out to be my favorite of the four days.  The team and some others went up a nearby mountain to harvest chili peppers.  The trail weaved around and through all varieties of nature: rubber trees, bamboo, long grass and random flowers all the way up.  I find God the best in the midst of His creation; there’s something about being His most precious creation and yet being surrounded by endless, breath-taking creation at the same time. It really hit us when we finally reached the top. Words cannot begin to explain the spectacular view we witnessed.  All I know is God felt bigger than ever at that moment and still so close and intimate.  With this backdrop, we all wanted to serve our amazing God so… with the team rockin’ the rice-worker hats and harvest baskets we began the work at hand.  What a joy to soak in God’s presence, in His amazing wonders and be serving His people at the same time…an amazing experience!

Our bath time wasn’t exactly a walk in the park…for the girls especially.  We had to remain covered completely from the collarbone down WHILE washing in a foot deep stream! It turned out to be quite fun and we felt just as refreshed as any other shower. Though you typically don’t have a large crowd of giggling children watching you bathe at home!

The remainder of the day was spent traveling house-to-house, visiting and praying with people within the village.  This is what it usually looked like: you’re invited in, say introductions, then you sit on the floor in their front room (no furniture really exists in these houses).  You’re then served hot coffee (sweet, sweeeet coffee) or tea, and food of some sort.  We get to know the people, their life, their family, and their faith in Christ.  To finish, we pray in whatever way they need: health, protection, or just blessings over the household.  How awesome that the Lord can use us even as we go house to house. We saw how He was using us to bring encouragement and life to these homes, in His mighty name.

Sunday, the team prepared to help lead Sunday school for the kids.  A reenactment of Noah’s ark took place (“animals” everywhere!). Following were songs, words of encouragement and balloons (crowns were made for each child, reminding them that they are each princes and princesses of the King).  The parents and older members of the village joined after Sunday school finished up.  A lively worship session was lead by two guitar players, a drummer and singer (the language barrier didn’t keep us from joining right in).  I led one song for the congregation on my guitar…what a transformation from months ago, when I couldn’t even play a song in front of my family.  I felt a peace and a confidence like never before, and there’s no better feeling than leading God’s children in worshipping Him.  One of us shared testimony and another the sermon. We closed with the “Everything” skit, and began our goodbyes but first we had, yes…more rice and chicken! It was sad to say farewell after connecting on such a special level with these people.  They were all so genuine and passionate for life, despite their living conditions. What an inspiration!  For some of us, we felt this probably won’t be the last time we see them on this side of heaven.  God is faithful, God is good. We are looking forward to what the next days hold as well!!

Peace out, Ka-Mille (translates in Indo: “sister Mille”)

Camille Knopse – January 2012 Leadership DTS

Village to Village

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Hi!  My name is Becca and I am on the Mexico outreach team. We have been traveling to villages in Mexico serving throughout our journey and have been blessed by so many people we have met along the way. Just recently, we came to a small, but vibrant, village named Akumal. I personally, loved it in there! The people really made it for me. My favorite, of the nightly church services we participated in, was when we held one child’s birthday party. The whole church service was basically about children, then we had a piñata, food, cake, and dancing. I had so much fun, and made memories that will last a lifetime for sure!

We left Akumal and stopped overnight in Playa Del Carmen where we started our Mexico outreach. We had a fun day off and celebrated yet another birthday, that of our translator Monse. The next day we went on our way to Merida! It was about a 5 hour bus ride, which to me was a very enjoyable time to relax in the air conditioning!

It only took a few minutes for us to fall in love with Merida! It is in the Yucatan Peninsula, so the temperature is hotter with plenty of humidity, but that is about the only drawback. Calvary Chapel of Merida blessed us so much by letting us stay in a house to ourselves with a kitchen, beds, and bathrooms with toilet seats!!! The church is big and very modern. The people are warm and friendly, with huge and amazing hearts. They have a school attached to the church, so we have done a lot of skits for them.  We also have had time to talk and hang out with many of the students and staff. Each day, they have been feeding us an incredible breakfast and lunch too!!!

We also went to a small village called San Felipe for a couple of days. It is a few hours away, and the church there is a branch of the Calvary Chapel in Merida. On our way there, we stopped for about 4 hours in a small village called San Juan. While we were there we visited some families and got to pray with them, as well as pass out a ton of milk and bread to the people. The people there were extremely poor, living in shacks made out of trees and scrap wood. After we finished ministry in San Juan, we arrived in San Felipe. We got to perform skits, help with children, lead worship, and preach.

The next day we went fishing. When we got to the dock, there was a young guy walking by with a backpack who apparently looked just like someone Chris Norman (our co-leader on outreach) knew. He looked so familiar that Chris went up to him and asked what his name was. It wasn’t the right guy, but it ended up being a guy named Bret who was from Oregon and is traveling around Mexico working at different farms. He had quite a few hours to kill before he was supposed to meet up with the owner of the farm, so we invited him to go fishing with us. It was so much fun, and totally a God thing! He was a really cool guy who was a Christian and ended up not being able to find his contact that day, so instead of having to sleep outside in the park or something, he was able to sleep inside the church with us…like I said, totally a God thing! It was amazing!

Our time here has been full of laughter, friendship, worship and a whole bunch of sweating…but we couldn’t have asked for anything better! God has been so good to us during this whole outreach time, but He has been especially showering us with His love and blessings here in Merida! We have been letting God lead us this whole trip and we are happy to say that He is keeping us here a little bit longer than we planned!

Becca Childs – January 2012 Leadership DTS

Mission Minded

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I began attending YWAM Destination Paradise in January 2011 and it rocked my world!  Being involved in YWAM and participating in a DTS was one of the best things I’ve ever decided to do.  I learned “life” things there that just aren’t taught at any other school.  After an Outreach Phase in Turkey, instead of doing the Internship Phase, I decided to go home and work for the summer and figure out what I was doing for school.  My original plan was to attend a University in Wisconsin where I live, but God had other plans.

This past year I’ve been attending Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri.  How I ended up here, I’m not really sure, so it had to be a God thing.  I’m currently on a worship band, called Frontline, through my school, and get to travel around the states and lead worship at churches, youth retreats, and gatherings of all sorts and kinds.

Along with leading worship, which is one of my greatest passions, I’m getting to study missions!  The heart of God in missions is beautiful.  And like we are learning in class right now, God was the first missionary.  When man turned away from God, He reached out and sought us.  The world is big, and the number of people that still do not know Jesus is big. But God is BIG!  And He is bigger and biggest and big enough!

God has commanded us (not suggested) that we GO!  Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  And He is with us!  If we keep reading He says this, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  God is with us and He is big enough.  He is big enough for my life, my plans, and this world!  If only we surrender ourselves to His will and allow Him to move through us.  He has blessed so that we may bless others.  Like my professor, Chris DeWelt says, “God has given us a present and we unwrap it to find another present wrapped inside to give to someone else.”  He doesn’t bless us with the intention of us hoarding the blessing. No, He blesses us so that we may bless others!  And tell of His glorious name unto the ends of the earth!  We have found the greatest treasure on earth, and that my dear friend is Jesus Christ, and it is our privilege and honor to share this treasure with the world.

And that’s truly what I want my life to be about.  Right now, it is through my ministry on Frontline and through my school work!  May it be for His glory and one day serve an even greater purpose in making His name known.

Tessa Thompson – YWAM DP Alumni, January 2011 DTS

Goodbye to Bali

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Hey, my name is Liv. I’m from Oxford, England and a student from the January 2012 DTS. So, I’ve been in Indonesia with my team for 4 weeks now, and this last week was our last before we head off to Borneo for the remainder of our outreach. This meant that it was to be a week full of goodbyes and finishing up our time with all the ministries we have been involved with for the last month.

Goodbye Bali Life…On our last visit to Bali Life Orphanage, we again played scrabble and football with the children allowing the staff there to have a rest for a few hours. Our times at Bali Life have been inspiring. It has given me a hope for the future of Balinese orphanages to see this one so well organized and such care given. There was always a strong family feel to this orphanage and it was obvious just how much love and atttention the staff had invested into these children.

Goodbye Java Slum…Our last visit to Java slum was one we won’t easily forget. We once again sang songs, taught English and played games with the kids, while others of us chatted to the parents and helped them to make the crafts for their income. But when it came time to leave, they just wanted to know when we would be back to visit. They said we would be welcomed back any day and showed their appreciation with gifts of jewelry and crafts. It was obvious that they felt blessed by our visit as we, too, felt they were a blessing to us. Their contentment with how little they had was inspiring to see and there was a close community feel to this place. We will be praying that the YWAMers are able to continue this good work and see the fruits.

Goodbye Prison ministry…It was truly life changing, building relationships within the prison here and having the opportunity to share life stories. Our times here put our lives into perspective, simply just knowing that once the hour was up we could leave those four walls and within reason do what we wanted. Camille shared with me how she connected with a lady called Anne. It was encouraging for her to hear Anne’s story of how she loved Jesus and was full of joy despite being in prison. It was also evident to see the joy we brought there as visitors. The YWAM Bali staff informed us that out of the 900 prisoners only about 50 would receive visitors. So us simply being there, answering their questions and listening to their stories, made them feel so special.

We are confident that we have planted seeds in these ministries even though we haven’t seen bushels of fruit harvested. We feel that our work here has blessed the ministries and the staff at YWAM Bali. While we have enjoyed serving here, our time in Bali has not been easy. There is an obvious spiritual heaviness present here which we have felt so tangibly in the atmosphere and within our spirits. It is unlike anything we have experienced as a team and it has been affecting us all in a number of different ways. It has caused sickness, confusion, fears to rise up and cloud our thinking and the results have affected the team as a whole.  I have personally struggled the most with insecurities, fears and apathy. In our team meetings we have had to constantly remind ourselves of what Paul addresses in Ephesians 6: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” As we head to Borneo, we have re-grouped and decided to put on the full armor of God reminding ourselves that the theme for our DTS has been “Warrior” and we have been called to walk the narrow path victoriously, knowing that we are sons and daughters of the great King.

To finish the week, we were blessed to have a time of worship at Mount Batur in Kintamani. We were in such awe of the beauty and majesty that it portrayed and we were reminded of just how incredible our God is. Psalm 121 reminded us, too, that no matter where we are in the world or what we are struggling with our help comes from the Creator of all the earth and we have all we need to walk this path triumphantly because we have Him walking beside us. I am looking forward to seeing how we will be stretched in Borneo.

Liv Tyler – January 2012 Leadership DTS