Reportback Tag

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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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You’re destined for paradise

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When I was first asked to write the blog post for this week, my mind instantly went blank. Normally I am never at a loss for words, but summing up this past week seemed like an insurmountable task. The question “What has report back been like?” has no easy, obvious, or short answer. My initial idea was to simply write about something like how to cram seven weeks worth of tanning into seven days, but as I was thinking and praying about this post, the Lord elbowed his way through my conflagration of emotions to place something much deeper on my heart.

 

Lately I’ve been reading through the gospel of Mark, and this morning I found myself in chapter 6. Among other things that happen in this passage, several events are recorded. We are able to see Jesus back in Nazareth among his tiny home village (which rejects him), followed by the commissioning of the twelve apostles sent out two by two, and also the feeding of the five thousand with the infamous supply of only five loaves and two fish. And through this jumble of seemingly unrelated stories, God was showing me just how much these three scenarios strongly relate to exactly where our two schools are at during report back week.
The first thing Jesus was showing me was that going home is going to be hard, but it doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. One thing we’ve really been focusing on this past week is making sure everything we’ve learned these past five months is really making a lasting home in our hearts, and that the truths we have come to hold so closely will remain unshakable when we go home. And as Jesus re-entered his hometown of Nazareth, we see people scorning him simply for being different. The people are asking, “Who the heck is this carpenter’s son? What the heck happened to him?” The very place Jesus called home and the people he considered family were suddenly not too keen about having him around – and this is a very likely possibility for a lot of us who are heading home. But I love Jesus’ response to their questions and criticism – instead of launching a self defense or reshaping himself to fit their idea of what he should be like, he does his best to bless that community. He heals people where he is able, he walks with gentleness and compassion, and while he is still dumbstruck at their unbelief, he does his best to teach those who would listen. I love this little scripture nugget more than usual today, because for me and 35 other people it shows that regardless of what environment we’re heading home to, it is still possible to walk like Christ. The receptivity of our families, our friends, our communities is a moot point; we have been changed. And it’s not a phase. During our lecture phase, one of our speakers said, “The generation that the world cannot change is the generation that will change the world.” It gives me great hope seeing that, because we have Christ in us, and Christ himself came against opposition from even his closest relatives, we have power in us that cultivates lasting change. And it also means that, in the face of opposition, our response can still be to love and not to conform.
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Right after the fairly awkward incident in Nazareth, Jesus sends out his twelve apostles, which brings me to my second observation. Jesus sent them out two by two.  He didn’t send them out all together. He didn’t give them safety in numbers. And he didn’t send them all out to the same place. And here’s the kicker – he didn’t even send them with supplies. I’ve been chuckling to myself all morning (ok crying, I’ve been crying all morning, but my spirit has been chuckling) because again, I find our school in the exact same place. Tomorrow morning we will all be sent out. We will be separated. We will be going to different places. And we certainly don’t have a full supply of life experience, emotional maturity, or even gap-less theology to aid us along the way. But like the apostles, we’re being sent out anyways. I’m sure the apostles didn’t feel ready. Like us, they were probably experiencing a wide spectrum of emotions – sadness at leaving each other, apprehension about the future, and there was probably a healthy dose of fear in there as well. But Jesus thought they were ready. Why? Because they had just spent a huge chunk of time with him. A wise person once said, “You are a combination of the five people you spend the most time with,” and I think Jesus might have had this in mind that day as he was separating the twelve into smaller teams. Sure maybe they were still a little unrefined, and yes they still had a lot to learn. But Jesus didn’t send them out because of confidence in their ability – he sent them out because of confidence in their character. They had become a combination of the people they spent the most time with – which included not only the healthy community of each other, but they had been spending time with Christ himself. Jesus was able to send them out to continue his mission because they had ceased to look like their pasts and had begun to look like him. Our school has just completed five months at YWAM DP. We’ve experienced God in some capacity or another on a daily basis, and have seen the same faces day in and day out. We’ve laughed together, cried together, slept, ate, lived, and learned together with God in our midst. And somewhere along the way of all of us starting to say “fricks” and accumulating a plethora of inside jokes, we’ve become like each other. But more importantly we’ve all become more like Christ. So while our send-off is going to be hard and certainly emotional, I have a sense that God is whispering to us, “Go. You’re my kids. You look like me. You’re not perfect but you’re ready.”
The last part of this passage I want to talk about is the feeding of the five thousand. Most of you know this story so I won’t go into much detail, but basically Jesus transformed a meager lunch of five loaves and two fish into a feast that stuffed a hungry crowd of five thousand people. And the application I got from this is short and sweet: Jesus is in the business of doing a lot with a few. Our school just spent the past seven weeks divided up into smaller teams for outreach. We’ve re-joined on base  and have combined with the current school for the past week. At the moment there seems like there are a lot of us (well over eighty), but we’re still pretty tiny in comparison to a crowd of five thousand. This past week we’ve had so many things to share with the current January DTS students – mealtimes, outreach stories, God moments, deep talks, laughter. And as I was reading the story of how Jesus multiplied that little lunch and thinking about the past week, I realized that is his legacy he’s working here at YWAM DP – multiplying our bread and fish. He takes the staff and cultivates a community, a lecture and changes lives, a conversation and creates a friendship. He took all the crap our October DTS drug in with us and turned it into a force to reach nations. And now I’ve spent the past week watching Him working the same miracle of multiplication in a whole new group of lives.
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So what has report back week been like? It’s been like being dropped in the middle of the gospel of Mark – some are being sent out, some are still being fed. But mostly it’s been like watching the heart of God. As we prepare to go home, I’ve seen his heart for the lost. As we spend time with the new school, I’ve seen his heart for his children. As we re-connect and invest in new friends, I’ve seen his heart for community. Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon in a hammock trying to fuse forever in my mind the image of crystal blue Caribbean water framed by white sandy shores and towering palm trees. This base is called “Destination Paradise,” but before the property was a resort called Journey’s End, a contrast in names that I find beautifully ironic. So this past week as some have been prepping to go back to their Nazareth, or are spending more time eating fish and still spending time with Jesus, at the end of the day God’s heart is for all of us to be sent out. And in a moment of divine humor, God whispered to my heart in that hammock, “This isn’t your journey’s end. You’re destined for paradise.” And until that final target, those of us at YWAM DP will be busy making our “Mark” for His Kingdom at every stop along the way.
Emily Coll

Emily Coll, Pennsylvania USA, 09/09/1993, 22 yrs