YWAM DP Tag

From the Field: Mayreau Outreach

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

IMG_1361  This past week in Mayreau the team and I were blessed enough to have an amazing group of 8 students ranging from 10-17 years old, from St Vincent come down to Mayreau for a jam packed 5 days of fun, games, and Jesus lovin! Six of us had the opportunity to be small group leaders (yours truly being 1 of them) and speak into these kids lives. Every second of camp was scheduled with team building games, worship, teaching by fellow leaders, service projects to help others in the community, water games, crafts, cleaning schedules, and more! From the perspective of a small group leader, this has been one of the most rewarding and challenging things I’ve faced on outreach yet. Roughly 14 1/2 hours a day for 5 days straight we laid ourselves down to build these students up. Making ourselves available and stretching to our limits. The conversations we had with these amazing students will continuously ring in my heart for some time to come. Watching, in such a short span of time, these students grow and learn in the knowledge of our king has been one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed/been apart of.

 
IMG_1170Service projects included; beach garbage clean up, Cleaning up near and around the dump, and blessing an elderly man here in town by cleaning up his home and providing food for him. The students were definitely pushed by the service projects, but I honestly think they found a lot of joy in getting to help others.

 

 
IMG_1195Getting to be a small group leader for the 2 girls Sarah and I had, was one of the greatest honors I’ve had yet. I personally was so stretched and pushed throughout this week. I truly realized the meaning behind the saying “if you want to be a good leader, be a better servant”. I feel as if this week has impacted me, as it did for them. Watching them grow, as I too grew. Knowing that the best way I could lead them, is by giving everything we did, my 100%. And that proved to be so fruitful. I loved watching my fellow teammates leading as well. Seeing them step into these shoes we had been equipped for was an amazing honor. And I can not wait to see and hear of the ways they will continue to lead others in their lives. This week was truly amazing, and I can not wait to tell all about it when we get back to Belize.

Kate Huling

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Accepting Freedom

  |   DTS, Lecture Phase   |   No comment

For a reason I cannot explain, I decided it would be a good idea to go for a run under the sweltering afternoon sun yesterday (Saturday). The first mile was a painless cruise, and I smiled and waved at each passerby. Shortly after that first mile I began to feel the intense heat on my face, but shrugged it off and kept on rolling. Eventually I decided to turn around and felt an instant wave of regret. The wind was to my back and the sun was directly on my face. I felt like I was running through a wildfire, and I’m sure I looked about that way too! I stopped for a second to wipe the sweat from my eyes, and then pushed on as hard as I could until I reached home (funny how I now refer to YWAM DP as home). But I didn’t stop running once I made it back onto the path that leads to my casita; I kept going and going until the very edge of our dock and ran straight into the ocean. There was a half a second of air, and then my body immersed into what felt like a cool satin blanket. I stayed under as long as I could as the crisp water tickled my toes and revived my fingers. The ocean felt so invigorating I almost opened my mouth to take a big gulp, but quickly decided against that plan. I eventually came back up to the surface to breathe, as that’s usually necessary (I’m not a mermaid yet but I’m working on it), but the surface just wasn’t as exciting. I went under again and again as I was only alive when I was consumed by this big blue puddle of joy.

As I was reflecting on this joyous moment yesterday, I came across a word that would describe the experience well… freedom. Simple yet profound, like all my favorite things in this world. On my run I was trapped under the hot sun and by the beads of salty sweat running down into my eyes.  But when I took that leap of faith into the water I was free.

I think that little situation of mine is a nice analogy for our relationship with the Lord.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

This past week was ironically called freedom week, and it was taught by the founder of YWAM DP Lynn Toney. Lynn is a passionate woman whose light shines so brightly it blinds those around her in God’s love. During freedom week we talked about being free in Christ, and the amazing life we can live when we are free in Christ. Of course true freedom requires a leap of faith, as I had to take a small jump and experience a second of free fall before I hit the water. But once we do take that leap of faith we are all consumed and covered in his love. I learned that in many different forms this past week. I learned a lot about myself and how the inconsistent and twisted ways that I see myself are affecting the ways that I see God.  I had to approach situations from my past in oder to experience freedom. I had to run a long, hot, sweaty path that I didn’t particularly enjoy in order to experience freedom, but boy was it worth it. Christ accepts us wherever we are, carrying ugly loads and scars, but he doesn’t want us to stay there. I gave him my heart years ago, but as I get closer and closer to him he is asking for more than my heart. He wants my life, my thoughts, my decisions, and most importantly he wants the weights that I am not strong enough to carry. And when I finally surrendered those weights to him He set me free. 

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23: 2-3

If I could give myself a personal “theme” for this season in my life here in Belize I would call it “dare to hope” because the Lord has been beckoning me to hope in the plans and purposes he has for my life (especially because I currently don’t have a clue what’s next for me). Well, in that, the Lord has asked me to accept the blessings that he wants to freely give me. For most of my life I have been carrying the load that I have to earn and work for love, because if I don’t deserve it I won’t receive it. If I made a mistake I lost love, and had to work extra hard in order to deserve any. Well this twisted way of thinking influenced the way that I saw God. I thought that in oder to receive love from the Lord I had to work for him. I had to serve until my eyes bled, and then he would show me his love for me. If I sinned, then I would lose his love and would have to work extra hard and put myself down because that’s what I deserve. Well, in an interesting series of events this week, the Lord revealed to me that weight, and how unnecessary it is for me to carry. One day in class Lynn asked us to write a letter to ourselves from God and to wait and pray until He speaks to us. Immediately I began thinking to myself what God will probably say to me. He’ll tell me the things I need to do better and the things I need to do less of. He’ll tell me where I was wrong and why, and how I need to try harder to do better next time. But when I sat down to hear from Him, I waited a moment in silence and heard “I love you. That’s it.” And that was it. That’s all I heard. I got no other word from the Lord. And then it hit me. I try and earn the love of the Lord. Who am I to say that I can earn the love of the creator of this universe. If I’m going to get it, it’s going to be a gift, and that’s the beauty of it. But that is so hard for me to accept, because I have lived opposite of that for my entire life. **pause for quick dance party outside at the palapa** Anyway, since I have gotten to DP I have been overwhelmed by an increasing and overflowing joy. And at many times I have felt guilty for feeling so much joy. No Lord, shouldn’t I be suffering? Shouldn’t I be struggling? Why are you blessing me? I couldn’t understand why the Lord would want to bless me without any effort of my own. All I did was jump on a plane, and now the Lord keeps giving and giving. He has given me amazing new friends, a wonderful casita full of girls whom I love with my whole being, delicious food at every meal, and THE OCEAN. I do not deserve any of this, but the Lord gave it to me anyway. It blows my mind, and before this week, I was afraid of it. Despite what others have shown me in life, there is nothing I can do to earn or lose the love of the Lord. He has given me his whole heart because he loves me, and that’s it. A basic concept of freedom in Christ is accepting his FREE love; and it is that basic concept that was keeping me from freedom in Him. I was chaining myself to myself because I’m not perfect. I was constantly telling myself that I wasn’t good enough to earn love. I am scared of failing, of falling short, of expecting to feel his love but not being able to. But living in the freedom of Christ requires faith that His love will carry us through this life into the eternal. It requires hope. It comes in a full circle. The Lord revealed to me a weight I was still carrying, asked me to announce in front of my class that I have to forgive myself for trying to earn his love, and He asked me simply to dare to hope that I could sit in my room for the rest of my life and he would still bless me because He just loves me that much. When I obeyed Him and let go I was immersed so surely in his love, just like I was in the water after my run, and today I have felt his love with a new and overwhelming depth.

I encourage you, as Lynn encouraged me, to ask the Lord what unnecessary weights you are carrying, and give them over to Him in order to experience the freedom of Christ. It is a wonderfully beautiful thing.

“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Madison

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Life In HD

  |   Alumni, DTS, Lecture Phase, Staff   |   No comment

A couple weeks ago I had the very awesome opportunity to teaching foundations week for this January school. I had never taught before and it was something I felt prepared for and unprepared for all in one. I have never really had a problem with public speaking before but four hours a day, five days in a row is a lot of time to fill. I have gained a whole new respect for speakers who come to teach every quarter. But that’s not really what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about life.

Faith. Life. Adventure.

It’s one of the many mottos we choose to live out here at YWAM DP. Since I’ve been on staff I’ve had many opportunities to reflect on these three things. But teaching on foundations brought me into a brand new place of learning what “Life.” really means. Throughout the week I taught on things like truth, the bible, God (who is He / what is He like), the value of man, sin and salvation. It was a full week to say the least. But through this week I saw the students listen to what I had to say and listen to what I felt like the Father was telling me. They responded, they prayed, they encouraged.

Each school carries a different attitude toward the DTS process. Some carry an attitude of determination, some an attitude questioning, some an attitude family. Of course, every school carries little bits of all of these. But this school…they carry encouragement. They were constantly encouraging each other, their staff, and even me while I taught. It truly was a blessing to teach them.

They encourage life. They encourage boldness and honesty. They encourage fun when needed and seriousness when needed. They constantly encourage each other to do what they need to do to get freedom, to get more of God.

My bible defines life as this: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body; period from birth to death; a way or manner of living; spiritual existence transcending death; salvation.

A way or manner of living. I think this school has decided the way they want their lives to be. Full. Alive. Awakened. These guys have decided they are tired of going through the motions, living in black and white. They have woken up. They are choosing color. They are choosing a life lived in HD! Being around 27 students who are living in HD is ridiculously inspiring. They fight for it every single day, but they are determined to make HD a life long attitude. Through them God has (re)taught me to continue to seek after what update He has in store for me next.

I’ve lived in Belize for quite sometime now and have gotten accustomed to the white sand and the blue ocean. I’m used to the palm trees and the parakeets. I walk around without shoes on and wear shorts almost everyday. Now, I realized that for most people…I live in paradise. Because, well I do! But to me, right now, it’s just home. This is just how life is. We get a lot of sun and sometimes it’s blinding. I walk out my door mid morning and the sun reflects off my white porch and the white sand and the bright white clouds, and just for second I can’t see anything. If I’m not in a rush to get somewhere I will give my poor eyes a second to adjust to the blazing sun until I can confidently walk down the steps to wherever I’m heading. I walk into my everyday, my (ir)regular life. Every so often after my eyes adjust to the sun, God stops me. He asks me to wait and look at this place He lets me call home. In those rare seconds I’m reminded that God has given me a life that I can live fully alive.

During my DTS was when I started living fully alive, after being on staff, leading outreaches, small groups, working around the base, being a student in the FCM (Foundations for Counselling Ministry) I have continued my adventure in living fully alive, I have chosen to live in HD. One day when I leave this place, I will continue to walk in that choice, because now that I’ve felt what its like to be fully alive, I couldn’t go back to standard living!

Thanks,

Taylor

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I am Here for You

  |   DTS, FCM, Outreach   |   No comment

“Hello, my friend! How are you!” a young Sudanese man walked confidently up to our outreach leader, Chris, and offered him a handshake. A group of 7 of our team members had been left behind at the refugee camp, known as the Jungle, to do a prayer walk before our ride came to pick us up. We didn’t feel we should go into the camp, but instead, felt the Holy Spirit prompting us to stop at a street corner, just outside the camp’s entrance. I had noticed several refugee men coming and hanging out alongside the road outside the Jungle. Many of them would sit, head down, and I wondered what they were thinking. I felt God leading us to this spot to pray peace and God’s presence to anyone who came to sit on the cement block that was at the corner. (more…)

Bonjour and Baguettes

  |   DTS, FCM, Outreach   |   No comment

First things first, I am so blessed to be a part of this amazing outreach. It’s only been one week and every team member has exemplified vulnerability, love, and responsibility. Unity is absolutely necessary on outreach, and it is evident that everyone is making a strong effort to achieve it because it is already very present. We are prayer warriors for each other, we have each other’s back, and we are constantly building relationship with each other.

So our trip began like any other…oh wait, no it didn’t. Turns out our lovely Jessyca didn’t actually have a booked plane ticket to Paris with the rest of the team. After much prayer, talk with the airline workers, and an appreciated flight time delay, a ticket was booked and we could be on our way. Hurdle #1 complete. (more…)