Sunday, December 30, 2012

We are off to Argentina.

Dear friends and family,

After three months of lectures and fundraising, and weeks of preparation, today our Atlanta DTS is off to Argentina for our two-month outreach!

Please pray today for our travels, safety and team unity. Our thirteen member team is currently split up. Three members left on a separate flight this morning, and the other 10 of us will meet up with them in the Mexico City airport  this evening. From there, we will all fly together to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We should arrive at 11am on New Year's Eve and local YWAM staff will meet us at the airport.  We look forward to celebrating the New Year with the YWAM base that will be hosting us there!

I cannot emphasize enough how valuable your prayer support is to our team. Thank you for blessing us so! We are so excited for what God is doing on this trip. We look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Many many thanks from all of us!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Time Flies...

Fun illustration for sharing your faith! 
It is hard to believe just 3 months ago I was sitting here in my living room getting ready to start a whole new adventure.  And what an amazing 3 months it has been!  Last week we had a guy named Bob Felder come speak to us on evangelism.  This was such a refreshing week because many people (including myself) think of it in a negative light but he brought a whole new perspective to it.  Evangelism is all about sharing the good news!  We as Christians have the best news ever to share so evangelism just means us as Christians sharing the good news!  Our good news is priceless and God's plan!  The best part of all is God goes with us and He wants people saved more than we do!  People don't share their faith because of fear! However we tend to think fear is bad but in reality it is good.  Fear is an emotion that can be overcame!  It gives us the opportunity to be courageous!  We were taught a pretty easy way to share our faith called The Bridge illustration and with practice I hope to really put it to use one day.  We had the opportunity to practice last Friday as we went to The Underground in Atlanta to evangelize!  I set out with two of my friends to pray for people and share our faith!  This was still not an easy task, due to fear.  We got the privilege to pray for many people with which I hope we blessed greatly!  The hardest part is to go from prayer to talking about our faith.  One of my friends with me was able to talk to one guy about it and it was a really great conversation in which he was able to encourage the guy to keep pressing into the Lord.  It will take much practice to make the jump easier especially for myself who is quiet and reserved more so than some.  One of the groups had a great experience and lead a lady to the Lord!  As a whole we were able to bless many people and it was such an encouragement!

Ready to evangelize!!!
On top of this we have been busy getting ready for our outreach to Argentina!  We have seen some great miracles in this process as money has come in for more and more people on our team to go.  As of right now our whole DTS is going expect for 2 students and 1 staff.  Everyone still has the opportunity to go but as of right now we are in need of about $12,000 for everyone to go.  This is ultimately what we want and are praying that God's will will be done!  

As our lecture phase came to an end we were able to end it with a great Christmas party!  It was a great time where we were able to all relax and celebrate our time together!  We have become like family over these 3 months and I have enjoyed everyone so much!  This time has definitely forever changed my life!  God has done some amazing work in my life in these few months and I have so much more confidence and joy!  3 months ago I was really unsure of who I was.  I was believing lies that I should be some one other than who I was.  I should be more outgoing and talkative when thats not how I have ever been.  God really showed me that he made me just the way I am for a reason!  He has given me a gift of a soft, quiet personality and I shouldn't try to be someone else.  This revelation has in turn made me a more confident, happy person!  I also have my amazing friends to thank as well because God used them all to be such an encouragement to me speaking His truth into my life and reassuring me that it truly is ok to be the person God made me to be!

I am really happy to be back home though as well.  I never thought I would be so happy to be back in Missouri.  I am really looking forward to catching up with some people while I am back!  It will be a short visit with so much to do but a great one!  Then it will be off to Argentina for 2 months!  I can't wait!!!

Hanging out at the Christmas party! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One Crazy Adventure...


 I know it has been a while since I posted last and so much has happened since then!  Things have been very crazy as we are trying to prepare for our two-month outreach to Argentina.  We are in our last week of lecture phase and we will be all heading home for Christmas and then returning to head out to Argentina.  Since I last posted we had a week of teaching on Inductive Bible Study...

Highly Recommend!
In this week we learned all about how to get the most we can out of our Bibles.  The lady teaching on it was a South African lady named Retha.  It was so amazing to hear her read and talk about the Bible because she truly made it come alive.  She told stories from it as if they were from personal experience.  I know for me sometimes I forget that the Bible is a book of history about people just like you and me.  The people who wrote it were just like you and me.  This is something kind of hard for me to wrap my head around but she really showed me the Bible in a whole new light.  I definitely read the Bible differently now after hearing her teaching!  

Just this past Friday and Saturday we had a guy named Dean Sherman come and speak on relationships!  He is the same guy whose videos we watched on Spiritual Warfare a couple week’s prior.  It was a real privilege that he came and spoke to our DTS.  He is basically wanted by everyone to speak so he can be hard to get to come but I am so glad he did.  We crammed over a weeks worth of teaching in 2 days!  It was great!  Relationships are obviously very important!  They are in fact the most valuable thing in the universe and the only thing that is eternal (they have always been and will always be).   The one key message in the Bible is in 1 John 3:11 which says, “LOVE ONE ANOTHER!”  We have the ability to love and be loved because we were made in the image of God!  (side note: image=shadow, if the sun shines past God we are the result!)  Relationships are such a big deal that the one commandment that Jesus says is, “LOVE GOD and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!”  That’s it.  Basically all the problems in this world are relationship problems (people thinking they are better than others, putting their self above others, whatever, it is relationship failures).  I could go on and on about this topic.  He does have a book on Relationships that I would highly recommend.  I haven’t read it yet but I do plan on it! 

Fasting our bed for a couple of nights in preparation
 for outreach!
Along with these teaching we have been doing quite a bit of outreach prep.  Unfortunately as of right now we only have 6 students and 1 staff for sure able to go on outreach out of a total of 11 students and 4 staff.  We are in need of about $23,000 total, which is due in less than a week.  We all know God is totally capable of bringing in all that money and would love if you could join us in prayer for it.  We have tickets purchased for those of us with our money in but for the rest they will have to be purchased as the money comes in so we are praying also prices don’t go up too much.  The flight booked now is scheduled to leave on December 30th and return on February 27th.  We will be spending the first month in Buenas Aires and the second month in Puerto Madryn.  We will be doing things such as speaking in churches, playing with children, helping at local YWAM bases, prayer walking and just open evangelism.  It will be such a great experience and we are really hoping everyone gets to be a part of it.  We have also started having a Spanish lesson before classes so hopefully we will be able to make a little conversation while there and really build relationships!  

If everyone that reads this could just pray for my DTS as we are preparing for outreach and waiting on funds I would appreciate that so very much.  If you feel lead by God to donate you can go to the link below and click on the pay pal donate button, write for purpose: Outreach and then type in the amount.  



Monday, November 26, 2012

Blessed


There is so much to talk about from this past week!  We had a wonderful lady, Sarah Lanier, come and talk to us Monday-Wednesday on engaging cross culturally!  I found this topic very intriguing because I plan on visiting many different cultures in my lifetime!  She had so many great thought provoking things to say but I only will be able to mention a couple things here! 

One big thing from her teaching was unity!  In John 17 starting in verse 20 Jesus talks about how we are suppose to be one with each other as Jesus is one with God.  It was really interesting because she was saying one of the biggest ways people get burned out of something is when they have a team that argues.  Strife in the Bible is listed along side murder.  God does not like it and there is no grace/presence of God when a team is fighting. We must constantly die to ourselves and put others first!

  Another big thing that struck me was when she was talking about people’s values.  Everybody has values, which are feelings/laws we live by.  There are two big types of values, which are individual and cultural.  The key is that values are emotional.  There are no set right and wrong values to have.  Everybody has a different past and have been raised certain ways in terms of their family and environments.  This was a huge revelation to me because I fell under believing my values are right and that certain other people’s values were wrong.  I realized this week that I was majorly wrong!  My values are not better or right compared to other peoples!  This will be a key for me in going to different cultures.  I now know to adapt to them and not change them because neither of us is right only God is the real right way! 

Along with this wonderful teaching Thanksgiving was this past week!  I had the amazing opportunity to go home to spend it with my family!!! It was the first time flying by myself and Atlanta airport was an absolutely crazy experience!  So through constant prayers to God I found my way through and I boarded my plane to head home!  It was just so incredible to see my family when I came off of the plane!!! I missed them so much in the two months I had been gone!  It was great just to go home and eat the meal my mom prepared and just relax at home and talk with them!!

While home we hit up the stores black Friday for some good deals on clothes!  We got family pictures in and went and cut down a Christmas tree and decorated it!  I visited my dad's family to celebrate my birthday as well.  Also, I was so happy I got to go to church Sunday morning!  It was really great to see everyone again!  I just felt so extremely blessed to be able to spend this time with my family!  I am incredibly thankful for them!  God really blessed me with my amazing family! 

I also got some sad news over the weekend that one of the boys in the orphanage in Burkina Faso that I visited passed away.  He was one of the boys critically injured during the bus accident over the summer.  They thought that he was all-good except for not being to see out of his left eye, so this came as a great shock!  Early Saturday morning he ended up passing away due to the trauma he suffered during this accident.  This is a very sad/hard time for my friends over in Burkina so if I could just ask everyone to send some prayers up for them that would be so wonderful!  They need all the love and comfort they can get!  He was a lover of the Lord however and is a much better place!!!  The hard part is for all his loved ones left here!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mind Blown!

Talk about one intense week! How about the topic of Spiritual Warfare!  This is probably one of the least favorite topics for most Christians but when in reality it is such an uplifting subject!!  A crazy fact is that we all are living in spiritual warfare whether we want to admit it or not.  There really is a devil and demons.  People really can be possessed and attacked! BUT, THE POWER OF GOD IS SO MUCH GREATER!!! Half the battle of spiritual warfare is realizing it exists!

We watched Dean Sherman's videos on this topic and when all was said and done I ended the week with 13 pages of notes!  My mind was blown after every teaching!  It was a great encouragement to me to have spiritual warfare put into perspective!  Since I have been here I have developed a real hatred towards the devil!  I knew going into this week that I wanted God to work through me to save people from the lies and bondage from the devil but I was a little fearful about what it was going to consist of.  So the perspective I got from the teaching this week really gave me confidence!  It is so crazy that even the devil knows he is defeated but he also knows that people believe the lies he feeds them and don't know the power they have in Christ!  As a believer in Christ if you ask/command anything in the name of Jesus all demonic forces must bow and allow your prayer to be answered!  The thing is as a Christian we have to take that authority and exercise it!  If we don't the devil will just keep up his works and putting on his shows.

A big question that is commonly asked by people everywhere, believers and nonbelievers is if God is so loving why is there so much bad in the world?  I got the answer to this question this week!  It is because God is also just!  If he did away with one murder or one rape He would have to put an end to not only all murders and rapes but all selfishness!  Selfishness is the source of a murder or rape so He would have to take it away.  Selfishness is a choice.  We choose to be selfish.  God has given us free will!  We have the power in this world with selfishness to make choices.  Just like we have the choice to love God and others!  More people will be saved by having the freedom to choose and overcome than they would if God took all evil out of this world!  However remember no one suffers forever unless they choose to!  Also God leaves evil to teach us!  God could have saved us from our sins and took us straight to Heaven but He didn't because He wants to teach us.  He did not plan for evil to enter the earth but since it is here He is using it to His advantage!  To save the lost!  As a believer of Christ we have the authority!  We must take the initiative and pray!  This will in turn release God's power.  Without God man can't do anything and without man God won't do anything!  The ball is in our court! It is to the degree and specificness with which we pray that God moves on the affairs of man! So next time you ask the question, why won't God do something? remember God is asking you the exact same question...why won't you do something???

There is so much I could write on this topic but I would just like to mention one more thing!  ANGELS EXIST!!! How cool is that to really think about and rap your mind around! When thinking in terms of spiritual warfare this is an important thing to remember!  Psalms 34:7 says, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them."  We need to be as aware that angels exists as we are about the stuff we can see in a room, such as chairs.  There are plenty of other verses in the Bible where angels are mentioned!  It is just important to remember that the powers of God we have working with us is way greater than the enemy!  The Bible says nothing about being fearful of the enemy for a reason!  We don't need to be afraid with God we are victorious!  Be aware of evil but never impressed!!!

This topic just excites me so much! I am looking forward to living out God's will for my life!  I want to set people free from the lies and bondage of the enemy so bad!  No one needs to live under that!  We have a great God!  He loves everyone on this earth unconditionally!!! Just think how sad He is that there are so many people on this earth that don't know His love!!! I want to be used by God to bring these people to know His love and love Him back!

Well with all this excitement of the teaching I also turned 20 this week!!! I am so blessed to be surrounded by people that love me! I get to go home and see my wonderful family for Thanksgiving this coming week but for my birthday I got to spend it with my brothers and sisters here in Georgia!  I had a blast! I got so many cards from everyone here and I just felt so special!  My birthday was friday night so we were able to get off base and have some fun!  I love to ice skate so we went to the ice skating rink!  I think it is safe to say eveyone had a great time which made me really happy!  After one and a half hours of skating we headed back to the base stopping by Walmart to pick up some birthday cake ice cream!  When we got back we ate some ice cream and watched Monsters Inc.!! It was just a fun night!  Then saturday night we got all dressed up for fun and went to a mexican restaurant for supper!  And this morning we went again to Passion City Church which is always a good time!  It was just a pretty great birthday weekend all together!!!  I am so blessed! :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Time is flying by...

Getting ready to worship!!
I am finding it really hard to believe that we are already over half way down with our lecture phase of DTS!  The time here is flying by!  We just arrived back at our base today after spending the week in Talladega, Alabama for the YWAM Southeast Conference!  It was a really great week!  There were about 10 different bases there equally about 400 people total!  The teaching of the week was lead by a guy named Paul Hawkins and he spoke on the Nature and Character of God!  (If you ever get the chance to hear him speak live or from an audio...DO IT!)  My mind was literally blown after every teaching!!!! (The week was recorded and I will get a copy if anyone is interested in hearing it I would be happy to pass it along!) I want to share some key points that he spoke on this week:

- First thing he pointed out is that, what you believe about God determines what you believe about   everything else.  
- Cool thing is God awakes us every morning!  He knows our schedules and will make sure we are up on time if we just trust Him!  No need for alarm clocks!  (I have started doing this and sure enough every morning that I wanted to be up to have quiet time and get ready for breakfast I was awake at pretty much exactly 6:45 every time!!!)
- Jesus did not die just so we could be saved.  He died to restore the broken relationship with man!  God's heart is for relationship with us!  
THE CROSS IS THE CENTER OF HISTORY NOT THE BEGINNING!
- God gives us righteous desires so He can bless us by fulfilling them! 
- We are all spirits living in a body! We are spiritual!  There is nothing concerning reality that is not spiritual.
- We build and maintain relationship between regular and consistent 2 way communication!  Do not only talk to God, but listen to Him!  He wants to talk to you! (Hearing His voice is not a gift, but a skill that is developed!)
- God is personal! He is a person!  
- A suffering of the righteous opens the door of grace for the undeserving!
Love these guys!
- The root of faith is the knowledge of a person!  We must get to know God! Know= most intimate relationship with a person (God).  Genesis 4:1 "Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, 'I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.'"

This is just an extremely small part of the teaching!  I was going to try and pick points through my whole notes but there is just a bunch to go through right now!  As I mentioned earlier if you would be interested in hearing more on this teaching just let me know!  

Another amazing part about this week was the worship!!! Bryce Anderson was the worship leader and he did an incredible job!  I would recommend looking up some of his songs!!! 

It was such a great week!  On top of all of the great teachings and worship I also realized how God has blessed me with such amazing brothers and sisters as well!  My sisters and brothers were always eager to help me out when I was struggling and ready to take people out if I said the word (of course that was not needed lol)! However I felt so blessed to know I have these brothers and sisters in my life!!! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Destiny!

Last week we had a wonderful couple come to our base and teach on Destiny!  They are such an inspirational couple of God!  Their ministry is called Streams of Mercy where they sponsor orphanages and medical clinics all over the world!  They not only sponsor these places but they build relationships with these places and the children!  It was very awesome for me to know that God creates ministries like theirs that provide financial need to orphanages!  So if I have my own orphanage one day then I could possible partner up with a ministry like this and not have to necessary deal with the financial part of it!  Visit their website: http://www.streamsofmercy.org/

Something to think about: There are 143 Million orphans in this world but there are more Christian families.  If every Christian family adopted 1 orphan there would be no more orphans in this world! 

Them just coming was great but the teaching was also so wonderful too!  Destiny is a pretty fun thing to talk about when you know God is in control of it!  He didn't sugar coat any of it however!  He informed us the road to destiny is paved with brokenness, humility and dying to self! It is important to know that following God doesn't always mean everything will be awesome all the time!  There will be plenty of trials and hard times but everything will be worth it!

God's destiny will not be magnificent in the eyes of the world!  Worldly things won't matter when you only care what God thinks of you and no body else!  Jesus died for us and we must daily die to ourselves for Him!

Today we are off to Talladega, Alabama to spend the week at the YWAM southeast conference!  Here we will be with all the YWAM bases in the southeast and will be taught on the Nature and Character of God!  I am looking forward to this topic and continue to build a more intimate relationship with my Father!

God has already changed my life so much!  I am filled with Joy!  I have come to realize I need to embrace the person God created me to be and not look to be anything else!  With this I have become a much more confident person and very happy! I feel so blessed to have been given the wonderful people in my life that I have and to be who I am!  God made everyone in His perfect image!  I realize now that it is an insult to God to speak badly about yourself! He made you and you are wonderful!




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Falling in Love!



"Intimacy with God" was the topic for this week and what a great week it was!  It blows my mind how many Christians are in this world but don't have an intimate relationship with the Lord!  We had our own base leader teaching on this topic, which made it even better!  She has an amazing love for the Lord, which was very inspiring!  Through the first couple of days of the week I was feeling a little down and felt I needed to really take time to spend with the Lord.  So, Wednesday afternoon I felt that I needed to stay home from going to tutor the kids in Clarkston and just spend that time with God!  I spent around 3 hours that day reading my Bible and praying to God.  I felt so refreshed and so excited!  I actually enjoyed the time so much and couldn’t wait to make that a more regular thing!  Thursday afternoon I didn’t feel so much as I need to read but that I needed to worship!  I wanted to be able to sing but not have anyone hear me so I thought about where I could go.  I had heard some people mention a trail in the woods on the property so I decided I would check it out!  It was awesome!  I spent time singing and worshiping God in the woods that He created!  My excitement just continued to grow!  As of this week I really have started to love the Lord on a whole new level!  Our relationship still has a whole lot of growing to do but I felt that we made a huge stride this week!  I so look forward to the times I have set aside for Him!!! I would strongly encourage everyone to take time and really let God search your heart and reveal to you what you need to do become more intimate with Him!  It’s worth it! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sending Prayers to the Middle East!

As many of you may have heard on the news there is a bunch of unrest in the Middle East!  In my groups intercessory prayer this morning we really felt God calling us to pray for these countries!  My home church back in Missouri has some missionaries in this area, one family being located in Beruit, Lebanon where only one mile away from their home there has been out of hand protests!  I just want to send out a prayer request for this family and the whole Middle East!  I know God can do amazing things to stop this but we need to intercede to make this happen!  It can be so easy for us Americans to just blow these problems off but there is a real problem in this area now and we have the power to do something about it!  Send your prayers to the Middle East!

Here is an article by the New York Times that talks about some of the devastation:








Friday, October 19, 2012

Growing Passions!!!

DTS students and staff with out guest speakers!
This has been a crazy but very fun week!  The week started off on Tuesday for us and flew by!  I really felt God stirring my passion for my orphanage in Africa one day!  We started it off with a couple talking about sexual identity!  This was an interesting topic in which the couple talked a lot about how different factors from childhood can really affect you as you grow up.  Even things from the time you were in the womb can affect you, such as smoking, being an unwanted pregnancy, and being the opposite gender your parents wanted.  I found myself really thinking about my possible future orphans during this teaching!  I realized that with all children coming from broken backgrounds that this would definitely be an issue that I would see.  I started to take notes on different things she was saying on how to deal with this kind of stuff and I got super excited that one day I will really be able to help kids out!!!  This was just the beginning of God's passion stirring in me!

Kids and I at Clarkston!
On Wednesday one of the leaders here on base taught to us on Pride and Humility!  A big topic that many people (being human) struggle with!  This was an interesting topic for me because of my battle on finding out who God made me to be.  It really started me thinking more into who I am suppose to be and I am still struggling with this right now so I still haven't totally figured things out.  The really exciting part of my day though was that a former staff member showed up and he is originally from Ghana!  I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him at lunch and I am so glad I did!  I was telling him how I have been to Burkina Faso and that I felt God wanted me to start an orphanage one day.  Being a loyal man to his country he told me that Ghana was a lot better than Burkina Faso (mostly because it is cooler) and he wanted me to go there someday!  He also mentioned that from the U.S. with the help of his pastor in Ghana they were trying to start an orphanage there!  This was super exciting news to me because I am open to traveling anywhere in Africa and Ghana borders Burkina Faso so I could potentially visit both of them in the same trip!  This really continued to stir my passion!

Wednesday evening we all took a trip to Clarkston, GA (the most diverse square mile in the US) to tutor kids! This was really amazing too!  By the time we got there they were all pretty much down with their homework but we all had a blast playing with them!  They were all over us!  I had several girls doing my hair and then girls wanting piggy back rides!  It was great!  I am looking forward to making that a weekly outreach!

Thursday we found out that all of us are going to ARGENTINA for outreach!!! This was super exciting news for me!  We will be flying to the capital of Argentina and then traveling to different bases until we reach the base in the very southern tip of Argentina.  It will be summer while we are there and there will also be penguins roaming around! :)

The teaching Thursday and Friday were on Biblical Worldview!  It was a topic that really got me thinking about how I view the world!  I am very big on racial equality but I definitely want to make sure that every aspect of the world I look at through the view of God's word!

Each week brings more challenges but also so much JOY!! I am very excited to continue to see the work of God here!  I would just like to ask for prayer for some of my friends here who need some major money by Sunday to stay here with us!  We have an amazing group of people here and I would really be sad if anyone were to leave!  We have faith that God brought us all here for a reason and that He will surely provide but prayer never hurts!! Thank you all so much :)