Monday, January 31, 2011

There is a reason this place was an old hospital...

Well it’s the start of another week! We had base worship this morning and I am so excited that everyone volunteered Hope from Canada to sing against her will. She rocked it even though her mic stopped working after the first song. Haha and thanks to Vickey I was able to have delicious chocolate milk all week long. Yum. Our speaker this week is Fiona Gifford from England. She started teaching on Discipleship and let me just say she is a total spitfire. She was cracking us up the whole time and had us do crazy things to brake down walls. The teaching is going to be great and start to prepare us for outreach as a true team. The subject of discipleship is where I think my true passion as a missionary is going to come out. It will either make it or break it for me.

The showers in the girl’s dorm have been broken now for three days… and everyone laughed that I brought baby wipes incase there were no showers!! Haha. It was pretty interesting that we washed our hair in the sink and brought buckets of cold water from the sink back and fourth to the shower. It was quite the crazy scene but together as a team of 14 girls we got the job done.

Everything else has been pretty awesome. We have started preparing to go to Niko. We leave Saturday and come back Tuesday. Niko means to “over come.” It’s a four-day survival camp in the wilderness. We are only allowed to bring a couple items that DON’T include body wash, toothpaste, or deodorant. The leaders always joke that this is when we will really find out if we will get married to someone in our DTS because we will be encountering REAL pheromones!! Gross but I am excited for the adventure. I had to buy a pocketknife and I am glad my mom sent me with some super duper bug repellent bands cause I am sick of these spider bites!! I know God will move through us and test our limits and our team effort. I am excited because I have always felt like I had to be the leader. No matter how bad it stressed me out in life, I always take charge. That’s not going to work at Niko. I will be forced to ‘overcome’ my leadership role and only use it if necessary. I know God has a purpose for Niko and I feel blessed that my DTS leaders felt this is something worth experiencing. I know we will have to fall to God and each other. Can’t wait to blog about it when we get back. I’m sure I’ll have interesting stories and hopefully some awesome inside jokes.

I praise God everyday I’m here. I know he has brought me here for a reason. It is no coincidence that this base is in the buildings of an old hospital. I see people still being healed here, including myself. More than one person has had and given me the words ‘open heart surgery’ regarding the healing of my heart and it makes sense that it would be conducted in God’s hospital YWAM Worcester. That thought makes me smile.

Fiona has challenged me to now take my healing heart and start the process of healing my mind and reanalyzing the way I think about the world and the people of it. I love the concept that she calls Arrows Up. Meaning when you start to get angry or you curse or you get frustrated, you stop and realize no… this is not a demon.. This is living in the flesh.. challenges we face all the time. So to take that realization and point the arrow up. Really ask yourself ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ and because you want to…. Not just because you feel you have to. I really want to change my thinking and start LIVING MY LIFE!!!!!!! Stop all the negative crap and just move on with joy and love that God offers. We did an exercise where we looked into the eyes of different people to really view them as God does. It was very uncomfortable at first to stare in the eyes of people I just met a month ago, but even without talking I felt more close to them and could see the true person they were made to be. Sometimes I laughed and with others I cried. It was very moving.

Well, to sum it up. God is still moving in my life and the lives of others here. Its great to know there is a plan and we are part of it.

Stay naturally supernatural!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit Week was more than I could ever ask for. I was able to seriously give all my problems of regret, hurt, anger, disappointment, abandonment and all the other crappy things I have been feeling up to God. To truly give these things to God allowed me to have a new spark. I spent two hours in the prayer room talking to God about forgiveness. It was something I have been struggling with for the last year. I knew the last step in this journey of renewing my life was to forgive the person who hurt me most. After those two hours of screaming, writing, crying, and laughing I felt lighter and more joy than I have ever felt. I left the prayer room and the next two people I talked to both said there was something different about me without even knowing what I had been up to. Since that release people tell me I look beautiful and you know something… I feel beautiful. I publicly announced that I had forgiven him. With the help of Brandon I was able to stand in front of the whole base and give my forgiveness. I feel free and brand new. THANK GOD! I am excited for the future and to see where the crazy Holy Spirit will lead me in my life.  I know when I go home people are going to see a positive change in me. I have faith in that.

We had a Holy Spirit party last night and we were able to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Since I can remember people have talked about my hands and how much comfort they bring so of course I prayed for the Gift of Healing! I pray God can use my hands to heal people of other nations and that I can be used to glorify Him. It was awesome.

We started the process of planning our outreach. I am on the team to Mozambique! I pray we will get to spend some time on the YWAM base in Jo-burg before we head into Mozambique doing local outreach there. I hear its really dangerous but then again… Isn’t flying around the world to spread the word of God dangerous in itself? I have no fear of this. Dur. It seems that the people of need are usually in dangerous places right? Haha. Nonetheless I am excited to start the process and get more information. Right now all I know is that I need to get my Yellow Fever shot and pills for Malaria. I also found out that like 99.9% of people who go where were going get worms. So we have to have dewormer pills upon return. Super fun…. Gross. Anyways! We also get to spend time with LOTS of children. There is a possibility that we will go to this one village where the oldest person is about sixteen years old. Everyone else has dies from AIDS. I pray God will let our team be a comfort to those children in this stage of devastation.  Pray for that. I will find out more information. Also, if anyone has an idea of fundraising or knows anyone who would like to donate let me know. I need to raise about $1,200.

We are heading back to Zwelethemba in an hour and I am so excited to see the little girls I met last time. The families there are beautiful and I am thankful we have this opportunity. 

This week has been a little rough though. Out of the whole dorm room I managed to drop my already broken iPhone into a small bucket of water.... I realized I have to buy skirts because that's all women are allowed to wear in Mozambique. And I have been really wanting chocolate milk. haha. But in all seriousness I am emotionally drained and I am so excited I get to sleep in tomorrow! 

Thank you all for the continued prayer and please keep in touch. I miss everyone!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thank you Erin!! Blessings to Zwelethemba!!

Wow this week was awesome! So jammed packed with lots of stuff.  Today was the last day of teaching from Erin. Oh and I found out not only is she from California, but she’s from the Sacramento area! She lives in Cape Town now. So inspirational! She really challenged us to really open our hearts to God’s work. We studied verses from the old testament and really dug deep into them through the week. It spiked some deep debates among friends and we all had to really look at how we defined God’s love. Most of us, including myself, had our eyes re-opened. I never knew that I had put God in such a small box. I have always heard that thrown around… That people “keep God in a box.” I never knew I did that till this week. I realized there is SO MUCH MORE than I had ever even imagined. The hunger I have to know and read and study and live by God’s word grew and grew. I had contemplated taking a Bible Core Course (a three month long intense bible study provided by YWAM all over the world) but I know now it wont be enough. Thank God there is a nine-month program (don’t worry mom and dad, no decisions have been finalized…) I am so thankful that she was our first speaker because she has me thinking constantly! All day!! Its great and it really drives my hunger into a level I didn’t know was possible!

We also got to spend time in the town Zwelethemba yesterday. That is where we will do our weekly local outreach and I am so excited. Its poverty like you haven’t seen it. You know those pictures in magazines you see of people in houses made of rubbish and held together by a couple rusty nails? That’s this place.. Hoses back to back as far as the eye can see. This town is located just on the other side of a bridge where the nice houses are. It was crazy to go from riches to rags in a short second. The people there are mostly struggling with alcohol addiction and lack of work. We were able to walk around and pray for people who wanted prayer. They are very open to prayer and Jesus so it was easy to talk to them. Most of the kids are orphans and I got to pray for little kids who wanted to “do better in school”. It was really humbling and I can’t wait to do more of that.  I feel like that’s why I am here.

I miss my family and friends so much. I did get a few letters and I am so grateful for that. Man, the drawings from Sydney were so cute and I can’t wait to squeeze her little cheeks!

God continues to move through me and His joy has yet to leave.. I don’t think it will! My hunger for Him grows daily and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me next! Tonight is an all worship night where we will pray, worship, sing, dance and do what ever else the Holy Spirit wants to do till the early morning lead by the ever so wise Wisman (that’s his name). I am so excited!! Such great fellowship and lovely laughing attacks are much enjoyed.

We got to watch a performance done by a dance team from Brazil. They did stomp and worship. So awesome.  Guys doing back flips and using glowing drum sticks.

Well I’m off to the worship meeting. I know this is a lot to read so I will try to blog more often. I found out today I can pay R240 and get unlimited internet, that’s if it is working… Sometimes it has issues…. Same with the water…. Haha But all is well!

Bless and be blessed <3 <3

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Excited for Erin Pennington!

I am so excited to say that we are moving in to the second week of school! This week we will be learning The Word of God and our speaker is Erin Pennington. She is from the US!!! This will be the first week of real lecture! No more orientation! Last week was incredible and I am so excited that we ended it in the beautiful Tweede Tol. Even though we had car problems on the way back, we were able to have a dance party in the street while listening to Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun. It was nice to relax Saturday and grow closer with some of the people on base. I sat and talked with Wise and Emanuel for a very long time. Emanuel was able to really brake down walls in my heart and Wise gave me encouragement about my next step after DTS.

Church was incredible yesterday, even though we had a mix up in location and ended up walking around town a half hour in the wrong direction. We made it there in time for the message and it reminded me a lot of GVCC. The music wasn’t nearly as amazing as Cameron and the team at GVCC but it will do! There was an ad talking about the teen ministry and immediately God put it on my heart that this was something I needed to be doing. I miss my high school kids from home so much! Then during the service they made an announcement that they needed leaders so if any one from YWAM was feeling called then they should get more info. Praise God! So I will be attending their meeting on Friday in hopes of finding my place with the youth of that church. So excited!

All is well though. I feel incredible. Almost like I have been put into rehab for my heart and I tell you… It is so working. I can feel the hurt and bitterness be replaced by fellowship, joy and true worship. I don’t have much time to blog because I have to go to class but there is so much on my heart that I can’t wait to share!

Be blessed. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soaking in the Spirit and Fellowship

Last night I witnessed something that I have never seen before. I found out later that "Soaking in the Spirit" is something you don't usually do till you have completed most of your DTS. I will learn about it more in Holy Spirit week in a couple of weeks but for now I got a taste and I can't wait. It's complicated to explain what happens but all I know is that I feel like a whole new person. I was broken down... sobbing over the events that haunt my heart. Dark things from my past that I had suppressed and tried to ignore. I know that feelings can just be pushed inside and locked up for no one to see. Even though most of my family would call me an "emo-memo" or just an "emotional wreck" no one has seen the darkness of it. My heart had been shattered into tiny glass pieces that I felt would never truly be molded back to the original. I had given up, lost hope, and was living with regret, fear and anger. But last night I encountered God for what he really is and my sobbing was transformed into an uncontrollable laughter that still I can't understand. I looked at Vickey laughing till my stomach ached and shouted at her "Vickey!! I think I can be happy now!!"

As I woke up today slightly confused and questioning what really went on, I felt complete again for the first time in years. I had to talk about my past and for the first time in what seems like forever, it was actually the past.. I was no longer dwelling on it. I can think of memories and not be sickened or heartbroken. True relief.

If on my first day of DTS this can happen... Then words can not express how grateful I am for the next five months to come. God has broken walls and I am complete with a heart that is in rapid recovery and ready for what He has to share.

As I go into this week refreshed I pray that God will speak through my lectures. DTS is Discipleship Training School. I really hope and pray that God will use me as a disciple. My continued prayer is that he will use my hands and feet to touch the people of nations. Tomorrow we start the process of choosing where our outreach will be. I have been praying my heart out and requesting prayer so that God will make it perfectly clear where he needs me to be. I feel called to Africa so Mozambique feels like the right choice but since I've been here Brazil has been thrown in my face everywhere? How can this be?? Please pray for the finances and a direct confrimation from God for me.

Over all. This has been incredible. All is well :)


Saturday, January 8, 2011

My first week is already over!!

It is an absolutely beautiful morning. The heat isn't bad at all and there is a nice overcast, perfect time for pictures. I'm sitting in the courtyard on the YWAM base and it still hasn't set in that I'm half way around the world from where I lived. I'm not sure why I feel so comfortable already but it must be because I'm finally, for once, in the right place at the right time. I can't explain to you the peace and comfort I have found. I think that's what scares me the most.... The fact that I am already in love with this place, this culture, and being submerged in God's work.

Its extremely amazing to sit in a room and talk about what God has done for us for hours. I live in a room with 12 other girls and across the hall are 10 boys, all here for the same reason. It's so awesome to be surrounded by individuals who are on fire for God and want to grow in their relationship. It's refreshing to be able to stand perfectly comfortable and pray with my fellow sisters. We pray for unity because it's no mystery what can happen when 13 girls live so closely together.

Today will be the first church service that I will get to attend and by the sound of it I think it may be similar to my home church Green Valley. But I will be missing the fellowship that I have been so graciously shown the last eight months at GVCC. I am excited to experience a new church and a new way of life. I love that I can travel half way around the world and be able to worship God the same.

I thank God for this time and this opportunity. It has been a huge blessing and I am so excited to see what God has next.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh YWAM....

I have been in South Africa for a week now. I am so thrilled to be here till June. I was told I should blog so hopefully I can be a witness to others. Thank you to everyone who has supported me. This is the start of an incredible journey and I would love you all to be a part of it.