Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nations to Nations, Stomach to Stomach

I was so excited for this week. Last week most of the class had trouble really getting focused on what Holger had to teach. We were so emotionally and physically exhausted from Rich's Father Heart of God that we couldn't really get into the week. Also, there is a lot of stuff going on with the leadership of the base that I don't think Holger (who is part of the national leadership team) could really connect either... Just a really off week. So back to this week. New speaker and a great subject! We are celebrating Nations to Nations week where our base hosts other teams from all over to come and join in. Pieter McKarthy came at just the right moment to speak on the subject of worship and spiritual warfare. He rocked the house with his worship first thing Monday morning with our over packed and loving base. I knew this was going to be a great week and then things started to take a turn for the... well for the uncomfortable.

What started out as a cough simply got worse. Spreading to my head and stomach. It turns out I caught a horrible stomach flu along with six other girls from my DTS, one boy from my DTS, two girls from the Children in Need DTS, and 6 people from the English Language Learning center. Some of us had to go to the doctor yesterday because we needed to stop this from spreading. One of the girls had to be hospitalized from dehydration after collapsing yesterday and another with the same thing last night. I have been staying very hydrated, drinking lots of juice and powerade (mom taught me well). My fever and headache are gone but my stomach is still very unstable. I can't eat the base food, but the kitchen was nice enough to make us chicken noodle soup for lunch. I've spent most of the last four days in bed, stuck inside the dorm. Its been really frustrating and it really makes me miss Papa Don bringing me medicine and stuff when I'm sick. I went to worship last night and it was incredible despite the flu. I was excited to see everyone dressed as the nation that they come from. The only thing I could pull together was a red, white, and blue outfit... Unfortunately I didn't realize people here were so accepting of the USA so I left all my God Bless America gear at home.

So now that the lecture is over for the week I am a little bummed out I didn't get to hear more of Pieter speak or make new friends from the visiting teams, but I did get a lot from the teaching Monday so I am thankful and can arrow up for that! We have tomorrow off and I better be feeling 100% better because we have a small outreach to Saldanah this weekend where I get to go see Vickey's Gran and Opa again. I am praying I wont miss out on it.

Outreach prep for Mozambique has kind of been put on hold since everyone has been so sick. We did, however, purchase our flight to Durban today and we got a very good deal so praise for that. So I guess I get to go to Durban at least! Please continue to pray that the funding will come in for the trip. Unfortunately I STILL don't know how much it will cost, but I know I don't have enough yet. I'm trusting God, I know He wouldn't bring me this far to leave me in SA.

Miss you all!! Love you so much!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Preaching at the farm

Yesterday was a very important day to me. I was volunteered by my good friend Brandon to PREACH at the local farm that we have been doing outreach for! I know that its only children between the ages of 6 and 16, but still I was nervous! I was standing in the farm house feeling really scared that I wouldn't be able to give a good message, really stressing out. I looked down and there on the floor was a tiny girl at my feet. She was picking grass and sticks out of my sandals. This tiny girl was cleaning my shoes to serve me. I was amazed and it brought tears to my eyes. I was instantly comfortable and knew that God would use my message to serve them. I held that little girl in my arms till I had to preach the message and then for a good long time after.

 I knew I needed to keep the message short and simple so I spoke on how to talk to God. I showed the kids a cell phone and asked them how to use it. They knew how and they also knew that it costs lots of money to use. I asked them if we could talk to God on a cell phone and they laughed and said no. I asked them how to talk to God if you can't call Him on the phone and they didn't know. I told them that God has given us a great gift, Prayer! I told them that we have a direct phone line that doesn't cut out, doesn't cost money and goes straight to God. I held up my hand in a phone-like "hang-loose" sign and told the kids that THIS is their phone to God, if they ever want to talk to Him when they are happy, sad, alone, scared, or at any time they can just talk to God on their "phones." We prayed for the kids in groups at the end and the greatest thing happened, something I will never forget in my lifetime... A group of little girls told Vickey they wanted to talk to God during the prayer time but they don't know how. So she told them just remember their phones! They all picked up their "phones" and started to thank God for everything in their lives. So touching. I am so happy to be apart of bringing little girls to God and giving them something practical to use when talking to God.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Father Heart of God

This week was the most emotional so far. I feel more close to my brothers and sisters of the DTS then I ever have.. even more than at Niko! Rich is a great guy and I am excited that God has given him this gift. I can't believe that one guy, with six kids of his own, can care so much about other people. I don't want him to go. I wish he could be our teacher for the rest of the DTS. I know that's not really fair for the others we have booked though! It scares me a little that this week was that emotional.  We all received new names this week from God. It was an emotional exercise and class lasted for almost 12 hours. The name I received was Michelle- The Forgiven Forgiver. It was a very hard name to accept and even now I don't feel its easy to live up to. God has been working on my heart to let go of bitterness and move forward knowing that I am forgiven and that I need to forgive others and let go. It feels like every week has become more and more deep, I can't imagine that it could get any deeper. But God's funny like that I guess. Its nice that after every week I feel more and more brand new. More fresh and ready to continue on forward in what God has planned for me. AMEN!

My team for Mozambique had a fundraiser here where we sold smoothies with fruit that was donated to us! We were able to keep the cost down and make just over 400 rand! That may sound like a lot but remember that one rand is like eight dollars... So we didn't make THAT much but a little is better than nothing and we felt very blessed. We are baking and selling muffins at a local church tonight to hopefully make a little more for the funds. We still have not decided between Lesotho or Swaziland but I believe God will make it a clear choice for us. We need to choose by the end of this week. One of my team members did some research on Swaziland and it has the highest HIV population in the world, most of the people don't live past their twenties. Its heart wrenching. So please pray about where our outreach team should go and the things we will be doing. I know I keep saying I will have more info for you but I still don't know it yet!

The DTS is still doing local outreach while we are here. As you know we have been praying and interacting with the people of Zwelethemba but two weeks ago I was able to go with a small team to a local farm and do ministry for the children that work and live there. We sang and danced with the kids and then prayed over their lives. It was a huge blessing and Brandon was able to do an on the spot message for them. I was so proud of our team! Last Thursday we were able to back and do it again! We brought a new dance to teach them and this week we are going to be working on a short skit to perform for them. It really warms my heart and I wish we could drive out there more often. The other local team went to a hospital where I heard they were able to pray for the newborn babies! I know God used that team as a blessing to the new mothers and the others that were sick. Go us! I'm so proud!

This weeks lecture is on the Nature and Character of God. I have a lot of loose ends I need to tie up from this week and really get my emotions together and process so I can be ready for the week!! Man, do I wish I had Bean Barn right now. Haha. I miss home, miss my family and miss my friends. Only two more months till outreach! God Bless!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

NIKO=Overcome... rightttt?

So I know everyone has been waiting for the update on my Niko trip! Well here’s the good news… I SURVIVED!!! Not only did I survive, but I overcame so much that God had placed in front of me. The bad news? I can’t talk about the activities we did…. Haha I know it sounds lame, but that’s the rule. This trip was about learning to overcome things in your life physically and mentally. And believe me… I was faced with things that I never even imagined. It showed me really who God has made me. With His help I was able to push my limits to a whole new level. Believe me… Just be proud. Do a Niko… Then we can talk! Being back on the base has been great though. I appreciate the simple things here like running water, toothpaste, and food. Which we didn’t have at Niko. People told me it sounded like I was heading of to Survivor and yes, it was just like Survivor without the competition. We grew so much stronger as a team and learned to use God to power through together. It is a challenge that I will never forget.

So now its back to base life and this week has been a huge blessing, yes I am so so tired but the speaker this week is Rich. He is speaking on The Father Heart of God and let me just tell you that my life will never be the same. He pin pointed areas in my life that were so true it was scary. We still have two lecture days left with him and I wish it was longer. He reminds me of my dad so much. The way he talks, and his eyes, they even wear the same shorts. Haha. I miss my daddy so much. Rich has really challenged us to open our hearts to God’s love. Its actually a huge challenge to brake the lies we have heard or told about ourselves and just receive love. But how can we expect others to receive love from us if we can’t even receive it ourselves? He has really been showing us how to brake down our walls and stop doing the dance to get the hug. There’s more to life. God wants us to live… Not just walk through life trying to meet expectations. Sometimes success is a curse. You finally make it, you finally do it right and then they move the bar higher. This is the reality of the world we live in. Nothing is ever good enough. But let me just tell you it is. We have all got to the point we are because God is weaving a plan. He is very practical and straightforward. It’s been really incredible. God is really working on deep layers for me. I thought I had dealt with problems in the past but I can see them start to come back to the surface. I realize now that I never mourned, never let go of dark things I should have, I only pushed them deeper to forget they ever happened. God has been facing them with me now. He is peeling back the layers like an onion. Rich said something that really stuck with me this week… I need to expose the pipe, fix all the leaks, then cover it back up.. using God’s grace. Things from our past that we burry get buried ALIVE. They will eventually come back up. I feel like this all sounds depressing but its not. This week has been emotional and hard yes, but also very healing, again. Things are great. God is good and He is moving. Amen.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


We are packing for Niko!! I thought that we were going to be very minimal about what we are allowed to take but I am surprised at how full my backpack is. It makes me worried for outreach!! I am excited for this 4 day camp. I know God is really going to challenge me. I usually don’t feel out of my comfort zone in other countries but when I am faced with nature and no sign of civilization it makes me a little uncomfortable. I am so excited though. It will be nice to get away from the base and be forced to bond even more with my fellow DTS YWAMers. So I am thankful for this opportunity. I hope we come back even more bonded. Some of us watched Into the Wild last night to get psyched for the wilderness. Super good movie, but now I’m scared to eat anything while I’m there! Ahhh!!!

My outreach team is still deciding the course of our actual journey. We can only be in Mozambique for one month so we will spend two weeks in Durban before that. We are also praying for the other location that we will go to for the remaining two weeks between Durban and Mozambique. It will either be Lesotho or Swaziland. Both are beautiful and both have a need for outreach. So please keep that in your prayers. My team has started fundraising! We sold pancakes the last two mornings and it was a lot of fun. We didn’t make too much but it’s a start and anything is better than nothing! I started making bracelets to sell with the yarn I brought. I knew it would come in handy!! And mom and Melissa laughed at me… haha. Miss my family so much.  

This week defiantly did a number on me though. I thought Holy Spirit week was intense… I didn’t think anything could even come close to it. But this week proved me wrong! Fiona was great. She really showed us how to use communication and how NOT to use communication. The word “disciple” comes from the Latin word meaning “learner.” I really see that I have so much more to learn about this world and about God. We really took some time to look at our lives and were able to evaluate where we were keeping things away from God, parts of our lives that we didn’t want to let him in. It brought up a lot of dark things from my past that I thought I had dealt with. I guess in a way I just pressed them deeper in and this week I was able to confront them and give them to God. I thought last week was emotional and hard but this week was just as challenging. I can see that God is working in me in pieces and parts, breaking things down for me in a way that I can fully heal before moving to the next part. And once again I feel even more free! Even lighter and even more forgiven. I know God forgives, I get that. I struggle with forgiving myself. We did an exercise where we took some time and left all of our burdens and heaviness at the base of the cross. I analyzed parts of my life, prayed and talked with God about them and then was able to let them go. Praise God.

A verse I just want to share to sum up the week (and because I’m in love with it):
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

I got to experience the Holy Spirit in a completely different way then last week and I am so grateful for it. Thanks Fiona.