Friday, December 21, 2012

Skin Oils & Squeaky Guitars

Hey y'all! If you didn't know before, I'm back from outreach! I'm now back home, frolicking in the snow, drinking hot chocolate by the fire, and defrosting my windshield. Let's be honest, I'm not doing any of those things- I live in Florida. But I am back with so so many stories, experiences, and much more faith. I just want to throw out a HUGE, gigantic, massive thank you to all of you who made this trip possible. My life was completely changed and it would not have happened without you! So if you contributed to my trip in any way, whether prayer or financial support, thank you! I feel so blessed!

Tahiti was absolutely amazing! Had I been blind the whole trip, I would still be saying the same thing. Don't get me wrong, the land was absolutely beautiful! We were doing ministry on the residential side of the island, so we didn't get to see many "white people", or tourists. Because the island has mountains in the middle, everyone lives on the coast. It isn't uncommon to have the ocean as your backyard in Tahiti. There is one road that goes around the whole island. So if there's an accident, it can really put a damper on your weekend plans. The land was so lush; however, the culture is what I fell in love with. It was amazing to go to another country that actually has (and celebrates) their culture proudly! We were greeted with floral leis everywhere we went. We were constantly being taught a new Tahitian dance or song. They were all so quick to invite us in and share everything they had. Which is really what Christianity should look like.

Since there was no YWAM base in Tahiti at the time, (there's a team working on pioneering a base there as I speak) a lot of our ministry was prayer walking. We would walk around neighborhoods, stopping to pray for people we met. We would also walk up to houses and ask the tenants if we could pray for them and their families. One day we were prayer walking and ended up talking to a man who was walking down the street. We stood on his driveway and talked, with the help of a translator of course, and he ended up inviting us into his home. He started showing us all these skin ointments that he made from the trees and crushed nuts from the trees in his yard. He was a 70-something year old man who was married, but had never had any children. He loved young people, and he wished he could pass on his trade to other people. He was explaining the whole process to us and was so passionate about what he did. At the time I was so bored. I mean, how long do you need to talk about skin oils? And then the man whipped out his guitar and started picking. He was a little rusty, but I was so impressed by how he wanted to share everything about himself with us. And in the moment, God totally changed my attitude. This guy never had any kids to share all this with. I would gladly sit there and listen to him talk about oils and play his out-of-tune guitar. I had this crazy revelation. This is what being a Christian is all about, and I'm learning more and more. It's not necessarily about rules or being perfect. It's about relationship. Relationship with our Savior, and relationship with other people. Being a Christian is listening to an old guy go on and on about his band he used to play in. Being a Christian is learning Tahitian dances even when you don't have one rhythmic bone in your body. Relationship with God, first and foremost. That relationship will overflow to relationship with others. It's what we are called to do.

After leaving Tahiti and returning to Newcastle, I was presented with an opportunity to staff a DTS and I felt God telling me to do it. It would be the same thing I just did, except this time I would be the one helping the students, discipling them, leading them, etc. As much as I wanted to come home and live in Sarasota, I knew God was calling me to go back to Newcastle and lead other people. This is something that God has said and I need to obey. I am so excited to see everything that will happen in the next six months! The school starts in January and ends in June. Because I am staffing, I will be paying monthly fees. I need close to $550 per month for 6 months. At first, I started freaking out because I don't have that kind of money to spend, I'm a poor missionary now! But God reminded me how he provided for me in the past season, and he would not leave me hanging out to dry. If you, or anyone you know would like to be a monthly supporter, please let me know! And if you can't give monthly, a one time donation would be amazing as well! You can give through the YWAM Newcastle website, or PayPal. You can contact me via facebook, email, or shoot me a text too! (941.266.8640).

Finally, and most importantly, I ask you to partner with me in prayer. I don't necessarily consider myself a leader, but I know that what I've experienced these past 6 months can't just stay with me. I need to share it with others, and help them along in their journey as well. I would love prayer for grace to lead other people. I want to be an encouragement to my students and everyone else I work with. Pray that the students would really grab onto what God is trying to teach them. Thank you so much again for supporting me in prayer and finances this past 6 months! Keep me in your prayers for my next 6 months please! I love you all!

Oh! And if you would like to hear more about my experiences, PLEASE feel free to contact me and I would love to share!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The latest news..

Wow! I am extremely terrible at blogging. The creative genes must have gone all to my sister, and I don't know how she's so good at keeping up with it. Speaking of my sister, I miss that lady.
I'm just going to tell ya'll a few stories about my past few weeks. And since being here, I've started to say "ya'll" a lot. Going back to my roots, trying to preserve my culture I suppose.

Tasmania was absolutely amazing! I could not believe how beautiful that island was! Florida has nice beaches, but everything around it is flat. In Tasmania, there are mountains all around the beaches, making it so stinkin' pretty! When we told people we were going to Tasmania, we got weird looks, and sarcastic comments like, "have fun" and "why are you going there?" We were a  little nervous, thinking that the place would be horrible; however, we were thoroughly surprised when we got there. The people were all SO nice! We stayed at the YWAM base which was located on top a hill- amazing! We drove around the island most of the time, going on "treasure hunts". We would have worship and pray every morning and ask the Holy Spirit what he wants to happen during the day. We would write down what we heard, pack a lunch, hop in the car and drive around the island. It was amazing to see how God showed up and answered our prayers. One girl got "lemur" when she prayed, how random? But when we stopped at a church to pray, a car in the car park (parking lot) had a little stuffed lemur hanging from the rear-view mirror. We then knew that we were there for a reason, and our faith grew so much! On the weekend, we drove to a town and held a youth service on Friday night, worked at the church on Saturday, and helped out with the church service on Sunday morning. The town was so small and it was so neat to see the sense of community that those people had! We even got the chance to see snow! We drove to the top of the highest mountain in the area and got to see some gorgeous views and some snow! So awesome!

Last Thursday is when we got back from Cunnamulla, a little mainly-aboriginal community in Queensland. It was such an awesome experience, and we got to hang out with so many teenagers from 12-18 years old. We could literally walk to everything in the town. When we did, we would see so many kids, and end up hanging out with them the whole night. We held a few services at the local indoor basketball court where all the kids hung out. One night we had a question and answer time and let the kids ask us any questions about God that they wanted. I was amazed at the interaction! I was expecting questions like "what's your favorite color" or "do you like puppies". Instead, we got some amazing heart-felt questions! It was so awesome to be able to speak into their lives. Most of those kids come from pretty rough backgrounds, so when we told them that God loves them SO much, the look on their faces was priceless.
On our day off, the two guys on our team hung out with some 13 year old boys who, at the end of the day, accepted Christ! It was awesome! Our day off was even used to glorify God! It really pumped us up!Before arriving in Cunnamulla, we asked God to give us a heart for the people there, and he did. We loved those kids so much, and surprisingly, they loved us in return.

This weekend was the 20th anniversary celebration for YWAM Newcastle! We spent the weekend helping out at the warehouse, listening in on some great speakers, and having some awesome worship times. We were all pretty exhausted, but it was a great weekend! 
Yesterday morning we spent some time praying for Tahiti, and asking God for a heart for the people there. I couldn't help but get excited for the stuff that God is going to do in that country! Tonight we're going to take a train to the Sydney airport where we will spend the night in the international terminal. Our flight leaves early tomorrow morning with a layover in Auckland, NZ, and then finally Tahiti! We leave the 25th of Oct. and arrive the 24th in Tahiti. It'll be like going back in time! Our team is extremely close, and we are all so excited to arrive in Tahiti and start some ministry! Please pray for us as we go!

One of the many gorgeous beaches in Tassie

Our team from left to right:
Me, Hannah, Alex, Candace, Jvarn, Rachel

Sunset on the mountain

On top of Mt. Wellington (the mountain with the snow)

normal day in Cunnamulla. our leader, Jeremy


Lartisha and Codey

safety-first for the boys on their bike ride

tent-city in the backyard for the 20th celebration!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

4 Days!!

Four more days until we leave for outreach!

Wait, what?! Four more days? I can't believe I've been living in Australia for 3 months already. It blows my mind! It would be easy for me to feel stressed, or freaked out right now, but strangely, I'm not. I just received $350 today in donations, which puts me at needing about $2,350 by Tuesday. I'm so so thankful for all that God has provided, and for everyone who has contributed for this trip! I am so so thankful for all the prayers and support that I have received over the last few months! I'm praying for the remaining money to come in, so if you, or anyone you know would like to contribute in any way, please let me know via facebook, email. etc. I appreciate all support, no matter how big or small!

Depending on if we receive all our money, our team leaves for Tasmania (or Tassie as the Aussies say) on Tuesday! Man, that is so soon! A YWAM base is being pioneered down there, and we will be helping them with different events in the community and helping wherever they need us! They told us we will be playing worship every morning for the base, prayer walking, and doing youth services. I'm really excited to work with the young people, and I think it'll be a great experience! After 10 days in Tassie, our team will come back to Lewis House (that's our house name) and leave for Cunnamulla a couple days later. Cunnamulla is an aboriginal community about 12 hours away from Newcastle. The April DTS just got back from there, and they were telling us a little bit about their time there. The people feel really hopeless and rejected. There is a huge spirit of low self worth in the town, so we will be walking around the town and praying to break that spirit. We will be hanging out with the kids in the schools almost every day as well. I can't wait!

There's 6 on my outreach team: 2 staff and 4 students. Today we sat down and talked about the first few weeks at Lewis House and how far we've come since then. It was so fun to reminisce! We were all so shy around each other, and the meeting times were borderline awkward.  This past Tuesday night, we had a time of giving up different "rights" we thought we deserved, but were rather privileges than rights. I'm not germaphobic, but I hate not showering. I recognized being clean was a privilege rather than a right, and decided to not get angry on outreach when I wanted a shower but couldn't have one. Throughout the night there were tears, laughter, and it ended with everyone wearing a wig, popcorn, and everyone dancing to a Korean song. (pictures coming soon)

I'm really excited about what's in store for the next few months and I cannot wait to see what the Lord is going to do through us! Prayers are much appreciated and prayers for finances will be appreciated as well! Thank you, love you all! :)

Woke up at 4:40 to see the sunrise at the Breakwall! So amazing!
We found this door while walking to Newcastle Beach.. We couldn't resist :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Well, the weeks are dwindling down. 3 more weeks until outreach! Daniel Norris, one of the staff on base, talked about faith in finances yesterday. He gave countless examples of when he and his wife were saving up for something and God told them to give it away. They always, without failure, got even more money in return than they gave away! It was really encouraging and really challenged me to give away. A YWAM base is definitely the place to test my faith in giving  since everyone here needs money in one way or another. With that said, I'm about to start stressing about funds, and I don't want to stress! I want to have major faith that God is going to provide for this outreach. We've been praying and fasting for our outreach and getting a  heart for the people there. Although 5,000 dollars seems like a lot, it's like nickels and pennies for the God I serve. I would really love any and all support you could give for this outreach! I have a long way to go to reach my goal, but I don't have a doubt in my  mind that God can do it! If you would like to give, please email me, facebook me, comment on here, or visit the base  HERE! Make sure you mention it's for me!

I've been learning more and more about faith. God isn't going to call me into something that he won't make provisions for. He is always going to make a way for something to happen, regardless of money! Money means nothing to the Lord, and I am so thankful for that! He also provides such awesome people and opportunities as well. I know that he won't lead me into something I cannot handle. Good thing he gives us the ultimate counselor, eh?  I'm learning more and more about hearing God's voice. It's not only for the pastors, missionaries, and important Christian people. We are all given the Holy Spirit and he speaks to each one of us! We don't have to be big league "important Christians". All we have to do is ask him questions, and he will answer! How awesome is that??

Also, we have more confirmation on our outreach! The first two weeks will be spent in Tasmania (the little island below Australia, which is actually a part of Australia), the next two weeks will be spent in Cunnamulla which is an aboriginal community in the outback. And the remainder of outreach will be spent in Tahiti, helping pioneer a YWAM base there! I am so excited to take what I have been learning here to different nations! God is so good!
Tasmania! The blue island: our first outreach location!

Cunnamulla! Our second Outreach location!

The streets of Tahiti!   

I am so excited to see how God is going to use our team on outreach! This week our lectures were on calling and vision.. scary, yet so, so good! I'll be writing more this weekend :) Love you all!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sushi Love

Did you know that God loves you? I'm not talking about knowing it in your head. Of course everyone knows the cliche "God loves you".  But does your heart know that He loves you so much? We overuse and damage the word love in the American language way too much: "I love kittens! I love my sister! I love sushi! Jesus loves me!" Wait what? How can the word you use to describe how you feel about food be the same word you use to describe how you feel about a sibling or husband? Or how Jesus feels about you? That seems a little diminishing don't you think? This week we learned about evangelism and why we evangelize. God loves us so much that he wants everyone to spend forever with Him! But His love is perfect! Perfect, genuine love requires a choice. He doesn't make us love Him because that wouldn't be true love! Would you love someone if he or she made you love them? It would be possible, but it wouldn't be perfect love. I know that my defiant nature would take a lot of arm-twisting to comply with a forced love. Which is why we get to choose whether or not we want to be in a perfect-love relationship with Jesus! He could snap His fingers and we could all be saved! That would cheapen the love and wouldn't mean as much. Maybe this is old news to some of you, but it really hit me in the face this week! This is probably 10 minutes of information in one 3 hour lecture. We have 4 lectures in a week. Talk about God doing some serious reconstruction. Welcome to the life of a YWAMer!

I love it here! I've been learning so much and the weeks are strangely flying by. We are still trying to figure out the logistics of the outreach phase, but we know where we're going! The first 2 weeks will be spent in Tasmania, which is the little island below Australia. Weird, right? I didn't even know there was an island down there! I feel like it would fall off since it's basically on the bottom of the world :) I still don't have all my funds for the outreach phase so if you feel led to contribute please email me or send me a facebook message!

And yes, I will try to update more than once a month :) Hope you all have a good week! Love you all :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

So you could say I've had a busy week.

For any of you that really know me, know that I'm quite the morning person. And for those of you who don't know me that well, that was some extreme sarcasm. Waking up at 630 every morning to ensure I get a hot shower has definitely solidified the fact that I still really hate mornings. 630? Really? No one should have to wake up that early for ANY reason. But I wake up that early because my hatred for cold showers overrides my hatred for mornings. So, it looks like I'll be waking up at 630 on weekdays for the next 3 months. Yay! God's already using the smallest things to stretch me. Which I'm totally okay with!

So after I wake up at 630, shower, and get ready for the day, I walk downstairs and eat a breakfast that usually consists of cereal and maybe some toast. And tea, lots of tea. They're crazy tea drinkers here. Some Americans living here are coffee drinkers, so I'll have an occasional french press cup of coffee. That's always comforting and somehow makes me feel a little more at home. Love it. After breakfast we have "tidy time" which is 20 minutes of a whole-house cleaning. Pretty cool if you think about it, and it makes it so much easier for the maintenance people here. After tidy time, we get to the fun part.. lectures! Lectures have been so amazing already and we've only had a few. It's crazy to think how much I've learned in just a week of being here. I love it though! We have lectures till about 1pm and then it's lunch time. After lunch, I have free time until "work duties" at 345. My work duty is helping make dinner. It's seriously so much fun! I can't believe I haven't been cooking much back home. (Besides the occasional cooking class with Charlene!) Dinner is at 530, and after that we usually have some kind of activity until 9. And then I become a grandma and go to bed shortly thereafter. So I've strangely transformed into more of a morning person than a night person. But not by choice. Weekends here are extremely chill. Since we help out with the youth ministry on Saturdays, our weekend is Sunday and Monday. And that consists of eating lots of bread (which might possibly be the death of me), junk food, drinking tea, and watching  movies in your sweats. Like I said, extremely chill. Love it!

I have been seriously slacking on the whole taking pictures thing here, sorry! No worries though, I'll try to step up my game here shortly. Until then, here's a measly few to hold you over.. Enjoy! For those of you who have instagram, I'm sorry because you'll probably have already seen these pictures.  And please don't judge, because I'm not a photographer! Miss you all back home, but I'm enjoying life here so much!
Much love xoxo
My first real-life Koala! And now I want one..

Korean Church with Kimichi after.. so awesome!

Hair dying fun!

So essssited!

TimTams will eventually make me fat. So. Stinkin. Good.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Life As I Know It

Hi friends!
I'm here! Yay! I feel like I have been so disconnected from everything theses past few days because I've had no access to technology.

Which in a way, is kind of awesome.

But! Not awesome because I miss talking to everyone!
When I arrived on Monday, the first thing I asked for was a shower. And boy was it hot. That's when I knew I really loved this place. There's nothing that puts me in a better mood than a hot shower. Actually, there's nothing that puts me in a terrible mood like a cold shower. So for these hot showers, I am thankful.

Everyone here is so nice! And they are from all over the world. Pretty awesome. I have 5 people on my DTS plus 3 leaders. A girl from Newcastle (my roommate), a "kiwi" (someone from New Zealand), a boy from Germany (yay, I'll be able to speak dutch!), and a guy from Brooksville, Florida (represent!). My two staff are girls from the states and my leader is an Aussie guy.They're pretty awesome.

There's a creative DTS here at the same time. They have 6 people in their DTS and we do most of our lectures with them in the morning. And then there's some people here doing secondary schools (schools for which you have to complete a DTS), and then a ton of other staff. So there's a wide variety of people here, and that's so awesome! There's always someone new to talk to and find out their story. Pretty cool.

This week is orientation week, so we haven't gotten into too much material yet. Yesterday morning we had base worship and that was so awesome! The leaders kind of layed out what they wanted for this next season, and it sounds like some pretty exciting things are going to happen! I'm so excited!

The time difference is crazy. I'm in the future! Skyping home is probably going to be pretty difficult. It's either going to be late at night or early in the morning for either of us. But I'm sure we'll make it work. I haven't been able to because of one small problem: the outlets here don't fit American plugs. Yaaaay! So now I need converters for my plugs, and I have yet to get those. So once I do, I can hopefully Skype you people!

I'm so excited for these next 12 weeks! I ask for prayer for openness to whatever God wants to show  me and teach me, because that's the reason I'm here. I know my life as I know it will never be the same. And I am so ready for that!