This past week has been a roller coaster! I have been gone since last Saturday on my in class outreach. We went to Los Angeles to work with the Dream Center, as well as the Jonah Project (www.jonahproject.com)which is a non-profit organization right in the heart of Skid Row. We left for this adventure early on Saturday morning. We spent that night at the YWAM base in Las Vegas, which is in the third worst neighborhood in the United States. That night we went down to the main strip in Las Vegas and did a little site seeing. It was beautiful but very different than what I expected. Never have I seen so much of God's glory mixed in with so much sin. It was pretty intense. We left Las Vegas on Sunday morning and arrived in L.A. that afternoon. Our speaker for the week came with us and taught on the Holy Spirit for the first few days. It was by far my favorite teaching yet. He was very thorough in his teaching and he answered all of my questions. It was great.
Later in the week we worked with the Dream Center. We worked with a food truck on the first day. We handed out groceries and prayed with people in a local community in L.A. On the second day we worked with their children's ministry. We got to play and make crafts with the kids while their parents received food for the week. It was so awesome to see how God used the simple act of handing out food to bring Him glory. We also worked with the Jonah Project in Skid Row. Skid Row has one of the largest concentrations of homelessness in the United States. There were hundreds and hundreds of homeless people. My team went around and talked and prayed for people if they wanted it. It was an incredibly eye opening experience. I went in to Skid Row thinking that it would be similar to all of the street ministry we have done here in the Denver area. It was nothing like that. I didn't even know poverty like that existed in the U.S. I think that God really used my time in Skid Row to show me that being in ministry isn't always going to be pretty. It's going to be incredibly hard and challenging at times, but it's worth it.
On Thursday we spent the day at the beach. Several of the people in my school got baptized in the ocean. It was awesome! When that was over we went and did street ministry on the boardwalk in Venice beach. It was a pretty crazy experience. We went in groups of three and talked and prayed for people. There was a lot of spiritual warfare going on in that area. Despite that, we were able to be a light in a dark area. A lot of the people guessed that we were Christians even before we had said anything about it. God really went before us and prepared the way. We were able to plant seeds in these people's lives. It's exciting to see the way God is moving in that area!
We joined the YWAM base in L.A. twice this week and had an amazing time of ministry. The DTS there was learning about the Holy Spirit this week as well. We had a powerful time of prayer and worship. The Holy Spirit was so powerful. People were getting healed and filled with the Spirit like I've never seen before. God spoke to me in such powerful ways this week; He is doing so much in my heart. This week I have been reminded over and over again of God's goodness and faithfulness. Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the Lord is Good." My life is such a testimony of God's goodness. He has watched over me and He has protected my heart my entire life. I just want to encourage all of you to reflect on God's goodness this week. Think about all of the times that He has comforted your hurting heart, and all of the times He has filled you with His love and peace. God is so good. Thanks for all of the encouraging words and prayers that you guys have been so faithful to give. God is truly using you in massive ways in my life. I love you all!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
It's another beautiful day here in Arvada! This past week our speaker's name was Peter Warren. The topic was Spiritual Warfare. I learned so much about it I don't even know where to start. Peter talked about the history of the world, and why the spiritual realm is the way that it is. I learned that nothing can limit God, but He chooses to limit Himself in order to partner with us. He has delegated some of His power to us. Limiting Himself is what freedom requires. I also learned about satan and his kingdom, and the different levels of demonic authority. Peter also taught about the way that demons manifest themselves and inhabit different things. He then when on to give us thirteen weapons that we have against the powers of darkness. I really enjoyed this week's teaching. Not only was the topic important, but he also gave scripture to back up all of his points.
The teaching for this week(week 7) was about relationships. A couple that is on staff here at YWAM taught it. Their names are Jeremy and Keeley Lange. They spoke on: our relationship with God, relationships with family, friendships, and romantic relationships. Dean Sherman once said that, " Every problem in the world is a problem of relationship." This was one of the Lange's main points. They basically said that if all of our relationships were the way that God meant for them to be, then there would be fewer problems in the world. I found their take on relationships to be refreshing and honest. They are an excellent real life example of what a Godly relationship should look like. They are actually practicing what they are preaching. I was not particularly looking forward to this week in the beginning. I have read so many Christian relationship books and I thought that this would be another "lecture" on premarital sex and emotional baggage. It definitely shattered my expectations. I feel like I gained a lot of new and useful information. Honestly, it wasn't so much the teaching as it was the real life example they showed us. Their level of respect and love for each other was contagious. It was amazing.
Next week(week 8) my DTS will be going to Los Angeles for eight days for our mid lecture phase outreach. We will be working with an organization called the Dream Center(http://www.dreamcenter.org/). We will also be doing a lot of ministry in Skid Row, which has one of the largest amounts of homeless people in the United States. We will be staying in a local church for the entire trip. Please pray for our safety and for God to start preparing our hearts and the hearts of the people we will be ministering to. Thanks for all of your prayers and support!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Greetings from Arvada, Colorado! This week my DTS joined the Boarders DTS up at the Eagle Rock base. The speaker this week was a man named Don Stephens and he taught on the Kingdom of God. He basically taught on a bunch of different world views. He covered: Gnosticism, Pantheism, Islam, and the Kingdom world view. I really enjoyed learning about all these other religions. It gave me a greater understanding of how to defend my own beliefs. It also made me appreciate the personal relationship that I have with Jesus.
Also, we have different ministry opportunities twice a week. I haven't had a chance to share what God has been doing, but it has been so amazing! About two weeks ago I went with a group to this mental health clinic. We didn't go there to convert people, but to simply love on them. Love was something that they were desperate for. I met this one woman who I was particularly burdened for. She was the sweetest thing. I(along with two other girls) sat down and talked to her for about forty five minutes. She was so hungry for companionship and acceptance. She could not believe that we would actually sit down and talk to her, and be interested in who she was. It broke my heart. We prayed for her at the end, and she just broke down in tears. It was amazing. So often we overlook hurting and broken people in our own communities. We don't have to go out of the country to show people God's love. We just have to look in our own backyards. We only spent a few hours with these beautiful people, and they were filled with joy. Not only were we able to be a blessing to them, but they were a blessing to us. When I looked into their eyes I got to see a glimpse of God's heart. It's not complicated. It's simple. It's pure.
About a week and a half ago we did another outreach. This time we went to downtown Denver. I went with two other people and just walked around the area. We didn't have an agenda. We were just waiting on God to see what He wanted to do. At one point I was holding up a sign that said "Free Prayer". It was amazing to see the way God used that sign! Every single person that we prayed for approached us. Not once did we have to ask people if they wanted prayer. These two guys came up to us and said that they wanted some free prayer. They were treating it as a total joke. I asked one of the guys if there was anything in particular that he needed prayer for. He said that he wanted me to pray for his brother. As I prayed for him the Holy Spirit really began to move. It was so powerful! When I finished, he opened his eyes and was like "whoa". Then he gave me a hug and walked off. It was AWESOME! What started out as a joke, God turned around and used for good. They saw that we were serious, and that we weren't pushing religion on them. We just wanted to bless and love them. God is so good!
Thanks for all of the prayers and support! You all are such a blessing. I ask that you would continue to pray for me. Specifically that God would continue to give me boldness and faith to step out and do His will. I love you guys!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I just wanted to give you all a quick update on my upcoming Africa outreach. We had our first outreach meeting today, so I have a few more details concerning the trip. We will be leaving for outreach in late March, and will be coming back mid May. We will begin our journey in Johannesburg, South Africa; we will be there for three weeks. Then, we will take a bus ride to Mozambique. We will stay there for the final month of outreach. In Johannesburg, we will be working with children in the slums. We will put on skits, do dances, play games, and simply love on the kids there. In Mozambique, we will be working with IRIS ministries, which is the ministry that Rolland and Heidi Baker started. http://www.irismin.org/ It's going to be awesome! The total cost for the outreach is $2,900. God has been so good to provide the first half of that, but I still need $1,450. The second half of the outreach cost is due later this month. Please pray that God would continue to provide. I have no doubt that He will! Also, if you feel lead to support me financially, please email me and I will send you all of my information. I am so thankful for all of you! I pray that God would continue to richly bless you.