I jut wanted to update all of you on everything that has been going on in my life for the past six months. I hope this update finds everyone well and blessed in the Lord!
From September 26th-December 15th 2011, I participated in a YWAM school focused specifically on issues of injustice that are currently raging the world we all share. Our speakers covered topics such as: human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, refugees and immigration, prostitution, FGM(female genital mutilation), community development, and many many other topics. As you can imagine, these are very heavy topics and it proved to be a very intense quarter. Throughout the twelve lecture weeks God began to show me His heart for justice and for those who seem to be the most forgotten in our world. Through many tears, prayers, dreams, and laments I know that God is calling me into the world to love these precious people. Not simply at a distance, but up close and personally. My motivation in doing so is not simply to be a humanitarian and help people, but to love Jesus through serving His beloveds. I also want to serve to alleviate some of the pain He feels when He looks at His children...He's so worth it. I have no idea at the moment what that specifically looks like for me, but I know that during this next season of my life God is going to reveal what that entails exactly. I am so very thankful that I have been given the opportunity to be educated on things that are so very dear to God's heart. I am also thankful for the support that you all have shown; I do not take any of it for granted. If any of you have questions, please feel free to ask. Also, if you want to know more about a specific issue I'd love to share what I learned!
As many of you know, after SSJ God called me to go to Brazil on a two month outreach. Our team left in mid December to serve in three different locations while there. Our team had a unique dynamic because we had students from two DTS' with us, as well as six secondary students. Our team was led by a married couple(accompanied by their three little children) who are on staff at YWAM Denver. Also, the secondary students served as “student leaders” so we were involved in may different areas of leadership. We ran small groups, ministry times, church services, and many of the every day activities. Our first location was at a YWAM base in Curitiba, Brazil. We were there for the first two weeks of our trip. While there, we served in a local church, picked up trash, did some door-to-door ministry, performed skits, bar ministry, and several other things. This was probably the most mellow part of our entire trip. The second day we were in Curitiba, I found out that the local bar across the street had a brothel in the back. That was hard news considering the school I had just graduated from. We decided to do ministry there after hearing that no one had ever tried to before. We found out that it was a “neighborhood” bar so they usually didn't let people in who were not from that area. We actually saw them kicking people out. A small group of us would go over there, order cokes and just try to love the people there. At first it was awkward because we couldn't speak their language and we didn't really know how we were supposed to act. It ended up to be a total God thing. We didn't see any crazy things happen, but they told us that we were now friends and that we were welcome any time. I never did get to go into the brothel, but I feel so at peace about it. We had some really powerful prayer times over that building, and I know that God is doing something amazing there.
Our second destination was Barao de Cocais,”which literally means “the Godfather of the Coconuts”. We spent about three weeks there participating in an evangelistic crusade called Impact. A local church in the city puts this on twice a year. We partnered with about 300 other people. Some of them were from a Brazilian YWAM base, a local Methodist church and a Christian rehabilitation center for youth. Every day we would go out to a different neighborhood in the area and start with door-to-door evangelism. We would also invite everyone to a program that we would put on somewhere in that neighborhood. Then all of the different teams involved in Impact would perform dramas, preach and evangelize. We did this about every day and it was INCREDIBLE. We saw so many lives completely transformed by Jesus' love and in the end we counted about 600 people who got saved! The really cool thing is that every person who accepted Jesus was put in contact with a church for further community and discipleship. Our Father is so good! I have many beautiful stories of how faithful God was to our team and to all the Brazilians.
Our final location was Rio de Janeiro! We stayed on the outskirts of the city in a large warehouse-turned-church. We were there for the last 10 days of our Journey. We did ministry for children, preached and ran church services, worked with a YWAM base, Bible distribution, did work projects, and did ministry in the flavellas(slums). We saw many of the head drug lord's come to Christ, and we saw communities touched so evidently by Jesus' love! We were also able to see the Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the entire city. It was glorious. All in all God moved so mightily in and through our team. For me personally, He taught me so much about what it means to truly be a servant leader. I learned that it doesn't always mean being the first to step out , but it also means to step back and allow others to learn. I learned what it means to be radiant for Jesus, to let my actions speak so much louder than mouth ever could. To love with all that I am even at the risk of getting hurt. And finally, to always be aware of what is going on. As my DTS speaker Dudley Weiner said, “Be a student of everything”. God challenged me, taught me, and revealed so many things to me in Brazil. I feel like He is starting to treat me like an adult and it's a little scary, but very exciting! Brazil is beautiful, and God is even more so. I hope this gave you a little glimpse at what God is doing in my life, and in the world internationally.
Though the road ahead may seem blurry, God has us in His hands. All we need to do is trust Him. He satisfies and He is enough. “ I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.” Psalm 52:8-9
My email is:firstname.lastname@example.org If you need prayer, have questions or just want to talk, please email me! I love you all and I hope you are blessed in Jesus' name.
In His Service,