November 2, 2015
Hi everyone! I can't believe another week is already behind me and that it's November already! We're not supposed to be counting the days here at YWAM, but if we were I would know that we have only one month and fifteen days until outreach and four months and threedays until we graduate and that would be crazy! But of course we aren't supposed to be counting so I don't know any of that...
I still need $1700 more for my outreach, so if you are able to support me I would be incredibly grateful, here's a link where you can do that!https://www.easytithe.com/f/?k=LB7R0VFSE469J1PM
This week we had the pleasure of having the YWAM Kauai team stay with us! It was exciting to meet another YWAM team- it's crazy how many there are around the world, and how different they can all be, but how much we also have in common! This weeks theme was evangelism, and we had author and evangelist Danny Lehman with us to speak during lecture!
So often with this word comes the idea of door to door preaching and handing out tracts, and sure sometimes that's what it looks like, but what does it mean? Why do we do it? and what is it supposed to accomplish? Evangelism is defined as the spreading of the Christian message by public preaching or personal witness, or in other words sharing your faith. Seems simple enough, but why do we do it? Well the most commonreason is because Jesus told us to. The great commission at the end of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is where Jesus told us to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel. This seems easyenough to understand, but why would Jesus tell us to do that? Well most people will say it's so that people can go to Heaven, and won;t be damned to Hell. As Christians we sincerely believe that the only way to Heaven is by accepting Jesus as Lord in your life, so as people called to love their neighbors as themselves, the loving thing to do would be to tell people about Jesus so that they can eternally be in Heaven, but the real reason goes much deeper than that and isn't about us at all. What is Heaven? Is it a place with perfect peaceand never ending joy? Indirectly yes, but Heaven at it's core is to be with God. God is perfect peace. God is perfect love and never ending joy. So Heaven is, simply put, to be in the presence of God. Hell therefore is the absense of God. This is why we have to chooseGod in order to go to Heaven. He respects our free will, so if we choose to be without Him for our lives, then we are choosing to be without Him for all eternity. And this means without all of Him. Whileon earth even unsaved people are experiencing some of God, because He is everywhere. Therefore His love, beauty, joy, peace, kindness, mercy, light, and so on are in existence in our world around us and available for everyone to enjoy- saved or unsaved you can experience God that way. But if you choose to be without Him you lose all of Him, meaning that hell, being separation from God, has no joy, peace, light, love, anything. It is a place of darkness, depression, hate, ect ect.
So... why does God want us to tell people about Him? So they can go to Heaven? Yes, exactly! But not only for our benefit. He loves us so of course He wants what's best for us, which is Himself, but ultimately, it's not about our own comfort and happiness- it's about Him! Heaven is to be with Him, and that's all He's wanted since the beginning of time. He created us for relationship with Him, when we chose sin and thereby forced ourselves to be separate from Him, He continued to pursue the human race again desiring relationship with us, and then in His perfect timing He sent Jesus to die for us so that He would no longer have to be separate from us- he just wants us! So He wants everyone to know about Him, not in order to get Himself a few more workers, but to win back the hearts of people He desperately loves, to the point that he died for each individual. And the Bible says He considered the cross worth it for the joy set before Him- the joy of relationship with us! That's His reward for suffering and dying for our sins- it's us. We're the reward. So primarily we tell people about Jesus, or evangelize, because we love Him, and He is worthy of His reward!
When we have this in mind, evangelism becomes much more than knocking on doors or grabbing a megaphone, it becomes an act of love- both to our King and to our fellow people! We want to unite each soul with the one who made and loves it, and to unite our creator with the ones He so desperately longs for- what a joy evangelism is!
We learned this week many methods for evangelism and many of the practicalities, if you'd like to hear some of them feel free to ask me I'd be so happy to share! We learned how most people who are Christians came to Jesus, various methods of evangelism, from friendship evangelism to direct to demonstrational toapologetics! Ultimately, it depends on the person and we always ask the Lord what does this person need? Do they need to hear my testimony? Do they need to know about Your love? Do they need an intellectual conversation to help clear away some misconceptions they have? Do the need to see a demonstration of your Spirit's power? God knows each heart, and as the Great Pursuer He knows exactly how to win them to Himself, we get to simply partner with Him in that! Ultimately, it's not up to us to bring anyone to Jesus, we break up the ground, sow the seed, or water it, but it's God who gives the growth and it's Him who calls people to Himself! We do everything we can, but just as He respects our free will, we respect the free will of others and never push anything they don't want to hear or receive. We simply bear witness to who He is and what He's done, in our own lives and for them, and always with the gentleness and respect called for in1 Peter.
Another thing Danny talked about was the importance of spiritual discipline! While we never want to strive for what we already have- God's love and acceptance, we do always want more of Him! Ultimately more of Him comes from Him, but we can make a way by which we can receive it- and that's where spiritual disciplines come in. Although God doesn't love us any more or less when we spend time with Him, it does enable us to know Him better- make sense? So He taught us on the importance of reading and studying the word, fasting, an active prayer life, memorizing the word, and may other ways that we can open ourselves up for God to do more in and through us! It was a blessing of a teaching that I really appreciated!
I could go so deeply into every part of this week, but because my words are so often inadequate, and you probably have a million other things to do, I will briefly give an overview of the other areas of this week...
Intercession: this week we prayed in depth for our DTS staff as well as for the entire country of Indonesia, which I especially loved because that's where I'm headed!
worship: we had two times of worship this week, both of which were full of joyous singing and reveling in the Lord's presence!
team time: we took the Meyers Briggs test and the 5 languages of loves tests as an outreach team in order to better understand one another and be able to best love each other and grow in unity! Mine were words of affirmation and physical touch and I was an INFJ, though right on the bubble between introvert and extrovert :) Then we prayed for our awesome leader Susann who turned 21 on Wednesday!
growth group: This week during growth group we watched Do You Believe with the Bangladesh team, enjoying some time of fellowship and a little bit of relaxing in the midst of the busy week
quiet time: My times with the Lord were so blessed this week, He's been teaching me the importance of pressing in and really seeking after His presence and voice, and it's been richly rewarding and deeply growing for His and my relationship. The day of this picture I was waiting on the Lord, really asking for His presence and enjoying His peace, when I felt Him whisper to be to be still, freeze right where I was for a moment. I did and waited, but nothing happened. Confused that I had maybe misheard Him, but realizingthat it had sounded like His voice and the way that He usually speaks to me, I asked Him "Lord, where are you?" From the place inside me thatI can describe only as being where He lives inmy heart, I 'heard' Him say "I'm right here". Confused I asked Him in my mind, "then why did You tell me to wait?" From within that place the words immediately formed with a rush of His presence "I just wanted to look at you for a moment." Wow. That the God of the universe, the most beautiful, captivating, incredible being in all of existence could be captivated by me, by my face as I look up at Him, by my hair as it blows in the wind He created, by my heart- fallen and flawed yet as in love with Him as I can be, is simply beyond my understanding. But oh how I love it.There's no words to describe what these kind of moments with the Lord feel like. He has them for me more often than I can count, wanting simply to speak His love over me, and I get to receive them when I quiet my heart and ask Him to- and so can you.
outreach prep: In Indonesia and Thailand we will often be asked to present teachings, in churches or kids ministry or prisons or red light districts or any kind of setting, and sometimes we are given only minutes to prepare. Therefore, this week we were taught how to write a teaching, the practicalities of it such as making simple sentences because of a translator, as well as the heart behind it and how to best reach your audience. Then we practiced by each writing one so that we'll have some saved up when the time comes! I wrote mine on the difference between Jesus and the gods of other religions, particularly the ones we'll be seeing the most of- Muslim, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
work duties: This week we baked for Susann to celebrate her birthday as well as for the Kuai team and community outreach kids. We also cleaned the speaker house once Danny had left Friday afternoon to prepare for the next speakers!
community outreach: we loved on the kids and shared the message of the fall via an Adam and Eve puppet show. We also sang a few silly songs and painted everyone's faces. We aren't a team of artists that's for sure but kids are happy to have a blue blob painted on them that I call a butterfly!
This Saturday we also got to work at an event called Xterra, a race where we served in various ways! It was hot and tiring, but a lot of fun and a great way to serve people on the island! Afterwards we all went to the beach where I met a woman named Sheryl! I got to pray with her over her hurt shoulder, and because I've seen God heal people right in the moment before, I told her so and asked the Lord to do it- and He did! She was very confused and hugged me repeatedly, so grateful, yet so surprised. You can imagine the surprise of someone who doesn'tbelieve in God when He reaches down and heals their body right then-just because He loves them and I asked Him too! What an awesome God we serve.
If you've stuck with me to this point congratulations! You made it to the end of what was yet again a very very long and yet very very small glimpse into what's going on here in Maui! This coming week we'll be learning about the Holy Spirit- please be in prayer for me as this is often a big week during a DTS! I love you all and am so blessed by your prayer and support! You guys are amazing, thank you for reading! As always if you ant to know more about anything or want me to pray for you please email or text me! firstname.lastname@example.org 5599170609 :)