Just getting a moment to relax after a fantastic week! I really enjoyed having lectures this week aboard the boats and living in a much closer community setting =) all together we had 12 students, 2 captains, 2 guests (from South Africa), and 4 staff members aboard the 2 boats, We set sail Monday morning about 8am and sailed in perfect conditions - breezy and mostly sunny - towards our destination for the week, the Mangrove islands. If you’re like me you have no idea what a Mangrove is… well they are underwater islands where these dense lush bush tree things grow in salt water.. their roots float from the surface of the water down into the underwater sands.. these islands are huge and spread out over much area, forming little passageways and they happen to be perfect habitat for dolphins and manatees. In fact where we set anchor is very near a huge manatee conservation since they are extinct.. known as the cow of the sea, they only eat plants and they are extremely gentle and very enormous! We saw them all week swim by us and we’d jump in and try to catch up but none of were able to get very close to them in the water.. maybe about 30ft =) We also got to see so many dolphins, I didn’t realize how big they are! The guys went out on a man adventure in the mangroves and ended up swimming with a couple huge dolphins, close enough to touch.. I was pretty jealous of this but us girls had our own special free time together on the boats and our leader Kristen told us her romance story about how she waited until she was 30 to get married and how God helped her through the tough time of waiting for the right man.. and she did, her husband Jeff is wonderful! It was quite encouraging for me.. as I’m fast approaching my late 20’s! Our lecture topic for the week is the Gospel… however we spent a lot of time seeking out what it means to be humble and we camped on Phil. 2:1-18 (really great.. go read it) Chris our speaker was communicating the importance of your heart’s condition, motivation, and posture when delivering the Good News of Jesus our Savior. I couldn’t agree more and I loved every conversation during lectures this week. We also had lots of down time to reflect, study, read, and pray alone & together. Of coarse we also had tons of fun swimming, going wake boarding pulled by the dingy, and playing games together. I was asked to be the first student to lead intercession prayer time. We do this every Tues & Thurs as a group and up til now the staff lead. But it went really well and I feel in my element when teaching and leading. God really spoke through my prayer group! Cooking on the boats is interesting.. the kitchens are tiny and get hot quick, but we had great food! Chicken Enchiladas and BBQ pork chops were my fav! Also water consumption is a huge factor on the boats, so to shower we put our swimmers (Australian for swimsuit) on and jump in the ocean.. lather up, rinse.. and re-rinse one last time with fresh water. The process would not be so bad if we could guarantee no one was gonna pump there poo down the toilet and into the very same ocean water!!! FOR REAL,, LOL… but it all worked out okay, no poo in my hair, that I know of! (side note - Belize does not have poo tank unloading places, so that’s why the holding tanks are not used) Sleeping on the boats was also an adventure.. as you may remember I have issues sleeping in my bed at the base, I almost always sleep outdoors in a hammock. Well I tried the first night to sleep on the deck but after only a couple hours torrential downpours soaked me to the bone and I was quite chilled and uncomfortable… it was a long night, but night 2 I slept inside and the breeze thru our port holes was sufficient and I slept awesomely, my roomie even said I hummed in my sleep - a sure sign that I’m sleeping well! Last night I slept in the hammock on Dreamer and the slight breeze and gentle sway was like a cradle, I loved it and slept all the night long! Overall the sail made me really excited for outreach, since we’ll be living on the boats for 2 full months! Now I know I can handle it. Okay, laundry is done.. hoping to check my emails then get in some prayer time… really pressing in for direction for my internship.. then off to bed for Friday! Breaky (Australian for breakfast) is at 6:30 every morning and that comes quick!
It’s a quiet Sat on the base… I’ve the whole day to myself, which is nice but also a tidbit boring.. honestly not being busy leaves a lot of time to think about home. I miss my friends and my family so much today. I miss all the fun I had with my friends and all the great talks and the way that they all seek after God and live their best to glorify Him… God has blessed me immeasurably with amazing friends! I miss the Net on Friday nights, and all night prayer on Saturdays and our ladies bible studies on Thursdays.. I miss having people all around me that know me well, love me anyways, and fully understand who I am. I miss talking to my mom everyday and giving Reta hugs.. I miss all my siblings and my nephews little arms around my neck! I miss being cold.. really, cause I’m always hot here… and the bugs, oh the bugs.. have you heard of ‘no-see-ems’ they are surely from the devil. This is funny… listen to me practically complaining that I get to study and worship the Lord every single day without distractions of the world and responsibilty in a beautiful vacation paradise! LOL. Truely I’m very happy and grateful - just a bit home sick =)
On another note… Today I spoke with my small group leader.. the amazing Amy, and in our conversation I realized how much I enjoy mentoring and speaking into the lives of my friends here. I have been praying much on where God is calling me to serve in my internship (phase 3 from Sept - Nov) and I feel a pull towards dicsipleship/mentoring so I’m going to look into possibly staffing a DTS lecture phase, not neccessarily here at DP but that could be an option… The thing is that the secondary school I plan to attend is in Perth, Australia and it doesn’t begin until July 2011, so I have like 7 months available after my Internship to go somewhere in the world where the Lord can use me to serve others, so along with staffing a DTS I’ll still have plenty of time to seek something else out too! I’ve put feelers out for possibilities in Papua New Guinea, but I am up for anything God leads.
Earlier today I was reading some notes I took a couple years ago while reading a really good book called God Chasers… It reminded me of how I honor the Lord; how I am going to worship Him with my life? I want that offering to be pleasing in His eyes, which it will be if it’s surrendered completely. In the book it discusses the woman who annointed Jesus’ feet with oil and wiped them with her hair, she obtained an intimacy with the Lord… besides the host Simon, the 12 desciples were probably also present but none of them that day attained to the same level of intimacy.. I’ve got to remember I can be busy being a disciple and doing the work, but I can’t allow myself to miss the worship! In that time a woman’s hair was considered her glory and was usually worn bound up, but she had to 'dismantel her glory’ in order to worship at His feet. So, I want to dismantel my glory; take my ego apart and lay it all aside. Becuase the burial of mans glory is often the birth of God’s glory! This is a season in my life to grow, learn, study, and WORSHIP! On that note I will say that I am completely terrified that I alone have to lead worship this coming Thursday night for our community meeting!! LOL.
** Side note… I’m so excited to hear that my sister Becki’s pregnancy is going well, she had a doctors appointment recently and she will find out what she is having in just a couple more weeks, praise God! And my other sister Melyssa will be graduating very soon… how I wish I could be there!
You may not know me, but I know everything about you
I know when you sit down and when you rise up
I am familiar with all your ways
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered
For you were made in my image
In me you live and move and have your being
For you are my offspring
I knew you even before you were conceived
I chose you when I planned creation
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live
You are fearfully and wonderfully made
I knit you together in your mother’s womb
And brought you forth on the day you were born
I have been misrepresented by those that don’t know me
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could
For I am the perfect father
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs
Matt 6: 31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope
Because I love you with an everlasting love
My thoughts towards you are countless as the sand on the seashore
And I rejoice over you with singing
I will never stop doing good to you
For you are my treasured possession
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul
And I want to show you great and marvelous things
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart
For it is I who give you those desires
I am able to do more for you than you can possibly imagine
For I am your encourager
2 Thes 2:16-17
I am also the father who comforts you in all your troubles
2 Cor 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes
And I’ll love you even as I love my son, Jesus
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed
He is the exact representation of my being
This week was a pretty hard topic “father heart of God”, but I feel like He met me in it all. I feel better for facing things.. We were all given a list of potential bricks that may have formed a wall around our hearts and may be keeping us from experiencing all of God. The list included these: Fear of man, religion, disappointment with God, hurts and wounds from past, lust, apathy, worry, pride, fears, unbelief, unforgiveness, selfishness, dependency, guilt and shame, performance, and spiritual adultery. Heavy stuff huh? I found my bricks include: unbelief in who God says I am.. like that I am worth loving, Worry that my past will repeat itself, and selfishness by looking out for me and not taking risks in love. My revelation was that I have justified my ‘singleness’ as me honoring God and waiting for the right guy… which is true in a sense but I think I sometimes twist my motives and it becomes a convenient excuse to keep guys from getting close… cause I am afraid of loving someone and then being left… Cause I feel unlovable sometimes or that no one would want to love me forever… I want a husband, but I keep men away out of fear. I had to face the fact that I still hurt over not having a father example that showed me unconditional love, I feel like I loved many but no one stayed around.. I’m not mad at anyone and I don’t even wish it was different because my life has made me who I am, but… at the same time I’m sad it had to be that way and it doesn’t seem fair.. I know I could understand and experience God’s fatherly love so much easier if I’d just had an example… anyway - our speaker Jeff Pratt was great and really walked through it with me and prayed over me. I’m at a much better place now! I feel like God is preparing me in this season of my life for what (or who) He has in store =)
I realize that my posts are sometimes very personal… and please keep in mind that I am growing and learning more and more everyday… so each little snip of blog world is just my crazy thoughts as they come out and I face them =)
What am I truly passionate about? I know I want all my passion to be for Christ and His Kingdom. I want to be so passionate about Jesus that wherever I am and whoever I am around they would find themselves homesick for the Lord in their lives. I want to know Him more. I want to be closer, I want to literally feel God’s affection and passion for me so that I can pour it out on others. I already know His love in my mind and I have experienced feeling it from time to time, but I want to fully KNOW it with my heart! I pray I can abandon any selfish or prideful motives.. anything that is not of God, and be awakened - wide eyed to my life in Christ Jesus. I want boldness and clarity when I present the Gospel; I want to make Him known! I believe I am fairly acquainted with a lifestyle of brokenness. Brokenness for what my sins do to God’s heart and brokenness for my deep need for more of God in my life, and brokenness for the severe need of God in a world corrupted with sin - a world of people that God loves just as much as He does me. I pray for eyes to see and a soft yet strong heart to feel there pain and longing. God I pray for discernment to differentiate my pain from other peoples. I know God has given me the gift of empathy so that I can shower love where love is desperately needed. I pray that this week, learning on the Father Heart of God with Jeff Pratt, I will be able to come closer to understanding God’s heart for me, and in doing that I know I need a healed and whole heart to experience a whole God! I pray Lord that you will show me where I need to face past hurts and sin in my life, help me Lord to be strong and of good courage to battle lies I may have believed from the enemy. I claim victory and power in the name of Jesus! God I surrender myself to be broken and remolded by you this week. I love you and all I ever want is you and to be in your will.
So today is Mother’s Day… and I really wish I could hug my mom! I’m here in Belize though going to school for Jesus and she is back home in Tacoma, WA. I just want everyone to know about the kind of person my mom is.. She is genuine, loving, accepting, and everything good about me is due to her. My mom encouraged me when I was little and believed in me whenever I had some new idea. She worked hard to provide for our family and she made many sacrifices to do so. She wants what is best for all her kids and she would do anything to make sure we are safe. My mom is so beautiful and I’m lucky that people say we have the same smile. I learned a lot from my mom and I know that I want to have her integrity & heart! My mom has inspired me to become someone better than I am. She is the one who got me to go back to church and cried tears of joy when I recommitted my life to the Lord at BTL 2007. I am missing my mom these past few weeks, especially our daily phone conversations at about 5:10pm when she gets of work =) I want my mom to know that I love her sooo much. And I pray for her all the time. My hope is that she will have peace, joy, and godliness in her life! I pray that the Lord would bless her and keep her and protect her!
Mom, I love you.. happy Mother’s Day!
Today was an incredible day in the life of me! First off, I slept amazing on the hammock last night and even slept in until 6:30am!! That in itself is quite a feat! I managed to re-burn my skin… yes, that tends to happen after an hour in the pool with no sunblock. Lesson learned, again. This time my cheeks are on fire -I look like a kid that got into her mommies 80’s rose shade of blush! Anyhow… this afternoon I got to experience diving for the very first time. Before I get into this I should say that I am sometimes very claustrophobic in confined spaces and the thought of breathing under water and staying there for a length of time really trips me out! So first off we did our paperwork that will be completed and turned in to PADI for our dive cards at the end of our training. So then we get fitted for our equipment and jump in the pool. I was freakin out in the pool, I understood what everything was and how it worked and I performed the main tests to show I was capable, BUT I did not feel good about it.. I was pretty worried that I was gonna panic and flip out! But I went along anyways with the group in the dive boat out to a place on the reef called Mexico Rocks where we were gonna test the waters at about 10-12 feet deep. I was intimidated by the way we had to exit the boats (fall backwards off the side of the boat) and when I finally worked up the courage to go I ended up with a mouth & goggles full of nasty salt water. Seriously I wanted to give up at least 5 times today. When I did actually get situated and prepared to descend I was sure I’d have to quit and get back in the boat. But I learned a huge lesson! It REALLY pays off to press through and never give in… I absolutely LOVE diving… it’s like a beautiful magical world down there.. we saw sharks and sting rays and a ton of fish all around the reef. I am hooked, I could have stayed down there for a long time but we only had enough air for about 30 minutes. I cannot wait for our next dive and I am definitely going to go on to get certified! I may even get to complete a specialty certification like night diving =) Yaaayyy!
So I haven’t made the time to keep up on my journal this week… sorry. But let me get out a few of the highlights: Chris Toney was our speaker all week, he talked about Worldview (wayy cool, mass info, so very heartbreaking to understand the state of the worlds views), I had my first cooking nights on Mon and Thursday - my team rocks and we make yummy food, I was also the first student chosen to lead Worship & Devotionals on Wed morning (every student will get a couple turns) - It was great I just picked a song list from the ipod and made lyric slides and I spoke on Encouragement and Affirmation. I have been reading a fantastic book called the Five Love Languages for singles (I was told by some married friends- Ty n Ash- how good the “for marrieds” book was so I’m excited to have time to finally read this one!) It’s very interesting to learn about myself in this way. Wed afternoon was our first small group meeting where our leader Amy (the sweetest and newest DP staff member) parked us out on the trampoline of Imagine to give us here testimony. I adore her, Amy’s heart is for discipling and encouraging - I think we will be great friends! She ushered our small group (Carly, Rachel, Becca & me) into a beautiful prayer time where we spoke truth over each person and prayed for them. I love my small group and feel so blessed to have them each here with me! Thursdays lectures spent a lot of time on Islam, the history, roots, & core beliefs. God really revealed to me that He’s given me a heart to reach this people group. I was literally bawling the entire time… the whole concept of jihad was gut wrenching! Some people think they are a lost cause and this makes me so furious.. we need to love them, LOVE is the answer! Through this teaching and much prayer I feel like God is confirming my desire to minister in Africa with the secondary school I’ve been considering. I love the Lord so much, I love the way I have felt Him so close and His voice is so discernible! That same night I was asked by the DP leaders to help sing for the worship time for our Community Night gathering, which we hold every Thursday. Jeff played the guitar and Jessie played the keys. Today was fun too, it was the last day of lectures for the week - we mostly role played and debated some different world views and issues. Friday afternoons are our “work” days… so for 3 hours everyone is assigned a work duty which is determined by a survey we took describing which tasks we’d prefer to have - I chose general cleaning and found out that the duties mainly entail maintaining the boats! Sweet!! So today my team (Amanda, Ned, and I) worked out booties off scrubbing down both Dreamer & Imagine in preparation of our planned day sail this Sunday- Woot! We also organized and inventoried everything in the cabins and I learned neat words like Aft and I finally know that Port is the Left side! LOL, next in our work time we hopped in the ocean to scrub (vigorously) the bottom of the dingy which was caked in algae beard and barnacles - This was only fun because Ned knows lots of musical songs so we sang Grease classics and laughed and talked while scrubbing! For the record, the fact that Ned knows show songs is shocking, he’s not the soft type… which makes it all the more hilarious when he starts in on ‘Summer lovin, happened so fast…“ P.S. my back is killing me from the manual labor - this is a good thing! Friday nights are called "On Your Own” dinner nights, so we took a boat into town (which is 5 miles south of our base) and our group stopped by the ATM (which is a tiny little airconditioned room), then checked out some of the local street/tent food. We had delicious burritos & hotdogs and the street vendors jewelry was so cool, but I resisted temptation to indulge my need for cool jewelery =) We also did some window shopping and had amazing ice-cream cones before catching the boat back home. Side note - night boating is freaky - you cant see a thing besides all the lovely stars! So there you have it.. I am basically really busy all the time with school, homework, scripture memorization, reading, daily quiet time with the Lord, and building relationships with my people here on base. I also have found moments to jump in the pool for swims pretty regularly, this has been great exercise! FYI; I don’t know how I will ever sleep on an actual mattress again… I am sold on the hammock and boat deck for the best sleep ever! The only thing with sleeping outdoors is that I wake up really early everyday… like sometimes around 4ish. It’s not bad but by noon I have to struggle to push through without a nap =) You know me & my naps used to be very close, I’d even say we were daily friends! Tomorrow will be my first intro to diving experience.. Yikes.. I think I am psyching myself out! I’m worried that I will hate it, because I really want to love it, we will see =) We’ll start in the pool to get used to the gear and then we’ll move to just 10 feet deep; if we like it then we’ll fill out all the Padi paperwork and start reading/studying for the testing to get certified in open water up to 100 ft. Hoping to have some pics up by Sunday! I love you all at home and I’m really trying to be wise with my time while I am here so I won’t get on the computer too often..
This has been an incredible week. So much has happened… God is so good. Saturdays are normally free days to manage however we please. I chose to catch up on a little reading and to spend a lot of time reflecting and in prayer and worship. I’m so awed by God that I feel like I can’t give Him enough praise. I also signed up for laundry time, hung my sheets on the line to dry (oh they smell so good!) While getting my laundry caught up I alternated bewteen swimming in the pool and sun-bathing beside it.. thus managing to aquire quite the sun burn =) So much for my weeks of tanning to avoid burning. But it’s not real painful, should be a tan by tomorrow. Much of the group went into town today to go grocery shopping and run errands, so it was really quiet around the base. When everyone got back we came together to take our first big quiz! It was 50 questions regarding the entire student handbook for our DTS. We were required to get atleast 80% to pass. I got only one question wrong because I read it incorrectly… duh! Silly mistake but I still got a 98% =) My Aussie roommate, Krystle got the highest score and won a gift card to the ice-cream shop in town… she said she will take me, LOL so I still win! Today I am so sore… first from a hilarious game we played Friday (my hips are killing me) but also becuase I worked out a bit. I’m finding that while I am here for a season of my life I have several oppertunites; one of many that God has been revealing to me is the chance to work on my overall physical health. In a controlled enviroment like this where meals are eaten in community and snacking is not really an option and everything to drink besides water costs money… I can take advantage and be intentional about my diet and portion control. Also I am for the moment living in one the most beautiful landscapes in the world, where better to get out and take a jog/walk… so I started today, went along the beach for about 2 miles round trip. Was I dying at the end? Yes, but next time will be a little easier, just need to go earlier before the sun gets too hot =) This afternoon as the sun was setting I found a quiet spot to watch the horizon and after a while one the staff, Anya came to join me. I really connect with her.. she is someone I can open up to. Were there not a student/staff barrier I think we would be great friends! So we chatted for a while and she really spoke life into me, I’m thankful for her sensitivity to the Spirit and her obedience to share. God gave her a specific picture regarding me and it was life changing to recieve it… I am stunned and overjoyed! We closed Sat night after a fab dinner of mac-n-cheese, with a session called Relinquish. We watched a video by the founder of YWAM who encouraged us to seek God for revelation on what it is we can surrender, what it is that might be holding us back from more… because of my previous talk at the Palapa bar with Anya I had alredy began to identify these small residual left overs of things I have mostly dealt with but little strands of fear or unworthiness were still hanging on. Anya reminded me that God knows my heart and He doesn’t want me to be miserable and I need to trust His perfect timing… When we lay something down we are NOT losing out… we are actually gaining because He often has something better to hand back to us. So I am laying down everything, my arms are lifted, empty hands surrending to the Lord every aspect of my life and future! Amen!