Things are starting to get hardcore (week 6)
Right after I sent my last update I totally forgot to mention about Saturday night being Korean night! Oops! Half of the base here (which as I have mentioned before is comprised of three programs other than my DTS) is Korean. All community meetings are translated into Korean. So Korean night consisted of a buffet style feast of: Korean food, and a little performance: a traditional Korean dance, followed by some games and a Korean movie. It was a very fun night. I enjoyed the food (especially the pancakes until I realized there was squid in them…….ew…).
Sadly a handful of students missed out because they were in bed sick.
A lot of people in on the base have been sick this past week. I myself was feeling my glands swell up and hurt, but I took advil one night before I went to bed and have been eating lots of fruit, drinking lots of water and chugging back the vitamin C, and I think I’ve overcome. People are mostly better now, our group on the slopes this week was less b/c many were strongly encouraged to stay back and rest.
Also in the last update, I totally forgot to mention that you can follow these links below to my Ywam base’s website and view photos of my DTS!
Meet the people in my DTS
As I mentioned before the speaker for this past week was Brad Jersak, speaking on “Hearing God’s Voice.” It was an intense and challenging week for me. Introducing me to ideas and concepts that I wasn’t sure if I believed; feeling inadequate and not spiritual enough. But I also got a wealth out of it, learned a lot about myself and God. I definitely still have questions, but such is life. I know I’ve grown and heard from God, not just this week, but much in my life up to this point.
As I said before I need to start journaling daily to capture all that I’m taking in each day. I’m hitting overload. We may only have two hours of class each morning; but there’s so much that we’re fed outside the class and just through daily conversations and interactions with people…I need to be taking more processing time for myself.
The first day of listening to Brad was good. He pointed out to us that we already hear God’s voice through the following means: invitation, the bible, preacher/teachers/other people, worship songs (or any songs), conviction (of sin and of righteous), burden to pray for people, promptings. There were other ways we listed as well, but these are so simple and most people had their hands up for all –including myself.
As a base and as a class we do what is called intercession, each once a week. This is a new concept to me, as it likely is to most Christians, but a founding concept of YWAM: Engaging in the practice of hearing God’s voice. Often we are given a topic/subject to pray over, divided into group, go through some prayer steps, which consist of praising God for who he is, praying for clear minds and hearts and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to hear what God wants to tell us, and that he would protect our minds from what the devil could make us think that’s not of him. This may sound overly spiritual and may weird you out. And you know what? That’s totally ok, b/c it is odd stuff to think about, I’m still wrestling with it all. But if I look at the bible, people heard from God then and did this all the time; and I believe that carries on into today.
So after the prayer steps we wait on God to bring stuff into our minds. And then we share. This has been frustrating for me since I got here, especially because the lectures this week are all like “Intercession 101”. But it’s all good. I’m learning a lot and it’s not like we have to be able to perform at a certain standard. Everyone is loving and encouraging and supportive and not judgmental at all.
So Tuesday morning was intercession within our DTS class. We were each given a name of someone else in the classroom and waited on God for a message for that person (again, I totally get that this sounds creepy to many of you. That’s ok). I was doubtful, but the word I got (even though I thought I was making it up) for the person I had, was bang on; just what she needed to hear, met her where she was at. And the word the person who had me gave me resonated with me as well. It wasn’t out of left field but was something God was already laying on my heart. The verse she shared with me (Philippians 4:4-7) was already unlined in my bible with notes around it.
Monday night I had started to get really tense and anxious, thinking about the future, what to do after DTS; comparing where I’m at in life; wondering if God really has certain things for me in the future that I really want (i.e. a relationship, marriage, a family). This word met me and I believe was God saying: stop worrying!
The point that stuck out to me from Tuesdays’ lecture was that everyone hears from God. Brad shared a number of stories and testimonials over the week. Many involved people who you wouldn’t associate with hearing God: drug addicts, prostitutes. And yet, he shared how certain individuals in these life styles have heard and responded to a voice within, that they later discover is God. Even if people aren’t following God, he’s still speaking to them: Powerful, and encouraging for me. Our practical hearing God’s voice exercise for Tuesday in the second half of class frustrated me to no end, and I still don’t know what to think of it: Basically prophesying for another person. Don’t get the wrong idea, we’re not fortune telling; but it’s getting words from God about the person’s character or areas they need to be encouraged in. I was honest when I partnered up with one of my leaders for the last exercise; and told her that this was frustrating me. I love how open, honest and encouraging and understanding people are here. I don’t feel stupid or inadequate when I’m honest about where I’m at. She just encouraged me and said it’s ok, and said she doesn’t hear from God all the time when she wants to. I relaxed a bit, and got a small word for her, and hers for me was again, bang on, resonating with the message I received earlier that morning. I got a lot out of the final exercise, but Wednesday morning I was frustrated again with processing all I was learning and hearing. And yet God was still speaking to me in huge ways! During base worship time that morning we were challenged to think about what we needed to put at the “foot of the cross” (Christian lingo for: what we needed to surrender to God). I had been missing my dad a lot this week, getting anxious about my future, feeling lonely and inadequate, despite all the encouragement and love I get 100x a day (seriously). I wrote four things down on a piece of paper in my bible (and on a piece of paper to put physically at the foot of a wooden cross at the front of the room):
I need to daily surrender:
-My desire to have my dad back (an earthly father)
-My desire to be loved (meaning to be in relationship with a man)
-My inability to trust (both God with my future, people in general, and myself)
-My feelings of loneliness
I cried as I thought of these four things which had been laying heavy on my heart all week. I felt like I had a right to hold onto these things.
So later in class one of our exercises was again to get a word for someone else, but it was a little more of a drawn out process. We prayed about three things that we should pray to God about for a person in the class, but we didn’t know who, then we wrote that in a prayer/letter to God, then we sought God for a picture or encouraging words that person needed. Then we changed that letter into a letter from God to a person in the class (again, no identity yet as to who it was for). And then we put all the pieces of paper in a basket, prayed over them, partnered up (with someone who we felt God wanted us to), they passed the basket around and we took one and shared it with our partner; reading it over them. I was floored. The one I had for my partner was bang on for him, going with a word he’d received the day before and what he read to me went hand in hand with what I got in worship that morning. The letter to me read:
My Dear Child,
I will prepare your heart for my purposed. I will mold a TRUSTING HEART into your life in all aspects of the word ‘trust’. This will provide you with the tools (in the Spiritual realm) to fight with me in any arena against the flesh. I will fill YOUR cup to overflowing with pure oil from the spirit. That you will serve with me in my kingdom, preaching, teaching and distributing that Spiritual Oil to others But above all you will fly with me, sheltering beneath my wings and abiding in my presence you will soar on wings like eagles!
So yes, this whole week may sound crazy to some of you. But that’s ok. I do not for a second claim to understand or grasp it all. But I’m learning and experiencing, and I know God is speaking to me and above all taking care of me.
Wed afternoon we had processing groups. We meet in our outreach teams and talk and pray about outreach and also about how we’re doing with the stuff we’re learning that week. I was at a point by then again, where I was anxious about everything again: faith and life stuff, and I shared that, openly and honestly with my leaders and fellow students. The response: love and encouragement, my crying, them gathering around me and praying for me. It was really intense, powerful and good. The next morning, stuff in lectures just clicked for me.
I’m sorry that this has been such a lengthy update. I’m pulling so much out of my time here, and yet I know there’s so much more I could be doing here. Just to list off some other stuff: I went to pool again Tuesday night with some people from my DTS, swam 50 lengths, feel good about that. I run a few nights a week. I hit up the slopes this weekend, my outreach team was in charge of planning the ministry for that day; it went really well. Our next book we’re reading is Loren Cunningham’s “Making Jesus Lord”. I’m all over it and eating it up like it’s a glorious stir-fry just full of tones of veggies! (stupid analogy but its honestly like eating an amazingly packed and nutritious meal). I recommend it to all. It’s also pulling at my heart strings this week. Valentines Day this week was spectacular. I stayed up late with one of my leaders, the night before, helping her do something special for her boyfriend who is also on our DTS staff. I’ve never had a “valentine” and it’s usually a bummer day for me for that reason. But being here for it was awesome. DTS students are not to date (each other) during the six months; thus we’re all friends. The focus wasn’t on “sweethearts” or romantic love, but on loving each other. Hugs, little encouragement hearts and sugar cookies during community time Thursday night. Again, I absolutely love being here.
Writing this has somewhat helped me to process this week. But there’s so much more to process. I started looking into post DTS options again. It gets me anxious. But I’m thinking of a ywam course where you study the bible intensely for 3 months. I’m also looking at fashion design school again; looking for both in South Africa and Australia. Who knows what I’ll decide or where I’ll be. I’m trusting God.
Anyhow, Again, I’m still alive and well. I need to run out and have pizza with my one-on-one.
Thanks for listening.
And again, if you want to be taken off this email list and just check up on my travel-blog weekly, by all means let me know!!!