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See Ya’ Later, Townsville!

Well, that was the most painful experience ever. The last 48 hours have been extremely bittersweet. 
On one hand, I’m genuinely heartbroken to leave YWAM Townsville. Over the last 22 weeks, I’ve not only learned more than I expected and grew more than I could have imagined. I’ve also made relationships that’ll last a lifetime. The last 22 weeks have been absolutely amazing, terrifying, and exciting all at the same time. And nobody will completely understand our adventure unless they lived it. Not even other people who have done a DTS will be able to! The family I found with YWAM Townsville has a very special place in my heart. I can’t wait to see where everyone ends up and what adventures God gives them! That’s why every goodbye ended with “See you on Facebook!” and “talk to you later!” 


On the other hand, I can’t wait to see what’s next. I can’t wait to see what happens in Cairns over the next week. Then, I can’t wait to get home! I can’t wait to see what’s in store, and I can’t wait to share this amazing adventure with everyone who has supported me throughout this crazy journey!

But I can honestly say, this isn’t the last I’ve seen of Townsville or the YWAM base there. It holds a very near and dear place in my heart, and I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow and impact the city, the nation, and the world. 

Thank you to everyone who has made my stay there comfortable. You’ve each taught me things you don’t even know you did, and blessed me so much! 

A Late and Long Update

“Sometimes you’ll have to go back to where God last spoke to you.”

 

 The last few weeks have been absolutely crazy. We’ve been back on campus in Townsville for three weeks. During those three weeks we’ve had lectures on Missions, Spiritual Warfare, and then specific training about to run and put together programs while on outreach. 

 

For the most part it’s been great, just like the rest of this amazing and crazy adventure. However, just recently I started having family put on my mind. Through circumstances of other people in my team, and my own. And a few things that God was speaking to me were things about trust, family relationships, and even more trust. 

 

 For a few weeks now, trusting God has been a real struggle. To be quite honest, I was scared to be vulnerable with him again after Lordship Week. So I didn’t trust him, at least not the way I was trusting him. So when I got a few messages from my mom about some family situations back home; I wanted to leave. I had a good reason to. I knew that YWAM would always be here and I would always be able to come back to complete my DTS. And I started questioning whether or not this DTS was something I needed to finish. Did I need this certificate to take away everything I learned? Technically no, but it would’ve nice to have. Through this, Becky, my one-on-one staff (the person we meet with weekly) talked with me about this for a long time. I talked to Abby, another girl who is here on staff. And then I talked to Rhoda, who simply reminded me that I might have to backtrack and remember what God last told me to do and to think about whether or not I trust God with my family. 

 

 So, as much as I might want to leave right now, or in the future; I’m not going to. In order to keep going the way that God told me to go, I need to stay and trust that he is working with the spiritual health and the bodies health with people back home in Minnesota. 

 

 Anywho, I’m about to begin the secong outreach with this amazing group of people. During our week in Cairns, Australia, we all became so close. The group of us really began to feel like a family, and I’m so excited to experience the next stretch with them! Although I don’t feel very excited at all right now because of circumstances back home, I know it will be an amazing growing experience. 

 

 This next outreach is seven weeks, and honestly the Youth Adventures team is super spoiled with locations.  

 

 For the first 2 weeks, our team will be going to Palm Island! While we are there we will be working with the churches there, possibly some home churches, and continuing to build on the relationships that YWAM has began to develop with people there through youth mission trips they take there. 

 

 Then for the following week, we will be back in Townsville and staying on base (other outreaches will not be back on base until the seven weeks is over). While on base, we will be spending the school days at a Christian school here in Townsville where we’ve been told we’ll have a lot of opportunity to speak into kids about their identity and value. 

 

 Then for the final 4 weeks of outreach, we will be flying to Papua New Guinea! We aren’t entirely sure what it will look like there for us yet, but we are suspecting a lot of school and church work. 

 

 On a completely unrelated note. Besides the emotional stress about stuff going on back home;  I have Strep Throat! After being on Penicillin for a few days, I went back to the clinic and after a long wait in the waiting room I got out on Amoxicillin for five days. 

Prayer points:

  • Good Health both here and at home. 
  • Clarity and peace of mind. 
  • An easy time with these antibiotics. 
  • And excitement for this outreach. 

Outreach Started!

I’m just going to apologize right now for not posting any real updates recently. It been a long couple weeks for me and it’s been insanely busy lately! 
Lordship week was crazy and amazing all at the sametime. The entire week we talked about what it meant to really hand things over to God and not pick them back up. It was a huge week, for many more reasons, but in all honesty I would much rather wait to go into detail about it in a later post! 
So moving on from Lordship Week, after that week I wasn’t really looking forward to the next week of lectures; but it ended up being in the top five easily! We talked about Evangelism for the entire week, and to be honest the whole concept of Evangelism has seemed scary to me. It seemed like a lot of work, and uncomfortable. But the speaker took the pressure off with two statements. 

“Evangelism isn’t a job or an act, it’s a lifestyle. If you love Jesus, it happens automatically.”

If they reject what you have to say, it’s not you who’s being rejected. It’s Jesus and the good news. But it planted a seed.”

Hearing that took the load off for sure. It was a relief to hear evangelism put into words so simple. Also, on the last day of the week, we got to welcome in a new Medical Ship! 
Anyway, as a lot of you know, Australia was just hit by Cyclone Debbie not that long ago. When it was still a few days away from the coast, it was predicted that the eye of the storm would go right through Townsville. And the YWAM base there is one of the safest buildings to be in during a storm like that. So our plan was to prepare everything and then just stay indoors. Because of that, our first outreach was delayed a few days until the following Wednesday. Then on Wednesday the Youth Adventures team (my team) left Townsville and went north to Cairns. So now here we are, in Cairns and volunteering with Youth Week by going around and interacting with kids and asking them how they feel involved with council and how they would like to see things change in their communities. So far it’s been great, and there has been amazing growth with our team. 

Finally a bit of peace and quiet. 

Anyone who has even been envolved with YWAM at all knows that “peace and quiet” is practically impossible to find unless you are in your room, and sometimes that’s not even a option. Here in Townsville, it isn’t always a option for me. Since the electricity is so expensive and the base is so big, the air conditioning isn’t turned on until 9:30PM in the rooms, so everywhere is hot– I ask myself daily why I enjoy it here so much. To be honest, even the designated time for “quiet time” on schedules is rarely quiet. 
 But that’s not the peace and quiet I’m talking about- I can make due with the actual quiet time I can get. The peace and quiet I’m talking about here has everything to do with my heart. 
 Since I got here, I’ve felt like I was always searching for some heart-changing thing. And like I’ve heard many, many times, I need to learn to rest and just sit. 
 The other day (if you read my last update), you’ll know that I basically threw a spiritual tantrum because God wasn’t giving me answers that I wanted to hear. I sat in that prayer room for hours until God clearly told me to rest and just spend time with him


 Now, what I didn’t write about is a way I’ve been communicating with God occasionally when I needed a little something. I’d sit, and simply say “God, I’m going to start writing and if there is anything you want to say, have me write it down“, of course at the time, what I ended up with wasn’t what I wanted to hear or read. It was all about resting, Him being present and hearing me, and all that stuff. So remember this. 
 After I made a post about my spiritual tantrum on Facebook, Christina, a women from my DTS school told me she had to talk to me about it. So I sorta put that conversation on the back burner, it was hot and miserable outside and I just wanted to cool down. But after relaxing for a bit, I found her during dinner. She simply wanted to tell me that a few weeks earlier, she had been asking for very specific answers from God (like I was), and wasn’t happy with getting the answer to simply rest. She got an image of sitting on His lap, like a daughter would sit with her father, and him hugging her– and every time she would try to ask her question in various ways, he would stop her and remind her to rest.


 Now back to my writing strategy, the first time I did this. It didn’t seem that significant at the time, but I wrote;

“Come, Sina, come and sit on my knee while you rest.”

 Almost exactly the same image that Christina had gotten weeks earlier and she didn’t even know I had gotten that message. 
 Now usually I wouldn’t pay much attention to this, getting a very, very, very (almost identical) image and/or message. But here’s what sets this apart– this is the second time that this has happened between Christina and I. 
Two weeks ago, when I thought God was being silent, on Friday of Clear Conscience week, we were having worship time. It was incredibly intense, and while in the group, I prayed for a bit of insight into the spiritual realm because there had been a ton of (and still was) spiritual warfare going on, and I vividly got the image of dozens of angels surrounding the group with their backs turned to us. At the time I thought that was odd, that they had their backs turned to us. But then what I didn’t know at the time, a friend of mine (who was battling a ton of spiritual warfare at the time), had gotten so overwhelmed by the worship and the presence of the Holy Spirit, that she had to remove herself from the group. So she was sitting outside the group of us, outside the perimeter of the angels that I had vividly seen. It was like the angels wanted to be with the group, they wanted to be worshiping with us; but they couldn’t turn their backs on the girl outside the group. A ton happened after that, but that’s not my piece to tell. 
 Then maybe two days later (give or take a few), Christina shared with the class that she had gotten a vivid image of angels around the group at worship. Almost exactly like the image I had gotten. 
 So there was three occasions where we had gotten similar, almost identical experience. The word rest, the image of being on Gods lap, and a circle of angels. Does it mean anything? Maybe, maybe not. We might never know. But one thing is for sure, I’ve gotten some serious peace and quiet in my heart right now from the response I got from God in the prayer room and the confirmation (if that’s what you want to call it) from Christina.  

No Matter how much we Argue, God wins. 

It’s crazy to think that I’ve already been here for five, going on six weeks. It’s even crazier to experience and see the growth not only in me but my brothers and sisters around me. I’m so glad I get to call these people friends and family. I’ve learned just as much from them as I have from the various speakers in lectures. 

 So many exciting things are happening, not only for me but for the entire Townsville Campus! YWAM Townsville does a ton with PNG, and just since I have been here, there has been a new partnership with PNG and Townsville; a direct flight from PNG to and from Townsville! That’s huge for Townsville considering they have such a small airport and don’t do international flights! Along with that, a new medical ship may be on its way! Medical Ships Australia has a few ships there already now (a new one just joined already), and now another new ship is being considered! Thirdly, Norway wants to get envolved with the Medical Ship Ministries! To say the least, a ton of amazing stuff is happening here, I’m stoked for it all! 

 Anywho, back to week six. This weeks theme is Relationships. And to say the least, I was already overwhelmed and frustrated– I really wasn’t looking forward to another “heart and spirit” week like Identity week. Let me just set the overall picture for you…

 The first two weeks were gamechanging for me. I had awesome revelations, God spoke to me in such big ways that I’ve never experienced, it was just amazing. Then along came Character and Nature of God Week

  Pretty much the only take aways I got were this;  Gods character will never contradict his nature and his nature will never contradict his character” and “Eternal VS Sequential God is all frustrating and people are really opinionated about this and I hate it but I need to be willing to hear both sides“. Let me explain that last one…


 This was something I struggled with a ton. It all really comes down to what you think and believe, the only one that really knows is God. Personally, I don’t like the idea of God kinda just going with the flow and waiting for us to follow through on our end, I like to think that God knows exactly WHERE we are going, just the journey may be a bit different; either way, that’s not the point of this blog, but if you want to talk about it just shoot me a message! 

   All of that being said, that week of lectures really sort of left me in a funk. Then week 5 was bible study, which was great. We learned different methods of bible study and I discovered that meditation/devotional is definitely me way of choice. But throughout that week, I still wasn’t clearly hearing God. 

Well I wasn’t hearing the answers that I was wanting to hear. I was asking for very specific answers and revelations, that’s what my prayers consisted of. Asking for clarity on this and that. Each time I heard the same thing; “Just rest and now that I am a present father.”


That wasn’t the answer I wanted. 
   But then on Friday, I suddenly felt like God was more silent than he had been. Over the two weeks while I was getting frustrated, I got small things here and there, but on Friday, there was nothing. On Saturday, there was nothing. On Sunday– nothing. So then Monday came along, and Relationship week started. Nothing really resonated with me in the lecture, but Monday night I was fed up with God. So I went to the prayer room after meeting with my Outreach team. And to be quite honest, I threw a spiritual tantrum. 
  I basically lectured God as if it would make a difference, as if it would convince him to tell me anything. And again, I got a answer along the same lines of just resting

“Stop and rest with me. Lean into my word and trust that I am listening.”

  Once again, I wasn’t happy with what he said. So I got angry at him again. At that moment I said that I wasn’t moving from that chair until he spoke to me in a way that was loud and clear. So I tried lecturing Him again, and this time, I swear he was yelling right back at me and matching my frustration. 

“Aren’t I enough? Do you have such little trust and faith in Me, that you can’t simply come and sit with me?”

   But right away, I started to say it was just my imagination talking. And to be completely and 100% honest and open with you, for a split second, I started to question whether or not any of this was real- whether or not God himself was real. As soon as those ideas started popping up, I knew that was spiritual warfare. The enemy was trying to spot the communication I had been waiting for. 
  Then when I started to pray out loud, I swear I don’t even really remember starting. But I said “It breaks my heart when I speak and you don’t trust it and give credit to your imagination“, the crazy part is that I had just been thinking a few minutes earlier; God, it would be A LOT easier to hear you if I could hear you with my ears and not just my heart. And then I was thinking of the right words to basically tell him that I hated that whenever I thought I heard him, I had to doubt and say it was just my imagination. 
So, after having my little tantrum for a few hours, here is what I got from it…
   1. I need to stop, and trust that God hears me when I pray and has heard all of my prayers. 

2. I need to have faith in God, and just sit with him. The relationship God wants to have with me is casual and open, and it takes two to sit and talk. One person can’t hold up two ends of the conversation. 

3. He is enough. He is worthy of everything and is the creator of everything; how is he not enough?

4. Gods heart breaks when mine breaks, and when I have my weak moments. 

5. God can get frustrated too. As much as we want to talk to him, he wants to talk to us and spend time with us even more. And it’s frustrating when we don’t want to spend quality time with him. 
And this is just the beginning of week six. 
 Some prayer points I need some covering on are:

  • Peace of mind
  • No distractions when I go to spend quality time with God to just talk
  • A Childlike faith and a open heart for this week of lectures
  • Prayer for the next step after DTS! I have a small idea of what it’ll look like, but I would still love the prayer on it. 

#mindblown

“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” Psalm 33:6

      Can we just take a moment to think about how massive God is and how enormous his entire creation is!? To help you with that, take a look at this video! It really puts things into perspective! It’s extremely long, but it is definitely worth it. 
(1) How GREAT is our God?

       Now, anyway, onto this week; I didn’t really connect much to the topic until today (Friday). We had an hour and half or so of just reconnecting time. We watched the video, and we were all completely blown away by it. Then after the video, we had a worship session that was probably the best we’ve had for awhile. 
      Multiple times I’ve had the realization that we are tiny, we are microscopic compared to the giant creation that we live in. But it really sank in today. 
      For the past week and a half roughly, I’ve honestly have had a hard time hearing Gods voice. A handful of people I have talked to have. After having so much growth in such a short amount of time, I was in a place of expecting to hear something huge again. I was honestly getting really frustrated too; so today was a huge spiritual breakthrough for me. I finally was able to hear what I’ve needed to after everything else that I’ve learned the past few weeks. 

Rest and trust me. 

      So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to trust that he’s going to lead me where I need to go and just relax; and not stress out about it anymore.

It’s been Crazy!

For starters, it’s been crazy so far. It’s been eye opening since I got here and so many great relationships have been developed already. There’s already been a ton of growth, and it’s just been crazy.

So firstly, last week I was extremely torn between which outreach team to be a part of. When I first applied, Reef to Outback (fun fact, YWAM TOWNSVILLE was originally called Reef to Outback because Loren Cunningham suggested that would be a fantastic focus for the school) had been my original choice. But it was partly because I didn’t know about Youth Adventures. So all of last week until today, I was going back and forth between the two Outreaches/streams. Then this morning I asked the leader for RTO for a bit more information on that stream to help me choose between the two.
Then after learning more about it, it sounded like the perfect fit. So I decided that would probably be the best choice. And I thought that would be my choice.

But then before the group meetings started, the outreach leader for Youth Adventures asked where I was with the choice and said if I wanted to join the group meeting to learn a bit more about it, I could. So right away, I was back to phase one– I had no idea which outreach I should do. So I went to the meeting and immediately knew Youth Adventures was the one I needed to be in. So after going back and fourth on the streams, I’m positive that Youth Adventures is the one I need to be in. So that was a long process.

For lectures over the past week have been extremely beneficial. Half of last week was orientation, and then Thursday and Friday were Hearing Gods Voice. Friday I got a few confirmations from people that correlated perfectly with my prayers. Then Saturday however was completely different. It was obvious spiritual warfare, I know that now and I knew it at the time too. I was angry and frustrated with not having made up my mind about outreach. Then I felt incredibaly isolated, most of the time I put myself in isolation too. Someone would ask me to join them and I’d say no, and then I’d feel even more angry.

Then Sunday, I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. Then Monday, I finished Genesis and started Exodus; Monday evening for awhile it looked like it was going to rain and we were all hoping it would. But before it did, a rainbow came out above the campus. Right away I remembered the promise God made to Noah;

Genesis 9:16 “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant of every kind on earth.”


Then as soon as I made the connection and got a picture, the rainbow was gone. Then during worship on Monday night, I kept getting the word abundance and love. But I didn’t want to share it, I wasn’t sure if it was personally for me or for someone else. So I asked God to send someone over and pray for me and if that happened, I would share it. Sure enough, someone from my DTS came over and said that I had been on her heart for a few days. So that was just one more confirmation that I was A.) in Townsville because I was meant to be, and B.) was supposed to share the word I had received.

Then the lectures for this week is on Identity, and right away our speaker started it off with a bang and had everyone crying on a Monday morning. I’m not sure what other people were thinking about it, but I was personally just extremely overwhelmed. For the reason that God has so much love for each of us and we don’t deserve any of it.

Every year in Sunday school when we’d learn about how the people chose Barabbus, I would just feel sick. How could those people choose Barabbus? He was horrible. He should have been the one to be crucified.

(1)”Jesus Loves Barabbas Too” just like how he loves us. And that just blows my mind. I had never thought of it like that; we are Barabbas. We aren’t above Barabbas, we sin just as he did. And we are ungreatful for Jesus taking our rightful place on the cross too sometimes– we just walk away and are glad we don’t have to deal with it any more. So that was one giant, game-changing take away. The second ties in with it.

(2) “God is Love“, and that’s one thing I forget all the time. Yeah, sure I know God loves me, but just how much? The song “When Love Sees You” is just another thing that made everyone cry in the first lecture of the week. He loves each of us that he would send Jesus to go through (3) “THIS” and would go through it again and again for each of us. And that is just mind boggling.

Any of the links in here I highly recommend you look it.
1.) It’s pretty self explanatory. It’s a spoken word.
2.) Just the song a referenced, it’s beautiful and I just love it a lot.
3.) This is the “physicians view of the Crucifixion of Jesus” and explains his last moments right before and during the crucifixion with medical terms and ends with “Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.” Meaning he basically died of a broken heart. 



Over all, so far this whole YWAM adventure has turned out to be much better than I expected. Sorry if this update was just all over the place!