With spring comes new life, and I hope you are all experiencing that this spring. The snow here in the North is finally melting and you can see the green grass underneath! The sun is up until 10pm and we’re looking forward to new leaves and summer breezes soon.
I actually want to start this newsletter off with an apology. I have not been diligent to set aside time in my busy schedule to write and update you all on what has been happening in the ministry here, and for that I am truly sorry. However, I will give some explanation as to why it’s been so difficult. All the way back in March, right as we finished our ministry time in the Philippines and headed to debrief, (A time where we take a few days to rest, relax, and process about the ministry we just did) the girls room at the hotel, in which we were staying, was broken into and most of our electronics were stolen, including my laptop. Since returning to Norway, I have traveled every few days to different locations, attending a leadership conference in the south, and an outdoor leadership training in Sweden. In this time I’ve realized how much more disciplined I need to be when I don’t have a computer I can carry around with me to write and update all of you. With that said, now the part you have all been waiting for… what have I been doing since I updated you last when we had just left Thailand!?
We made it to the Philippines! With the change of countries, came a change in ministry style. In Thailand, we moved places every day, sharing the word with a new school, or new place; scattering the seeds of the gospel as far as we could. In the Philippines, we had the opportunity to become the tenders of the seeds that had already been planted, rather than being the planters. We went from being pioneers to being the disciplers and teachers. It was definitely challenging, adjusting to that switch, but the we learned so much from it.
For the five weeks we were in the Philippines, we consistently had the same day-to-day ministries with the young people and children. It was a time of growth for ourselves and for them as we began to dig more into hearing what God wanted us to speak to that particular group.This change in pace allowed us to be able to follow up on teachings and build upon what we had shared in previous weeks. It was amazing realizing how two radically different ministry roles are necessary to spreading the gospel and seeing growth. We need pioneers to go before, and enter into places that have never heard the gospel, but we also need those who will come behind and be diligent to water the seeds that have been planted. It was a huge blessing for us to experience two different sides of ministry and be able to grow in each.
One of my favorite moments in ministry was towards the end of our time together with the 16-17 year old high school class. On the last day we opened up a question and answer panel, whereas previously we had sat with them in groups and talked about hard questions such as, “how do we know what God says is truth despite it being hard to believe. For example, God says He’s a healer, but it’s hard to believe that because my friend has suffered illness, even when we’ve prayed. When we opened up the panel, they were ready with good, hard questions that we tried our best to answer. This was so impactful, as it was an amazing opportunity to teach and show that God is not scared of our hard questions, He actually has answers. Being a Christian does not mean sticking our heads in the sand singing kumbaya as the world burns around us. The bible says we will suffer, (2 Tim 1:12, Eph 6:12) we shouldn’t be surprised to experience hard things because we’re Christians. Life is a dialogue with God; like a journey full of hills and valleys that Jesus walks through with us. We’re constantly learning He is always there, but how much we want to involve Him is up to us. God gave us an opening to share with these teenagers how real and personal He is, how much He loves them, and who He is in their struggles. In the same time He reminded me, and solidified in my heart that He’s not scared of my hard questions. I can come to Him with them, and hear His answers.
Following outreach we came back to Norway, and had a week of debrief for the whole DTS (Discipleship Training School). In it we covered the experiences we had during our time together. We shared how we each grew, and how we would go home and share what we had experienced the last six months. It’s such an important time to reflect, because we all have changed, especially the students. None of them are the same person who arrived at school six months ago. We really took the time to process how to continue in the truths they have learned, as they transition back into everyday home life. Then they graduated!! They are all now officially YWAMer’s for life.
With that, I have officially finished my first year as staff, and will continue the journey in the next level of responsibility by formally accepting the new role of, DTS Leader along side of my co-staff Courtney. We have already begun the work of planning the upcoming 2018-2019 DTS, so come join us!
Since the DTS has finished, time seems to have sped up. I have taken part in a seminar, a leadership conference, and an outdoor leadership training event.
Our base hosted a full-support seminar, which is designed to help missionaries better understand how to do their finances and what the Bible says about living as a missionary on support. This was incredibly insightful, and gave great tools necessary to both sustaining and raising support for ourselves and our ministries.
The leadership conference was located in Ålesund, a town in the south of Norway. All the leaders of YWAM Norway gathered together to hear from each other, have fellowship, and listen to what God has been speaking to us as a collective movement. There I got to meet most of the other DTS leaders from the other bases in Norway and form connections that I believe will help me grow as a leader.
Lastly, I attended a Niko, which means victory in greek. It was an outdoor leadership training event. In it I learned SO MUCH about myself, my style of leadership, how I relate to others, how I can grow in the gifts God has given me, and how to improve in the areas that I am not so great in.
This brings us back up to the present. Phew, I know, it’s a lot! It has been fantastic though! God is moving in such awesome ways! I am constantly amazed at how blessed I am to be apart of this ministry and see His hand moving in the north and across the nations. Check out my prayer tab for things you guys can being praying about for me and our team!
Blessings and Love,