Celebrating the Holidays

Over the years since I have been a missionary I have spent many holidays away from home christmas-themed-facebook-coverand my family which is one of the things that is sometimes really difficult for me at times when I am living overseas especially when it is at Christmas time. I remember my very first Christmas away from home was when I lived in South Korea for a year which was in 2006, I had many Christmas celebrations in Romania and last year I was in Czech Republic when I led my very first DTS outreach.When I think about it now in the last 10 years I have only spent three Christmas celebrations in Canada with my family since I have been living overseas which was in 2009, 2014 and this Christmas that just past (2016).

My heart is filled with so much gratitude that God has always placed such amazing friendshome-away-from-home around me to celebrate the holidays with especially at Christmas time that I never spent it alone. It was such a joy to be able to celebrate the Christmas holidays with different families that had invited me into their home including a Romanian family, different missionary families and also the DTS students when I was on outreach. Being away from home during the holidays is a time that missionaries including myself go through times of homesickness but these times can also be very memorable ones when it is spent with people who become like your family away from home as well.

This past Christmas (2016) I thought I might spend another one away from home because I believed that God had spoken to my heart to go on my school’s optional outreach when I did a leadership training school at the YWAM LA base last year in the fall but then the Lord re-directed me to go home so I flew back to Canada after my school’s graduation to be able to spend the Christmas holidays with my family which I am now very grateful that I was able to spend another Christmas with my family. I will write more about the season of transition that I am in right now in another blog entry but for this one I would like to write about how my Christmas and the New Year’s celebration was in Canada.

The first two weeks I have been in Canada (December 18th – January 1st) my time was Christmas Decorationextremely busy especially because it was during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday time. During these two weeks my brother Jonathan was off work so he spent it at my Mom’s house which was really nice that I was able to see him more and spend some time with him. Jonathan lives in Brantford which is an hour and a half west from Whitby which is where my Mom lives so he usually comes to visit on the weekends so it was really great that he was able to get two weeks off of work for the holidays for us to spend more time together.

The first couple of days I was in Canada I did a lot of errands especially to do my Christmas shopping and then the rest of the holidays it was pretty busy with traveling and visiting my relatives. My Christmas Day celebration was spent in the States when I went to Fairport, New York with my Mom and my brother Jonathan from Friday December 23rd -26th. Last year in May my Grandma moved to a retirement home so this past Christmas was the very first one that we didn’t spend it at her house which was very different but I am so very grateful that my Mom did such an incredible job in making it really special for my Grandma where she lives now.

I spent three nights with my Mom and my brother at my Grandma’s little apartment at her

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Dinner with my Grandma and my relatives in New York.

retirement home and it was really nice to be able to spend some good quality time with my Grandma for Christmas. On Christmas Eve I spent most of the day with my Grandma while my Mom and my brother Jonathan went out to do some errands and then in the evening I went to church with my Mom and Jonathan.

On Christmas Day I went to my Grandma’s church with my Mom and Jonathan and then the rest of the day was a very special family day at my Grandma’s retirement home. I am so very grateful that we were able to get a room at my Grandma’s retirement home to be able to have Christmas dinner with not only my Grandma, my Mom and Jonathan but also my uncle Tom, my cousin Candace, her son Zaki and three other friends who also joined us as well.

I was so very impressed how incredibility delicious my Mom made the Christmas dinner

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My Grandma and I

and I was also really touched that my Mom made it so special for my Grandma especially with the table decorated so nice as well. On December 26th we just had some time together at my Grandma’s retirement home and then it was time to say good-bye around 6:00pm that day. I honestly do not know how much longer my Grandma will be alive for but I definitely want to cherish the moments that God gives me with her right now. On the way back to Canada we stopped to visit Al and Diane who are good friends of ours which was a real blessing to be able to connect with them for a couple hours.

On Wednesday December 28th, my brother Jonathan and I went to Kitchener which is an

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A group picture with my relatives on my Dad’s side of the family.

hour and a half west from Whitby where our Mom lives to celebrate Christmas with our relatives on our Dad’s side of the family for the day. We had a really great time together and it was such a blessing to be able to spend time with my cousins, aunts and my uncle.

This was the first Christmas celebration that my cousin Aaron and his wife Lyndsay had it at their house which was really nice and I was so touched by their hospitality that they offered to us throughout the day as well. It was also the first Christmas in Kitchener with two babies as well (my cousin Aaron and his wife Lyndsay had a baby boy last year in February and my cousin Deanne and her husband Robin had a baby girl last year in July) which was so much fun.

On Thursday December 29th, my brother Jonathan and I celebrated Christmas with our

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My Dad, my brother Jonathan and I

Dad. We went to the Montana restaurant in Scarborough for lunch and spent a couple hours together which was really great to be able to spend some time together. We had a really nice lunch, exchanged gifts and took some pictures as well. It really breaks my heart that I cannot celebrate Christmas with both of my parents together like it was growing up in a family unit, it is definitely not the same anymore since my Dad has left my Mom but I am really thankful that I can still have a relationship with my Dad and celebrate the holidays together with him as well.

On December 31st for the New Year’s Eve celebration I went to church with my Mom and Jonathan for a special New Year’s Eve service at the Embassy church in Oshawa from 7:00 – 9:00pm. It was a really great service and I really felt in my heart that God spoke to me a lot through the sermon which was so very encouraging. The sermon was on the scripture passage from Psalm 119:49 – 56 and there were three main points that the pastor preached on which were: 1) verse 49 – there is an alignment for your promises from God, 2) verse 52 – we need to divide or cut our time for rest and 3) verse 55 – in your alignment and place of rest God will teach you how to use your sword which is the word of God. We will also need to fight for our provisions as we declare the word of God and His promises. After the sermon finished there was also a man who came up to the front to give a prophetic word how the year 2017 is going to be a year of restoration. I am really glad that I went to church and then afterwards my Mom and I had a nice relaxing evening at home where we watched a movie and said Happy New Year to each to other.

On January 1st for New Year’s Day I celebrated the first day of 2017 with my Mom and my

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My Mom, my brother Jonathan and I

brother Jonathan by having a special Christmas celebration together at my Mom’s house. We began the day by having a delicious brunch that my Mom made, then we had a relaxing afternoon and then in the evening we continued our Christmas celebration with a delicious dinner, we exchanged gifts and then we had dessert together.

I thought it was really nice that we also invited a couple of people who rent at my Mom’s house to join us for dinner and dessert. Again, I really missed my Dad being a part of our family Christmas celebration but I really would like to praise God for the joy and the peace that He gave us on January 1st. Jesus truly is our prince of peace!

My heart is filled with so much gratitude that God gave me such a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s celebration. It was such a blessing from the Lord to be able to spend the holidays in Canada and to be able to spend it with my family as well which is not something that I have been able to do too often since I have become a missionary so when I do get this opportunity to be with my family at this time it is a special gift from God and I definitely do not want to take it for granted. I really hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s celebration with your families too.

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A Beautiful End to an Incredible Season

I have officially completed my School of Ministry Development at the YWAM LA base Finish Linewhere I completed it last year in the fall from September 24 – December 18, 2016! I graduated on Thursday December 15th, I flew out of LA on Sunday December 18th and I have been safely at home in Whitby, Ontario Canada since I flew back!

The last week during my time at the school was very intense, lots of moments of celebration and it was just an incredible end to my season at the YWAM LA base as well. I honestly wanted to write this blog entry for weeks now but since I have been back in Canada my time has been very busy but I also felt like I was on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster however now I feel in my heart that I can finally get my blog caught up.

My twelfth and last week (December 12th – 18th) at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD

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I am with our speakers Jim and Judy

(School of Ministry Development) was amazing and I am so very thankful for all of the things that God taught me during my last week both in and out of the classroom. My last week at the school we were very blessed to have Jim and Judy Orred come from the YWAM Kona base and teach us on spiritual leadership.

It was a real blessing to hear both of them teach us because they have been in missions for many years and the wisdom that they carry is just so inspiring to me. There were a lot of things that I had learned that week during the teaching time which I would love to share in this blog and I would also like to share some things that God did in my life outside of the classroom as well.

Some of the highlights that I learned this week are:

  • One of the first tests you will probably be tested on as a leader is your identity which is one of the first things that Jesus was tested on. Identity is based on who we are in Christ, it is about our relationship with God and it is a life long pursue. Identity is also about seeing the value of how God sees you as His child. Sonship and daughtership has to be our foundation as our identity as a leader and how God sees you.
  • In a spiritual context, one that leads and influences people fears God more than people. They follow through, the fruit of the spirit are evident in their lives, they view themselves as a servant, they have self-control over their tongue and it is not about authority or a title.
  • Why do you let people influence you? Leadership is influence. How do you influenceleadership-is-influence and who do you influence? Influence is based on trust and integrity. As we grow in our friendship to God, He will help us influence people in a positive life changing way.
  • When you are a leader it is really important that you learn to serve someone so that they are also successful as well and you can do this without being asked. An example of this is when Joshua assisted Moses in the Bible. How are you going to live so you become an influencer that other people are successful for them to be equipped to do what God calls them to do too?
  • If you don’t know how to influence in prayer than you have no spiritual influence over people.
  • John 15:1-17, verse 15 – Jesus no longer calls us servants but we are his friends. We are friends of God. We need to always to be able to receive love and affirmation from our Father God. God shares His secrets with His friends.
  • A Biblical worldview is aligned with the Bible. Our worldview is made up of our values, morals and our understanding of God.
  • God wants to be the Father to the Fatherless.
  • The ages of four to fourteen are a very crucial age group to us on reaching people for Christ.
  • When you are in leadership God brings you into different seasons to equip you, to learn and grow in your identity and to contribute into people’s lives and ministries.
  • It is really important how to tell a good story because the shortest distance betweentell-me-your-story two people is to tell a story.
  • Trust goes both ways in a relationship. People will not know you unless you are open and transparent with them and you can trust them. You can create a safe place by asking a person questions in a loving way. How is trust broken? It is broken by lack of communication, emotional wounds, and other ways.
  • Leadership is like parenting. For example Paul led Timothy like a father in the Bible. Leadership has to do with feeling cared for. Leaders gather (Isaiah 56:7-8). How do you gather people and for what purpose? Jesus always gathered people together like when he gathered people in one on ones, small groups, big groups, etc. Hospitality is really important in leadership. Hospitality is a spirit and an environment that you create.
  • If you want to develop your leadership skills than you need to do your “homework” which just means you need to do everything you can to own your skills.
  • Jesus delights in showing mercy to people and he wants us to do that as well.
  • The greatest attack came to Jesus was from the religious spirit which is the same for Christians today.
  • Our goal is not to change people but to speak truth and to love people well.
  • One thing is people don’t like leadership is when they don’t like change. If you’re going to be a leader than you are going to need to be future oriented.
  • People buy into the leader more than they would buy into the project or the vision.
  • When something comes into your heart, it sticks and you then give it to God. This often means it is from God especially when God speaks to you about it over and over again and it is also confirmed by godly people as well.
  • Most of the time the most challenging person on a team is yourself. If you cannot lead yourself than you cannot lead a team. Leading yourself means you can rally your mind, emotions and will to move forward to do the right thing. It is the role of leadership that no one else can do for you and this is all about strengthening yourself in the Lord just like David did in the Bible (1 Samuel 30:1 – 6, verse 6b).
  • If you hit a crisis. You can ask yourself these questions: 1) Have I lost any questionsperspective? God sees everything through redemption and hope. 2) Is my commitment strong or weak in the midst of the crisis? 3) Do I believe that God is still on the throne? 4) Do I have emotional control or are my emotions controlling me? 5) Am I blaming someone else? 6) Where does my confidence come from or do I lack it? 7) Do I make decisions out of insecurity? 8) Am I humble? Humility is an act of the will. 9) How do I think of myself with sober judgement or with value? 10) What is the pattern of my thoughts? 11) What about my mouth – do I have control over it? 12) What about the mediation of my heart? 13) Do I spend enough time alone with God? 14) Do I respond out of courage or fear?
  • When you are a leader and there is conflict on a team. It is really important to hear both sides of the story. We need to have compassion, wisdom and to have God’s perspective as a leader. It is really important as a leader to fear God above other people. We need to ask God for His wisdom. When there is a conflict it is really important as a leader to follow through with godly principals. Confidentiality is extremely important when you meet for reconciliation. Matthew 18 is the biblical order of seeking reconciliation.
  • When you confront someone it is really important to never use “you” statements but it is much better to use “I” statements.
  • Whether you are a leader or not we need to be known to keep to godly principals and follow through with them.
  • It is really important that you value the relationship and not just only work on yourself when there is any conflict or any friction in the relationship.
  • If you are rooted in the character of God than it will prevent bitterness from coming into your heart especially when you go through times of crisis in your life.
  • God doesn’t give and take away. God didn’t say this but Job said this in the Bible. It is not God’s character to give and then to take it away. God is going to test you according to what you know of His character.
  • We need to be intentional in knowing why we do what we do.
  • There are 3 things that God will always be working in our lives which are: 1) our understanding of God’s ways, 2) capacity and 3) our character.
  • Character is who we are and what we do. It is also who we are when we are all by good-character-4ourselves. Gifting will only take us so far especially if we do not have character in our lives. Every time we obey it strengths our moral character. Character is exposed at times but character is something that has been happening for a long time. We cannot separate private and public. When we lack character we can also lose our authority as leaders.
  • Godly leaders are effective of who they are on the inside.
  • We need to remember to keep our word, to be responsible and to not blame others, not to gossip about other people and to be careful about what we think about of what our heart is mediating on.
  • Condemnation does not come from God but it is from Satan. Conviction is from God.
  • Ask God to show you if there are any unhealthy patterns in your life and to show you the root of it. The behavior is not the root. After God reveals it to you then you need to repent of it and then ask God to show you what is the next step that He would like you to take.
  • We identify with one another when we share our weakness with each other but it is really important to do it with humility.
  • Ask God to rebuild your foundations in certain areas of your life.
  • When we are in leadership accountability is extremely important and we can have as much as we want of it. Satan will always look for vulnerability in us especially when we are in any positions of leadership in our lives and this is why we need to be accountable to people who are mature in their faith.
  • What does the integrity of your heart look like? It means you will do what you said integrityyou will do. When we choose integrity God is obligated to protect us. There is not time to form your integrity and your character at a time of crisis. It must be formed ahead of time. When we lack integrity than we are separated. Integrity is all about integration.
  • If you fail it is really important to just pick yourself up and move on.
  • When you are a leader you have spiritual leadership as a leader to take responsibility over your “team” even if you didn’t do it.
  • Spiritual authority is when God stands behind you and affirms you. It is something that you choose how to live and God gives you grace to do it.
  • Apostles gather people in order to equip people and then to send them out. Pastors gather people in order to feed them and then to nurture them.
  • There is something that happens when you humble yourself before God because God is close to those who are humble. God responds to hunger and humility. What if as leaders we led with hunger in our hearts to God? Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of the anointing that Elijah had (2 Kings 2:9). If you’re not hungry than you will not ask God for anything big. We hunger because there is more. What if we create a community of leaders who are hungry for God?
  • No title or role makes someone a leader but it is a function and the important thing is it comes from the heart. It is not about a position but it is about the role that God places you in.
  • You can go somewhere for vision but you can only be sustained through relationships.
  • Different things will influence us (e.g. culture) but we need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives.
  • We need to constantly be dying to ourselves and surrender to God.
  • God wants to transform us more than we want to transform ourselves.
  • We need to learn to say “no” otherwise we could get burned out if we are constantly saying yes to everyone.
  • Networking comes from friendships and prayer. When networking is done by the networkingHoly Spirit than networking of the kingdom increases.
  • The gift of a leader is not to program but to spot people who have potential, to equip them and to raise them up to be a leader.
  • If you have a servant’s heart you will think broad and you will begin think differently.
  • The world says: “Believe, behavior and then belong” but Jesus says: “Belong, belief and then belong”.
  • Honoring people is all respect and the spirit behind how we speak to them. It is also seeing the value in people and being an active listener when you listen to them.
  • We need to recognize that dreams and visions are from God.
  • There is a time to be silent with our lips sealed and there is a time to be open by sharing words of encouragement, affirmation, teachings, blessing others with gratitude. When there is a time to be silent and keep our lips sealed it is when you are supposed to be confidential with things that were shared to you. Are you a person that can share secrets with people and they can trust in you with their secrets? You only share something with people if the Holy Spirit clearly leads you to do it.
  • When people make mistakes they don’t need to be judged and to feel ashamed. When people make mistakes the goal is to restore them, to recognize they are valuable and to recognize their strengths and then to restore them in a healthy process way.
  • A leader must live beyond re-approach which means you must live honorably, with integrity, to have self-control over your tongue, to handle your finances well, etc. If you have lack of self-control with your tongue, anger, eating, etc it is not beyond re-approach and neither is it to use any spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse means you use power in an abusive way, you don’t serve and you could use your power in some kind of controlling or manipulative way.
  • You only use authority when it is necessary but the key is when you are a leader to influence well and to also serve well too.
  • When we get offended that makes us very vulnerable to the root of bitterness. Groups or organizations don’t offend people but individual people do so we cannot allow ourselves to get offended easily.
  • God can teach you to learn from both good leaders and also bad leaders that He places in your life. If you have been hurt by leaders there needs to be processing, debriefing, reconciliation and forgiveness with people.
  • Selfish ambition is wrong but godly ambition is right.
  • It is really important to take the initiative with the gifts that God has given you and also what God has called you to do. We need to be active in serving the purposes of God and also to take the initiative.
  • We need to encourage people on a daily base so that the word of God is active in us.
  • He has shown you O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act micah-6-v8-2justify and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8. This is one of the scripture verses our speakers shared with us which is one of the verses in the Bible that God has been speaking to me a lot lately especially since He has been speaking to me more of how He is calling me to fight against the injustice issue of issue of human trafficking. It is my prayer that God will teach me more to act justify, to love mercy and to walk in a deeper level of humility in my walk with Him.
  • We need to always to be student of leadership all of our lives.

I am so very grateful for all of the different things that God has spoken to me and revealed

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Our SOMD classroom at YWAM LA

to me from the teaching my last week and also all the other weeks at my SOMD school. There is so much to still to learn, grow and develop in the area of spiritual leadership especially in the areas of my character, integrity, to have more of a servant’s heart, to be deeply rooted in my identity of who I am in Christ, etc so I would definitely appreciate your prayers that will help me to daily learn to continue to grow in these different areas in my life so I can be more of an effective leader not only on the mission field but wherever I am.

My last Sunday to go to church in California was on December 11th which was such a blessing for me. I visited a new church that Sunday morning called Expression 58. I heard about this church at the beginning of November and I had wanted to go to it since I had heard the church but for some reason it didn’t work out for me to go the other Sundays but I really believe God had opened up the doors for me to go there my last Sunday in California. I had wanted to go to Expression 58 because I heard it is a church that flows in the prophetic and Shawn Bolz is the founding pastor at this church who is very strong in the prophetic as well.

Shawn Bolz was not there the Sunday I was at the church but I was still blown away by the presence of God during the service. During the worship time it was just incredible and it was such a blessing to be surrounded by people who were really hungry for God. One of the girls who was in the worship band even told us that she felt an angel touch her so she encouraged us to reach up and to receive whatever God has for us that morning. The sermon was about living a supernatural life and of faith which was so good. After the service finished I felt in my heart to go up to the front for prayer which was another blessing from God. The man who prayed for me received a prophetic word for me which I just felt so overwhelmed by the love of God especially of how the Lord affirmed me by speaking to me how my faith is rare and He is pleased with me (it was in line with the scripture verse 2 Chronicles 16:9a). God also spoke to me of how God is going to take care of me in the upcoming season especially of how He is going to provide extravagant for me. Wow, God is so good!

After I received prayer I then walked towards the guys in the group that I came with from

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Charissa and I

the YWAM LA base but before I got to them a girl approached me and asked me if I went to the Harvest Mission School 17 and then she asked me if I am Andrea. I told her yes to both of the questions that she asked me and then she told me that we both went to the same school (this is when I went to Pemba, Mozambique in the fall of 2012 with Iris Ministries for their 10 week mission school). I honestly had no idea that Charissa goes to that church so it was such a blessing from God to be able to have a quick reunion with one of the students who was in my class especially after not seeing each other for 4 years! Wow, God is so good and again it was such a blessing to be able to go to the Expression 58 church.

On Tuesday (December 13th), I had a really great day. In the morning it was awesome to start my day in the prayer chapel at the base just Jesus and I, then for my small group time we wrote encouraging cards to each other, for class we had some wonderful teaching by Jim and Judy Orred on spiritual leadership, then after lunch I did my New Testament test and for the afternoon my class and I went to a homeless area called Skid Row in LA to sing Christmas carols to the people there and to show them Jesus’ love as we brought a bit of Christmas cheer to them and we also prayed for a couple of people as well. God is so good! It is so hard to believe my time there at the YWAM LA base this fall for the SOMD school is coming to an end. Where does the time go?

On Thursday (December 15th), I had an incredible day! In the morning I had my SOMD

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Thank-you Jesus we did it!

(School of Ministry Development) graduation which was really beautiful. Every Thursday mornings at the YWAM LA base we usually had an all base intercession time before class but instead of doing that the last week we had our graduation which so nice because everyone from the base was able to be there (all of the staff and everyone from the two DTS schools as well).

Robert and Jenny who are the base leaders opened up with an encouraging word and then they gave the rest of the time over to Lisa who was my school leader. Lisa also shared something as well, then she read a couple of the students’ blogs from our school and she also asked a couple of the students in my class to share something too. I thought it was really touching when I saw Aaron who was one of the students in my class give Lisa a bouquet of flowers on behalf of our whole school. Then we each got our certificates and to end the graduation the eldership of the YWAM LA base prayed a commissioning prayer over us which I thought was really special.

I was also really encouraged that Pastor John and his wife Natasha from the Sunland img_7927Foursquare church came to my graduation. I went to their church sometimes during my time in California which was definitely a blessing from God. The sermon series that Pastor John preached on dreaming with God really inspired me a lot and him and his wife Natasha both really encouraged me so much too.

I was really touched when Pastor John and Natasha took a bit of time to pray for me after the graduation had finished and I didn’t know that they flow in the prophetic so when I received a prophetic word when they prayed for me God really blew me away so much especially how the Lord reminded me that He is going to take care of me during the upcoming season in my life! God even spoke to me that He is going to miraculous provide for me like He did with Elijah in the Bible in 1 Kings 17:1-6.  I also met Karyn from the church too who was also such a blessing to meet her because she has become a really great friend in my life.

On Thursday for dinner I went to the Cheese cake factory with my small group to celebrate

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My Small group

the end of our time together which was a real blessing to be able to have that time together.  It was such an incredible blessing from God to have Anna as my small group leader and mentor during the time I was at the YWAM LA base and to also be a part of such an amazing small group as well.

Friday (December 16th), in the morning I had my very last intercession and worship time with my class and then for lunch we all went out to a Mexican restaurant as a special celebration to end our SOMD school. It is really hard to believe that my school had officially ended. I just want to say that my heart is filled with so much gratitude of what an amazing blessing it was from God to have Lisa as my school leader, Anna as my one on one mentor for the school, Jessica and Abby who were also our school staff and to walk alongside 16 other incredible students in my class.

Saturday (December 16th), it was a day full of saying good-byes to the DTS students and my class as well. There are four teams that went out on outreach from the two DTS classes (from the Transformation DTS class one team went to Greece and one team went to Guatemala and from the Justice DTS class one team went to Greece and France and the other team went to Southeast Asia). This is part of being a missionary that has always been really hard for me to meet people, share life together with them and then to say good-bye to them but then there are always reunions that God loves to surprise me with at different times which are always so much fun.

Sunday (December 18th), I had an extremely long travel day back to Toronto. I began my andrea-weberday by leaving the YWAM LA base around 3:40am, and then I took the fly away bus at 4:00am to go to the airport, my flight to Toronto was scheduled to depart at 8:09am so I had two hours before I could check in for my flight but thankfully I was able to spend that time with my friend Janet who was a mission builder at the YWAM LA base for 2 months when I was there. I am so very grateful for the friendship that God gave to Janet and I because it was definitely a blessing from Him to be able to pray together and encourage each other throughout the time we were at the base. When it was time for us to say good-bye it was really hard because we had grown really close during the time we were together at the YWAM LA base during those two months.

I am so very thankful that my check in for my flight went very well and my suitcase was exactly 50 lbs which is definitely a praise report! After I said good-bye to Janet, went through the security, found my gate, boarded my plane and settled into my seat I found out very surprising news when the co-pilot made an announcement that the flight has been delayed by two hours because the original captain was sick or something and another captain is now on the way to the LA airport so instead of originally arriving in Toronto at 4:00pm it was changed to arrive at 6:15pm.

Unfortunately after I boarded the plane a second time my flight ended up having another

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I arrived safety in Toronto

three hour delay on top of the first delay which really frustrated a lot of people including myself but I was so very thankful when I saw that the passengers had given out snacks to each other and then we ended up getting a free meal on the flight as well. I really would like to thank God that I finally arrived at the Toronto airport at 9:00pm safe and sound. I am really thankful that my Dad picked me up at the Toronto airport, then my brother Jonathan met us part of the way and then Jonathan and I went to our Mom’s house. It was so good to see my cat Minnie again when I arrived home and my Mom too.

I am so blown away by God when I think of everything that He did in my life during this season to be able to spend 12 weeks at the YWAM LA base last year in the fall to do this leadership training school called School of Ministry Development and my heart is filled to the overflowing with so much gratitude of all of His faithfulness. God is so good and I’m really excited to see what He has in store for the upcoming season that He has for my life. I also would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who prayed for me during the time I did the SOMD school at the YWAM LA base. I am so very grateful for all of your prayers and it means so much to me to know that there are people who are praying for me so thank-you so much.

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How to Communicate God’s Heart Effectively

My eleventh week (December 5th – 11th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School of Ministry Development) was really great and I am so very thankful for all of the things that God is continually teaching me throughout this time both in the classroom and out of the class time as well. This week it was such a blessing to be able to spend a lot of time digging into God’s word and reading the New Testament. I am just blown away that we actually finished reading the rest of the New Testament this week which means we have finished reading the entire Bible in less than 3 months. I can honestly say this is the first time incommunications my life to be able to read the entire Bible this fast which has been incredible to really get saturated in the scriptures like this and I am so very thankful of how much God has spoken to me through reading His word in such a short amount of time as well.

This week we were blessed with having Joseph Avakian come from Germany and teach us on communications. It was a real blessing to hear all of the experiences that Joseph has with YWAM and I also enjoyed that he brought a lot of laughter and joy in the class as he taught with so much wisdom as well. There were a lot of things that I learned this week during the teaching time which I would love to share in this blog and I would also like to share some of the things that God did in my life outside of the classroom well.

Some of the highlights that I learned this past week:

  • Just because you may know many different languages it doesn’t necessary mean you can communicate effectively. To communicate well it is really important to know the content, the values, the environment you are in, the culture, the subculture, the generation you are in and it is also really important not to filter things that you hear as well.
  • It is really important that we check with the person that we are communicating so that we understand what we are hearing from the person because there is a giving and a receiving of information when communication happens between two people.
  • The words that we speak have the power of life and death. Our words can bring the-tongue-has-power-of-life-and-deathdeclaration and also prophetically bring something into existence as well. We need to remember to be very generous with our encouragements with each other.
  • It is not just about communication but it is also about the spirit behind the communication. When Jesus came to earth he redefined the context when he communicated with people so we need to take time to learn how Jesus did it and to always be listening to God of how He wants us to communicate with people.
  • It is really important that when we communicate we learn to do it effectively with individual people first and then with a group.
  • The world looks at our skill first but we also need to work on our character too because these two go hand in hand when we communicate with people.
  • We are what we communicate and we communicate what we are which all comes from our identity of who we are as individual people.
  • When we communicate something that is very valuable it is really important that we own it.
  • We need to learn to pull from the wisdom that we are learning and to apply it to our lives.
  • When we communicate cross-culturally it is like clouds overlapping each other. We often communicate the culture and the “package” of God more than who He is. God is really the ultimate communicator and He is the creation of communication so it is really important to take time to learn from God to developing our communication skills with people. We will get to know God more than we will be able to communicate His heart.
  • We cannot, not communicate. Even silence is a way of communication.
  • Revelation is taking the blur away and you can see clearly what is being revealed.
  • When there is good communication than it allows it to have good connection witha-good-relationship-starts-wtih-good-communication other people especially in our relationships with people.
  • If we can communicate the way God does than we will have the key to how we can communicate more effectively and to also understand people better as well. We need to learn to be God’s mouth piece and we can do this by constantly be listening to his voice everyday of our lives.
  • It is really important to learn to say much with little and much with much.
  • Sometimes our communication is to sow seeds when we share the gospel with people, sometimes it is to water, sometimes it is to reap and sometimes we have the privilege to do all three.
  • God knows how we are wired so He will tell us something that He wants us to know in His timing because He knows us better than we know ourselves. Our part is to be prepared and God will open up the doors in His timing.
  • Godly communication is all about doing it with integrity.
  • God wants us to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit not only in the church but also in the market place. For example, you don’t have to explain it is a prophetic gift when you receive a word for someone but you just need to be open to letting the words God gives you to come out of your mouth so you can bless people and speak life over people whenever you go.
  • It is really important that we name the strongholds in our lives, confront them with God, declare the truth and walk in the opposite spirit.
  • God wants us to get out of the box and He wants us to totally set us free from anyit-is-time-to-get-out-of-the-box fears, comparisons, criticisms, egoism, arrogance and also from us having control over these things as well.
  • God doesn’t want to “fix us” but He wants to bring transformation to our lives.
  • We put what is precious in our box. If someone were to open up your box what would they find? For example, would they find fear or the opposite of it which is agape love, criticism or the opposite of it which is exhortation, egoism or the opposite of it which is generosity, arrogance or the opposite which is humility? We get out of our box by moving in the opposite spirit of the things that have strongholds in our lives and this also affects how we communicate as well.
  • Agape Love – God wants us to walk in His perfect love every day and at every moment in our lives. He has created us in love and to be in His love. People need to have the freedom to process things so it is really important that we are always creating a culture of love and of honor. When people feel loved they will also feel trusted and heard as well. Agape love is to love without any conditions. God’s love is always consistent and steadfast. When we truly know that we are loved by God than we are free to be ourselves of how God has created us to be and then we are fully walking in our identity that God has given us. It is God’s heart beat that we are carriers of His love whenever we go especially how we communicate with people.
  • Exhortation – This is when you speak the truth in love and it is also bringing restoration to people’s lives as well.
  • Generosity – It is being generous with what we have (e.g. to give love to people), going the extra mile when someone asks you for help and when your tank is full than you will be able to pour out even more to people.
  • Humility – Jesus didn’t save us so that we become invisible but for us to be redeemed and to co-create with Him. God wants us to walk in humility and the more He is in us, the more authentic we will be of how God has created us to be.
  • The only true way to open the box in our lives is the true freedom that is only possible the-crossthrough the cross. – Matthew 10:38 and 1 Corinthians 1:18
  • When we travel to different countries in the world it is really important that we see people as God sees them as His children and love them as He does. Jesus came to restore our relationship to Father God and He wants us to communicate this to the world.
  • Without a healthy communication than any relationship will not be able to function.
  • When we value someone than we will be able to talk to them differently and also see them differently as well.
  • We shouldn’t be shocked when we are in a season in our life is winter because God will bring us into different seasons in our lives just like nature has different seasons.
  • Healthy individuals will create healthy communities.
  • God is a part of all of the different culture values in the world (e.g. time or event, individual or community, honest or polite, low distance or high distance, task or relational, reasoning or feeling, quiet or loud and structure or flow) and we need to remember to learn to communicate in the different ways that we can effectively reach people for Christ in the different cultures.
  • We need to say to God to not stop the work that you are doing in us so we can effectively communicate His heart to people.
  • The journey of transformation in an individual person is really important so we can also see transformation in the community that He puts us in.
  • It is not necessary how much we communicate but what you say that matters.

I am so very grateful for all of the different things that God has spoken to me and revealed thank-you-god-for-everythingto me from the teaching this past week. Communication is definitely an area in my life that I need to grow and develop more in as well so I would really appreciate your prayers that God will help me to daily learn how to communicate His heart to people every day and also how I can be more effective in my communication skills as well.

My heart is also filled to the overflowing with so much gratitude to God for all of the things that He is doing in my life outside of the classroom as well. Last Sunday (December 4th) I went to another church with my SOMD class at the Awaken LA church for their young adult evening service which was so good. The sermon was about living the miraculous Christian life which God spoke to me a lot through that message and then afterwards I asked the pastor if he could pray for me. One of the things that he prayed for me for was that God would give me more boldness and courage to be able to step out more to do what God is asking me to do.

Then on Monday of this week at our base worship time in the morning I ended up doing something that I wasn’t expecting on doing at all which was God nudged my heart to share something with everyone up at front. I am still surprised that I did go up because usually I get extremely nervous when speaking in front of a large group of people and also speaking into the microphone as well but when we were given an opportunity to share any words of encouragement that we felt that God wanted us to share I actually didn’t struggle with fear of going up like I usually do so I really would like to praise God for this.

When I went to the Harvest Mission school in Pemba, Mozambique in the fall of 2012 I will

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Jesus turns water to wine

never forget when one of my house Moms prayed for me and she received a word from God that He is saving the best wine for last for my time there (specifically how God is going to bring breakthroughs in my life at the end of the school) just like Jesus turned water into wine and He saved the best wine for the end of the wedding (John 2:1-11). Lately I have been having this stirring in my heart and my spirit that God is also saving the best wine for the end of my time here during my SOMD school at the YWAM LA base but when the worship leader encouraged us to go to Nigel who was leading the morning I felt God nudged me to go to Nigel to share this with him that it wasn’t just for me but for all of us as well.

I really would like to thank God for giving me the courage to share this with everyone and I also wasn’t expecting Nigel to also ask me to pray for everyone right after I shared either that God will give us the breakthroughs that we are seeking Him for. I really believe in my heart that God gave me the words that He wanted me to share on Monday morning and I really sensed His presence as I shared and also prayed out a prayer too. Yes, God is so good and I really do believe in my heart that God is longing to bring the breakthroughs in our lives and He loves to save the best wine for the end!

On Tuesday of this week, God gave me a very special and divine appointment when I went to Pasadena to receive a Sozo ministry by three women who are filled with so much love and compassion. Sozo is a Greek word that in its fullest use means salvation, healing and deliverance. I received the Sozo ministry at the HRock church office in Pasadena and my appointment was on Tuesday evening from 7:30 – 10:00pm. I heard about the Sozo inner healing ministry before and I also got teaching on what it is when I was at the YWAM conference in Chico last month so I got more interested in doing this for a future ministrysozo-ministry tool especially with woman who have been wounded and hurt by the injustice of human trafficking.

After the woman taught on this at the conference I told her that I was interested in doing this in the future for women who need healing in their lives, she told me that is really great but she encouraged me to receive a session for myself first before I do it with other people.

I am really glad that God had opened up an opportunity for me to receive a Sozo ministry for myself before the end of my time here at the YWAM LA base during the time I am doing my SOMD this fall. I am so very grateful for all of the healing that God did on Tuesday evening especially as the Lord gently reminded me that I needed to forgive different people in my life that I have hurt me. God also taught the importance of having a more intimate relationship with not only Him and His Son Jesus but also the Holy Spirit too. The women encouraged me to ask different questions to Father God, Jesus and also to the Holy Spirit during the session that I had on Tuesday evening.

I am so very thankful for all of the different things that God spoke to me and encouraged me with as He spoke His truth to me during the Sozo ministry I received. These are some of the questions that I asked during my session and this is something that I would like to continue to ask in the future: 1) Jesus what lie am I believing about myself or this situation? 2) Jesus what is your truth? 3) Jesus how do you see me? 4) Jesus where are you right now? 5) Holy Spirit what do you think about me? 6) Holy Spirit who do I need to forgive? I would also like to encourage you to ask the Lord these questions too as a tool to grow in your relationship with Him as well.

This past week I also had a couple of other highlights with my class when we read all of Paul’s epistles in the New Testament and enjoyed pizza on Wednesday evening at our school leader Lisa’s house, on Friday afternoon we loved on people by giving them hugs, high fives and prayed for them for our outreach time and then on Friday evening our class

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My SOMD class

joined the whole base for the annual YWAM LA Christmas party which was a lot of fun especially when we made ginger bread houses. I am definitely going to miss my class when it will be time to say good-bye in a week’s time.

Well, it is hard to believe of how fast this week has gone by and I only have one more week left of my time here this fall for my SOMD school. I am really believing by faith for God to do some huge breakthroughs next week and I am also so very excited to see what He has in store for my last week here at the YWAM LA base! I really would like to say thank-you to everyone who has been lifting me up in your prayers during this time. I really appreciate it so much.

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Bringing Christ into the Culture and Giving Value to People

My tenth week (November 28th – December 4th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMDchrist-and-culture (School of Ministry Development) was really great and I am so very thankful for all of the things that God is teaching me throughout this time both in the classroom and out of the class time as well. The previous week we finished reading the Old Testament in our Bible reading for the school and I really would like to praise God that I did better than I had anticipated on the Old Testament test (I got 80%). Now we are reading full speed on ahead in the New Testament and we will actually finish it by next weekend which blows my mind to be able to read it that fast but it is really such a blessing to be able to saturate in the scriptures as much as we are.

This week we were blessed with having Jeremy Harke come from Colorado and teach us on Christ and culture. It was a real blessing to hear all of the experiences that Jeremy has with YWAM and I also enjoyed that he brought a lot of laughter and joy in the class as he taught with so much wisdom as well. There were a lot of things that I learned this week during the teaching time however I specifically would like to focus on something that God revealed to me on Wednesday but first I will write some of the different highlights from the teaching this week.

Some of the highlights that I learned this past week:

  • We were created by community and for community. God is the God of relationships.community Only in the trinity you will find the perfect relationship with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. When Christians are suffering it also effects Jesus too because community is central to Jesus.
  • Sometimes we confuse the gospel and culture and we make them the same thing but they are actually not.
  • The rules to a relationship are:

Respect -> Trust -> Vulnerability -> Commitment -> Giving

  • When we read the scripture it is really important that we don’t see it through our western view. For example in Ephesians 6:1-18, Paul wasn’t referring to spiritual warfare being fought on our own as individual people but he was referring to us doing it together with the body of Christ.
  • When Jesus said in Matthew 7:4 “How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Something clicked in my heart and mind when Jeremy taught on this scripture because he explained that it is all about having the right perspective so we can see people clearly of how God sees them without judgment.
  • God is not about cleaning up your mess but He is all about making you a new creation.
  • The most beautiful thing God can do is walk through with us in the midst of our beauty-for-ashessuffering so He can bring about something much greater in our lives. I just love how God gives us beauty from our ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
  • Transactional leadership: Leadership that is traditional authority structures. Business model of command and follow without relationship having to be developed.
  • Transformational leadership: Leadership that is based first in relationship. Leadership where both the leader and follower are opened to relationship that transforms both.
  • When you let the Spirit of God speak through you, you will then speak with His authority that He has given you.
  • “Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought – forms of that setting.” – Francis Schaeffer
  • The transmission of the gospel. You cannot separate the scripture from mission. The great commission texts from the gospels: Matthew 28:18 – 20, Mark 16:15 – 18, Luke 24: 46 – 49 and John 20:19 – 23. From the texts we see that these were four distinct instances of Christ’s commissioning His disciples. The message of the gospel, from its inception, was to reach beyond the local boundaries to transform the world.
  • It is really important that we take time to learn the different cultural “hooks” in the different countries we do ministry so people will be able to grasp and to understand the gospel easier and then we will be able to also to share gospel more effectively as well.
  • Questions our culture is asking:
  1. Questions of meaning – What am I here for? – We are here to have an intimate
    prince-of-peace-jesus-by-akiane-kramarik

    In Jesus we have purpose & life

    relationship with God and to be in His presence just like Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day in the garden of Eden (Genesis 1:1-26, 2:7 & 3:8a)

  2. Questions of trust – A skeptical world needs promise, covenant and trust in the middle of their chaotic world. (Genesis 15 – God made a covenant with Abram and He walks for the both of us).
  3. Questions of purpose – What am I to do with life? Is school, work and play all there is?
  4. Questions of belonging and salvation – Need to know a love that is bigger than their mistakes. In Luke 15 – Jesus showed that you can be “lost” at various different levels like in the open country, house and in relationship. Jesus also redefines what repentance is and another scripture verse is Romans 2:4b “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.”

Culture – Gospel Community:

  • Culture – A culture is a way of life of a group of people – the behaviors, beliefs, values they accept, generally without thinking about them and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
  • Gospel – The message of God’s intervention in human history through the person of Jesus Christ.
  • Community – The outward or corporate expression of those who identify with Christ.
  • Culture + Community – Gospel = Liberalism
  • Community + Gospel – Culture = Fundamentalism
  • Gospel + Culture – Community = Individualism

Now I would like to share a huge revelation of what God had opened up my eyes to that Jeremy shared with us in class on Wednesday which was “Jesus valued people and not validated people.” The example Jeremy used from scripture was John 8:1-11 which is really such a beautiful example of God’s heart of how Jesus showed value to the woman who was caught in adultery (I think it was Mary Magdalene). Jesus knew about the sin Mary had committed but he didn’t focus or validate her sin but instead he chose to place value on her and focus on her as an individual person. I believe this short encounter that Mary had with Jesus completely transformed her life by the love that He showed her especially how Jesus did not condemn her but encountered her with the love of God. I am so very thankful of how God revealed to me His truth of how His heart is longing to encounter people with His love and to bring a true transformation that shows of how He values people and sees people through His compassionate love.

On Wednesday, I went to Hollywood with my class for our weekly outreach ministry time.

hollywood-at-night

Hollywood in the evening

At the beginning of the school, I went to Hollywood to do an urban plunge which was a scavenger hunt we did in the city. When I went to Hollywood the first time it was during the afternoon so there were a lot of families outside and the younger generation but this time when we went there it was in the evening and it was like a night and day difference compared to the first time I was there. I noticed there were no young families there at all but there were mostly homeless people outside and I also sensed in my spirit that there was a lot of spiritual darkness that was happening there as well.

I have to be honest I actually felt very uncomfortable and uneasy to be there in Hollywood that evening however I am so very thankful how God drew my heart to speak to this one woman who had a cat. I just love how God is such a personal God and how He delights in the things that we care about as well. We went to Hollywood to give out hugs, high 5s and to pray for people. When I saw this one homeless woman who had a cat with a leash I wanted to stop and talk to her but then my class continued to walk further down the street so I was only able to talk to her for a few minutes because I didn’t want to get left behind but thankfully a bit later we returned to the same area and I ended up spending almost the entire time with her.

I thought it was pretty amazing how God highlighted her to me because she had a cat and Igod-has-hope-for-us also love cats too. I am so very thankful that God gave me an opportunity to talk to her, hear a bit of her story, speak into her life and pray for her. Lately, I have been missing my cat Minnie, a lot so I thought it was pretty neat that I got to hold her cat for a bit of time that I was able to hear more of her story, encourage her more and pray for her again.

I rarely ever buy anything for homeless people but just before it was time to go I felt in my heart to ask her if she had anything to eat that day and I just sensed in my heart that God wanted me to ask her. She didn’t eat all that day so I ended up buying her a combo dinner from MacDonald’s. In Romania, I often saw poverty around me quite frequency when I was there but honestly you cannot help everyone so I have learned to have more discernment about when to help people and to ask God when to do it.

My heart really broke when I heard her story because she has been going through a very difficult and dark season in her life lately but I do praise God that when I prayed for her I sensed in my heart of how He is turning her hopeless situation into a new season of hope in her life. I don’t know how to write her name but God knows her name and if you could please say a prayer for her that would be such a blessing. Thanks so much.

I really would like to say thank-you for keeping me in your prayers during this time I am

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The Prayer Chapel at YWAM LA base

doing this leadership training school at the YWAM LA base this fall. I cannot believe that the last ten weeks have flew by so quickly and I only have two more weeks left of the school until I fly back to Toronto on December 18th. I am still believing and pressing in by faith for God to do a couple of huge breakthroughs in my life before the school is over. I am definitely extremely very grateful for the prayer chapel that is here at the YWAM LA base.

It is such a gift from God that I can go to a place here anytime I want to spend time with Him and it is open 24/7 as well which is such a huge blessing from God. I would definitely appreciate your prayers for these breakthroughs to take place before the school finishes. I do praise God that He truly does save the best wine for the end and I believe by faith that God will bring these breakthroughs to pass in His perfect timing.

I would like to leave with you a couple of scripture verses that have been an

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Seeking God for breakthrough at the prayer chapel

encouragement to me:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 – 30)

“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  (John 6:35)

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Learning How to Lead like Jesus

My ninth week (November 21st – 27th) here at the YMAM LA base for the SOMD (School ofimg_7713-copy Ministry Development) was really great except I also had some personal struggles as well but I praise God that He is helping me through all of these things. This week we were blessed with having Sean Lambert teach us on developing our calling and Lisa Jones our school leader also taught us on leading like Jesus.

The first three days of the week (Monday – Wednesday) Sean Lambert taught us on developing your calling. Sean is the YWAM San Diego/ Baja base leader and he leads the Homes for Hope as well so it was definitely a blessing from God to hear him teach us especially with all of the experience that he has with serving in missions for many years and in leadership as well. On Monday evening we also had a special informal class session with him at Lisa’s house (she is our school leader) for a couple of hours where we were given an opportunity to ask Sean questions about anything that was on our heart that we wanted to learn more about like with missions, support raising or just general life questions.

I really got a lot out of the teaching this week and I really would like to thank God for the things that He has spoken to me and also revealed to me as well. I would like to write some of the key highlights that God spoke to me through Sean Lambert and Lisa my school leader.

My Highlights from the topic on Developing Your Calling by Sean Lambert:

  • God wants to work on different areas of our character including: 1) truth – to speak and act honestly and authentically, 2) generosity, 3) integrity and dependable (to be obedient and to follow through), 4) perseverance with alignment to God (Hebrews 12:1) and 5) faith (Hebrew 11:6).
  • Romans 8:28 – When we go through a trial in our lives it is really important that we invite God to work it out.
  • Very often when we are early in our ministry there will be these very clear tests that God will bring into our lives so it is really important to trust in Him during the process of Him teaching the things that He wants us to learn when He brings these tests into our lives.
  • If you have anyone in your life that sees what you can and could be and not what you are right now this is a gift from God.
  • Self-control is one of the most important leadership skills to have especially to have self-control over your tongue and also over your anger. This is something that God has especially brought to my attention that I need to work on more and ask Him more for His help in this area in my life.
  • Don’t disconnect the “small seasons” from the “big seasons” in your life.
  • We don’t discover our calling through seeking but through serving. Serving can leadjesus-washing-his-disciples-feet to testing, discovery, and development.
  • Hearing God’s voice is both a skill and a maturity. We shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes when we are learning to hear God’s voice. When we do make mistakes it is really important that we are honest about it.
  • Some keys to growing in our leadership are: 1) initiation/ hunger, (Matthew 5:6) 2) activation – just do it (James 1:22), 3) purification (1 John 1:9), 4) dedication (Mark 12:30), 5) spiritual disciplines, 6) expectation – to be a faith-filled leader (Hebrews 11:6), 7) transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18) and 8) multiplication (Acts 1:8).
  • Four things we always need to be doing as leaders are: 1) abide in Christ, 2) to be aligned to God’s will, 3) to be a good steward and 4) to keep developing and growing ourselves and others.
  • 5 Key areas of leadership development are: 1) to have good connection with both God and man, 2) to have good character, 3) to know our calling, 4) to have good competency life skills and 5) to know the context and the season we are currently in.
  • A good leader knows their identity of who they are in Christ and as a person. They not only know their identity but they are rooted in their identity as well.
  • One of the first tests that the enemy will try to test us is this question “Did God really say that?” This is why it is really important to journal so that we won’t forget what God has spoken to us.
  • Each season in our lives can vary of the different time lengths but the key to remember is our response of what God is teaching us throughout our lives especially during times of transition that God brings to us.
  • It is really important to write down some goals for our lives of what we see ourselves doing in the next 2 years, 5 years and 10 years.

On Tuesday, Sean asked us to think about what is in our leadership smoothie. This is what I wrote down for myself. The things that I need to improve on are: 1) my character, 2) my communication skills, 3) my relational skills, 4) my self-control and 5) trust. The things that I would like to keep are 1) my eye for detail, 2) my passion for intercession, 3) perseverance, 4) my compassionate heart for people, 5) my commitment to the vision and calling that God has on my life and 6) my teachable heart.

My Highlights from the topic on Leading like Jesus by Lisa Jones:

  • Don’t draw lines and keep your spiritual lives separate from your secular lives.great-leaders-lead-like-jesus
  • Jesus transformed twelve ordinary and unlikely people into the first generation of leaders of a movement that continues to affect the course of world history over two thousand years later.
  • Jesus is the perfect one to follow as you seek to lead others and this involves surrender, of both your life and your leadership to Him.
  • You need to know as a leader when to let go especially when you are discipling someone and it is not “working”.
  • You need to know as a leader how to have a healthy balance both in your personal life and also in your ministry as well.
  • When you make mistakes as a leader you need to give yourself permission to fail and make mistakes so you can learn from them. When you are at your earliest stages of leadership you will make a lot of mistakes but it is okay because you can learn from them.
  • Jesus asks us to make a difference in this world by being effective servant leaders. This is not an option but it is a mandate from God.
  • You don’t want to bring in your old wounds that you had experienced in life to your present role as a leader.
  • We are people first and then we are leaders.
  • Take God beyond the spiritual compartment of your private spiritual life and to give Him free rein in all your daily actions and relationships.
  • Leadership by definition is a process of influence. Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior or development of people in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader.
  • It is really important to think what drives our motivations of why we choose to be a leader – is it for self-promotion, self-protection or is it for service and dedication to the needs of others?
  • There are different types of leadership that we can have in our lives. Some examples are life role leadership (e.g. a parent, sibling, friend, etc), organizational leadership, personal leadership (it starts on the inside with our personal lives), one-on-one leadership (mentoring someone) and team leadership.
  • There are four different domains of leadership which are: heart (it is first a spiritual matter), head (your beliefs and theories of leading), hands (how others are affected by your leadership from your actions) and habits (what your daily habits are in your relationship with God like with prayer, reading the Bible, etc).

I feel so very blessed by God to be able to have a season in my life that I can learn more img_7790about what leadership is. I am so very thankful for all of the things that God is teaching me and showing me where I need to grow and develop more in my life during this time. This week for our local outreach ministry time we went to the Americano mall on Wednesday evening to spread some joy and laughter with the people there. We gave out a ton of free things like homemade cookies, hugs, high fives and prayer! It was amazing to see how a tiny bit of love can put a smile on people’s faces! On Thursday the Justice DTS blessed the YWAM LA base with the most amazing bunch and Thanks-giving dinner which was really delicious and it was also such a treat as well!

img_7824I would like to thank-you for taking the time to read my blog and for expressing interest in hearing more about the journey that God has me on right now. It really means a lot to me and I am also so very appreciative for all of your prayers and encouragement as well. If you would like to hear what some of my personal prayer requests are please feel free to contact me and I’d be more than happy to let you know how you can be more specifically be praying for me at this time. Please also let me know if you have any prayer requests that I could pray for you as well because I would love to pray for you too. Thanks so much! I hope you had an amazing and blessed week!

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Keys to Finishing Well in Leadership

My eighth week (November 14th – 20th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School ofkeys Ministry Development) was really great except that I struggled with tiredness this week. This week we were blessed with having Werner Pfau teach us more on effective ways on how to finish well in leadership and Lisa Jones our school leader also taught us on accountability as well.

On Monday’s class Werner asked us to split into five different groups and we taught each other from the handout we got on five different enhancements which are: 1) Perspective – it is basically exchanging our perspective with a Biblical perspective of how God sees things, 2) Renewal – four different areas where we can have renewal are: special moments of intimacy with God, challenges from God that can force us to go deeper, new vision from God and personal or ministry affirmation from God.

3) Spiritual Disciplines – these include: inward disciplines: mediation, prayer, fasting and spiritual-disciplines-2study, outward disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission and service and corporate disciplines: confession, worship, guidance and celebration, 4) Learning posture –to always have a humble and a teachable heart to God and to others as well and 5) Mentoring – it is really important to be mentored by someone in the specific area where you have a desire to grow in for example if you would like to grow in the area of the prophetic gift you could ask someone to mentor you who has already been functioning in it for a while.

We learned on Monday in class that it is really important that we have a balance of all five of these different enhancement areas so we can keep growing healthy in our Christian walk especially when we are in any kind of leadership position and these are also essential for finishing well too.  I am so very grateful for the renewal that God gave me when I went to the YWAM conference last week in Chico, California but I also know that I still need to work on the other enhancement areas especially more in the different spiritual disciplines. I am definitely very thankful that God has shown me these enhancement areas so I am aware of them and I can work on them in my life.

On Tuesday in class we worked on our own individual spiritual time lines. I actually already

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My Spiritual Timeline

have my own spiritual time line that I have been working on since I did my DTS (Discipleship Training School) in 2013 but this time line is a bit different because there are six different stages which are: 1) sovereign foundations, 2) inner-life growth, 3) ministry/leadership maturing, 4) life maturing, 5) convergence and 6) after glow. Werner explained to us that the different stages are according to different life experiences and also our ages so actually with my life experience and my age I am only up to stage 3 in this time line.

When I did my spiritual time line on Tuesday I found it to be a really helpful exercise because I was not only able to look at the good and bad experiences in life but also this time I also wrote down what I learned from each stage as well. Now when I look at this new spiritual time line I had made this week I see how God has redeemed different areas in my life. For example: God spoke to my heart to get my TESOL certificate at a Bible College in Toronto in 2000 but unfortunately my professor didn’t see the potential in me to become an English teacher and I felt like she discouraged me from further pursing it so I didn’t end up getting the TESOL certificate there however I ended up going to another Bible College in Manitoba but this time it was very different because my professor did see potential in me and she believed in me. I praise God that I not only graduated with my TESOL certificate but also a Bachelor of Arts degree in Intercultural Studies. I am so very thankful for God’s grace and His goodness that I was able to teach English for a year in South Korea and my first 2 ½ years in Romania as well.

Some of the key lessons that God taught me that I wrote on the bottom of my spiritual time line are:  It’s not about being religious as a Christian but God desires our heart of surrender to Him and to have an imitate relationship with Him. I need to keep on having a child like faith and trust in God in every area of my life. To keep my eyes on God and not on what other people say about who I am because He truly does see so much potential in me far more than what I see in myself and also His plans and dreams for me are much bigger than what I could possibility image. Perseverance is crucially important when God has called you to do something to keep following Him and not to give up even though we may go through trials, difficulties and obstacles in our lives.

Some other key lessons that God taught me from my time line are: I learned that I am a jehovah-my-father-my-god-and-frienddaughter of God, He is my perfect loving Heavenly Father and every good gift does come from Him including it is God’s heart for me to function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit which is what I had experienced for the first time when I went to Mozambique in 2012. When I was there that fall, God opened my eyes to the prophetic and I functioned in it for the first time which did open my eyes to a whole new level of ministry to be able to encourage people on a whole deeper level but now I just need to remember to step out more as God leads me with confidence, boldness and courage.

The newest biggest lesson that God showed me when I had made an effort to lead a DTS outreach team in the Czech Republic but I actually wasn’t ready to do it however God showed me the different flaws in my character and where He wants me to work on in my life so I can grow and mature more into the woman He has created me to be.

I really liked one of the quotes that Werner told us on Tuesday morning which was: “We row into the future by looking back.” I really like that quote not because we are not defined by our past but it is because we can learn from the lessons that God taught us in the past so we can use them as growing experiences in our lives which I think is incredibility important otherwise if we keep on making the same mistakes over and over again we are not learning the lessons in our lives that God wants to teach us.

I can honestly say that God is still teaching me some of the same lessons that He has been trying to teach me years ago especially to not worry and figure things out for what my future looks like next but to simply trust in Him with a child-like faith. I definitely do not want to struggle with worry anymore because our God is truly such a good Father and He is so very faithful and He has always taken such good care of me.

There has been already more than one person since I have been at the YWAM LA base whoMy child do not worry are on staff here strongly recommend to me to prayerfully consider taking a minimum of a 6 month sabbatical break. I have to admit especially since I have never taken a sabbatical break before and I have already served in Romania the last 9 years that it would be a good time to take a break after my SOMD school before I continue to serve on the mission field. I feel in my heart this is a whole new level of trusting in the Lord of how exactly this sabbatical break will look like and how all of these details will work out including a place that I can truly rest with my cat.

On Thursday the speaker who spoke at our base community evening event prayed for me and he sensed that God wanted me to know that it is okay to take time to rest so I really need to give this next season to the Lord and to really trust in Him with all of the details that need to be worked out.

On Wednesday, Werner spoke about four different areas where we need support in our lives which include: emotional support, economic support, strategic and social support. My school leader Lisa did a teaching session on the importance of accountability on Friday which was also really helpful as well. I am incredibility grateful for all of the different people who have been such a crucial part of my support team over the years since I have been serving as a missionary.

I believe God helped me to realize this week that it is extremely important to have more key people in my life to help me in these different areas

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Class picture enjoying delicious soup

where I need more specific support including a handful of people that I can be accountable to in my life as well. This is something that I am really going to be bringing before the Lord in my prayers especially over the next month and the rest of my time here at the YWAM LA base until I return to Canada in December. I would also really appreciate your prayers for this as well.

I would like to end this blog by thanking God for all of the things that He is teaching and showing me from my time here at the YWAM LA base during this leadership training school. I am also really grateful for God giving me such an incredible class to grow together as well and also to read the Bible together throughout this school too. This week on Tuesday evening we had a special highlight of our school together which is we all got to gather together at Lisa’s house, to enjoy some delicious homemade soup that she made and also read the book of Psalm together from the Bible. We all had such a great time and what a blessing it was to be able to spend 4 hours together to read the word of God together.

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Overwhelmed by the Love of God

My seventh week (November 7th – 13th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School

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YWAM Chico base

of Ministry Development) God totally blew me away beyond my expectations would ever be and I also felt completed wrecked and overwhelmed by the love of my Daddy God as well. It was definitely a blessing beyond what I could possibility put into words that my school and the two DTS schools from the YWAM LA base were able to go to the YWAM Chico base for the Presence Gathering conference which is what we did this past week and it was incredible!

I first heard about our school going to the YWAM Presence Gathering regional united conference for a week in November back in the summer I think in August but I have to be honest I wasn’t too thrilled about paying an extra $135 USD on top of my tuition fee and I honestly didn’t really know what to expect of how this conference would go either but now that the week has passed I can honestly say that the cost of the conference was completely worth it and if I had any expectations from the week God totally blew them away beyond what I could possibility put into words.

On Sunday (November 6th) we left from our base at 5:45am and we had a very long drive ofimg_7694 9 hours to Chico which is north from Los Angeles, California. There were 77 of us that went from the YWAM LA base which includes all of the students, staff and the children so we definitely had a pretty large group from our base which was a real blessing from God to be able to experience the conference with so many people from the base that I am currently at right now.

This conference was definitely the first largest YWAM conference I had been to since I have joined YWAM. There were around 450 people who were there from 17 different YWAM bases from all over California which also included the Denver, Colorado base as well. I really felt very blessed by the YWAM Chico base and the amazing hospitality that they gave to all of us that went to the conference this past week.

It was such a blessing to be able to meet so many amazing people this past week who are really passionately in love with Jesus which was so very inspiring. The worship times were incredible during our sessions that we had together and you could just sense in the atmosphere there was so much hunger for the Lord as well. The teachings by John Dawson, Chris Overstreet and the other people who we were blessed to hear during the week either during our main sessions or the breakout sessions on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon were really amazing and inspiring to hear them speak to us at the conference.

Some of the things that struck out to me from the teaching sessions are:

  • God created us in hope and it is in His intimacy.love-of-god
  • When we are serving God we need to do it through God’s perspective and not through our own.
  • We need to be kind and loving towards people and to also speak to people with love and grace as well.
  • We cannot survive by the power of religion but we need the love of the Father.
  • Identification of repentance means you are repenting and confessing of the sins of the people on behalf of a nation.
  • Vulnerability is extremely important for us to go forward in what God has called us to do especially in our relationships with people.
  • We have to be aware in our relationships with people that there is a spiritual battle that we are in and we need to support each other. In other words, people are not our enemies but the devil is our real enemy so we must recognize the spiritual warfare we are in and have discernment with this.
  • We are a spiritual river of blessing to people especially when we pray a prayer of blessing over them and when we do we are releasing things from the heavenly realms.
  • The greatest barrier to love is not hatred but it is fear. The opposite of love is fear but God’s perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
  • God doesn’t need you but He has chosen you. We just need to be bold in our love, gentle in our love and truthful in our love especially when we share the gospel with people.
  • Unless we are compelled by love than we are not going to live out what God has calledhow-deep-the-fathers-love-for-us us to do like sharing the gospel with people.
  • The tug of war that we have with fear in our lives has to stop. We need to have a love encounter with the love of the Father. We need to have a revelation of the love of the Father both for ourselves and for other people and also to continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • We could do so many amazing things to reach people for Christ (e.g. pray for the sick, feed the hungry, love orphans, crisis relief, etc) but we must remember to take time to share the gospel with the people when we are doing ministry with them.
  • When we share the gospel with people we need to remember to take time to listen to the Holy Spirit so we need to be sensitive to hearing God’s voice more because there is no one size fits all formula when we share the gospel with people.
  • It is incredibility important that we see people and the places we go to when we do ministry through the eyes of faith. We also need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and that we are aware of the presence of God when we share the gospel with people as well.
  • It is the testimony of Jesus and the spirit of prophecy that brings life. God wants us to prophesy to people and to speak life to people.
  • It is okay to fail, God just wants us to step out in faith, to reach out to people for Him and to share His love and the hope that we have in Him.
  • God is looking for people who agree with Him and believe the power of the gospel that changes lives.
  • When you have good member care for your team you can do ministry for the long haul.
  • You can ask the Holy Spirit daily for Him to give you the gift of hunger for God andjesus-and-the-cross also for the gift of faith as well.
  • Ask God daily for you to have daily encounters with Him, for other people you meet to have encounters with God and also for you to demonstrate Jesus to people as well.
  • It is not so much the teaching that you hear that will change your life but it is about having a humble and teachable heart and then applying what you have learned to your life.
  • You cannot separate the power of God from the gospel. When you share the gospel with people you can also pray for healing and deliverance for them as well. You just need to remember to believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always with you.
  • It is not about you but it is all about God. God is honored when you step out in obedience to Him. God looks at our hearts, He looks at our willing hearts and He wants to use us. God is in love with our hearts especially when we take risks with Him.
  • God is in our random thoughts that comes into our minds so it is really important that we are attentive and aware of this when you get these random thoughts because they can often be words of prophecy and words of knowledge when we are ministering to people.
  • What are you asking God to do when you go to another nation and what are you expecting Him to do?
  • It is really important to not allow our hearts to get filled with any negatively, doubts and disappointments from people.
  • Sometimes we just need to know when to raise people up and when to release people into ministry.

There is so much more that I could probably write of what God spoke to me through theimg_7713 teachings from this past week at the conference but I would also like to share about some other things of what God did in my life this past week as well. The first day of the conference on Sunday we had a love feast with a delicious meal, communion and we also had a time of worship as well. On Monday afternoon we had an opportunity to go on a hike near the YWAM base and to see a beautiful waterfall which was a lot of fun to have a relaxing afternoon and to get to know some new people during that time.

On Friday afternoon we all went out to do a massive street evangelism outreach to be able to share the love of Jesus with people in the town of Chico. At dinner time that day there were many testimonies of healing and salvations from the afternoon outreach which was really encouraging.

My heart is so full of joy to the overflowing and I feel so overwhelmed by the love of God to think of all that He has done this past week. I praise God for the many healings that He did (healings of sprained ankles, back problems, an arm and a leg that healed badly from a cheerleading years ago was restored, a 72-year-old woman’s hip that was fractured 6 months ago and had caused a lot of pain was healed, a stomach ulcer was completely healed, sprained wrists, bad knees, people who couldn’t take full breaths due to asthma now can, a woman who couldn’t walk without pain in foot now feels fine – it just keeps going!!)

I praise God for deepening my hunger and thirst for Him, for blowing me away with intimate fresh encounters that He gave me this week including all of the different prophetic words that He encouraged me with, for activating a couple of the spiritual gifts (prophecy and healing) in my life that He has given me and also that my class was able to get together on Wednesday evening which God completely blew us all away with His sweet presence as the Holy Spirit just broke out so strongly during that time.

I am so very encouraged to see not only what God is doing in my own life right now but

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Overwhelmed by the love of God

also in the lives of my classmates and everyone else who went to the conference this past week. I am so hungry for more of God and I never want this to end but I just desire with all of my heart to keep on growing in everything that God has created me to be and what He has for my life as well! Every day this past week I kept thinking and praying in my heart “Wow, how can it get any better than this?!” but it just does because God is so very faithful and He is just so very good! Yes, God just keeps on getting better in our lives because that is His very nature and character!

My heart is filled with so much gratitude of the goodness of God and how He just keeps on overwhelming me with His love! I also would like to take a moment to say thank-you to everyone who prayed for me when I was at the conference. I definitely felt your prayers during the week I was at the conference and I’m so very grateful for your prayers.

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