February Update!

February 14, 2017

Hello Family and Friends,

I hope you are doing well! Can you believe that we are already in the month of February now? It is hard to believe how quickly time goes by! I hope you had a wonderful start to the New Year!

A Beautiful End to an Incredible Season

I flew to Los Angeles, California on September 24th for a 12 week leadership training school called School of Ministry Development at the YWAM LA base. The graduation was on December 15th but I flew back to Toronto on December 18th. There were 17 students (10 girls and 7 guys), in my class including myself, plus our school leader and 3 staff and we were from six different nations (Canada, United States, Tajikistan, Sweden, The img_7913Netherlands and Kenya). I was the oldest student in my class but I was so very inspired by everyone’s passion and desire to seek God with all of their hearts and also when I heard of all of their huge dreams that God has given to them.

During the 12 weeks it was extremely busy and intense. Our weeks had a very full and packed schedule but everything was amazing! Every week we had different themes for our classes and a range of different teachers that taught on a variety of different topics. Outside of our class time, we had our small groups, worship and intercession times, outreach to the homeless and we also read through the whole Bible as well which was amazing to be saturated in God’s word.  I am also very thankful for the activities that God blessed me with especially when we had a day at the beach, went camping and in November we were a part of a large YWAM conference with bases from all over California for a week which was incredible. I’m so very thankful for all of the things God revealed to me during the school in the area of leadership like the importance of being rooted and grounded in our identity in Christ, to continue to grow in our character and integrity, to have effective communication with people and many other key lessons.

Celebrating the Holidays

Over the years since I have been a missionary I have spent many holidays away from home img_7968and 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. 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, 2013 and this Christmas that just past (2016) so I am very thankful that God gave me this time to spend the holidays with my family.

Over the holidays it was extremely busy with celebrating it with my family and also traveling as well. I went to Fairport, New York to celebrate Christmas Day with my Grandma which was a blessing and I was especially touched to see how special my Mom made it for her as she made a home cooked Christmas dinner at her retirement home. My brother Jonathan and I went to Kitchener to see our relatives, and then we had separate Christmas celebrations with our parents on different days.

 “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and it will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”  – Habakkuk 2:2-3

 A Transitional Season I am in Right Now

God has brought me to another transitional season in my life and for me transitions can becropped-minnie-and-i a combination of feelings of being overwhelmed, scared and excited because of the unknown of what is next in the future.  In the past sometimes when God brought me to transitions in my life He spoke to me about what He is calling me to do next but I didn’t exactly know any details of what that looked like until He revealed it to me in His perfect timing of what the upcoming season would look like in my life and this is how I feel in my heart right now.

At the beginning of November of last year when I was the YWAM LA base my school leader Lisa challenged me to pray about doing at least a 6 month sabbatical/ furlough time in Canada before I continue on in missions. One of the reasons she challenged me to pray about doing this is because I have never done a sabbatical before and she told me that it is really important to get to a more “healthier Andrea” before I begin to go into the human trafficking ministry field. Lisa also explained to me that during this time it would be really important to take some time to rest so I don’t get burned out, get some self-care like counseling and missionary debriefing, connect with people at home and work at a part-time job.

I prayed about this and God spoke to me so clearly that this is what He wants me to do come-away-to-rest-with-jesusuntil the end of this summer. The Lord spoke to my heart that I may feel like it is a big gap between now and then but I will not be alone because He will be with me, He will lead me through this time, He will raise me up more, it will be a time of further preparation, refreshment and He will launch me further into what He is calling me into for the upcoming next ministry season in missions.

 Praise Reports!

  • I praise God for His miraculous provision in my life including a part-time job that He gave me to work at a daycare that is near where I live. It is such a joy to work with children again!
  • I praise God for opening up an opportunity for me to go to the YWAM Montana base for a one-week intentional debriefing program (March 4 – 11, 2017).
  • I praise God for all of His faithfulness, goodness and His constant love and presence in my life.

Prayer Requests:

  • For God to give me wisdom of what He would like me to do during this sabbatical season.
  • For God’s continual divine provision for my life both during this sabbatical season I am in Canada and when I will go to the YWAM Montana base for the debriefing program.
  • For more of God’s peace and His continual guidance as I am currently waiting on Him for the next step for this incredible adventure that He has on my life of being called the nations.

My heart is filled with so much gratitude for all of your prayers and encouragement. Thanks so much!

Blessings,

Andrea

My Contact info:

Address: Andrea Weber, 8 William Davidson St, Whitby Ontario, L1R 2J2, Canada

Phone #: cell ph.# (289) 992 -7874 and home ph # (905) 728 – 4827

My blog: https://heart4nations.com/ – Please check it out for the NEW updates!

 

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A Transitional Season I am in Right Now

After the holidays had finished maybe some of you have been wondering what I will be

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Minnie and I

doing next so in this blog entry this is what I would like to talk about. God has brought me to another transitional season in my life and for me transitions can be a combination of feelings of being overwhelmed, scary and excited because of the unknown of what is next in the future.  In the past sometimes when God brought me to transitions in my life He spoke to me about what He is calling me to do next but I didn’t exactly know any details of what that looked like until He revealed it to me in His perfect timing of what the upcoming season would look like in my life.

Over the last couple of years God has begun a new journey in my heart of Him calling me to transition-2fight the injustice issue of human trafficking which all started when He laid the nation of Cambodia on my heart in September 2014 so I do know that God has been continually speaking to me about this. The Lord has also been making it very clear to me since last year in the spring time that He is calling me to the nations, to continue to serve with the DTS (Discipleship Training School) ministry with YWAM and now more specifically with the Justice focus. God has also spoke to my heart to even pioneer a Justice DTS in the central Europe region as well. However, at this moment I do not exactly know what are the specific details of this vision and dream that God has placed on my life of what He is calling me to do in the future.

The Lord has also been making it very clear to me since last year in the spring time that He is calling me to the nations, to continue to serve with the DTS (Discipleship Training School) ministry with YWAM and now more specifically with the Justice focus. God has also spoke to my heart to even pioneer a Justice DTS in the central Europe region as well. However, at this moment I do not exactly know what are the specific details of this vision and dream that God has placed on my life of what He is calling me to do in the future.

“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and it will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

I have so many questions in my heart that I have for God but I do not know what thequestions answers are right now like: What nation is God calling me to serve Him in the next upcoming season? Is God calling me to return to the YWAM LA base, to return to Europe or somewhere completely different? What YWAM base is God calling me to serve Him in the next ministry season in my life? Would it be a well-established large base or a small base?

When I return to the “mission field” how will my financial support be like? When it is time for God to bring me into the next season as a missionary will I be ready in the different aspects of my life – physically, emotionally, mentally and of course spiritually? Will it be possible to bring my cat Minnie wherever God leads me to in the future?

These are just some of the questions that have been on my mind and my heart lately andtrust in God with your future to be honest, I have been thinking about these questions for actually months now especially since God called me out of Romania last year at the end of June. Sometimes when I think about it too much I feel overwhelmed because it is the unknown of the future that can be overwhelming at times. You see I am a type of person that loves to plan and I am also a very detailed person as well so not knowing right now at this moment what God has for me in the next upcoming season is killing me – not literally but it is really, really hard!! I am really trying to give all of my questions to God but I also know at this point He may not reveal the answers to me right now because I sense in my heart that He wants me to wait on Him for a season and to also surrender all of my unanswered questions to Him.

Last year when I was at the YWAM LA base when I was there for the leadership training school that I did in the fall there was an optional outreach I could be a part of after the school finished. At first, I do not know why but I was not very interested to do the optional outreach but then during the second week of the school I sensed in my heart God challenged me to reconsider to go on the outreach so then I ended up wrestling with God to go or not. On Monday October 31st there was an interest meeting for the outreach and the next morning I had to give my final answer to go or not to go on the optional outreach.

After the interest meeting, the outreach leaders just encouraged me to spend some time surrender-to-the-lordwith God in the prayer chapel and to ask Him what He wants me to do. I found the majority of my time in the prayer chapel I ended up wrestling with God but thankfully after a period of time He helped me come to a place where I can rest and wait on Him so I could listen to His voice. I sensed strongly in my heart by the end of the day when I waited on God for the answer of what He wanted me to do that He spoke to my heart so loud and clear that He is looking for my obedient and surrendered heart to go anywhere in the world and at any time during the year so I just knew in my heart that I needed to say yes to God.

The next day (Tuesday November 1st) when we had to give our answer of whether it was a yes or a no to be a part of the outreach I took a huge step of faith and wrote my name on the white board that my answer was yes to be a part of the optional outreach team to Greece and Israel. Then on Wednesday (Nov. 2nd) morning, I had an unexpected meeting with Lisa my school leader and the two girls who would be leading the outreach during the time our class had intercession time. To be quite honest I felt very shocked, overwhelmed and speechless when Lisa shared with me that she prayed regarding my decision to go on the outreach and when she prayed about it, she felt it was a no. She explained to me that the main reason why she decided to not approve for me to go on the outreach is because the ministry that we would be serving in especially to the refugees in Greece would be a very high stressed and anxiety environment and she didn’t feel in her heart that it would be the right time and place for me to go there right now since I am still working on to overcome this area of anxiety in my own life.

Lisa also recommended to me during that meeting to seriously pray about taking time off it-is-time-to-restfrom ministry to do a minimum of a 6-month sabbatical time off from the “mission field” to take some time to rest and for a time of self-care so I can get to a much healthier me. Lisa told me that long-term career missionaries actually need to take a 6 – 12 month sabbatical every 7 years. I have served in Romania for the last 9 years and I have actually never took a sabbatical so she strongly recommended that I seriously do it after the leadership training school finished because I am long overdue to have one. Lisa told me that if I don’t take a sabbatical time off now before I go into the human trafficking ministry field I might not be emotionally and spiritually ready for it at all or even be able to continue to serve on the mission field especially at the pace that I have been going on otherwise my health will start to be affected and other things.

I really appreciate Lisa’s advice about prayerfully considering to take a sabbatical time off because I was actually thinking of doing it but I was still pretty hesitate to do it. It was also really helpful to hear Lisa’s advice as well to consider to work part-time during this time but not full-time hours, to consider getting some counseling, to take some time to rest and reestablish my relationships with people at home and she encouraged me that most of the time the people who are supporting missionaries who are on a sabbatical leave will usually continue to support them. I really liked all of Lisa’s ideas because they were really helpful and I am also thinking that it would be really great to go somewhere for at least one week to get a proper missionary debriefing with people who are experienced at debriefing long-term missionaries as well who have served overseas.

When I first thought about taking a sabbatical/ furlough time in Canada my future sabbatical2suddenly seemed a lot more unknown to me because I honestly did not and I still do not really know what people would think about me taking a “break” from the “mission field” but I do agree with my school leader that if I seriously don’t do it now than I really don’t know if I will be able to continue to serve on the mission field especially going into the human trafficking ministry field. I do agree with my leadership when I was at the YWAM LA base that it is extremely important to take time, to rest and get some self-care like counseling and missionary debriefing but I also think it wouldn’t be a problem to work at a part-time job as well.

The following week when I was in California I went to a YWAM conference called the Presence Gathering in Chico with other YWAM bases. This week God encountered me a lot and He spoke to me a lot especially through prophetic words that I received from different people. On Friday November 11, 2016 there was a prophetic word I received from my friend Becca from the YWAM LA base that was specifically about this sabbatical season that God is calling me to take after the leadership training school finishes.

What I can remember from this prophetic word I received that day God spoke to me about

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God wants to minister to the “gap” that I feel I’m in right now.

being still before Him and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10), whatever I need it is there and it is being unwrapped, the Lord wants to minister to any gap to where I am right now and where He is leading me to go next, the Lord is speaking to my life right now and they are now words. God wants to bring rest to my soul.

Becca imparted the gift of faith to me and a deeper measure that is already there. Becca sensed God wanted to give me a spiritual rest, He is wrapping His arms around me, He is my comforter and He delights in me. She prayed for peace from any worry and that I am going to laugh at my future. Becca also sensed that I am like a spiritual giant and my roots go deep down with God.

On November 28, 2016, I took time to pray and journal with God in the prayer chapel at theseason-of-renewal YWAM LA base. It was at that time that God spoke to my heart specifically that it is His will for me to take a sabbatical season to rest in Canada, He is calling me to do this at least until the end of this summer and then the next season of ministry in missions will begin again in the fall of 2017 specifically at the beginning of September.

The Lord spoke to my heart that I may feel like it is a big gap between now and then but I will not be alone because He will be with me, He will lead me through this time, He will raise me up more, it will be a time of further preparation, refreshment and He will launch me further into what He is calling me into for the upcoming next ministry season in missions.

On Thursday December 1st, we had an intercession time at the YWAM LA base in the

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This ship is in dry docking

morning where we were able to gather together in small groups and to pray for one another. These are some of the things that I received from God that morning: God wants me to seek Him and not to figure things out on my own. God calls us to seasons of dry docking in our lives, to look at where we are at, to restore and to fix the cracks in our life. The Lord takes rest seriously, He makes this super clear and He is our rest.

God wants to spend more time with me and to build me up to prepare me more for what He has for me in the future. God will never leave His children out in the dark because He loves and cares so much for us. Do not make ministry an idol but focus on God. A sabbatical is part of the ministry that God has for me and it is a time that God is going to prepare me more and then launch me back out into what He has called me to do.

God also gave me a couple of prophetic words about His provision in my life during this extravagant-provisionsabbatical season that He is calling me to take during this time in my life. When I went to the Expression 58 church on Sunday December 11th I received a prophetic word from a man on the ministry team about how God sees my faith and He is going to provide extravagant for me.

After my SOMD (School of Ministry Development) graduation at the YWAM LA base I received prayer from Pastor John and his wife Natasha (I went to their church sometimes when I was in California). I was also really encouraged by their prayer that was very prophetic especially when the Lord spoke to me that He is really proud and pleased of me, God has a big exclamation mark (!), there is a new blank page and there will be miraculous provision in my life just like He took care of Elijah in the Bible (1 Kings 17:1-6).

I am so very thankful for how clear God spoke to me before I flew back to Canada after I come-to-jesuscompleted the leadership training school that I did last year in the fall at the YWAM LA base about doing a sabbatical season before I continue on in missions because I definitely do not want to continue on feeling burned out or anything like that. I still have so many questions and I am still struggling with these doubts and fears of the unknown of the future. However, I do know that I really need to surrender all of my unknown of my future to God because He truly is holding us in His hands and He knows the beginning from the end so I really shouldn’t be afraid what my future holds because our Abba Father is watching over us and He truly has an amazing future for us.

To be completely honest with you at the beginning of my time I have been back in Canada I was feeling extremely overwhelmed, fragile and just felt very vulnerable. I also struggled a lot with my emotions of feeling like they were all over the place as well but now I am so very thankful to God that He is helping me come to a place of rest and peace. I am realizing more and more that striving and placing pressure on myself to “figure things out” does not result in any rest but rest is simply found in the arms of our Abba Father God.

Yes, I truly believe by faith that God has spoken to me that He has a calling on my life tocome-away-to-rest-with-jesus serve Him as a career missionary but I sense in my heart so clearly right now that the Lord calling me to a sabbatical season to take a bit of a break to receive some self-care like get some counseling, missionary debriefing, get my health taken care of, take some time to reconnect with people, work part-time and also to establish new relationships in Canada to build up my support team more and just simply take some time to rest as well.

During this sabbatical season, I will also take some time alone with the Lord to pray into and wait on God of what exactly is the next step He is leading me to and which YWAM base He is leading me to serve with in the future. Though at this time I do not exactly know where exactly my next season will be but I do want to praise God that He is so very faithful and I do believe that He will reveal to me what the next step is in His perfect timing.

My heart is filled with so much gratitude for all of the support that I have received fromgod-is-faithful different people since I have been a missionary especially with everyone’s prayers, encouragement and the generosity from different people over the years who have supported me.

Unfortunately until I am “under/ with” another YWAM base I will not be able to offer any income tax receipts to anyone who would like to financially support me during this sabbatical season that I am in Canada so I do want to apologize for that but when I do join the YWAM base that God leads me to serve with in the next upcoming season the YWAM funding office in Vancouver and I think it is also the same in the States will be able to begin to handle my support again one month before I arrive at the new location that I will be serving at.

I would like to share a few praise reports of what God has been doing lately and also a couple of prayer requests that I would really appreciate your prayers for as well.

Praise Reports!

  • I praise God for how He miraculously opened up a door for me to get a part-time Praise Godsupply job at a local daycare where I live in Whitby, Ontario. I started working there on January 11th and it has been such a joy to be able to work with young children a couple of days a week.
  • I praise God for opening up an opportunity for me to go to the YWAM Montana base for a one-week intentional debriefing program that they offer for missionaries there (here is the website:  https://ywammontana.org/debriefing/). I am so very thankful I will be able to debrief and process together with people who have experience with debriefing missionaries who have served overseas and debrief how the last 9 years in Romania have been and to start processing with people what God is leading me to do the rest of my sabbatical time and also what my next steps in missions are as well. I will fly to Kalispell, Montana on March 4th and then return to Toronto on March 11th. I am really looking forward to seeing what God is going to do during this time especially to be able to get away with Him for a week to have some alone time with Him and also to process with debriefers how my previous years on the mission field have been and to start processing what God has in store for me next in the future.
  • I praise God for Him giving me the opportunity to go to a ladies Bible study group at
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    Ladies Bible Study Group

    my home church and share about my mission’s journey with them on January 25th. It was such a blessing to be able to be given this opportunity to be able to share the journey that God has placed me on, to meet the women who have been praying for me and also to receive prayer that day as well. I decided that if I am not working or away I would like to continue to go to this ladies Bible study group every Wednesday morning because they are all such a blessing to me to be able to continue to be a part of their group and I just love their hearts for prayer as well.

 Prayer Requests:prayer-request

  • For God’s wisdom of what He would like me to do during this sabbatical season that He has brought me into like when to take time to rest, when to spend some good quality time with Him, how many hours per week He would like me to work at the daycare, how to build more relationships with people to expand my support and network team, how to get more involved with different fellowship groups at churches, how I could receive some counseling and mentoring during this time I am in Canada, etc.
  • For God’s continual divine provision for my life both during this sabbatical season I am in Canada and when I will go to the YWAM Montana base for the debriefing program from March 4th – 11th. The total cost for the week including everything will be $485 USD ($637 CAD) plus my flight cost as well which is $499 CAD. I also need to trust in God’s provision when I will begin my next chapter in missions at the end of this summer that I will return with the full support that I need to continue in missions.
  • For more of God’s peace and His continual guidance as I am currently waiting on Him for the next step for this incredible adventure that He has on my life.

I would really like to thank-you for all of your prayers during this sabbatical/ transitional time in my life that God has brought me to. I really appreciate your continual prayers so much. It is a real blessing to me to know that there are people who are praying for me especially at this time in my life as I am taking this time to seek the Lord to rest, process and to seek Him for what are the next steps of where He is calling me to bring His hope and love to the broken hearted especially in the injustice area of human trafficking and to also continue to disciple people with the DTS ministry as well.

I would like to thank-you for taking the time to read my blog and for expressing interest inThank-you for reading 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 live in Canada I’d love to see you during the time I am in Canada for my sabbatical 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. Thanks so much! I hope you had an amazing and blessed week!

“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)

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A Reflection on the year 2016 and Looking Ahead

2016 was an incredible year of God’s faithfulness. I would like to take a moment to thankreflecting-on-2016-2 Him for all of God’s faithfulness, His compassionate love and His continual presence in my life. It was definitely a year of full of surprises like I never expected that I would encounter and experience God in 5 different countries (Czech Republic, Romania, The Netherlands, Canada and The United States) this year. There were many stretching moments even painful hardship times but there were also many moments of joy that God overwhelmed me with so much of His love.

I am so very thankful to God for the opportunity that He gave me to go to the YWAM Amsterdam base for 6 weeks in the spring for the Shine Seminar to get training on human trafficking and also to go to the YWAM LA base in the fall for the SOMD (School of Ministry Development) to get leadership training. I truly believe these intensive training courses that I did God using them to further equip and train me of what He is leading me to do in the future in missions so I am extremely grateful for these opportunities that God has given me to teach me and further prepare me for what He has for the future.

I also never expected that my season in Romania after being there for 9 years would comelooking-back-and-looking-ahead to an end at this time in my life and I would leave the country for the very first time with my cat Minnie and now I honestly do not know what God has for me next but I do know by faith that He is such a good Father and I can trust in Him with all of my unanswered questions, my doubts and any fears that I have especially about my future.

God’s word says that His thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways just like the heavens are higher than the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9). I believe in my heart that I can trust in God’s ways even though I do not understand what He is right doing now and He is such a faithful shepherd to continue to lead and guide me in His path for my life as well.

I am really excited for what God has in store for my life for the year 2017 and in the 2016 2017 New year change conceptfollowing years. The Lord has spoken to me about Him continuing calling me to the nations to bring hope and healing to the broken-hearted especially in the injustice area of human trafficking and to continue to serve with YWAM with the DTS ministry. I honestly do not know right now what the next step is but I do believe in my heart that God will reveal it to me in His timing but I also do know that right now that God has made it really clear to me that He wants me to take a season to rest and process with Him first before He wants me to continue on in missions.

I would also like to say that I am extremely grateful for everyone who has come alongside of me in the journey that God has placed me on with all of your prayers, encouragement and for your generosity in your support as well. I would definitely appreciate your continual prayers especially at this transitional time in my life. If you would like to read more about this transitional season that I am in right now please feel free to read the blog I wrote called “The Transitional Season I am in Right now”. Here is the link: https://romaniangirl98.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/a-transitional-season-i-am-in-right-now/ . Thanks so much! Happy New Year and may the year 2017 be an incredible year filled to the overflowing with all of God’s blessings and full of wonderful surprises from Him. Blessings and hugs from Canada!

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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.

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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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