Learning How to Lead like Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keys to Finishing Well in Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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My Spiritual Timeline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Class picture enjoying delicious soup

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

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

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Overwhelmed by the Love of God

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

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YWAM Chico base

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Overwhelmed by the love of God

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

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

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A Week of Discovery and of Surrender

My sixth week (October 31st – November 6th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMDandrea-weber (School of Ministry Development) was another incredible week. Sheron Ohai was our speaker this week and she spoke on individual personalities, spiritual gifts, strength finders and also team building. I called this week’s blog a week of discovery and of surrender because God taught me a lot about discovering more of who He has created me to be this week and He also taught me a deeper meaning of surrender to Him as well.

I have done personality tests before and also finding out what my spiritual gifts are as well but this week was my first time to do the strengths finders test. I really enjoyed Sheron’s teaching this week a lot and in fact it was probably one of my favorite weeks of teaching as well. Some of the things that Sheron taught us that really stuck out to me were:

  • We need to need to accept our weakness as part of our uniqueness of how God created us to be.
  • God will often work in our weakness to get to us to our strengths but we actually need to focus on our strengths.
  • When God says something, He does it.
  • Do you believe more than a “I can God” or a “I can’t God”?
  • Unity doesn’t mean sameness but it means unity in diversity.
  • The tools for the assessment tests are not to box us in but they are to give us direction for who God created us to be.
  • We need to find out what people’s gifts are and embrace them for who they are. This is also really important to this for ourselves as well.
  • When you dialogue with God do you give Him time to speak to you too? For example when you praise Him for who He is, do you also ask Him to tell you who you are to Him too?

I really love the body of Christ and how God has so uniquely created us as individual people body-of-christwithin His body. We are such an important part of the body of Christ and also a key piece to the puzzle as well. If one part were missing in the body or one piece was missing in a puzzle than it would not be complete. This week has been so great to not only learn more about myself but also more about the people in my class and my staff as well. I think it really helps us to understand ourselves better when we discover more about our individual personalities, gifts and strengths as well.

The different assessment tests that we did this past week and the results that I got were: 1) DISC test: top 2 – SC and the results: steadiness (43%), compliance (32%), dominance (13%) and influence (11%), 2) Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test (Myers Briggs): ISFJ and the results are: introvert (62%), sensing (25%), feeling (38%) and judging (19%), 3) Strength Finders test: my top 3 are – belief, empathy and developer, 4) Motivational and Spiritual Gifts test: my top 3 are – mercy, giver and serving and 5) I also did the 5 Love Language test on my own and my result is: quality time – 10, words of affirmation – physical touch – 6, acts of service – 3 and receiving gifts – 1.

I really liked how Sheron arranged her teaching week with us. First we did our assessmentimg_7670 tests, then she taught on about each one so we can understand them better, then she asked us to find frequent words that we see from each of our assessment tests on different petals of the flower on the paper she gave us, then we needed to write the most frequency common words in the center of the flower which is our “power alley” and then we needed to make a poster with our flower on it (some people did other pictures as well) which we used to present to the class to share who we are. When we did our class presentations on Thursday and Friday I found it really encouraging afterwards that Sheron gave time for the people in our class to give words of affirmation to us.

On Friday after we finished all of our class presentations Sheron put us into groups according to our personalities and gifts which I thought was a really great way to end the week to do a team building group activity. When we did this group activity at the end of the week we were with three other people and we needed to answer five different questions besides writing down what our assessment test results were. The five different questions were: 1) What are your team strengths? 2) What’s lacking? 3) Who will likely be the most frustrated and why? 4) On a scale of 1-10, Where would you rate the effectiveness of your team overall? 5) What could be done to make it stronger and prefer one another in love?

I really learned a lot from this team building activity and then I loved that we were alsoimg_7673 able to do our Friday ministry outreach together in our groups when we went downtown LA as well. When we did our Friday outreach in the city of LA we first did an urban quiet time with God which was I think it was the first time I did that outside in a busy city but I actually really liked it because when I spent time journaling my prayers and I read my Bible God spoke to me a lot about the people and the city as well so it was really great.

For our outreach ministry time with our groups we had around an hour and a half to go around to talk to different people and to pray for them as well. I really enjoyed that we met some new people and prayed for them as well. I absolutely loved one of the questions one of the guys in my group asked one girl that we talked to which was “If you could ask God for any miracle today what would you ask Him for?” I thought it was a great question to be able to share the love of Jesus and the hope we have in Him and then to also offer to pray for people as well.

To be in a place of surrender to God and to completely yield your heart to Him is the mostsurrender-to-the-lord beautiful place to be in even if sometimes it is hard, painful and you don’t completely understand, it is still the most beautiful place to be in. This is something that I felt to write on my facebook wall on Tuesday evening before I went to bed but I really had no idea how God would teach me a deeper meaning of completely surrendering to Him this week.

Before I came to the YWAM LA base the leadership of my school sent us an e-mail that there would be a possible optional outreach which would be to do ministry to the refugees in Greece. I do not know why but I just felt closed off to the idea of going on the optional outreach and then the first week of the school we started to talk about it. I remember when Lisa my school leader asked us the first week of the school who would be interested in going on the optional outreach after the school would finish I didn’t even raise my hand but then the next week on the Thursday evening we had a worship night at the base and it was at that time that God began to challenge me to reconsider to go on the optional outreach. I don’t know why but then the next 3 weeks I ended up wrestling in my heart with the Lord regarding going on this optional outreach.

Last Friday Anna and Jessica who will be leading the outreach team announced to the class that the outreach will be 5 weeks in Greece and 3 weeks in Israel. The ministries would be mainly to reach out to the refugees, immigrants, women and the children in both of the locations. I don’t know why but when I heard the second location would be Israel my heart felt resisted to the idea of going there. This Monday we had an outreach interest meeting at lunch for anyone who would be interested in going. I felt like I was still on the fence of whether I should go or not so I decided to go to the lunch meeting and then it was at that time that we were told that we must make our final decision of either yes or no by Tuesday morning.

I honestly felt overwhelmed because I was not sure whether I was supposed to go or not i-know-god-has-a-planespecially because it would be over the Christmas holidays so Anna and Jessica encouraged me to go to the prayer chapel and to spend time with God. I ended up spending most of the day in the prayer chapel with the Lord which was really great and I must say that I absolutely love the prayer chapel here at the YWAM LA base especially that I can go there any time to spend time with God and it is quiet there and also there is worship music playing 24/7 as well. I ended up wrestling in my heart with the Lord most of the day regarding the decision to go on the outreach. I really sensed strongly in my heart when God spoke to me that He wants me to go and this is an opportunity He is giving to me to get further training as well.

Last week when I did my Bible reading for the school that I am doing now I really sensed in my heart God spoke to me a couple of different scripture verses regarding the outreach decision which was: 1) “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” (Obadiah 1:3a), 2) “But the Lord replied, Have you any right to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4) – from this scripture verse God also spoke to me have you any right to question me? And 3) “Should I not be concerned about that great city? (Jonah 4:11b). I honestly didn’t think about the scripture verses too much when I read them but when I reflect on them more God was definitely highlighting them to me regarding the decision to hear His voice to go or not to go on the outreach.

On Tuesday morning when I woke up my roommate asked me what I had decided to doi-said-yes-to-jesus regarding my decision to go on the outreach. I really felt it was a clear yes from the Lord when I waited on Him that He wanted me to go so I said it is a yes. At the beginning of class on Tuesday morning Lisa asked us to write our name on the white board if we decided to go on the outreach so I decided to step out in faith and write my name because it really is my deepest heart’s desire to be obedient to the Lord in what He is calling and leading me to do.

Then on Wednesday 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 doesn’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 trying to overcome this area of anxiety in my own life.

Lisa also recommended to me to seriously pray about taking time off from ministry to do afind-rest-o-my-soul minimum of a 6-month sabbatical time off from the “mission field” to take some time for 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 this school finishes because I am long overdue to have one. Lisa told me that if I don’t take a sabbatical time off 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 effected 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 from one to two weeks to get proper missionary debriefing with people who are experienced at debriefing long-term missionaries as well.

Now when I think about this my future seems a bit more unknown now because I honestly don’t really know what people would think about me taking a sabbatical leave 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 agree with my leadership 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 find a part-time job as well. 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 truly has an amazing future for us.

On Wednesday morning during the class time, our speaker Sheron asked us to make these

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This is the box I made

boxes out of card paper. I ended up picking a card that said daughter on it and there was a beautiful flower on it too. After we made our boxes, she asked us to take our box and the piece of paper that we wrote our dream that God gave us on Monday and then to take 10 minutes to spend time with the Lord to pray and ask God about the dream and the box we just made in the class.

When I spent this time with God in prayer I ended up crying and asking God about the outreach first. After a period of time I sensed in my heart that God spoke to me really clearly and He said to me that He just wanted my yes and obedience to go wherever He is calling me to go in the world because His heart is for the nations of the world and for every people group to know Him. Now I am beginning to slowly understand a new level of surrender to God than I did before because God really just wants to know if my heart is willing to yes to Him wherever He calls me to go because He ultimately wants my obedience and He has also called me to the nations as well.

Then I spent a bit of time praying and asking God about the dream that He has given me which is: “My dream and vision that God has given me is to minister to girls and women who are being trafficked and at risk, vulnerable and to be able to bring hope, God’s love and restoration to them. To continue to serve as a missionary with YWAM in the nations, to minister with the Justice focus DTS and to pioneer at least one Justice DTS at a YWAM base in the Central European region.”

After I realized that the Lord had wanted my complete surrender, obedience and yes to Himdream-big-for-god2 regarding the outreach I took a few minutes to pray about the dream that He has given me and to also surrender it to Him as well. I ended up crying a lot but at the same time, I sensed so much of God’s peace that His timing is perfect and much better than mine. I also felt in my heart God spoke to me to dream bigger, to not limit myself and to redefine and to expand what I wrote on that piece of paper as well.

When that prayer time that we had with God was finished and we all met again in the classroom we had a time of sharing about our time that we had with God. I felt in my heart to share the post that I wrote the previous day on my facebook wall which is about how surrendering to God is such a beautiful thing even if it is hard, painful and we don’t understand it at times. I shared with the class with tears in my eyes that I wouldn’t be going on the outreach, that God just wanted my yes and about my dream He has given to me that His timing is perfect and it is much better than mine.

I would like to end this blog post by thanking God that I was able to discover more of who God has created me to be, that He doesn’t want me to be like anyone else because there is only one Andrea and we are all important parts of the body of Christ.

My heart is also filled with so much gratitude to know that God is such a loving Father, He is so very faithful and incredibility patience with us as well. God is just so good and I love Him so very much! I would also like to say thank-you so much for taking the time to read my blog and thanks for all of your prayers as well. It really means a lot to me that you have expressed interest in hearing more about the journey that God has placed me on. Blessings to you!

If anyone would be interested in doing the online assessment tests here are the links:

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Some Important Keys to being a Healthy Leader

My fifth week (October 24th – 30th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School of leadershipMinistry Development) was another great week. We had two speakers this week that came and spoke on leadership development. Our first speaker was Alberto Bellos and our second speaker was Werner Pfau. On Monday we came back from our camping trip that we went on last weekend so Alberto started his teaching with us on Tuesday and he taught us until Thursday. On Friday Werner taught us on how to finish well in leadership.

The three days we had Alberto teach us, I got a lot out of it as he shared about different leadership development skills that are really important for us to know now and he also gave us time in class to do group projects which I found was really helpful to see what the big picture may look like when you are at the beginning stages of putting together a ministry. On Tuesday and Wednesday when Alberto taught us on leadership development and how to paint the big picture God spoke to me a lot and revealed a lot to me through his teachings. I would like to share in this blog some of the things that God spoke to me about this week and how I will apply them to my life.

The first thing that Alberto emphasized strongly is to know our identity we have in Christ. He told us as a leader we must know and understand who we are in our identity as sons and daughters of God and we must not try to be like someone that we are not. He told us if we are rooted in our identity then we will know where we are going. He gave the example of David when he tried to use Saul’s armor from the scripture passage of 1 Samuel 17:38-39. He also told us that as leaders we shouldn’t fall into the pressure of falling into the pressure of trying to be like someone else because if it is not in our identity then it will just be in vain.

Alberto told us that people want to be able to follow authenticity so it is really importantbe-authentic that we remember to be real before people and not to put on any masks in front of them especially when leading people. We need to remember to stay in our own grace lanes which is basically we need to be aware of staying in the “lane” that God is calling us to be in, to give ourselves grace when we need to and to remember that God’s strength is strong in our weakness.

This also means that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people as well because God has a specific calling on all of us and He has also gifted each of us differently in our skills and talents that He has given us too. For me personally, I need to keep on growing every day in my identity of who I am in Christ especially who God created me to be, to not compare myself to other people but to learn to be content with who I am as a person and to learn to always stay authentic and real before people.

The next biggest revelation that God revealed to me is when Alberto taught on having the right perspective on our lives of where God has us right now. He asked us this question: “How are you currently viewing your current situation and the season that you are in right now?” I think this is a really great question to always be asking myself so that I will learn to grow in the understanding of having the right perspective of how God wants me to view and perceive things and not to let myself become discontent especially when I do not understand why I am in the season I am in.

Alberto spoke about the importance of forgiveness which was really great to be remindedthe-power-of-forgiveness of this especially as a leader that we need to learn to willing to forgive others and ourselves. He told us when we are in leadership there will be struggles and shortcomings so it is really important that we walk in forgiveness not only to others but also to yourself as well. He told us if you will extend grace and mercy then you also need to receive it as well. This is something that I have learned from my personal experience that forgiveness is definitely a key especially when you are in leadership because there will be struggles in relationships, misunderstandings and conflicts so we must learn to have short accounts with people to be quick to forgive others and reconcile with them. It is also really important to learn to give grace to yourself as well because as leaders at times we will make mistakes and fail.

Another thing that God highlighted through Alberto’s teaching on Monday was when he told us that as a leader we should not make decisions that are based on our emotional high or low but we need to take time to process things and not to jump into decisions when we are emotional about something. This is something that I have learned from my personal experience on the mission field and I have stumbled a lot in the past where I have made some decisions that were based on my emotions like sending an e-mail to people before I took time to really calm myself down and allowed myself to process things of what was really going on.  This was a crucial lesson that I learned because unfortunately when I had done this it sadly turned into gossip, misunderstandings, conflicts and pain in relationships. This is definitely something that I would like to see change, in my life and grow more in, to have more wisdom and discernment in this area of how to process and handle my emotions a lot better in the future.

Some other things that stuck out to me in Monday’s class were: The importance of teachable-heart-and-spiritdiscerning the seasons that God has put us in which include sometimes we be bruised and go through painful times and other times God will try to get our attention when we sense there is a strain and a discomfort in the season we are in. We always need to have a humble and a teachable heart so we can keep on growing as leaders. There will be times that we need to submit to the leadership that is over us or God maybe leading us to split from them because He might be leading us to do something else. We need to learn the art of longevity which basically means to persevere until the end and not give up. Perseverance also means to be willing to pay the price because there will be a cost. I was also reminded of the importance of taking time to have a community of people around you and to take time to rest as well.

One thing that Alberto said on Monday’s class that really surprised me was: “Sometimes God will place you under bad leadership so He can expose the issues that are in your own heart so He can get it out of you.” This is something that I guess I had never thought of before and I have experienced in the past because I have been under unhealthy leadership before but I knew in my heart that God had led me to serve under them for those seasons I was in my life. God did teach me some things during those times in my life and I am pretty sure when I think about it now that God did expose some issues in my heart too even though those seasons were exactly not “pleasant” seasons to be in.

I found it was really helpful that Alberto did a teaching session with us on how to paint thetrust-the-vision-that-god-has-given-you picture of putting a ministry together and then he gave us class time to do group projects to actually put our visions down on paper. I ended up joining three girls in my class that did the Beauty Arise DTS because God has given me a heart to minister to hurting girls and women especially in the area of human trafficking. The three girls have a different vision that God has given me but I still found it helpful of how to put down on paper a ministry description, mission and vision statement, core values, how to recruit a team and strategies to fundraise as well.

On Friday, it was really great to hear Werner Pfau teach our class about finishing well in leadership. Werner is one of the staff at the YWAM LA base, he has served here for quite a while since the beginning so it was definitely a blessing from God to hear from one of the missionaries from the base teach us. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures that Werner showed us on when the YWAM LA base had started because it really helps us as students see the YWAM base from another perspective and the history behind it.

Some of the things that I learned on Friday when Werner taught us are: Most of the leaders perseverancein the Bible did not finish well which is a pretty sad fact when I heard that. When God calls you to be a leader and you stop leading then you won’t be living up to your full potential that God has on your life. In order to keep on leading strong we must do these things: 1) have a vibrant relationship with God to the end, 2) to always have a teachable heart throughout your life, 3) to model Christ-like character, 4) to live your life in such a way that your convictions and the promises of God are to be seen to be real in your life, 5) to leave behind lasting legacies and 6) to live your life with a growing sense of destiny and to make the necessary sacrifices to realize this to a significant degree.

We also learned on Friday seven different barriers to not finishing well and different examples from people in the Bible which are: 1) sexual immorality (Samson – Judges 13 – 16), 2) misuse of finances (Judas – Matthew 26 and John 13), 3) abuse of power (Saul – 1 Samuel 18 – 19), 4) self-centered pride (Solomon – 1 Kings 6 – 7), 5) problems with marriage and family (David – 2 Samuel 15 – 18), 6) Life and ministry plateauing (Gideon – Judges 6 – 8) and 7) emotional wounding (Jonah – Jonah 4).

I definitely sensed in my heart the Lord challenged me to continue to do the six important components and to apply it on a more daily base so I will be able to finish well and strong. We were asked to think about our top two or three barriers that we struggle with and then to pray about it with a classmate. The top three that struck out for me were: 1) emotional wounding, 2) life and ministry plateauing and 3) self-centered pride. Now that I am more aware of this I really need to bring this before the Lord more and even on a daily base because it is my deepest heart’s desire to finish well in what God has called me to do in my life.

I would like to end by writing something that I am very thankful about and also a couple of prayer requests as well. I am very grateful for God giving me Anna as my one-on-one mentor during this school because God has have been teaching me a lot from her. Onimg_7558-copy Monday when we met for a one-on-one time she encouraged me to thank God for giving me the ability to see detail and to have the skill to be organized because this is how God created me to be. I shared with her that I struggle with how to relate to people well and to build solid deep relationships with people so she encouraged me that this is an area in my life where I need to learn to depend on God more.

At the end of my time with Anna on Monday evening, she encouraged me to take time to pray and wait on God for a specific word that will be able to help me in my identity of who He says I am. I took a few minutes to wait on God for a word and I was really encouraged that God spoke to my heart that I am His chosen daughter. After I told Anna the word she then encouraged me to think of three things that God has specifically chosen me for that I could reflect and think about every day of my life that could help me more with my identity and walk with God. I am really encouraged that the Lord spoke to me and also to Anna three things that He has chosen me for which are: “I am chosen for relationships, I am chosen for love and I am chosen for purpose.” This is so exciting because these are things that are a struggle in my life so if I can mediate on this every day I believe there will start to be a transformation in my thoughts and in mind!

I would like to leave a couple of prayer requests that I would really appreciate prayer for prayer-requestwhich are: 1) This week I have been feeling quite exhausted and fatigue so I would appreciate your prayers for more of God’s strength and rest and 2) Yesterday we found out the two locations for the two month optional outreach for the school that I am doing right now.

I would definitely appreciate your prayers for this especially that God will help me to make the right decision if it His will for me to be a part of this, if it is then I will be able to have clear confirmation and peace to be able to start sharing about it and I also need God’s provision for this trip as well (I would need at least around $2,000 USD). Thanks so much for your prayers and also for taking the time to read my blog as well.

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October Update

(I wrote this newsletter 3 weeks ago but I forgot to post it on my blog the day I wrote it).

October 10, 2016

Hello Family and Friends,

I hope you are doing well! Happy Thanks-giving to everyone in Canada! It is so hard to believe how quickly time passes by and we are already in the month of October.

 My Summer Highlights in Canada

When I went to the YWAM Amsterdam base this spring for the Shine Seminar which is a 6 week training course on human trafficking God spoke to me at the end of my time there to return to Canada at the end of June, to spend the summer there to rest and connect with people and then in the fall He is going to open up the doors for next season to begin in my life. On June 29th I took a bus from Romania and flew to Canada the next day and for the img_6879very first time Minnie (my cat) also came with me as well which was something that was completely new for the both of us and my heart was filled with so much gratitude of how God took care of everything.

I honestly cannot remember when I had spent the whole summer months in Canada so it had definitely been a very long time maybe even 10 years so it was really great to have a bit of a break this summer just to rest and connect with people in Canada and of course spend time with my family as well. Some of the highlights that God gave me this summer are: doing a joint Canada Day and 4th of July BBQ celebration, family reunions including meeting two of my cousins babies, going swimming, attended the Kingdom Bound Christian festival in New York, attended two human trafficking awareness events and being able to share about my journey at a worship and prayer event. It was such a joy to spend time with my family and to reconnect with so many of my friends and supporters as well!

Sent Off With Love

It was a real blessing from God to be able to connect with my home church in Canada (Christian Life Centre) this summer in Canada. It was wonderful to be able to meet some new people and also reconnect with people I have known for years. My heart is filled withimg_7397 gratitude for God giving me an opportunity to be able to share at my home church on Sunday September 18th a bit of an update of what I am doing now in missions and then they prayed for me as well.

On Friday September 23rd I was able to have a prayer send off at my Mom’s house with a small group of 9 people that came out to hear a bit of my journey of where God has me right now and to pray for me before I left for the YWAM LA base on September 24th. It was a really encouraging evening just to be able to reconnect with some people and have a time to pray together too.

”Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” –  Martin Luther King Jr.

A New Season in my Life

On July 21st I received my acceptance to attend the SOMD (School of Ministry Development) this fall at the YWAM LA base. It is YWAM secondary school on leadership training that I am now a part of. I flew to Los Angeles, California on September 24th and the school runs until December 18th. There is a two-month optional outreach afterwardsywam-somd-class-2016 but I’m still praying and waiting on God on this.

I absolutely love my class! There are 17 students (10 girls and 7 guys), in my class including myself, plus our school leader and 3 staff and we are from six different nations (Canada, United States, Tajikistan, Sweden, The Netherlands and Kenya). I already feel like we are becoming like a family as I am seeing God is really bringing unity to our class which is such an answer to prayer! I am so very excited to be a part of this class even though I am the oldest student I don’t want it to allow it to affect our relationships in the class because I don’t think age should matter. I am already so very encouraged to see everyone’s passion and desire to seek God with all of their hearts and also to hear of all of their huge dreams that God has given to them.

I am so very excited for what God has in store during this season. It is my deepest heart’s desire to have heart that is completely teachable, transparent and one that is a 100% yes to Jesus in whatever He wants to do during this time and in my future especially with growing not only more in my leadership skills but also in my character and in deeper levels of intimacy with my Abba Father as well.

 Praise Reports!

  • I praise God for giving me a time this summer to rest and to reconnect with people.
  • I praise God for everyone who has been encouraging me to keep running in the vision and call that God has on my life which means so much to me.
  • I praise God for opening the door for me to come to the YWAM LA base for the SOMD School.

Prayer Requests:

  • For God to teach me daily to learn how to walk in the freedom and in the authority as His child.
  • For God to teach me to let go and to completely trust in Him more during this “training” season.
  • For God to speak to me and give me clarity of what the next season may look like in my life.

Blessings,

Andrea

My Contact info:

Address: Andrea Weber (Fall 2016 SOMD), Youth With A Mission Los Angeles, 1141 Osborne Street, Lake View Terrace, CA 91342, USA

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

Financial support can be sent to:

In Canada:  (please have my name written on the memo line with my code WA15)

YWAM Project Funding, Box 57100, RPO East Hastings, Vancouver BC, V5K 5G6

In the States:  (please have my name written on a separate paper – it cannot be on the cheque)

YWAM, PO Box 3000, Garden Valley, TX 75771-3000

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Urban City to the Mountains

My fourth week (October 17th – 23rd) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School of

city-of-toronto

Toronto, Ontario Canada

Ministry Development) was another really great week. We had two speakers this week and it was definitely the contrast between the teachings but they were both really amazing. Brad Stanley was our first speaker for the week and he taught us on finding God in the city and global urbanization. Archie Honrado was our second speaker for the week, he came with us when we went on our camping trip for the weekend in the mountains and he taught on contemplative prayer.

Monday evening was the first class that we had with Brad Stanley and I must admit I felt overwhelmed by all of the statistics that he showed us of how urbanization is becoming a global crisis in the world. I literally had no idea about all of the figures and statistics that Brad shared with us especially with all of the mega cities in the world which are becoming more and more overpopulated right now and this will continue to increase in the future. Something I thought was really interesting what our speaker told us which was the major growth of the urbanization in the world are in the 10/40 window and also the unreached people groups are moving to the major cities of the world as well which is pretty amazing because God is literally bringing the unreached people groups to the major cities like: Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, London, Amsterdam, etc.

There were quite a few questions that were brought up when we had our first class on urbanization which made me really think. Some of these questions were: 1) What are you dreaming with the Lord about? 2) What has God put in you that fits in the urban world? 3) In what ways does global urbanization frustrate you? 4)  What challenges does urbanization bring to the human story? 5) What opportunities does urbanization bring to God’s purposes on the earth?

Throughout the whole Monday evening class I kept thinking over and over again of how

new-york-city

New York City, USA

cities have such a huge problem with injustice issues like human trafficking and it just broke my heart to pieces. God did highlight a lot of things to me about this though. Some of the things are: Urbanization does give us access to people’s needs and for us to see the injustice issues in the world because it is brought to the light more. God is urbanizing the world for the purpose of world evangelism and the discipling of the nations. The urbanization of the world is being used by God to redeem His original intent for man and the display of His glory on the earth. God’s end goal is to get the gospel to every people group on the earth and He wants you to feel His heart for the nations and He also wants you to be a part of it.

Over the next three days on the teaching of finding God in the city and global urbanization by Brad Stanley God continued to reveal His heart to me specifically of how His heart is longing for every people group of every nation to know Him as the Savior of the world.  There is a lot of brokenness that does come from the cities but God reminded me that it is not His heart to destroy the design of the urbanization but to bring redemption to it (Matthew 13:24 – 30). The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to bring life so we can have it to the full (John 10:10).

God revealed something to me that the enemy will only try to steal, kill and destroy something that already has life and value. I really liked what our speaker said when he told us that when we do prayer walks in the city and pray for cities to specifically ask God “what is threatening the enemy here that is so special and valuable right here at this location?” Where there is spiritual darkness there is also God’s redemption so we must change the way we think and ask ourselves: “What is it that is so valuable and important about the city that the enemy seeks to destroy?”

God reminded me that we cannot please Him without faith because He is a being of faith. Faith is the result of walking with Jesus. God reminded me that building relationships with people are the key to reaching out to people in the urban world which is what God has designed us to do to bring His plan of redemption to this hurting world. God is more jealous about writing His name over the earth than we are. It is really important that we are not just motivated by compassion but by God’s jealously for redemption.

What is it that God must do to bring healing and deliverance to the nations? Where we see

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Los Angeles, USA

darkness God’s grace will abound much more so as believers we must run into it and go into the darkness to bring His love, hope and healing to the brokenness in the nations. God also revealed to me when we take time to pray, intercede and wait on Him to hear His heart for the city that it doesn’t depend on the specific environment like going to a quiet place like out in the nature or a quiet room in a house but we can even sit down on a bench on the street in the city and listen to God’s voice because He is everywhere and He is longing to meet us everywhere.

I think the last biggest thing that God revealed to me from the urbanization teaching was that as a church and as Christians we must be much more pro-active in reaching out to the immigrants in our home countries because God is literally bringing the unreached nations and people groups to us. It is God’s heart beat for us to be more welcoming to the immigrants and we can do that by simply giving them hospitality (Matthew 25:34 – 35, 1 Timothy 3:2 and 1 Timothy 5:9-10). Hospitality is actually our strongest evangelistic strategy to reach people for Christ and we can simply do this by just opening up our home to people and to use our living room for the Kingdom of God.

I could probably write a lot more on what I learned and what God revealed to me through the teaching on finding God in the city and global urbanization but I would love to also write about how our class’ camping trip went in the mountains as well which was also such a huge highlight during my fourth week of my SOMD and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity that God gave me to go on this trip with my class. I love camping and I have been going camping since I was a child but this was my first time that I had to actually go camping in the mountains and to completely rough it with no showers or no proper toilets for 4 days. I have camped in the mountains before in Romania but it was different because we stayed in cabins and we didn’t really rough it or stay in tents either. I also heard numerous times from the staff that it will also be very cold during the camping trip which was something that I never experienced before because in the past I have always camped in the warm summer weather.

I guess I just felt a lot of anxiety to go on this camping trip in the mountains with my class My child do not worrybecause I honestly didn’t really know how it would be and I didn’t know what to exactly to expect how it would be either. I just kept giving my worries and anxieties to God and surrendering it to Him. The day before we left for the camping trip the YWAM LA base had a big surprise when we were almost going to evacuate because there was a fire that was nearby which really put a lot of panic in me in that moment but thankfully we didn’t have to evacuate in the end so I really praise God for this and also for His protection over our lives.

On Thursday morning before the base intercession started one of the girls who is a student in the Justice DTS handed me a note and then later that morning I got a chance to read it. I was honestly blown away when I read her note that she wrote to me and when I read it I thought to myself “how did she know”. This is what she wrote to me “Hello Andrea, God is your comfort and your strength. He is there to take all your anxiety, worries and cares. I believe He wants you to enjoy this camping trip, enjoy His presence and enjoy fellowshipping and learning with your class. He’ll keep you warm and give you rest! And I feel that God bursting with excitement right now! He can’t wait for the trip with you!! God will keep you safe, for He is our shepherd! Have fun! – Sharon”

I was really encouraged that she took time to pray for me and write me this encouraging note. I honestly don’t even remember if I had talked to her about my anxieties about going on this camping trip or not so when I saw her later that morning I gave her a hug, thanked her and asked her “how did you know?” She told me that she prayed for me and God just put it on her heart to write me that note. When I heard that I thanked God and an excitement filled my heart for this camping trip that I would be going on with my class.

After we all finished our lunch on Thursday we packed up the two base vans and left for

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On our way to the campground

our camping trip in the mountains near Ojai which is a small city in Ventura County, California, northwest of Los Angeles and set in a valley in the Topatopa mountains. I think we drove around 3 hours until we got to the campsite which also included two stops along the way including going to the Wal-mart store and our speaker’s house.

When we got to our campsite we set up our tents, ate dinner and we had our first teaching session with Archie Honrado on contemplative prayer. Our first evening we spent at the campsite we had a big shock which was we found out there has been a black bear around the campground so it was definitely a huge surprise for everyone. We had to remove any food or scented things from our tents and for those who were struggling with fear we were allowed to sleep in the vans that night.

On Friday (October 21st), I had a really great day with my class on our camping trip. After breakfast Archie did another session with us on contemplative prayer. The previous day and for this season we did the centering prayer which is basically asking God for a specific word and mediating on it for anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes. The first time I mediated on the word Jesus and the second time I mediated on the word Abba (Abba is another word for Father and I was thinking about God being my Abba). The centering prayer is not something that I have done before in the past but it is something that I really liked a lot and I definitely would like to do it more in the future. I really feel in my heart if I could put this into practice in my life I believe it will really help me focus on the Lord more especially when I struggle with worry, anxiety and stress.

The rest of Friday morning we split into our small groups and we went on a 4 hour hike in

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My SOMD small group

the mountains and through the dessert trails near our campground where we stayed at. I found the hike was very physically exhausting and even by the end both of my ankles were a bit swollen. I honestly didn’t know if I could make it at times but in the end I am really glad that I went on the hike and it was the first time that I had that much quality time with my small group since SOMD started which was such a blessing from God.

I really enjoyed the talks that we had during our hike which was so encouraging and I love how we as a small group were all very supportive of each other as well. I was also really touched how my small group leader Anna was so supportive of all of us and she even told me that I could lean on her a couple of times as we walked together. I feel incredibility thankful that God gave me Anna as my small group leader and the other three girls in my group as well (Felicia, Amanda and AC).

On Friday afternoon Archie gave us as a class a couple of hours to take time alone to have14808013_10210264991921755_1305983453_o some solitude alone time with God. At first I had a difficult time finding the right place to go but then after some time of searching I ended up going to my tent and I am so very grateful for this time that God gave for me to have with Him. I ended up just resting and soaking in God’s presence as I waited on Him and listened to worship music. I used to spend hours in the past doing this but I haven’t done this in a while so I really felt like God reminded me to come back into that place of rest with Him. In the past when I took time to rest and soak in God’s presence, God met with me so much, He gave me such sweet encounters with Him and spoke to me so much. I think it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and ministry that we can forget to take time to do this and I am definitely speaking to myself so it is my definitely my heart’s deepest desire to come back into this place to take more time to do this again.

On Saturday (October 22nd), I was incredibly grateful when I woke up I had a much better sleep than I did the previous night and even though I still knew about the bear situation I chose to sleep in the tent and I am so thankful that I slept so well. I was really excited that we had pancakes for breakfast which was a blessing from God. Afterwards Archie did a short teaching session with us and then the rest of the day everyone went on a hike for the majority of the day. We were given the option to stay behind if we wanted to and rest. I honestly really struggled with the first hike so I wasn’t sure if my body would have been able to handle it to do a whole day hike so I stayed decided to stay behind even though I really wanted to go with my class. Thankfully two other girls from my class and my school leader stayed behind as well so I wasn’t the only one who stayed behind which is good that I wasn’t alone.

The previous day Archie asked us to do the prayer of examen during our solitude time with God but I felt in my heart that God just wanted me to take time to rest and wait on Him so I decided to do it on Saturday morning. The prayer of examen is basically a prayer that consists of two parts which are: 1) consolation and 2) desolation. Both parts are taking time to evaluate and reflect on what is in your heart of what are the things that you are the most grateful for and what are the things that you are the least grateful for. The questions for consolation are: 1) For what am I most grateful? 2) When did I feel most alive today? 3) When did I give the most love today? And 4) When did I receive the most love today? The questions for desolation are: 1) For what moment today am I least grateful? 2) When did I feel life drained out of me? 3) When did I give the least love today? And 4) When did I receive the least love today? I really found doing the prayer of examen and writing it in my journal very helpful and this is something that I would like to put into practice in my own life because I think it is a really great way to examine and evaluate where my heart is at.

During the morning when I was trying to rest and spend some time with God I found it a

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My roommate and I

bit difficult to have a restful day because I heard a couple that camped near us have some very strong and verbal arguments. To be honest I don’t think I have ever heard anything like that before when I had gone camping before and it just broke my heart to pieces. I prayed for them throughout the day and each time I did I just sensed how God’s heart was also broken for this couple as well. I just kept praying for God to fill them with His peace and His healing as well.

It was really great to be able to have some time to hang out with the two other students and my school leader that stayed behind and spend some time with them as well. I think it was around 4:30 or 5:00pm when my class started to come back from their hike. It was around that time that I decided to go for a walk to see the waterfalls that Archie told me about. It was really great to be able to go for a short walk and see the waterfalls. I am also really glad that I was able to spend some time with God as well which was a real blessing.

In the evening after dinner we took some time as a class to share how we are doing. At first I wasn’t going to share anything but then I felt it would be good to share something because to be honest I was really struggling especially with feeling lonely and alone which frustrated me because these are a couple of things that God had set me free from a couple of weeks ago and I felt like I slid back to it again. I am glad I did share with my class how I was doing even though tears streamed down my face. I basically felt in my heart to share that I was struggling with loneliness and making deep connections with the class.

To be honest I had struggled with making solid deep relationships with people most of my life which resulted in feeling very lonely at different times in my life. I am very thankful to God that He has given me the ability to be detailed and organized which is a really great skill to have especially as a leader with the logistical side but I really struggle with the relational side of how I can relate and connect with people which is not a good thing at all when you are a leader because you actually need to have both when you are in leadership. I am very encouraged after I shared with my class that a few people took some time to encourage and affirm me and then everyone gathered around me and prayed for me. In that moment I really felt overwhelmed by everyone’s love and care which really meant a lot to me. In the evening we also took time to pray over the campground as well especially for God’s protection, peace and healing for the people’s hearts that were there.

On Sunday (October 23rd), it was our last full at the campground and in the morning it was

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Archie and I

also Archie’s last teaching session with us too which was another really great one. Archie taught us on the practice of lectio divina which is basically taking some time to mediate on a specific scripture passage from the Bible. There are four basic steps to do this which are: 1) lectio – to read a scripture passage slowly, 2) meditation – to mediate on what you just read, 3) oratio – to pray, speak to God and to ask Him for a specific word from what you just read and to mediate on it and 4) contemplatio – to finally and simply rest in God’s embrace as He speaks quietly speaks to you.

I personally really liked this exercise that we did and I would love to try and apply it to my life as much as possible in the future. The scripture passage that we read and mediated on was John 10:1-16 which was about Jesus being our shepherd. I chose to mediate on the word shepherd and I was amazed as I waited on God that He had opened up my spiritual eyes during that time I waited on Him.  The Lord showed me very faintly in the spiritual realm a shepherd’s staff which really encouraged me a lot when I saw it because God also showed it to me before when I waited on Him in the past especially when I was in different times of transition in my life and I was waiting on God for the next step of what He was calling me to do next. Wow, God is so good and yes Jesus is my good shepherd! I just need to keep reminding myself of this especially during this transition time I am in right now because God is so very faithful and I truly believe in my heart that He will keep on leading and guiding me step by step in what He has called me to do.

Afterwards we played a sheep and wolf game which was pretty fun and it also gave us an

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Jesus is my Shepherd

opportunity to practice listening and discerning the different voices as the sheep find their shepherd. Then we prayed for Archie and we said our good-byes to him because he had to leave us a bit early so he can join his family again and resolve the issues with his family moving out of their house. The rest of the morning and the early afternoon we read three books of the Bible which were Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. I think that was my first time for me to read the Bible like that with a big group. I really liked it a lot and I thought it was a really great experience for us to do that. We had free time the rest of the day which was really nice. I ended up going back to the waterfalls and spending some time with God which was really great.

On Monday (October 24th), we ate breakfast and packed up to leave to return back to the YWAM LA base. I must say that definitely one of my highlights of the whole camping trip with my class was how our time ended there. We decided to bless the couple who camped near us with some leftover food that we didn’t end up using. I decided to go over with a couple of the people from my class because I really felt on my heart to tell them that we all had been praying for them during our time there. I did go over to their campsite on my own earlier in the morning when I woke up to say hello and say that we would be leaving today so it would be a bit quieter. I was so encouraged when I did say hello to them at that time that they told me they felt peace from us.

When I went over to the couple’s campsite with a couple of my classmates to give them

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SOMD Class picture with Archie

the food I told them that I really hope it will be a blessing for them. Then I looked over and I saw the rest of my school come over to their campsite. I thought it was such a beautiful thing of what Lisa my school leader did which was she simply wanted to gather around the couple, to bless them and to pray for them. When I prayed for them I even ended tearing up and after the prayer time finished and I opened up my eyes I saw the man was crying. It definitely looked like God really touched their hearts and encountered them with His love which was such a special thing to be a part of. After we prayed for the couple I got another opportunity to talk to them again. I felt in my heart to tell them that we have been praying for them, God sees them, He loves them and He just wants to fill their hearts with His healing. They thanked me for our prayers and they also told me that they felt our prayers too which was really encouraging to hear that.

Then it was time to go and return to the YWAM LA base. I think we arrived sometime in the early afternoon on Monday back at the YWAM base. When we got back to the base we put away the base’s camping supplies and cleaned the vans. After we finished that we were all very excited to take showers especially after not being able to shower the last 3 days. The rest of the day I did my laundry and rested a bit. I would like to end this blog entry by thanking God for everything that He taught me throughout the week, for His protection, for Him taking a lot of the worries and the anxieties that I had about going camping, I am really grateful for God uniting my class more and for also showing me His heart for the couple that camped near us as well. My heart is filled with so much gratitude for all of the people who prayed for this camping trip I went on with my class and also for my time during this school as well. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. Blessings!

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