Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Break!!

I hope it's not cold where you are - because Winnipeg is dang cold. Hence, frost forms on the insides of doors... sick, right?

I spent Christmas break with my roommate Carolyn's family here in Winnipeg. And over the week I pretty much fell in love with them - they are great!! It's definitely different from what I know - BIG family. There's mom and dad (Ginny and Kim), Carolyn (19), Ethan (18), Amanda (17), Danielle (15), Isaiah (8) and Rashaan (6). Ginny told me that I'm part of their family now, which makes me the oldest!! Now I have to learn how to terrorize little siblings... muhahaaaaaa...
Left to right:
Ethan, Mark (Carolyn's boyfriend),
Danielle, Carolyn, Me, Amanda,
Isaiah, Rashaan, Ginny
Friday, I went out with Jeremy Jones (one of those names that when you say it in full, it just rolls off the tongue!), Carolyn's cousin, to a Christmas party his friends were hosting. I've met a few of them before - they had come to one of our Sunday community dinners and a few I met at LBE at Carolyn's church back in October. But for the most part, I was meeting new people. We mostly played games (I love group games!! : D) and just hung out. Jeremy Jones is one of those people that could entertain me for hours - the kid is hilarious and I've realized over the week that he's just a really good friend. I don't know him that well - we've all hung out at the YWAM house a few times. But he has treated me with the utmost respect, even to the point of standing up for me to someone when I wasn't even there, which I am amazed at! [I guess I'm causing a little drama here in the peg - oops!]
Carolyn's family goes to church (West End Christian Community - WECC) on Sunday nights. I really like their church because it's small, creating a closely-knit community. It's great to see. This week was their Christmas pageant. Oof - it was awesome!! Laughed my butt off (but I guess that doesn't say much). We had a little bit of worship, too. It was interesting - maracas, shakers, etc. were handed out and we jammed a bit. Cool.

Sarah [my bestie from home for those who don't know : P] and I have been planning for her to come up and visit this weekend. But Sunday, we came to the conclusion that it won't be able to happen. Oh sad day. It was really difficult - I was looking forward to a refreshing weekend with Sarah after a few very hard weeks. So, Carolyn decided to pamper me (what a sweetheart to take care of me) and take me out on the town Monday! I realized that even though I've been in Winnipeg for a few months, I haven't done many tourist-y things (oh to be in a different city, but to be financially unsound...)

Carolyn took me to Winnipeg's museum, which was really cool! There was lots of Manitoba history, aboriginal art, and even a big SHIP!! Carolyn was a great tour guide. She's very animated and has many accents. So on the ship, she was a pirate and told me about her stories on the main seas. There was a small town in the museum and she escorted me around like I was her fair maiden. Oh so funny. And I think just what I needed at that point.

Native art.
I think this one depicts how they interpret creation.

Carolyn sing "Bring back my Bonnie"
to the Nonsuch (the ship).
Yup, that's how interesting my day was.

We then went to the Forks for lunch (Mmmmmm chinese food and Jone's Soda) and ended our day in the glass elevator, which you can see all of downtown from. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Don't take my word for it though:

(The train station is in front and
the frozen Forks is behind)

Wednesday was Christmas Eve. We went to church for the candlelight service (again at WECC). Afterward, I got to be included in their family tradition of reading the nativity story from Luke, talking about our response to it (which makes it more fresh and less redundant!), and having milk and cookies before bed. Amanda talked about how she was amazed that Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit - how amazing! That made me realize that Mary, like Jesus later on, was humiliated. Think about it --- a baby bump is virtually unhidable. And as an unmarried woman, you would have to wear the consequence of that sin every second and instantly, everyone knows what you did. Or in Mary's case, what she didn't do. Bearing a sin you are innocent of. Who does that sound like?
I've been studying and reading a lot about suffering for the sake of Christ. Mary's suffering in pregnancy brings more insight to that.
Mood swing.

The next day was Christmas!!! Yaaaaay!!! I was definitely taken in as part of the family that day. I even had presents and a stocking hanging from the mantle full of goodies. : ) It was a pretty chill day - we just opened presents, hung out with each other, and had a GREAT Polish dinner that Ginny and Ethan put together. Mmmm I love pierogis...

Rashaan and Isaiah opening gifts!
I just love Rashaan's face in this one.
He's that animated all the time!
He became my little buddy over the week -
He even cuddled with me a few times.
The next day (boxing day) was more eventful. We went to Ginny's brother's house to spend time with that side of the family. It was so fun! I was really blessed by Carolyn's grandma. She greeted me with a hug, a wet kiss, and a smack on the arm. Is this both of my grandmas in one person? Ha. She truly treated me like a grandkid. She was such a sweetheart. Ginny was impressed with me because I "held my own with her family." I guess they're tough - but I had good preparation for that with my own family! Weirdos...

Me, Danielle, Amanda
We later went to Kim's mother's house (Auntie Peryl! - also Jeremy Jones' grandma) to visit with that side of the family. Peryl is a cute little Jamaican lady - oh my goodness, I think I'm in love with her! She fed me some traditional Jamaican food (I ate lamb - busted! : P) and then came at me with "sin," a bowl full of chocolatey goodness. Oof. So yummy. Since I'm doomed to be a clutz all my life, I got the "sin" all over myself (oh no - I am so sinful...) and had to have her help me wipe it from off my chest, my arms, my fingers... and she was giggling at me the whole time! Now there's a moment I wish I had on tape so I could just show you all!! Cute ol' lady...
Auntie Peryl also has a dog named Mars, who looks just like our neighbors' dog when I was a kid (Brutus). Brought me back : ). And guess what? Mars just had puppies!!! So I got to play with the cutest li'l things in the world!!

Hey Mom... Jeremy said I can take one home if I want...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

“Discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend – it must transcend all comprehension. Plunge into the deep waters beyond your own comprehension, and I will help you to comprehend even as I do. Bewilderment is the true comprehension. Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge. My comprehension transcends yours. Thus Abraham went forth from his father and not knowing whither he went. He trusted himself to my knowledge, and cared not for his own, and thus he took the right road and came to his journey’s end. Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it yourself, so you must let me lead you as though you were a blind man. Wherefore it is not you, no man, no living creature, but I myself, who instruct you by my word and Spirit in the way you should go. Not the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but the road which is clean contrary to all that you choose or contrive or desire – that is the road you must take. To that I call you and in that you must be my disciple. If you do that, there is the acceptable time and there your master is come.”

(Martin Luther)

Uncertainty, to me, used to mean a misunderstanding of God's will in my life. Or the fact that it hasn't yet been revealed to me. But isn't it beautiful to take action when only God knows what you're doing? It is better to step out without knowing what's going to happen than to stand idle because of that uncertainty.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Striving for that image...

I'm reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I read the most amazing thing this morning and I'd like to share it with you. The chapter is "The Image of Christ." He's talking about how we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), but that image is marred because we are fallen people. We fall short of the mark (Romans 3:23), yet we still strive to be like God again. This is his response:

"But the riddle of human nature was still unsolved. With the loss of the God-like nature God had given him, man had forfeited the destiny of his being, which was to be like God. In short, man had ceased to be man. He must live without the ability to live. Herein lies the paradox of human nature and the source of all our woe. Since that day, the sons of Adam in all their pride have striven to recover the divine image by their own efforts. The more serious and devoted their attempt to regain the lost image and the more proud and convincing their apparent success, the greater their contradiction to God. Their misshapen form, modelled after the god they have invented for themselves, grows more and more like the image of Satan, though they are unaware of it. The divine image, which God in his grace had given to man, is lost for ever on this earth.

"But God does not neglect His lost creature. He plans to re-create His image in man, to recover His first delight in His handiwork. He is seeking in it His own image so that He may love it. But there is only one way to achieve this purpose and that is for God, out of sheer mercy, to assume the image and form of fallen man. As man can no longer be like the image of God, God must become like the image of man. But His restoration of the divine image concerns not just a part, but the whole of human nature. It is not enough for man simply to recover right ideas about God, or to obey His will in the isolated actions of his life. No, man must be re-fashioned as a living whole in the image of God. His whole form, body, soul and spirit, must once more bear that image on earth. Such is God's purpose and destiny for man. His good pleasure can rest only on His perfected image.

"God sends His Son - here lies the only remedy. It is not enough to give man a new philosophy or a better religion. A Man comes to men. Every man bears an image. His body and his life become visible. A man is not a bare word, a thought or a will. He is above all and always a man, a form, an image, a brother. And thus He does not created around him just a new way of thought, will and action, but He gives us the new image, the new form. Now in Jesus Christ this is just what has happened. The image of God has entered our midst, in the form of our fallen life, in the likeness of sinful flesh. In the teaching and acts of Christ, in His life and death, the image of God is revealed. In Him the divine image has been re-created on earth. The Incarnation, the words and acts of Jesus, His death on the cross, are all indispensable parts of that image. But it is not the same image as Adam bore in the primal glory of paradise. Rather, it is the image of One who enters a world of sin and death, who takes upon Himself all the sorrows of humanity, who meekly bears God's wrath and judgement against sinners, and obeys His will with unswerving devotion in suffering and death, the Man born to poverty, the Friend of publicans and sinners, the Man of sorrows, rejected of man and forsaken of God. Here is God made man, here is man in the new image of God.

"To be conformed to the image of Christ is not an ideal to be striven after. It is not as though we had to imitate Him as well as we could. We cannot transform ourselves into His image; it is rather the form of Christ which seeks to be formed in us (Gal. 4:19), and to be manifested in us. Christ's work in us is not finished until He has perfected His own form in us. We must be assimilated to the form of Christ in its entirety, the form of Christ incarnate, crucified and glorified."

"Their life is marked by a daily dying in the war between the flesh and the spirit, and in the mortal agony the devil inflicts upon them day by day."


Friday, December 19, 2008

In transition...

Lecture phase is officially over!! Our speaker this week was Kara Thompson, co-director of YWAM Las Vegas. She spoke on relationships - it was amazing. She was definitely a wealth of knowledge on romantic relationships, marriage, sex, etc. The fact that she was hilarious was amusing, too. Funny stories, funny personality... : )

Kara also talked about healing. "God is committed to your healing and wholeness." Sigh. Wow. I want to be better, I really do. But I easily get bogged down and discouraged at how much I fall short. Half the time I'm not even honest with myself about things, so it's even hard to be aware of the things God wants to change in me. But Kara put it in a way that's freeing. God will bring up the things that He wants us to heal and deal with. Let's take care of these things! One thing at a time - or else nothing more than I can handle. I absolutely love this! It encourages me and makes me excited to let God in to show me my brokenness. I want to be more whole, more self-aware, more mature, more self-controlled. Deep breaths... deep breaths...

This week was just really valuable in general. I feel like I got a lot of good information and got to know God more in how relational He is. I have a clearer idea of how He designed relationships to be.

Since this was our last week and people have been heading back home for Christmas break, I've realized that the end of DTS just may kill me. It's been hard to say goodbye to people I've seen everyday for the past two months and have grown so close to even though I'll see them in a week! I'm realizing that the fact that they're my family is so real to me.

I must have attachment issues. : P

So now I'm staying at Carolyn's house with her family for Christmas break. It's definitely waaaaay different than what I'm used to - she has 5 siblings. Ha! It will definitely be an experience to be had --- I'm excited to have "siblings."

Things you guys can pray for:

This was a really hard week for all of us. Just stressful, busy, emotionally draining in so many ways. I myself feel the emotional roller coaster that is the end of lecture phase/preparation for outreach mixed with not being home for Christmas and the crazy weeks we've had recently! It's almost too much. Just pray for calm, comfort, and that we all just take a few breaths.

Outreach. Oh my goodness, it is pretty much here. We leave in 14 days. Fourteen days. Just pray that the prep goes well and that we're able to be there for each other as some of us might just freak out!

For my family. I don't know how not having me there for Christmas will be, but it probably won't be easy. I at least have the comfort of being in a different context. They have all the reminders but no me.

Just some fun pictures!
hahaha... I don't even know.
This is girls' fun night and we went to Dessert Sinsations for cheesecake (soooo good...).
We must've been a little sugar high...

At the movie Australia last week.
As you can see, I'm really good at messing up pictures (sorry, Jas).

Crystal and Jas (who I think looks like ET in the middle of the stuffed animal pile)
with all the kiddos from the kids' program we run twice a week.

We're sleeeeeeepy... this was a regular occurrence over the last two weeks.
Mostly, it was Mike.
Nope, wait, it was only Mike.
But I have to admit - I agree with him in this picture. Zzzzzz...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our speaker last week was Scott Bessenecker, author of the New Friars, so he has a bit of a famous touch (though he would deny this). One thing that I now understand better is the idea of submission. I always thought submission had a taste of obedience, when it doesn't always have to. You don't have to obey or agree to submit to someone. I got this idea that says, "I don't agree with what you're saying and I won't obey it, but I will submit to any consequences to that."

I was challenged this week to not audibly burp for 24 hours. The first time, I forgot and failed at 85 minutes. Oh so sad. But they gave me another chance and again, I failed, but lasted 10 hours! I guess we can't really surpress who we are... ha!

On Wednesday, we all watched Freedom Writers. I hope you've all seen that movie because it was amazing! It's a story about a woman, Erin (Hilary Swank), who devotes herself to teaching inner-city high school kids. The school is highly segregated by gangs - clans against clans. Revenge. Murders. Erin works relentlessly to change the way things are. And she does. I'm amazed by people who give of themselves for what they believe in because in my mind, does what I believe in deserve anything less?

The hard thing is that she loses things. Big things. Her husband. What a sacrifice! We discussed how important it is to have clear direction in life before you get married. God has a plan - would He provide a spouse that thwarts that plan?

Funny, yet sad, story: I'm sure many of you have heard me say that technology hates me. We just don't get along. Well, I guess I've developed a bit of a tiff with Mike's computer. Once, he was handing it to me and he thought I had it... but I didn't. So, I pretty much dropped his computer! So then he had to get it fixed. Then, I was using it a few days ago, not even doing anything to it, and it just started to flip out! I don't even know what went on there. But then the worst thing happened. Oh it was bad. We were all in the living room and I was walking through with water and peanut butter toast. It doesn't even make sense to me what happened, but I got a little wobbley. I dropped my plate of peanut butter toast and tried to catch it with my other hand (which was at the time holding the cup of water). Jamie, who was sitting right there, somehow moved the mid-air water out of the way with his hands. But, I looked down to see the peanut butter toast face down right on Mike's keyboard. Oh. My. Goodness. Jamie thought it was the funniest thing on the face of the planet and started laughing like I've never heard before. I guess that made things more humorous and less terrible!!


Me sitting with Mike's computer with a bunch of Q-tips and barely damp paper towels.

Speaking of computers hating me, my computer has recently won the award for World's Slowest Moving Thing. So, if my posts become less frequent (as they have), it's due to frustration. But stay tuned! I'll try my best : )

This Sunday we tried a new church - City Church. We were told it was African, but when we got there, we realized how incredibly multicultural it is! Africans, caucasians, asians, natives... it was amazing! It brought me back to my J-Term class last year. We talked about how ridiculously segregated Sunday mornings are. Races just seem to go their separate ways. But that brought up the question - can it be easily integrated? Could you bring a black family to a white church and give them a worshipful experience? People worship in different ways - could that in some ways be tied to race?

But at City Church, I saw that vision. People just worshiping together. Cultures embraced. They have a Karen choir - not exactly sure what that means, but it was oriental. What they sang wasn't westernized at all but was purely their culture. And it was GORGEOUS! And we sang songs in different languages, heard a french prayer (mmm so pretty), and learned some Swahili! I was amazed at how loving they were towards each other. So many different faces.

Things you guys can pray for:

We leave for outreach on January 4th (coming up really soon!!!). Just pray for our preparation. That we're as ready as we can be. That things come together smoothly and soundly.

For Christmas. Oof this will be a hard time as I won't be seeing my family. I do have a family that Carolyn is graceously sharing with me and I know I'll love it, but it just simply won't be the same. It will be very difficult not being home for Christmas.

For calm. I have officially become overwhelmed. This is such a busy time - there's so much to do and I'm a bit emotional as it's the end of lecture phase. Sad! I'm very excited to go to Uganda (VERY), but there are people not going - and with them, I have about 2 more weeks total. Ends just aren't easy for me unless I'm really ready for them. And with this one, I'm just not

There's just... a lot to deal with right now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hey guys! This week was Mission Adventures week. So we moved on out of our nice, comfortable house and into the basement of New Life Ministries Church to do some service and learning over the week. As soon as we moved in, Devon made a nice little fort out of all the nursery toys. Ha!

"Devon's Palace"

The week was amazing. Our eyes were opened. We've left inspired. And broken.

We started the week off by panhandling downtown. This was not necessarily to make money for outreach (ha), but to get a better understanding of what it's like. I made three dollars in four hours. And I was definitely discouraged by how I was treated. It felt as if I became invisible and lower than dirt as soon as I stepped onto that sidewalk.

"Sir, do you have any spare change?"

Desensitization hurts. Sometimes I never even got a response. Jas even got a few hands in the face. After an hour or so, a man finally looked at me and asked why. I told him the truth - that we're trying to get the experience in order to know what it feels like. He laughed, told me how awesome that is, and gave me a dollar. Later, a woman I had asked came back with two dollars, looked at me with eyes of compassion (I can't even express how much that meant to me), and told me where I can get help.

We also tried near the University of Winnipeg, which is also downtown. The contrast in response was drastic. I didn't make any money, but every single person looked me in the eye and acknowledged me. What a difference that makes. I now know that even if I don't have any change to give, friendly gesture is so encouraging. Acknowledgement is vital. I pray to God that I will never pass someone by again. Because now I know how it feels.

Tuesday, we worked at Union Gospel Mission, a soup kitchen/rehab center/drop in. I worked in the kitchen in the morning with Carolyn. So fun! Jeff, the head chef, and Henry, an old German man who volunteers there, were so hilarious. I laughed my head off. That was a good day - I can't say I agree with how UGM works, but I know that God is doing incredible things in and through that place.

That night we went to the youth correctional center to lead their rec program - gym time! One of the first things I noticed was the immense love that the staff had for the kids. It didn't matter what they were in there for, the people who work there love them and see them as great kids, which they are! We got a tour of a "cottage" (a unit of cells), and all the guys in there were banging on the doors and yelling for attention. Wanting to get out? Excited about new people? Not sure... In the gym, we played pin guard, lineball (a new game for me), and basketball! It was really fun and the kids were very sweet.

Wednesday was our cultural day, so we didn't actually go out into the community, but spent time in our classroom. We talked about how to serve and understand people of different cultures. We played a game in which Devon and I were two missionaries trying to get to know and give the Good News to two different tribes. We sat in a room for 20 minutes waiting for instruction. Ha - the curiosity drove us nuts! As soon as we were "released" into the abyss to meet the tribes, we realized what we were in for. "I love Lucy, I love Lucy!" "Oi!" "Rawr!" "Spalding!" "Napple!" "Ooga Booga!" Uhm, what? We had to decipher their language and attempt to understand their customs. Devon and Carolyn both ended up dead. We all worshiped one tribe's god, but Devon and I refused to respect their chief (Crystal) - we thought worship was simply a game they played and to respect Crystal we had to worship her - and that wasn't the case at all. Oof! That definitely made me realize that things aren't always as they seem and that it takes crazy amounts of time to fully (or even partially!) understand the customs, traditions, languages of other cultures.

We also talked that day about how implicit the Bible is. No where that we've found does it outright say that gay marriage is wrong. No where in the Bible that we've found does it explicitly say that polygamy or premartial sex is wrong. It may be implied, but that's up for interpretation. So... everything I always thought was wrong is maybe not? Things aren't always black and white - there's so much gray area. I'm becoming more convinced that God cares about our wellbeing (and the wellbeing of others) and about our hearts. I was at first frustrated because many of my beliefs about right and wrong have been shaken (not to say they don't still hold), but God has been clearing it up by encouraging me to simplify. Love Him. Love people. Everything else will follow. "Just love Me." I can seek Him and His wisdom, but first and foremost is always love.

Thursday was "plunge" day. We were sent out with a quarter, three bus tickets, and a few bag lunches. Purpose: to get to know the city of Winnipeg through the eyes of the people. Have conversations. Share a lunch with a panhandler or needy person. Get to know the people who live here. Crystal, Carolyn, and I (the C group!) wandered around for a bit, rode the bus, talked to people... Then we headed downtown and met a BUNCH of panhandlers - seriously, like a little community of them. Archie, Rick, Sam ("Scuzzy"), Darlene, Mary Sue, Adrien... We shared our lunches with them and talked with them for a little while - it amazed me to see their generosity with each other, even when they finally got something that they're in such need for - until we got kicked out by the biz (neighborhood watch, if you will). I had a funny moment when one of the biz recognized me - he had kicked me out from in front of a business on Monday when I was panhandling there. Ha - really made me feel like part of their community.

We then headed to a bus hub to warm up a little and we met Brian and his mother-in-law, Rose. We could tell that they were also both in need. Brian was... how shall I say it? Not sober. He proposed to me within three minutes of talking to him (which confused me since he clearly had a wife, having a mother-in-law and all... and don't worry, I said no). Needless to say, there were many inappropriate comments during that conversation. It's difficult when they're drunk because I didn't feel like I could actually talk to them - and would they even remember? I suppose God can use the impact, yes, it's just hard to communicate and actually have a conversation with drunk people.

We also did what we call "roses" that night. It's a prostitute ministry in which we go around the North End and West End (the rough patches) and hand out roses to prostitutes with the message that they're loved, valued, beautiful. It's hard to believe that on a regular basis, they get such strong opposing messages to that... Can you imagine never being told "I love you?" I can't. I tried. It was insane going to the North End. We drove around in a van to an industrial part of town. Kim told us that there is no reason for someone to be out there at that time of day except for prostitution. There was a girl here, a girl there... all "normal" looking. If a guy was walking around, he was most likely a pimp. A car driving down that street? Ninety-nine percent of the time it was a very nice looking car (doesn't quite fit in with the neighborhood...) with a middle-aged man looking around. For something. Hmmm, I wonder.

The way it worked is that three of us would get out of the car: one with a rose to approach the girl and see if she wanted to talk and two to stay back a bit and pray. It was all up to the prostitute. If she wanted to be left alone, she was. If she ran, we didn't chase her. If she wanted nothing more than the rose, ok. If she wanted to talk, we were available for as long as she wanted.

This was my favorite and most valuable part of the week. Yeah, most of the prostitutes knew what we were doing and some yelled at us, rejected us. Some simply accepted the rose with a thank you and didn't really seem open to conversation (which is fine - we know what God can do). But I had one of the most life-changing talks of my life. I approached a young girl - I'm going to choose to omit her name just in case - while Jas and Devon prayed for me. I could tell she was new to the trade because she was confused as to why I was giving her a flower and telling her she's beautiful. She isn't from Winnipeg - moved here a couple months ago. From what I could tell, she was my age or younger. My guess would be younger. She has no one. No family in Manitoba. No friends. No one. And when I mentioned places that could help her, she didn't know any of them (even though we were standing only a block away from one of them). And get this. Thirty seconds into our conversation, she tells me that she knows Jesus and whips her Bible out of her purse. Ah! Awesome!

"Even though Christ is in my heart, life is still hard. Really hard."

When I agreed with her, she encouraged me. "Oh but don't give up! Don't give up!" Wait - aren't I the one who's supposed to be encouraging you, lifting you up? I was amazed by her faith, her hope, her wisdom, her strength. Oh my goodness, it was unbelieveable. She let me pray for her. She let me hug her, and as I did, words straight from the Lord flowed out. I just kept telling her how incredibly beautiful I thought she was. And I truly believe that. She was gorgeous. Stunning. Radiant. It didn't matter where we were or what I knew she was doing. The girl was so beautiful.

That experience made me realize that sometimes there's little choice - not only with prostitution, but with any other result of a desparate situation as well. I could have just as easily been in her position. Whose decision was it that I be blessed and her not so much? How did that happen? It's things that are out of my control that led me to not have to even think about making a choice about prostituting myself. It has never even been an option. For some people, it's not that easy. It seems as if there's no other way.

I could just as easily been in her position.

I'm going to just try to move on with this blog. Even revisiting that four days after impacts me so much. Oof.

Friday we went to Siloam Mission, a soup kitchen/shelter/health care center/etc! The funny thing is that it's right next door to UGM, which does things along the same line. It seems that they're in competition, but I'm not really sure... We first helped in the kitchen for them to serve breakfast and then got the grand tour afterward. It blows my mind how much they do. One difficult thing about justice is that it looks to the root of the problem, and I think that's harder and more demanding! Mercy feeds the hungry, but justice asks and demands to know why they are hungry in the first place. Justice calls out a desire to create self-sufficiency instead of dependence. But at Siloam, I saw justice as well as mercy. They feed the hungry and shelter the homeless (in a very nice facility I might add), but they also provide health care (from volunteer professionals), help people get trained in skills and actually get jobs, provide counseling for families to get back on their feet... I mean, WOW.

Things you guys can pray for:

For the prostitute I met. Don't worry, God knows her name and who she is. Just that God would provide a way out for her, that she would have more choice in how to provide for herself. That she would easily find places like UGM and Siloam, places that represent an alternative. That she would take the Lord's words to heart and understand how beautiful and loved she is. That a different life would be made available to her.

For outreach preparations! It's gearing up - and I think it's safe to say that each of us feel unprepared in one way or another. Finances. Emotional and mental states! Reflections, devotions, and other things we have to lead while we're there. Simply being ready to be ruined.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So as I said before, this was Randy Parizeau's week to speak. He has a special place in this base's heart because he was both Jamie and Kim's leader at YWAM Vancouver. He really didn't have a topic at first because he never stays on it anyway, but he came up with the title "Conversations about Jesus." I loved his teaching style - it was all conversation based. It was free and flexible to go wherever. Rock on.

We had started the week talking about who Jesus is - how the world sees Him and how we do. We followed that up on Wednesday with Gospel Road, a movie about Jesus' life from the perspective of Johnny Cash. I liked it at first - I got past how cheesy it was. But I think his way of portraying Jesus is little like how I view Jesus. I saw distance. Jesus was there, with His disciples and such, but he wasn't really there. There was a scene everyone liked where Jesus is playing with a bunch of kids. But I still felt like Jesus was distant! Oof.

And then there was disagreement on the crucifixion. I had a hard time with how clean Jesus was. I have very interest thoughts in that I believe Jesus took on not only our sins, but our illnesses too. The end of Isaiah 52 into Isaiah 53 describes what He took on and I can't help but ignore that He may have taken on cancer, leprosy, anything that ails us.

Isaiah 52:14 , 53:3-5, 10

New Living Translation:
14 But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.
3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
[Footnote for v. 4: Or Yet it was our sicknesses he carried; / it was our diseases.]
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

Amplified version:
14 [For many the Servant of God became an object of horror; many were astonished at Him.] His face and His whole appearance were marred more than any man's, and His form beyond that of the sons of men--but just as many were astonished at Him,
3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

What gets me is, why did He seem hardly human? I think if someone is beaten, even if beyond any other person in all of history, people would still recognize Him as a person, Maybe... there was more to it than flogging, ripping, nailing. Was His body marred also by the illnesses that we endure?

Especially since none of His bones were broken (Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20, Numbers 9:12, John 19:31-37).

And a few times, it speaks of sickness, illness, God made Him sick.

But then I'm thinking... what if it's just a metaphor?

Ok... temporarily moving on...

Get ready for a piece of my heart.

Two posts ago, I mentioned the Myers-Briggs results - INFJ. I've been gaining more insight into myself and getting to know and understand myself better. But when I looked forward and imagined getting to know myself, I thought it would be easier.

INFJ's tend to be very internalized. "[INFJ's] can be hard to get to know, since they tend not to share their innermost thoughts or their powerful emotional reactions except for with those they feel closest to and safest with. They are highly private people, which an unusually rich, complicated inner life. Friends or colleagues who have known them for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that INFJ's are flighty or scattered; they value their integrity a great deal, but they have mysterious, intricately woven personalities which sometimes puzzle even them." GAH! So true but I hate it! And I'm finding that there are so many different factors contributing to it. (a) Whenever someone else is talking, I see it as their time to tell a story or just talk. I tend to only assert myself to elaborate what they're saying in order to show that I'm listening and fully understand. I value being heard, so I try to listen well to other people. (b) sometimes I have a hard time being honest with myself or understanding myself. I'll feel or react a certain way and then ask myself - why did I do that? Where did that come from? And then I feel I have to go away by myself to process it in my head. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, but Kim had a good point in telling me that she wants the raw emotion, not the neatly packaged and prepared version. Do I really need to be able to explain my emotions? What's wrong with saying "I'm angry" or "That makes me upset" without being able to explain why?

Basically? I've made a habit on internalizing - and now I'm going against the grain in what feels natural to me in order to come out of that a little bit. I don't think internalizing is a bad thing. But when it's all you do?

Friday was Kern Cookie Day. For those of you who don't know the Kern traditions, the day after Thanksgiving every year, we all head over to grandma's house to back a BUNCH of Christmas cookies - it gets up around 200 dozen! Cutouts, spritz, apple cinnamon cookies, kiss cookies, root beer cookies... mmm this must be what heaven is like. Since I missed Kern Cookie Day this year, a few of us baked Christmas cookies here!! We called it "Ginkerworth-Ricci Cookie Day." Ha - a lot of names to combine. We made kiss cookies and rolo cookies (mmm so good, I may have to bring that recipe back to Kern Cookie Day next year).

FYI - this week is Mission Adventures week. During the summer when YWAM Winnipeg has youth groups and such come for week-long mission trips, it's called the Mission Adventures program. So this week we'll be staying at a church in the West End and serving around the community. In other words, I won't be able to update this week - tune in next weekend! : )

Things you guys can pray for:

Fatigue! I'm pretty tired and I know I'm not the only one. It's really hard to find the balance between rest and play - I want to spend as much time as I can with everyone, but I also need sleep!!

Outreach. We are beginning to be overwhelmed by the things we have to do when we go to Uganda. They are all very good things, but we are already feeling very stretched even though we haven't gone yet. We may have to lead bible studies and church services. It's difficult because I've been setting myself up for humbly receiving the Ugandan culture. I don't know that I even understand how they worship. It seems a world away and I feel like an ignorant American. Pray that we gain confidence in how we know God and how we can share that with others. That God shows us how He wants to use us and what we're supposed to say!

Mission Adventures week. That we see and understand and are opened to more of the community. That we don't grow tired in it - it's a packed week. That we are ruined by it.

(Apologies if this post was too intense for you)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Missing Thanksgiving...

So I got a personal update since my last post. It's been four years since the Invisible Children movie has been made and conditions are better than what I thought. There are no more night commuters (kids walking to the city during the night in order to avoid abduction by the LRA). There has been a cease fire (AWESOME) for two years. A peace treaty may be signed by the rebel group very soon. Big things are being done - but continue to keep the [current and former] child soldiers in your thoughts and prayers. I'm sure life in the midst of and after abduction is not easy in the least.

I finished up The Irresistable Revolution this week. I feel that if I were to explain what I learned with my words, I would only feel discontent. So just get ready for some life changes. Let's see if I can show you some other way...

One thing YWAM Winnipeg recently started doing (a little before DTS) is community dinners. I LOVE them. Every Sunday, we invite people from the community into our home and feed them, talk with them, get to know tham. Friends. Family. Whoever. It's just a good time to meet with people. It's so simple, but so beneficial to me. (Mom!! Just a heads up - I want to do this!!)

Here are some pictures from this last Sunday:

Jas and me - yay dishes!!

Brennie (one of our staff) with his parents John and Delia.
I love it when they come - they are amazing people.
Plus, Delia will beat Brennie up if he picks on me. It's great.

Friends of friends, who brought friends,
who will probably bring friends next week...

Our speaker this week is Randy Parizeau. He came telling us the rumor he's heard (through the grapevine from Chris Whitler, our speaker two weeks ago) about our love for each other. Oh man, that brought us so much encouragement. We feel like a family, so it's affirming to have other people see it in us too!
Randy isn't a "linear speaker" as he says himself. They typically give him a topic which he deviates from. His speaking is just free to go wherever it wants to and I think that's really cool. We've had a lot of discussions that have little to do with what we originally wanted to talk about, but that are so beneficial to us as a group.
Basically, this week rocks. After it's over, I'll tell you more!
Oh and don't forget!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winterpeg is here!!

Last Saturday, we explored an unexcavated (to us) area of Winnipeg. We headed across the river to Osborne, which is full of little shops and restaurants. It was SUPER expensive, but still cute and fun. I bought a bead for 12 cents. Big spender! I have one hideable dreadlock on my head (depending upon whether or not Mike wants to do the upkeep - dreads are high maintenance!) and now it has a pretty little bead on it : )

Every Sunday, we get to choose which church we go to. This week I went to Elmwood Christian Fellowship with Carolyn and her friend, Mark. It's mostly Caribbean - so cool! I was immediately embraced by the congregation. Countless old ladies came up to hug and kiss me with a "God bless you" at the end. Wow. That's how church should be - open, welcoming, inclusive. I felt like I belonged there. The music was awesome. My favorite part of that had to be Mark's mom wailing next to me. Praise God! Now that brought me joy.

(Mark, Carolyn, and me after church on Sunday - eating peanut soup!)

On Monday, we played... sardines!! It was so fun! For those of you who've never played, it's pretty much hide and seek, but backwards. One person hides and if you find them, you have to hide with them. The last person to find the pile of people is it. Sardines is the perfect name - the time I hid I ended up in the bottom of a closet under pillows and people. Oof!

This week was staff teaching week, so it was pretty relaxed and laid back, which I think is what I needed. Thursday, we did a bunch of team building games, but they were VERY intense and made us realize some things - such as not all of us are heard equally. Really hard stuff to face, but good to understand. One of the games we played involved being together in a dark basement, some people not being able to move or speak (or both!), and one person controlling it all. Intense!

At the end of the week, we did the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator. We filled out a bunch of questions on what we would do in certain situations - our reactions or emotions. The results are expressed in four letters - I'm an INFJ. Introverted - not meaning antisocial or anything, but that I get my energy from being alone. I love being around people, but recharge with alone time. iNtuition - I take in information with my intuition as opposed to only my senses. Feeling - I make decisions through what I value and feel, not necessarily on facts. Judging - I like things to be organized, regulated. I'm sensitive about time. This isn't to put me in a box, make excuses for myself, or make myself predictable. Only to understand myself better.

This week, we also did something called Angels and Mortals. It's kind of like secret santa, but everyday of the week! Woohoo!! My angel was amazing. Monday, they made my bed and gave me a note with a Reese's (mmm my favorite). Tuesday, I got chai tea delivered to me at dinner (we eat at a restaurant every week night - Wednesday, I had to do a treasure hunt! I couldn't find clue 3 for the longest time, but it was still a lot of fun. I know now that my angel's intention for me to have to go up and down and up and down the stairs. Ha. Jerk. Thursday, I got a Jone's Soda and a gift certificate for breakfast with them. And Friday (the revealing day!), Jasmin revealed herself with a CD and card. We always sing Enrique Iglesias' "Hero" to each other - if we can hold a straight face, that is - so Jas wrote a song about Angel week:

Angel, by Jasmin Biddell

"Would you laugh, if I made your bed? Would you smile, if I sent you chai tea?

Would you search, till you found clue three? Would you go out for breakfast with me?

Would you tremble, if I grabbed your lip [referring to my flutter lip]? Would you burp, oh please tell me this?!

Now would you listen to the CD I made... Thanks for being my mortal this week.

I can be your angel baby... I can send you notes all week...

I won't stop just cause it's Friday... you can take my glue any day."

Ha! I hope you laughed as hard as I did.

Each week, we do an outreach prep night. This time around, we watched the Invisible Children video. It's a documentary three American guys put together after going to Uganda to learn about the Lord's Resistance Army (the LRA), a rebel group against the Ugandan government. Since few will fight with them (pssh, I sure wouldn't), they kipnap children and brainwash them into hostile soldiers. They're taught to kill and they're traumatized by violence and grusome killings of their peers.

Every night, some children in Uganda (and Sudan, Congo) leave their homes in order to sleep in the cities - bus stations, hostiles, or anywhere else they can find to hide away from being abducted.

Here's a chunk of the video. The whole thing is on YouTube (highly encourage), but this part is goooood (and devastating).

This has been going on since 1987 - before I was born.

All of us [minus Crystal : ( ]

L to R: Devon, Jasmin, Carolyn, Mike

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh hey! Here's what's goin' on.

Every Monday, we have what's called "mandatory fun night" (reminds me of forced fun from camp!) - the girls and guys break off and just... bond. Our leaders say that we are required to have fun. What a drag. Hang out with all the girls and have fun - ugh it's so difficult! Last week we went to the exchange district to have coffee at the Fyxx and this week we watched Pride & Prejudice and did henna tattoos! I'm falling in love with these girls more each and every Monday. They are fun, caring, geniune, hilarious. The guys "bro out" (none of us really know what that means), but the girls have something really amazing going on as well.

Our speaker last week was our very own Jamie Arpin-Ricci (one of our directors). We talked about Missional Community. Our world is so individualistic - we are expected to support ourselves, be able to do things ourselves, and go through struggles ourselves. But God designed life for community. Real, true community.

I was challenged and stretched last week. I've never been so painfully honest in my life!! It is definitely a hard thing to do - my natural tendency is to excuse away the way I feel and things that bother me. I'm learning. I'm learning.

We also did a "soul audit" last week. It basically embodies the question "If you were the most fulfilled you could possibly be, what would your life look like?" I sat in a room by myself for almost two hours and thought about this question - a lot of things came up like wanting to live in community and to be known and understood by people, a slower life that gives more time to know God and know myself, full self-satisfaction in whatever I end up doing while rejecting the things the world tells me are important. Then I realized that I have big dreams that I don't really allow myself to actually dream. Weird, right? I've been fooling myself with lies that they're too far-fetched or that I'm not cut out for it. These dreams have been floating around in my head like some sort of fantasy, and I've finally begun to actually think in terms of reality. I want to work with large cats. Not in zoos. In Africa. That's where I believe they should be. Vet school? Poaching injustices? Who knows. But this is a big step for me. Big.

And I'm even still learning to accept this as part of God's heart. I feel an obligation to have a heart for something that more evidently betters humanity. Invisible children. Rape victims. People impacted by war. Anything! But my heart is with those cats. Lies that tell me that that's insignificant or invaluable are being broken down.

I'm trying so hard to understand how I'm connected to creation and how my passion for lions and tigers (not so much bears, oh my!) is impactful.

Every week, part of our outreach is leading the kid's program. Every Tuesday and Thursday we entertain some kids that also live in the West End for an hour and a half. Three of us lead it on Tuesday and three of us lead it on Thursday. I'm not particularly passionate about playing around with kids, but I am VERY passionate about building relationships with kids. This week was the first time I felt like we were actually getting to know the kids that come and build their trust. Many of them are Native Canadian and because of that, are not expected to go far in life. It's a nasty cycle - much of the Native community is in the lower class. So education is hard to complete. But I am LOVING hanging out with them. We laugh. We play. It is awesome.

Our topic for this week was Evangelism and our speaker Chris Whitler from YWAM Madesto, California. Chris is SO hilarious. He was actually the director of Jamie's (our director's) DTS. We definitely had a week full of laughter - whether it was Chris doing his T rex impression (SO funny), him laughing for 20 minutes at something little, or us simply enjoying each other.

Before this week, the word evangelism made the think of crazy Christians on the street handing out tracts and trying to win souls. BLEH. Works for some people and God can use that - but somehow, it just doesn't make sense to me. Chris definitely broke that down this week. He's a story teller and told us so many about building relationships with people in Madesto - people who are homeless, alcoholics, etc. No pressure. No force. No manipulation. Just friendship. Now that sounds more like Jesus Christ as I know Him.

We also do book studies and right now we're working on The Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I end each chapter by taking a deep breath and saying "Holy crap..." Shane is part of a community that has made decisions to live simple lives - they hang out with homeless people (I'm actually not sure they have very permanent homes themselves), make their own clothing, grow some of their own food, have communal funds... it's AWESOME. Extreme. Radical. But so awesome.

In the first part of the book, Shane is telling the story of how he came to choose this lifestyle. He started to hang out with the homeless community in his city as he was making his way through college. Aaaaand then he decided he wanted more - so he... called Mother Teresa. Ha. It sounds crazy, but that's what happened. He spent a summer in Calcutta working in the Home for the Destitute and Dying and living in a leper colony. I simply cannot tell you how amazing this story is - read the book for yourself. Chapter three. Wow.

But my point is that this book is SHAKING everything. I want it to ruin me. Mess up my comfort and wreck the way I live. Oof how beautiful. Don't you sometimes wonder when we ask God why there are poor and hungry and oppressed in the world, He asks us the same question? We pray for the war-torn and the lonely - but then... we do nothing. "Don't pray a prayer you're not willing to be the answer to." I'm growing so sick of the isolated church - to the point of being discontent when I sing in worship. Why are we in here? My words are empty if I don't do something, if I remain complacent. I think Isaiah 58 is starting to get pounded into my chest, into my being. I just want things to change so badly!

Things you guys can pray for:

Again, finances! We still have to pay for outreach fees. They're not due until the week before we go on outreach (so - the end of December) and we have seen how amazing it is when God provides. But it needs to come from somewhere and it needs to come eventually.

Community! Pray that we continue to grow in community and closer to each other - even when it's painful! Pray that we're bold in pursuing each other and getting to know each other.

The whole large cat thing. Part of me is so confused, part of me is so excited, and the rest really doesn't know what to do. Pray for God's guidance and my confidence.

Fun fact: Winnipeg is the slurpee capitol of the world! Woah!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Well another couple weeks have gone by...

Last week, our topic was Global Missions with Jack McNeill. He was definitely a lot different than our first speaker, being a professor and all. Ha. But Jack is a lifelong YWAMer and professor in Anthropology - brillant, brillant man. He definitely gave us a lot to think about in going to Uganda. I'd never even been out of the states before coming here, so I feel naive and ignorant when it comes to different cultures. But I'm realizing that that's ok. So I don't know much about Uganda - well, I've never been there. So honestly, how can I expect myself to know what it's like??

Jack broke down a lot of things that we do in the West when we going abroad. It gave me a lot of good things to think about, and definitely avoid - it's crazy how many missionaries go with the wrong heart. I'm praying that when I'm in Uganda, I would understand that the way they do things is systematic and it's good for them. The Lord is already in Uganda - I have little to offer besides my hands and my friendship and to just be Christ to them. I'm sure it will all be reciprocated as well : ). I'll learn from them and receive from them as much as they do from me.

A lot of the week, Jack was over my head though. It was a mentally taxing week and by the end, I was exhausted. I struggled with some of the things he had said, but thank God for community! I was able to chew on things with everyone else here. It had to be simplified and I'm realizing my lack of wisdom - honestly. I don't know nearly as much as I think I know. I'm definitely becoming more humble in this experience. My knowledge is expanding and challenged!! It hurts sometimes!!

Last weekend, we did the Gulu walk downtown. All over the world, people in different cities pledge and walk for civil war-affected youth in Northern Uganda. Certain organizations finance kids in Uganda to go to school again with the money raised in the Gulu walk. It is AMAZING. We walked all over Winnipeg (which was a plus because I haven't seen it all yet!) with about 100 people. Feel free to check out the website...

This week, our topic was Prayer & Worship with Chad Chomlack. Oh. My. Goodness. This week blew my mind!! He's raising questions that are so... profound. We talked about dualism and our split vision - this is good, that is bad; this is right, that is wrong; I am Christian, you are not. But what Christ sees? Redemption. It's not about what is deemed as Christian or what people do, it's about Christ and how He's working even in the circumstances that don't seem directed to Him. It's about redemption - how people are being renewed and restored instead of condemned and judged.

"We feel like we need to go to church and have these BIG spiritual moments. RHAH!!! And that's where God is, we feel. But why is it so disconnected from what I do everyday?"

Prayer and worship are just life. They're just life.

We also talked about hearing God and being led by God - Chad brought up something I've never even thought of before. Listen to what God is saying and doing through who. you. are. God is slowly revealing who I am to me. I don't know myself as well as He does - an I'm actually realizing that I don't know myself well at all!! And I have the freedom to make decisions - go here, do this or that or something completely random! - based on whether something is going to fulfill me or not. I can know myself well enough to either say - YEAH I need to do that!! Or NO no no that's not me at all. Free will really is free!! God isn't going to direct every single step I take --- He's already made me who I am and life is about discovering that and doing things that I know make me FULLY ALIVE!!

One thing he said that really got me was that he doesn't believe it's about a blueprint of how God has designed our lives. It's not about what we do in life, where we serve --- it's about becoming more like His Son.

After this week, I feel so free. I realized that I kept getting bogged down with figuring out where God is leading me and what my calling in life is. When I can just look inside myself and do what I love to do! God finds joy in that!!

Next step: Know self.

Gawsh it's so amazing the things I'm learning and the ways I'm growing already. It's only been three weeks and I've been challenged to think about things I never have before.

Things you guys can pray for:

Finances for my team. We are close to getting our entire team to Uganda - the tickets are VERY expensive and then we have outreach fees to pay for as well. Deadlines are hitting us hard. God has definitely amazed us with provision, but we still have things to pay for.

Unity. My team has grown so close in the last few weeks. I've never seen anything like it - thank God for that and pray that it would continue and we would keep growing to embody an authentic community!

Me. Clearly, I want to get the most out of my DTS - pray that I would fully receive everything God's trying to do. Getting to know myself, stretching myself, doing uncomfortable things, being challenged. That God shows me who I am!!

This is my team - aren't we cute??
(Clockwise from top: Me, Devon, Crystal, Mike, Jasmin, Carolyn)
Be sure to check out our YWAM blog -

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hello, Winnipeg!!

Hi Guys!!

Guess what?? I'm here!! I'll try to update as best I can - a lot has been goin' on.

So I got to Winnipeg on Sunday. I found out right away that I'll fit in well - these people are WEIRD!! When I first walked into the YWAM house, I got asked - "Do you like zombies??" Ha weird.

I told him yes. Yes I do.

I absolutely love the people here. There are only 6 of us, but I love it that way. And they feel so familiar because most of them remind me of people from home!! It's actually kind of bizarre...

My roommate's name is Carolyn. This girl is super interesting. She's from Winnipeg (someone to show me around!) but her mom is American and her step dad is Jamaican. She knows how to do body art and play around with fire - circus style. She's pretty much a mix between Chelsea Kari and Mercedees!! Err. Sorry if you have no idea what I'm talking about!!

Then there's Crystal. She's 28 and is from Ponoka, Alberta. This girl is super cute and funny - she's my joy-giver. : ) She has a huge heart for justice and it's beautiful. I sat in a bowl chair with her for an HOUR yesterday. Heaven. And she reminds me of an older Brittany Nystrom.

Her roommate is Jasmin, the nurse from Australia. You would think you'd find Australians in Canada, but our director is also Australian, so we have two!! She adventureous and is so firm in what she believes. I'll definitely be learning a lot from her!

Mike's the zombie lover and is from London, Ontario. He definitely amuses me - never a dull moment with him!! The other day, he taught my how to make dreadlocks. Oh so random. He also showed me how to play Halo. Oof I am terrible.

The other male student is Devon, the only other American student!! Woohoo!! He's from Cincinnati, OH. He now has dreads. : ) I've found him to be a very patient person - he sat in that chair for 3 hours!!

We have 5 staff --- the directors (a married couple) remind me of Wally and Allison Chan. Is that awkward??

Anywho. My DTS is justice themed, so our topic this week was... (naturally)... justice!! Our speaker was Phil Cunningham, a missionary who started YWAM Seattle and has also been involved in YWAM LA. This guy's weird too - he began lecture by showing us that his boxers matched his shirt. Weird. But that goes to show how intimate lecture is. : ) I feel like I might not be able to tell you guys much about this --- it's still in the processing stages. But I've learned that this is where God's heart is. It's pretty much cliche to say that we need to help the poor, feed the hungry, save the lost... but it's true!! What does the Lord require of you? DO JUSTICE!! A lot of the time, as we live for the Lord, we picture going to church, reading our bibles, and praying. Convicting those who sin. Goody two shoes. Upright. Holy. But who are we kidding, that's not even what Jesus was. We have responsiblity to move. I'm still figuring this... and it will be a long process.

I've been attempting to avoid just feeling emotional about this. You know the commercials on TV with sorrowful faces of children in far off countries who are starving and need your help so pledge now because you may be their only hope?? They draw up emotions. I don't want a passion for justice based on how I feel. Yeah, I guess it's good to feel sorrow for those things - but that can fade. I want a passion rooted in the Lord so deeply that it penetrates into my life and moves. Oh man. So intense. I just basically need to see these things. I'm engulfed, for sure, but need to actually see it!!

Other than that, I've just been getting to know everyone I'm with. It's actually not at all weird living with complete strangers. I feel like they're not even strangers anymore... you get so close so fast and it's amazing.

Yesterday 5 of us went to an anti-poverty rally at the legislative building. It must have been under publicized, because there were around 35 people there. Very small. It was hard for me to get into - they had a justice charter they wanted to see happen, but I just had a hard time figuring out where it was all going. I dunno - I just heard words. I just heard words. It was interesting, but where is this going? I do think they're doing good things, but I just didn't get what my presence there did, not even being a canadian citizen and all. Eh.

And then today I went with Carolyn to kids' church through Living Bible Education. This was amazing. They take buses all over the city every Saturday morning and pick a BUTT LOAD of kids up to bring them back to church. The kids were absolutely nuts but pretty friendly and warm. Many of them don't really know right from wrong because they were never taught anything from their parents. So it was hard to avoid chaos. But once the service started, this guy was leading them in "Praise Jesus!!!" and every single kid was SCREAMING it and it was such an amazing sound. : ) It was so good to see into their broken lives. Some of them live in such crappy situations, and it was incredible to see how these people just want invest in them and change their futures and their cycle.

I met this kid on the bus, Austin. He reminded me of my cousin, Zach, so he made me really happy. He's nine and speaks FRENCH. But he made me feel foolish. This is how our french conversation went --- Him: Do you get good grades in school? Me: I go to Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. HA!! And then he laughed and we stopped cuz the crazy smart kid figured out how BAD I am. Oh man, oh man...

Things you guys can pray for ---

Christmas!! So... no one else is staying in Winnipeg. Everyone else either lives close enough to go home or has someone to stay with. I had decided before I left that I wouldn't come home for Christmas - it would just make things harder leaving again, and it might not be good for me spiritually or emotionally! But now I just don't know --- I have places to stay, but... (a) it would be with missionaries, who are already poor and I don't want to put them out or have them support me for a week (b) I don't want to intrude on any family christmases! This is probably lame of me to think - but ya know, people have traditions and family and stuff. Mrrr. Pray for this!!

My team - we have been real with each other so far, but that this would continue and we would all grow close with each other. Against exclusion (or feelings of such!) or anything along those lines.

How justice fits into my life?????????????????????????????

And now some business items...

So - for those of you who were wondering, no phone for me. Since I'm in Canada, it's REALLY expensive to call or send texts. So emails and facebook are best : )

.... or mail of course!! A few of you have asked for the addy, so here it is!

Carrie Kern
YWAM Urban Ministries - Winnipeg
518 Maryland St. - Box D
Winnipeg, MB R3G 1M5

YWAM Winnipeg also has a blog for my DTS, so feel free to check it out!!

PS - "Eh" actually isn't as common as you'd think. I've only heard it around 15 times. And I'm realizing that it's a useful word!! It can go at the end of any sentence/question in a subtle way. I think I may adopt this word as my own....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gettin' ready to go!

Hey all!! : )

Just a little update: I will be flying out for Winnipeg this Sunday (AH so excited!), the 12th. I am getting SUPER pumped to get there --- I looked on the YWAM Winnipeg website and "met" all of the other students there. There are a total of 6 of us - really small, but amazing - 4 girls and 2 guys.

If you want a little look-see, check out the website:

Thanks for everyone who has surrounded me with support and prayer - never would've been able to do this without you all! I will be updating as much as I can - can't wait to tell you all about it even though I'm not even gone yet! Ha!