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!