Outreach

Hey everyone! We got our outreach options last week, and I just realized I haven’t informed you what they are! We handed in our top three this morning, but I’ll tell you all four anyway, just so you know what the other teams are doing!

1)- Cairns & Taber lands–  3 week outreach in Australia, then to PNG for 6 weeks. PNG is Paupa New Guinea
The first 3 weeks will be in Cairns and Taber lands. We’ll most likely be doing general evangelism, some children’s/youth programs, and some general labour. Then we come back for 2 weeks of lectures, then leave for PNG. So for that outreach, we’ll be backpacking to remote villages in PNG and ministering to them.

2)- Charter Towers Region/Ayr– 3 week outreach in Australia, then to Darwin and East Timor for 6 weeks
General evangelism, children/youth programs and labour in Charter Towers Region and Ayr. Then we go to Darwin for evangelism as a stopover to East Timor. Here we will be doing a lot of rebuilding because this country has been very depressed recently.It used to be a part of Indonesia, but it wanted to separate itself, and was battered by Indonesia after that, so it needs some rebuilding.

3)- Mt.Isa -3 week outreach in Australia, then to PNG on the Medical Ship (which is super cool) for 6 weeks
Also super cool. Mt.Isa is about 10 hours away from Townsville, where I am right now, and here we will be doing the same as the others, general evangelism, labour and children/youth programs. THEN we go to PNG on YWAM’s medical ship!! The medical ship travels for 3 days overseas to PNG and puts its anchor down, opens up ship and runs a full Medical clinic for random villages there. Free eye surgery, glasses clinic, dental clinic and primary health care tips are the main work. Evangelism is paired up with this also. We’d be on the ship for the full 6 weeks.

4)- Gladstone/Emerald- 3 week oureach in Australia, then down the coast of Australia for 6 weeks.
The Gladstone/Emerald region is about 2-3 hours away from here. Again this 3 week outreach will be focusing on general evangelism, labour, and children’s/youth programs. Then for our main outreach, we travel the coast in Australia! In Australia, governments have opened the doors for churches and other Christian organisations to enter into high schools and evangelise. This outreach would be up and down the east coast, and we’d go and do day long seminar’s in each high school we visited, doing testimonies and just random evangelism.

So! I hope that’s clear enough! Like I said, I handed in my top 3 choices this morning, and we *hopefully* should know what team’s we are on by the end of this week, so I will keep you posted! In the mean time, we are going through lectures with Ken Mulligan, the base director here. He and his wife, Robin, started the base here in 1992, and have seen many youth come and go throughout the years. Ken is speaking about Clear Conscience  and Repentance. He is talking a lot about trust and covenants, and how to receive trust we need to give trust. We went through all the aspects of trust, I’ve never realized how much goes on subconsciously to initiate trust with someone else!

We are also learning how feeling convicted is not always a bad thing! I don’t know about you, but when I think about the word conviction, I shudder. All the bad things I’ve ever done start rushing through my mind, whether I’ve been forgiven already or not. But the definition of conviction is surprising! Number 1 definition-a fixed or firm belief! So when I am convicted, it is because I believe something to be right or wrong. And we can be convicted for doing good things! See mom, I’m already learning! 🙂

The best part about life here is by far the worship. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning we all gather together and have base worship. Right now the October DTS is here between their outreach, and so there is probably 150 people in the auditorium giving their all to Christ. It is LOUD and it is CRAZY, and I LOVE it. Today I had a girl come up to me and tell me about a picture she had for me from God. She said she saw a misted mirror, like the way your bathroom mirror looks like after you take a super hot shower. Anyway, she said that’s the way I see myself. I know I’m back there, but I don’t see myself clearly. But then, out of nowhere, God came and He smashed the fog away. Soon will come the day when I can see myself clearly, how relieving!

Anyway’s, I think that’s enough preaching for today! Thanks for making it to the end! You deserve an extra hug for that feat! Come find me on June 15 and ambush me please! 🙂

Oh, and a special shout out to my family. I miss you all so much!!!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

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Today

Today might be a very hard day. Today I have to face the truth, I have to dance to the music of my own heart. Today I need to stand infront of 80 people and tell them who I am. The truths of my heart. The truths that God has spoken to me, the ones I have ignored. Today I am going to be free of a lot of garbage that holds me back. I serve a God that is worthy. He is committed to me, and His love never sways. I will stand, with my arms high and my heart abandoned, in AWE of the one who gave it all.

I think my biggest fear of standing before my Father is that He won’t fight for me. I’m afraid of the power He has over me, the power I haven’t recognized before. I fear standing and waiting before Him, and being left alone. I know these things won’t happen, because everything I have been taught, and every piece of scripture says a total opposite, but it’s head knowledge. Today I am going to bridge the gap between my head and my heart. I am going to stand in front of Him until I hear Him screaming at me. So these are my truths.

I am worthy of love.

I am beautiful.

I am not ALONE.

I will not be overlooked anymore.

I can be loved, no matter how difficult I am.

There are more. There are SO many more. But this is just a glimpse for you into my day today. The alter of these statements, I am ugly, I am alone, I am overlooked, etc. have been spoken to my heart of hearts for too long. So today I am claiming the truth that God holds for me and my heart. I’ve been putting it off all week, but I don’t want to miss this chance to let go of the person I am NOT, and fully become the person I truly am.

So your prayers would help HUGE. I don’t know what time this will happen, we’re starting at 9.00, and I’m going to let God tell me when it’s my time. Thank you for your hearts.

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

There is beauty

So this post is a bit personal. So if you can’t handle my raw-ness, stop reading now 🙂

Alright, so I asked my friend Emma this question last week, and I’d like to ask you the same thing. How many times in your life have you been able to look in the mirror, and see raw beauty? I’m not speaking of beauty caused by a good hair or make up artist, but like the real stuff. The person God made you to be? Emma and I both have said it doesn’t happen often. So, I sleep in a bunk bed, and on the slat above my head is a scripture and 3 words “you are beautiful”. Song of Songs 8:6-8. Go look it up. It’s good stuff. Anyway, so that was “Beauty reminder #1″.

Next, I crack open my Bible, and literally every verse I read talks about beauty. “Beauty reminder #2. I put my I-pod on random shuffle, and every song talks about beauty. “Beauty reminder #3” The artists Tenth Avenue North write “You’re beautiful, you’re more than all this world can give”. So it talks about God’s beauty, and how we are made in His image, and therefore, we are beautiful also. Then today we started our lecture topic of “Identity and Destiny”, two small words with huge, HUGE, meanings. Our speaker, Joanne Blaik, wanted us to understand that in order to tell people about who we are in Christ, which is a new creation, we need to know who we really are. So, yes, she spoke about our beauty. “Beauty Reminder #4

We went over the qualities that make a perfect man and woman, and believe me, I have never felt so inappropriately equipped in my entire life. Blonde, skinny, tanned, tall-but not too tall, modest but sexy, good cook, smart-but not too smart, rich-oh but not richer than a man! Like, if these are the qualifications, I quit! Actually I wouldn’t have to quit, because I would never qualify in the first place! Joanne drilled into us that we are perfect the way we are, and started talking about artists, and how they always see beauty in different things. I loved the way she described this. So she wanted to show us her favourite artist, she said the art work was the best she’s ever seen, but she mentioned that the caption at the bottom just totally put the whole thing into perspective. So this painting was in a separate classroom, and we each had to go in one at a time to see it. We were guided in and had to have our eyes closed, and once they said so, we opened them.

A mirror. A big fat mirror. And all that was in the mirror was me. I am the painting. I am the creation, and the caption? “For you are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made”. It broke me. How can I be beautiful, when my entire life I’ve been told, and have told myself, that I am not? This is an entire lifetime of observations here, how can they all be lies?

I went back to the auditorium, and I was awestruck. This is what God thinks of me. He loves me, He is jealous for me, and His heart skips a beat every time I think of Him. I don’t need to look like Barbie, I don’t need to act like Mother Teresa, and I definitely don’t need to make as much money as Oprah Winfrey, and He still loves me. ME. And how dare Satan tell me something different.

The sneaky thing about Satan is that he tells you small lies. Slowly. But eventually, those lies seep into your heart and your mind, and you don’t value yourself. You never reach your full potential because you tell yourself you can’t. And what a way for him to keep God’s children, His beloved, from doing the work God needs them to?! My heart is being ripped and stretched and healed back together in ways I didn’t even know were possible, or in ways I didn’t even know they needed to be. I hate Satan.

So yes. There is beauty. It’s in me, and it’s in you. Yeah, we have our days. We don’t feel like it, but that’s ok, because even though we change, God never does. And He will always think we are beautiful beyond belief, on a good day or not.

Blessings to each of you, wherever you are.

Love you!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Could it be any better?

Life here is indescribable, I actually had to sit and think of what word to use to describe it for you, and that’s all that came to mind. Being here is like nothing I could have ever imagined. To say that I am happy would be an understatement. No, I don’t have the comforts of home, I don’t get to see my family and dear friends whenever I wish, but God is here, and that is something familiar. After only a few days I feel at home, I feel like this is a place where I belong for however long God needs me to be here. Sometimes those thoughts scare the life out of me, but I know that God has a plan.

So, we’ve been assigned work duties for our stay here, and I am placed on lunch clean up, and it is HOT. But we have a great team, we are Team Awesome, and we definitely hold up to that name. We also have been assigned teams and tasks for Saturday’s Youth Street events. Youth Street is a program run on this specific YWAM base and it’s for the youth of the city here. From 2 until 10 pm, we go non-stop. I am working on the “No Name Skate” with another student, Jordan, and yes, skate means skateboards. For those of you who have seen me ice skating, you know how badly this could end! We were asked to write down our top picks for teams, some options would have been Dance team, Hip-hop team, Chick team, Sports team, things like that. There is also Bible Lessons to be taught, child sign in, etc. There is so much to do to keep this running! Anyway’s, I did not choose No Name Skate, but that’s what I was assigned, and I’m sure God has His hand in this, so I’m excited to see what happens. This week we are going to the Strand, which is the local beach, other things we could do is ice skating (yes, indoors!), the water park, anything really, I guess that’s why it’s called no name, because we can do whatever we want 🙂

I laughed with a friend this morning at the revelation that we wake up every morning at 5. At home it was a chore to wake up at 6.30 for work, and here I am, everyday, waking up at 5 to read my Bible. I laugh pretty hard when I think about this, it makes me excited to see what is going to come from all of this. Today we are officially starting lectures, so that is pretty exciting. Yesterday we introduced ourselves (again) and told why we are here, and what it took to get us here. It has definitely helped to put a heart behind a face for me, to learn all about the people I am in community with. And that’s what YWAM is, a family community. We are valued as individuals, but seen as a big family. So yes, I have left a family I love dearly back home, but I also have gained a family here.

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Be strong in God. Let Him into your weaknesses today, and let Him show you His power.

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Faithful

“Praise the Lord all you nations. Praise Him all you people of the earth. For He loves us with unfailing love; the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever. Praise the Lord” -Psalm 117

This is the theme pretty much for this week. Today was the first day of school, just an introduction to YWAM and what it’s all about, and our school leader, Naomi, talked about Psalm 117 and God’s faithfulness. In our DTS there are 14 nations represented. In my flat (apartment) we have 10 girls, from Canada, US, Norway, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand! We broke up into pairs after a bit of singing, and we just prayed with and for each other. It just struck me how crazy it is that there were about 50 people in this room, all talking to the same God, and He understands every conversation, it was pretty neat.

We went on a hike yesterday morning up the local hill, can you guess its name? Castle Hill. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! 🙂 I only made it halfway up, it is quite a hike, and the weather here is so hot that you need to drink a litre of water halfway up the hill to maintain proper hydration, it’s crazy. But it was beautiful none the less, I’ll take my camera up next time and take a picture of it for you guys! Here is a random bit of information for you. I wanted to purchase some grapes, and most of you know how frugal I am, right? Well, let me tell you, I will not be buying any grapes while here in Australia. To buy a kilo of grapes it costs you $9.89! I think that’s incredibly steep!

The next few days we’ll be focusing on God’s faithfulness, and how He has provided for each of us individually to help us get out here. I’m excited to hear everyone’s stories of provision! We wrote a letter to ourselves today in class, it talks about God’s faithfulness, how He created us each unique, so we need to be ourselves, and about giving God our all. A lot of that last part just questioned what our “all” is, and what type of sacrifice it would take to give everything to Him. We’ll get these letters back the week after we come back from camping, which will be March 4.

For anyone wondering what my address is out here, this is it!

Samantha A
C/O Reef to Outback,
Po Box 6221,
Queensland 4810
Australia

Have a good one everyone! Love you!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Let the games begin

Let me tell you something. If you are ever in a situation where you need to fly to Australia, make sure you have the following: sleeping pills, a water bottle, ear plugs, and most importantly of all, sleeping pills. (yes, I know I said that one twice)

After leaving my house at 10:30 Thursday morning, I’ve made it to Australia. Stepping off the last plane was the largest relief of my life. I had my bags forwarded on to Sydney from Toronto, but I needed to check them again in Sydney to send them off to Townsville. Hey dad, remember how I didn’t want 2 bags? I should have followed my instinct. My bag with all my cosmetics and adaptors and important things wasn’t carried forward from San Francisco, so that delayed me in Sydney, and I had to RACE around the airport trying to fill out reports and find my other bag, and THEN almost miss my next flight by 5 minutes, thank Jesus that I made it.

Townsville is a beautiful place. There’s palm trees, tropical flowers, LOADS of sunshine and beaches that go on for forever! There’s a waterpark close to where I stay, and we have to swim inside the nets in the sea because it is currently “stinger season”, and those are not so nice. I’m excited to explore life here for a while.

I wrote something in my journal on my first flight yesterday and realized how sad I was to leave home. I commented on how most people worry about packing clothes, and electronics, cosmetics and entertainment, and all I wanted to bring was my family. To be in 2 places at once would be the biggest blessing God could give me, but I also know this experience is something not everyone gets, and God has me here for reasons I don’t yet understand.

I hope God showers you with His blessing this week, whichever time zone you’re in. May you know His peace, and pass it along to others, as we all know He doesn’t give anything to us to keep to ourselves. Shine the light out.

Love you all so much,

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

This is it

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

You could take this verse two ways in my perspective. One is very extreme, as it asks you to drop everything. Some even hear the word run in this passage. Leave it all behind, start fresh, begin again. Wash yourself of everything that makes you feel unclean, let His love rush over you and be a new person. The other is also extreme, but in a more docile way. Take a deep look at your life. Figure out your strengths, and yes, your weaknesses too. And when you can see where you are weak, you ask for Him to be strong.

Either way, when you take these words from Hebrews and apply them to your life, you are doing big things. God has given each one of us a race that is specific to us. He needs each one of us, as individuals, to take our cross, and do what He needs us to do. For some, that means leaving. It might mean doing something you never imagined, never thought possible. For others it may mean staying put, which could also be equally difficult. Stay. Remain where you are and do something new. Make sure you’re on the right path that He has for you. How do you find that out? Find HIM out.

So my path for tomorrow is to leave. I never realized how difficult that could be. Even now it still doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem like tomorrow, my family will say goodbye. That I will be on all of those planes by myself. That I am going somewhere where I don’t know anyone, and they don’t know me. This morning I said goodbye to my nephew, and I hated it. He can’t even say goodbye back, won’t even notice I’m gone (thankfully), and I still hate it. It hurts, and I never thought it would. I imagined myself jumping on that plane without a care, consoling everyone else, saying “Don’t worry, it’s only 5 months! You won’t even miss me!”. Yeah right.

So tomorrow I fly out of Toronto at 2:20pm. I fly to New York, then on to San Francisco, on to Sydney, then another to Townsville, which is where I’m staying. It’ll be a brutal 30 hours of travelling, to say the least. Thankfully I feel better knowing that there are others who have already made the trip, and more yet who are arriving the day I will be also.  Today and tomorrow, I have the job of saying goodbye. To family, friends, my home, my life here. So please pray that I don’t go through all 5 packages of Kleenex on the plane.

The next time I write, I’ll be there! I guess that’s kind of exciting, eh? ( Had to throw that in there, I still am Canadian)

With Strength that is not my own, Sam