I should be packing…

I leave in less than 48 hours. I have a million things that I should be doing right now. Journal homework, shopping for last minute things, making birthday cards for my team, praying, reading the Word, sleeping, packing. The list goes on and on. And, any of you who know me well know exactly what I like to do at a time like this. Sit and watch everyone else freak out, and deal with it all later. So, I’m going to write to you all one last time before the Grand Adventure begins.

For the past 3 months, I’ve been waiting for this time. I’ve been praying for direction, buying hiking gear that only crazy people buy, and working my body to the point of hatred. All for such a time as this. It reminds me of Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven… a time to plant, and a time to harvest.” Well, for the past 3 months I’ve been planting a lot, and next week is time for the harvest. I’ve explained the trip to you as detailed as I know it to be, and I’m sure that God plans to fill in a few of the details once I come back. One thing I know for sure is that I am placing high expectations on God. He’s given me the power to do anything through Him, and I’m going to run with that. The most exciting thing about preparing for this trip is my prayer life, and how much excitement I receive from Him through it. This week we are learning about spiritual warfare, and it’s just raising my awareness of how sneaky the devil is. I’ve come to realize that the saying “ignorance is bliss” is just ignorant in itself, and knowing the devil’s plan of attack before he puts it into action really cripples him. I enjoy that. 🙂

I believe that our trip to PNG is going to be extremely difficult. We are going to learn a lot; about ourselves, about our team, about communicating without words, and about the importance of the Law along with salvation. What’s the point of telling an entire village about Jesus’ sacrifice and love for them, if they are dying rapidly because of an easily avoidable cholera outbreak? These are just a few of the thoughts that have been rushing through my heart in the past 2 weeks. I am so pumped for outreach. I love my team, and I’m so thankful for each one of them. They all have something inside of them that they offer to the team that can’t be matched by another. Different experiences, different outlooks, different skills, different weaknesses, but one common theme: we all have the same God. We may engage differently with Him, and He may speak to us each differently, but He’s the same God. I think that’s a beautiful thing to have in common.

SO. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to ask that you pray for us. We’re going to be going through a lot together, and we’re all going to have our days, so we’ll need a heap of grace and patience. Also, we will most definitely be sleeping on bamboo, and hiking through leech infested mud, so maybe a bit of persistence and determination as well.

Here we are! Back row: Pete (PNG & England), Jordan (Texas), Ben (Australia), Roger (Australia). Front row: Sam (Washington), Lovisa (Sweeden), Peter (Minnesota), Abbie (Iowa), me, (I’ll represent Canada well, promise!) and Claire (Florida).

Oh. And just a last minute thing. After being in Australia for 3 months, I have finally found my place in the local grocery store in the international foods section. Yes dad, I have found the droppies and strope waffles. Praise Jesus for that. 🙂 Love you all!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Reckless

“Reckless faith always has one foot in eternity. It measures people by their actions and not their belongings. A reckless faith believes when there is no evidence and hurls itself at what is unseen but promised. A reckless faith isn’t “refined” in the least. It does not make sense to the world, and yet, the world often seems fascinated by it.”                                                              Reckless Faith, Beth Guckenberger

I’m reading this book, Reckless Faith, because I have to do a book report on a missionary of my choice. I was in a huge rush to find one, yet I was so unmotivated that I actually put no effort into looking at all. Claire, a beautiful friend of mine, walks up to me and asks if I still need a book to read, and passes this one to me. And it’s beautiful. That quote, that’s how I want my life to look. I don’t want it to make sense, I will do without all the comforts. I will endure the hardships so I can grow and learn from them, I want to be reckless.

This week our lecture topic was, surprise surprise, missions! As dull as the thought of it all is, it actually turned out to be an amazing week. Buddy, the speaker, pumped us full of statistics and terrifying facts about the world and how Christianity fits into it all. Depending on the day, I would either leave the classroom feeling equipped and ready to go, or deflated and a bit confused about my part in it all. In the end of the week though we found a way to tie it all together and make some decisions about our futures. Friday morning we cleared the floor and made a giant map of the world on the floor with masking tape. The main idea was to intercede for each nation in the 8 spheres of society (Education, the church, economics, science & technology, etc.) We had covered these topic throughout the week and pinpointed what parts of God are revealed through each sphere. So we spent the next 3 hours praying into these areas, and God was really speaking to many people about different things. I was going through a lot during this time just listening and figuring out what God is preparing me for, and I got the same old answer. WAIT. “You’re on the right track, just trust me on this one”, that’s all He says. So, I wait.

It hit me this morning that this time next week, I’ll be enjoying my first full day in Papua New Guinea! How insane is that? I fly out at 5.15, Friday morning, and the adventure continues in a new country! I’m not sure how much I’ve told you about the trip, so I’ll give a brief overview. So, we land Friday afternoon in Pt.Moresby, PNG. For the first few day’s we are spending time in the city there, celebrating Anzac Day with the locals and tourists. Anzac day is a celebration that Australia and PNG share, going back to WW2 when the Japanese tried to invade Australia through PNG, so that sounds like it’ll be an amazing experience! So Wednesday, the 27th, we begin the hike! All together we will be hiking an estimated 60-70km, over the entire 6 weeks, but the first stretch is going to be the most difficult. We have to carry 5kg of rice and 2kg of tuna each because we won’t hit the first village until a few days into the hike, as well as our daily supply of water, which for me is 4L. So we’ll be hiking for 8 hours a day until we get to the villages. When we arrive, we have to really just wait on God to let us know our plan for the day. The plan is to stay at each village for 2 or 3 days, then hike to the next one! Depending how far apart they are spaced, it could be between 3 and 5 hour hikes. SO, a lot of hiking! And rumour has it, all the mud from the entire world has been dumped in PNG, so it’ll be 6 weeks of being dirty. Showers consist of rain, or a remotely clean stream of water, which we are praying desperately for. This outreach is by far going to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and I would DEEPLY appreciate your prayers. Specifically, that we have healthy water to drink, and that we have food when we get to the villages. (My leaders expect us each to lose between 5-12kg, (10-25lbs), so I might look a bit different when I get back!)

I know the outreach sounds barbaric, and a bit crazy, but I honestly believe this is what God needs from me at this point. I have just been receiving confirmations all over the place, and God has just been speaking so much to me about this trip. The main thing He’s telling me is that He’s already there. I’m not bringing Him there, He already lives with them. My job is solely to point Him out, which might be a bit more difficult than I expect it to be. No matter what, I’m doing what He needs me to do, whether it’s easy or not. Again, please pray. For the team, that we remain as one, and for my mind, that I remain positive.

Can you believe that in 61 days I’ll be back with you? Then I can tell you my stories face to face, and you can pour your hearts out to me as well! My heart is smiling just thinking about that!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Here I am!

G’day fellow bloggers! It’s been quite a while since I’ve graced you with my presence, so here I am! First outreach is officially over as of yesterday, sadly. But I have many stories of God’s abundant glory and power to share with you, so hold on, it’s going to be an exciting story time! 🙂

So for the first 2 weeks my team and I were staying at the Cairns Baptist church, obviously in Cairns. God couldn’t have blessed us with a better location to stay, honestly! We were a mere 5 minute walk from the Esplanade, where there was a beautiful fresh (at times) water pool, and the city was buzzing with action! While we were in the city, we did a few free BBQ’s and did a lot of evangelism with the backpackers that were staying for a few days. Cairns is a huge tourist spot, so definitely had that on our side when it came to reaching a wide range of people. I had a conversation with a girl from Germany who was passing through the city. I invited her for some free food, but she turned me down. Instead, we ended up having a 45 minute conversation about God and who He is. She was intrigued that I had “Shine” tattooed on me instead of a cross, and at the end she blew me away. She respectfully disagreed with a few of the things I said, and I respectfully accepted that, but she said something more that caught me. She told me it was refreshing to see someone my age with such passion about their faith, and she could tell it wasn’t about religion to me, but a relationship with God. When I walked away from her, I just fell more in love with God. The sheer fact that I can talk about my love for Him and change someone else’s opinion even a fraction just fulfils me! In Cairns we also got the opportunity to do a heap of Religious Education programs in the state schools. Here in Australia there is freedom of religion to an extent, and so Christians can volunteer to come into the classes for a half hour each week and teach a Bible story to the class. I thought that was amazing, it just opens so many doors for these children. So usually the only people available to teach are grandparents, and sometimes the lesson’s get a bit dry. So we got the chance to go in and teach. It was awesome because the kids seemed to be so refreshed that we were in there, seeing as we are under 50 years old. God definitely was in those rooms, and it was sweet being able to point Him out in all of His children. We left Cairns on Monday morning, April 4th. We had an amazing time with God, and we even got to climb an intense mountain a few times. The Walsh Pyramid is 922 metres high, and about a 3km hike up. We went up as a team in 2 hours, and I speak for myself when I say God carried me halfway. For fun we got to go to Mossman’s Gorge, a beautiful fresh water stream. It was freezing cold water, and reminded me of home, so I was a happy girl.

We arrived in Atherton, Tablelands on Monday afternoon. The place we stayed at was a piece of home to me, it was beautiful. We were out in the country, surrounded by rolling hills, swaying green grass, and grazing cattle. My heart felt complete, and I wasn’t too keen on leaving. I had a few 6am walks with Jesus, and they were so beautiful. I loved being able to get out in the middle of nowhere and sort my thoughts out. This week in Atherton was my favourite week. We went for a prayer walk on Monday when we arrived because we had no programs lined up, we had nothing. Ben, a leader of the team, had barely finished praying for open doors when out of the blue his cellphone rang, and the chappy of the local state schools had lined up an entire week’s worth of programs for us! God is so good! Anyway’s, my favourite day comes around. Wednesday morning we headed off to a Christian school in town, Jubilee. We were split into groups the night before to prepare, and we really had no idea what we’d be doing. I was grouped with Roger and Pete, and we were planning for a middle aged group, so around 7-12 years. When we got into the class, we pretty much threw out our plans and winged it, which turned out to be amazing! We ended up talking overtime for an hour, but it was great, by the end we had 3 extra teachers in the room listening to us and asking us crazy awesome questions. You could tell there was a hunger for more than what they were getting fed spiritually, and it was so refreshing to see them seeking God more. Right before we headed out the door, about 6 little girls ran up to me and handed me little papers of drawings and letters for the 3 of us. One of the girls even donated $10 to us to give to the kids in PNG. That school sat in my heart, it was my favourite day of outreach! The rest of the week we did more R.E programs and went to a few youth groups. We hung out at the State high school and did 2 brekky programs, then we got to go in their classes with them and talk about God and YWAM, it was sweet as. It was awesome just seeing God open doors that we didn’t even know exist, and there was so much excitement in doing things as He wanted them done. 🙂

When we got back to the base I was super overwhelmed by the amount of people rushing towards me. I actually went into this really weird state where I just needed to run away! I was tempted, but I went back to God and told Him where I was at, and He blessed me with a wonderful friend and a wonderful night time talk.

DTS has been amazing. I have learned so much about God and myself, and it has definitely been an experience of a lifetime. And before you ask, no, I have no clear direction about where to go after this. But I do have faith that God will bring me where He needs me, and laying it down and surrendering my future to Him is the best place to be at. We leave next week Friday for Papua New Guinea, so the next 2 weeks include daily lunges, squats and calf raises, as well as a trip up Castle Hill with 14kg’s in our backpacks. Please, please pray.

Thanks so much for reading! Don’t forget to leave a message, I miss you all! Have a wonderful day! Two months and 4 days until I’m back in the good homeland! 🙂

With Strength that is not my own, Sam