All posts by Miriam

Bosnia & Herzegovina – What is Jesus doing?

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach | No Comments

The only way to do anything significant would be to ask what Jesus is already up to here. Because Jesus has been here for a long time already! He’s in all the places that we are not, and we don’t need to be present for Him to do anything! What a waste of time it would be to do something that He isn’t involved in. As we looked, we found Him playing games with children, sitting drinking tea by the river with the thirsty beggars on the street, and with some unexpected people coming to English classes or cultural evenings.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the people in Bosnia & Herzegovina have gone through a lot over the recent years. So, what do they need most? We were praying one day, and God showed me something
Some of the people in the city are hiding away. Through that they feel safety, but in the end, it means that all the pain stays locked inside. Some are reaching out their hands, realising there must be another way. We can invite them into true safety. God is our fortress, our hiding place. God said through Psalm 91:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in who I trust.”

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been to children’s home a few times – spending time, playing games, and making crafts with them, and generally trying to give them a fun time. They’re all completely chaotic, but all so wonderful. One morning, we were asking God what we could make with them, and we felt He was saying ‘boats.’ It’s recorded in Luke 8 that the disciples and Jesus were in a boat, in a big storm. The disciples were scared, and woke Jesus up who was sleeping. I can hardly imagine the reality of what happened – He spoke to the waves and the wind, and told them to stop, and they did. I don’t understand the extent of the storms that a huge majority of these children have gone through, but we found out that morning that Jesus is in the boat with them; they can call on Him and He’ll always be with them. He’s safety and security in an uncertain world.

God captured our hearts for Bosnia & Herzegovina. He spoke to us, and showed us our part in the big story of a place He’s always been.”

Love,
Anne, Becky, Christian, Daniel, Elsa, Janina, Kajsa, Robyn, Suzan.

Kalispera Athina! (Hello Athens!)

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | 2 Comments

We are in Athens! And though Cyprus and Greece speak the same language, the two countries are very different from each other. The economic crisis is much more evident here than it was in Cyprus; the streets are packed with people who have lost their jobs and homes and have nowhere else to go. 80% of immigration into Europe comes through Greece, so in addition to all the Greek people without jobs, there are loads of other immigrants joining them in their desperation. The church we’re staying in is right in the center of the red-light district; we’re surrounded by drugs, graffiti, and prostitution. Despite all these things, God is really showing us the beauty of Athens and helping us to love the city as much as He does.

We teach English and German to refugees. Most of the people who come to our lessons are from Afghanistan and Iran. We teach all ages and levels, from the most basic, to more advance conversationalists.

Three times a week we serve food to Greek, Iranian, and Afghani people. This takes place in the same building where we’re staying. Between 70-150 people come for food and fellowship. Before serving the food, there is some time for us to present a drama or give a talk. During eating, the aim for us is to build relationships. It can be challenging because of language barriers, but we try.

In addition to these things, we also get to be a part of some other fun things in the city. Here’s a cool story Miguel had from one of our days out:

One  afternoon we met up with another YWAM team that’s also here on outreach to worship together in a popular square called Plaka. It was really great; both teams were working together as if they had known each other for a long time. People around came closer to find out what we were doing. After a little while some of us got up and started to speak with the people around us. Dortje and I spotted a guy we wanted to talk to, but he got up from where he was sitting and left before we could even speak to him. We were disappointed that we had missed him, but that disappointment was short-lived because we spotted the man again sitting near to our group who was worshipping. We approached him and had a good conversation. He was feeling anxious and upset about something that had happened to him earlier that day. It seemed that he really needed someone to speak to, and we were there at the perfect time. He told us that he had wanted to go into the church that is at the square, but it was shut. So, he considered taking the tram home, but felt to sit down, drink his coke, have a smoke and then go home. That’s when we approached him. We mainly just listened to him. He was going through a bit of a rough time in his life, and all we really could do was to listen. At the end, we prayered for him and gave him some scriptures. He was really encouraged. He kept telling us for minutes how encouraged he was, how different he know felt after talking to us and that we should keep doing what we’re doing. Sometimes all that people need is someone who is willing to really listen to them.

It’s so rewarding to see how God touches the lives of the people we meet!

We have many more stories and we can’t wait to share them with you when we return home. Until then, keep praying for us and our last three weeks in Greece!

Love,

Alex, Dortje, Edel, Jake, Janik, Josien, Kevin, Lisanne, Miguel, Samantha & Susie.

Outreach in Macedonia!

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | One Comment

Our team made it to the first outreach location of our 2 month outreach phase: Macedonia!

We had some travel adventures; Our Megabus broke down in the middle of the M1 in London on the way to the airport which caused us to grab our bags, jump the fence and hike to the nearest Underground.  We nearly missed our flight but thankfully we all made it to Macedonia on May 3rd.

In Macedonia things like the culture, the food, the people, the weather, the atmosphere, etc. are very different than we’re used to; but in very cool ways!  Our contact here has definitely been a big help in getting us plugged into the culture and community and we’ve been able to meet a lot of locals.

One of the words that was given for our team before we left was that we were meant to “be” a lot more than we were meant to “do”,  and we’ve noticed how spot on that has been from the beginning.  We spend a lot of time getting to know people and talking about life together. Through these friendships we are able to inspire people to ask questions, seek further and help them open up their hearts and minds to God. Because God loves them more than they could ever imagine!

Sports ministry in particular has been a great opportunity for us to get better involved with the community here.  We have spent a lot of afternoons at the park,  taking a basketball and football and starting up a game with local youth, the students,  and even the older generations of the community.  It’s also been really cool to be able to spend time with people here that don’t even speak English and we’ve made a lot of new friends that we’ve been able to re-connect and have coffee and conversations with.

 

One of our favorite stories  from the past month is about our time spent with a people group here called the Roma gypsies.  They live in a very run-down part of the city,  and most of them are beggars during the day throughout the streets.  The first time we visited them we brought strawberries to share and a football to play games with them.  We had a great time playing with all the kids,  about 30-40 of them all together. We felt like God wanted us to bring them clothes,  nail polish  and some bread. We spent a long time just hanging out with them;  painting nails,  playing games,  singing songs about Jesus and His love,  giving gifts and sharing bread with them. It was a great experience!

It’s crazy to think that our time in Macedonia is already coming to a close. Outreach here this far has been great,  and we have had the most incredible opportunities to be a part of what God is doing here.  We’ve seen some cool things happen,  seen God moving in others and have experienced His love for them at the same time,  and that is such a great privilege to have over our short time here.  We are so grateful,  and so in awe; God is good!

Love,
Anne, Becky, Christian, Daniel, Elsa, Janina, Kajsa, Robyn, Suzan.

DTS outreach in Cyprus!

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | 3 Comments

The first thing you notice in Cyprus is the glorious sunshine and sweltering heat. It’s absolutely fantastic . The island itself is gorgeous with mountains, bright flowers, and beaches all around. Not a bad place to spread the love of Jesus! Time is a relative concept here. When someone tells you they’ll see you at 10:00, 10:45 is perfectly acceptable. People are much more relaxed about things. Relationships are the important thing, not schedules or tasks.

Before we arrived in Cyprus, we knew the country was divided into a “Greek side” and a “Turkish side,” but I don’t think any of us realized that there was an actual, passport controlled border; and that by crossing that border, it feels you’re stepping into a completely different country. It definitely adds an interesting dynamic to the country and to our outreach!

We do things like spending time with God, listen to & give devotionals, we worship and we intercede; During those hours we ask God what to pray for and what to share, and then we pray those things for Cyprus. We also go into the town and talk to people about life and God.  On Sunday we split the team up to go to different churches (of varying nationalities) and we preach, share testimonies, lead worship, perform dramas, and share in community. We have also been working with the youth. One youth group is at the International church on Sunday mornings; the other is a Monday night young adult group. We also meet several times per week with some Sri Lankan university students who go to school on the Turkish side of Cyprus. We go over there a few times a week to hang out with them and help them practice their English. We’ve had some really encouraging experiences with them!

Our main contact here in Cyprus is a wonderful man called George. George is a church planter and the pastor of the Sri Lankan church we’ve been working with. He used to be involved with YWAM here in Cyprus. Because of his many different contacts, we’ve been able to be involved in many different activities here in Cyprus. It has been a real challenge for us to step out of our comfort zones, but also a huge blessing!  Besides the Sri Lankan church we are also involved in a Filipino church, a Bulgarian church, a small, Sri Lankan village church and an international church.

We also worked with Anastasia, a 23 year old woman with a huge heart for God. With her family, she founded the country’s only Christian radio station, which has recently been recognized by the government and approved to reach the whole of Cyprus. We visited the station and as a team, we helped clean the station, we recorded a song that we had written as a team and we also did a radio interview. It’s really exciting to think that all of Cyprus will be hearing the song God’s given us, and the story behind it. That’s what you call an outreach!

It seems like we just stumble into situations that God has planned for us. We’re really able to see how badly God wants to reach His people. So for now we’ve selected one of the many stories to share with you all.

It was 2:30pm. Miguel and I (Josien) wanted to encourage shopkeepers with prayer for their businesses. We found out that not all Cypriots speak English but the ones that did were really open to talk and we were able to pray for a few business, which was very exciting. We came to a leather shop and the guy working there was about our age. When we asked to pray for him, he said, ‘”Well, I’m an atheist, but please tell me everything about your faith.” Then he gave us chairs to sit on to make the conversation comfortable. He had loads of questions and interesting thoughts for us. He was really searching for God and for truth. After talking with him for about an hour, he allowed us to pray for him. He was really impressed. “Wow!” he shouted, “You guys really prayed with your soul. You are great Christians!” He had never seen anything like that. We exchanged phone numbers to meet again. He also wanted us to meet his friends because he wanted them to hear what we believe, as well. What a great outreach experience!


Love,

Alex, Dortje, Edel, Jake, Janik, Josien, Kevin, Lisanne, Miguel, Samantha & Susie.

 

Testimonies from the Olympic drama team

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Dramas on the street:

We performed dramas on the street for two days in a deprived area of Newcastle called Byker. There we got many good conversations, and some challenging comments from people who weren’t too impressed with what we were doing.

The first day we met a girl and her sister. ‘Christina’ was 11 years old, one of 7 siblings. Her clothes were too big and full of holes. Both her and her 3 year old sister, whom ‘Christina’ was taking care of, were quite dirty. I got to talk to her about how proud God was of her, that she was amazing and that God was a good dad who really wants to be her friend. She came back the last day we were there as well, and we got to talk to her some more and give her a bag of chocolates. Pray that God will send more people into this family to show them His love.

The second day we were there, a lady came over and stopped two of the girls in the middle of a drama. She talked to them for a long time before coming over to talk to me. Beverly started the conversation with praising our girls for being so wise for their age. Then she said she would like to believe in God, but she didn’t manage because so many bad things had happend in her life. After talking for a while she told me her story of how her children had been taken into their fathers care, that she only got to see them once a week and that she was sorry for all the bad things in her life. I said that God could forgive her for all the bad things, if she wanted, and she let me pray for her. After she said she felt like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, and I told her that if she ever felt bad again for her past, she should remember that the 30th of July 2012, God had forgiven her.

 

Dramas in Parks:

We tried to do a Trafficking awareness drama in one of the parks in the City Centre of Newcastle. In the drama it looks like I’m beating one of the girls up. As we started, an alcoholic lady came over and nearly hit me, because she thought it was real. We got to talk to her for a long while, and God told me to give her my jacket. After discussing this a bit with Him I gave her my jacket, and she got so touched she started to share things from her life with us that she said she hadn’t told anyone before. We talked to her for nearly an hour and got to pray for her as well before we had to leave, and she left us with a smile on her face.

In the parks we realised it was quite hard to get an audience, so in Leazes Park we practiced our Alice in Wonderland drama. After doing that a couple of times, two girls in their late teens came and watched us. We asked if they wanted to give us feedback on our dramas, so they watched and we got to talk to them afterwards about life and who/what controls your heart?, which is what the drama is about. They also liked the facepaint we had done for the drama, so we painted them as well. One of the girls told us she was afraid of ghosts after experiencing her duvet being dragged off her bed with no-one else around. I asked to pray for her, and she said she wanted prayer, but not there.

 

Drama at a Youth Café

The last day we helped out at a church called St Silas in Byker. They had a Youth Café in the evening, and there we got to show our Alice in wonderland drama for about 30 kids that came from non-church backgrounds. They were really into the drama and commented a lot during our performance. After that we had many good conversations about who God is and life in general. A 12 year old girl thought that God wasn’t good because she knew someone who’s baby sister has died. A boy with a red caps was really positive to God, and tried to read the Bible.

Student ministry

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What would it take to reach the university population of Carlisle with the Good News that Jesus loves them?

We reckon food might go a long way!

As we’ve been praying, we’ve felt led to start showing God’s heart of hospitality to the university students of Carlisle. Our hope is that this will lead to them wanting to find out more about the God that loves them so much and get to know him. So we’re starting a Student Ministry Project which will aim to provide good, wholesome meals for students once a week in a safe environment where they will feel cared for. The dinners will purely be about food and about building relationship with the students, and will serve as a gateway for us to invite the students to other activities in which there will be opportunities to share with them about who God is, with the hope that they will want to take part in a Student Alpha course, and decide they want to follow Jesus.

We will aim to serve 75-125 students per week and this will be funded in part by a small charge of £1 for the meals per person. We are also working with St James church, who have agreed to let us use their parish centre for free which will of course help bring costs down. We do, however, expect meals to cost around £3 per person on average, which is why we are now asking you to help! We are looking to raise a total value of £5000 for the Student Dinners and another £1000 for events to follow on from the dinners for the 2012-13 academic year.

Therefore:

Your company is requested at the Student Dinner Fundraiser at St James’ Parish Centre on the 12th September at 6pm.

Join us for a fun time with good food, hearing more about our ministry to reach the student population of Carlisle and an opportunity to give generously.

To buy tickets (£5 in advance or £6 on the door) please contact Emma: emma@ywamcarlisle.com

When Steve Jobs died, I watched a video of a speech he gave, in which he spoke of his time at university. He said that he used to travel for an hour across town every week, in order to go to the weekly dinners that were served by the Buddhists. This is how he ended up becoming a Buddhist. When I heard that, I wondered if, had the dinners been served by Christians, Mr Jobs might have ended up following Jesus instead. For me, that is inspiration enough to start providing the opportunity for the students in Carlisle to get to know Jesus. Would you like to join us? It would be so great to see you at our fundraiser!

Europe is waiting

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When I tell people that I’m a missionary in Europe, many tend to give me the look, as if we didn’t need any missionaries in Europe because we already have so many churches. The truth is we need missionaries in Europe more than ever!

When I did my DTS in 2008, I went on outreach to four African countries (South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania). It was a life-changing experience, especially seeing people living in poverty and still being incredibly hospitable & generous and more joyful than many rich people that I have met in Europe. I also found that it was so easy to talk to people about your faith and God. The people were open and hungry to hear the Good News. You preach on a tram and people are actually listening to what you are saying, asking you questions and wanting prayer. I discovered that for most people that I met there the spiritual realm is reality, whether a God could exist is not even a question for them.

Heidi Baker wrote in her book “Compelled by love” that believe it or not, living as a missionary in Mozambique is a lot easier than in the Western World. Because in Mozambique the poor know that they are poor, they know they are sick and hurting. They come to Jesus because they know they need a savior. In the Western World the poor don’t really know that they are poor, and the sick don’t really know they are sick unless they are dying of disease and no one can help them. They look confident, and they appear as though they have it all together. But maybe they don’t. Many even think they have it all figured out, have it all in their own hands. Why need a savior?!

When it was decided that all future YWAM Carlisle DTS outreaches will take place Europe, I honestly got a bit nervous. My heart is for Europe and I want to see Europe transformed by God’s love & truth. But I’m a realist and not an optimist. Taking a DTS team on outreach to Europe seemed so much more difficult than taking a team to South Africa or Brazil. I got even more nervous when we felt led to go Germany & France for our 9 week outreach at the beginning of 2012. Talking to people in the streets about Jesus; who would want to listen? Telling people in churches in Germany & France that God speaks to us today? But I trusted that this was what God wanted us to do and I knew that He would need to show up if this outreach was meant to have any impact.  And He did. And it was amazing, maybe the best outreach I have experienced so far. There might be churches on almost every street corner in Western Europe, but the church pews are empty and so are many hearts. People are longing for true love, unconditional acceptance and purpose in life. With all the materialistic things available, at the end of the day they are still left feeling empty, longing for more than just fun & pleasure in life.

During our outreach we got to see that God is moving in Europe. People are longing for truth & love & hope. When playing worship songs on the tram in Berlin and talking to people, a passenger stood up for us when we were asked by the security people to stop playing. People would talk to us for hours in the streets to hear more about our faith, about God, about the Good News. People in churches were so touched that they asked God to forgive them for not passing on the Good News, for not sharing the Hope that we have within us.

Many European countries were built on biblical principles & values, but most people in these countries don’t even have a clue anymore who Jesus is or that the Gospel is about Good News that is meant to make a difference today, a real tangible difference. They don’t know that there is Hope that withstands even death. God loves Europe. He wants to see everyone saved. He is pouring out His love & compassion for the people. He is stirring up hearts.

How big is your heart? We want to make a difference that counts and restore Hope in Europe. If you want to be part of God’s movement in Europe, learn how you can live faith in a way that it impacts others, then come and join one of our DTS teams. The next one starts at the end of September. Join us in bringing back the Good News to Europe!

– Dortje Brandes
   DTS leader

 

What is God like?

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What is God like?

It’s a question most people ask themselves at some point in their lives, and a question we spend quite a bit of time looking at during the Discipleship Training School. Our ideas of what God is like come from so many different places: school, family, media, Sunday school, etc and so often we don’t even know whether our beliefs about who God is are even Biblical.

A friend of mine is an atheist and a few months ago, as we were hanging out over dinner, I got to talk to him about if God existed what he might be like. In our conversation it soon became clear that the picture my friend had of who God is, came from the primary school he’d gone to. Somehow he’d picked up that the God Christians worship is an old patriarchal figure in the sky that held a big stick. Consequentially, my friend was entirely uninterested in knowing that kind of God. Not very surprising – I’m not sure I would be interested in spending time with that kind of God either. When I told him that my understanding of what God is like was quite different he started getting quite interested. I told him of how God is the truest, noblest, purest, loveliest, most admirable and excellent of beings and of how all he is and does is in love. At the end of our conversation, my friend said that he’d been given a lot to think about and that his idea of what God is like maybe wasn’t quite good enough. And isn’t that the case for all of us – maybe our idea of what God is like just maybe isn’t quite good or big enough?

I found a few years ago that often when I used to pray I would declare how God is good and faithful, he’s loving and amazing. And that’s where it would stop – I didn’t have much else to say about who God is. So I would start over again: ‘God you’re good, faithful, loving and amazing’. But the truth is of course, that God is so much more. So I started looking for what the Bible says about what God is like, and I was overwhelmed with how many different words are used to describe him. It says God is honourable, glorious, the rock, the teacher, the protector, our help, compassionate, just, sure, our redeemer, wise, joy, our deliverer, etc. And I started looking for how God shows himself to be like that in my life. Where have I seen that God is compassionate? How have I experienced that God is my help? When do I know that God is my joy?

I’d like to encourage you to expand your vocabulary and experience of who God is. To get to know a new and different aspect of who he is and experience a new part of his character. And if you’re stuck for ideas I’d recommend starting with reading the Psalms. They are just littered with descriptions of God’s nature and character!

Emma Wagner

Asia team

By | Outreach | One Comment

Back in November I felt God say to take an Intercession team to Asia; a team that took time to focus on God, that sought him out and was led by the Holy Spirit.  I wanted us to take hold of what God was saying about this place and see the spiritual impact the physical.  That was and still is the vision: we want to see these places invaded by Gods glory and to see the situations and people change in the light of that!

We’re a small team that are currently preparing to go for one month, and I can’t wait to see all that God is doing out there already and be a part of bringing more of his Kingdom to people.  It will be an adventure and we’re feeling enormously privileged to be part of God’s plan for Asia at this time!

We would appreciate your prayers for the logistics to go smoothly, and for many to be impacted by God’s love through us during the time we’re away.

– Lucy

Meet our staff: Lisanne

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Hi! My name is Lisanne, I’m 19 years old and I was born in the Netherlands.

A few years ago I began to have this longing to know if there was more to life than work and Sunday Christianity. I heard about DTS and in the process of finding the relationship with God that I knew I had  been missing I decided to apply. I told everyone before I left that I would go to school after DTS unless God would change my plans…

I knew that God would change me on the journey, but I could not have possibly imagined how significant that change would be! I joined YWAM in January 2011 by doing my DTS and I came back to join the staff team in Carlisle, dedicated to make God known and live life with Him being the King.

My heart is to see people experience the father heart of God, to see people take hold of their identity in Christ and to live out the glorious life He has called them to. To see people being set free and come to live in the full potential that God intended for them and for me in this season it means staffing the Carlisle DTS!

I’m really excited because I know that God has such great plans and revelations for this DTS: Identities will be restored, dreams will be ignited, and the greatest thing is that the name of Jesus will be glorified around the world!

I also just love to explore countries, meet the people and experience the beauties of their culture.

“For it’s God’s Name I’m preaching – respond to the greatness of our God! The Rock: His works are perfect, and the way he works is fair and just; A God you can depend upon, no exceptions, a straight-arrow God.” — Deuteronomy 32:3-4

If you’re interested in frequent updates from Lisanne or if you would like to support her financially, please e-mail: info@ywamcarlisle.com