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Next Year in Krakow

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Next Year in Krakow (NYK) is a year for young people year 11 to 13 from different youth groups from all over Carlisle to come together to experience and grow in God through worship, prayer, talking, learning, serving and going. It is a year for seeing what God can do with one group of teenagers living for Him. It is about learning and experiencing more of who God is, His heart and intention for each individual’s life and the world, and how we all fit into the big picture.

We are a group of 22 young people and 6 leaders, and we’re meeting once a week for a year leading up to an outreach to the Czech Republic during Easter 2013 (So not Krakow, even though that’s in the name). We’re wrestling with big questions, eating, laughing and crying together and getting challenged in different areas in our lives. The young people love it, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Student Ministries

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It’s been such a great journey to get our Student Ministry up and running over the last few months. We started back in September and on the day of the launch I got a phone call from the local vicar, John, to prepare me for the masses he was expecting to come for dinner that evening. So we went out to get extra food and cooked for about 100 people. We had about 20kg of mashed potatoes, 8kg of peas and hundreds of Cumberland sausages – we were ready for the students to descend on us. Imagine our surprise when not a single student showed up!

We were all a bit disappointed, but also felt compelled to keep trying. The next week we went out with flyers to speak with students before the meal, and that night about 10 students showed up. The week after, we had about 25 students. And so it has continued: last time we had between 40 and 50 students! It’s been a privilege to get to know some of them as we’ve sat around the dinner tables chatting with them.

Of course, our focus isn’t just to serve dinners but to build relationship with the students and share God’s love with them. So alongside having dinner together with the students, we have also run a few events on Saturdays this autumn and are planning to run a Student Alpha course in the beginning of next year together with the church. Already we have had some really deep conversations about life, God and the universe and have been able to pray with students. Together with a few different people in church leadership in Carlisle we’re also exploring how to be church in new ways and how to be relevant to an 18-30 population. It is incredibly exciting to work together with local church to work out how to better serve the people in our cities, and we can’t wait to see how God will work in people’s lives through all this.

‘I have so many questions about Christianity; like I find it intriguing that Christians believe in the creation story rather than looking at the scientific evidence for how the world came to be! I’d love to hear more about that’, said one of the girls around the dinner table a few weeks ago.

‘No, I don’t go to church, but I believe in God’, said one of the guys when asked about his faith.

‘Oh, that’s cool, because we’re in this process of exploring what relevant church could look like to somebody like you and me. You know we’re thinking church is important, but it maybe needs to look a bit differently to what it commonly looks like now, in order for it to work for people like us?’, said I.

‘Yes, yes, I totally have loads of ideas about what that could be like!’, he answers, and so a conversation begins…

‘I asked a girl out yesterday and she said she’d call me back, how long should I wait before I contact her again?’ asked one of the guys when one of our girls sat at his table.

From the very beginning we felt that God wanted this whole ministry to reflect his heart of hospitality and generosity, and we have been astonished at how this has been reflected in all kinds of aspects of the ministry already. As we’ve raised money and prepared to launch this ministry we’ve been so thankful for people’s generosity both financially and in helping with anything from serving the meals to chatting with the students around the tables. As we reach out to the students, we’re convinced that the hospitable, generous and loving God that cares so much about each one of them is drawing people to himself, and we so look forward to seeing people come to know him.

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

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

Olympics drama outreach

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“Inspire a generation”

This is what the Olympic posters say. And we’d like to inspire this generation for God!

For the Olympics we took a youth drama team to Newcastle and performed drama’s in parks around the city and in front of churches. We saw many people touched by God and we pray this will be an ongoing process in their lives! It was such a blessing to be a part of this outreach!

“It was amazing to see drama impact the young people from the deprived areas in Newcastle and to share life with the people on the street” – Linn Iren

“It was such an eye-opener to realise that there are people with such a huge amount of practical needs, so close to us, and I loved seeing how God used even the small things that we did to open up opportunities to show His love. It was an impacting few days!” – Elsa

“I loved seeing people from different nations and backgrounds just being together, united by God. How God can use something simple like a drama to really speak to people and touch their lives, it still amazes me!” – Lisanne

Botchergate testimony

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A few weeks ago, when we were out on our Friday night Botchergate Project outreach, we got into conversation with a guy. One of the local church members was talking to him first, and I joined in later. During the conversation the guy was asking us to prove without a doubt that God exists. If we could prove that God existed he would happily be a Christian and he even said he would be there next week to hand out coffee with us. He told us that he grew up going to Sunday school, but something happened in his life and he drifted away from church and God. He didn’t see the support around that he would’ve hoped for and he didn’t see God during this situation. For the rest of the conversation we tried to show where God was present during different parts of his life, but he wasn’t convinced. We offered to pray for him and he accepted. He gathered the team around him but first he wanted to say some words himself. He asked God to prove His existence of Him. The group then also prayed for him. After a few more minutes the conversation ended and he went on his way. The next day, he sent me a text. He thanked us for taking the time to listen and said ‘you all showed a lot of patience, tolerance and respect towards me’.

Please continue to pray for Botchergate and the people we meet to encounter God. God is definitely at work and we feel blessed to be a part of it.

– Craig

Testimony creation prayer

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I went to Norway for a week. I stayed at the YWAM Skien base. One of the evenings there was an opening night for the theatre festival happening in the next town. Three others and I decided to go. It was fun and we were really looking forward to the firework show at midnight. However, at 10pm we’ve seen it all and we really didn’t know what to do in the following two hours.

We walked around for a bit and we saw a few people sitting on some benches. Lucy and I started talking to them and we decided to join them. It was fun and we talked about what they were doing, how school went etc. They were around 16 years old.

After an hour or so, the conversation took another turn. We were talking about God and they showed interest. Lucy asked if they would be interested in ‘creation prayer’. Creation prayer is that you pray for other people by listening to God and ask Him a question about this person. Anything God likes to say. This can be something about the person or something that happened. They were really open so Lucy and I started praying. Almost immediately I got an image in my head about the girl. She was standing next to a tree but people were passing beside her. She was trying to get their attention but they couldn’t hear her. This really spoke to her, apparently her grandpa just passed away. Lucy had another picture in her head that was another part of the story.

The two girls were really touched by this. Lucy explained how creation prayer works and she explained how the Holy Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity. Explanation after praying for people is really important, especially if they are non-Christians. One of the girls asked if she could try it and she prayed for Lucy. She had a weird feeling in her hand and she got a picture in her head as well, and this really spoke to Lucy as more people got this image while praying for her. They were amazed and asked a lot of questions.

It was a really great night, today I was talking to one of the girls again and I really believe God is working in her!

God works in and though us sometimes when you don’t expect it. What a great God is He!

– Lisanne