Meet the Staff: Elsa

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Hi, I’m Elsa, from here in England and its coming up to my fourth year at YWAM Carlisle. I just don’t know how time can possibly have moved so fast. You could say I’ve grown up here – I discovered that God truly loves me, here on a DTS, I made life-directing choices here, I took on more responsibilities here, during my BLS, and this is the year I lead my first full-on outreach team abroad!

What am I excited for that’s going on right now in Carlisle? Well, I’m not someone who likes to do a lot of work purely for the sake of being busy. But I love to see someone get it. Get Jesus. Understand the importance of knowing Him above all else, or just a person on the street who gets a glimpse of the extraordinary person that He is. That’s what I love. So I guess I could say, people coming each step closer to seeing Him face to face, here in Carlisle.

So, it’s those conversations on Botchergate that leave people hungry to meet God, or the times when you’re sitting with a university student at a meal and a real question comes up, or spending time with a DTS trainee as they count the cost of whether they can really give what God’s asking of them.

My favourite verse is blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled, because I’ve seen it to be a promise that’s true. And this year in Carlisle, I would love to see that even more.

Drama Team

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I’m Linn and with me I have Eva, we are to ladies who are passionate about Theatre and Jesus. We’re heading up 1Hope Theatre and our vision is to restore hope to young people in Carlisle, England and the rest of Europe by letting them experience and know Christ through drama and theatre, and with the aim that they in turn will train others.

So far we’ve headed up an outreach to the Olympics, helped out with a drama to an evangelistic event called Mysterious, been part of teaching and doing dramas for a different evangelistic children’s event called X:Site, been part of a Holiday Club, done Christmas and Easter outreaches to Trinity school, and tried to pass on what we know to others.

Eva says: The Holiday club was a good way to engage in the community and branch out, great for building relationship. The drama I was part of engaged the kids in the mornings and made them involved. It was lots of fun and the children took part in the story by shouting to the characters.
I love drama and theatre, and being part of something that serves God and incorporates God on a daily basis is really exciting and in a way a dream come through. I would like to see a growth in ways of building network and relationships with people; I also want to see this ministry branch out of Carlisle to other places in England and in Europe.

Please pray for more people to join our team and more possibilities to reach young people with the good news through drama and theatre!

St. Barnabas

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Together with the Anglican Church we are working to pioneer youth groups in different churches all over Carlisle. One area of focus is Raffles where we are working with St. Barnabas Church. The hope is that many of the youth will get to know Jesus and begin following Him. We aim to do this by building relationships with the youth where they hang out, and invite them to youth groups where we can share about Jesus.

The DTS students go out on Tuesday and Friday nights to spend time with the youth in this area and have had a great time getting to know them. They make hot chocolate to hand out and bring a football to kick around.

“My favorite part about ST. Barnabas is that it’s such a practical way to help and show that you care, we’ve had some great conversations with the youth. At first we were thinking that the youth wouldn’t want to go into the church but one time they were playing football and they ran straight into the church! I think people are very open if you meet them where they’re at, in their own environment; because of that we’ve had a very positive response. “ -Lisanne

DTS Gathering in Glasgow

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At the end of October many YWAM teams came together in Glasgow for a week of teaching and evangelism.  The DTS students attended and had a great time. Janina shares her experience….

The goal of the gathering was to show the love of God to the people in Glasgow. Therefore, we went on different outreaches during the week. For example; serving people hot drinks, offering a boat tour, organizing a carnival for kids, and offering prayer for people.

Besides the local outreaches, we had teaching about evangelism and times of praying for Glasgow, listening to God for what he wants to say about Glasgow and do (through us) and just focusing on God and how great He is.

At the end of each day we had a testimony time where we shared what God did during the day. I personally really liked these times because it was very encouraging for me to hear about God’s work in people’s lives.

I also enjoyed the aspect of meeting new people from different YWAM bases and getting to know some of them. It was a special pleasure for me to get to know some German/Austrian people – who are also doing a DTS – and speak German to them.

The outreaches were sometimes challenging for me to talk to strangers but generally it was good to show different people that God cares about them and that we as Christians also care about them.

For me personally the best experience of the week was to really see God working in other people’s lives as well as in my own life; to see that God really cares about everyone.Another great experience for me was hearing God’s voice, which is often difficult for me to believe in. But I experienced it: He does.

 

Meet the staff: Hannah

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Hi! I’m Hannah and I’m from the United States.  I joined YWAM Carlisle in 2010 and little did I know that three years later I’d still be here. My DTS completely changed my life. It was an incredible experience and I grew so much in my relationship with God.

I came back in 2011 to staff the January school and during that time God really gave me a heart for Carlisle and I felt called to stay here for a longer period of time.  After my BLS in 2011 I went home for a year to work and raise money and I’ve been back on staff since September of this year.

I’m helping out with several of our ministries such as botchegate, student ministries, and youth clubs. I also work at a café run by St. James church called Cornerstone. It’s a great chance for me to get to know people and I’ve had several great conversations about God with other volunteers who work there as well as people coming in.  God is really working in this city and it is so exciting to be a part of it and I’m really looking forward to see what happens in the New Year.

 

Christmas Outreach

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This past Saturday, December 15th, was one of our first outreaches that was planned, organized and executed by us! – the trainees of YWAM Carlisle’s first 9-month DTS. We had been planning it almost since the very beginning of the DTS, so needless to say, this made it a very exciting day for us!

Originally, our plan for the outreach was all over the map. We had a ton of ideas, but nothing that stood out too much at all. Then, of course, as with every good story, we let God step in, and it kind of took off from there. Basically, our heart behind it was this: To bless, encourage and engage the local community through interactive creativity and conversation. That was the mission statement, and that paved the way for our new ideas.

So last Saturday, we spent two hours of the afternoon in the City Centre, in the midst of Christmas shoppers and a multitude of seasonal festivities. We set up a table to serve free coffee, tea and hot chocolate to any who wanted, enough to serve up to 200 people. We also made two boards, painted with Christmas trees and decorations that asked simple questions like, “What do you want for Christmas?” and “What is Christmas to you?”. It was really cool to see people come up to write on the board their answers, and with the hot drinks being served alongside it as well, it definitely opened up great opportunities for conversations throughout the day.

Also, we felt like we wanted to really be a source of encouragement to people, so with the board and the free hot drinks, we also made up about 200 little gift bags, containing sweets and encouraging notes in them. They were all personally hand-written, and prayed over before being handed out, and we continue to pray that even small acts of kindness like this can draw people to Jesus.

All in all, many people responded, and we really enjoyed being in community with people in such a way. It’s always fun to be able to answer the “What are you doing this for” question with simply, “No reason at all! We hope you feel blessed/loved/encouraged today.”

So after many hours planning, organizing, preparing and executing, we can safely say that our DTS’s Christmas Outreach for December 2012 was a success, and we had such a great time! Pray that God continues to work in the heart of this city.

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!