Daydream

Disclaimer. None of what you are about to read is real. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very real experience for me. But the following did not happen in real life. I’m thankful for the imagination God gives us and how He speaks to us through it.

 

It was a beautiful autumn afternoon. I walked along the wooded trail, orange maple leaves crunching with each step. Just off the trial was (for lack of a better word) a treehouse. It didn’t have a roof and was pretty rickety. You could tell it had been there for quite a few years. At least the log bridge connecting the treehouse to the trail had a new rope railing next to it. It made it feel safer as I walked across, the grassy hill pulling farther and farther away until I stood far above the ground, hand on the tree that supported the little fort around me. I took a deep breath and looked around, smiling at the bits of a crystal blue lake that could be seen through the thick pine forrest. If I swayed back and forth, it looked like a puddle of glitter as the sun danced across the gentle waves.

Finally. A moment of peace.

I sit on the lone bench – the only thing occupying the small platform besides me. I close my eyes for a minute and soak up the warm fall sunshine on my face and for one second feel my body completely relax. A feeling of true peace.

The tree begins to sway a bit, setting the whole treehouse in a slight rocking motion. I open my eyes and look up at the man walking across the bridge towards me. And all at once, He’s right in front of me and I’m staring into His eyes. I don’t recognize the face, but I know in my heart who it is. This is the moment I’ve been longing for. The moment when I can look into His eyes and ask the questions that burn in my heart each night. There’s a moment of silence and we just look at each other, breathing the same air. It’s a moment filled with peace and expectation. It’s the safest I’ve ever felt. The amount of love I can see in His eyes is intense and I almost look away. It’s overwhelming.

But instead of looking away, I put my hands on either side of his face and say the words that I’ve hidden in my heart for so long.

Why?

It’s almost painful to say them.

Why am I over there while You’re here? Why can’t I just be here with You? Why?

He mirrors my stance and reaches out His scarred hands to touch my face.

“I’m not stuck here.”

The response enters my heart like a whisper and the reality of what He said begins to hit me.

“I’m not just here.

But… I know that… so why does it feel like that? And why am I over there?

And just like that, a rope swing appears from the middle of nowhere. In true Tarzan fashion, He wraps an arm under both of mine and jumps onto the rope, holding me close as we swing across space together.

Suddenly we’re at the top of a mountain. I know this mountain. I’ve spent countless hours skiing, laughing and enjoying life on this mountain.

“You’re here so I can teach you how much I love you,” He says.

Tears begin to fall as I start to understand.

“My love for you is deeper than the clearest lake and higher than the tallest mountain. And you’ve only begun to realize that! I want to show you more. So that’s why I’ve asked you to be here.”

“And you’re not alone. I didn’t abandon you. I’m with you wherever you go.”

“Let me teach you how great my love is for you.”

 

I open my eyes and look around. I’m still right where I was to begin with, in the middle of a lecture at YWAM Davos in Switzerland. I smile as I look out the window and see the mountains standing outside. That’s how great, I remind myself. His love is higher than the tallest mountain. 

 

Advertisements

Projects

sour-dough

It’s been just over five months since Ben and I were married.

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? 🙂

It’s been fun to see the pattern we’ve started to adopt in our life together. It started pretty soon after we were married. I don’t remember who started it or why, but all of the sudden we had this idea of having “projects”. This is what I mean when I use the word projects: Most couples adopt a dog or a cat to have something to take care of and share. It gives them something to do together, something to talk about, something to love. (My friends and I would also joke that it was to keep them occupied so they didn’t feel the need to have a baby. And maybe this is true. I’ll let you decide. 😉 ) Whatever the reason, it’s a project of sorts. It might add the possibility of more work and responsibility, but that gives us as humans a sense of belonging, right? It gives our lives some strange sense of meaning.

So, like I mentioned, most couples would opt for a pet.

A normal pet. Like a dog. Or a cat. Or a fish if you’re not into commitments.

But those aren’t the projects we chose.

Apparently, we’re not normal enough for that.

It all started one day – I don’t even remember when – when Ben just decided it was time to try something new. So he decided to try baking bread. But… normal bread didn’t cut it. And so we embarked on a journey that has taken us much farther than I think either one of us realized it would.

Sourdough bread.

That’s where this all started. We just wanted to try it at first. Just see if it worked. Just see if we liked it. Well. Turns out it does work and we do, in fact, love it. So the obsession continues. Then we started to look into the health benefits of sourdough bread versus regular yeast-leavened bread. And when we learned about all of the good bacterias and probiotics in the sourdough, that was it. We were solidly hooked.

sour-dough
Benjamin’s Dutch Oven Sourdough bread made with home-milled flour

Since then, it’s morphed into so much more than just bread! We’ve recently started fermenting a ginger bug which we plan on using to make ginger beer – a homemade version of something similar to ginger ale soda. And yet, much like a sourdough starter, the obsession keeps growing bigger and bigger. Lately we’re researching kombucha and trying to figure out how to start that fermenting and brewing process. Our greatest struggle at the moment is finding containers large enough to fulfill our needs. The next issue is going to be one of storage space, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

It’s just interesting, if you ask me. I never thought I would turn into some strange hippie-health-nut and yet here I am. I’ll be the first to tell you that sourdough bread is way better for your gut than the normal yeast bread we always eat. And then I’ll probably end up on a tangent about probiotics and “gut health” which will lead into me talking about kombucha and how I really want to make my own and that will then lead me to tell you that we’ve settled for a ginger bug over a scoby. (Some of you may have no idea what that last word means. I won’t bore you with the details. It’s just the bacteria culture that makes kombucha kombucha.) And for some strange reason, this makes me excited.

ginger-bug
Ginger Bug – a mix of water, grated ginger, and sugar. Feed it every day for about a week until fizzy and then start making pop!

Ben and I both have been pretty baffled at why we find all of this so interesting. The conclusion we have come to is this: We’re searching for the real deal. Nowadays, food is always so processed. Sure, it’s probably a bit less processed in Europe than in the States, but either way. It’s not natural. And that’s not to say that we can’t eat that stuff, (trust me… we definitely still do!) but this hunger for real and raw food has grown inside of us. So we’ve started exploring the old traditions. Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation. Sourdough is how people made bread rise in the “olden days” before yeast was in the picture. And in that we find some sense of reality. Call it whatever you will, but for us it’s a journey to explore a natural reality and have lots of fun along the way!

Amongst this bacteria-growing frenzy, I also adopted another project. One that is by far much less maintenance.

Cacti.

ralph
Meet Ralph. He’s known as a “bunny cactus” and has grown so big!

Our house is now inhabited by four cacti and four beautiful succulents. And yes, they have names.

And no. I’m not ashamed of that. 🙂

We all have our projects! Hobbies or activities or little lives that we want to take care of. It keeps life interesting! So that begs the question,

What are your projects? 🙂

Outreach 101

Hello Friends!

It’s been a while. Sorry about that. Since my last post, I’ve spent 11 weeks in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and 3 weeks in the country of Croatia! Leading an outreach (or missions trip) proved to be a little bit more difficult than I had expected. But it was still amazing. Looking back over the past 14 weeks, I can see that I grew through that time – which is always encouraging. And yet even more so encouraging, I have seen how the students have grown throughout outreach and DTS as a whole.

There’s this saying we have about outreach here on the base: “It’s hard, but good.” Ask any one of these students how their outreach was, and I’m sure the response will be something along that line.

Hard, but good.

It’s really the best way to explain it. As a DTS student, you voluntarily put yourself in a place that allows people to push you beyond your comfort zone. You basically ask to be placed in a culture that you know little or nothing about. You end up in places over and over that test your humility and patience. And then you’re faced with a choice. You can say, “This sucks. I want to go home.” and disconnect from the outreach completely. Or you can look around at the broken people you meet on the streets and allow God to break your heart with the things that break His. You can choose to continue to look for what God is doing and remember that you are carrying His presence wherever you go. You can be motivated by the fact that God can use you in something as simple as smiling at the girl you pass every afternoon on the street.

It’s easy to get discouraged on outreach. In a city like Sarajevo, still so broken and hurting from a civil war that ended over 20 years ago, it’s easy to see all of the painful reality around you and wonder if what you’re doing has any impact on the city at all. Sarajevo is a very special place to me. Even amidst all of the brokenness there, somehow I can still see the beauty of what it could be. When we were there this year, we would spend time as a team worshipping over the city. There’s an old fort overlooking the entire city, and we would hike up to it and spend time there praying for the people of Sarajevo. And over and over, my heart would break when I would stand and look out over the buildings. I would be overwhelmed with God’s love for that place and it’s people. As my mind would be flooded with thoughts of what needed to be “fixed,” I would become overwhelmed. I was painfully aware of how small I was. How could I make a difference? I’m just one person.

IMG_0399.JPG

And then I remember that I serve a Big God.

He knows the need of every single person in Sarajevo and in all of Bosnia. He sees them all and loves them more than I ever could. And suddenly, I realize that I just need to walk in what He has called me to. Even if that’s something as simple as painting an indoor playground at a children’s center run by missionaries. If that’s what He has asked me to do, He can use it in much bigger ways that I can see.

All He asks is that we are faithful to what He has called us to.

So that’s what we did. We painted for more hours than I would care to count. We spent time with the missionaries living in Sarajevo and worshiped and prayed together. We played with children and got to see the joy on their faces when they played on and in the playground we spent so much time on. We had the chance to become friends with some students in the city and share Jesus’s love with them. We got to see God touch the hearts of Bosnian believers through worship. We were able to feel His love for Sarajevo.

At the end of the day, we might not have saved the whole city. But we were faithful with what God called us to do and I can honestly say that God is moving and changing people in Sarajevo. God loves Sarajevo. And He’s not done working there yet. I’m just happy that I got to be some small part of it.

On top of all of that, I’m so incredibly proud of the students on my team. They stepped way beyond their comfort zones and grew in so many ways. They’re different people than they were when they first stepped onto this base. It’s been a joy to watch them grow and see how God gently shapes their hearts. They are all amazing and I know that God will take them to some amazing places!

Outreach…

Hard, but good.

IMG_0067.JPG

 

It’s also a joke around the base that everyone goes on outreach to find love. And while that might not be highly recommended by everyone, hey. Sometimes it actually happens. I can’t explain how God works. But you may have noticed some changes to my Facebook profile, and all I have to say is…

Stay tuned. 🙂

The Things You Learn

After completing a DTS and living in a healthy, close community for over a year, I thought I had most of my life together. Sure, I still have no idea what I’m going to be doing or where I’m going to be in 5 years, but that didn’t bother me. At least I knew who I was and who God said I was. And I know the sound of God’s voice. So I felt like I was pretty set.

Isn’t it crazy how in those moments, we can feel so secure. And then all it takes is one little comment and our world begins to rapidly unravel.

All of the sudden, we realize what we’ve actually been rooting our identity in and what voices we’ve let speak into our lives more than God’s. And just like that, I feel like I’m back at square one. Sometimes, that’s a scary place to be. But for me, it’s only scary because I realize that everything I thought was solid actually wasn’t. So I start to question everything. And that’s when God comes in and reminds me of who I am and what He says is legit.

He reminds me that He loves me. He tells me that I am where He has called me to be. He says that I’m His beloved. He asks to spend time with me.

I realized a week or so ago that I focus too much on what others think. It started from an innocent place. I just wanted to be a good example. I wanted to practice what I preached and make sure that my actions lined up with my words. And I wanted to make sure that what I was doing was edifying to the rest of the people in my community. It came from a place of wanting to help others around me and to help create a safe community. But it quickly became crippling. I questioned everything I did. And not just to check my motives, but to see what people around me would think or say if I did this or that. What would they think if I rode the T-bar with this person? What would they say if I sit next to this person at dinner? What do they think I’m spending most of my time on? How will they react if I say this? All of the sudden, it moved from a place of wanting to be intentional to being paranoid and too wrapped up in what other people thought of me. That’s not a fun place to be. There’s no freedom in that.

Thankfully, there’s freedom in Jesus.

Two weeks ago, the speaker was talking about Lordship – which means letting Jesus be Lord of our life and surrendering completely to Him. That’s when it hit me and I realized that I’d given the “God spot” in my life to the people around me. I wasn’t letting Jesus call the shots. I was letting my fear of the people around me dictate how I lived my life. Once I realized that and surrendered that to the Lord, so much peace flooded into the crevices that had been filled with so much worry and fear. I think that’s what we call freedom.

And suddenly, I’m not worried about pleasing people around me. I just want to spend time with Jesus. It’s amazing how much more love we feel when we allow ourselves to be loved. This past three or four days, I’ve just been busy exploring how much Jesus loves me. The other day, I felt Him calling me to sneak away to spend time with Him. So I did. And I just sat in the sunshine for 45 minutes, completely silent, just enjoying being loved by the Creator of the Universe. It’s amazing what that can do to a soul.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.”
– 1 John 4:18

He is perfect love. In Him, there is no fear. I’ve realized that when I focus on His perfect love, I don’t have the time or desire to focus on being afraid. That’s freedom.

So I just want to encourage you to spend time soaking up all of the love Jesus has for you. Because He loves you so much. I know that. I know it because I’m starting to understand how much He loves me. And my prayer is that you would begin to understand that as well. That’s the key to happiness.

It’s the key to true freedom.

Somehow, half of lecture phase has flown by. Maybe it’s been the stellar line-up of speakers, but maybe it’s just because time flies when you’re having fun. It’s hard for me to tell. Either way, time has disappeared. And even thought I’m excited for outreach, my mom heart wants time to slow down. These students have stolen my heart and it’s been so much fun to watch them grow over the past 7 weeks. I kind of just want t0 stay here in this little house in the alps forever and ever. But I know that’s not how it works and that’s ok. I know that God has amazing things planned for the rest of this DTS. And dude. It’s going to be an amazing ride.

The past couple of weeks have been amazing. They’ve been all over the place, and yet God has been in them, connecting all of the little dots together into a beautiful (almost chaotic) picture. This last week I felt like I was kind of drowning in the world of YWAM DTS when I realized that I have no idea what’s going on with American Politics. And even though DTS feels like my entire world right now, I just felt God reminding me that there is so much more to life than DTS. It’s only 7 months. Which seven months in the span of a lifetime is not that big of a percentage. It can change someones life, totally. But it’s only seven months. And just realizing that allowed me to let go of some of the pressure I’d been putting on myself. I think I’ve been afraid of “screwing up” these students. And God just reminded me that that’s not my job. He’s the one that works in people’s lives and changes them forever. It’s not me. It doesn’t ride on my “performance” as a DTS staff. I’m trying to rest in the freedom of that.

Beyond that, the Holy Spirit has been doing some fun things here on the base. We’ve had more than one worship session that just keeps going for hours, when we can just hang out with each other and enjoy the presence of God. But my favorite story from this last week was one that isn’t really mine to tell, but I’m glad I got to see it.

This week, Thomas (one of the guys on staff) told us that his legs were different lengths. We had him sit down and pulled his legs out straight to see. Dude. This difference was actually kind of amazing. I’d say it was a solid inch different, if not a little more. Since we were all pretty hype on what God had been doing on the base lately, we just went for it. We wanted to see a miracle, so we just started praying and asking God to grow Thomas’s leg. And nothing crazy happened. I mean, it grew a little bit, but it didn’t grow out to be even with the other one. So we prayed again, but still nothing really happened. We were all still hyped that it grew a little bit and just felt like it wasn’t going to grow out completely then. But we all still believed and expected God to grow it at some point.

So for the next few days, we’d just pray whenever we remembered – during our staff meetings, after lectures, during meals, just whenever we thought about it. Then this past Thursday, after we lectures ended, Thomas left the classroom and came running back in a few seconds later. “Guysguysguysguysguys!!!” He was freaking out. “It grew!!!!” He sat down on the floor, back flat against the wall, legs straight out in front of him.

And they were the same length.

It might not seem like such a big deal. It might seem crazy and hard to believe. But for those of us who were involved, it just added to our stoke. We’ve been so ready and expectant for God to do crazy things. We’ve been asking for things like this to start happening in our community here at the base. We’ve been hungry for things like this. And even with a small story like this, we’ve just gotten super pumped to keep asking to see God do miracles and crazy stuff. It’s pushed us to keep asking to see things, over and over and over. And at least for me, it grew my faith. Faith to ask. The book of James talks about asking God in faith. James 1:5-6 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting….

James talks about asking for wisdom, but I think it applies to more things in life than wisdom. There’s so many things I could say about these verses, but the reason why I mention them is because every time I read them, it just reminds me to keep asking. No matter what, just ask. And keep asking.

So where ever you are in the world when you read this, just know that I’m over here in Switzerland stoked about what God’s doing here and asking Him to do more crazy things.

Students are Cool

12525614_10153228644766951_2075832198000698193_o

Look at these kids. Aren’t they great??

It’s been three weeks and I already love them all so much. I think they’re pretty cool. And the things God has been teaching them are pretty cool too. They blow me away. I’ve seen them grow so much in the past three weeks and it just gets me so stoked to see what the rest of the DTS holds for them. I think I can say that it’s going to be crazier than their wildest dreams. And if you ask me, that’s a good thing.

So. What have we been up to?

Lots and lots.

It’s been two crazy weeks full of good lectures and off the chain programs. Last week, the World Economic Forum (WEF) was held here in Davos. The topic for lectures that week was Evangelism, which was awesome. After getting filled with tons of wisdom during lectures, we got to head out to the streets and work on practicing the things we learned in class. We brought back the smiley cookies. Hundreds and hundreds of them. So we armed ourselves with backpacks full of cookies and the love of Jesus in our hearts and hit the streets. The smiles people gave us matched the cookies we gave them. And even if the only thing we said was “here’s a cookie, Jesus loves you,” it was a lot of fun to see how that small gesture brought so much joy to so many people.

At the end of the week, we had a lot of stories of how we saw God move and the all the times we had the opportunity to pray for people and bless them. I was (and still am!) so proud of our students. They were so amazing! They all stepped out way beyond their comfort zones. It was a beautiful thing to see. And like I said, it just gets me so excited to see where else God will take them on this journey. I just know that if they’re willing to go for it right off the bat, God’s going to take them on some amazing journeys as this DTS continues. And I’m so honored to be able to say I have a small part in that growth and I’m just excited to watch God blow their minds more than He already has.

This past week was a doozy. The topic was Kingdom Culture and our speakers were Eric & Candace Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. They’re amazing. They blow my mind every time I hear them speak. I don’t think there was a session this week that didn’t shift the way I thought at least a little bit. It was awesome.

And exhausting.

But in a good way. I love having my way of thinking challenged because it gives me the opportunity to change it to line up more with what God thinks. One of the things Eric talked about what what Kingdom meant. Simply defined, it just means the king’s domain. And our job as Children of the King is to learn and understand how the King thinks and live that out. He talked about how people get offended by scripture and how that’s such a blessing. Because it means that we have the chance to line our thinking up with God. And when we can live that out, we help bring the Kingdom to earth just a little more.

This week was a great foundation week that other speakers will be able to build on. It’s just setting these students up for even more growth!

As far as leadership goes, I’m learning. It’s been a bit of a journey to find my feet, but I think I’m getting there. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have a whole team surrounding me and I’m not on my own. We as a staff are here to support each other and not to compete to see who’s the best or who can do the most work in a 24 hour period or whatever. We’re a family. We’re here to help each other when we need it. And I know that I need every other person on staff here this year. I know that God has brought us all here for a reason. He knew what talents and gifts each of us had to offer and He knew that we would all need each other. And I’m getting more and more excited to see how this adventure unfolds. It’s just going to get better and better the more we learn to work together and pull from others strengths.

In closing:

Prayer Requests — health for the base. We’ve had a nasty sickness running around the base and if you could pray for health that would be awesome.

SFDTS 2016!

The first week of DTS has flown by!! Oh man… where to start?

Students arrived last Saturday, and we were more than stoked to welcome them in! It’s been a blast getting to know them, to hear their stories, and dream their dreams. I’ve had so many moment where I feel like I catch little glimpses of what God has in store for them, and it get me so excited. Each one of them is so special and I already love them all so much. I just know that God is going to do amazing things. And on top of all of this, it’s been snowing practically non-stop this week. Can we say wa-pow?? We keep saying that this is going to be the best season ever – and not just for shredding. We believe that God is going to show up in crazy ways and make this DTS one to remember.

This week has felt like a month and a day, all at the same time. Looking back, it flew by. Yet in the moment, it felt like ages. Part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve never staffed a DTS before, and I (clearly) have no idea what I’m doing. So this week has been a week of lots of figuring things out. As Friday rolled around, I was exhausted. Not necessarily in a bad way, but just tired from a week full of figuring things out and building new relationships. I’ve realized that the most responsible thing I can do is intentionally spend time with Jesus. This week is a prime example of what happens if I don’t. I’ve had more than one realization of the fact that I have absolutely nothing to offer these students. The only thing I have is my relationship with God, and if I’m not going after that as much as I can, then I really have nothing to give. He is my source. Completely. And with Him, I’m never lacking. On my own however, I’m empty. The song “Never Run Dry” by Housefires has been on repeat in my brain.

With the beginning of a new school, it brings back all of the memories from my first week on DTS. I keep having flashbacks of bad accents and loud foosball matches. And as amazing as my time on DTS was, I’ve had to let go of a lot of things from that time. I’ve had to realize that I’m not a student anymore – which is exciting! It’s finally time to stand up on the things we’ve talked about and finally put it to work. I’ve had to say goodbye to my fellow students. Yet the days have been full of memories. Memories of those first few awkward days when no one really knows anybody, and yet you’re all sharing a house so you pretend that it’s normal. Nostalgia is a real thing. But I’m eagerly looking forward to what’s in store for this season. 2016 is going to be amazing. You could probably say it’s going to be bananas. So as this lazy Sunday continues, I’m sitting here getting stoked for the week ahead and all it’s going to hold – lectures, WEF, smiley cookies, and challenged comfort zones.

Also, chili.

Chili and cornbread and lots of good fellowship.

oh. And snow. Always more snow.

It’s…. It’s been a while…

Sorry guys… It’s been too long. I’d say it’s been busy here (which isn’t a lie) but that’s not an excuse. So here’s my written apology and my commitment to you: I’m sorry for not communicating well and I am going to strive to do better. My goal for this upcoming season is to post at least twice a month, just so you can stay as updated and as informed as possible! Please have grace with me, because life here at the base gets crazy quickly, but know that I am going to do my best to uphold that commitment on my end.

There. Now on to what’s been going on the past month.

Has anyone else realized that Christmas is in 8 days? I just realized that at the beginning of the week. Que the last minute shopping and holiday craziness before flying back to Minnesota to visit my family in a few short days! I’m beyond thankful for the chance to go home to visit my family for the holidays. It’ll be 9 days full of family, friends, late nights, too much food, and copious amounts of coffee. And I refuse to feel guilty about indulging in any of the above. 🙂

Besides the realization that Christmas is actually right around the corner, the past month has been full of so many things – some good, some hard, but all of them at the exact time God intended them for. I’ve been realizing that the past couple of days. God’s timing is perfect. And it’s a beautiful thing when we let Him take control of what happens when. Also, how much freedom is there in not having to control things? Much. Much freedom. For which I am grateful.

This week we’ve been focusing a lot on freedom and breaking fear of man. We’ve had some wonderful, intense worship and prayer times as a group, just spending time in the Presence of God and enjoying Him together. This morning we spent some time praying for the Snowboarders and Freeskiers DTS starting in just a few short weeks. We declared things and claimed things; things for the base, for the students, for us as leaders, and for the city of Davos. We prayed against the fear of man and declared that there is no shame in looking like a fool for Jesus. That’s the line that keeps ringing in my head today: No Shame. If you haven’t heard United Pursuit’s song, Head to the Heart, you need to. Go look it up. It’s just good.

As a team, we’ve also gone through some hard days and have really realized the value of unity and what it means to actually be unified. For myself, I’ve been reading a book by John C. Maxwell called “Developing the Leader Within You” and and while it didn’t really address unity directly, it talked about what it means to be a leader and how to lead effectively. First of all, the definition given in the book of a leader is someone who has followers, but also someone who influences people. And in my opinion, the whole book just continues to talk about how influence has to start with yourself. That’s what I’ve realized. If I want people to trust me, I have to be a trustworthy person and trust others as well. If I want our team to be unified, I need to work on cultivating a spirit of unity in myself and create an atmosphere that fosters unity. Now, it’s not all on my shoulders, but it starts with my attitude. And I realized at the beginning of this week that I haven’t been a very trustworthy person the over the past few weeks. That’s on me. The only person that can change that is me. So instead of blaming other people for the lack of trust or lack of unity or lack of whatever, I realized that I need to start taking ownership and responsibility of my own actions and improve the parts that need improvement. That takes humility. It takes being willing to apologize to people and ask for forgiveness. Then it takes the wisdom to ask God to help me fix the places in my own life that are out of whack.

This week has been awesome. God’s blown me away so many times and I love it. I’m thankful for Grace. I’m thankful for Love. I’m thankful that I get to be a part of the YWAM Davos team. I know that the Lord has brought us all here for a reason and I can’t wait to learn more from each one of these wonderful people. They’ve become family and this house has become my home. And for that, I am thankful.

In closing:
I’m flying home to visit my family in just 5 short days!! I would love if you guys could pray for safe travels.

Also, continual prayer for unity – that it would grow stronger and deeper.

And prayer for the students coming soon! Pray that all of their finances would come in and that they would be surrounded by support from family and friends. We’re so excited to welcome them all here in a few short weeks!

State Side

Well, Friends.

It’s been a while and this post is late in coming, but here it is:

I’m HOME.

grain fields & sunsets
grain fields & sunsets
the welcome home crew, including Gwen
the welcome home crew, including Gwen

The moment I’m sure my mother has been waiting for since January has finally come and gone. And I can truly say it is good to be home. Europe was beautiful, but there’s just something about being able to see forever or driving for hours and seeing the same fields, mile after mile. Maybe it is true. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I got when my plane was flying into Winnipeg and I looked out my window and saw the country side cut into square sections. That’s how I knew I was really almost home. Good old farmland.

Like I said, this post is pretty overdue. I’ve been home for a month now. But life is funny that way. It really doesn’t wait for us to be ready before it takes off. It just doesn’t really stop. So it’s been a month full of craziness (which is completely my fault, to be honest). I spent six days at home and then turned right around and headed back to my summer home – Bluewater Bible Camp. After spending three summers on staff there, it’s pretty hard to keep me away. It’s been my “place” for 12 years. I love it there. And it was a lot of fun to get to spend a few weeks there again this summer, even if I couldn’t be on staff all summer.

that lake tho
that lake tho

To be completely honest, however, the three weeks I spent there were less than easy. It was strange to be there and yet not be technically “staff” and there we several other things the Lord was teaching me and speaking to me about while I was there. I don’t regret the time I spent at camp, but it wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping. There was healing in the time I spent there, and for that it was worth it. I needed to be reminded (yet again) that, when I felt like the worlds worst counselor or when I thought the things I said during devo times with my campers were pointless, I’m not the one who does the work. God is. He’s the one that touches hearts. He chooses to use us and our human imperfections and all of our brokenness, but when it comes right down to it, He is the one that makes the difference in hearts. No matter how much I stumble over my words when I share my testimony to ten 7-8th grade girls, Jesus still works in that. I don’t have to be perfect – thank goodness for that! I also needed to realize that God doesn’t need me at camp to work there. It was amazing to come in at the tail end of the summer and hear all of the stories the staff members had; to hear all about their God moments and all the ways that God had worked through them this summer. As I drove home, I had peace. I felt God saying that I could let it go and trust that He will keep doing the work there that I know He’s been doing for years.

To me, there’s so much freedom in that. Camp will always hold a special place in my heart. But I don’t have to be bound in it. I had three awesome summers at camp and I got to see God’s love touch campers the way it touched me so many years ago. I know that He’s going to keep on changing hearts and lives there. Knowing that gives me the freedom to follow where God calls me. I don’t have to limit Him to camp. And with that comes so much freedom and excitement. He can call me anywhere and I am free to go wherever that might be.

I had thought the adventure was coming to an end, but it’s just beginning. After months of prayer, I’ve decided to commit to spending a year at YWAM Davos as a member of their staff. What that means is that I’ll fly back to Switzerland at the end of October to begin staff training and a Leadership Training School. I’ll get a couple of weeks of for Christmas, and then it’s back to Davos to walk through the same DTS program I did this year with new students. That gets me so stoked! All I know is how much God rocked my world through DTS and I can’t wait to see Him do that for others. It’s going to be a crazy year, that’s for sure! Since YWAM is a non-profit organization, it’s employees don’t get paid. So that means I’ll be embarking on the support raising adventure again! This part always makes me nervous, but I just keep reminding myself that God is a good Dad and He takes good care of His children. He’s got this way more than I do. But, if you ask me, that’s exactly how it should be.

If you’re at all interested in making donations, feel free to send me an email (my email address is on the left side of the page). If that isn’t something that God is putting on your heart at this time, that’s totally ok! Please keep me in your prayers and if you would like to stay updated, subscribe to my blog and I’ll do my best to keep it as up-to-date as possible. 🙂

To wrap up this post, I just wanted to share a video talking about the experience of DTS. This is just about two minutes of a few students (including yours truly) from this last years Snowboarders and Freeskiers DTS in Davos. It’s just a taste of how God rocked our worlds this last year.

And so.

The adventure continues…

Back in the Swiss

We’re back in Switzerland, friends! Outreach wrapped up well, and now there’s two weeks of debrief between me and my flight home. I keep asking myself how this happened so quickly. On the drive back to the base from the Zurich airport, it was strange to see so much green instead of snow. But Switzerland is still beautiful, no matter what color the landscape is. And it’s so good to be back. It feels like home. You know when you’ve been away from home for a long time and that first second when you walk into your house, you smell it. Home. It just smells like home. That’s how it was walking into the base. After 14 weeks away, it felt like we were finally coming home again. Joy, Aleah and I were talking late last night about how we feel like we’re different people than we were when we first came here. I think that’s why this place feels so much like home. I’ve felt God’s presence in real ways and He’s changed major parts of my heart here in this house. So no matter where I go or how far away from Davos I am, this will always be one of my homes. Coming here will forever be coming home.

Ok. End of sentimental musings. Let me tell you about the last few weeks of outreach.

For our final 10-12 days of outreach, we were back in Sarajevo. It was great. That city completely stole my heart the first time around and it was so great to have the chance to go back to it for a bit. We hiked up to the fort one last time to watch the sunset and pray for the city. One thing that we all commented on was how the atmosphere of the city felt different. It was more peaceful. Before we’d talked about that much, I was feeling a little bummed out. I felt like outreach was over and we hadn’t made that much of a difference. And to be honest, I was a little frustrated about it. But then God reminded me that I’m not the one that makes a difference. He is. And when He starts something, He promises to finish it. So our time in Sarajevo was short, but we got to be a part of the work that He is doing there. The city felt different, and I felt like God was saying that we helped that. Our presence in that city for six weeks helped to change the atmosphere. But it wasn’t just us. It was the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave a place when we do. He’s every where and He’s working all the time. So even though we left Sarajevo on Friday, He didn’t. He’s still there doing the work that He started. The work that we got to take part in. That gives me hope. And freedom. Because on my own, I can’t change a whole city. But with the Spirit, we can make a lasting impact and a real difference in bigger ways than we realize sometimes.

It was fun to be back and to see some of the friends that we made the first time around. We got to hang out at the skate park a bit with some of the local skaters, Aleah and I got to reconnect with a friend and go to her house for an authentic, home-cooked Bosnian meal. Hands down, that was the best food I’d had on our entire outreach. (Sorry Erica… 😉 ) It was a lot of fun to get to hang out with her and her mother for a couple of hours that evening. We went hoping to be a blessing to them, but when we left (and I could barely keep my eyes open… hello food coma), I felt so blessed by them. It was so good to just sit in their living room and watch them banter back and forth in Bosnian, even if it made me miss my mom more than I already do.

We also got to spend some good quality time with the Copeland family. (Kip and Erica, if you guys are reading this, I miss you guys and your adorable children. I hope you’re all doing well. 🙂 ) We worshiped, we ate tons of food, we laughed, we cried, and we celebrated friendship. Their family was a huge blessing to our team throughout all of outreach and I’m so glad that God brought them into my life. Even if Sarajevo hadn’t stolen my heart, I’d still have to make a trip back there at some point just to see them. They’re practically family now.

And now we’re back in Davos once again. Debrief officially starts on Monday and I’m excited. It’s been great to see the other team and I can’t wait to hear all of the stories!

Here’s some pictures to finish out this post:

SQUAD
SQUAD
IMG_0801
sunset over sarajevo
IMG_0811
prettttty lights
IMG_0836
my favorite view of the city: from kip and erica’s balcony
IMG_0843
caleb… he’s kinda my favorite
IMG_0815
anna kate 🙂
IMG_0877
old town
IMG_0908
sarajevo
IMG_0903
old town
IMG_0899
full sendy ftb
IMG_0921
SWITZERLAND