When You’re Not Looking… pt. 3

This post is part three of a series. Here’s where you can find parts one and two.

 

It was our last week on base before heading out on outreach. Since Ben and I were leading together, that meant lots of last-minute meetings to tie everything up. And somehow there was a switch in my mind. I can’t pin-point when it happened but I just became super curious. I just really wanted to know if Benjamin liked me. So I just started paying closer attention to how he treated me and how he treated the other girls. I probably went back and forth several times a day. Picture Courtney holding a daisy, pulling out the petals one by one, “He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not.”

That’s how it went. Over and over. Back and forth.

I was so confused.

So I finally decided to pray about it. Sometimes I get scared to ask God these questions. It’s a silly fear and I know that. But it’s not so much that I’m afraid of asking, I’m just afraid of what the answer is. And yet the point came when I decided that hearing the answer would be better then the emotional yo-yo I was subjecting myself to. And as I prayed about it, I started feeling more peace about the friendship I had with Ben. I even felt like God was saying that it was ok for it to keep getting deeper. I didn’t really know what He meant with that, but I figured it would be ok. I mean, if God was giving me the go-ahead, I must be in an ok spot right? And I figured it meant that Benjamin didn’t really like me either. So I just accepted that. We were just friends. Weren’t we?

But then He said something else.

For about a year, I’d worn a ring on my wedding finger. I had switched it from the other hand before leaving for DTS as a promise to God. When I put it on that finger, I decided that it was a commitment to remain faithful to God and to do my best to trust that He’d tell me when to swap that ring out with an engagement one. So I’d always joke about it and say that I was married to Jesus. Because in my heart, I was. I loved the ring too. I’d had it since I was thirteen and even if you could tell by the style of it, I still loved it. There was a little heart around an opal at the center. I wore it every day, all the time. And then I woke up one morning and the opal was gone. Naturally, I freaked out. But I promised God in that moment that even if the stone was gone, I wasn’t going to take it off until He brought some guy along to replace it.

So I wore it proudly. A gaping hole in the middle of a delicate heart. But I wore it anyway because I’d made God a promise and I didn’t want to break it.

But then that last week in Switzerland before outreach, God told me to take it off.

I think in that moment I knew what that meant. I just didn’t want to admit it. I took it of pretty reluctantly. I had no idea if I was ready for this. Somewhere in my heart, I knew that taking off that ring meant that my heart was available. And I had no idea if I was ready for that.

“Do you trust me?”

It was time to put those words into practice. Saying I trusted God was one thing. But would I actually act on what He was asking me to do? That’s what trust really looks like. And if I wasn’t willing to do that, had I really come as far as I thought I had? I reminded myself of all of the times God had been faithful in the past and reminded myself that He would be faithful again. If He was asking me to take my ring off, if He was telling me that it was ok for my heart to be “on the market,” would I trust that?

So I did it.

I took off the ring and gave my heart to God.

And that’s when I realized that Ben had already found a special spot in my heart.

 

…to be continued…

 

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When You’re Not Looking… pt. 2

This post is part two of a series. If you missed part one, you can read it here.

 

From that moment in front of God and my classmates, I started to let God take my ideals and replace them with more trust for Him. Whenever I would start to feel sorry for myself (as lots of girls do… 🙂 ) because I felt hopelessly single, I would ask God to replace that with more trust for Him: trust that He would bring a man along in His own time and on His terms. I began to focus less on how single I was and more on who I was and who God had created me to be.

During this time, Benjamin and I actually started to become pretty good friends. He was a volunteer at our base and just always seemed to be around and ready to hang out. When I first met him, I thought we wouldn’t get a long at all. To me, he seemed way “out of my league” – even on a friendship level. I just thought we wouldn’t really have anything in common. But all of the sudden (I still don’t really know how it happened exactly) we were friends. He was the one skiing with me last year when I had my accident that put me out for the season. He came to the hospital with me and was a great support throughout that whole day and even through the rest of DTS.

And before I knew it, we were just good friends.

(In my mind, at least.)

There may have been a few times when I wondered if we were really just friends, Benjamin and I. I even remember my roommate Aleah telling me once that Ben “really adored” me. At that time, I was still trying to just focus on God and figuring out who He said I was. I didn’t have time for boys. And if I just told myself over and over that Ben didn’t actually like me, I believed it and it wasn’t something I had to try to figure it out. So basically, I ignored it – pretended it didn’t actually exist – and moved on with my life.

Fast forward to October of this year. I arrived back in Switzerland to staff the 2016 DTS and was so excited to see what God had in store for the upcoming season. I was back in one of my favorite places with some of my most favorite people and I couldn’t wait for the adventures ahead. I also felt like I was in a good spot. I could honestly say that I trusted God completely with my future – including marriage. I truly trusted that He had a good plan for me and I knew that no matter what happened, I would be ok with it – no matter what the outcome.

And wouldn’t you know it, Benjamin was back to staff, too. As our staff training went on, there would be these moments. I don’t really know how to explain them. We would be hanging out as a staff group and these random thoughts would pop into my head. They would skitter across my mind and they startled me every time. It would be a thought like, “Oh, did you see that? Did you see what Ben just did? That’s something you’ve said you wanted in a husband.” I never knew what to do with these thoughts or even where they came from. This was after I’d told God multiple times that I was not on the market when it came to boys. I was here in Davos to disciple the students that came through and to grow in my relationship with Him – not to chase after boys.

So these thoughts couldn’t be God, could they?

Since I didn’t know what to do with them, I just ignored them. Shoved them off to the side and decided I was crazy. My mind was just being a stereotypical girl’s brain and I could get over that. All I had to do was ignore them and just keep focusing on God. But these thoughts got my wheels turning. I started to think about what I actually looked for in a spouse and what God thought about my “list.” As the year went on, I began to realize what my heart really wanted. I wanted someone to dream with. Someone to grow with and to follow God alongside. My daily prayer became, “Lord, I want someone to dream with. Can I have someone to dream with? But give me patience. Help me to focus on what You’re doing in this season.”

Then one Sunday afternoon in March, it all began to click.

It was the week before we left on outreach and all of the sudden I realized what was going on.

 

 

…to be continued…

When You’re Not Looking… pt. 1

A little over a year ago, I gave God my idea of relationship.

It was during my DTS and all week the speaker had been talking about God’s character. “His character is always consistent, but unpredictable.” He said that over and over throughout the week, challenging us students to look at our relationship with God and see where we were expecting Him to react in a certain way. He had this great analogy to go with his phrase. He described God as a bouncy ball. He said the bouncy ball will always bounce – that’s not the question. The question is where is it going to go once you throw it on the ground. So by Friday, we’d had plenty of time to think about where we tried to box God in by our expectations. During our last lecture time that week, we spent the whole hour and an half taking our expectations to the cross and laying them at God’s feet. Some people laid down their financial situations or their future plans.

That week, God had begun to show me that I had a very structured idea of what a dating relationship should look like. I think I expected what most people would consider “normal” – or something along that line. I expected to meet someone and get to know him as a friend for maybe a year or two… then if there seemed to be some attraction, maybe start dating after that. And then after one or two years of dating, after we were both good and sure that we wanted to, we’d get engaged. Then we’d be engaged for six months or a year or so and then get married and live “happily ever after.” As God began to show me that, He began to challenge me on that. I felt like He was asking me if that was His way of doing things or my own. I was pretty sure it was my own, but I saw nothing really wrong with that formula, so I left it. I thought it was healthy. Wise. Smart. Why rush in to something that you’re committed to for life?

Then on that Friday morning, as the speaker was explaining what he wanted us to do, a question hit my heart hard:

“Would you marry someone you’ve only know for six months if I told you to?”

My heart just about stopped.

That was crazy. Only crazy people did that. You don’t just marry someone after knowing them for six months. That’s just a bad idea. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t a question of if I was spontaneous enough or daring enough, but rather it was a question of if I was willing to trust God that much. Was I willing to just jump when He told me to? Not because I was necessarily sure, but because I trusted Him completely.

So as other people started speaking out these things that they wanted to trust God with more, my heart was pounding out of control and sweat was trickling down my back. I believe that our words have power; when we speak things out loud, it makes a difference. And I believed in that moment if I said these things out loud, God would hear them and would take them seriously. So I was nervous. It’s hard to let go of things we like to feel in control of. And that’s where the trust comes in.

It was time for a leap of faith, and I knew that.

Then all of the sudden, it was time. It was one of those moments when you just know that you have do act right now. Something just stirs inside of your heart; there’s an intense burning and you know that now is the moment. I remember kneeling there and speaking out these words in front of all of my classmates:

“God, I give you my idea of what a relationship looks like. And I trust You. If you tell me to marry someone and I’ve only known them for six months, I trust You and I’ll follow through.”

You know how sometimes you say something that has been bothering you for a long time and you instantly feel better? Like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders?

Yeah, this wasn’t like that.

I didn’t really feel any differently and in all reality I didn’t really expect anything to happen out of that moment. But like I said, I believe our words have power. And I believe in that moment, God saw my act of faith and He heard the words that I said. I think He was proud of me then, too. I also think He saw what a difference this heart attitude would have in my life. Because it was then that I started my journey of truly letting go my idea of what a dating relationship should look like. That’s when I started to let go of my right to a husband and trust that if God wanted that for my life, He’d bring the right guy along at just the right moment.

And wouldn’t you know it….

That’s exactly what He did.

 

….to be continued…..

Cultures

One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to experience different cultures. First of all, I’m from the smallest of small towns in the most northern part of Minnesota. So just coming to Switzerland is a cultural difference. Even though our center is located on the edge of a smaller city, there are still many differences in culture. (As well as typography…)

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Minnesota, USA

 

I always say that there’s a lot of similarities between Swiss culture and American culture, but that mainly comes from the fact that we’re both Western cultures. There are still quite a few differences, despite a small overlap. And that’s what makes life exciting most days. A bit confusing and frustrating at times, but for the most part it’s good. Experiencing different cultures broadens our perspective of life and it helps me to realize that there isn’t just one “right” way of doing life.

So United States to Switzerland, cultural difference number one.

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Davos, Switzerland

 

But beyond experiencing Swiss culture, we also get the opportunity to experience other cultures when we go out on outreach. The past two years, I’ve had the chance to travel to Bosnia and Croatia. Both times I’ve been there have been amazing experiences getting to know people and learn more about their culture.

This last year, we spent lots of time with the people we met at each location. So we got a pretty good taste of how people do life in different countries. It’s an amazing experience! But my favorite part of outreach is getting a taste of how people from other cultures encounter God. I loved being able to attend church services – even if they can be long and in a language I can’t understand – just to be able to worship together. Just to be able to experience God together. In those moments, you don’t need words. Your hearts are simply joined together in a moment as you realize that you’re all worshiping the same God. That’s a feeling that has never left me. I love it. And I think it’s something that sticks with a person throughout their life.

So the other night when I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, all of the sudden the words from a Croatian worship song popped into my head. I know it’s a song that’s been translated into Croatian from English, but I don’t know the English words. So as the words came back to me, I just stood in the kitchen, chopping onions and singing out the lyrics on my heart.

Isuse, budi centar
Moja nada, moja pjesma,

Isuse, Isuse 

I don’t understand Croatian. I have a bit of an idea of what the words mean, but when it comes right down to it, I have no idea what I’m singing. But God does! And that’s what blows me away by how great He is. He fits into every culture. He created every language. And He knows every single person on this planet and loves us all the same. And He loves it when we come together just to worship Him. When we put aside all of our differences and simply enjoy Him; He loves that.

I believe in those moments, even if the worship is in Croatian, my heart is still full because I believe that in those moments we can feel the joy God feels. We can feel His delight in our praise.

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Worship in on Outreach

 

Sarajevo Round 2

Sarajevo, Bosnia.

It’s a beautiful city.

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In my opinion, at least. If you look close enough, you can see all the bumpy scars left from multiple wars – both in the physical and in the emotional. There’s so much hurt left over from a country that was torn apart. To outsiders, it looks like no one wants to move on. It looks like people in Sarajevo are hopeless. But if you look close enough, you’ll notice that there’s still hope. There’s always hope. As long as God loves people, there will always be hope. But sometimes our circumstances change how we view things. In the midst of pain, it’s hard to look for the hope. It’s hard to look past the wounds and see a life that’s beyond what we can see at the moment.

That’s how it felt with outreach sometimes. It felt like there was so much hurt in the city, how could we ever make a difference?

But if you look past the pain…. If you can shift your focus so you’re looking for hope instead of pain, you’ll find it.

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The outside of the Rafael Center – where Robert and Sandrina hold their fellowship and also where the children’s center is.
Robert and Sandrina have been living in Sarajevo for a while. They run fellowship and were in the beginning stages of starting a daycare/children’s center. The hope they have for their city is contagious. Even as we were doing labor work, I could feel my attitude begin to change. As I saw Robert’s hope, I began to catch the vision he had as well.

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The beginning of the Jungle Theater… where we would spend many hours painting art work and constructing a tree from styrofoam.
The beginning of starting a ministry is hard no matter where you are. It takes lots of work and lots of perseverance. When things don’t turn out how you had planned, it takes patience to push through and find another way of doing things.

As the weeks went on, sometimes it felt like we weren’t getting any where. It felt like no matter what amount of work we put in, there was always more that would need to be done. But holding on to the hope kept us going.

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The inside of the Jungle Theater.

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Watching “Bambi” in the Jungle Theater!
In the moment, it’s hard to see the impact we have sometimes. But looking back, we can see what our work accomplished. For one thing, we were able to build some good relationships with the people we worked with. And for another, we got to see the children’s center up and running when we left.

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The first kids camp to run at the new children’s center!
When we arrived, that building was empty. And when we left, it was full of colorful things for children’s to play in. We even got to play with kids for a few days!

For me, the growth I saw in my students made the whole trip worth it. When we left for outreach, we were all pretty comfortable with each other. But as time goes on, you see every side of a person when you live close with them. And there are moments when you are absolutely convinced that you can’t stand the other person. Every outreach team goes through that. But it makes it so much more amazing when you come to the end of outreach and you realize that you love each person on your team so much. Not because they are perfect, but because of who they are and who God is in them.

For me, that’s what makes outreach worth it. At the end of the day, Sarajevo still needs lots of love. But if I look at what God has done in the students and in me, it makes the whole trip worth it.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself.   – 2 Timothy 2:13

That’s what I learned. For me, that verse talks about trusting that God is moving, even if it doesn’t look like we expected it too, He is.

Because He is still faithful.

Always faithful.

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.

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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.

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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

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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.