In less than a week, I will be over the southern border of Tanzania, for one of our two, month-long Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach locations! This trip is strictly ministry-oriented and I won’t be able to see Mt. Kilimanjaro, but I am excited and anxious to see all the amazing miracles and wonders that await us. One of my team members, Daniel, was supposed to go to Tanzania with us, but he had to go home instead. This came as a blow to me, because he was my best friend here at the base. It is amazing, though, to think that in just two months the DTS will be over.
A few of us students from the western cultures have been missing the fall and Christmas season rituals that usually fill the air around this time of year. As a result, we have had “Christmas parties” consisting of hot chocolate, cinnamon sugar skillet apples, caramel sauce glazed pumpkin cake, and jamming out to classic Christmas music. Humbly speaking, everyone is grateful for my baking and cooking skills.
The Discipleship Training School has been amazing! Learning how different cultures operate and live life, to lovingly yet effectively teach people how to have a life-giving relationship with Christ, and how to deal with unexpected hiccups along the way, will stay with me my entire life. A few months ago a fire was sparked in my heart for missions and reaching the unreached, and now the best word to describe the intensity of that fire is–inferno. Each day I learn about another area, either geographically or socially, that could be reached, if only there was someone willing to go and touch their lives. One of those areas heavily on my heart is to develop a ministry for the villages on the shore of Lake Malawi. Without going into detail right now, God seems to be leading me to start a boat ministry base on the shore of Lake Malawi, for travel to currently unreachable villages, and minister to people who live along the shoreline. Lake Malawi is over 350 miles long and 52 miles wide.
Anyone can be a missionary, whether that means going to foreign countries, living as an example in your town, or enabling those who are called to be involved in ministry. Whatever your specific calling, we ultimately all have the same goal; furthering of the Kingdom of God. If I only have one candle of life to burn, I would rather it burn out in a dark place than a place filled with light. Fear of the unknown is a great lie of the enemy, but there is no place too dark for the light of Christ. Don’t let ANYONE use fear to discourage or distract you from what the Lord has said. You can go ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE at ANYTIME and He will be with you! Fear not, for the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. Jesus gave you the authority over darkness when He hung on the cross. It’s our job to keep the candle burning.
1 Peter 2:11-25
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
While on a weekend outreach with a team of seven students and two leaders, the Lord guided our group as we ministered to a specific church. During the service, Sue taught on seeking the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33). I preached on the Father’s love. The sermon focused on loving others, having complete faith in God, giving up your worries, and surrendering your heart in a relationship with Him (Matthew 6:25-26). During the sermon, God led me away from my notes multiple times, which is way out of my comfort zone. After the sermon, I went off of script and called people with pain or injuries to stand and our team would pray for them. I also felt led to share that if they weren’t healed immediately, it may be that God wanted to speak to them and heal them in His own time. We prayed for them and sent them in faith that God would come through and finish the work that He had begun.
That outreach time was absolutely amazing! When we arrived, way out in the African bush country, we heard people singing in the distance. As a team, we set up camp and started gathering things for dinner, not knowing that the singing was coming from the church that was waiting to welcome us. Once we found out, nearly two or three hours after we started to set up camp, we rushed over to see the church, which was packed like a can of sardines. For the entire time that we were setting up camp, they were singing and dancing in anticipation for us. Trevor, the only other student from the US, gave a word of encouragement to the congregation. Later, we walked everyone outside and saw at least 45 people healed. Their conditions included everything from poor eyesight to limping because of pain. They were all touched by the Holy Spirit!
Although my original plan was to staff at the Blantyre, Malawi base until leaving for Kona, the Lord placed other plans on my heart. When I leave Discipleship Training School in Malawi, I will be partnering with YWAM and Workaway to reach people in Madrid, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; and Anchorage, Alaska. I have made this decision through prayer and a leap of faith! Workaway.info is a website that allows farms, orphanages, and other miscellaneous businesses or nonprofits to offer room and board in exchange for work during the week. Working with hosts of Workaway will keep the costs incredibly low, while I am ministering to local communities.
*Upcoming plans for 2017:
From February 8th until April 15th a family in Madrid needs someone to help them learn English, while tending their garden. In exchange, they will supply room and food. I will be partnering with YWAM Madrid to help with outreach initiatives and to connect with local churches, when I am not working with the family. From April 15th until July 11th I will be learning new farming skills, as I work at a historic dairy farm and garden in Dublin, Ireland, in exchange for room and food. My goal, while not on the farm, will be to backpack through Ireland and do self-guided ministry and outreach, while partnering with local churches. The goal will be to share God’s love to the people I meet along the way. From July 15th until September 17th I will be a helping hand on a self-sufficient farm and garden in Anchorage, Alaska. The farm is owned by two certified nutritionists, has no running water, and will provide me with unlimited health food, mostly fruit and vegetables, and my own tipi for my room. During slow times of work, my goal is to learn more survival skills for the mission field and minister to the local small town near a Native American reserve, possibly by starting prayer meetings or small groups. Once my time in Anchorage is complete, on September 17th, I will be flying to Kona, Hawaii, for the School of Navigation with YWAM.
Thank you for everything!
*Working with Workaday.info requires one to be flexible, as such the locations described are likely to change. Though the locations may change the mission to make God known will remain the same, for He is in control.
Heading to minister at a local church.
Names from left to right: George, Domanic, Daniel, and Kealeboga.
Chameleons live wild here, and I have seen three of them!
My outreach team for two months in Tanzania and Malawi.
Names from left to right: Michael, Liezer, Sarah, Yankho, Tom, Kaitreen, Elijah, Domanic, and George.