Thursday, December 31, 2009
I am now home and in the USA after 5 months in Panama, Central America; I successfully completed and graduated from my Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission. I spent the 5 months all over Panama and in Costa Rica for 2 weeks as well. I was stretched and pushed in every part of my life during that time.
When we began our outreach I decided that each day I would write down at least one thing that I learned. Some are simple, some are big, some are silly, and some are "serious". I thought I would share these things that I learned.
Outreach Lessons... November Lessons.
1. Invest in people, listen to their stories, and learn from them. Focus on the good and not the bad in people.
2. Work with your entire heart, don't half do it. God wants your best, even if you don't like what you are doing.
3. Be open to different ways of minstering. God can give you a heart for the people you are serving and that style of serving.
4. We live for an Audience of One. We work for God! Even if we don't see the entire picture, God wants and desires our best, in every part of our life.
5. Remember Mary and Martha... sometimes you have to stop working and spend time and invest in other people.
6. Share. Trust that god will take care of everything, especially finances. (On this day- God provided me with 40 extra dollars :))
7. Take every opportunity to share the Lord.. it may be there only time to hear about the Lord.. even if they are drunk. (I gave my testimony to a gym full of drunk people that yelled the entire time.)
8. Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. Don't settle. Just wait- God will reveal His plan. There is beauty in the waiting.
9. Be thankful for those around you.. take time to uplift and encourage them. James 3. Accept people's differences.. that is how god made them and made us.
10. Be flexible... sometimes it's good to just go with the flow.
11. Do you remember that evangelism is a lifestyle? It's not something that you go and do.
12. Love people for where they are and who they are. See them in God's eyes. Are your actions causing others to stumble, sin or become frustrated? Deal with the root of any problems.
13. Don't underestimate yourself. God can use you even just the way you are.
14. Take time to enjoy life and to spend tiem with people. Trust that God will meet your wants along with your needs.
15. Step out of your comfort zone. Let God use you where He wants you.
16. Enjoy life.. even the little things, like getting McDonalds.
17. You can learn something from every person- it all depends on your perspective.
18. Listen to the Holy Spirit- don't take every "bad" feeling as something wrong- ask the Lord what He desires in the situation, it may just require you to be uncomfortable and to stretch yourself.
19. There is no seperation of spiritual and physical. It's yep- both. (Everything is Spiritual by Rob Bell.)
20. The Lord provides big and small, even bacon.
21. Laughter is a gift from God- enjoy life. Proverbs 17:21 We have a lot of plans in our hearts, but it is the Lord's PURPOSE which prevails.
22. Everyone has something to share, everyone shares differently- be open to their methods.
23. God is to us as we were to the Mother Theresa patients. They depended compeltely on us and the nurses to feed them and keep them clean, to love and spend time with them. Be grateful for the health and well being you have.
24. Be where you are today. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Be where you are 100%. Sing, clap, dance, enjoy life.
25. Family isn't just those whoa re blood related it's the ones who have been there the ones that support you and love you.
26. It's hard to look for the good everyday- it's easy to get sucked into self-pity. But be thankful for what you do have and look for the good.
These are the lessons from November.. my ones from the other 2 months are in a different journal. These are things that I wanted myself to remember after I got home and got back into my normal things and habits. Which I am praying will not happen. :)
My time in Panama was such a blessing, I learned many things. I was blessed by my time with my team and with the people that we reached. We did many different types of ministry during our Outreach. I had the opportunity to experience many different types of evangelism. I am very happy to be back at home and be with my family. I miss Panama and my group but I know that God has plans for me in the future. I am currently praying about where God wants me in the "job field". I prayed about going to college this semester and really felt like God was telling me that I did not need to go to college yet. I appreciate prayers for me as I search and pray for a job. And also and prayers concerning re-entering in to the United States. That in itself is a process and a job. It is more difficult that I thought it would be.
Thank you for your prayer and financial support while I was in Panama. I am forever grateful for you all. Love each of you. I'd be happy to talk or answer any questions that anyone has about my journey. Love.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
My Top 10 Thankful List:
1. Awesome parents that support me in everything.
2. A beautiful twin sister who somehow allowed me to be away for 5 months.
3. My awesome brother who I miss so much.
4. My entire family!
5. My YWAM family, who has been here for me this past 5 months in each situation that I have come to face.
6. New friendships that are lifelong and ones that I will never forget.
7. The beautiful sceneary I am surrounded with.
8. My DTS group.. I love each of you more than you know and am so thankful to be able to spend a season of our lives together.
9. Laughter- how would I get through life without it?
10. My amazing, awesome, wonderful, faithful and mind blowing Savior! He provided my every need, He is constant, He is the best thing that has happened to me.
Happy Thanksgiving from Panama!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
After Boquete, we traveled to Parita then to Los Santos, followed by Las Tablas, and ending in Aguadulce. We did a lot of house to house ministry and programs in the park. I got the opportunity to be a preacher and I preached at a church one Sunday morning. The Lord is teaching us all sorts of things and stretching us and using us in ways we never thought we would be used. We are discovering gifts and passions that we haven’t experienced or felt before as well.
We came back to base on Saturday the 21st where a nice comfortable bed awaited us, after sleeping on the floor for several weeks it was a nice “homecoming”. We have been working in Colon these past few days visiting the Mother Theresa Home and the Salvation Army. I have been so super blessed by these two places. The Mother Theresa Home- I fed 2 blind men and a cute 4 year old boy that hit me and threw cornflakes at me. :) And was able to help the sisters out by feeding and playing with the kids. Life is so precious and we are so blessed by the abilities that we have. God works with us the same way that we were working with them. They relied on us for their food, their smiles, their communication. They trust that the sisters will feed them, clothe them, bathe them. In the same way- God does the same for us. He puts time and effort into us, he desires our attention, even when we throw fits and ignore him. He still desires us. It was such a humbling experience to help someone out with daily things that I take for granted.
Yesterday, we went to Salvation Army where I met an awesome blind gentleman named, Mr. Bennet. He was such a blessing to me, I was able to read some of his favorite passages to him from the Bible. Even though I didn’t get through half a verse at a time because he wanted to make sure I understood. ☺ So cute and precious. He sang songs for me, took pictures with me, taught me many things, and prayed for me.
I am learning so much on this outreach and on this “adventure” here in Panama. We leave Friday to go to the jungle for a week. Please be praying for my sleep, I am nervous about that aspect of being in the jungle for that extended period of time. We are going to 2 villages to work with both the Kuna and the Embera indigenous Indians. Be praying for language barriers and for the superstitious indigenous customs they have set in place. After our week in the jungle I will have one more week of debrief and then I will be home! Thank you for your prayers.. I will be updating again as soon as I can after the jungle. Love you all. B.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
here are some pictures of my past two weeks.... that is my little buddy alejo, walking for one of his first times... and the first picture is of me digging a ditch at a school in san jose, costa rica....
I am absolutely loving this time I get to spend serving the Lord.. Thank you for all of your prayers- we leave tomorrow to go back to Panama to help in some provinces that are suffering from flash floods, we feel that the Lord has really guided us to help with the floods, so be praying for the lives that we will come into contact with that have lost homes and family members due to these floods. Besos!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Alejos is the 2 and a half year old son of an indigenous woman, and her husband is the only father that Alejos knows. He is very sick, malnourished and scared. He just sat most of the time while we were there. He had never taken a step without someone holding his hand and his belly pouched out and his legs were very thin. After building his trust he let me hold him and do some physical therapy with his legs. We fed him and just loved on him. By the end of the week he was walking holding one hand, taking a few steps on his own, and we found a place where he can go and stay to get nourished back to health.
This little guy really touched my heart, he is such a blessing in my life. I have found one of the things in ministry that I absolutely love to do. God taught me so much through this little guy. How many times do we do the same thing with God? He wants to help us get stronger but we cry and we don´t let him hold us and love us... this week I have learned to sit in my Heavenly Father´s lap and trust him to help me get stronger... even if I´m sore after or it hurts during the process...
We are now in San Jose, Costa Rica staying at a YWAM base in Heredia (you can goodle YWAM Herdia and they have a website) and this awesome base has washing machines, hot water, internet and it´s cold here! How awesome is that! My hair looks pretty for the first time in 3.5 months! Haha... I am so blessed to be on this journey with the Lord. I should be updating again soon, maybe even posting a few picture of Alejos and me! Thank you for your prayers... I love you all!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Be in prayer for:
all travels.. we are traveling a lot... after Costa Rica we will be in cities for 3 or 4 days then moving again.
programs we put on in streets.. that people would be touched
patience for me while traveling.. I can be a grumpy traveler ;)
our team unity...
preparing the hearts of the people we will come in contact with!
I love you all and am so excited to see what God is going to do this outreach! Ill post when I have internet... that could be who knows when! (pray for that too :))
Monday, October 12, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
The first place we visited was a village called Erebache... so cool. We drove our vans about an hour and a half to a place then hopped on some dugout boats for a 20 minute boat ride tot he village. This village is a smaller one that the chief started for tourism tours. We got to sleep in a hut on a wood floor.. bathe in the river.. swim in the river.. hug a monkey.. have class outside.. and many other exciting things.
We then came back to base had a day we spent praying in the city and then we left for Chirique. Which I LOVE! It is up inthe mountains.... so I got to be cold! It was amazing.. after sweating every day non stop, being cold is quite the treat. They also had awesome coffee, and delcious strawberries. We prayed in several cities and places on the way and got to see the beauty of Panama. Seriously, God is so amazing.. he is so unique and a very taleneted artist! It was awesome.
This next week is our last week of lecture phase.. can you believe it!? Then we start outreach! This weeks teaching is on evangalism and our base director will be teaching once again. It should be awesome. Then we will start our 8 week outreach all over Panama... we will be in Panama City, Bocas Del Toro, and every province of Panama, and also a week in Costa Rica. Which is so cool! I am so excited to see how God is going to move. We are still preparing dramas, dances, and our testimonies in preparation for outreach.
Be praying about how God can use each of my teammates and myself and also for unity in the group. The closer we are with each other the more God can use us! We wanna be his hands, wanna be his feet.. we will go where he sends us, go where he sends us.
Also... I cant remember if I wrote this in a blog or not.. but I thought I had a ton of chiggers on my legs a few weeks ago after Niko... well it wasnt chiggers.. I got a fungus.. but I got some medicine and cream for my legs and I am now not constantly scratching my legs! Praise the Lord.
God is so goooood.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
To be honest- I have had a slump these past 2 weeks.. just not been myself and frustrated.. but I am coming out of it.. and so thankful for that. I am so excited about this next week... We are going to be traveling all week around Panama.. doing a week of teaching on Spiritual Warfare.. going to a village called Erabache and then also Chirique.. which is "colder" than here, and has strawberries! YAY!
My birthday was so good here.. I was worried that it would be bad considering my first one without Chels.. but I woke up to a big box full of cokes, candy, and goodies.. then had my breakfast french toast ready for me at breakfast.. had all my plates and stuff washed.. got to eat mashed patatoes- so good... took my 5th hott shower since I have been here- THEN I slept on a couch!!! Haha.. said I was just gonna hang out for a minute and woke up 2 hours later.. crazy huh? We also went to Bennigans to eat- so good.. and came home to bag of 2 liter coca cola, maria cookies, and munchies! It was a good one.. totally missed twin- but it was still good.
God is good. All the time.
That's all for now! Love.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I am simply amazed at the grace and beauty of God. Today I got to experience something that I will always remember the rest of my life. I was baptized in the Chagre River with 7 other brothers and sisters in Christ. I was baptized when I was 7 years old, after I made the decision to let Jesus into my heart, but it was just going through the steps. I was young and I knew what I was doing but I really do not remember being baptized. The only memory I have of it is from a picture, so when one of the "home" kids told our base director he wanted to be baptized Rich opened it up to anyone. I had a meeting with Rich and we discussed what this baptism would mean to me.
This is what I shared with him- I am ready to lay everything at Jesus' feet. Give complete and total control to my Savior. Let him be Lord of my life. I am done with the things of the past. I am unashamed and am committed to allow the Lord to speak to me, work through me, and use me in any way that he has planned. I want nothing holding me back, it's time for me and God to really spend time together. For me to get to know him, and listen to him.
So at 10 o'clock this morning we headed to the Chagre River.. we had a time of worship and then our time of baptism. I was the 7th to go, it was beautiful to see all of these indigenous youth giving their lives to the Lord. As my turn came, extreme excitement filled my spirit. As I was immersed in the water I let all my shame, pain, sin, and guilt come off of me, let the Holy Spirit take control.. I am pretty sure I yelled whenever I came up. It was a beautiful experience.. and I am so glad I did it. I now can remember the day I was baptized, completely laying everything at His feet.
Another cool thing about the baptism was that 3 nations were represented. All of the other youth that were baptized are from indigenous villages, and they live on base to be able to go to school and get their education. I am so blessed to have experienced this with such beautiful children of God. Praise the Lord. :) I am a new creation, I am alive in Christ, and I am a child of God. Dios es Bueno.
Monday, September 7, 2009
P.S.-- 95 more days ;)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Today in class we were asked where we are with our relationship with Jesus. This is a difficult question to answer.. you have to be extremely honest with yourself and vulnerable to those around you. What I found was interesting, we are all in similar positions. Every one in our group has been taken out of their churches, their religions, their homes and placed in a place where we are deciding what WE believe in. Not me and my famliy, not me and my church, not me and my friends, but what do I think about my life with Jesus. What do I believe in? The thing that I am finding is I can not go on anything but the Word of the Lord.
I have experienced and learned about many new things this past week. Last week our teaching was about the fall of man. I was brought into this whole new subject of "the spirtual realm". I am still processing all of this information, and seeking out what the Bible has to say.. but the basis of it all is that if it's in the Bible- it's true. So my challenge to myself and to all of you all is to stop looking at your relgion and hiding under all your "good" deeds and ideas- and come back to the basics, to the basis of your whole faith. Do an evaluation on your relationship with the Lord.. ask yourself the hard questions. Be vulnerable to others. Be open to the voice of God. I so often treat my relationship with the Lord as a one way relationship- I do all the talking he does all the listening... that is so not how it is supposed to be. We were created to be in constant converstaion and obedience with the Lord. My goal this week is to really come to the basics of why I believe in the Son of God.. and why I believe that he created me and what my purpose is. This will take me more than 1 week... but as long as it takes I'm open. This one way relationship now has another lane...
Sigh... I feel better after getting that out.. I hope that it challenges you as much as it challenges me. We leave for Costa Rica on Saturday night and will return either the next Saturday or Sunday. We will be doing a Niko Adventure Camp... which we are not allowed to know what we will be doing, nor will I be allowed to share with you all. But I do know that I will not have my own toothpaste, shampoo, or a razor for 5 days. We received a packing list with everything we could bring.. nothing more. I have a feeling it will be an intense but very rewarding time with the Lord and with my team.
You can begin to pray for that... also- this week Carlos from Cali is our teacher and he is teaching on "destiny/calling/whatever God leads him to" so pray for him and for our team. Today was an awesome day. If I get the time I will update again before Niko!
You all are awesome! Love you!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Another thing that I am learning is faith. We are reading through the New Testament while doing our DTS- and I started Matthew yesterday- I forgot all of the stories of Jesus healing the sick, the lepors, the blind, the demon possessed. And it was their faith that amazed me, I can't say that I have that kind of faith- which I am ashamed because I should. I want faith like that- that's my prayer as I write this blog.
I'll end this blog with some song lyrics that have spoken to me:
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Some of you have asked for my address to send me letters or packages so here they are:
For packages: Juventud Con Una Mision
7979 NW 21st St.
Doral, FL 33122-1616
Juventud Con Una Mision
PO Box 025207
Miami, FL 33102-5207
I´m pretty sure I have to pay to receive them, because your postage will only cover for it to get to Doral or Miami... so keep them pretty light, or send some cash ;) haha. And don´t send anything to the one I posted before.. it takes ages to get here.. like a month or more.. They said I might get that when we get back from outreach haha..
And... if you ever wanna webcam me or talk to me my skype is brennengaddis search me and we can talk one night if we are both on at the same time :) Love love love
Friday, July 31, 2009
Uh... where did week 1 go? It went by insanely fast- and I like that, it's crazy how much I have already grown in one week. My faith has increased.. the Lord is faithful with BIG and small. Sometimes we forget that he can handle the little things like: bad internet, hot and humid days, spilled water on computers, ants, lizards, jumping spiders, sticky nights.... things like that. :) I love this time I am getting to spend with the Lord, it is so awesome. He is so amazing, he proves himself true day after day- hour after hour. I am so blessed by my DTS team, we all speak English and vary from the ages of 18 to 43, oh and a 16 month old ;). And everyone is hilarious... I have never laughed so hard in my life... we are a group of 14 from California, Georgia, Minnesota, Kentucky, Idaho, Norway, Holland, Michigan... we all come from different backgrounds but all have the same goal in mind- increased faith. Today was our last day with the subject of Hearing God.. we decided to go to the city and walk. We were paired up, I was paired with Jan from Holland... we walked for 30 minutes simply observing then we went and prayed together about what we saw. What we saw was emptiness- people yearning for more.. more money, more money, more glitter... but their hearts desire, even if they don't know it now, is for the love of Christ. Jan and I prayed together that their deepest hearts desire would be fulfilled, Isaiah 43 was also laid on my heart during that time- take some time and check it out.. Once everyone was back together we shared with one another, we had 2 guys come up to us and tell us that they could tell we were Christians and that they as well were Christians working with the children who were gangsters and went around killing each other. We got the chance to pray for them as a group. The Lord works in mysterious ways- and I was blessed by that opportunity.
This afternoon we got some time as a team and individually to listen to God as we worshipped, prayed, and sought God's will. During this time God brought some things up that I was ignoring, but things that are holding me back in my relationship with Christ. I am learning that it's okay to be angry, to be upset.. cry when we need to cry... but there is also a time of rejoicing that those times may come but our Heavenly Father is holding us. I got to experience both of those times. My team is so awesome, people praying for one another, lifting each other up, speaking words of encouragement to each other. Simply beautiful. I love my team, and I love what God is doing with us.
Be encouraged that your prayers are being felt. Continue to pray. We all need them. I love all of you all. Xoxo.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Oh Panama. I have only been here 2 days and 3 nights and it has already been an experience. Thursday, the first morning, I was ready to go home, I thought that this wasn't for me and I misread the Lord's will for my life. And I now know why I felt like that... satan is out to kill, steal, and destroy any experience that will bring me closer to the Lord, which is exactly what Panama DTS is doing to my life. I am beginning to see that my prayers are being answered- I am having to fully trust Christ for everything. So today (Friday) was a much better day.
We started today off with a lovely breakfast, which of course I didn't eat. Then we had a worship time, which was totally needed for me.. I was longing for that time where I could just sing and worship to my Savior. We also got to hear and give our testimonies of how we got to Panama and also how we met the Lord. I am so blessed to be with this group. There are so many awesome stories within our classmates.
Some left everything they had, they quit their jobs, sold their houses and cars, and bought a 1 way ticket to Panama.. how amazing is that. I am blessed so much to be around people that have that kind of faith! Our group is seriously a funny group.. I have laughed so much today.. which is totally what I needed. Laughter cures mostly everything. :) We all are so different but we have one purpose and that is to serve our Lord.
Tonight, I got a little taste of home! We went out to dinner to a nice restraunt and guessss what? I ATE! Yep, that's right, my appetite is back. Praise the Lord. What was so funny was that I kept looking for our cell phone to see if I had a text. Isn't that horrible? I am so immuned to the culture of busy busy busy that I don't even realize how much I am dependent on my phone and the technology. Of course, I didn't have my cell phone... I wonder how many cell phones I'll loose once I get back to the States? Haha.
Anyways- thanks for the prayers.. I can feel them! The Holy Spirit is going to do wonders.. I can't wait. I am praying for you all back home as well!
I'm writing this Friday night but I'll try and post it soon- I am not where there is WiFi.. ;) Love to all!
Post 2 in 1 post :)
It's Saturday night right now.. and we have gone to the beach today! :) It was lots of fun, good bonding time for the group.. and once again lots of laughs! Tomorrow we get to go to a church in the city- so that should be fun as well.. Just wanted to let everyone know I am doing better.. I have been eating today tambien.. just ate 3 cookies :)
Love all of you all!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Oh wow, what an adventure... as of right now I am still in the States, I am waiting on my final flight to Panama City, Panama and it already has been crazy! I made it to all of my gates with absolutely 0 problems, I rode on 2 small planes so I am hoping that this next one will be bigger! I have been extremely nervous, consisting of passing out once (before church on Sunday) then throwing up Sunday, then on Monday and Tuesday throwing up as well.. and today I did as well! Haha. It has been crazy- but who am I to not suffer? We all will face trials, and the other night I was reminded of the beauty in the trials in the book James. I was reminded that through trials I develop steadfastness or perseverance and through that comes joy. So that is how I am looking at these nerves- they will only make me stronger!
My first flight I met a man named Eric who is 30, and is also going to Panama City- except he didn't get the joy of going to Newark before his flight to Panama.. however I was able to share with him what I am doing and he shared a piece of Orbit chewing gum that DIDN'T make me throw up. (Praise the Lord.) And then the second trip I talked to another man after the fact of me being one of the last ones on the plane (not my fault), so everyone on that flight got the joy of watching little me try to put my STUFFED and heavy backpack in the carryon area... needless to say that man was cracking up. And I was able to share with him what I was doing as well, he was from New Jersey and wasn't extremely friendly but he was pretty nice to me! :)
So now I am sitting here amazed that all these people are going to the same destination, but with totally different reasons. This morning I doubted if I have the ability to do this, and it just came to me that I do not have the ability, but the Lord has the ability to strengthen me, comfort me, love me, and use me. It is absolutely nothing of me but all of him. Because if it was me, I would have already turned around and headed back to Owensboro to stay in my comfort zone.
Now lets see how I feel once I get there :). Thank you for your prayers- they have gotten me this far, so I am confident that they will get me to Panama as well.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. a]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a]
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil [satan].
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
This is not about me, this is about humbling myself before the Lord and letting him use me in whatever way He pleases. What a joy to serve an awesome God. I need to stop thinking about me and remember who my God is and trust Him and then He will direct me and make my paths straight. :)