Wednesday, December 28, 2011

and end of a time

I hope this letter find you and yours well and happy, enjoying the love of one another and of the joy of Christmas and the new year!

As I come to the close of this year and my time with YWAM, I look back on it and see it has been a crazy time. No more so then my time in South Africa. That was more amazing then I could have dreamed of. There where callings as all journeys have but in them I was able to rely on God and learn how to love Him and others!

In the month we spent in Durban we worked mainly with a community development project and a rehab clinic. To see poverty in a country seeking to recover from apartheid was tuff but it only highlighted the work and people we meet. People who were seeking the Kingdom in new way and that brought fresh air to the stale heat of brokenness. One example of this was a Swedish social-worker who had come to live and work in the Burlington the township where we worked. Even with the many twists and turns in her time there, it was so amazing to see her seeking the kingdom in a way that empowered people. Not just teaching them, but living and sharing in an open organic way. In our conversations, I found a kindred spirit who was seeking to bring change by asking questions and live them out. The other example was a man of 25 who I meet at the rehab clinic. He knew that if he failed this time he would be lost for good. He shared the stories of his life and the life on the street; a life that he not only lived but was a student of, a well educated one at that, having lived not only in South Africa but in the U.S. and England. In his stories I sensed a love for people and hart felt longing to see God and help others.

After Durban we went to Musenburg for 3 weeks. I can say that in this time all my hopes for my DTS came true. I had the pleasure to meet some amazing people and my heart aches in missing my time with them. It was amazing to sit in lectures on Acts and then go and live it in a township. This township, Masi, stole a bit of my heart. Masi or Masiphumelele, has more than 40,000 people living in it from all over Africa. It is colorful, stunningly beautiful and heartbreaking all in once. The 'wetlands', a section of the township, is built on a marsh and is a beautiful mass of life. All the structures are made from found materials, painted in bright colors; some burnt with past fires and some a stunning red of rust. In this bustling community there is a group of people that seek to live intently for the Kingdom and I was honored to live life for a few days with them. In these few days, so many of the spaces of my hart where filled! This time felt so natural to me that I was tempted to never leave. I am still thinking about going back as there is an opportunity to work with developing work opportunities that are unique to my skills. This is something I would appreciate your prayers for. It was so hard to leave South Africa after my hart had been so full. I was fighting all that was in me not to just stay. But as it is I did leave and graduated my DTS in York.

The past year has been one of learning and growing with many times wanting to give up, and to “just walk away for it all”. Even so it has brought me and others so much Joy and love. I have been given an education on how hard it is to living in community and in Christ can be. However, also how it can bring so many blessings and a bit of the Kingdom for God. With all of this in my heart and mind I am now at home in the Netherlands hoping to see what is next on this journey.

Once more thank you for coming on this journey with me till now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

week 1

This was written in the begging of my time in Durban :

so it has been a week now that we have been in Durban.

Some of the things we will be helping out with are a sup kitchen, work in a local town ship: mainly visiting women form the community, helping out with computer classes, and a reading club with some of the local kids.

What this relay looks like is

sup: so fare we have song some song’s, witch is a act of God beaus only 2 of us are gifted in singing. We also help serve and wash dishes as well as do some of the perching.

The work in the town ship:

Burlington is where we work. It is 20min from where we are staying. One of the guys from YWAM Durban lives in this Town ship. It is and exiting look in to south African cutler and life. In the coming weeks we will even be spending a nigh in the town ship and share a meal with some of the woman that we will be working with in the community.

This Sunday we attended to Church in Burlington. As we walked in form the dusty street we entered the small metal box room that was the church for the afternoon. As we entered we where hit with a wave of heat. The woman and children start setted to set up chaser and wiping them down. We took our seats 6 white woman and Zulu one. I could not help but feel like 'The white missionary', and it was very uncomfortable but as the music started and the Zule worship began I was given one of my first taste for it and liked it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

South African Adventure

I am officially a YWAMer!

I have graduated form my DTS and have finished my time with YWAM York. Since then I have had some time to reflect on my Journey with YWAM. One again I do apologise that I have not been the best at posting but in the next few days I will share some more of my adventurers with you. They may be written in a mixtures of present and past context but I will do my best and explain when and where they happens!

on reflecting on my time in South Africa I can say it was amazing! It was such a thrill to be a part of what was going on in all the many projects. It was also exiting to see a change in my self.

The amazing miracle

Adventists always need a start and this one had a bit of a chaotic one. Beginning with a fear of not being able to go to South Africa. Then a miracle happened and all my finances where covered in 24hours, 2 days before I was to leave. One thing I learned that day was: You can pray for a miracle but if you are not prepared for it to happen you will not see it as one. So when you pray you need to pack your bags too or the miracle will hurt more then help.

Me being unprepared for this overwhelming miracle was just one of the many challenges to the rocky start for our adventurer. Even with this all, many of these challenges later became the necessary catalysts to strengthen and deepen relationships.

During our time in Durban we stayed at a house that was the YWAM Durban base. It was lovely to be welcomed in to a home (even if that meant having to share it with numerous cats,100 in all!!). Our days where spent working with many ministers but the once that stuck out for me was the work we did in a township with a community development project and our evenings we spent at a rehab clinic.

after our time in Durban we moved to Muizenberg just outside of Cape Town....

Well that is it for now I will soon have some more stores about Durban and Muizenberg! Like a feast of chickens feet, our times at the rehab clinic and the lovely township of Masiphumelele!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

this is a long time in coming ….
sorry for not up dating this I some time
but I am in South Africa !!
and THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!!
to all of you how have supported me financially and in prayer !
You have given me so much hope and such joy in being part of Gods provision to me in a very challenging time !

Soon I will up date you with picks and info and all the may emotions!
And adventurers (internet is limited and so it may not be as soon as you or I would like )
but soon and very soon !!
to give you a taste of what is to come:
1) an amazing story of Gods provision (I am in south Africa)
2) the places we work with ( in a town ship and a rehab facility one of my faves …..)
3) a night in a town ship ! (eating chicken feet!-there are picks!)
4) and any new adventurers !!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I have just come back form my time in Romania. It is an enchanting country of medieval castles, fields of wild flowers and charming farms, but even with this there is a darker side. There is a prevalent sadness in the face of the Romanian people in contrast with its bright and vibrant culture, it was heart breaking. All the years of the communist abuse has left its mark in the faces of its people and scares on its landscape.
One of the days that I will never forget there was a visit to a nearby village that had one of the poorest communities of gypsies in the area. There four of the youth and I found ourselves working with a summer school. After playing some games with the kids (the ‘funky chicken’ being their favorite) we visited them in their homes. This was an experience that will never leave me. It was so heartbreaking yet hopeful - having played on a hill side with the children, and seeing the Kingdom come, as we played and sat with them like Christ when the little children came to him. They sat with us and sang and smiled up at us with such delight, you could not help but see the Kingdom in their eyes. Then we descended to visit their homes, which was a sobering act. To see soiled babes with flies all over them in mud huts. All I could do for stopping myself crying was to remember the love the children had shown us and smile back so that I could see them smile at me. In their eyes i saw Christ, more then I have ever done.
It was painful to know I could do nothing but smile my feeble grin and pray for the injustice to stop in their lives. As I found out that the European Union’s money for the integration for this community of gypsies was spent on a hotel rather than giving to these. But even in the face of this injustice there was hope, because I saw those who worked every day with this community love these children and seeing them seeking to bring the kingdom by educating and fighting for justice for this community.
With all of this and all the little things God has been teaching me it was a delight to come home and meditate on the situation. Having missed city life more than I had thought, and the news of riots in London, Birmingham and Manchester (some rioters as young as 8), was very sobering. After being inspired by how beautiful life can be if philosophy is lived out practically (from attending an opening address at a philosophy conference). I have found a reigniting of my passion to see life lived missions in a more holistic way in our cites; the need for living lives in a way that can develop our communities in a holistic and creative way that seeks the kingdom has become a even bigger cry in my soul. With this new excitement steering in me – even more after my conversations at Greenbelt a (Christian festival) my final leg of my time in my DTS has come.

In a few days I will be flying to South Africa for two months. We will be working in township with community development, in Mosal bay as well as Durban. One of the things I am looking forward to is the ability to share some of my skills in art making as a way to provide practical skills to women in these communities.

But even with this excitement there is still a big shadow looming over head as I am in a dire need to raise my funds for finishing my school as well as my time in South Africa. I am sill in need to pay off $800 in lecture fees and 1,500 in travailing fees for my time in South Africa. If you could and would be willing to help in any way please do so in prayer or by donations (through my PayPal account )

Do keep me in your prayers for finances, traveling mercies and for the challenges that come from working, living and traveling for 2 months in South Africa with YWAM.

Once again thanks you for your prayers and support

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's been some time since I've updated on how my time with YWAM York has been!
soo .....(sorry no picks to day :(

Life these days
We live and we learn! This is very true for my life right now. As the thrill off the new has worn off I have been able to meditate on my surroundings and have found myself becoming a bit weary. But just as that was gathering Easter broke with a resurrection of spirit! Having spent Easter with family and friend I have come back with a renewed excitement to see how I can work this life in mission out!

Here is a bit more about life in York!
The neighborhood and home
As the months have been coming and going our relationships with our neighborhood has been growing. We still have almost every day kids knocking on our door! I was told by one of the mom's over a cup of tea the other day that they even talk about us at school. It’s exiting to see that we are becoming such a part of their lives as much as they are being part of ours.
We just started cooking with the kids and we have a 10year old master backer amongst us! But do keep them in your prayers and us as we seek Gods wisdom in how to love and encourage them and their families. Also that we can have the wisdom to see what we can do to encourage and make our home a place that seeks all we can do to make it a creative home in the kingdom!
Also after doing a project working with a local organisation that seeks to meet the need in the community with the resources of the local church. We where able to meet a lady who lives quite close to our home. Meeting her was an encouragement to all of us. In the few times of chatting, she shared a few ladles of her wealth of wisdom. It sparked a renewd interest in me for what we are doing and the potential it has. This new friendship is one I hope to see grow. This was such a encouraging experiences for the fact that it felt like helping a family member and I was able to get a feel for what it looks like be the body of Christ where your needs are met by the family of Christ where your giving is receiving and your receiving is giving !

Our work at a local drop in centre has been one of my personal favourites. The relationships with some of the guests we have been forming has be exciting to see! One highlight has been that I am remembering who would like to have coffee or tea! This is especially meaningful in the case of one of the guest who has been teasing me and testing me for the past month and last week I finally remembered! He was one of the guests I was not thrilled to see because I felt he was cross with me for getting stuff wrong. Now I can say I look forward to seeing him! I look forward to spending more mornings making toasts and talking about gardening and remembering who wants : coffee or tea!

Mum's and toddlers
Recently, I have not been working to much with the mum’s and toddlers group, but others of us have been forming relationships with the kids and mom's which is exciting to see. also I have been recognising the mothers and kids out side the play group witch is exiting

New stuff
Recently I have joined the York Printmakers Workshop. This is a recently opened, Studio. I am volunteering as much as time and my schedule allows. This has and is providing a great space to get back in to art making, and hanging with other artists! This has been an answer to prayer, as I was getting discouraged on how to get the arts back in to my life and how to integrate it in to my time with YWAM.
My time spent there is also providing me with insite on how to run a print shop and seeing all the possibilities and changes in doing so. As well as opportunities to see how God can use me in the conversation in the arts! Even with this all there are some challenges as as how to distribute my time as not to make it a priority over my YWAM commitments.

Coming July 23 – August 10 we will be going to Romania. We will be mainly in the Transylvania basin and will be working with a local church there. We will be doing children’s work, working with the local gipsy community, and church plants. I am not certain what this will look like, but I am looking forward to sharing all the adventures it will bring. Do pray for us so that we will have the wisdom in preparing for this trip. Also of the youth that will be going with us on this trip, as we will be taking a few high school students with us to share in this work.

South Africa
We will be going to South Africa coming this September /November. This will be in connections with the work that last year’s team did . I am not certain what our time there will look like, but as we research and prepare for this time there is a building excitement/uncertainty. But it is all part of what God has planed and I am looking forward to it! Do keep us in your prayers for this too, as this will be a longer and more intense time for us to work, as well as working with one another. There will be some unique challenges as we will be a team of all girls. Another item that I would appreciate your prayers and possible support is that I am still in need to raise fund for this trip.

Over all prayer and support need
As I mention I would appreciate prayers in regards to wisdom for all our work and for wisdom and strength for me personally as the many challenges of working and living with people. As these are at times a personal place for growth.
I am still in need to raise a couple month of my lecture fees and am in need to raise my funds for South Africa. It is exiting to see how God as provided already through people and a generous tax-return. As such I am looking forward how God will provide!

Once again thank you for your support! And for being a part of what God is doing in York and in my life.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The sun is been out the past few days and we in Yorkshire have been taking full advantage of it. From sitting in the sun, painting outside with the kids and gardening!

We do hope our garden will turn out well, even though not one of us is a gardener .

In anticipation for new season and Easter to arrive I can say I am looking forward to the coming season to see what is in store.

I had a amazing time in Manchester. YWAM York took part of an evangelism week in Manchester with Forever, which is a team form YWAM that is doing mission in all the cites in the U.K. where the Olympics will have a influence.This was a week that I was looking on with a bit of dread. Never having done the usual evangelism I was not looking forward to trying it.

But as we heard talks form people who shared what the root of evangelism should look like, and all the many ways it can be done it was less daunting. I pushed myself to give it a shot. I must say it was not all that bad. I was not “saving” people left and right, but I pushed myself to be more open about my faith as well as challenged by how we can live a life of being a constant presence in the lives of people and be open at all times.

One thing that came up numerous times was a realization that just being a presence and doing something kind and out of the ordinary – like handing out sweets at 9pm as saying it was because we where christens and then just chatting – not pushing our agendas at them, was a way to reach out as christens and getting to know our neighbors in a city, and the problems they face, and learning how we can help.

Manchester was not all evangelism. It was a time where I meet new people who are on a similar journey. I was privileged to meet with others who are passionate in art at all levels as a Christian. In all my conversations that week, I can say that there is a new hope to see what will come out of YWAM in the next few years in the area of the Arts!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fellow Pilgrims

Meeting an old soul is always a joy for me, and meeting Irish ones are even more exiting: this past few days have been a delight in that way.

Allen: was an older man could not tell you his age, but he had bright eyes and a love of Jane Austen, good literature and good grammar. We passionately talked, leafed and shared the stories of his youth and travels, simple joys of loving harts and of the county side. We shared a communion of souls that was such a treasure. As we said good bye and hugged, we two seemed to wish that we would reconnect some day. After that he stepped into his reality, of who knows what poverty, and I into mine. I felt a bit of my hart find something it was missing and refreshed with hope for what life could be and what it is missing. A new hunger and love of my fellow creatures…

Grase: a beautiful Irish grandmother, with a joy in serving, a humor and feistiness that I can only but hope to have at her age. As we served beans and toast in the most beautiful way – she shared her humor, her hart for the young boys that came in (with a mothers sharp criticism as well), her broken hart, and her new gardening endeavors. I look forward to serving with her in the future and hope to learn from this Iris gem!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We are told to rely on God and that God will provide: “all things work for the good of those how love Him” ... Now just to let you know what has been a week (well a week and 1/ 2). Many things have changed and many things have happened but for now I will just focus on one aspect In Matt 11:30 it says ‘For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ This was something that I never understood – it was all but ironic, when I was trying to walk a very narrow path in a train station with all my belongings (save 5 boxes) and the fresh pain of having to throw everything else away. Really, how can God’s yoke be light? It was not light when I as giving 5 years of collected art supplies and bits of home away. It was not light when I was standing in a train station by myself, with bags that where breaking my back, as I went to a place that I did not know what to expect, for a time that was undetermined, and no financial stability to think off. Yes people where supporting me – I had a host of people praying for me, but I was cold and a bit hungry, tired and well, not that comfortable, and the world I once knew was falling apart. How was this a ‘light burden’? British Gypsies have more stability then I do! But as the day’s passed, and new experiences came, some good and some not so good (suffered a small panic attack). I kept thinking: well its God’s burden on me, so it is not in my definitions that I need to define it. How does this all look in God’s wisdom? If everything is temporal, as it states in Ecclesiastes and we need to enjoy the now. But how do we look at the unhappy now’s? I was thinking about this, as I was awkward singing in a time of worship, feeling out of place, and all too frustrated with the whole thing; ‘what was I doing with a bunch of charismatics ‘speaking in tongues’? As I sat there all a flutter with the frustration, I remembered it is not my definitions – it is God’s. To be happy in all situations is to see beauty in all situations: to acknowledge the pain, the fear the awkwardness, and then do as my grandmother says “relax and enjoy’ But still, how? How do you take all your feelings of the chaos, the scary of life and see beauty? How, when your hart is breaking and the world is crashing around you, how do you do this? How …… this is where my art background kicked in. The Futurists did this. They saw all of reality changing in front of their very eyes: technology was changing all of life. How it was lived, and how it was seen. Instead of seeing this change as something to be fearful of or something to hide form, they embraced it with all their creativity. They let themselves be caught up in the excitement of this new time: to let the waves of change wash over them and revel in it. Their art reflected this. The Chaos of the new loud Chaotic cites encroaching on the quiet of space, represented in bright colors. The bustling streets and all its complexities where something to be reevaluated, take inspiration from and find a new Chaotic beauty. One of my favorite pieces depicts this for me.

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Boccioni, 1913

It showed the forwarded motion of life and technology. Man being as if one with that uncertainty and seeing it as beautiful. I do agree that I am not an art history critic, so sorry any art history professors… But for me it reminded me to be like this odd group of artists. To see the beauty in life, the changes and struggles that my Creator has out in front of me and well, take out my tools and make the best of it.

To sit and think, well this is new, and let myself get lost in the eternal moment and see The Kingdom in it. To let myself to be like “a form in continual movement”, let God’s reality and my existence mingle in one, and race forward to His Kingdom and enjoy the ride all the beautiful chaos and love my follow creatures and share this irrational, illogical existence for something I do not yet quite know the depth of…