Well, last week was nothing short of incredible and filled with such blessing as God's work drew us even closer together as a DTS team! I see the LORD working such majesty and anointing into my sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, that all I can feel is JOY!!! Great and extreme joy!!!! I praise God each moment that I have these beautiful men and women in my life and watching as God slowly transforms each of them....stripping away the old self and bringing about the new creation that God sees in each of them!!
Hearts have been opened more and more through last week and with so much more to go, I wait in anticipation for the things to come!! So, here are some highlights of last week whose topic was: Identity in Jesus!!
Our speaker, Pastor Steve Shank, from Colorado, and his spiritual brother, Tom, took us into the depths of how we used to identify ourselves while in the world and how important it is to change our mindset to seek and know our identity in Christ. This day was one of lecture and intense teaching of how important it is to gain a firm hold on who we are in Christ and to sink into the Word of God to find ourselves and embed those very identities upon our hearts and minds.
This morning took us to downtown San Jose to shoot a video outlining identity. Some of us were given negative identities while others were given new identities once we have accepted Christ. My identity was, 'I am what I have achieved'. We had to develop our own costumes that represented our identities as we would be statues and unable to speak. So my costume emphasizing this identity consisted of a graduation cap and a paper with an A+ on it plus the identity sign. Other negative identities were, I am what I have, I am what I do, I am my music, I am what I play, etc.
One of our team leaders, Morgan, represented Jesus and carried a cross with him. Then others were given new identities, as would be obtained once we accepted Jesus into our lives and hearts. Identities such as: I am loved, I am forgiven, I am a child of God, I am beautiful!
Before we left for our destination, we were asked by Pastor Shank to use this activity as an evangelism opportunity, should the Holy Spirit move us. To speak to the people of San Jose in respect to how they might see their own identities. Below is a picture of us waiting for the bus to take us downtown! My first bus riding experience! Not really any different than downtown Calgary but certainly more people!! hee hee
As we were wrapping up the video, we moved to a stage that had us positioned in a circle, facing outwards. God had me placed in such a way that I was in direct line of watching a young couple interact. The girl's actions strongly showed that her identity was in the guy she was with, while he seemed rather indifferent about the amount of affection. It wasn't long before I heard the voice of God tell me to go and talk to them, to find out what her identity was. For she reminded me of my old self, of being identified to the guys I dated.
God's movement in me caused me to grab one of my team leads and bring him over to translate as I asked each of them what their identities were, how they defined themselves. The girl became a bit skittish and went away from us, talking on her cell phone. After speaking with and praying for the young man, God was telling me to go and retrieve the girl. I went over to her and brought her back to where we were and began asking her the same questions I had asked the man. As I suspected, her answers were similar to his and I knew she was like my old self.
I asked if I could pray for her and she welcomed it. I began to pray that she would be injected by the love of God and that, someway, somehow, would be shown her identity through God's eyes. I felt so alive while I did that. But before I prayed for her, I told them my testimony and how I saw my identity. That it was in every man I dated. That I wanted to like what they liked and do what they did and that I had lost my identity in them. The more I did that, the more I lost myself and was so unhappy. But then, when I received Christ, I came to know that my identity was in Christ, that I was now defined as a woman of God. Praise God!!
This day brought more lecture and heartfelt teaching from our speaker as well as a breakthrough of my own. I had been praying, for months, to fall in love with the Word of God. Through Steve's teachings and his constant encouragement to dive into the Word of God to find ourselves there, I found my love for the Word. I am changed in ways I could have never dreamed possible!!! Now I hunger and thirst after the Word and grow in anticipation of my next opportunity to be in God's heart, through His word!!! Now when I come into the Word, my heart melts and continues to melt as I feel God's strong draw upon my heart as He wooes me through his Word! Woo Hoo!!!
Before ending class time, Pastor Steve and Tom gave each of us in the class words and/or verses that God had placed on their hearts to share with us! My words were 'Restoration' and 'Rescuer'. Restoration represented the work God desires to do within me and within my heart to redeem my past and to make me new. I mentioned to Tom that this word from him was an affirmation of God's promise to me two years earlier, that God would restore my fortunes before my very eyes!!! (Zephaniah)
Steve's word to me of resuer represented the spiritual gift that God is instilling within me to be a spiritual Mom. That through the clearing out of my past and old self, God will use that to draw in girls to help them out of their own trials and difficulties in their lives as young women. WOW!!!
This day was the day of our special activity as a DTS team and it was foot washing. Our leaders of the group said that they wanted to serve us by washing our feet for us. Because I had washed the feet of others previously, I knew the profound significance of this action and I began to cry.
It wasn't long before I was selected by one of the staff, Jose, and he was then joined by his beautiful wife, Marianela. Since I arrived here at YWAM, she has become God's gift to me of my own spiritual Mom, while being away from home. She has brought me such encouragement and support during my time here. I feel so incredibly blessed!!!
As they began to wash my feet, Jose started speaking to me, telling me what God had told him to share with me. He told me that he sees me as a butterfly in a cocoon, struggling and fighting to get out. That this program is the process of me, the butterfly, painfully working to get out of that cocoon, in order to fly. That as I go through the process, of being reshaped and stretched, that by the end of this program, he sees me emerging from that cocoon as a beautiful butterfly that flies heavenward, free!!! I began to cry even harder.
Then Marianela came behind me and began speaking to me about a vision she was given of me. That I was dressed in white and had a flower in my hair (left side behind my ear). That during my time here, I will be made pure and made new as a woman of God and as a pure woman for my husband. That I will discover my true love, my first love...God, and that I will come to know what real love is all about. My crying became more intense as I knew everything that was being told to me was God ordained. The crying continued as I returned to my other classmates and one of them, Brandon, called me over and began praying for me. I cried intensely again as I felt as though I was being prayed over by my son. The words coming from his lips were so precious and so sincere that I couldn't contain the overspilling joy that was held within my tears. Others soon surrounded me and embraced me as his prayer continued and I felt surrounded so completely by my children. As much as the tears were flowing, my mind, heart and spirit were at total peace. So many blessings, so much love, incredible peace!!!
Once we gathered in the classroom and listened to the remaining words of our gifted speakers, they wanted to conduct an impartation with each of us and as we all stood in a circle with our eyes closed, waiting for our words of wisdom and knowledge, Steve and Tom approached each person, leaving them with pieces of God's heart for their lives.
Coming to me, Tom issued words of affirmation of God's desire to wash away my past completely and he told me that I would have a new history. Then Steve issued a confirmation of my strength and blessing of being a spiritual mother. More joy, more peace.
This was a time of sharing, of four of our class members sharing their testimonies with all of us. I couldn't help but smile at how God had now turned all of that darkness around into light....bright, blinding light! Such servants of God, such strong followers of Christ who will be continually renewed and restored during this program!! Amen!! And more blessings for me!!!
Before signing off, I leave you with more pictures, this time of the base so that you have an idea of what it's like here. Enjoy and all my love to all of you!!!
The YWAM community garden where we each got a plant during, I believe, our second day on base, and planted them where we wanted within the garden. I put mine in the top right hand corner of the garden, to which it is now slowly dying. I take this as a symbol of my old self dying here and leaving a renewed creature in Christ!
This has become my workout area and personal devotion sanctuary each morning. I get to come here early in the morning and have a piece of quiet time with God and be in His beautiful word!
The YWAM base sign!!
Miniature orchids that grow on base!! Beautiful!!!