Sunday, August 28, 2011

Breaking Point

Reaching our breaking point. A state when, due to our circumstances, we feel as though we’re being pushed to our very limits. A place beyond anything we’re willing or able to bear. Any further and we’ll reach our breaking point. It’s a painful and difficult place that not many wish to visit. But there’s a different kind of breaking point I’ve experienced in my spiritual life. One that has a strangely sweet effect when it happens. For it is a process that, albeit involves brokenness and sorrow, brings a perfume like no other.

There is a worship song that speaks of God’s love for us. It says something like, ‘He is jealous for me. Loves like a hurricane and I am a tree, bending beneath the wave of His love and mercy.’ I have come to see myself, as God has shown me in visions, as an oak tree. And each trial and testing He sends me through is like a hurricane. The intense winds come in waves that make me wince in pain as my roots go deeper to support the twisting and wrenching of my trunk. My branches flail and the leaves look like captives fighting madly to get free yet still bound by their captive.

It’s never the same hurricane, some come and go while others linger. And it’s never the same kind of pain that the hurricane inflicts. Sometimes it’s a desire within my heart that needs to be felt instead of silenced. Other times it’s a behaviour that needs to be removed just as a branch no longer bearing fruit needs to be pruned from its tree. Still other times it’s a hurricane that prepares me for greater service through brokenness.

Whatever purpose that hurricane serves, the unbearable pain isn’t far behind. The sweetness I referred to earlier comes as a result of surrendering to that hurricane as my mind, heart and spirit get pummelled. There was a hurricane on Friday. A small one, albeit, but one that still left a path of destruction impressed on my entire being. One that brought me to tears while in worship and prayer with many of my classmates.

As I poured out my heart to God in prayer and praise, I suddenly felt the hand of God touch my heart and my voice began to break while tears flowed freely. He opened me to feel the yearning that had been building up for over a week. The longing and desire of my heart that I had been praying to God to quiet and guard but that He was now releasing like a dam. But just as quickly as it was released, so was the need to fight against the tears and the brokenness so I unclenched my hands that I had been holding together in prayer and opened them before God.

I stilled myself and turned my mind to wholly and complete surrender while kneeling to the pain of the hurricane. Then silence covered me as I found myself before God. With a smile, He ushered me into the secret place where I heard God say, “Be still and know that I am God.” No sweeter words had been spoken to me than in that moment and there I remained for the rest of the day and into the evening. My sweet breaking point eclipsed by my love’s secret place where I cried unashamedly. My sweet breaking point.

Psalm 119:103-104 - "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Well, another spectacular week of teachings comes to a close with the topic of ‘How to Study the Bible’. We learned of three ways to study the Bible: inductive, deductive and inspirational. We also learned four ways to study the Bible within the inductive method: observation, interpretation, application and proclamation.

Our first day of class took us to downtown San Jose where our teacher, Douglas Johnston (originally from the US but now living in San Jose, Costa Rica), had us break into small groups and study various passages from different books of the Bible, answering several questions in accompaniment to the readings. This exercise brought about a whole new level of learning and meaning to the Bible for me as well as a greater passion for reading the Word of God!! I didn’t think that I could fall more in love with God’s word, but I did after last week!! My love for the word just keeps growing and I have an increased burning to know more about God and dive deeper into the meaning behind what I am reading! It was an excellent week and having our speaker, who was so incredibly passionate about his teachings, brought about a fire within our team!

It’s hard to believe that we are in week 8 of our lecture phase and moving closer to our time of outreach! Two of the Extreme DTS teams returned three days ago from their outreach phases and it was wonderful to see their faces and hear their hearts. Especially from one person in particular, Luis. I had been praying hard for him while he was away, that God would work in him in ways that would be evident, just by looking at him. When I had the opportunity to talk to him, before a word was spoken, I knew that many of my prayers had been answered for him. Further confirmation of those answers came when we began talking. Praise God! Luis has grown in ways that fills me with joy and pride. I am blessed to know him as my brother in Christ!!! I have so much love for him and wear a refreshed spirit in seeing and hearing the ways that God touched him during his outreach. I look forward to talking with him further before he heads back to his home in Liberia on Friday.

For those of you who don’t know who I am referring to, and to those of you who do know who I am referring to, here is a recent picture of myself with Luis. He’s developing such a beautiful heart for God and for God’s direction in his life! Amen!!

Aside from all of this, the base was without internet for three days over the weekend which shook this place to its very foundation. LOL I laugh because it’s amazing to me that so many people would become so passionate about a piece of technology that is so imperfect! I welcomed the ‘disconnect’, as it were, for I saw it as an opportunity to direct my time into more fruitful directions like praying more or reading the Bible more. I guess I’m just at that stage in my life where I could be with or without the internet.

Anyway, now that we are getting closer to our outreach phase of the DTS, I thought I would break down some timelines for all of you to show you what the remainder of my time here will look like.

- Currently in week 8 with 3 weeks left. The 12th week will be our NIKO camp and then outreach will follow.

Visa Renewal:
- One of the factors of staying long term in the country of Costa Rica is the need to renew our passports/visas every 90 days (this amount of time varies depending upon the country in which you reside). We will be leaving September 9 to travel to Nicaragua to complete this process and will remain out of the country for a couple days in order to solidify the renewal. We, as a team, will be travelling via one of the YWAM vans and will return in the afternoon of September 11.

NIKO Survival Camp:
- This is an intense and breaking 4 days that will take us to a place called Cartago. We have been told that it is jungle like and very challenging in every conceivable way as well as colder in temperature. This will be an opportunity to get the physical exercise that my body has been lacking since coming to YWAM, on a very extreme level. We will be leaving on September 19 for NIKO and we will return on September 23. We will have only a couple days to recover, do laundry and re-pack for Outreach.

Outreach Phase:
- This will be two months of ministry outreach spanning the country of Costa Rica with my classmates. We’ll be travelling in the YWAM vans while seeing the many topographical wonders and beauties of this spectacular country!! While we still haven’t found out the particulars of where we’ll be travelling and for how long, nor have we been told what kinds of ministries we’ll be participating in at each of these locations, we’re just trusting God for all of the details! :D We will be leaving on outreach on September 26 and returning shortly before our graduation day which is November 18. Another thing that I am uncertain about is if or when we’ll be returning to the YWAM base over this period of time. My guess is that because we are remaining in the country, that we will have the chance to come back to home base once in a while to get refreshed, do laundry and deflate. Hee hee

Graduation Day:
- As mentioned above, our graduation date of the DTS program will be on November 18. This will, indeed, be an incredible day of celebrating various victories achieved during our time of outreach and for, successfully, completing the purpose in which God had brought us all together in the first place. It will be a great time of reflection and debriefing before we all go our separate ways in following God’s direction for each of our lives.

Personal Reflections:
As I continue to seek God and dive deeper into His word each day, He has been faithful in revealing new sides of Himself to me. My quiet time with Him each morning has extended to two hours and I could certainly remain there longer. He speaks to my heart, fills me up and prepares me for the demands of the day ahead. He grants me words to speak and when to speak them, when to be quiet and when to pray. He calls me with His still small voice and I run after Him just to be in His presence.

The past week and a half found me in the middle of a spiritual battle that involved the entire base. It was a spiritual attack from the enemy that had emotions heightened and irritation magnified. My spirit had become so unsettled as a result of it and after speaking to another person, it was affirmed that, indeed, the base was under attack. The enemy was trying to force each school apart by causing dissension among us. For the DTS this dissension came in the form of issues arising between the staff and the students. We knew, as a team, that we needed to do something about this and immediately. That we had to deal with the issues, resolve them and come up with a positive solution before we entered into our time of NIKO, where there would be no separation among us for four days.

I saw NIKO as a critical point that would either make us or break us as a team so finding a positive resolution was key. A time was arranged to meet with the leaders utilizing three class members, myself included, as delegates, representing the concerns of the other students. After a time of opening prayer, we spoke in love and compassion to our leaders and had very fruitful discussions. During that time, I could feel the enemy flee in fear from the battle he had just lost. In fact, I could hear the enemy tremble. It was an incredible victory and we obtained even more victory when the leadership went further to explain the why’s behind the issues of concern we had raised.

Our unity was restored and celebration broke out among us! We rejoiced in prayer and entered into a unity pact that spoke of communication and transparency all in the name of our love for God and for each other! It was truly a GOD moment and we all felt lighter once we left from that meeting. Praise God for His goodness all the time!! I believe that we were under spiritual attack, initially, because great change is coming within our team and depending on the outcome of our meeting with the leadership that would determine whether the change in our group would be good or bad. So we needed to make things work, we knew that as a team and so did the leadership. The enemy’s been defeated! Woo hoo!

Aside from that, God continues to work in me and through me and I keep asking Him to do what He wants to do next in and through me. To speak to my heart, to lead me and guide me and to show me my future if He so wishes. He keeps revealing things to me about Himself that capture me, draw me in closer to Him and dumbfound me in incredible ways! He shows me snapshots of His intentions for me of which I am still trying to sort out and make sense of. But no matter what, I trust God and keep following Him through each moment of each day and know, full well, He will reveal all in His timing, not mine. Reminders of His ways not being my ways or His thoughts not being my thoughts echo in my mind and just keep my heart in tune with His.

I just want more of you, God. Show me whatever it is you want me to know, learn or understand about you. I had entered into a time of prayer before lunch today praying exactly that to God and a couple minutes after I had prayed He gave me Isaiah 62. I meditated on it and believe that it encompasses both how God sees me and what God sees in me as to the power He has given me to be used for His purposes. So it will be interesting and exciting to see when this chapter of Scripture will come to life! :D

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lay It Down

Laying down your rights. I’m talking about lifting up or surrendering everything of your will over to God and His will for you as a follower of Christ. I’m talking about giving up your right to being right, angry, vindictive, and so many other things that we, as humans, believe we have a right to do or have in our lives.

But what we sometimes don’t realize, is that once we choose to follow God, our priorities have to change if we want to be changed for the good and if we want to have the very best that God has for each of us. When I first arrived here to YWAM, I knew that I would have to surrender certain rights fairly immediately in order to survive the first couple weeks adjusting to the community living, alone.

As time went forward, it was becoming clearer that it was more than just the basic discomforts of community living that I would have to lay down. It meant me laying down my right to have a say in certain things and laying down my right to be married again. It also meant me laying down my right to correct others in their behaviour and my right to enforce certain rules of the base.

All of the things that have and will annoy me about being here must be lifted up to a higher source, God. For God had been speaking to my heart on several occasions about bringing ALL things to Him and leaving them there, no matter how big or how small they might be. Essentially, God would be my drop off point, the one I would vent to. God’s urging really was put into action a couple weeks ago when I found myself in a situation of being fully prepared to go postal on several people and then quickly change my plane ticket home. All the essential elements of a meltdown were present; I was tired, fed up and every ounce of patience I had (which is very little to begin with) was gone. But, and it’s only by the grace of God, I managed to hold off exploding until I was out of the situation and by myself.

I quickly made my way to my room, grabbed my Bible and headed to the prayer room. It was there that I fully put into practice, God’s earlier command to me. Oh boy, did I ever VENT! There was no holding back, I was feeling stuff I had not felt in a long time....that I really didn’t want to feel. So, there in the prayer room, I offloaded every single thought and emotion that had boiled up in me. Once everything flowed from my lips, I felt the weight lighten and then I was left with nothing but peace, God’s peace for me for obeying Him in this difficult task.

I had told no one of what was bothering me. I only made my way to a quiet place where I could freely let go of all the things I knew I had to let go of. That included my right to making a big deal about the injustice of the situation I had just left. And to tell you the truth? It felt pretty darn good to give it all to God and just leave it with Him to sort out. I left the prayer room feeling elated and at peace. I had found a new addiction in God.

Ever since that first offload, it has now come naturally for me to offload on God each time I am confronted with a person or situation that is frustrating or hurtful and I have come to love God even more for working in my heart that way! I actually feel extremely free when I do that!!! It’s pretty incredible, I have to admit! And as an added bonus, all of this has strengthened my prayer life! For instead of trying to convince another person to change their ways, I engage in wholehearted intercession for the person or persons and I pray that God would place a desire in their heart to want to change, to become more like Christ.

So, it is with this new found freedom that I can keep offloading to God AND lay down my rights in various things. Does laying down my rights still hurt??? HECK YEAH!! It sucks being hurt and in pain but at the end of the day, I want something more in my life. I want to be the woman that God intended me to be from before I was born! I want to be the woman that God wants me to be for my family, my son and my future husband and his family. With that comes sacrifice and the obedience and submission to allow God to do exactly what it is He wants to do in me so that I CAN be that woman I desire to be for God and for those around me.

So if you are like me, struggling with wanting to say something, try saying nothing and try taking it all to God and offloading on Him. I can guarantee that you will feel better when you vent to only Him and you will feel better for it as a person who is trying to win the heart of God.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Week At A Glance

Well, another week has passed but not without great revelation and insight from God particularly in the area of godly relationships which was the topic of our classes this week. Our speaker was Mar Coghi, who is also one of the directors of the YWAM San Jose base!

I had been praying for God to reveal great things to me, through the Holy Spirit, during that week and He certainly did not disappoint! The revelations were far beyond anything I was expecting including important and godly principles that are key in my life to enjoy blessed and successful godly relationships!! Especially my marriage relationship!!

So in this post, I decided that I would give you all a taste of what happened this week so that you could share this journey with me!

- Class tidbits:
o ‘Obedience to what God says not only changes you, but opens doors for others to change.’
o Love is not a feeling, it is a choice! God made a choice to send His only son to the world because He loved us THAT much!
o If we do not have love for God, it is foolish to think that we can have love for other people!
o We love because God first loved us!!! (1 John 4:19).
o Speak in love to someone who is doing something that upsets or annoys us. Saying nothing is pride and pride says, “I don’t need God, there is nothing wrong with me. I do not need to change!”
o Love has no fear!! Perfect love casts out ALL fear and God is perfect love!
o God wants heaven on earth but that does not work if there is conflict between one another!

- Class tidbits:
o Activity prior to class: We were asked to pray for each member of our families and wait to hear from God as to what word(s), Scripture verses and/or words of encouragement He would bring us. Then we were told to email what God spoke to us for each person in our family!
o We learned about the five phases of a relationship: Attraction Phase, Testing Phase, Commitment Phase, Maintenance Phase and The End of the Relationship Phase (if it reached that phase). Wisdom and knowledge was flowing freely from our speaker and God really spoke to my heart during these teachings, ingraining in me the utmost importance of following God in all relationships!! This filled me with an even greater desire to be married again!!! YES!!!

- Class tidbits:
o A look at agape love! It is the unconditional love of God expressed by you for someone else within a godly relationship, whether friendship or marriage! It’s a type of love that is always giving!
o Man has value because God breathed life into each of us through Adam!!! Isn’t that incredible????
o God gave, not to get anything in return! We should seek relationship because of what God is doing in us and not to get anything in return!
o How do we learn to love? We go to the source of love, God, and His word and study His word and ask Him how He loves when He is love! There is a price for love, it is not a gift.
o Relationships call us to leave ourselves and place our eyes on someone else! Relationships challenge our comfort zone! This is agape love!
o Fear in love enters when we decide against what God wants us to have and against God’s intentions for us.
o Building a marriage house of Oneness!! This involves the following: the foundation of Jesus Christ, a pillar of agape love, a pillar of trust, a pillar of respect/honour and a pillar of understanding. Without these elements, your house will be shaken and it will fall. Your marriage must be God centered!!! Agape love is the most enduring, trust is the most fragile, respect/honour are the most neglected and understanding takes the longest to obtain.

- Special Activity: We taped a page of construction paper to our backs with our name at the top of the page and each classmate wrote words of encouragement or passages of Scripture on that page as an exercise in God’s agape love for one another!!!
- Class tidbits:
o Boundaries!!
o Freedom: Is making decisions based on your values! Responsibility: Is initiating and acting according to those values!
o There needs to be a foundation of love with God in your own life before engaging in a relationship with a person.
o If you don’t know your boundaries, then you don’t know what your principles are.
o Boundaries define who we are/aren’t and protect us, keeping the bad out and the good in.
o Your life should reflect your values!
o If you have your boundaries, values and beliefs set, the right person with the same boundaries and values will be matched to you.
o One boundary that is essential is truth! Lying and deception have no place in your life! (Psalm 101:7)
o Are you God’s? Are you His and is He yours? He wants all of you!
o Never go to bed angry! You may not believe the other person should be forgiven but God didn’t have to forgive us yet He did!!
o Purity in relationships!! 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.
o Lust is uncommitted love!!
o You must be in a relationship with someone who is in submission to God. That they want to do things God’s way!!
o Repentance is in itself a boundary. It makes you free!

- Class tidbits:
o Discussion of logistics for outreach. As we looked at a map of Costa Rica, our team leaders went over the tentative travel and ministry schedule for our outreach time. Woo hoo! Once clear details of where and how long become available, I’ll include more at a later date!
o Discussion of outreach finances. It was discussed that several people had not paid their fees in full for outreach. We brainstormed and came up with a time of prayer to seek God on ways to raise the remainder of the fees required as a team! In the evening, we gathered as a group in the Homes of Hope house. I led the group and opened in prayer then gave instruction on seeking God’s will, individually, regarding outreach finances. After 20 minutes of individual prayer seeking God’s will, not our own, as to ideas for raising the money, we came back together and shared what God spoke to each of us. God spoke loudly to each person as to the importance of putting God first in all things while remaining unified as a team. The ideas received from God included: a bake sale, garage sale and washing cars. Each person in the group affirmed in one way or another these ideas whether through a word, confirmation of having received the same vision/idea from God or through Scripture. These revelations were recorded on paper as to what each person received and the notes were handed in to our team leaders.

- We found out that one of the members of the children at risk school was short on their funds for outreach and, days prior, had been told that there would be fundraising activities organized to raise money to help our brother in need. One of the fundraising ideas took place last night in the form of a talent show. There were 15 acts all together with several of my own team members participating. It was incredible and I’ve included some pics, below, of some of my peeps in all their talented glory! I’ve included a brief description of each pic!!!

The 'Waka Waka' African dance performed by Morgan, Montana, Cris, Becky, Cherise and Joel!!!

Our very own Elle on the violin!!! Maestro!!

B-boy (Brandon with toque) singing with Chove (YWAM base staff member). Soulful sounds!!!!

Morgan's (orange shirt)'Happy Presentation' with his happy helpers!!!

Jake the Juggler! We had NO idea he had this hidden talent!!!!! Wow!!!

Personal Reflections:
As I continue to seek the LORD and His face while I’m here at YWAM, I just keep surrendering all that I am and all that I know to God’s will for my life, whatever that might be. For I don’t know if anything will be revealed to me during my time here or after I’m done the DTS, in respect to God’s direction for me. Truth be known, I’m not consumed with knowing where God will direct me during and after YWAM. I am too caught up being in this incredible and ever deepening relationship with God that I don’t give, what’s to come, much thought.

However, I believe that I am coming into a sense of God’s direction for me and its seemingly mind boggling revelation for it doesn’t appear to be of a grand nature, as some people might think that it should be when it comes to receiving God’s calling on their lives. But the more I sink into my relationship with God and the more I pray for God’s will to be done in my life, the more simplistic His call appears to be. So simple that it’s a bit confusing.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who sits in anticipation, waiting to hear God’s prompting to go to the depths of Africa to save children from ravishing poverty or to scour the streets of Cambodia to rescue children from human trafficking and/or prostitution. But I’m beginning to see that it’s the person’s submitting attitude to God that makes His call, no matter what it might be, profound in its impact upon our lives. No matter whether it’s a grand call to ministry or as simple as handing out coffee and cookies to prostitutes a couple nights a week, it’s not about the ministry, it’s about the servant heart of the person awaiting the call.

A couple weeks ago, our class engaged in a trust activity that had us pair up with another person within our team with a blindfold in hand. We were asked to pray in order to receive the location that God wanted each person to take the other, along with any words that God wanted each of us to speak to the other person. Whether words of affirmation or encouragement, trusting God for direction was the purpose of this activity.

After being led, with blindfold on, by my partner we reached her spoken location for me which was the prayer room in front of the world map that hung on the wall. The words she received from God for me were, “You need to be okay with wherever I call you.” She then pointed to different places on the map as she repeated the same words. I didn’t fully realize the meaning behind that revelation until today (Aug. 14), when God spoke a revelation to me.

This revelation had been tied to my increasing frustration at God’s, “no” to me about a ministry that is tied to YWAM, Freedom Street. It’s a ministry that loves and builds relationships with San Jose’s prostitutions in the downtown core of the city. A couple nights a week, this ministry heads into the streets handing out coffee and cookies while building relationships with male and female prostitutes of various ages. My team and I had been receiving training on human trafficking in order to be prepared for what we might encounter or see on the streets when it came
time to travel with leaders of the ministry to the streets to speak with them.

However, whenever it came time for the group to head out, we were first instructed to pray to God to ensure that it was God’s will for each of us to go out and participate in the ministry as we wanted to be God led in this effort, not self willed. Each time I prayed for God’s direction for me to go, His direction was excruciatingly clear, “no.” I couldn’t understand it. My heart was very willing and prepared to go out to the streets to help but God’s will was very clear. Here is where the confusion enters.

Meanwhile, I felt as though God was working within me to move me in a different direction but not necessarily a surprising direction. My heart and spirit had been, increasingly, awakened to the action of prayer. Both during my personal prayer time with God and as an intercessor for someone else. Each time I would engage in prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit would fill me more and more. It is with this increase of power during times of prayer that I was receiving God’s direction or will for me, and that’s to be a powerful woman of prayer.

In many ways, this revelation lines up with words given to me by classmates, leaders and speakers. These words included being a spiritual mother and a woman of power and determination. So feeling the power of the Holy Spirit increase in me during times of personal and corporate prayer was becoming affirmation of what was already starting to become a passion within my heart. It continues to grow within me even as I write this post to all of you!! :D

So, you just never know how or where God might lead you in life! From the biggest to the smallest of ‘ministries’, your ministry is wherever you are and as long as you are engaged in a love relationship with God and seeking Him and His will, claiming God’s great promise of being blessed and living it out to others by being a blessing....there lies your ministry!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is That Really You, God??

Is that really You, LORD, God?
The still, small voice says, “Yes!”
My heart jumps with such delight,
As Your answer echoes within.

My every step is careful, LORD,
Ready to obey,
Longing just to do Your will,
And willing to go Your way.

For I know You will not leave me,
You will never leave my side,
For Your plan I’m sure to follow,
Both now and ever more.

Not always will the path,
Be filled with ease and joy,
For Your will is that I’m growing,
While I’m holding Your hand.

May my heart and eyes always be,
Affixed on You alone,
That I glorify Your name,
In all I do and say.

To this I will hold true,
With each new shining day,
It is my heart’s desire,
To follow You this way.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Marvelous Wonders!

Well, it’s been another incredible week filled with blessings, struggles and frustrations but, with every step, God has been holding my hand as I invite Him into my day every morning. In order to cope with community living and still feeling a bit of homesickness, I decided to implement a couple of my creature comforts from back home and am now having my rolled oats with cinnamon and fruit and a freshly brewed teapot of green tea infused with jasmine...all the way from China (a gift from a friend), every morning.

Words cannot describe how thankful I was to have these two, seemingly, small things now occupy my Costa Rican world. All I have been able to do each morning as I enjoy these luxuries is praise God over and over again. Wonderfully enough, when I would praise God each morning for the brand new day and along with that, His mercies, sunshine would come through the window at that precise moment!! Cool, huh?

Although that has taken away some of the homesickness, there are definitely things that I still miss. Like being only a province away from seeing my son during the summer, if possible; my weekly phone calls with my Mom; great chats with my Dad; spending time with friends; going for gelato....well, I could go on and on but I won’t as that will only further perpetuate my homesickness.

I definitely have come into knowing my threshold for being over stimulated by people and the chaos that often accompanies the people noise. I have also come into a wonderful knowing of when I need to be with God and spend time with Him and just be. It’s funny as, often, it’s God calling me to come into communion with Him and I am SO there! He always makes the times happen!

Anyway, back to my incredible week with several wonderful and heartbreaking moments. This week’s class topic was, ‘The Character and Nature of God’. Our speaker was Scott Freeman from the US who is located in Jaco, San Jose, with his lovely wife, Leslie and their four boys!! He took us on a free spirited journey into the justice and compassion heart of God.

On Tuesday, we went as a group to downtown San Jose to serve at the Salvation Army for breakfast. However, by the time we arrived downtown, breakfast had already been served so we put our money together and decided to buy bread to distribute to the homeless. The area we went to was one of the poorest and most dangerous parts of the city where there is a lot of prostitution and drug activity. Fortunately, we were there during the day and didn’t face any danger, just some pretty outrageous sights for the eyes.

One that really stands out for me, as well as most of the team, was standing on one sidewalk and looking across the street to feast our eyes on a plastic barrel filled, to overflowing, with pig’s heads. No joke! They were just there, looking at matter where you walked it was like their eyes were following us! LOL It was kind of disgusting but I’m sure we were spared from seeing the worst of things because it was daytime.

Once the bread was purchased, we broke into two groups, divided up the bread and started walking until we found a homeless person to give bread to. Considering it was one of the poorest areas of the city, it didn’t take long to find a homeless person. I ended up getting separated from the crowd but was, luckily, teamed up with Joel, one of the translators from my Operation Christmas Child trip back in March. We soon came across a gentleman who humbly asked for some bread. I began to ask him questions for Joel to translate and I quickly found out that not only had he been born in that area but at almost 50 years old, he had also lived on the streets his entire life. However, he quickly indicated that he knew God was with him and that God was the one that kept him going through everything.

I asked him how he ended up living on the streets and he became quiet, not willing to disclose anything. The entire time I was talking to this man I could feel the brokenness in his life, for I was seeing him as God was seeing him. I could feel God’s heart for this man. I managed to hold back my tears until Joel and I left him and we exchanged God’s blessings on each other.

The next person we talked to actually found us first, hollering at us to give her some bread. We turned around to find a woman of 33 years old approach us and I handed her the remainder of our bread and we engaged in conversation. Her name was Monica and she had lived in the poor area her entire life and had been on the streets for 15 years. She was scantily clad from the waist up and donned an angel tattoo on her right arm. I asked her why she got it and she said that it was her guardian angel, watching over her and keeping her safe. She then disclosed that she was 2 ½ months pregnant. My heart broke at hearing that. Being a mother, myself, I couldn’t imagine being pregnant and living on the streets, even though she said that she had a place to live but I’m not so sure that it was under the best of circumstances.

As we kept talking I asked her if she believed in God and after hesitating briefly, she said yes. I then asked her if she had family in the area to which she answered a simple, “Yes” and nothing else. I knew that it was territory that she did not want to venture into. My heart was so heavy for her but she started making casual conversation for a few more moments before she started to walk away from us. I stopped her in time to ask her if I could pray for her and she agreed. Again, I held myself together until after we parted and then the tears began to flow freely. God just kept breaking my heart for what was breaking His and I got angry.

Angry at the injustice I had just witnessed, a man who knew God yet was living on the streets. Angry at a pregnant woman being exposed to who knows what kind of lifestyle while carrying an unborn child in her womb. What would that child’s future look like??

I wrestled with so many thoughts as Joel and I met up with other members of our group who were talking with the homeless. I was overwhelmed and so very broken but, at the same time, filled with the peace of God at knowing and feeling God’s heart for His people. I don’t think that there was any possible way for me to feel numb in what I had experienced.

On Wednesday we travelled to a local park where we were given an hour to be with God in nature and To experience the glory and majesty of God in His purest form...nature. After receiving our instructions for this time with God, we each went our own direction to find our special spot and I found God directing me to a cubby hole where I became surrounded by His beauty. Trees, plants and bushes surrounded me as God slowly brought surprises of: a black and white butterfly, a jade green spider with a striped back as it munched on lunch in its web; a spider with a back shaped like horns on another web; a fuzzy caterpillar; a white coloured beetle slowly moving across the leaf of a plant; a mauve coloured banana flower and songbirds serenading me as I closed my eyes.

I then turned my eyes heavenward and gazed at majestic trees that seemed to go on forever. One tree, in particular, had leaves with hundreds of pinholes in each of them and as I looked up at the leaves, it was like looking at billions of stars during the day! Amazing!! Incredible!! It was mind blowing! I was, truly, seeing God’s beauty and majesty in nature! I was overcome with joy and peace at being there with God. I could have stayed there all day!

Yesterday was the day we, as a DTS class, had been waiting for since we arrived to begin our DTS...our Outreach location(s)!!! The anticipation was so thick you could have cut it with a knife! Weeks prior, we were all asked, one day per week, to devote 20 minutes in praying specifically for our outreach location, its purpose and the strategy behind the outreach phase. Last week we were told that our team leaders would be praying for outreach and God’s direction involving that and that it would then go to the YWAM San Jose leadership team for further prayer and asking God’s direction for our outreach.

When I went to pray about outreach last week, God gave me a vision of our outreach that was very specific. So specific, that I was asked to share that vision with a couple of my team leaders that ended up confirming what they had received as direction from God after they had prayed about outreach. However, during my first week here at YWAM, God had already been speaking to me about the DTS outreach and about the key role that each person within the group would play in it.

So here goes...our outreach location is.....drum roll please....Costa Rica! That’s right, we will be remaining in Costa Rica for our lecture and outreach phases! It was in line with what God was telling me since I arrived here and throughout the past weeks as well as my call received back in March during my time here with Samaritan’s Purse. As well, it turns out that this country is key not only on God’s heart but also on the hearts of the YWAM leadership team! God just keeps getting more and more amazing in all of this!! More than that, turns out YWAM San Jose has never seen a DTS team more unified than my DTS class! God is up to something and I can’t deny the fact that we are a very powerful team with each person anointed with extraordinary gifts and talents from God!!

Oh, and about my vision? The one I received from God while praying for His direction for outreach? It was a picture of a map of Costa Rica with us, the DTS team, working from the northern and southern tips of the country and as we moved inland, back towards San Jose, we were lighting the country on fire with the Holy Spirit, renewing and restoring the country to God and filling them with a passion for God! Pretty cool, hey?? God has been so incredible in showing me great things not only about this DTS but also about my character and how God sees me and my life! I am speechless and blown away! God has been so good to me!

Others within my group have also revealed things to me that God has told them about me that have caused me to take a step back in shock, not really believing what they are telling me! LOL But I think that as I spend more time with God and go directly to Him for everything and for revelation, help and solace, that He will just continue to be ever faithful and speak to me like He has been for the past several weeks. I mean, He’s been speaking to me all along, since becoming a Christian, but I’ve really noticed that I can feel Him and hear His voice even more clearly and more often! The whole, I am His sheep and I know the shepherd’s voice thing! Hee hee

So, another great week of experiencing God and having Him answer in ways never imagined! He has been really holding me together and placing people in my path at just the right time to bring me reassurance about my experience and time here and that, all along, God is really wanting to work on my character. Somebody help me! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! LOL