This past week about 90 students graduated from the Fall 2021 Discipleship Training School (DTS) and School of Ministry Development (SOMD) at YWAM Orlando.
Working with the SOMD for the past 5 months has been another really sweet season of getting to disciple and pour into students, facilitate classroom times, and lead an outreach across the states.
After a year and a half of working with our training schools at YWAM, I am going to be shifting gears next month. I am excited to share with you that in April I will be a student! This spring I will be taking the Discipleship Bible School at the YWAM Orlando base.
The Discipleship Bible School will require 3 months of reading through the entire Bible, studying with the inductive Bible study method, and gaining better understanding on the chronological events and harmony between books. The final project will be a Bible overview presentation sharing the story of God’s plan for redemption from the beginning of Scripture to the end.
The more I interact with people in our cities and schools the more I feel an urgency to be fully equipped in knowing the Word of God. I feel a magnetic pull to be with the lost – with those who have never heard the truth of Scripture – and I feel called to do this for the long run. Taking 3 months to study the Bible and be equipped to teach others to study the Bible feels like my next step and an easy “Yes!”
Working with our training schools over the past 18 months has been so incredible and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything! But it has been many months of pouring out and investing in other people. I am very much looking forward to a season of being the one in the student seat in the classroom. I believe that this is going to be a time of dreaming with the Lord and investing in greater longevity to lead others in ministry!
In order to cover the cost of the school, I am in need of $1,800. If you would like to help make this possible there are a variety of ways that you can give!
After travelling to 4 states with a team of 15 people last month, I wanted to give you an update!
Since the beginning of this year I have been leading a team of School of Ministry Development students on their outreach here in Orlando. In February, with two other staff leaders, we took this team of 12 students on a tour to colleges, high schools, and churches to evangelize, partner with a college ministry, and call young people into missions. Through hosting 6 events at different schools and youth groups, we shared the message of unreached people groups and the need to go with the Gospel to all nations. We also partnered with Campus Crusades for Christ (CRU) to reach college students on 12 different college campuses!
Over the course of the trip 61 students pledged to become missionaries (which was about 25% of the students we interacted with!).
During our time on the college campuses we met with multiple students who are interested in staring CRU on their campus where there is no established ministry, and saw 5 people commit/rededicate their lives to Jesus!
Here’s one of my favorite moments we had meeting with a college student…
In North Carolina, one of our YWAM students and I met up with a college student who was interested in starting CRU on her campus. When we met with her it seemed more like she just was looking for community rather than wanting to lead CRU and she shared about some hard things in her life. She also couldn’t really articulate what herpersonal relationship with Jesus looked like. My friend felt led to ask her if she had ever been told the full message of God’s plan for salvation and she said she wasn’t sure. He went into sharing the full gospel with the student which led her to recommit her life to Jesus as Lord! She didn’t have a Bible, so we gave her a Bible and also prayed for her.As we were leaving the coffee shop a girl came up to the three of us and said, “I love what you guys are doing! This is so awesome. I overheard your conversation and started praying with you!” This girl was a student at another college in the area and also wanted Christian community. The two girls exchanged numbers and it was a moment of a divine appointment for them to be connected to one another!
God was so faithful to show us immediate fruit of our obedience on this outreach and I am so proud of the students on my team! They were so much fun to lead and I truly feel honored that God has given me the opportunity to lead teams with YWAM Orlando.
Our team is now back in Orlando and this week will be a week of debriefing outreach before our students graduate on March 11.
There is a fun buzz on the campus of celebration of all God has done on outreaches as we have teams returning from Armenia, the Middle East, South Africa, Tanzania, and Mexico!
I’ll be sending another update soon on what is next as I wrap up this season staffing the School of Ministry Development.
Thank you, again, for all your support and prayers. God has been so faithful to provide for my needs time and time again. I am confident that God has called me to be a part of this mission and you are a part of making that possible. Thank you for your obedience to God!
It’s time for an update on the last month and what’s to come in February!
Since returning to Orlando from a break for Christmas, things have picked up at full speed once again. I am leading a team of 12 students from our YWAM Orlando campus on the outreach portion of their schooling. Nine of these students are from the School of Ministry Development (SOMD) that I worked with in the fall, and the additional three joined our team from the fall Discipleship Training School (DTS)! I have been having so much fun with this crew of students. I was not initially expecting to have this many on the team, but God has been kind to pour out grace and continue to stretch my capacity in ways that I wouldn’t have guessed! This past month of outreach the students have served the base in different areas (working in the kitchen, housekeeping, garden, student communication, and a few other teams). We have also served with a local food bank and other ministries, assisted the elderly, and shared the Gospel in Orlando.
One thing that has been really special in leading this team is realizing that exactly 2 years ago I was in their shoes on my SOMD outreach in Orlando! Funny how God will use the places we’ve been to lead others. It’s been a continuous lesson in learning that God doesn’t waste one single moment of our life experiences…be the good, the bad or the ugly.
Another way I’ve experienced the goodness of God with this team is that 4 of the students on the team were a part of the DTS that I took to Tanzania a year ago! It has been an honor to see them grow in their relationship with God, come into a greater understanding of their identity in Jesus, and now step into greater leadership roles.
For the remainder of their outreach we will be leaving Orlando and traveling to 4 different cities in the U.S.! In February we will be in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina doing events at churches and also partnering with CRU (Campus Crusades for Christ). The events that we are putting on at churches are similar to the ones that I did on the “Launch Tour” last spring (read more about that here!). YWAM Orlando has done three of these tours the past year sharing at churches and campuses about the need to reach the unreached and giving a call to young people to give their lives to serving in missions.
In addition to these events, we will be partnering with CRU to target new campuses where CRU does not have established ministries. This is a very exciting pioneering endeavor. CRU has trained us in a strategy they have used the last few years to get connected to new campuses through Instagram. We will get to go in as CRU ambassadors to find students who may be interested in starting CRU at their campus! It has been so cool to see God continue to provide opportunities to minister to college students and travel America for missions. Both of these things are areas of my heart that He has grown throughout my time with YWAM.
In addition to these events, we will be partnering with CRU to target new campuses where CRU does not have established ministries. This is a very exciting pioneering endeavor. CRU has trained us in a strategy they have used the last few years to get connected to new campuses through Instagram. We will get to go in as CRU
Prayer for the next month would be greatly appreciated!
– favor on college campuses and the pioneering of new CRU ministries
– students who God is calling into missions to be activated!
– encounters with those who have hearts ready to receive the Gospel
– safe travels as we are driving to all four locations
– health of the team
Thank you for your support in prayers! I believe that they have huge impact. Looking forward with great expectation for all that God will do on this trip!
Please feel free to reach out with a hello, questions, and/or ways I can be praying for you! I love to hear from you!
In the last update I shared that I was working with our Fall School of Ministry Development. Well, as promised, it has been a busy fall and that school only has 2 weeks left! I am currently writing from Grand Rapids on a long weekend visit and it feels like the first moment I’ve had time to sit down and share with you all that God has been doing in the past few months. But I wouldn’t trade the fullness of this fall for anything. There have been powerful moments where I have seen the faithfulness of God and I can’t wait to share them with you!
School of Ministry Development (SOMD)
This fall most of my time at YWAM Orlando has been spent with the School of Ministry Development – facilitating and participating in class with our 29 students, loving kids in a low-income neighborhood once a week by bringing pizza and hanging out, and going downtown for evangelism and prayer.
Our students are incredible! They are a diverse group in age and life experience but share a common hunger to know God more and grow in leadership. This has been evident in the way they lean into the teachings in class and are all in for taking the Gospel wherever God would call them. It really has been a joy to be a part of their lives in this school.
In January they will transition to their outreach phase of the school on three different teams – Orlando, Ukraine, and the Middle East.
One unexpected, yet exciting, surprise is that I will be leading the team of 10 students that is staying in Orlando! We will serve the YWAM campus by working in different departments, serve with different local ministries, continue in evangelism and prayer in different parts of Orlando, and tour to college campuses in the South East to invite college students into missions!
As I mentioned, I was not expecting to lead this portion when I said yes to staffing the school, but I believe it is my “yes” to God right now and it’s a privilege to lead and grow with my friends doing outreach in our own city. Most of my YWAM experience has been spent in the states, and I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that God continues to keep me here on outreaches. I love America – my heart breaks for it – and will do anything Jesus would ask of me to keep contending for revival in our nation.
Some quick testimonies from the park in the low-income neighborhood we go to once a week – because it’s too good not to share!
– I have been praying for a girl in that neighborhood since I started going there in April of this year. She is a super sweet single mom with two young kids. When I met her in April she was pregnant with two more kids on the way – twins! Her and I texted back and forth a bit and she was an answer to my prayer for a friendship outside of YWAM. After going on our summer outreach I stopped hearing from her, and didn’t see her around the park this fall. One day though, she showed up at the end of our time there and I got to run over and say hello! As soon as I got up to her I realized something was off. She trembled and could barely get the words out…in August she miscarried her twins. My friend apologized for not staying in touch, but the loss and trauma was too much. I got to embrace her on the spot, grieve with her, and pray for her. She stated, “honestly it’s surprisingly opened me more up to the idea of God…” Now we continue to stay in contact and I am praying for breakthrough in her understanding of Jesus as Lord, and healing and comfort in her loss. Please join me in continuing to pray for this friend!
– Another friend I met in this neighborhood is a college student at the local community college. I invited her to our community night (worship and a message) that we host once a week at YWAM Orlando and she came with her family! This may seem like a small thing, but it is true evidence in my life of answer to prayers! I believe the Kingdom of God looks like friendships and community that cross all social barriers. I also continue to stay in touch with this friend and hope to spend some more time with her and her family soon.
– Every week at the park there’s about 15-20 kids that hang around with us. They cuss, they spit, they throw things at each other, they push each other around and almost over in shopping carts, they climb on the roof of the playground equipment…I love these kids. Last week I got to share the Gospel with a seven-year-old who said he had never heard of God or Jesus! He was fascinated and asked lots of questions. Good questions that most adults wouldn’t have the curiosity to ask. It’s moments like that when I know we must keep going to this place and loving this ragamuffin group of kids with all we got. I believe world-changers are going to come from that place.
In addition to the daily routine of the school I have been a part of leading two women’s “Brave Love” studies (a biblical women’s movement started by the Circuit Riders in YWAM). One morning a week a friend who is also on staff with YWAM Orlando and I have been gathering the women on our campus to study the Bible and apply it to our lives, activating women into the call of God on their lives.
Once a month, my housemate Bailey and I have hosted high school girls for the same kind of study at our home! Bailey has been spearheading this with high schoolers for about three years now, and it is so fun for me to be a part of it!
Another way that God has opened doors for us to pour into women is through continuing to go to the clubs in downtown Orlando. What we do is simple – bringing food to the back room, hanging out for a bit and having conversation, while two or three others from our team stay in the car in the parking lot and pray. What we are warring against is not (simple, that is). There are heavy strongholds over these clubs. Our fight is not against flesh and blood, and we must keep striking the ground in prayer and boots on the ground expressions of love – even if it is just cookies and pizza and the intent to have real relationship expecting nothing in return.
This year my friends and I raised funds to buy 70 robes to give to the women at the clubs as Christmas gifts! (another shout-out to my housemate Bailey for really bringing this effort together!) Other supporters bake cookies or have donated gift cards for us to bring an abundance of food. In the upcoming week we will be going to the clubs to give these gifts!
What’s next? 🙂
After this trip we will be entering into our last week of the SOMD and that will take us right into Christmas! What a way to end another wild year.
Next weekend I will be headed with a team of 6 women to New York City for a small “Operation Christmas Cheer” outreach. My good friend who has lived in NYC with her husband and kids as missionaries plans a Christmas outreach for the city each year to blast the city with the love of Jesus. The heart of operation Christmas cheer is to show any and everyone the generous love of God – handing out Starbucks gift cards, handwarmers, blankets, granola bars, chocolates, etc. This year with our small team that is only going for three days, we really feel that God is going to do something big. We have felt a strong emphasis on preaching the Gospel and even focusing on areas that are higher income areas. If you have followed my YWAM journey, you know that my heart has adopted this city over the last 7 years, and any opportunity I have to go back and war for the Kingdom of Light in an area of so much darkness I will go.
Looking back on 2021, I realize that every year seems to hold a new level of challenges. Jesus never said that giving him Lordship was easy. But every year also holds a new level of fulfillment. I pray that you have experienced the same this year and look forward to a season of celebrating our King and another year experiencing the fullness of life with Him.
Time for part 2 of 3 updates covering the summer…this part may be my favorite one 🙂
I’d like to share three of my favorite moments on outreach in more detail. What a joy to testify to the goodness of God and the ways He is encountering individuals across our own nation. People all around us are hungry (I would even say starving) for truth, hope, prayer – and, if you are walking with Jesus, you have an abundance of what they are hungry for! So, here’s to living in the abundance and practicing hospitality to our neighbors.
Pritchard Park, Asheville, NC
We spent much of our time in Asheville going to Pritchard Park, a park in the middle of the hip downtown area that is typically avoided by tourists and locals. Many homeless, travelers, druggies, and mentally ill spend their days hanging out at this park. I could truly imagine this park being a place Jesus would often be found if he walked the earth today – seeing, touching, healing, loving the outcast.
We partnered with YWAM Asheville, who consistently brings homemade food to the park and shares it with those who are there. It’s amazing how hospitality through food opens the way to speak to people. We prayed for a man and he was encountered by the Holy Spirit as he broke down and wept (he previously didn’t believe in the Holy Spirit, but let our team pray for this encounter!). I got to share the gospel with and encourage a 19-year-old girl who was in a rehab program to go to Jesus instead of meditation. Our team spent hours playing with a few kids of a single mom and pray for and encourage her. We listened to stories from “traveler Bill” who has been a traveler (choosing to be homeless) for 20+ years. I listened to Krystal’s (a homeless woman) story, and we bonded over our pink hair, favorite foods, and highs and lows of life.
One day there was a woman standing at the outskirts of the park with a few other people and I immediately felt in my spirit that I was supposed to go talk to her. I also felt a strong sense that she either was currently, or had been, involved in prostitution or sex work. As I approached her this was not at all something I planned on bringing up. First of all, that would be awkward if I was wrong (haha!), and, second of all, that was not my biggest concern in the moment. I just wanted to befriend her and love her where she was at. As the two of us started talking, the conversation turned from casual into deeper sharing about who we are and what we do. This woman opened up to me about having been a prostitute in that area (though she is not anymore, praise Jesus!) and how her heart breaks for the girls that she sees prostituting themselves. She shared with me that she has become a believer and wants to use her testimony to tell these girls that there is freedom and hope. I stood in awe at her strength, resilience, courage – and the fact that this is exactly the type of woman I have felt the Lord has called me to reach. Like the woman at the well, one who was taken out of complete brokenness, been radically changed by the love of Jesus, and now wants to go testify to those who are going through what she has experienced.
As she shared with me some of the trauma that had happened to her on the streets, she softened and began to cry, and I got to embrace her by simply sitting there and holding her as she cried. I love how Jesus is the great equalizer. How he could create instant friendship and comfort between two girls of completely different life stories. To me, that is more powerful and special than sitting with a bunch of people who are just like me.
Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD
In Baltimore the majority of our time was spent volunteering at a Vacation Bible School (VBS) with an inner-city church. Wilkens Avenue Mennonite Church, located in a really rough neighborhood, is a special place. For years this small church has stood as a light in an area that is full of brokenness. When our team arrived to serve them the pastor’s wife told us she had no idea how many kids would come to the camp. Last year they didn’t run the VBS due to Covid and they didn’t know if people would be ready to come back this year.
The first night of the camp over 40 kids (ages 4-16) from the neighborhood showed up. Some got dropped off by parents, grandparents, or friends. Some walked the streets littered with needles and trash. One of my favorite kids came a bit later in the week. Caleb pretended like he didn’t want to be there; yet desperately wanted his dad to sign the permission slip for him to join. Caleb was not a “sweet” kid. He was tough, mouthy, and would make you think he didn’t like you. He was a kid desperate for love and that’s exactly what we had to offer him. By the end of the week there was a noticeable shift in Caleb. A joy and softness emerged that was not there at the beginning. I loved that kid and was marked by the dramatic change in just a few days of knowing that he was loved, wanted, and accepted. True Love – the love of God –changes everything.
The last night of VBS we held a cookout for the neighborhood. In the church parking lot, we grilled food, handed out ice-cream, had face-painting, games, and worship. The party drew in quite the variety of people from the neighborhood.
In this little cracked pavement parking lot our YWAM team, the Mennonite church pastors and members, kids, parents, grandparents, homeless, and prostitutes shared food, laughter, and prayer. What a picture of the Kingdom of God.
That night I was marked by a real experience of what Jesus’ ministry must have been like. He hung out with the rich, poor, religious, sinners, men, women, children, disabled. And the fact that we were all gathered in one place for one reason – Jesus alone – that is something special. There is a depth and richness to that kind of connection with others that I have not found in anything else. I have not found that kind of love in “acceptance,” or “tolerance,” or “being kind.” That kind of community is only found through the uniting equalizer of the power of the Gospel. And by that power that Baltimore neighborhood, and my own life, are forever changed.
The Strip, Las Vegas, NV
During our time in Las Vegas we partnered with YWAM Las Vegas, and one of their specific outreaches to the showgirls on the strip. The Las Vegas strip is unlike any city I’ve been to. It lives up to the hype that it is known for – flashy lights everywhere, people handing out advertisements for shows, tourists galore, drinks on drinks, and promiscuously dressed girls.
The “showgirls” are women who dress in extremely revealing outfits and wear the large feather headdresses to take pictures for money with anyone who wants one. It was hard to witness the way that sexuality has become such a novelty in our world. That the value on these women has been reduced to their bodies and getting a corny picture on the Las Vegas strip with them. As we walked the strip I felt the Lord’s compassion for the people. Where would I be if I didn’t know Jesus? I would be right there with everyone else. It breaks me to know that these people are just missing the truth. Apart from knowing Jesus, I would be searching for affirmation, joy, and life in these places too.
One night we went out with roses, chocolates, and handwritten notes of prayers and words of encouragement to give to the showgirls. The women on our team got to take charge in handing these out, while the men stood by and prayed for our conversations. All of the girls that we gave the gifts to were so receptive and blown away that we would give them a gift “just because.” Most let us pray for them and stood to chat with us for a bit.
As my friend and I were talking with two showgirls I felt like God wanted me to ask the one girl if she had a brother. I was unsure but did it anyways (story of my life following Jesus ha!). When I asked her she looked taken aback, and then hesitatingly said yes…she was going to be seeing him in New York (where here family lives) in a few days. She then opened up that she doesn’t have the best relationship with him and that’s been a struggle for her. I asked her if I could pray for that and also encouraged her with a word about her future and school. The other showgirl that was with her expressed that it was crazy that I would say that because it was spot on!
I shared with them that the only reason I knew these things was because God knows her personally and wants her to know Him! I believe he revealed these specific things to me to encourage her because He is a specific God who cares about relationship and the individual. The conversation led to me asking if she had ever truly heard the Gospel. She grew up Catholic and was unsure if she really knew the full picture, so I got to share the full Gospel with her before praying for her.
Leaving that moment, I was in awe that God would speak to me and through me. He is so fun, you guys! When we make ourselves available, put ourselves in a place of being okay with failing, and not shying away from the Gospel, it is transformative. I can’t get over being an ambassador for Christ. Though I fail at it many times, He is gracious, kind, and so much fun.
The Gospel is what changes lives. These moments of hope with an ex-prostitute, a kid from a broken home, a Las Vegas showgirl, and countless other people with different stories…there is no explanation other than the power of a God who takes what was lost and makes it found. A God who wants relationship with us so dearly that He gave his life for it. A God who takes us in all of our fragile humanity and says I want to give you fullness of life. There is fullness in the suffering, the sacrifice, and the pursuit of what the world says is foolishness. I hope you find it as I have…and am continuing to find.
Hello! Hope you had a wonderful Labor Day with friends and family as another summer comes to a close.
I have been out of touch the last few months as I have been on a 2-month outreach with our School of Ministry Development students. Because so much has happened in the last 2-3 months since I’ve written, I am doing a 3-part update. (Don’t worry, this will be no Lord of the Rings trilogy in length, but a way for me to make these updates readable in your workday and busy lives.)
Part 1 will be a recap of our summer outreach, part 2 sharing a few testimonies of what God did on this outreach, and part 3 a look forward to what’s next! 🙂
STATESIDE OUTREACH – PART 1/3
This summer we went to 6 different cities in 8 weeks. It was an amazing time as ministry took on a variety of forms. (evangelism, worship, prayer, children’s ministry, service projects, sightseeing, and more!) America is beautiful. America is also broken. This outreach reminded me even more of the importance of being rooted in the Gospel and the word of God. Truth is not relative, truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ and the truth He gives us to live by is found in the word of God!
As our team of 12 crossed the country bringing truth, by God’s grace alone we got to experience some amazing things. Here’s a quick recap of what we did in each city!
Asheville, NC – evangelism and handing out food to the homeless and “travelers” community (the travelers are a group of people that choose to be homeless and are basically modern-day gypsies) -worship and intercession in the mountains overlooking the city -serving at a homeless discipleship program and shelter -anti-trafficking ministry -painting/work projects for YWAM Asheville’s housing
Lancaster, PA – served YWAM Lancaster by helping them paint and renovate their new office building – evangelism, worhsip, and intercession in Philadelphia and Lancaster City – served Align Life Ministries (one of the largest pregnancy care ministries in the nation) through landscaping projects on their new building
New York City, NY -facilitated a day camp for kids at a church in East Harlem -evangelism, worship, and intercession throughout almost every burrow -passed out sodas, cookies, and granola bars to unconditionally love and bless anyone and everyone -worship on the subway and at Grand Central Station
Baltimore, MD -helped with a VBS at an inner-city church (the last night of the VBS three people gave their lives to Jesus! This was one of my favorite nights of our outreach…further testimonies coming in the next email!) -distributed “bread coin,” a currency for the homeless to buy food and shared a meal with them -evangelism, worship, and intercession -trained a small group of youth on evangelism, and passed out food and practical needs for the homeless with the youth group
Greensboro, NC -built and stained ramps for a few low-income elderly women through the non-profit Community Housing Solutions
Las Vegas, NV -evangelism, worship, and intercession on the Fremont strip -served at a church that does services and gives out food in a low-income area every Tuesday night -packed lunches (one for us and one to share) and intentionally ate with the homeless -trafficking awareness ministry on the strip -ministered to the show girls giving them chocolates, flowers, and a handwritten note (this was another one of the most special nights to me of outreach…testimony to come in the next email) -kids ministry in a low-income neighborhood where we got to share a teaching and the gospel with the neighborhood kids
Because of the breadth of ministry that we did I am not going to go into too much detail on the depth of some of my favorite moments of outreach in this post. The next one coming will highlight three of my favorite stories of what God did this summer!
At the end of last month, we graduated our SOMD students and I was truly sad to see this group go. They are a solid group of young people who inspire me to live a lifestyle wholeheartedly following Jesus. I am confident that the students that graduated from this school are leaders with hearts to live a lifestyle of missions and are going to carry the Gospel wherever they go next.
Looking back at the last 2-months, I see the covering of the grace of God. Outreach is never easy, and outreach in America can feel especially hard. I am humbled and in awe that I get to do what I get to do; partnering with the King of Kings and some amazing friends to bring pieces of heaven to earth. To me that is worth giving up comfort, sleep, time, money, ambitions, etc. every time. I am grateful that God has called me to be a missionary in this way at this time and owe a huge thanks to you for making this possible.
Posting a quick “hello, hope you are doing well” since I’ve been off my usual update sending in the last month. 🙂
Between moving, planning an outreach, working with the School of Ministry Development and stepping in as an interim leader of the school the last two weeks, I realized a bit of time has gone by since I’ve filled you in on life at YWAM Orlando!
I have some exciting things to share. God has been truly faithful to answer prayers. The past season has been one of seeing the Lord answer some specific prayers and resurrect things that I had let die in some ways.
I am particularly reflecting on God’s faithfulness and kindness as this last weekend marked one year of my move to Orlando to join staff with YWAM! Crazy how quickly a year can go by. I have a sense we’re all feeling that way with the last year of unprecedented craziness. In some ways, I feel like a new person compared to where I was when I joined staff a year ago. The YWAM Orlando community quickly became a family to me and I have made some of the sweetest friendships. I feel privileged to work under Godly leadership and alongside those who spur me on to love and serve Jesus. I love living in a warm climate, near the city, and a short drive to a small lake with a beach. I love that we get new students every three months and there is a fresh excitement and buzz on our campus.
However, in the midst of all the absolutely incredible things I’ve experience this last year on staff with YWAM, I have also been pruned. Pruned from insecurities, pride, and comfort zones like never before. While being one of the sweetest years for me, and feeling like I’m stepping into a greater call of God on my life, this last year has also been one of the hardest years. I’ve become a lot more tender and humbler than one-year ago Cassie. But despite the hardship and brokenness that it took to get to this place, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I want to encourage you, if you have gone through disappointment, loss, giving up something valuable, or wrestled with God in any way this past year – I have too, and there’s something special that is built in that place. When we wrestle with God we build a muscle that wouldn’t have been there before, and we realize just how weak in fact we actually are. We grow in our understanding of Jesus’ words to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9,
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.”
I have come to learn that maturing in leadership looks a lot like that – boasting in our weaknesses, realizing our need for God to work in us even more than through us. And praise Him, He is faithful to do that.
Before I get too carried away with that, because I told you this was a quick hello…stay tuned for a few more updates coming – one sharing the day to day ins and outs of what’s been going on the past few months, and second part with a recap of the past year!
Working with the School of Ministry Development (SOMD) for the spring quarter at YWAM Orlando.
The Missions Engagement college “Launch Tour.”
Moving into a home.
I am now on the other side of these busy last few weeks as these things have been coming to pass, and I am happy to share exciting reports on the faithfulness of God!
School of Ministry Development (SOMD)
On April 5 YWAM Orlando kicked off the spring quarter by welcoming 53 students to our campus for the Discipleship Training School (DTS), School of Ministry Development (SOMD), and the Bible School for the Nations (BSN). For a glimpse into registration day at the campus and the young people God is bringing to send into the nations, check out this video!
I am working with the School of Ministry Development where my role is to walk with students in discipleship, meet weekly with one on ones, facilitate a small group, and coordinate and lead an outreach! I will share more details on that later, but I am looking forward to stepping into this new role of leadership – planning and taking a team of students on an outreach over the summer!
Missions Engagement “Launch Tour”
At the end of March, I went with a team of 8 others to Georgia and North Carolina putting on events for college students and young adults and calling them into missions! We were blown away by what God did on this tour and believe it is the first of more tours like this to come out of YWAM Orlando.
The staff member from YWAM Orlando who led this tour was inspired by the Student Volunteer Missions Movement that happened in 1886. In this historic movement, 100 college students signed pledge cards saying, “It is my purpose, if God permits, to become a foreign missionary.” This sparked a wave of college students going to the nations. Over the next 40 years 20,000 college students went as missionaries! And this during a time when it was not easy to be a missionary (think no modern-day planes and transportation).
The heart behind the “Launch Tour” was to give the presentation to college students of the need for people to go to the unreached, with a strong call to action to actually go and give their lives to the Great Commission. Our team created a new pledge card to similar to the one in the original Student Volunteer Missions Movement of 1886. Throughout the tour we did 4 different events. In total we shared with 93 people and out of those 93, 16 pledged to be a missionary. That is a 17% response rate! With that kind of response, it makes me excited for more tour opportunities to come. I believe that God is calling and marking the next generation to go into all the world carrying the Gospel; and there are college students who are ready to go!
On Good Friday my friend, Bailey, and I moved into our home! There is so much gratitude in my heart for this move. I wish I could express in words how much of God’s goodness and faithfulness I have felt throughout this process, but all words seem to fall short. From the location being an ideal spot (less than 2 miles from our YWAM Orlando campus), to knowing the landlord (he and his wife are on staff with YWAM), to people giving to us left and right to provide for the needs of our home, I have no doubt in my heart that this is a “promise land” of sorts that God has brought us into. Finding a home has been a battle for a bit of time now and something Bailey and I have both spent time warring in prayer over. Receiving the blessing and fulfillment after prayer has felt surreal and, honestly, undeserved. I have been reading through Deuteronomy recently and felt the Lord speaking to me about the home through much of the book, but specifically 10:12-21,
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
To the Lord your God belongs the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations – as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is the one you praise; he is your God who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.”
The Lord has performed awesome wonders to bring us to this space, and I have experienced firsthand his love and affections in the big and little blessings. Out of these experiences, I want to stay in a place of fear, awe, and wonder at the God of gods and Lord of lords. My desire is that this home would be place for the fatherless, widows, and foreigners to experience the love and righteousness of God. This new move has already been teaching me greater stewardship, increased my level of faith, and set a fire in my heart to continue to give the blessings of God right back to Him. Thank you so much to those of you who have given towards the home! Again, I do not have adequate words to express the gratitude in my heart for God’s provision.
Over the weekend we hosted our first guests! A Bible study with 6 high school girls & a night of worship and prayer for the home with friends! I absolutely loved having our home filled.
In my last update I shared about my goal of gaining more monthly supporters to step into more things that God is leading me as a missionary with YWAM Orlando to (the home, more outreaches, and a greater leadership capacity). God has fulfilled 28% of that goal!
Currently, my hope is for 3 people to commit to giving $50/month and 5 people to commit to giving $20/month Feel led to give? Here’s how!
This week life has slowed up a bit since coming back from Tanzania. After a week of debrief with the students in Orlando and wrapping up some final details from outreach, I have taken some time off to travel to Tennessee and Michigan to see family and friends. As I am still reflecting on what God did in Africa, I continue to be amazed at His faithfulness, power, and presence with us. I pray that no matter where I am I continue to grow in fear of the Lord and burn to live a lifestyle of holiness as His ambassador here on earth.
Slowing down this week has given me some much needed rest. I didn’t realize just how exhausted I had become until I stopped moving for a bit. But things will soon be picking up speed once again.
So settle in with me for a bit, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s have a little Q&A.
Now that the Fall 2020 Discipleship Training School (DTS) is completely wrapped up, I am stepping into a new role on the campus. I am excited to share that next quarter (starting April 5) I will be working with the spring School of Ministry Development (SOMD)!
This is the school that I participated with YWAM Orlando in the fall of 2019, and which led me to join staff with YWAM Orlando. The SOMD further develops students’ leadership, specific ministry callings, how their unique strengths can play a part in the Kingdom, and above all their relationship with Jesus. It truly is an honor to work with tis school. Currently, there are approximately 7 students from our Fall DTS that are planning on coming back for the Spring SOMD! I am looking forward to continue walking with them, along with other new SOMD students, in this next season. Staffing the DTS stretched and grew my leadership skills in ways that I never expected! I was humbled, surprised, and met by the strength and leadership of the Holy Spirit in ways like never before! I can’t help but give thanks to God that this is what I get to do as my full-time job right now.
What’shappening in the meantime?
This Saturday I return to Orlando, and on Sunday will be leaving for a week on tour to college campuses and churches throughout Georgia and North Carolina!
The Missions Engagement department at YWAM Orlando has organized 5 events at colleges and young adult groups in these locations. At these events we will share about YWAM and call college students to missions. Being a part of this team is another role that truly feels like an honor. At the events I will be sharing some testimonies from our time in Tanzania. We are praying and believing for another movement of student missionaries coming out of America. And this tour is a step in YWAM Orlando playing a role in seeing that happen. As I have been praying for the tour, my prayer has been that God would grip our hearts for the lost – that we would truly receive the heart of Jesus. Something the Lord has been speaking to me regarding the missions movement that we are praying for is that revival is not going to be ushered in by religion, but by love. As we look to Jesus and fall more in love with Him, I believe that we can’t help but receive His heart of love for the nations, the unreached, and the lost. Would you take a minute to pray for these events and the students that we are going to share with? I mean…take a minute to pray right now! We really believe that this generation can fulfill the great commission and that college students are ready to go if only someone gives them the invitation!
Any other updates?
Glad you asked:-)
The final update on the 0-110mph current pace of life is that I am moving into a house!!!
This is something I have been praying about for some time now, and it is evident provision and blessing of the Lord. At the beginning of next month, I am moving into a two-bedroom home just 5 minutes from our campus with my friend, Bailey. You may remember Bailey from some of my previous updates. She is my “going downtown to do evangelism pal” and is an absolute rockstar at loving people well. The home we are renting is owned by a married couple on staff with YWAM. Both Bailey and I have the desire for the home to be a space for hosting friends, a place of sanctuary, worship, prayer, and ministry. The provision of the home happened pretty quickly but is such a sweet gift from the Lord.
Because this transpired quickly and in the midst of returning from outreach and heading out on tour, I have a short amount of time to get what is needed. Because I have lived in a dormitory for most of this past year, the only furniture to my name are some decorative pillows and a small table. But we serve a good God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills; so He surely owns the beds, dressers, couches, coffee tables, and rugs in a thousand IKEAs. Jokes aside, Bailey and I are trusting God for provision of what is needed for our sweet little home. I will have more specifics with ways you can help us furnish the home if you feel led to give towards that!
Moving into a home is just one more step in becoming more established in my place in missions for the next year (and as of right now the unforeseen future.) Because of this, I am looking to increase my team of financial partners! Along with paying for a house, I will need to get my own health insurance this year (to use a phrase that my dad hates…”adulting”). I also feel called to be more generous in my ministry expenses (such as hosting people, traveling, and going on more outreaches).
My hope is for 5 people to commit to giving $50/month and 5 people to commit to giving $20/month.
If $50 feels like a lot, trust me I understand! But to give some perspective, that’s the upcoming stimulus check spread out over a period of 28 months!
*giving through my YWAM staff account allows you to set up monthly reocurring donations, and also is tax deductible for you!
THANK YOU so much for your support and love! I can never put into words how grateful I am for you. Would love to hear from you too! How can I be praying for you? Looking forward to sharing the exciting things to come!
Having recently returned from Tanzania, Africa, after being on mission with 40 young people from our YWAM Orlando Fall Discipleship Training School (DTS), there are sooo many amazing stories I could share! I am absolutely blown away by what God did during our 7-week outreach in Tanzania. I will share some of the stats from outreach, but first I want to share just one story that gives you a glimpse into our experience in the nation.
The sun is beating down, the sound of goat bells rings in the background, and the smell of earth and livestock comes with the light breeze as we trek across the dusty ground from one boma to another (areas of huts and livestock pens; owned by one man with many wives). In this particular city, the majority of the bomas are inhabited by widows, some as young as 18 years old. As our group of 10 young adults approached a boma with our translator, we are greeted by the “mama” and given her permission to stay and share whatever message we have. As we ask if we can pray for her, she returns to her work, but more and more young women start to gather, babies strapped on their backs, and a little shy of us as their visitors. Another mother in the boma comes forward and asks us for prayer. She is a born-again believer but has been having some physical ailments and was feeling spiritual warfare. Our team lays hands on her, praying in the name of Jesus, and she says she feels a coolness go through her body and a lifting of the ailments she has been feeling. A DTS student steps forward, led by the Spirit, and asks the group of teenage girls if they wanted to really know Jesus. And, if they had not been born again, if they wanted to receive eternal life in a lasting relationship with Jesus. With this question, another young woman on our team stepped forward and began to share the full gospel with the group of girls. On the invitation to turn from their sins and receive Jesus as Lord and savior our translator drew a line in the sand, “Step up to the line if you are making this decision and really mean it!”
Six young women with eyes lit up stepped up to the line, smiling shyly down at the ground. Our student led them in a prayer to receive Christ, as the born-again mother of the boma who had just gotten healed celebrated behind them.
This is just one of many stories of salvations and healing. I have never experienced such fruitful ministry times as I did in Tanzania!
Our outreach team spent weeks in remote villages with no running water, no regular toilets (my first encounter with the renowned squatty potty), and no Wi-Fi. All comforts and luxuries that I couldn’t imagine going without in my normal day to day life. But going without broke something open in me. Going without brought a greater awakening to what we really need in order to survive. And a greater urgency to share this dependency and real source of life with those who don’t have it.
Being starved of the comforts that we normally fill ourselves with left our team with one thing to focus on – our need for God and a greater hunger to see Him show up in power and glory. I believe that it was this pure hearted hunger in our students, their integrity to serve the Lord and walk in humble obedience to Him that resulted in such a fruitful outreach.
Some of the ministry we did included:
Sharing at public schools (with anywhere from 300-800 students!)
Children’s ministry in the villages
Home visits bringing food, soap, and other essentials
Building homes for widows (we helped build a total of 3 homes)
Worship and evangelism in the village centers
Preaching and sharing testimonies in church services
Visiting orphanages and elderly homes
Praying for the sick in hospitals and clinics
Worship and intercession at the YWAM bases in Tanzania
At the end our time in Tanzania we recorded:
2,705 meaningful encounters
5,769 ministered to
3,647 full Gospel shared
Just absolutely mind blowing the amount of people that were touched by the Spirit of God! It brings tears to my eyes that God would choose to use us in our simple “yes” to Him. He sure doesn’t need us to accomplish his purposes here. The rocks would cry out if we don’t! But He invites us to be a part of His story. He invites us to receive an inheritance of life. Coming out of an experience like this, one can’t deny the power in Jesus’ statement that in losing your life you truly find it.
“If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely reject and disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways. For if you choose self-sacrifice and lose your lives for my glory, you will continually discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will forfeit what you try to keep.” (Matthew 16:24-25 TPT)
I have left this outreach feeling tired, but refreshed. Feeling like I poured out, but also feeling a rich fullness. God truly met me and marked me on this outreach.
He met me in the hard moments. Moments when I didn’t know what I was doing leading. Moments when I didn’t want to be a missionary and just wanted to go back to something comfortable and safe. He also met me in the many, many moments of laughter, dancing, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, swimming in waterfalls, and experiencing the beauty of his wild creation on a safari.
And God marked me. He marked me with a greater urgency to reach the unreached when we encountered people in the bush who had never heard the name of Jesus. He marked me with a love for the one when the Spirit prompted me to pray for motherhood over a woman who I didn’t know had experienced multiple miscarriages. He marked me with greater faith for the next generation when we saw hundreds of children in public schools respond to the Gospel. And He marked me with a greater heart for the nations when we worshipped with other tribes and tongues, brothers and sisters across the world, who are the inheritance of Jesus.
One last thing I have to share in celebration is the 34 students that graduated this DTS! They were an absolute joy to walk with the last 5 months and witness their transformation and breakthrough. Sometimes I can’t believe I get to do what I get to do. As I am getting met and transformed by a loving and gracious God, I get to walk with other young people in their relationship with the Lord as well as discipling them…all while being spurred on and encouraged by them!
So much to be thankful for in returning from this outreach. So much to celebrate. All glory to God for this outreach and the fruit of the last 7 weeks in Tanzania!
And glory to God for your support and friendship in making this possible. Thank you, many times over, for giving of your finances and time in prayer to support me. Again, I can’t believe that I get to do what I do, and I owe this joy to you as my support team.
If you would like to hear more stories, catch up, and share how I can pray for you, please reach out! I would love to hear from you.
In my next update I’ll be sharing about what’s next for me with YWAM Orlando (I’m stoked for it. :))