SOMD Stateside outreach (2/3) – testimonies !!!

Hello again!

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.

Until all have heard,

Cassie

SOMD Stateside Outreach (1/3)

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.

Stay tuned for the next few posts!

Blessings,

❤ Cassie

hey hi! it’s been a minute

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!

MARCH 2021

In my last update I shared about…

  • 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!

“Launch Tour” YWAM Orlando staff team.

home

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!


YWAM Staff account (CLICK HERE)*

PayPal: clbaker04@gmail.com

Cashapp: $CassieLBaker

Venmo: CassL-Baker


*giving through my YWAM staff account allows you to set up monthly reocurring dontaions, and also is tax deductible for you!

THANK YOU thank you THANK YOU for all your support! You are truly a gift from the Lord in my life and I am so grateful. I love hearing from you too! How can I be praying for you?

Until all have heard,

Cassie

back from Tanzania, what’s next?

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.

What’s next?

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’s happening 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!

Feel led to give? Here’s how!

YWAM Staff Account (CLICK HERE)*

PayPal: clbaker04@gmail.com

Venmo: CassL-Baker

Cashapp: $CassieLBaker

*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!

<3, Cassie

Tanzania, Africa – Fall 2020 DTS outreach

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
  • 86 healings
  • 1,273 salvations

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. :))
 
Until then, God bless!
Much love,
Cassie

SEPTEMBER 2020

Hello again!

September was a month of transition wrapping up my work in the Missions Engagement Department at the base and stepping into a new role staffing the Fall Discipleship Training School (DTS)! 

Schedule wise, September was an “unconventional” month and flew by faster than any other month here so far. It was filled with a new sense of hope for the rest of 2020. And some much needed rest, fun, and family time.


CAMPUS MINISTRY

On September 29, YWAM Orlando started our “Fall Quarter.” The base operates on a quarterly schedule with schools and each quarter is when staff may get placed in a new role. I wrapped up my work in the Missions Engagement Department early in the month; which was bittersweet. I love the heart behind this department and, while the work was not always the most fun or engaging during the time I was working in it, I am excited for what is to come through that department this fall!

Through phone calls to youth groups and pastors that we made over the summer, we were able to schedule 5 events for youth groups for this fall.  At these events some of our staff will go and share about missions opportunities and YWAM with young people!


For this next quarter I transitioned into staffing the Fall DTS – the “All Cities” Discipleship Training School. We have 39 students enrolled and it is truly an honor to walk alongside them with 7 other staff members.

The couple leading this school felt that the focus of this specific DTS is to reach cities in our state (Orlando and Miami), country (New York City), and the nations (Brazil) through sharing the gospel with the lost and calling people into missions. While all outreach plans are still being held open handed (thanks, covid), the hope is to send half the school to NYC and the other half to Miami for 10 days in December and then go as an entire school to Brazil in January and February!

I have so much excitement for what God is going to do in this school not only for our students who were so brave in obeying the call to missions in the midst of the wild year it’s been, but also for my personal life in working with this school.

It has been exactly 6 years since my DTS in Kona, and I have a lot of emotions thinking about how much the Lord has done in my life since that time. I honestly feel like a different person! Six years ago I was a timid, sometimes insecure, yet hopeful and hungry to grow, 19 year-old who had no idea the adventure that was to come when surrendering your life completely to Jesus. Six years ago was my first time in New York City, and the first time God captured my heart for a place like never before.

Ever since my first outreach in New York during my DTS God has gripped my heart for cities, and specifically that city. I cannot believe that I have been able to go on ministry trips there (and fashion week ministry at that!) 6 times since my DTS.  When I was there this past February God spoke to me through the book of Jonah.

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Ninevah and proclaim to it the message I give you.’ Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Ninevah. Now Ninevah was a very large city; it took three days to go through it.” (3:13)

When I read this sitting in a coffee shop in Manhattan, a small voice whispered in my head, “What if the entire city of New York could be reached in 3 days? What if there was a flood of missionaries in the city over the course of three days that culminated in a big gathering where the gospel is preached?”

This felt like an audacious thought to me, but I knew it was not something I could have made up and I made a point to write “NYC, 2/7/20” in my Bible next to the passage.  Other than praying for the city throughout the rest of the year, the thought of sending a YWAM team to New York wasn’t something that crossed my mind.

Fast forward to the summer months, when I expressed to leadership here my desire to staff the Fall DTS. I had no idea that NYC was going to be one of the places we would go to do outreach. 

It was not until a staff meeting in late summer where the DTS leaders shared about the school and how some of their vision for this DTS came from the story of Jonah reaching the city of Ninevah. And then followed that with the dream to send some of the school to New York City. Praise God for clear confirmations!

In addition to the portion of our NYC outreach, there are many other reasons I am anticipating God to do incredible things in this school.  The last few months have been some really tough ones for me, and honestly, I feel pretty battered and weak in ways. But this is what makes me so expectant for God to do incredible things. I have been growing in the revelation that God’s power really is perfected in our weaknesses. His grace really is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) The weakness that I am recognizing in myself is the greatest opportunity to tap into God’s power, to let Him and Him alone be sufficient for me, and to be the greatest leader through me.

From being in this place emotionally and spiritually is where I believe God has been equipping me to lead these students well.  Feeling beat up and weak is not me saying, “Poor me,” but rather it’s recognizing God really has equipped me to lead – and I must continue to rely on His equipping alone. I look forward to and anticipate growing in leadership and intimacy with God like never before.


OTHER NEWS

As I mentioned at the beginning of this update, September had some really sweet, fun family moments! Every year YWAM Orlando staff have 4 days dedicated to training followed by 4 days of “staff retreat” at Panama City Beach. During this week I got to grow my relationship with leadership and other staff members.  Let me remind you that, since joining staff, I have spent many months operating under social distancing regulations. I am so grateful to work under and alongside such incredible Godly leaders. I really value this community that feels like a family!

Another amazing family moment I got to take part in this month was my sister’s wedding! It was so special to be her maid of honor and spend some time in Tennessee celebrating her and my new brother-in-law.

I truly felt the kindness of God through these fun and refreshing times at the end of a hard few months!

The last quick update I’ll share is that the apartment that I had applied for with a few other girls fell through. While the process has been a bit frustrating and a lot of work and money put into the application, we are trusting that it is all in God’s hands. We prayed a lot throughout the entire process, did all we could from our end, and now just have to trust that God is closing the door for a reason; even though we don’t see it at the moment! I have peace over my current living situation (in a campus dorm with three other girls) and know that I am going to be busy with the DTS and outreach. So seeking off-campus housing will be put on the back burner for now.


HOW YOU CAN PARTNER  
PRAY – Energy and wisdom when leading and discipling students.
– Favor with our outreaches, that we will all be healthy and able to go to the locations that we are planning for.
– Rest (and knowing how to rest well in this season) 🙂  
GIVE – YWAM Staff account (CLICK HERE)
– PayPal: clbaker04@gmail.com
– Venmo: CassL-Baker

Thank you, as always, for being my family and support. Hope this next month is full of good things for you and your family! Would love to hear how you’re doing and how I can be praying for you.

Blessings, Cassie

August 2020

Hello again!

Hope this finds you doing well as we officially enter into the fall months

CAMPUS MINISTRY

My role in the Missions Engagement department this past month has been a lot of phone calls to pastors and youth leaders setting up events for this fall. The goal in doing events at churches is to get face to face with young people and call them to missions.

While making phone calls has not been the most exciting work, the vision for calling more young people into the mission field drives me.  When I first considered joining YWAM, it was hearing from others in missions with YWAM that was instrumental in my decision.

We are in an opportune time in our nation to be active with our faith as followers of Jesus.  I believe so much in the next generation and believe that they have incredible potential to shift culture if they are empowered to do so.

Within the last month we have scheduled 5 events with youth groups for this fall. A team from YWAM will go to the youth gathering, share a message and testimonies, and call students to live missionally where they are or with YWAM.

LOCAL MINISTRY

My friend and fellow staff member Bailey and I have continued our Friday morning downtown ministry.  We drive around a specific area of the city and pray. This past month we brought popsicles to share with the people there.

We have seen some really hard things, haven’t witnessed much breakthrough, and feel really small – just two girls with popsicles and prayer. But this has become one of my favorite times of the week. We have to keep striking the ground. We don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers and principalities. And every prayer offered, popsicle shared and scripture read aloud is an arrow shot into the spiritual atmosphere.

OTHER NEWS

I am excited to share that I am planning on moving into an apartment at the beginning of next month with two good friends who are also on staff with YWAM Orlando!

I am so grateful to have lived at the YWAM campus for my first months here, but moving off the campus has been a desire of mine for a while now.  I believe there will be great ministry opportunities living in the greater community of Orlando and having neighbors outside of our YWAM family. Another bonus of having an apartment is that I will have a space where I can host people. I envision inviting students over for small group, welcoming people that I meet outside of our YWAM community, and providing a restful place for other YWAM staff.

I say I am “planning on” moving because we are still in the process of getting approved for the apartment. It is a low-income housing complex so there is a lot of paperwork that we’ve had to submit in order to get approved. Our income is within the guidelines to qualify for low-income housing and this place is the most affordable and possible option that is located reasonably near our YWAM base!

The three of us girls that will make up the household really believe this is a place God wants us to be and are praying that the doors will be completely opened for this to happen!

HOW YOU CAN PARTNER

PRAY

  • Favor with the apartment and that we would be completely approved.
  • Continued motivation and zeal to finish out my last few weeks in the missions engagement department well.
  • Incoming fall students (currently there are 57 students signed up for the fall Discipleship Training School! Pray that nothing hinders them from getting here!)

GIVE

Thank you, as always, for being my family and support. Would love to hear how you’re doing and how I can be praying for you! 

Blessings, Cassie

July 2020

July has been a weird month. (But, honestly feel like I could say that about every month since March!)

Last month our YWAM base had started to gather together again for worship (socially distanced in an outdoor space), share meals together in small table groups, and return to somewhat “normal.”

However, because of the rise of coronavirus cases in Florida, we went back to stricter guidelines on the YWAM base this past month. 

July has been another round of navigating disappointment and grief, slowing down and adjusting.  Through it all, the question persists, “How do we prepare for what’s next?” If there’s one thing 2020 has taught all of us, it’s that sometimes we really can’t prepare for what’s next!

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Since having no choice but to ‘slow down,’ one sweet lesson I’ve taken away from this season is not taking the beauty around me for granted. The lake pictured above has been my favorite spot to catch the sunset and spend time talking to God.

CAMPUS MINISTRY

Part of the disappointment and adjustment that I’ve been processing this last month is a change in my work at the base.  My team was planning to host Launch Event in August, an event for young adults here at YWAM Orlando. That event has now been postponed until spring of 2021.

I have so much peace that God has great purposes for the Launch Event and there will be even greater fruit to come next year. Even though we are not able to host the event in person, we are still planning on doing a webinar with the students who had registered.

My work in the Missions Engagement department has transitioned from planning for the event and writing devotionals to now preparing for the fall. For the next few months I’ll be calling churches and schools to set up events for YWAM Orlando to go and present mission opportunities to students. In the past I have seen the Lord do amazing things in public schools and high school youth groups and those experiences have been fuel to the fire to make these phone calls and set up events! Though it has been a transition in the focus of my work, it has been incredible to see God continue to weave my past experiences into my current ministry work. He writes such a greater story than we could ever imagine!

 

LOCAL MINISTRY

Another way I have experienced God’s kindness in the midst of this changing season is having some more time in my schedule to pursue ministry opportunities that have been on my heart for a while.

More and more God has been speaking to me about what it looks like to love our neighbors. Jesus was intentional about not just hanging around people he was comfortable with.  He ate meals with the tax collectors and prostitutes, with the Pharisees and religious leaders, as well as with family and friends.

Since downtown evangelism with students has been postponed at our base right now because of the virus, I have felt a tension and longing to be around people who are different than me, people who don’t know Jesus, and people who maybe just need a friend.

I have been processing a healthy conviction that if I am a missionary, I should regularly be among people who don’t know Jesus.  (To clarify: I don’t want to sound cynical about living and working on the YWAM base.  It is a huge blessing and a great community to thrive and grow in. I believe it is God’s purpose for me to live here right now!)

That being said, with less work to do in Missions Engagement, I have been able to schedule time to go downtown Orlando with another staff member for local ministry. Once a week we have been doing a “prayer drive” around one of the notoriously rougher parts of Orlando, then hitting up a coffee shop and reading scripture at a popular park in the heart of the city, handing out granola bars and praying for people as God leads.

It feels like a really small and simple “yes” to the Lord right now, and I wrestle with the question “is this really making a difference?” But I am taking Jesus at his word in Matthew 13:31-32:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

Creating time in my week to be present with my neighbors in some of the hardest places in the city, to pray, to read out the Word of God, to give out a granola bar – these are the tiny mustard seeds that God has placed in my hands. I want to be faithful in planting these seeds and trusting that He is the God that does more than we could ask or imagine. Believing that these small seeds will produce life and fruit.

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My friend Bailey and I in the heat of downtown Orlando, on our way to the park to read scripture!

 

HOW YOU CAN PARTNER

Pray:

  • Favor with churches and schools as we plan missions engagement events with students this fall.
  • Creative strategy for local ministry and insight into how God wants to specifically touch people in Orlando.
  • Salvations in Orlando!
  • Wisdom with upcoming decisions in my personal life.

Give:

THANK YOU, as always, for being my family and support. Would love to hear how you’re doing and how I can be praying for you! 

Blessings, Cassie

June Update

Hope this finds you doing well and enjoying the summertime!

CAMPUS MINISTRY

Last time I shared about an event I have been planning with my department. A lot of work has happened over the last month and it’s been so rewarding to see the registration officially open and students begin to register for the event!

August 10-14th we are hosting Launch Event at the YWAM base here in Orlando! Launch Event is a 5-day activation experience to call young adults into a missional lifestyle.

Find out more info about it here: https://info.ywamorlando.com/launch

The event will consist of teaching on reaching communities and campuses with the Gospel, training on leading Bible groups, and “Passion Sessions” where students will be able to combine their faith with unique passions and giftings.

As promotion for the Launch Event, we released a “Guide to Effective Evangelism” e-book that I co-wrote with another staff member. Click the picture below to access the full ebook!

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It has been an unexpected blessing to be able to write as a part of my work. I have always liked writing and felt that the Lord had further purpose for my writing, and last month two writing projects were dropped in my lap!

The second writing project that I have been working on is creating a devotional book for the Launch Event. In many ways, I do not feel equipped or qualified to be a “writer” of these guides and manuals. However, being challenged in my writing has led me to be more dependent on the Lord in this work and, I believe, continued to refine my writing skills. (The devotional book is not yet completed in the editing process, but I will share this too when it is finished!)

 

DOWNTOWN MINISTRY

Another one of my roles on staff is serving as an “outreach host” for local ministry. Each week staff and students engage in local ministry.  Many of our local ministry partnerships have been put on hold because of coronavirus restrictions, but as Florida has been reopening we are slowly able to resume local ministry.

I, along with two other staff members, are the outreach hosts for downtown evangelism on Friday nights.  Every Friday a rotating group of students and staff go to downtown Orlando to evangelize in the busiest areas of the city.

Since being on staff I have only been able to attend one of these Friday nights, but it was an incredible night. This particular Friday night there were over 30 YWAM students and staff that went downtown and God was faithful to move in Orlando!

In one night this group of students/staff reported: 

– 54 people prayed for

– 2 healings

– 4 practical needs met

– 6 salvations!

I was blown away and so encouraged at the end of the night to hear all that the Spirit of God did! There is no doubt that people are so hungry for truth and hope in the midst of these wild times. We believe that the harvest for people coming to know Jesus is ripe here in Orlando, and we are signing up to be harvesters that will go into the field!

Unfortunately, due to the increasing cases of coronavirus in Florida, there have been some new restrictions put in place and local ministry is going back on pause for the time being.

Yet, despite the inability to actually go downtown, we will continue to war in prayer over the city.  Every Monday night some friends and I have been spending an hour in prayer for these evangelism times for the city of Orlando.

God has been teaching me the importance of doing everything from a place of prayer first. I don’t want to move or act before seeking the Lord in prayer. The only way our actions have any real power is through the Spirit of God, and prayer is the gateway to welcoming and knowing the Holy Spirit. Despite what feels like setback after setback in these crazy times of continued social distancing, I continue to believe in faith that God is working something greater than we can imagine.  Now more than ever we need to be a praying Church calling on the name of the Almighty God!

 

OTHER NEWS

This past weekend I flew home to Michigan for a quick trip to celebrate my sister, Kayleigh’s, engagement with family and friends!  It was such a blessing to be able to make the trip and I am so grateful for the kindness of God to give me sweet gifts like this weekend.

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HOW YOU CAN PARTNER

Through the summer my work on the YWAM base will continue to be filled with planning for the Launch Event and local outreach in Orlando.

Partner with me in praying for:

  • Young adults and college students to attend the Launch Event.
  • Wisdom in leading and facilitating the event.
  • Continued growth in inviting God into every aspect of my work.
  • Revival in the city of Orlando and our nation.
  • Protection and health over the YWAM campus and community.

 

Partner with me financially:

YWAM staff account: (CLICK HERE)

PayPal: clbaker04@gmail.com

Venmo: CassL-Baker

 

Thank you more than I can say – for supporting, loving me well, and encouraging me! Having peace that I am where God wants me to be is confirmed through all of your support and prayers over me.

❤ Cassie