Monday, October 26, 2009

3 weeks in and loving it!

Well hello dear friends and family,
I just wanted to give an update of life here at the Ranch. First of all, thank you for all those who have given and have been praying for me. I so appreciate it! I am still praying and expectantly waiting for the full financial provision. I am still about $2,000 short! I know that to God this is not a large amount and I am learning to walk in simple trust that He will provide if I am supposed to be here (which I have every confidence I am supposed to be here!) . Please continue to pray with me in this!
As for the school and the campus, well let me tell you! It has been an adventure. From day 1 we have been thrown into intense moments of seeing God move. I have always known that God is real, but coming here and being in such a place I am seeing the reality of Jesus' love for me like never before. The reality and simplicity of who He is, that when I thought I was a "good enough" person, I wasn't. That God created me for relationship with HIM. That He is not just some thing in the sky that is awesome, but He is a Father when we do or do not have one... that He is a Friend that will never leave my side. That He is everything I ever needed. That He is longing for a daily, moment by moment relationship with me. I am learning to hear His voice. It's amazing. It's wonderful to see many of my classmates that have just come out of the world, who had no real knowledge of who God is, coming to see that this is what they have always longed for, that He is everything they ever wanted or needed. That HE is alive and Real. There is so much joy and freedom that comes from knowing the Lord this way.

the pictures above:my friend LeeAnn (from Canada, married & 3 kids & I,
my brother Fitu (Samoan, grew up in New Zealand) & I,
& my favorite spot to sit, near the fireplace where I can watch outside...

The land and campus is beautiful. It is so interesting because you drive for hours through prairie land that looks much like eastern Washington and then you drive up a hill and you are in the middle of a forest. it was just here and the owners of the camp created this place. IT is... wow. There is a 20 person hot tub that we have used quite often in the evenings, which let me tell you is beautiful when the snow is coming down. We are staying in cabins that hold about 10 people each. There are horses on the hill and a comfy fire place with couches that I spend a lot of my free time sitting near. I look outside and often see deer wandering very near the buildings as I dream about the future, walking with the Lord. 
There are about 35 students. As I said before it is called "All Nations, All Generations" and wow there are families with newborns all the way up to some staff and students that are in the 60's, 70's and 80's. It is amazing to all walk together as family. There are people from 14 different nations represented. A lot of Islanders (who I have become close to!), some Koreans, a dear girl from Japan, a lot of First Nations (Indians) and of course Canadians and a handful of us Americans. It is incredible. We are walking with some of the most honored and amazing leaders in YWAM. I am amazed at the feeling of family that we have here. A place of safety for this time where all of us are being changed and transformed into new creations.
God has given me personally many amazing experiences so far. I'll be honest, I have never really experienced a heart for my own people (the Quinault tribe). But since being here God is restoring to me a heart for them and for the First Nations people across the US and Canada. In one prayer session, something broke inside of me and I felt the Lord asked me to stand and dance and sing in the tribal way. I said, but Lord, I don't know how! I felt Him say to me, "Come and I'll teach you." I got up and with the Native Drums pounding in the room and through my being I stood and something changed in me. I began to dance in a way I have never moved before as a Native daughter. War cries came out of me and I knew that I was realizing a part of who I am, of who I was created to be. It was such an amazing moment in time. He is teaching me that every time I take a step in dancing in worship it is warfare. That something is breaking in my family. It is amazing. And it has continued to be a part of my daily life. This is just one small part of what is happening in me here.
I have NO IDEA what is in store for me next, but I am so excited to be here for such a time as this. I am being challenged and changed daily. I pray for home often and for the church and all of you my friends and family, that God will reveal Himself to you in many new and wonderful ways. I miss you all so dearly and hope that things are going well with you. I would love to hear from you!
Some of you have asked for my mailing address, i don't remember who -- if you want it you can email and ask for it ;)
Thank you for your love and support... and I hope that you all are being encouraged and challenged and changed more and more into the people He created you to be. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 3 Reflections

Well, I just have a minute as people are finishing up their lunches and class begins again... here is what has been going on ...

The first night we had a welcome dinner that was combined with a "protocol" service  they called it. It was incredible. YWAM has been here for 10 years but it was the first time it had ever been official this year. They officially welcomed the Islanders, the Koreans and Asians and other nations into Canada. It was as if they were giving them spiritual authority and permission to be in the land. it sounds strange if you had not seen it but there was something that shifted in the spirit realm. It was inspiring and if people had never felt the presence of the Lord before they felt him that night. IT was incredible. From the moment I walked in I was standing in a spirit of humility. I felt so grateful to be here. Because I truly felt the presence of God. Tears streamed down my face as the founders of the Ranch stood up and began to speak about the vision God had given them. The wife in the couple I think her name was Janice? She is part Native and talked about how growing up she was ashamed of that heritage but when God laid it on their heart to buy this land that she learned she had a natural authority in the land because of that part of her bloodline. I get goosebumps even now thinking about how much authority God has given me and my family. It was an amazing night.
There are many Samoan's and Fijian students. they are incredible. they have already done like 2 war dances against spiritual powers of darkness. So powerful. yesterday in the morning there was an older woman in our class who shared about her difficult childhood and talked about how she had chosen death and not life. how she lived her whole life in fear of Satan and believing that she would become clinically insane like her mother had been. Pastor Vai (the Samoan pastor here) spoke to her and said that they wanted to do a prophetic dance to call out the life in her, the life of God and to battle with her against the spirit of Darkness. It was amazing. God broke chains in her heart yesterday that you knew she had lived with forever. The young men gathered around and had serious war faces on that could scare anyone and they made it clear that the faces were against the spirit of darkness and the demons, not against her, but that were calling out life. Does that make sense? OH, it was beautiful to see God break that off of her.
I had an opportunity to share how I felt yesterday and what God was speaking. You know how I love to speak. It was so neat. I do feel such a strength in my spirit. I know already that if this is how the first 2 days were, oh God what he will do in the next 5 months. I am excited about getting to truly know all the different people that create our little family here. 
I will keep more updates coming as i can. 

blessings to all and I love and miss you all...

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Week Before It All Begins

Well, it was an exciting weekend. Let me tell you about it!

Friday night mom and I began our journey. Mom got off work around 5 pm and I had a few precious moments to spend hugging dad and saying goodbye. He had been gone all week on a business trip and rushed back for one last hug. He came with a gift for my birthday and a goodbye (A great North Face Jacket!) I was never one of those cool kids before ;) I kind of feel like a poser, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the jacket! it fits perfectly and it's brown so I'll wear it often! 

Anyway, so we of course stopped one last time at my Starbucks before we drove out of town. It was good to see everyone one last time before I left for awhile.

On our way through we stopped to give Grandma and Grandpa one last hug and spent a few minutes visiting before we continued on.

We drove and drove and arrived in Yakima around 11 pm. It was a long day and knowing we had to get up early made it even worse. We crashed. It was quite an interesting visit because neither mom or I had been to the house in such a long time. It was wonderful to see Grandma Marilyn again... I miss her so much and to be in the house was so strange after so long. We slept in grandpa's room and I went to bed remembering sweet things about him and how much he meant to me. I was always a little sad that he didn't know me as an adult. I think we would have had lots to talk about. He was an incredible man though I know far far from perfect.

We got up EARLY the next morning. 5 am and we were out on the road by 5:15 am. We stopped for gas and hoped for coffee. No such luck. We drove for hours before we saw a sign for Starbucks. We raced to get there and when we drove for 10 minutes away from the highway and saw no more signs we gave up and turned around, with the caffeine headache starting with both of us. We were pushing my poor little car as fast as she would go.

We were aiming to get to Airdrie, a little town outside Calgary in time for a Haiti Arise Appreciation dinner that Marc and Lisa had begged me to try to get to. We knew we would probably be a little late because it was an 11 hour drive plus an hour time difference against our favor. We were rushing and rushing and then came the border. Ugh. They pulled me in and after 45 minutes demanded I pay $150 US for a Religious Work Visa which the YWAM base in Medicine Hat assured me I didn't need. Bummer bummer but I am so grateful for my mommy who had a good attitude....

So, add that to our already tardiness, we were afraid we were going to entirely miss the dinner! And yet we pushed our way through the Canadian terrain to a world unknown to mommy. The beauty of Banff and the surrounding areas on the road to Calgary. It really is beautiful this time of year. The colors just beginning to change for autumn. Gorgeous. I was blown away by the reality that I am really here. I am going to live here for the next few months.

Mom and I had some great talks on this trip... I was so grateful for our time together. I know it will be something I will remember and hold dear in my heart for the rest of my life.

So with my new found map reading skills (thank you so much Lisa!) we navigated our way through the hills to the Roberts' Ranch in Airdrie. We walked in during the middle of their thank you speech and of course the entrance was at the front where everybody watched us walk in. We were so tired and had to use the washroom so bad! LOL. But we made it and I was overjoyed to see friends I had made while in Haiti and with Lisa last spring when Jasmine was born.

As soon as it was over we made the 30 minute trek back to Calgary. So tired we wanted to cry and me so excited I could hardly stand it. Again thanking Lisa for her map lessons we found our way with the map to our “hotel”. It was to say the least the scariest hotel experience of my life. We had to park on the lower level of the hotel and the elevator was broken. I had to carry all my stuff in from the car which was full, because I didn't want to get broken into during the night so we had to pack it all AROUND the block and UP a hill to get into the lobby. We got a cart once inside but when we exited the lobby and entered a SCARY elevator we really got nervous. We got to our room. The light flickered and shocked me a tiny bit, the floor looked like it hadn't been washed in ages. There was a white spot and all I could think was shows like NCIS and CSI where there is blood on carpet and they attempt to clean it and you could see residue – ya, that's what it was like. SICK! We unloaded the cart and tried to be happy to just be settled and together. It was a tough night. Mom hardly slept at all and I was so tired I couldn't think about it anymore. I got into bed with the feeling of being bitten by little bugs. Ew!

The next morning mom got up and we tried to get ready in the tiny bathroom. We just wanted to get out and forget we were staying there. On the way out of the room mom REALLY got a shock in her arm and said that's it. I have to talk to them. She told the front desk clerk what had happened. He apologized with fear in his eyes and offered us a King Suite in the newer side of the hotel. It still was not glorious but at least there was a full bathroom sink and cleaner environment. Ack, it was horrid though.

That next day we drove to Medicine Hat to see the ranch and meet the people. This has almost been the highlight of the trip so far. I got to meet the directors and we got some questions answered. They are amazing! I cannot wait to be there later this week. The ranch is incredible and I know it is going to be an amazing experience. I think mom felt better too knowing who was going to be working with me and what it would look like. I am a little nervous about my poor little car. We'll see how it does in Alberta weather during the winter! They say Medicine Hat is pretty mild. We'll see who's lying or not! LOL. I was of course excited to see too that there are 2 Starbucks in the city and it's only a half an hour drive there. :)
The next day I tried not to think about how I had to say goodbye to mom. We drove toward the airport and grabbed a bite to eat at Earls (a great restaurant, PS) and then sat at my not so favorite place, Tim Hortons, because there was no Starbucks close by. We tried not to cry while we sat and knit together for an hour or so. Trying to be cheerful. Trying to be happy. It was not so successful. But then the moment came...we had to say goodbye. We cried and held each other knowing that something about this DTS is different than my other adventures. I don't know how and I don't know why but I do know that it is different. I wonder what will happen.

I got my composure and drove to Didsbury for Generation Group, a small discipleship group with the pastors and some dear friends I made last spring and of course my dear Bekah and Joe who were in Haiti with me the year before. It was a good time and very encouraging!

Then came time with Marc and Lisa. It was wonderful to see them and catch up... it was short and sweet and then they were gone. I was grateful for time with Claire and Nelson, Marc's adopted Canadian parents. So encouraging and a time full of love. I am grateful to have so many friends here in Alberta :)

And now I am sitting in a coffee shop in Didsbury thinking about the past days and dreaming about the coming ones... Wondering what God will do. Who I will become and who I will meet. Trying to be content with where I am in life and wondering when God will sweep me off my feet next... I feel quite happy and though I am sad to be away from family and friends in Washington I am excited to see what will happen today and tomorrow and the next.

For now all, if you've read all this, you're amazing. The ramblings of a young and adventurous disciple of Christ... blessings...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some Goodbyes... and a word from the Lord

So today was the week mark. I have exactly one week left before mom and I begin our journey to Canada... I went down to Taholah where my dad grew up today. A bunch of our family still lives there. I'll be honest with you, I have always felt a kind of fear when I go there... when I go onto Native American land. I feel a sense of wonder and awe at that part of who I am. I was not raised on the Rez so I feel very ignorant about a lot of what my family has gone through. But I have heard stories and I know that somehow the Lord has worked that part of who I am into the Calling he has placed on my life. It is something that I ran from for a long time.

This DTS that I am going to be a part of works directly with First Nation People Groups, this of course including Native Americans who were "here first." I have great expectation that the Lord is going to break my heart in this area, and bring me to my knees in intercession for the blood that runs in my veins and in those of my people. I wish I knew how to reach out to those I see better. I know the day is coming that I cannot hide in my comfortable life... when I will be put in a place where I can and will influence those around me in a very real way for the Lord.

My grandmother who was very dear to me recently passed away. Her grave along with my grandpa's is across the river in the village. I wanted to go today while I was there to "say goodbye". Knowing it was dangerous to be out in the woods where the cemetery is, alone, I only stayed for a few moments. The drive through the woods to the plot of land is eerie, but has an elegance to it. An old gravel road with potholes is lined with trees like an arch over your car, the path leading there. I went around 5:30 as the sun was beginning to lower. The light cast a beautiful, but eerie glow through the trees and as I drove up to the graveside the sun was only shining on her grave. The rest of the cemetery was already covered in shade of the late afternoon. There was a peace there and I found such comfort knowing that she was no longer in pain, but was enjoying the warmth and beauty of our Savior's presence. I also found a determination to begin to pray for her people, my people. I began to drive out again and as I did I came to the bridge that covers the river. I think I have decided it is my favorite spot in the World.
tell me it is not beautiful!! This is the view from the bridge. You are looking at the Quinault River flowing together at the mouth into the Ocean. Isn't it beautiful? I was reminded that at this moment in life I am at the edge of all that I know and it is a point of transition. The waters are together, mixing and I have a choice to push my way into the ocean, the unknown if you will, or to stay in a place of comfort and security. I know that the Lord is leading me, and I am excited to see where he will take me...

I am grateful for the peace that comes with obedience. He is good, isn't he?? :)

Officially one week left!

Well All,

I officially have one week left until I go. It is 12:45 AM on Friday and I should be in bed, but because i was packing all day I have the contents of my closet, suitcases and hiking back pack strewn across my bed... i thought I would tell the world about the craziness of this part of leaving and put off the long chore of putting it away before sleep comes.... My worst habit -- PROCRASTINATION!!! I need to work on that! ;)

So with a weekend ahead full of family and friends and goodbye's, I go to sleep with my mind full. what to pack, what to leave, what to trash....

Mom and I booked our hotel tonight for the days she will be staying with me in Calgary... another reality check that this is Actually Happening!!

Oh time... where are you going???

For now, goodnight... more as the days pass by...


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A new Adventure on the Horizon

Well, I can't believe it is almost here!! Things are finally coming together, the money is slowly trickling in and I am getting ready to leave. I have 9 days left to go before mom and I will make the drive to Calgary to visit some friends before i drop her off at the airport and then I will drive to Medicine Hat, AB to begin my first DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING SCHOOL (DTS) with YOUTH WITH A MISSION (YWAM) @ the Eagles Nest Ranch. I am SOO excited about this adventure and I hope that I will be as diligent in this blog or better than I was with my blog while I was in Haiti!

Pray with me as I believe in faith that the Lord will provide all the finances and resources I need to get through this school! I know it's where I am supposed to be at this time in life and I am ready to go forward into this plan that the Lord has for my life!

Thanks for all of you who have prayed and supported me in this journey!