Happy Holidays! This time of year is one of my favorites! Even though I am far away from family and friends whom I miss very much, there’s been so much to celebrate. Here at my YWAM base in Perth, we celebrated Christmas as a big family, gathering together – all 600+ of us – to eat a nice meal together and then do a huge gift exchange! It was, by far, the most people I’ve ever spent a holiday with! It was a joy to be surrounded by so many diverse people from all over the world who love the Lord so much. In an international missions environment like this, I’m constantly reminded that Jesus is the reason that we’re all here.
Now that Christmas and Boxing Day are done, I’m looking eagerly toward New Year’s Day. This year it will be a very unique experience, as I will be boarding a plane at 6:30am and flying to Manila in the Philippines to spend 3 months serving alongside the Megacities ministry there. Here’s a video that highlights what we’ll be working towards with Megacities:
Megacities is a ministry that desires to see cities transformed by God.
My team in Manila – 8 of us total – will be serving the region of North Manila. We’ll be working alongside the body of Christ to reach as many people with God’s love and truth as possible using evangelism, teaching, mercy ministries and the skills we’ve learned in our counseling courses.
The body of Christ within the city of Manila has invited us into the city to help them. There are many churches in Manila, but there are also many deep problems that need to see God’s transformation. One of the major ones is the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has led to the death of thousands of people and over 700,000 men and women drug addicts turning themselves into the police for treatment. Without the resources to respond to this need, the government has maxed out its prisons and is seeking the church’s help. Another prevalent problem in this city is the population of children who are living on the streets without families. This population, who are getting involved in drugs and other extremely destructive livelihoods, is estimated to be over 460,000.
The exact nature of the work we’ll be doing isn’t completely clear yet – it depends heavily upon the region we are in, the needs in our neighborhood and the churches that we are paired up to work alongside. The first 72 hours will be a time of worship and scripture reading, following by several days of prayer walking and seeking God’s voice for that neighborhood. Because we are part of the first round of teams to go into Manila as part of Megacities’ 1-year outreach to Manila, our group will be doing a lot of pioneering and relationship-building – paving the way for future teams and continued growth and change in the city.
As I get ready to step into this time of outreach to a nation that has some incredible needs, there’s a tendency to think, “What can I really do to transform this place?“. However, in the midst of what is a pretty complicated task, God has reminded me often of the simplicity of the role that He calls us to. In Luke 10:27-28, Jesus confirms that the life he desires from us is all about loving Him and loving our neighbors. As my team and I draw near to God and love others diligently, He will show up. He will bring transformation. Lives will be changed.
My Outreach Team (from left to right) Guys: Ben, Dave, David, and Mark, our team leader. Gals: Sabrina, Liz, Elisabeth and Tia.
- Every penny of our finances came in! That’s over $50,000!!! Praise God for his faithful and generous provision – He does not leave any of those He has called unprovided for. Thank you for your prayers alongside us in this!
- I successfully finished and scored high marks on my final role play for my counseling courses! God really used this opportunity to confirm that he has gifted me in counseling and that he wants me to use this gift to serve in ongoing ministry.
- God has provided strong, life-giving relationships here at YWAM Perth that have been such a gift during this season.
- Spiritual Warfare: My team will be fighting against spiritual forces that do not want God’s work to be fulfilled. Pray for our protection from the enemy and authority in kicking him out of our way.
- Unity: That myself and my team would be unified in seeking God’s glory first, and in serving one another well.
- Humility: We’re here for God’s glory and He’s got the blueprints to what that looks like. Pray that we would be dependent upon Him to guide our way and obedient as He does.
- Safe Travels! We’re headed out on Saturday morning at 3am. Pray for smooth sailing through customs and during our layover in Malasia!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and, as you get ready for 2017, you think often of our faithful, transforming God, who desires to bring fullness of joy to your life and to those around you.
Much Love & Blessings,