Greetings from the land down under!

It has been just over 7 weeks since my last update and life has been moving forward at full speed! In a whirlwind of hard work, celebrations, and goodbyes, I finish my School of Communication in England at the end of September and hopped a plane to Australia, where I joined the big, crazy, passionate family of 380 missionaries on staff at the YWAM Perth base.

Things moved quickly upon arrival in Australia. I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and on Tuesday, I started staff training and orientation and jumped into life in missions with my new team. There’s 4 of us total on my team, and together we run the Foundations for Counselling Ministry school (FCM) on the Perth base. In addition to training, the first week was full of preparation for the beginning of the FCM school. I wrote welcome cards, prayed for the students, bound workbooks, packed school supplies and set up our classroom in preparation for the 13 students that were flying in from around the world to participate in the school.

Just 5 days after arriving in Australia, our FCM students began to arrive! My team and I did airport runs, welcomed our jetlagged students and helped them get settled in for the next few days as they arrived. Despite still recovering from jet lag myself, it was such a joy to finally welcome the young men and women that God has brought to this school and into my life for this season of training. They’re an incredible group, and I am excited to walk out this season with them and see all that God does in their lives and in the nations through it! They are all very enthusiastic and dedicated to learning how to become Spirit-led biblical counselors and to pour that into the world around them. It strikes me every day as I see them learn and grow, how precious they are to God and how He is going to touch the world in so many ways through them. It is such a delight to be a part of what God is doing here!

The FCM started officially on October 2nd! It’s shocking to me that we are over 6 weeks into the 12-week classroom program now, but time FLIES by when things are new and when you’re learning a lot. We’ve already covered some weighty topics, such as intimacy with God, family, cross-cultural counseling and grief and trauma counselling. Staffing and facilitating this school (the FCM) has been an ever-increasing joy and challenge. Stepping into this role in leadership has both confirmed God’s gifting in my life and shown me how many opportunities I have for growth and learning. More than anything, it’s been a time of coming into understanding of how much I need and depend on God to do what He has called me to do. Without His generous outpouring of love, strength and wisdom into everything I do, none of this would work!

Speaking of what God has called me to do! Even in the midst of just getting started, I’ve already been able to walk out many of the things that God has put on my heart! Staffing the FCM school has given me the opportunity to be a part of equipping people to do missionary work in the nations, teaching God’s truth, encouraging and building up others in discipleship, and being a part of the larger vision of reaching the nations with God’s love. A few years ago, I felt God begin to prompt me to grow in discipleship and teaching specifically – during the school, I have been able to walk out and practice these things in greater measure than ever before! An area that has been particularly fun is being paired up with 4 of our students and given the opportunity to disciple and support as they complete the school. We meet weekly and talk and process through areas that God is speaking to them and what they are learning. As I’ve done this, I’ve been so encouraged by God’s faithfulness to provide wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to faithfully work in their lives! Getting to see Him develop their giftings, and bring growth and transformation in their lives is one of the sweetest parts of this season so far. I love how God seeks our growth and I can see this so well in them, and in how He continues to grow me through them.

 
Banner Image: My FCM School – 13 students from 9 nations and 4 staff! An amazing group. 2 & 3: Shot from me teaching a workshop on Active Listening a few weeks ago. In the second shot, I am acting our examples of non-verbal communication with 2 of my teammates – Adrian and Mark. 

A few weeks ago, our entire base went on a week-long staff retreat. All of the long-term staff – around 380 total – drove 2.5 hours south of Perth and stayed together in a campground area along the beach… and had “family time” together. We worshipped together, got to know each other, had times of teaching and reflected on God’s faithfulness. Together we remembered what He has done through the history of our base and the promises He’s fulfilled. A big part of the week was about renewing our unified vision for the future – to reach the world for Jesus. As a brand new member of this community, it was a time of investing in this base and coming into a greater understanding of why God has led me here to Australia, and what His heart is for this community. On the first night, one our base leaders shared a message on the cost of the commitment to God’s call to evangelism. As he spoke, I could hear God asking me, Will you choose to continue to serve me here, even if there is a great cost? Because this first year of pursuing God into missions has been full of unexpected challenges, I’ll admit – the question struck me differently than it would have this time last year. I have become more aware that this commitment to serving God as a missionary will not be easy. But, in the midst of that, I have experienced God in greater measure than ever before… and am more convinced than ever that serving Him is my greatest desire… and fully worth the cost.

So, what’s next? For the next 6 weeks, I’ll be continuing to staff the “lecture phase” of our FCM training with these 13 students. I’ll continue to teach, disciple and work together with the team to get them ready for the next phase – our outreach phase, where they will put all of their knowledge and skills to practice as we go to the nations and serve. This phase starts on December 27th – and I’ll be leading a team to Nepal for 5 weeks and then to Cebu, Philippines for 6 weeks. In both of these locations, our goal is to share God’s love in a way that brings transformation to individuals and to these nations as a whole. This outreach phase will cost approximately $3500 USD above my current monthly support needs. Would you take a moment now to lift up this financial need in prayer – and ask if God would invite you to give? I am trusting for this amount to come in by November 29th.

1: A shot of the big, loud, crazy family that is the YWAM Perth Staff team. This is us during our staff retreat, during  a time of ministry and prayer. 2: Breakfast at my flat with some of the girls that I live with.3: Hanging out and getting to know new people during our staff retreat. 4: The first of 3 carwashes that our school is doing to raise money for our outreach funds!

Would you join me in Prayer?
  • Pray for continued health! I am still healing from a bulging disc in my back. This has been a very painful process, but I have seen God’s continued grace and healing in it, and am continually healing as each week passes. Thank you for your prayers so far! Please pray for continued healing and strength in preparation for outreach in December.
  • Pray for our FCM students! Please join me in praying that the students would receive everything that God has for them and would be courageous in stepping out in it.
  • Pray for my FCM Staff team! Staffing a school is a challenging and BUSY time, and requires a lot from each of us. Please pray that in the midst of that God would strengthen us and give us wisdom and protection as we work together and lead.
  • Pray for Finances! This is a big need for me right now. Here are some financial needs I have at the moment:
    • Outreach (Needed by September 29) $3500 USD apx
    • Ongoing Monthly Support: I am praying for around $200 more consistent monthly support in order to meet my day-to-day needs for things like groceries, as well as allowing me to put away a small amount of money for annual costs for things like visas and visits home.
    • I also have a need for a new mattress to help with my back! If you would like to give toward this specifically, let me know. I am still pricing out a good one, but it looks like a high-quality one will run around $350.
    • Physical Therapy expenses for my back: $800 USD apx

If you would like to give, you can do so through the giving page on this site, or directly to YWAM Perth through this link. Simply select “staff” and leave my name in the details section of the form.

Thank you for all of your prayers. God has provided so much grace and provision as I’ve moved forward, and I appreciate the role you have played in it! I cannot do this without the support of the community around me.

All my love,
Liz