Pages

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Adelaide

This is the city of Adelaide and this is where I live.

The orangey building back there is my new home.

This is my room.

Every morning we have worship/intercession/meeting at 8:30, around 10 there's tea time and after that it's work time. My role on base hasn't been completely sorted yet so this past week I was just filling in and helping out where I could which ended up being the kitchen most times (I did warn them I can't cook).
Next week is a thing called NIKO which is basically outreach prep out in the bush for a week. All I know is that we'll be roughing it; they like to keep all else about it a secret. I'm going along because otherwise I'll be on the base pretty much all by myself. It was a tough call ;-)

I met with the "worship team" and all those who are going to be apart of this new "worship ministry" that is starting and I'm really excited. These next months will just be us getting in sync with each other and learning how to play as a band. But since most of the band is going on outreach to Thailand it'll be me and the drummer getting in sync. No matter, I'm so excited for the possibilities that lie in wait there.

The base that I'm working with (YWAM Southlands Adelaide) is undergoing a major change. This base is joining with 2 other bases in Australia something that apparently has never been done before and so the base is in uncharted territory and walking in faith. When I heard this I was so encouraged because I am very much in uncharted territory and am having to walk in faith so to be working with a base that is in the same scenario is a huge blessing and such a comfort!

This week has really been comprised of just helping out wherever, getting over jet lag, exploring and getting to know people. This base has such a strong family atmosphere that they really work hard to create and maintain. I'm so thankful to be here and I'm in love with the journey that God has me on right now; it's not always easy and it's sometimes scary but it's amazing and it's a tremendous blessing.

P.S. I like Vegemite :-)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm here

I touched down in Adelaide around 10:20 am. I got brought to the base, given a tour, got settled in, and then I was welcomed, welcomed, welcomed. My initiation was that I had to stand up at dinner time and sing my national anthem which was unfortunate especially since I had go be reminded what my nation's anthem was haha! Tomorrow I have my first staff meeting bright and early and then I'll get the lowdown on how things work here. It's a big base but it's a beautiful base and I can't wait to get going.

It's sinking in little by little. There are parrot looking birds flying around plus a hundred other kinds, koala bears in the trees, vineyards all around, and a kangaroo every now and then. "Holy cow I'M IN AUSTRALIA!!! How did this happen?!" lol

I'm really excited to see what the Lord had in store. The unknown can be kind of intimidating but instead of looking at it with nervousness, I'm trying to look at it with anticipation. It's not a 2 year commitment, it's a daily commitment and tomorrow is a new day. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Leap of Faith

In the morning I start my fairly long journey to Australia. These past couple of days have been filled with family, packing, and reassuring. I fly out of Orlando around 1:25pm and should land in Adelaide around 10am on Tuesday. I'll be sure and let you all know when I've arrived safely in Adelaide.

This is a poem I wrote that really best describes how I'm feeling right now and of what I keep reassuring myself.

The edge of the cliff crumbles away under my feet as if nature itself is coercing me jump.
The waterfall is beautiful and the pool below enticing but there's a lot that can happen in between.
I know once I jump only ecstasy will remain so it's not the fall that shakes my knees.
I've seen others jump before and they landed just fine so it's not the ending that worries me.
Is it the daunting of the unknown?
Is it the teasing doubts?
Self-talk has little place here, my thoughts are louder now on the edge.
As I watch pebbles slip away from the ground where they used to lay, a Friend comes and offers His helpful counsel, "Take My hand."

Pages of 21 years are replayed in a moment.
Faith reminded
Faith restored
I've been here before and He never let me make the jump alone.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quick Testimony From Thailand

I received an update last week about one of the girls some members of my team ministered to in the red light district in Chiang Mai. My friends Lauren and Becca met this lady and got very close with her. There was truly a God-ordained bond between them. Well the three of them have managed to stay in touch thanks to a friend in Wongen Kafe who has been keeping up with her.
Their contact from Wongen updated them that this lady has finally left the bars! She is going to Bangkok to be with her family and to learn a new trade with her sister.

I wanted to share this with you all because even though I never got to know this girl it gave me such hope and encouragement. If you followed my blog while I was in Thailand you'll know that my team and I never saw a girl come out; in fact it was an uphill battle to stay optimistic about the seeds we were sowing. But I'm so encouraged by the power of persistent prayer displayed through this story. Lauren and Becca never gave up hope and even though they never saw fruit while in Thailand, they are seeing it now. Praise God! He is so good!

It gives me such hope for the people that I still pray for; maybe not that I'll see the fruit but that there will be fruit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dear Supportive Friends,

I cannot begin to express my gratitude for both your financial and spiritual support while I was on my DTS with YWAM Auckland Central! I wanted to send you a letter thanking you, tell you a bit about what God did through your support and what He’s continuing to do.

As you know, I spent 3 months in Auckland, New Zealand being trained and learning about God, the Bible, and social justice issues. God truly did incredible things in and through me while in Auckland. I had the great privilege to be one of the worship leaders and, to my surprise; I found that I have a God-given passion for leading worship. Another awesome privilege that I had in Auckland was to reach out to the local community. I became friends with the people that most would label as beggars, thieves, drunks, rapists, homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts, drug dealers, and crazies; these were the people that lived on the streets in Auckland and through becoming their friend God really transformed the way that I look at ministry.

Your prayers opened doors in the hearts of the people of Auckland and I was always dumbfounded at the opportunities that were laid out for me to minister. One such experience happened when I got in a conversation with a woman who was prostituting herself on the street and what started out as casual chit-chat soon turned to her unveiling her past, and me getting an opportunity to pray for her. As I was praying for her she screamed out at the top of her lungs, “GOD GET ME OUTTA HERE!” This is just one story of hundreds; God continually heard your prayers and responded with such incredible favor.

Before I knew it 3 months in Auckland were over and I was on my way to spend another 3 months in Thailand reaching out to the girls trapped in prostitution there. Seven others and I had incredible opportunities to show the love of Jesus Christ to the girls working in the red light districts (title given to places where sex is solicited and sold), to widows, to children, and to the poor. I had several opportunities to play worship in the red light districts and saw God do incredible things through that. I was transformed by the bonds that were formed with the girls and with the Thai people we were so blessed to serve.

Your prayers opened doors, protected, and ministered to me. We had so many opportunities to minister in so many different ways and meet so many different needs (weeding a garden for a widow, worshipping in red light districts, loving on prostitutes, playing with children in the slums, interceding over temples and Buddhist shrines, teaching English, etc); all things that were made possible because of your support. One testimony I would like to share with you happened in one of the red light districts that we worked in. This red light district had one main road and off of the main road there were many side streets that each had about a dozen bars and each bar was saturated with girls selling themselves and men eager to buy them. Everyday we visited the red light district during the day to cover the streets and the bars in prayer before we returned to do ministry at night. We would pray big prayers of faith, asking God to tear down the walls, to make the foundations crack, to destroy the bars, etc; and one night He answered. We came to the red light district to find the most wicked and evil side street destroyed! God answered our prayers in numerous and in powerful ways but I know we weren’t the only ones praying and interceding.

I find it near impossible to offer a fitting summary of what God did in and through this life-changing experience. The greatest report that I have to give you is that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do amazing things in New Zealand, in Thailand, and in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support! There are so many more stories and testimonies of what God has done. If you would like to read more about what God did in New Zealand and Thailand visit my blog at: www.stephanieandywam.blogspot.com

What God has done is certainly worthy of praise and I’m even more excited about what He’s doing next. Over the course of my DTS I really fell in love with YWAM and I’ve decided to continue on in this amazing organization. I have been accepted to staff with a base in Adelaide, Australia and I fly out July 24. “YWAM Southlands Adelaide” is the name of the base that I’ll be working with. This base has a heart for justice and has several ministries that reach out to those caught in injustice, and they are looking to grow. I’ve made a 2 year commitment during which I’ll be going through an apprenticeship style course designed to prepare you for ministry and I’ll be taking on some roles there on the base; one such role will be being involved with a new ministry, in the makings, that will use music and worship to reach the people of Adelaide and beyond. I’m very excited to see what will unfold in these next 2 years and am eager to begin the journey.
*sign up for my blog to stay in the loop with what's going on in Adelaide*

If there’s one thing that my experiences in New Zealand and Thailand showed me it’s that real change requires real commitment; this is what I’m both giving and asking from you. I firmly believe that missionaries are not individual people that work independently of others but that true missionaries are groups of people that are working together for a common goal. I hope that you will once again partner with me so that together we may make Him known.

As a full time missionary on staff, I will not have the opportunity to work outside of my role on the base. Therefore my monthly support of around $1000 will need to come through donations. This includes room and board, living expenses, outreach costs, and travel.

There are several ways that you can offer your financial support to help make this possible:
1. You can go to my blog and click on the “Donate” button and give through Paypal.
2. You can donate online through the base website. (tax deductible)
a. go to www.ywamsa.org.au
b. click on the “Finances” tab and that will bring you to a “Payment and Donation Form”
c. Under “Payment Type”, select “Staff Donation/ Support” and put my name under “Person/ Project”
-From there you will be able to elect whether you want to make a one time donation or a monthly donation.

I would be honored if you would like to join the support team (this does not just mean financially). If you are able and willing to provide financial support please email me and let me know so I can budget accordingly.

I’m forever grateful for the support God provided through your generous hearts to send me to New Zealand and Thailand and I’m really excited for the fellowship that will once again be formed as we partner together. Please keep me in your prayers. Thank you my supportive friends!

Your friend Down Under,

Stephanie Gray
passionate247@live.com