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Monday, November 21, 2011

Schoolies

I just got back from volunteering at a festival, here in South Australia, called "Schoolies". Schoolies is a 3 day long festival for graduating high school seniors, from all over the state, to come and celebrate their achievement.
The uniqueness about this festival is that it is pretty much run by volunteers, and even cooler than that is that all of the volunteers are Christians. Churches from all over come together to put on this festival for the kids and together the volunteers make up, what is known as, "Green Team".
Schoolies has kind of a reputation; the only thing that we in America have that comes close to Schoolies is college student's spring break. Students come and they party; not all kids are there for the same reasons but most are there to party and party hard. Green Team's job is to provide a safe and positive environment so that these guys can celebrate this great achievement in their lives.
Schoolies (the students) know that Green Teamer's are Christians; what they don't know is why we do it. I was shocked at how many times I was asked, just within the first hour, why I joined Green Team. Everything for you to evangelize is already set up for you; it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

I must admit that I was not looking forward to Schoolies at all. When it was being described to me, I heard one thing and that was that I would lose a lot of sleep. This did not sit well with me because in Psalm 127 it says that the Lord gives to His beloved rest, and I have made it my life to live by the Word; so the thought that something might come in between my ability to engage in the fulness of God's biblical promises bothered me. However, when I arrived and saw what Schoolies was about and I engaged in the ministry (whether it be riding to and from with them on the busses, picking up trash, doing crowd control or getting them excited) I was all for it! As a team we saw some really awesome things; people came to the Lord, people were touched, encouraged and moved. Personally, I'm still trying to figure out why those kids were so intent to try and make out while in a mosh pit but I know that the Lord used my presence; whether I have evidence or stories to prove that is, for me, irrelevant. If nothing else, I can say that every single one of those kids walked away with a very different perspective on Christians because there they were in their worst moments, drunk, upset, lost and out of their minds, and no one was judging them; all they received were helping hands, loving hearts and smiling faces from people that genuinely cared.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Eat. Spit. Be Happy!

Since coming to Australia my country music playlist has gotten longer, my craving for BBQ and bacon has gotten stronger, my homesickness a bit deeper and my overall patriotism has gotten stronger. The God's-honest-truth is that America looks sexy from this angle. For the first time in my life I'm not only proud to be an American but I genuinely miss my nation. For the first time in my life I find myself wishing to return and settle down in the South somewhere with a homegrown country boy who loves his tractor, baseball, God and me (not in that order of course). America is truly an amazing place to live and I'm racking up the passport to have authority in the matter.

I watched the movie Moneyball and it left me feeling incredibly homesick for my country, my family, and all things familiar. On my way back to the base I just gave my thoughts over to God and He showed me that I could go back to the States and live a darn good life but I would die before my calling; my body would be buried and my soul surrendered to heaven while my calling would wander the earth in search of a willing soul to carry it. I can choose to live my life in a beautiful country where I can live a comfortable life; but is that what I live for? Seems like the places that need the most help are the least comfortable places that you could want to be. But comfort is not the compass of our lives; at least it's not meant to be.

Do I live for this life or do I live for what lies beyond this life? Do I make decisions that will result in a nice life or do I make decisions that will result in a finished work?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Point for Community

If you are a full-time YWAMer, then you are living in community. If you ask someone who lives in community how they like it, they will probably tell you that it's really good but it's really hard; and they would be totally right.
I remember, 2 years ago, when God told me it was time to go on the mission field; my knee-jerk response was, "No! I'm not ready..." And still sometimes I struggle with feeling inadequate and like I don't know enough to be here. But God showed me something this week.

Andre and I are remodeling one of the old cellars into our music studio/practice room/office. Andre and I are musicians; we are not carpenters, designers, architects, handymen, electricians or anything of the sort, however, these are all things and skills that we require. Now he and I could YouTube it, work our butts off, and try to do it on our own but it'd probably take 4xs as long and probably wouldn't be done as well. But because we live with about 30 other people, we have all the skills and all the hands we need in our community to make this possible; whatever we don't know how to do, someone else does and they are helping us with it.

God showed me that if I knew enough to do things on my own- I would do them on my own...but I'd miss out on the beauty of community. See, the blessing of community is that I don't have to know everything; which takes a lot of pressure off. It goes back to that old saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." We were never meant to do things on our own, that's why God calls us to be a body and to work together with all of our different parts.

What are you trying to do on your own? And who's around you to help you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

In between the lines

Someone recently asked me how my trip was going...This struck a chord in me, not the best one, and my personal response was, "What do people think I do here?" And then I got to thinking about it some more and I thought, "They think what I tell them; which, this time around, hasn't been a whole lot." To be honest, I've been kind of afraid to blog too much for fear that my blog would just become like white noise that people just tune out, but I have a bigger fear and it's that people would think that I'm vacationing around the world rather than working and serving.

So after praying about it and thinking about it, I've decided to start blogging a bit more about what I do here in Australia.

Monday:

-Clean the base
-worship and prayer for an hour
-morning tea
-base work until lunch (for me this means that we are either working on prayer and worship stuff or we are helping in the kitchen or the hospitality department)
-lunch
-ministry work until 5pm (this is when I work on the music ministry with the rest of the band. For the next two months we are working on remodeling one of the cellars to be our practice room/office)
-Zumba for an hour before dinner (we all are trying to do more exercise so at 5 you either keep working till dinner or you go do some type of fitness. All of us girls do Zumba together and the guys usually go lift weights or play some sport)
-Dinner
-Sometimes we have other things we have to do after dinner, it just depends on what we have going on that week, but majority of the time we are off after dinner.

Tuesday:

-We connect via skype with our partner base in Melbourne. We have worship together and pray together over skype. After that we usually have a Bible study led by our base leader, Pablo.
-Morning tea
-Base work until lunch
-lunch
-ministry work until 5pm
-Zumba
-Dinner

Wednesday:

-We have worship/prayer for a little bit and then we have our staff meeting
-Morning tea
-Base work until lunch
-lunch
-ministry work until 5pm
-Zumba
-Dinner

Thursday:

-Clean the base
-Intercession for 1 hour
-Morning tea
-Base work until lunch
-lunch
-ministry work until 5pm
-Zumba
-Dinner

Friday:

-Morning worship/prayer/family time for 1 hour
-Morning tea
-Base work until lunch
-lunch
-ministry work until 5pm
-Zumba
-Dinner (cook your own)

Saturdays:

-I spend the morning and afternoons skyping, emailing, and catching up.
-Every other weekend, at night, we go and pass out food to the homeless. Every so often we go and pass out water bottles to the kids partying in the city and to the drunks so that they don't get dehydrated and just to bless them.

Sundays:

-Go to church (haven't been going lately because I haven't had transportation but as soon as I register my car I hope to start attending a church in Port Adelaide and really invest there)
-Finish up whatever I didn't finish on Saturday
-Relax

Now on top of that, or in place of that, we do heaps of other stuff. For example, the 3rd week of November we are going to be working for 3 or 4 days at an event called "Schoolies". It's basically a Spring Break party for all of the graduating seniors of high school. All of the volunteers are Christians and it's our job to provide a safe environment for around 10,000 kids to have fun and celebrate. Over the past 3 months I've been able to do heaps of things on a purely voluntary basis; I've been a clown, I've been an ambassador for YWAM, Salvation Army volunteer, etc. Also, as a music ministry, we've got our own ministry that we are already doing and will be increasing in as opportunities arise. For example, last Sunday we traveled to a church in Victor Harbor and led worship for them.

These are some of the details of what I do in between the skeletal summary I usually give once a month. This is in NO WAY to boast or make you go, "Wow!" because it's not enough. When the music ministry's foundation is finished, then we can start building on it and there will be heaps more to do and even more to talk about and share. For instance, right now we as a band are transforming one of the cellars into a place where we can practice and work; we plan to have it done by the new year. Now it may sound like a very inward focused work but we made a decision to begin with this because it's better for our work that we have a place to practice and work so that our results can be better.

So yeah guys this is my work, this is what I'm up to behind the monthly blog posts. Please feel free to write me with questions, comments, chit chat, anything that's on your heart or mind. Thanks for reading!