It's been 3 weeks since we arrived home from our our DTS and outreach on the Big Island of Hawaii. Our time in Hawaii was so rich and stretching in so many ways. I would have to say living on the YWAM base during the lecture phase was the happiest our family has ever been. Our cup was filled to overflowing every single day with amazing speakers/teachers of Truth, and being surrounded by young people and older people alike with the same passion to pursue Jesus whole-heartedly.
Worship will never be the same to us, as when we worshipped Jesus in the prayer room, there was jumping and dancing and worshipping in total reckless abandon to the Lord without the worry of what we looked like when we did it. Often times announcements were made for us to stop jumping so much in fear of the floor collapsing....haha! It was fun, just as worshipping our Savior and creator of the free world should be and was meant to be. Our children had freedom to be children, to run and play after school and come in at sunset covered from head to toe in dirt with black feet, much like it was when we were kids. They were in an environment of young adults who would speak life to them, encourage them, and show them what it meant to live a life for Jesus. They were treated as equals as far as hearing God's voice and praying for healing over people and they experienced God just as much as we did while they were in Foundation School. The only words I can think of when I think of our lecture phase is heavenly and bliss. It was a great time of refreshing in the Lord, being challenged, and quality time spent as a family. The words that come to mind for outreach portion is stretching, uncomfortable at times, but so good at the same time. To be honest there were many times during outreach that I was ready to pack a bag and go home, but looking back now I would give anything to be back in it. Many comforts and "entitlements" were stripped away as our family of 5 lived out of a small motel room for 2 1/2 months. Our schedule was challenging with our children and our weeks were long as we had 1 day off a week for rest. We spent the first month in Kona where 7 families...24 children and 16 adults....were on our team. Kona was very much focused on street evangelism. We had teams that would go out daily, sometimes at night as well, and share the love of Jesus to people on the streets of Kona. All the while, our children were just as much a part of this as we were. They were with us every step we took. We took the kids on "treasure hunts" and watched as God led them to people He was pursuing that day. We watched our 12 year olds lead a heroin addict to Jesus, pray for the filling of the holy spirit within him, and pray deliverance over his addiction. This young man was a crying mess as he encountered the Father's love and forgiveness out of the obedience of our children and their willingness to listen to God's voice. It was GLORIOUS! We spent 2 weeks taking part in a deliverance/freedom ministry called Pure Heart, ministering to students on base, which we LOVED. We also took part in a Bible distribution where we handed out over 250 Bibles and shared the gospel with the people in Kona. Many gave their hearts to Jesus during this time and MANY seeds were planted as well. When heading to Hilo for our second half of our outreach it was totally different. The spiritual atmosphere in Hilo was totally different. Kona was home of YWAM where many zealous Christian students on a regular basis go out and pray for people and evangelize in the downtown area. We experienced first-hand why Jesus used farming parables a lot when He taught. It just made sense. You could say that the ground in Kona had been plowed and it seemed the harvest was more ripe. The ground in Hilo had not been plowed as much so it was a little more difficult to evangelize in Hilo. We spent a lot of time praying and worshipping outside in Hilo, going on prayer walks around the city and praying for God to change the spiritual atmosphere in Hilo. We still did street evangelism everyday but our focus in Hilo was not only to "save the lost" but it was to "revive the saved." We worked alongside and served next to 3 churches within Hilo where our team led worship and did some "rapid fire preaching" where we would take turns doing 5 minute sermons in church services. We led a "24 hour burn" where we prayed and worshipped for 24 hours in unity with several churches in Hilo for God to uncap the ancient wells of revival in Hilo. This was held in the original church that use to be the largest church in the world where in the 1800s a huge revival took place where over 3/4 of the island gave their hearts to Jesus and turned away from worshipping wooden idols. It was truly something! One of my favorite outreach experiences was this Burn. We also hosted a "harp and bowl" worship seminar and taught some of the churches in Hilo how to do "harp and bowl" style worship. We served in hospital ministry and went into the hospital in Hilo and prayed healing over the sick and just spent time with the lonely. We were privileged to witness the power of God as we prayed alongside other believers for a young woman who actually died and God brought her back to life....AMAZING! Yes, you heard right....He raised her from the dead! Our children prayed and saw the powerful effects of their prayers.
We were constantly on the go, and praying for people and focused on only sharing the love of Jesus with people and it was completely wonderful and at the same time exhausting. Our last week we spent debriefing. We were rejoined with other teams that were sent out from our school and we listened in awe as powerful testimonies of salvations and crazy healing testimonies were being shared. In the end, our Fire and Fragrance School led 1,321 people to salvation, prayed for and witnessed 3,184 healings, and shared the gospel with over 14,000 people. AMAZING!!!!!! We feel so very blessed to have been a part of this. Our family will never be the same. We were once sleeping and going through the motions as a normal Christian family in America, but feeling that restless stir that there had to be more. God used YWAM to wake us up spiritually, remind us of who we are and what our purpose is. One of our speakers during lecture phase was Brian Brentt. One question he asked us was "What is your job description in the Kingdom of heaven?" At the time he asked this question I had no idea what my job description was. I loved Jesus, but I had no idea who He said I was, neither did Aaron. Now, we not only are awake now, we know our job descriptions. We no longer sit passive. We know our purpose and who God says we are!
These past 3 weeks of being home has been a tough transition. Aaron went straight into farming, which we are so grateful for!!! But at the same time, coming back to the same life lived when you just walked off the mountaintop has been challenging. The burning question people keep asking is what's next for us? The truth is that we have no idea. We know what we want, but we don't know what to do with it yet. God hasn't lit up the answer in the sky like He did when He said go to YWAM. I sure wish He would, but for some reason He hasn't yet. Thank you to everyone who gave and prayed for our family. We couldn't have done it without your constant love and support. We hope more families are encouraged by ours and step into something God is telling them to do. It's always worth it! Please keep us in your prayers as we pray about and explore options on what is next for our family. It may seem over, but we know it's only the beginning. Here we are saying, "Here am I, Lord. Send me. " Speak Lord, Speak!
Persecution Around the World
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