a delightful scavenger hunt and a sweet, sweet song

Carla

To my Dearest Dears!
The other night, our class was welcomed with a scavenger hunt game! YES! We were broken down into 2 people teams. Each of the teams was assigned an animal, and you were only allowed to communicate with one another using that animal noise. I was on team “dog”, therefore, my teammate and I communicated only through barking ALL evening. Reducing our speech to barking was a simulated exposure to cross culture experiences and communication. After completing and documenting required tasks (a handstand in front of the ice cream shop, and aerobics video in the park!!), we were blindfolded and asked to wait on the trampoline. Yes there is a trampoline on base! Then, blindfolded we were lead throughout base (learning trust, faith) until we came to a resting place. The blind folds came off and we realized the point of the scavenger hunt: To reveal to us the teams that we had been assigned on for the Outreach phase of school!!!  What an incredibly playful and thoughtful way to present information! 
Where am I going? The team I am on is taking a route through Southeast Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, and India. The ministry emphasis will be different in each country, and are the reason why I felt drawn to this route. Those who know me knew that some months ago my heart was WRECKED for victims of human trafficking, and I didn’t know why. Yes it is devastating, but why? When they told us that we would be working and ministering with victims surviving human trafficking, I felt in my heart this would be where I was going. We will also be ministering to prostitutes, training pastors, and embarking on healing crusades. There are two staff members leading our group, and three other students. We have one guy on our team, Nelson –he met with me in Nashville this January and told me about YWAM and New Zealand. Anna is the other leader, and Noelle, Rachelle, Sara, and myself. God put this team together and I am THRILLED to be a part of what God is doing.  Each of us receives an Around-The-World ticket as part of travel, and after the outreach travel is finished there are still stops left on the ticket. We get to plan our after travel, and this is due by Sunday! I’m not sure where I will be going yet. Praying for God’s guidance.
What is the daily schedule like? The week is Monday-Friday officially starting at 8AM with work duties. I get to clean one of the bathrooms! This is ESPECIALLY funny because I quite detested having to clean the bathroom at work—ha!ha!ha! God makes me laugh, and I am enjoying this labor duty!  At 9AM we have either: worship, intercession, or bible study depending on the day of the week. From 10AM-1PM we have lectures with a tea break scheduled in the middle. Lunch is at 1PM. Then at 3PM we have work duties, or study time, small group, or outreach prep. Fridays we leave town, lately we have gone to serve at Christchurch. Dinner is at 6PM. At 7:30PM we have various activities during the week. We are free at 9:30PM, and have lights out at 10:30PM—this makes me have summer camp thoughts! Saturdays there are activities we can participate in, and Sundays we have church in the morning. Last Saturday I went to Castle Hill which is where parts of Narnia were filmed! It was breath taking! We are also learning geography—Yes, I know all 54 countries in Africa now! Have journal entries, lecture notes, and book reports to do. The days are so FULL and long yet short: Present. I am PRESENT. I am here.
What topics are you studying? Last week the lectures were about Sin, The Cross and Forgiveness with Alison Lam (alisonlam.com). This was a great (and painful) study about finding freedom from past hurts, actions, and circumstances. This week we are learning about the Father Heart of God with Richard Jones and Helen Batley. Learning to see God as Father, and experiencing His love. I am praying for revelation in my heart to know (that I know that I know!) God’s love. I read about it in the Bible, and I yearn for my heart to know too.
Guest Speaker? Yes, Tall Skinny Kiwi, Andrew Jones and his family came last Thursday for our guest lecturer. His family has been traveling around the world doing ministry for the last 25 years! Check out their website: http://tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com/ Very exciting lifestyle!
Personal update: My cold is almost gone! I struggled with a cold last week, and am delighted to be healed! Thank you for all your prayers! For those of you who know my love of coffee and the coffee shop culture? Yes! I found a coffee shop: Café 51. This is where I did some of my homework on Sunday afternoon.
Serving: I have been blessed with the opportunities to serve at Christchurch. The first time I went I got to work at the church-turned distribution center helping Kiwi’s (New Zealand-ers are called this) get food, clothing, water, hygiene products. Helped them carry their necessities to their car, and JUST SMILE at them. WELCOME them. ASK them how they are doing, and listen. Give people hugs. Tell them they ARE loved. Last week, Friday, I had the pleasure of shoveling liquification. This is a silt/sand/sewage mix that came up from the ground and settled in peoples lawns and homes. Our team worked with shovels and wheel barrows to remove the liquification to the streets for pickup. The fellow our team helped was named John.  Helping him was fun! Seeing people come together to help New Zealand post-earthquake is inspiring. In other earthquake news, we prayed for Japan for our intercession time today. There has been so much earth activity. 
God speaking to us. This morning, I was reading in Song of Songs. The love that is shared between the Beloved and the Lover is so beautiful. Such a love story! Did you know that you are the Beloved? Re-read Song of Songs ESPECIALLY if you didn’t know that this is a love story to you. I was talking to God today, and asked Him, “God? Do you think I’m beautiful? Do you love me? What do you think about me?” God and I are talking a LOT lately, so this was one of MANY conversations and questions I had with Him today, and this week. After worship yesterday evening I began to study and review the map for our geography quiz tomorrow. My small group leader, Grace, asks if she can meet with me. “Sure!” I say, and jokingly ask her, “if I am in trouble?” She sits me down off to the corner of the worship room. Guys, there are a lot of people milling around all over the place, and I cannot help but wonder why she wanted to talk to me in the worship/lecture room since it was SO busy?  Oh goodness!  Some staff members and students suddenly turned around towards me gave me a rose and sang and danced, “just the way you are” (I think this is the name of the song!) to me!!!!! They gave me a rose and sang to me–  Wow!! I was and AM blown away at this impromptu expression of God’s love for me, and that He thinks I am beautiful. That He loves me. Oh… our God is so big. He loves us so much! My prayer for all of you is that you would have eyes to see and ears to hear God tell you how much He absolutely ADORES you!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support! My prayer requests: please pray for my team traveling to Southeast Asia (for unity, health, love for one another and the people we will be ministering to), and a heart revelation of God’s love for me. I also thank you for your grace when I am slow to respond. I cherish your messages, encouragement, and interactions. Sending you all love and praying blessings of abundance!
Love!
Carla

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