doing the 12 day countdown

Carla

Dearest ones:
Hello from New Zealand! Thank you all for your prayers! I know I tell you this frequently, but I want you to know: Your prayers are treasured and appreciated by me—they make a difference! Currently I have no final finance answer yet. This is due partially to the fact that it is Monday, and I will let you all know how great it turns out as soon as I know.
Things are busy here at the YWAM Base in Oxford with only 1 and ½ weeks left before we leave! Julie Anna, our AW80 school leader did a packing your bag demo—it was like a clown car with more clothes and gadgets than I thought could have fit (got some great tips from her)! All of us students are frantically and (for me procrastinator-ly) trying to compose sermons to preach, prepare bible studies, and write our last book reports! This is such a thrilling time and you can FEEL it in the air. We are all expectant of things to come, uncertain of what each country will be like, and wondering if we will find the right words and actions to communicate the significance of God and what Jesus has done for us. There is an anticipation of being stretched a little more beyond our comfort zones as we journey to the nations. Mostly? I am PLAIN OLD EXCITED about these Jesus adventures! but I do find myself nervous at times too.
Challenge:  You know when you sit down at a table, say you are in a cafeteria or a coffee house, and that familiar awkward air settles down upon you. Yah, right on your shoulders as you attempt to CASUALLY run through your mind. You’re looking for something to either say or contribute to the conversation happening right in front of you. Around you. Instead of mumbling an excuse leave or a simple goodbye and being CHANGED BY the people, place, or things around you? Stay. I’m challenging myself (thanks to Ian! For helping me find words and direction to embrace awkwardness). And now? I am also challenging you lets be Atmosphere CHANGERS.
We were studying the character of God last week with Frank Naea. I am realizing more and more that my response to God and His love for me is a reaction to His extravagant love. Someone in my class asked how we can KNOW that God loves us a few weeks ago. I thought this was a GREAT question, and just as if I had been watching a game of ping pong I rapidly turned my head to the instructor for the ANSWER to question. Do you know what he said? Mark Parker, who taught on Lordship, answered with another question: If I sent my son to be killed, on your behalf, would you question my love for you? This was after Mark had introduced us to some of his son’s music, so his son had become more than an abstract idea. Is there anything else that we would require of a person? I’m praying you all experience God’s love this week in a real, rich, and extravagant way. I am praying too that you, your families, and homes are blessed.  God loves you so much. This week’s lecture topic is relationships and I am looking forward to learning about a more biblically focused perspective for ALL of mine.
Two weekends ago we were all offered the opportunity to go to Adrenalin Forest (http://www.adrenalin-forest.co.nz/).  This is a high wire course adventure park fabricated in the tree tops at Christchurch. I must confess that I am TERRIBLY indecisive. Those who know me, at all, know that I STRUGGLE with making up my mind as I strive and sort and seek the “RIGHT” answer for me. No, I don’t want to stay and rest or recharge. I do not want to miss out. So, at the last minute, I decide to go. So we go, and it is AWESOME!! We had so much fun! We’re wearing harnesses! and learning how to cross mazes WAY UP IN THE AIR! The AW80 crew is all cheering and encouraging one another! Some of the obstacles included jumping (yes we were strapped in—completely safe) and it was difficult to JUMP. To trust. I did quite a bit of praying while I was adventuring in this adrenalin forest tree top obstacle course.
During lunch one of my friends fell off a climb. Sunny struggled with prior back problems. When she slipped, I don’t think she hit the ground, but the jolt was intense. We weren’t sure if she was okay. We RAN over to the climb, unhooked her harness, laid her on the ground and immediately began praying over her. The staff at Adrenalin Forest called an ambulance. We waited until the EMTs came. Myself, Rachel and two staff (Sarah and David) went along with Sunny. Together we spent the duration of the afternoon in the emergency room. The hospital was very similar to other emergency room visits that I have been privy to. After waiting a few hours for x-rays we found out that nothing was broken Yess! Praise the Lord! She did have some pulled back  muscles, but she gets better every day. 
This weekend I decided (again at the very last minute—Oy!) that YES, I DO want to go camping. Yep, the girl who lives in Nashville decided to go not just camping but also hiking. In a tent. Over night. Rumor has it we did 14 miles in two days annnd  the temperature equivalent is late fall right now in New Zealand. So, in keeping with honesty, I must tell you that sleeping outside when it is cold that this is not my favorite thing. Although I did have a nice time here is what I learned: I am definitely going to try camping again in the summer AND hiking would be fun for a day activity if there isn’t a hostel, cabin, or hotel on the other side. I didn’t spend much time with God, and I missed Him. Not because He went anywhere, but I wasn’t connected. I can make excuses about the busy activity of camping and hiking, but I’m realizing spending time with God is a choice you have to make daily. Especially with outreach coming up (we leave May 14th) I want Jesus to be my priority. Everyday.
How you can pray?
o   Please continue to pray for finances for the school.
o   Southeast Asia team (growing hearts, peace about leaving in 1&1/2 weeks!, contacts, divine appointments, unity, peace).  Our team vision was born earlier this evening: ‘To Love, Serve, and Restore’ and Romans 12 has become our team scripture.
o   Focus on Jesus and finding my strength in Him.

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