Brandon and I had our “Mary and Joseph” moment about a month ago. We wrapped up the VA DTS lecture phase in Richmond and packed up our lil’ car to drive from Virginia to Texas for the Christmas holiday. The night before we left, a rather large winter storm hit Virginia. But on the Saturday morning we got ready to leave, we even checked the traffic weather advisories and saw that it would be a slow trek, but that the roads were still clear and safe. The advisories lied.
3 hours into the trip (on what would have normally taken us 1 hour) we hit a standstill on the highway that lasted for more than 4 hours. The snow kept falling and it was making the roads very difficult to drive on. After a full day of driving, we were in the thick of it near Roanoke Virginia… and the car began to act up, overheating and we realized that even if the traffic was creeping, we weren’t going to make it very far. We tried to take refuge at an exit… but the exit was closed with police and firemen not allowing anyone to get off. We had to beg them to allow us to just park our car for the night. We were escorted to a gas station, and passed tons of 18-wheelers stuck in the snow left and right! It was absolute chaos.
We realized that we would be staying at the gas station for the night… but then the attendant, a woman, offered to mop a portion of the floor, put down cardboard boxes, and give us a place to lay down to sleep. She even bought me a snuggie! Then her husband came over and woke us up to invite us to their home… they lived within a mile of the station and they offered us a warm bed to sleep in. So we went with them around 1am to their beautiful home, and were able to sleep in a very nice and warm bed. Then in the morning they even cooked us a full bacon, egg, and pancake breakfast! What a blessing! We were dropped back off at the gas station in the morning, and we saw that even though many truckers were still digging out of the snow, the highway traffic was flowing smoothly.
It was a beautiful reminder that God will always take care of us and provide for us. Just when our night began to look bleak, God sent 2 people to show us mercy and to care for us. God will never forsake us, never leave us, and will always take care of us!
Our 3 friends (and fellow YWAMers) Tyler Dean, Will Barrow, and Jacque Gowing dropped everything last week when they heard news of the earthquake in Haiti to fly there and assist the YWAM base as they helped the victims. Its times like this when people are truly in need of Jesus, and its very encouraging to have people like them who are willing to go at a moments notice to bring love and help. You can keep up with their doings while in Haiti at…
http://www.tylerdean.blogspot.com (Tyler’s been able to update his blog since arriving in Haiti)
and if your on the facebook train, you can check their profiles for the latest updates.
If you feel led to help support them, you can give online at our ywam website, ywampismobeach.org… and make a note that its for their Haiti trip.
Hey ya’ll, hope everyone is well. Kirsten and I are busy with DTS as usual. Just a few more weeks and the students will be headed to Angola, Africa! God is doing exciting things, we wanted to copy what one of our students wrote in a letter to give you his perspective of DTS. Here is his letter:
So… Jesus Christ is pretty incredible; you might want to get to know him. =)
Week’s five and six were about relationships and then spiritual warfare. But the best week by far was Troy Sherman (Dean Sherman’s son) speaking on identity & destiny– essentially, who am I and what am I gonna do with my life? It was a phenomenal week! Jesus basically burned down my box where I figure out life and I was left with just this: Love God and Love other people… I have to admit I was hoping for something deeper and more life-changing. But what is deeper than the Love of Christ? And what changes people more than being loved?
My primary goal in coming to DTS was to let God build my character. But as Troy puts it, “God cannot give me character (yes I said cannot).” Character has to be earned through training – like a weight lifter. The thing that builds my spiritual muscles (as it were) is to go through situations that are difficult – where I am inclined to hate but choose to love.
The greatest act of love was also the greatest act of character. Satan threw his whole deck of cards at Jesus on the cross, everything he could do to get a negative reaction. But Christ, in perfect character, pushed the weight from his chest as he cried out “Looove!!!” and showed us what it truly means to love. This whole concept rocked my world… there is no longer any reason to complain because every hardship strengthens my resolve to love. Like a tree that has to stretch its roots to find water, I now look to problems and things that offend me to bring depth of character to my life.
After the heavy contemplations and spiritual exhaustion of last week, I was ready for a break. And God knew that I needed it long before I did. This week was about physical fitness – meaning less spiritual and mental exertion. Coach Tim Powers was teaching us about the Biblical basis and natural benefits of nutrition and exercise, besides training us in proper mechanics. He has some incredible credentials as a fitness trainer in the secular world – NFL running-backs, Navy seals, movie-stars – but he has also personally trained Loren Cunningham. Through this week, I’ve been challenged to put into practice the ideas from last week; physical discipline spills over into spiritual discipline, which is character. So I’m investing myself into developing all of me – heart, mind, and body – so that after I have run the race I will not be disqualified.
All this is just scratching the surface of what’s going on inside and around me in DTS. My parents have been able to visit me this weekend which is such a blessing. They will soon be taking off on outreach to Central Asia, so our time together is limited (new phase of life I guess). I have been growing a lot closer to my fellow students and I’m amazed at how precisely God has put this team together. I am astounded by God’s abounding grace and faithfulness to me of late. I cannot help but fall in love with this God who never stops doing good to me. May you come to know better this God of all surpassing greatness, and may you be forever changed by the mere sight of Him.
Since our last post, we’ve packed up our teeny weeny lives into ONE car, driven north to Bonanza, Oregon, gone campin’ with the Ekstrom family, washed 4 loads of smokey clothes, RE-packed that ONE car, and then driven ALLLL the way across America to Richmond, Virginia!
It was a very interesting drive… no air-conditioning, through the desert of upper Nevada and Utah… with a very hot and cranky passenger (me… when the temp rises to 90 and you’ve been in a car for 7 hours with barely any sleep, you’d be cranky too!). Our first stop was in northern Colorado… and driving into it we followed the highways from Salt Lake City, Nevada to Wyoming… and lets just say that surfboards on the top of a car isn’t the norm in Wyoming. We received MANY stares. Anyways, one of our dear friends and fellow staff member is from Fort Collins, Colorado, so we stayed at her parents house the first night of the trip. We were able to have dinner with another friend, Mariel, while we were there, before leaving late the next evening to get a head start on the 2nd leg of the trip. The rest of the way, through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois (we got to see one of my childhood homes there), and then into Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and finally Virginia, took us about 3 more days (we didn’t do it straight, there were 2 stops along the way, we’re not superhuman). Upon arriving at the YWAM base in Richmond, we were two very pooped Ekstroms!
They are extremely hospitable here, I like to attribute it to the Southern Charm ;), and they have given us a great room to stay in while we are here. Its much larger than our bedroom in California, and they’ve even furnished it, AND DECORATED it for us! How kind! Guess it is to make up for the fact that we get to live above the boys dorm! Ha!
We have been adjusting to their base, and getting to know the staff here. Although we miss our YWAM family back in California (and the beach too), we are so busy preparing for the DTS to begin that the days are flying by.
You can pray for us this week… we have about one whole month worth of work to accomplish by the next weekend… the school starts on the 21st!!! So pray that we can get as much done and that God will take care of the rest!
We’ll keep you posted!
Kirsten (and Brandon)
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. ~Psalm 145:13b
We are smack in the middle of crazy days… those kind of never-ceasing-craziness days that you actually LOVE because you feel so energized by God, and there is never a dull moment. At least, I love it, and I know Brandon thrives on days like that.
We’ve been getting everything taken care of here at our home base. Wrapping up little loose ends, and departmental work. Also we’ve almost finished setting up the 2010 Surf DTS, well, in the sense that we’ve gotten the “planning” side out of the way. You can even check out the website for our base…. www.ywampismobeach.org We’ve begun to change all the surf info… and over the next week or so, it should be completed. (Thank you Will!!!)
Our days this week have just been a hodge-podge of praying for our transition to the Richmond base… the DTS there, and making sure we’ve got our ducks in a row. Even today we’ve pretty much cleaned out the whole car, detailed the inside of it… let me tell you, whew! It was diiiirty! And we are just going through our garage and apartment, clearing out, cleaning out, and throwing out…..so that when we are gone, we are leaving things in order. Next step: packing! Yea! If there is one thing about our lives…. its that just when we’ve unpacked and begun to settle in, God gets our suitcases back out and here we go again!
We have already seen the enemy trying to bring us down…. just small things that are coming up, so please keep these things in your prayers…
1. I’ve managed to lose my cell phone (small deal, but when its gone, you realize how much you need it!)
2. Also, keep our families in your prayers, we are having some issues there.
3. And then for finances, we just lost some support, and we need to see God provide in the other direction…haha… we are trusting him for at least $300 more a month.
4. Lastly, we are driving my good ol’ car all the way across the nation… so PRAY SHE MAKES IT!