Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hiders of The Word

Yesterday we had this couple in our class, Rod and Jenn - they have a ministry doing scripture presentations. They call themselves "Hiders of The Word" and they present entire books of scripture from memory. It was very cool! Last week Rod did the book of James for us - it took me a bit before I realized he was quoting scripture. Then yesterday his wife did Philippians.

It got me really excited to hear the entire book all at once and to consider scripture in the whole that way. I went home last night and read Colossians out loud and it was definitely really cool. I have struggled for years to find joy in reading the Bible, and to understand it and to carve out time to do it regularly - but it's always been very difficult for me. Last night as I was reading Colossians, I began to feel the joy and the fire start burning inside about reading scripture, so I was really excited!! I told Rod today and he was really happy.

Sierra is still saying she wants to go to China someday, so I think if we begin to memorize entire books at a time, it would really help us if we ever get there. Cool, huh?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Picture Says A Thousand Words

For anyone who isn't aware, my original camera was stolen back when we were in Mexico, so I ended up buying a new one before coming up here to Chico. I've got a few pictures downloaded and figured I'd share some of them with you to give you a better sense of where we are at! So, with no further adieu...

This is the hotel where conference guests stay - also, our classes are here and this is where we go to eat. It has a mammoth fireplace and lots of couches and chairs in the lobby, so everyone hangs out there a lot. The whole base takes break there from 10-10:30

This is Cooper House, where I live...a few days after we got here it was raining and sunny at the same time, so we all came out in search of rainbows and were rewarded with this one! God's promise of something!!

This is the river that runs behind the hotel...isn't it pretty?

This is a bunch of us having our journal making lasted for several days!! In the picture, starting from the left are: Mirriam, George, Me, Angela and Doris. Lots of people came and went over the course of our party.

Here are Marcus and Aaron - Aaron is on the left, Marcus on the right. They live up the hill a ways, across the river. It's quite a hike, but they're up to it. They're the two single guys in the bunch.

Far, far up above the property are these crosses, looking down on us. Sierra went on a hike with some of the other girls up to them and took these pictures. They said it was quite a hard hike!!

Well, there are lots more photos I could show you, but I will save them for another time!! It's almost 3 o'clock, so time to get to my chores. By the way, my chore is to clean the bathrooms for the kids''s pretty easy, really. Sierra and her friend Jenna are helping me and they are so cute - they jump right in there and clean the toilets, even the boys urinals, without complaint! I'm really proud of them. So - it's off to work I go, heigh ho heigh ho!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Little Tumble

Oh yeah - ok, if you don't know the scoop - before I came to YWAM someone told me that going through the DTS program is like being a rock in a rock tumbler. Well, I had my first little tumble today!!

This morning we had a guy come to speak to us about intercessory prayer and what that means. Through it, I just really began to see my doubts and my lack of faith in God to answer my prayers and in myself for my inability to know God's was like a lightening bolt to my heart, to see what a doubting Thomas I am!!!

Specifically, I was brokenhearted about a particular issue going on - and that is Sierra's deep, deep desire for a daddy. She just wants a daddy so much and often cries at night because she doesn't have one that loves her and is in her life. I have felt frozen in fear as to how to pray - I didn't want to begin fervently praying for a daddy for her and then not have it happen and have that hurt her faith. The bottom line is that I was working out of FEAR and not out of faith in God's desire to fulfill the desires of her heart and His own desire for her to have a daddy. After Steve (the guy who talked) left, we had a break and I went looking for him directly to talk to him about what was on my heart. I couldn't find him anywhere, and then I noticed Kerry sitting by himself - Kerry will be one of the leaders of our class, but he and his wife just joined us yesterday so we don't really know him yet. Anyway, I went over and just started talking to him, but was totally broken down in tears within seconds. He helped me to see that Sierra's desire for a daddy is a desire born out of God's own heart - it's not from Satan, and it's not selfish - it's what God would want for her. Also, how fear was at work and that I need to stand against that. We also talked about how I was holding onto fear about relationships and marriage because I'd "drowned" previously in my two marriages (from a story he related yesterday...I'll clarify in a minute). I realized that I WAS holding onto fear and confessed that immediately. Now I am working on trusting God to bring Sierra a daddy, but to take out of the equation my own timeline, how I think it will look, etc.

We went back into class and I was still pretty weepy for the rest of the morning. At lunch, Sierra came up to me and knew I'd been crying right away - so we ate pretty quickly and went on a hike to the waterfalls where I was able to confess to her my lack of faith in that area and how I'd been afraid to pray. Being the great kid she is, she immediately forgave me and encouraged me and we agreed to come together and really pray about this area and to release our expectations of when or how it might come about. We talked about the many different ways God could answer that prayer and realized there were many more than we could even imagine. So, I'm feeling a lot better about it now.

After my chores were done, I came home and Sierra had shared with her friend Jenna about it and they had made me a really sweet card. The inside reads "Hi Mommy, I just want you know that God is with you always. Just keep your eyes on God!!! Love, Sierra". It was all decorated all over and was so sweet.

Regarding the "drowning"...yesterday Kerry shared with us about 2 women he had met who had been Christians for a long time, but absolutely refused to do a water baptism. Upon talking with them, he found out they had both almost drowned as children and had a real fear of going underwater (sound familiar, mom?). He talked with them about fear and the end result was that one of them gave it to God and had a water baptism and was set totally free of her fear as she was baptized. The other one would not give up her fear and continued to believe the lie that her fear was for her own safety and would keep her from drowning. So, the correlation for me was that my fear is based on my belief that it will keep Sierra safe - and me, too. There is a place for fear, and it is the beginning of wisdom - but it should not rule your life, and that is what it was doing to me in this area. It was quite humbling as I really had thought I had dealt with my fear and overcome them...but obviously there is more in there to root out! Praise God!

So, that is my very transparent rock tumbler story for today...whew!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Come, Now Is The Time To Worship

Last week the theme of our teaching was "Worship Is A Lifestyle"...this is a bit different than "worship AS a lifestyle" because the "as" makes it optional, while the "is" makes it something inherent in what you do, and becomes natural (hopefully!). Our speaker was Dale Harrison, who happens to be the Director of this particular YWAM base.

The topic was interesting, and we discussed a lot about worship and really dug down into it. I'll never do it justice here in this short space, but I'll try to get out the basics - which really is just another way of saying that I'll go over the things that stick out in my mind because they impacted me in some way.

The first thing we went over is just the simple fact that worship is not only music. I know that is really basic and simple, but so often when we think of worship, we identify it with music...worship service is a service of music; worship time is the time we sing in church; etc. One thing Dale said that really resonated with me is that Satan wants to take the Holy things of God and make them common. Think about that and how true it can be.

Of course, worship can be a form of music, but there are so many other things that can be worship. Basically it boils down to a heart thing...and that anything you do - be it scrubbing toilets or raising your hands and singing - can be worship. The key ingredient to it is that it is directed TOWARD God - it is a vertical relationship and it is ABOUT God...His goodness and His holiness and all of the things that He IS.

A big theme of what we talked about centered around relationship, and God's desire for a relationship with us...that He created us to be relational because He is relational. A love relationship (or any relationship, I guess) has many levels, from very shallow to much deeper - what we strive for is a deep, personal and intimate relationship with God. And that is something He ALWAYS wants, and has wanted since before time began. So, it begins with talking and just the simple fact that lovers talk - and Jesus is, after all, the lover of our soul, right?? It also points to transparency and honesty with God - He's not surprised by ANY of our feelings, and isn't it pretty silly to NOT be honest with Him, since He knows anyway? Haha...easy to say!! But we just talked about how everyone will say (or at least Christians, I guess) "I Love God"....but are their actions showing love? Is there substance behind those words?

We also talked about how feelings are not worship - this was a big one for me because I am so wary of "emotionalism" and that sort of thing - yes, worship can be emotional, and we worship with all of us - including our emotions - but just because we don't get overwhelmed with emotion doesn't mean we are not worshipping - sometimes it is a choice, and not a feeling. I guess these are all basics on many levels, but always good to be reminded of the basics!

One thing we talked about was how Moses wore the mask over his face when he came down from the mountain after his encounter with God and that he wore that to hide the glory of what had happened because it was too much for the people to bear...but he continued to wear it after the glory had worn off of his face and that he might have done this so the people wouldn't be aware that the glory had faded. We discussed how this is parallel to the "mask" of religion we often wear to hide the last encounter we had with God - this was a really interesting idea that got a lot of us talking!! We all realized how easy it is to slip on that mask of religion, and how we need to guard against that - it is not honesty.

Another thing I thought was cool was that the tabernacle doors were set at 5'5", which forced the priests to bow as they entered the doors - thus taking on a stance of humility and reverence toward God.

Something I really love is learning the Hebrew and Greek meanings of the original text - I think it gives so much more breadth and depth to the reading and helps me to understand God's heart more fully. As we studied worship last week, we went over 7 different words that were translated from Greek and Hebrew into "worship" and what those different meanings were - it was fascinating (to me anyway!). From meanings of raising your hands to dancing to quiet contemplation, it's all in there - but the cool thing (for a wild thing like me) is that the most COMMON form of worship mentioned in the Bible is "Halal", which means to shine, to be clamorously foolish - you KNOW I love this one! Haha!! It really ties into a favorite song of mine..."I will dance, I will sing - to be foolish, for my king...oh yes, I'll be even more undignified than this! Some may call it foolishness, but I'll be even more undignified than this!" Oh yeah - a song right up my goofy alley!

ANYWAY, that is just a brief overview of what we went over - pretty good stuff. My "practical application" is to really commit to reading God's word for at least 20 minutes 3-4 times a week (this is a historically very difficult habit for me!!!) and also to spend 10-15 minutes a day just being QUIET and listening for God's voice and trusting that He really wants to talk to me and communicate with me - afterall, lovers talk!!

I would say the main theme I see emerging is the Father Heart of God and Relationship and what that means. Both very good ones for me!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

oh yeah

I guess I forgot some of the stuff we do around here, huh? Hehe.

But FIRST of all, I want to say something, so LISTEN UP!! When I was home over Christmas there were a LOT of you who said you loved to read this blog and all that...but really, let me tell you - I had no idea anyone was reading it!! Please, please, please post comments for me because I really do love to get your feedback. Also, it keeps me motivated to continue posting, otherwise I just feel like I'm just writing into thin air and will skip it. So, that is my request - let me know what you think and all that jazz! Thanks.

Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled program. is what our days look like, at least Monday through Friday.

6:00 am - Wake up
6:45 am - Breakfast
8:00 am - Class Starts - Worship until about 9:00
10:30 am - Break for 1/2 hour
12:00 pm - Lunch
1:00 pm - Lecture
2:30 pm - Class lets out
3:00 pm - Chores until 5:00 pm
5:30 pm - Dinner

On Monday mornings the entire base (schools, staff, volunteers, etc) gets together at 8 am for worship. On Tuesday evenings there is service for the entire base plus anyone else who wants to come from 7:00-9:00 pm. Friday mornings the base gets together for intercessory prayer. Also, on Friday nights (call it Saturday mornings) from Midnight-3:00 am they have "through the night" prayer for anyone who wants to join them - count me on the short list for that one!!

Saturdays we're free to do whatever, and Sundays we can go to church wherever we want in the community - Sunday afternoons are also free.

So, that's the basic schedule. We are required to keep a journal, so we have all been getting together all week to decorate our journals and prepare them. They are due each Monday morning and we are required to keep 4 pages....2 pages that include the following concepts from our lectures: confirmed beliefs, new ideas and practical application; another page of meditation with at least 3 scriptures and the last page where we process the challenging and the satisfying times we had during the week.

In addition to the journals, we have quite a bit of reading and will be required to turn in 4 book reports - one of which is to be a research report on our outreach country, which is Fiji. So, as you can see, our "free time" after 6 pm isn't really so free after all!! Besides all of this, there is, of course, time with Sierra, visiting, going on walks, Sierra's homework, etc. Needless to say, our time is pretty well packed. Getting up so early definitely has us in bed by about 9, or even earlier - I think just everything we're taking in is also tiring.

Okay, so that is pretty much the complete picture of what our "daily lives" look like. I will update more tomorrow (hopefully) with pictures and also with some more of what we talked about this week. Remember to give me comments!!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nuts & Bolts

I'm sure everyone is curious about the nuts n' bolts stuff of what we're doing here, so I'll start there today. First of all, there are 18 people in the Crossroads course - 15 adults and 3 kids. The kids are Sierra, Mitchell (14) and Reanna (15).

There are 4 couples, 5 single women (including me), and 2 single men. Most are from the US, but we have one woman from Canada and one from Switzerland. Another one of the women was originally from the Philippines, but is now living in the US. Now let's see if I can remember everyone's name, age range and location!! Haha...ok, here goes.

Well, there is ME...My name is Dayna and I'm 36 years old. I am from Northern California, but most recently spent 6 months in Mexico. I am here with my 11 year old daughter, Sierra. Doing pretty well so far, don't you think??

In my house are the four single women - Tracey from Canada, Doris from Switezerland, Mirriam from Los Angeles and Angela from Sacramento. There is also a couple from Michigan, George and Elaine.

The two single guys live by themselves on the other side of the crick - they get to take the long hike in and out of camp. They are Marcus from Texas and Aaron from Hawaii.

We have two couples who are staying in their motorhomes and they are Bob and Mila from New York, and Paul and Susan from Idaho.

The other family (besides me and Si) also have a house by themselves a few doors down from the community house (called Cooper House) - they are Dale and Kim. They will be moving to Panama after Crossroads, so are in the process of selling off their stuff, including their home. They have the other 2 kids in the group.

The property is beautiful - it's about 10 miles outside of Chico and feels pretty remote. There are several buildings on the property - the main building is the hotel which was built back in the 1920's. It is brick and very stately. There is a mammoth fireplace and couches all over the lobby, so it is a main hangout (and where I happen to be right now, as a matter of fact - right in front of the fire!). Our classes are in this building. There is also "The Lodge" which is where the younger DTS students are housed...they have air hockey and pool tables and whatnot, so it is also a hangout. Then there is Cooper House, where a lot of us Crossroaders are. It's a really pretty old house and there are lots of games and couches and a big fireplace and a kitchen and big table and it's all set up, so it is a hangout for us people in Crossroads.

Then there is Ebenezer Hall, which is where we meet for worship on Monday mornings and Tuesday nights, and for intercessory prayer on Friday mornings. It is down the hill....86 stairs!! It is right next to the ICS, which is the International Christian School, where Si goes to school. The pool, tennis courts and basketball courts are also down by there. All of this is on the western side of the creek, along with several houses where staff live and also some cabins for visitors. On the other side of the bridge are more houses for staff and a baseball field.

There are also lots of trails and places to hikd and explore, which we hope to get a chance to do this weekend. I'm hoping to get out my GPS machine I bought and try some geocaching!!! Maybe we'll even hide something!

This weekend we are getting the whole group together and we are going to go see the movie "End of the Spear" about Jim Elliot and the missionaries who were killed in South America...I'm really excited to see it as I had met Steve Saint (the son of one of the missionaries) at the Spirit West Coast concert a few years back.

The household seems to be doing really well together and not having any problems with the whole "communal" living situation. All of the kids have taken to hanging out there, which is fun and infuses the house with lots of energy and life...and NOISE! Haha. I'm always concerned about Sierra bothering other people and being too loud, but they seem to really enjoy her for the most part. I really am impressed and just love how much YWAM as an organization realizes the importance of children and their place as missionaries right alongside us and that is great and really sits well with my own heart.

I am finding that I am really infused with a lot of excitement and just want to have so many people come up here and experience the whole really get infused with God's love and to know his heart's really cool.

Okay, well, there's some nuts n' bolts for y'all! Tonight Sierra is having her friend Jenna spend the night, so she had to go to each person and ask their permission and they are all okay with it. She is really rising to the occasion and seems to like the community thing. One funny story....on Tuesday night when we went to the worship meeting, they were talking about how worship takes on many "looks" and to do whatever you felt led to do, whether that was dancing, singing, being still, raising your hands, waving a flag or whatever. The kids were in the back with those dancing flags and having a grand old time waving them and running around. At some point they began to play tag and were generally getting a bit out of hand and one of the staff members went to talk to them and tell them to quiet down a bit. Afterward I was talking to Sierra and asked her what happened...she and her friend Jenna said that all they were doing was WORSHIPPING, because after all, they had said anything you did was okay!! was pretty funny. I guess that qualifies as "be careful what you say", huh?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Day 2

It's Tuesday, and we got out of class a bit ago. I've been visiting with a woman named Angela and getting to know her - it's great to be able to spend time with people and get to know them on a deeper level. It's encouraged and there is plenty of time set aside to do it, so it is really cool.

Sierra started school yesterday and has made friends with a girl named Jenna who is 10 years old. Jenna was born here on the base and has been living here her whole life. Her mom is from Brazil. Both the girls are so excited to have a friend, and it's a real answer to prayer! Sierra is enjoying school pretty much - although she says it's "boring"...haha, don't they always say that?? She tested to see where she was at, and she seems to be right where she needs to be in Language Arts - we'll find out in Math today or tomorrow. They went on a hike yesterday, and I guess that's something they do a few times a week, which is really cool. I guess one kid got too far ahead of the others and had to write 25 sentences! There are only 7 kids in her school from 3rd through 12th grade - there are more in the Pre-K through 2nd grade, I guess, but not a lot. All together there are probably about 15 or so kids on base and a couple babies. The kids all play really well together and have a lot of freedom to play and run around having fun - it's a great enviornment for them to be able to do that and it's really safe, too.

After everyone left on Sunday, Sierra just broke down crying immediately and was saying "I don't want them to go! I don't want them to go!" It was so heartbreaking. I just let her cry and held her tight and after a few minutes she was okay and ready to get going again.

The people here are so, so friendly and kind and really a testament to God's love and grace. They are from all different backgrounds and circumstances, but you can really see the love of God in everyone. There is another single mom here who works on base and we seem to be drawn together, so I'm hoping we can get a chance to get to know one another.

So far, we've mostly been doing orientation sorts of stuff, so not really into the depths of what we'll be doing yet. However, everything that's been said so far has really resonated with my spirit and seems right on and really coming from a balanced perspective. We'll be keeping journals and having more in-depth study starting tomorrow.

It's really cold here today, and we went out on a tour of the base...BRRRR. I thought I would get whipped right away with all the wind! I don't think I got nearly anything out of the tour because I was just so cold. Now I'm sitting in front of the fire and it's much nicer. For some reason it is really quiet, so enjoying just relaxing and reflecting a bit.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Here we are

Saturday afternoon we packed up the van and headed, Sierra, my mom Judy, my sister Diane and my two neices Allie and Maddie. The drive was so pretty - the clouds were intense and boiling and it made the green just burst out while the dark silouettes of the trees were ominous against the sky. There were tons of birds and it was just a really powerful scene.

We had been told the road gets really curvy, so we kept waiting for the curves...of which none ever materialized! We got up to Chico and found a hotel and were excited to find out that dinner and breakfast was included! Yeah!

So, we all bunked up in the hotel and in the morning we got going eventually, taking some time out for lunch and (of course) coffe. We finally started heading out to the YWAM base about 1:30. The ride out was beautiful - it's deep in a canyon and quite remote. I was expecting it to be a pine forest (redwoods), but it's actually oaks and bluffs and streams and hills - very pretty.

As we drove up, we were greeted by Jeannie, who recognized me from my picture and came right up to give us all a big hug and show us around - what a reception! Later we met Ken, who was equally as kind and welcoming. The base is beautiful and we are in a big house with 8 other people. We have our own room, and the cool thing is that Sierra has her own space off from mine, so we each get a little privacy. The only thing I'm concerned about is that we share 1 bathroom between 6 of is, which includes 2, I guess we'll see how that works out!

Dinner was great and everyone is really nice and excited.

Ok...well, that is all for now - worship is in 10 minutes and I have to go get Sierra and get down there. More later!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

On the road again...

In case you don't know this about me, let me tell of the most reviled chores in my opinion is PACKING! Oh, it's so frustrating and overwhelming for me - I just hate it. I freak out about what I need to bring, about what I need to leave behind because I'm bringing too much, about EVERY, SINGLE possibility on EARTH that might occur while I'm away for which I need to be completely prepared....all the while wanting to keep it simple and light. A nightmare, that's what it is.

So, that is what I'm doing now. Yup, we're on the move again...and we are very excited! Sierra's been packing all week and is revved up.

While in Mexico, I began to realize that there was more to service than what I was doing and that I wanted my faith to be reflected more directly in the service work I was doing. I guess the word for what I am feeling would be called "evangelism"...ugh, that reviled of all words! This word has, for me, been the equivalent of a very, very dirty word and I stayed far - as far away as possible - from any association with that awful word and all it represented. No shoving of my faith and beliefs down others throats, nosiree! No soapbox on the street corner in my lifetime, uh uh. I still don't believe I'd ever do those things...but I began to see that evangelism wasn't necessarily only those stereotypical views of it. Most of all, I realized I was totally unprepared for it.

This process all led me to an organization called Youth With A Mission (YWAM) - it's a group I've been familiar with for a long time, and so several months ago I began to take steps into exploring the idea of going through a Discipleship Training School more thoroughly. All of this has culminated in us leaving tomorrow for a 6 month trip. We'll go to Chico, California for 12 weeks of training and then on to Fiji for 8-10 weeks of mission outreach. I'm so excited!!! I know, I know...Fiji - rough place to have to go! Well, I guess we'll just suck it up and get going...haha!!

Well, my plan for this blog site is to continue using it as a journal and to be more consistent in updating it. Apparently we will be having to turn in a weekly journal during our training, so I am thinking I will just use my blog as my journal so you all get the real "inside" scoop. I am hoping that more of you will leave comments!! I hadn't realized how many people were reading this blog and was feeling like I was just writing it in thin air, but many of you have let me know that you read it and like I'm hoping you'll leave comments for me to encourage me to keep on going!

Okay, well, here is an excerpt from the letter I sent my pastor some months ago explaining where my heart is regarding missions and evangelism....

"The more I am here, the deeper I want to go. In many ways, I feel vey unprepared and unequipped for missions...and I want to become more prepared and equipped. I also feel like I hear God saying "come deeper with me" and I feel this (very strange) desire for evangelism! That is really a 180 degree turn for me, as I usually shy far away from that word! We are loving people, and serving people...and I find myself wanting it to be MORE in the name of Jesus, and bringing the Word of God to people. I still love the children and my heart is still deep with orphans.
As I was thinking and praying on this, I thought about going to a missions school to get more equipped and found the YWAM Crossroads Discipleship Training School. What do you think of YWAM and the DTS/CDTS program? I am interested in attending. I feel like this time here in Mexico has confirmed that I do want to pursue missions more, and also that I want to do so with more preparation, and with a team of other believers."