10 Year Plan?

What is your next step? Do you have a map laid out with the next 10 years planned, or are you walking only by light in front of your feet? Wherever you may be, why are you there? 

In my own life, I marvel at the people who seem to have it all figured out. They know what career they aspire to have, and they know the steps to get there. For example, becoming a teacher. A four-year degree, followed by a two-year education program which then leads to good opportunities for connecting with a district. Of course with every career path there are customizable options, but overall the way is set. I’ve always desired to have a plan like that set before me. 

A few years back I remember asking my mom what she imagined my career to be. She would always remind my sister that teaching was exactly the job she envisioned for her, thus I figured that she would have a vision for my life as well. I got very little confirmation from that conversation, as she simply responded with something along the lines of “Well, I’ve never really known for you, there’s no one job that I could see you doing”. This response was not bad, or hurtful in any way, but so often people are following a path that their parents have heavily influenced, so for me to hear that even my own mother didn’t have an idea of what I would do with my life, then where would I even begin.

Evidently, that simple, living room conversation had a large impact on my view of myself. In my mind, I thought that taking a gap year from school would lead to me discovering the path for my life and creating a 10-year plan to stick to. Contrary to my beliefs, I find myself 13 months out of school, 7 countries traveled and countless new experiences later, still with even less of an idea of what my future will look like. I should rephrase that. I do have ideas, and that’s the issue. I have a smorgasbord of ideas of what I would love to do. But trying to puzzle together living on a homestead, working in aviation, raising my hypothetical kids abroad, starting my own business, and primarily following the call of God on my life, has become a challenge. Reading over those ideas now, it doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to envision a life that encompasses all of them. I potentially could have 61 more years to accomplish all of it. However, I find myself desiring that plan that everyone else seems to have. 

Can you identify with my position?

Over the past few months, I’ve started to be okay with where I’m at. I do still find myself day dreaming and making year long plans of where I will go. I don’t know if that is human nature, or just what society has programmed us to do. Nevertheless, it’s a daily choice that I need to make of being comfortable in the place that God is leading me to. 

I know very well that the Lord has lead me to where I am today. I’ll share that story briefly. 

On March 3rd, it was Lordship week for my DTS. In short, it was the week that we laid things down before the cross and put them in Jesus’ hands rather than our own. I laid down a handful of physical representations of what I was letting go of. One of which was my course planning sheets, which I had to prepare for my first year of university in the Fall. My education and career plans were one of the areas that I fought with God the most on, I figured that I knew what I liked, therefore I should be the one deciding when and where I went to school.

After laying it down, I don’t think I really let go of it. I would bring it back to God on the daily asking for His plan to be made clear for me. Less than a week later I was praying and again, asking God if I could go to school. This prayer time is when I heard God as clear as day. He said to me “Shayla, stop asking me. Right now, it is a no unless I give you a clear yes without you asking for it.” I was devastated, it felt like God was taking away one of the most important things in my life. 

Over the next few weeks, I had to be okay with what God said to me, after all, I did ask Him for His opinion. I started to think of different jobs, volunteer opportunities and maybe even some more traveling that I could fill my year off with. Eventually, I found myself in a place where I was not only okay but actually looking forward to the idea of not going back to school in the fall. 

And then the Lord surprised me yet again. March 31st, I was having my quiet time just like every other morning. This morning I was reading in Deuteronomy and I had just connected my phone to the Wifi to find the meaning of the words “Faithful” and “Merciful”. Before I had a chance to look them up, I got a message from my mom. In the message, there was a photo of the letter I had received from my university informing me that I had received a fairly large scholarship. Immediately I brought it to God, I was not expecting Him to actually give me a word without me asking for it. As I prayed, I heard God say “I love you Shay and I love what you want” and felt as though He was smiling down on me like a father who just gave his child a gift that they never expected. And there it was, the word that has lead me to the next seven(ish) months of my life.  

I share this story more so for those of you that already have a relationship with the Lord. Are you comfortable allowing God to lead each step you take, rather than giving you a map with all the directions planned out? 

This is something I’m in the process of working on in myself. As much as I desire to have that plan that I mentioned in the beginning, I also love the idea of simply following the Lamb where’ve He leads. Will I finish my university degree in the most systematic and efficient way? Probably not. But I remind myself that my life is not a race, and I’m not in competition with anyone else. In fact, I have a feeling that my life will seem like a very indirect route to an unknown finish line. But just as the Lord did for Joshua, so he will do for you and me,

“[He] will give you every place where you set your foot.” Joshua 1:3.

These are the words that I will hold fast to. I do not need a ten-year plan, I need to trust God with each step. 

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10 Year Plan?

New Seasons

Hey, welcome back to my blog! 

I’m writing this update from an Airbus A320-200, above Thunder Bay, Ontario. It has been a busy few weeks of spending time with some of my best friends, processing all the work that God has done in my life and closing off this season of life. It was a beautiful a season. 

Last time I updated was the day before we left to start walking the Camino in Spain. What an experience. We started our Pilgrimage in Pamplona and finished 204 km later in Burgos. The first three days were definitely the hardest, I think that fact that we jumped into it sans training played a part in that. Luckily, my wonderful, beautiful, loving leader Steph-Beth wasn’t overly concerned with clocking in the most kilometres, so we took it a little bit easier than some pilgrims do. Our days consisted of waking up around 5:30am, leaving the Alburgue (fancy Camino name for hostel) around 6:30am, walking 18-20ish kilometres, checking into the next Alburgue, doing laundry, napping, making dinner, and then getting ready for bed. It was a very basic lifestyle that we lived for those two weeks. We ate a lot of chickpeas and lentils, had a lot of time to think, and got a lot of blisters (at least I did). Overall I would say I enjoyed my Camino experience. It had it’s ups and downs for sure, but I did see a lot of growth in myself, my thoughts and my attitude.

I’ll share one quick story. It was day three of walking, by far the worst day for me. I had developed blisters on my heels and toes that made walking quite painful. The morning of the walk was really beautiful, through some trees and a few little towns. At 9:30am, we left the last town we would pass through that day before reaching our Alburgue. The walk from the one town to the next was a straight dirt road through open fields. No shade, no trees, nothing. Rolling hills in Spain sounds like it would be a beautiful sight, but when you’re walking for six hours in the blazing sun, feeling your blisters pop beneath you, hearing only the sound of your feet hitting the dirt, it starts to lose its magic. At least it did for me this day. Anyways, I was walking along, the last one in my group, and I was honestly so close to giving up. I stopped for a moment to consider stopping and the only reason that I kept going was because the was literally no other option. I just kept walking while on the verge of an absolute melt down. As I walked, I prayed out and said “God, just give me something to live for” (A little bit dramatic, I know). Right after I prayed, an army helicopter came flying into the open fields and just circled around for a few minutes, getting extremely close to me. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and actually ended up bursting into tears for a few minutes (the Camino brought out a lot of emotion for me, so this wasn’t anything too weird). After this experience the day seemed to go a little bit faster, and we finally made it to an Alburgue where I was able to tend to my poor little blistered feet and take a rest. This was just one moment that I had on the Camino, but I have many more I could share as well. Of you’ve ever been interested in doing the Camino, I would love to share more of my personal experience!

We walked for 12 days and then took a train from Burgos to Santiago to meet up with the other four teams from our school that were on the trail. Once everyone arrived in Santiago, we took another train back to Biarritz which brought Outreach to a close. 

The past 10 days have been spend doing what is called “Report Back” week. We were super blessed and 14 of us girls got to live in a beautiful French Villa five minutes away from the ocean for the week. We spent our mornings in lectures learning ways to integrate back into life at home, or wherever we will be going next. And we got the afternoons off to spend at the beach. It was incredible. 

It has definitely been an emotional time. Debriefing and bringing this season to a close was good, but a little bit sad as well. It’s pretty unlikely that I will ever have an experience like this again, and totally unlikely that our group will ever be all back together again. I might be a little bit bias, but the group of 50+ people that I have lived with for the past six months is probably the coolest group I have ever met in my life. I never thought that it was possible for that many people to all be as close with one another as we were. I was so incredibly blessed by the school and the base that I got to be a part of. If you are considering doing a DTS, I would 11/10 recommend going to YWAM Biarritz. I can only say good things about the base and the people there. 

Growth, freedom and hope are the words I would use to sum up the past six months of my life. I went into DTS feeling broken, bitter and stuck but I am leaving feeling joyful, peaceful and excited for what is next to come. Short term, I am heading into what I consider to be “Extended Outreach”. I won’t be spending much time in Kamloops this summer as I have gotten the opportunity to coach soccer camps throughout the Lower Mainland with Athletes in Action. It was a hard decision at first, adding two more months away from home, but the circumstances were too good to pass up. I know that God will continue to use me throughout the summer and Im really excited to get to apply what I have learn as well as continue to grow in my leadership and gospel sharing abilities. I will be back in Kamloops in the fall to start university at TRU, another thing I’m really looking forward to. I can’t wait to be back and meet up with you and share our stories of the past six/eight months. 

Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for checking in on me. Thank you for taking the time to read my updates. Thank you for supporting me. I felt so blessed to have such a strong community at home championing me to take this leap of faith. I can’t say thank you enough. 

Thats it folks. One season ending, but a new one just beginning (cringy cliche, Im sorry). Thank you for coming along for the ride!

In Christ, 

Shayla

New Seasons

Poland was Cool

Hey!

In case you forgot about me, I’m back! I had mentioned in one of my last posts that I was planning on updating more often, unfortunately things got very busy and I put off writing this for far too long. I’m sorry about that. But, I do have lots of fun things to talk about now, so buckle up cause it has been a crazy three weeks!

We finished off our time in Ukraine by going on a trip to some old abandoned houses in a village very close to Moldova. It was a ton of fun to get hang out as a team with no distractions and explore the area. We also hung out with some kids at a village near where we stayed and we stopped at a Monestary on our way home which was also really cool. Overall Ukraine was an incredible experience, and the work we got to take part in definitely changed my heart in many ways.

On May 1st, we flew to Poland. We got in at about 4am, slept for a few hours, and then started our volunteer work at Zoom Conference. Our team helped out with security, kids programs and cleaning for the three day conference in Warsaw. It was nice because we also got to sit in on the sessions and go to workshops with really good speakers.

As soon as we finished with Zoom Conference, we started with our next work which was running kids programs at the Heidi Baker Conference. My teammate Maddie and I took lead in planning it. We had a group of about 20 kids that spoke mainly Polish that we looked after for about six hours for two days. It was a but challenging with the language barrier, but we had tons of fun. It was loud, sweaty, and exhausting, but I really enjoyed getting to have that opportunity. We got to sit in on the sessions at this conference as well. It was a very new experience for me, a more charismatic style of worship you could say. It was an incredible experience though. Hearing stories from Heidi was very inspiring. I also had some really cool revelations from God which really helped me to better understand what I had been experiencing in my personal walk with Jesus.

After a week of busyness, we got a day off to explore Warsaw. We mainly spent time touring around the Old Town, which is incredibly beautiful. Overall, we found Poland to be incredibly clean and friendly, I would love to go back again one day. We also got the chance to go to the Uprising Museum for a short visit. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be enough time to really look through and read all that there was to offer, but it was by far one of the best museums that I have ever been too. As I mentioned last time, it has been really exciting to visit these places that I learned so much about in school.

We then headed to a beautiful little village called Namyslov for about two weeks. We stayed at a church there and worked along side their ministry. Mainly our days were spent teaching English in different schools around the town. (We visited so many that it got to the point that we couldn’t walk around town without seeing about 5 people that we recognized.) In the afternoon we would hang out in the town square with some teenagers that we met and build relationships with them. It was so great to have the consistency that we did, it really felt like we were able to connect with the people we were meeting. We also had the opportunity to put on the church service on Sunday. Our team lead worship, performed the “Everything” skit and one of our leaders delivered the message. Another super fun experience, it has been so great seeing how well our team works together. On our last day in the village, we went to the square for some Evangelism time. We had invited some of our friends from the schools we had visited, and some people from the church joined us as well. We had worship, performed the “Everything” skit again and one of my team mates shared about God’s love. It was such a powerful experience, I never would have imagined myself doing something like that, but it was amazing. Many of the people watching ended up in tears, and it really felt like we were able to break down a lot of walls. Afterwards we talked with people, prayed for them and handed out Bibles. It was honest indescribable. I see so much potential for all the people in that village and I know that God is definitely working there. It was such such a blessing you be able to serve in that community.

We took the train back to Warsaw on Friday, it was my first time travelling by train so that was neat. We spent the day in Warsaw yesterday, mostly just shopping and resting. Today we flew to Toulouse in France, and now I am waiting at the train station for our bus to Biarritz tonight. We spend one night in Biarritz, drop off excess things and then head out for the El Camino for two weeks! Our team is splitting in two groups, mine is taking the Camino De Francis route from Pamplona. I’m so excited for what’s to come! Our main focus will be evangelism, so I’m praying for many opportunities to meet people. I don’t know what my WiFi will be like, so my next update will probably come once I’m back in France, but please keep us in your prayers.

Some other exciting news is that I got a job coaching soccer camps with Athletes in Action for the summer! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, even if it meant being away from home all summer. One of my responsibilities with this position is to raise $1000 in order to cover training costs, as well and keep the cost of camps low for churches and families. If you’re interested in supporting me, please check out this link. It would mean a lot to me. Athletes in Action is an incredible organization that uses sport to share the gospel with kids and teens across the country. I’m so excited for what’s in store this summer.

Thanks for checking back! I hope I did a good job covering all that I have been up to, it has been very busy. If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Facebook, I’d love to talk. I think that’s all for now! Be back with an update post Camino! 🙂

Prayer Requests

  • Health/safety on the Camino
  • Evangelism opportunities
  • Finances for Soccer camps

 

 

In Christ,

Shayla

Poland was Cool

History Class Meets Real Life!

Welcome back friends!

The previous post that I made has been a real pain in the butt for me. First off, I spent three days writing it, only to accidently delete it and send it away to who knows where. Once I rewrote it, I tried to add pictures and the gallery wasn’t working properly. When it was posted it looked like maybe it had posted twice, so I deleted one. Only to realize that it was in fact only posted once on my blog. I managed to copy the entire thing from another draft, and repost it today. It is mainly a quick update of the past three weeks, so feel free to take a look if you missed it last time. Something that I realized in the frenzy of that posy is that waiting three weeks to update is far too long. Which is why I’m back today, yay!

Alright, let’s start off with the fun stuff now! My team and I have been in Ukraine for just over a week now. We’re staying in a town called Vinnytsia. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure where that is on the map, but I want to say near the middle of the country. It’s a two hour drive from Kiev. It’s a nice city, I heard that it has some of the happiest people in Europe that live here. We’ll be here for about one more week, we head to Poland on May 1st.

Our time here has been spent teaming up with the YWAM base here in the ministries they are involved with on a regular basis. We have gone to orphanages in small villages to play with the kids, visited a mom and baby hospital, helped out with a few “youth groups” and lead a Sunday school class in a local church.

I knew that we would be visiting orphanages in Ukraine prior to our arrival, and this was something that I was struggling with a bit. I have had experiences on past missions trips where we would visit orphans, and it was more of what you could call “poverty tourism” than anything else. I don’t think it was intended to being like that, but I had told myself that I pretty much didn’t want to visit an orphanage ever again. However, I have witnessed a much different relationship with the orphanages here, which has made me realize that you can visit these places without it being poverty tourism. The YWAM base has been working with these orphanages for six years, visiting on a weekly basis. For them, it’s not just about preaching at these kids, but they genuinely have relationships with them and they show Christ’s love through their actions more than their words. I really respect the work that the YWAM team is doing here. They also have two transition homes set up for teens as they age out of the government system. At these homes, the teens live with a family and are able to learn basic living skills that they may not have been able be to learn growing up in an orphanage. It is a really cool ministry that they have going here.

I mentioned that we also got to visit the mom and baby hospital here, that was definitely one of my favorite moments of Outreach so far. It was incredibly challenging and heart breaking for me, but God definitely spoke to me in really cool ways through it. The term “mom and baby hospital” is pretty self explanatory, a hospital that mom’s go to with their sick babies. What we got to do there though was love on the babies that were there with no mom’s. The team here had the opportunity to essentially sponsor two rooms at this hospital specifically for orphans. They remodeled them and turned them into the nicest rooms on the floor. This is a really cool thing because often times orphans are looked down on in society, but at this hospital they are the ones with the nicest rooms. A group of us went along with one of the YWAM staff here one morning to join her in her work there. She visits the hospital once or twice a week and holds and plays with the orphans that are there. When I visited, I held a beautiful little five month old girl. I snuggled her, sang to her and I even got to feed her. When I would give her kisses, she would get the biggest, squintiest smile on her face. It broke my heart to think about how this little girl doesn’t have a mom or a dad to shower her with the love and physical affection that is so crucial in the first years of life. I wish that I could go back every day to cuddle with her.

We’ve also visited a few of the youth groups that they work with here and joined in with them.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but being in Europe has been really cool in the sense that I get to see places and things that I learned about in my Social Studies and History classes. This has happened a lot in Ukraine. I remember hearing a joke in my History class about the Soviet made “Lada” cars last year. This week I got to ride in one for myself! It was a car from 2009, but easily looked like it could have come out of the 60s, and I felt a little bit like I might die the whole ride, but it was really cool! I’ve also heard about different things the Nazis did around this area, there’s actually an old bunker on the outskirts of town! I feel pretty smart when I get to add in to the conversations that my History-Wiz teammate Jared is having. Who knew that History class would ever be applicable in real life!

I think I say this in every post, but I’m still having a great time on Outreach! Thanks for checking back. I added an option to follow my blog somewhere on this page. I would encourage you to sign up for that! sometimes Facebook posts get missed, so this way you’ll always know when I’m updating.

(Also, a side note for all those back home who are always harassing my poor, innocent sister about my relationship status, I am in fact still single… and not ready to mingle. Just want to clear the air there 😉)

Prayer Requests

  • Health (I am currently writing this while skipping church due to a stomach bug, and I would hate to see any of my team come down with it too)
  • That God would be softening the hearts of the people here (we want to do more street evangelism stuff this week)


That’s all for now!
In Christ,

Shayla

History Class Meets Real Life!

It’s Been too Long!

Hey!

I’ve been keeping busy over the past few weeks. Last time I posted, I mentioned that we would be spending the day with a group of Christian refugees from Afghanistan. That day was so much fun! We had around 30 people come to join us at the YWAM base in Borlänge. We had teaching, shared stories, played outside and ate together. It was so inspiring getting to know these people.

Something that I have really cherished from my time in Europe is learning about the refugee crisis from first hand stories. When I was home, I had a hard time really understanding what was going on. Since being here, I’ve talked with missionaries who were on the front lines in Syria meeting people as they began fleeing their cities. I’ve talked with refugees who are still living in large centre’s waiting for their permits to come in. And I’ve learned about the numbers and statistics of the crisis from a pastor who has been involved over a number of years. Overall, hearing these stories and meeting these people has opened my eyes to a situation that I was essentially blind to. It is heartbreaking to hear the terror that people have been through. But even in all this brokenness, there is hope. God is working in powerful ways in the Middle East.

After our time in Borlänge,  we packed up our backpacks and headed into the big city for a week! We partnered with a local church in Stockholm and filled in where ever they had need. So of our jobs included organizing clothes in their newly opened second hand store, helping clean up around one of their smaller church campuses and running a children’s program on Sunday morning. Working with the kids was one of my favorite parts. I have lead a small group and been involved with Children’s Ministry back home for a number of years, so coming to Sweden and getting to see the similarities and differences between our programs was really cool.

Overall, I loved my time in Sweden. I absolutely fell in love with the country and the people and I can’t wait to go back one day. If you have ever felt an interest in going to Sweden, I would say go for it! There is so much natural beauty, and Stockholm was probably my favorite big city that I have ever visited. They also have a thing called “fika” (aka snack time) every day, multiple times a day. You stop whatever you’re doing to grab a tea and some snacks with the people you’re with and spend some time just chatting. It’s great. 10/10 would recommend going to Sweden.

I got to celebrate my birthday as we were travelling to Albania for a YWAM Europe conference. We spent the night before my birthday in Montenegro, where we went bowling and got surprised by one of the other Outreach Teams showing up where we were staying. It was so much fun to get to catch up with them before we joined the rest of our school in Albania. On the day of my birthday we went on a three hour bus ride to Durres, Albania. We were welcomed by the YWAM team there and also the Footballers school from Biarritz. News seemed to spread pretty fast that it was my birthday (thanks Chris ;)), so I was sung to many times by people who I had just met. It was pretty fun. I finished the day off with ice cream and a nice evening walk along the beach with some of my closest friends. It was such a great way to start off my 19th year, I’m so excited for what is in store!

We spent the week in Albania taking part in the YWAM Europe Conference. It was an awesome week with so much good teaching, I definitely have a lot to still process. One thing that really stood out for me was the way that God changed my heart about Ukraine. Up until last Monday, I had absolutely no desire to come to this country. I don’t know why I felt this way, but I would have been completely fine with skipping our time in Ukraine and going right into Poland. It was especially weird because I really felt God call me to here when we were first deciding our teams, but that sure didn’t mean that I wanted to come.  I knew this needed to change, and so in my quiet time I prayed that God would change my heart towards this country. That day we ended up having a Ukrainian speaker share and the session was translated into Ukrainian. It was weird how much Ukraine was brought up. But little by little I learned more about the country, and the opportunities that we would have to share the gospel here and I started to get excited about what was coming up. It still doesn’t make sense to me the way that my feelings could change so drastically in the period of one day, but by the end of that day I was ready to launch into Ukraine and dig into all that God has in store for us.

As I said the conference was awesome, and I plan on sharing a bit more about what I learned (once I take some time to unpack abbll of it for myself). Now I am here in Vinnitsya, Ukraine. We’re partnering again with some YWAM people here, working in the ministries they have set up. So far the plan includes some time in local orphanages, baby hospitals and joining in an English club. Im very excited for what is coming in our time here!

My goal is to update more often from now on. Too much happens in three weeks to put it off for this long. Thank you for checking back! I’ll update again soon!

Prayer Requests:

  • People in Ukraine to be open to hearing the Gospel
  • Health/safety for my team and me
  • Strength for my family at home (My grandpa passed away this week, so they have a lot of not so happy stuff to go through right now)

In Christ,

Shayla

It’s Been too Long!

Välkommen till Sveriges

Hej!

It’s been 7 days since I left Biarritz to begin the Outreach phase of my DTS! It feels like it has been much more than that.

We left on Thursday night on an overnight bus to Paris. We got to spend the day exploring the city with one other Outreach team. I got to see Notre Dame, L’Arc De Triomphe, the Louvre, the Lock Bridge, and the Effiel Tower. It was really cool, but I wish that I could spend a little more time there to get to go to the less popular places around the city. I think the coolest part for me was actually getting to see the things that I learned about back in grade 9 French and Socials class. (Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Quasimodo at Notre  Dame, but I’m hoping he’ll be there next time I go! ;)) Overall it was actually very full, but very fun day.

After 12 hours in the city of love, we were on our flight to Stockholm! When we landed in Stockholm, we were picked up at the airport by the (incredible and super kind and welcoming) leaders of the YWAM base that we’re staying at. We drove maybe 3 hours and made it to the base here in Borlänge at 1:30am on Saturday. Every time I woke up I was in a different city… pretty wacky.

We had the weekend to get comfortable in our new location. I love it so much here! We have 3 pianos and a playground down the road with the craziest see-saw I’ve ever seen (-saw). It’s pretty sweet. The weather has been a bit of a shock for me. On our last day in Biarritz, we spent the afternoon at the beach in 23° weather. On our first morning here, we woke up to snow and -4°. It’s more of what I expect March to be, but I sure was enjoying the sunshine in France.

Over the past week we’ve had the opportunity to do evangelism/bible study at Ikea (could we get more Swedish?), a prayer walk through a neighbourhood of refugees, evangelism at the mall, and a hike where we prayed over the city of Borlänge. We also went to a local church for an incredible service on Sunday, hosted a meal for the local YWAM staff, and visited with a refugee family in their home. Evangelism has been a little more challenging here than it was in France. The Swedes are very reserved, so going up to someone in the middle of the mall is a little bit (more like a lot bit) weird for them. I tried starting conversations with people by asking if they had some free time to help me practice my Swedish. It was actually pretty successful too! I talked with one girl for a while and she taught me how to say “I like to ski”. Following that I ended up being able to pray for her and her father who was having health issues. It was really really cool.

Evangelism has by far been one of my greatest areas of growth throughout DTS. Before coming here, I had done street Evangelism maybe once or twice, since coming here I’ve done it at least once a week. Needless to say, I’ve been forced to get out of my comfort zone. It’s been so good though! Of course when you have a group of people all coming from different nations, a common question is “how do you all know each other?” This gives the opportunity to talk about YWAM and how we have been doing a Bible school for 3 months and now are heading out on a missions trip, which can then lead to more conversation about religion/faith etc. It has been really cool and really different every time we go, but what I’ve noticed is time that people are actually surprisingly open to receiving prayer.

This weekend we will be spending the day with some Christian refugees, just hanging out and playing games together. I’m really looking forward to that. We don’t have a total set plan, so each day has been a bit of an adventure, but it had been really incredible. I seriously love this country so much! We are here until the first week of April, and then potentially will spend a few days in Stockholm before heading down to the nicer weather (Albania) for a YWAM conference.


Well, that’s a little snapshot of what this first week of Outreach has looked like for me. I’ve been working on my Swedish everyday, and I can now say maybe 20 words! The weather and landscape here has been making me a little homesick, I miss you guys in Kamloops so much! Thanks again for checking back, and thank you for keeping us in your prayers! I’ll update again soon, hopefully!

In Christ,
Shayla

Specific Prayer Requests

  • For courage, boldness and bravery to share the Gospel
  • For safety for our team 
Välkommen till Sveriges

Sweden and Albania and Ukraine… Oh my! 

Hallå, god dag!

Well friends, I head off to Sweden on Thursday! I am so so excited. Last Thursday was the first time that I truly felt like I was ready to do this, and since then my excitement has kept on growing.

The past two weeks have been very powerful, I’ve started to hear God in different ways. This week our topic was “Father Heart of God”. I personally felt a huge shift in my relationship with God this week. I have felt Him preparing my heart for this time for at least two weeks. If I’m honest, I was somewhat dreading this week. From stories I’ve heard, and from my past experiences, I knew there was going to be a lot of tears. But I also really felt like I was more than ready to experience change in this area of my relationship with God. So, thanks to my incredible (ex) one on one, I sat in the front row, ready and expectant for what God wanted to teach me.

The course of this week was essentially me taking off the glasses that I looked at God with, and letting Him give me new ones. Based off my personal experience, it felt like the idea of God being my dad just wasn’t clicking. I think this is common for many people. We each have a man on earth who gives us a physical representation of what a dad is. Unfortunately since they are human, they don’t always accurately represent what God’s idea of a dad is. This week was all about pushing aside the aspects (good and bad) of my earthly dad and allowing God to fully reveal his image of a dad to me. He is close to me everyday, he’s patient, he’s consistent, he’s fun, he’s never too busy, he’s proud of me, and he’s never ever going to leave. Not in 2 minutes, not in 2 hours, not in 2 months. He is good.

On application day, I went outside to spend time talking with God and for the first time it felt like a casual “hang out”. It didn’t feel like he needed to reveal some elaborate plan for my life, or give me any type of new revelation. We were just talking. (The whole idea of hearing God’s voice is still something that seems crazy to me. It doesn’t seem like it should be as easy as it is.) It was actually really fun to just spend time with him.  He gave me a passage from Joshua 1:3-9, which really spoke to my heart. Joshua 1:9 also happens to be the verse for our school, so that’s cool. God also just kept on reminding me of his love for me. A leader here was talking about how everytime you see something that you really love, it’s like God is reaching down and giving you a kiss on the cheek (super cheesy). For me, I think of this when I see airplanes in the sky. So as I was outside praying, I looked up and I saw about 4 airplanes over head, plus a few lines fading of where planes had flown over. It was like God saying “Hey Shay, I’m still here! And look, I’ve been here thinking about you even when you didn’t even realize it.” As I said, it’s really cheesy, but I think dad’s are meant to be cheesy.

This week I really experience a close, comforting and very funny side of God that I had never really known before. It was incredible.

Aside from lectures, we also had our commissioning night this week. We got dressed up, took photos, and spend the evening all together praying for the different teams going out this week. We also finished the night off with a wild dance party, which as I mentioned in my first post being here, is the way to my heart. (This dance party was even more epic too because we all know each other now, so there wasn’t the awkward tension of dancing with a bunch of people you’ve literally only known for 2 hours)

With Outreach coming up this week, I wanted to give you guys a bit of an idea of what I’ll be doing for the next few months. From this Friday until April 8th, my team and I will be in Sweden helping out with another YWAM Base and also working with refugees there. We will be in an area called Dalarna and probably spend some time in Stockholm too.

Then from Sweden, we travel to Albania for a week long YWAM Conference, where we will also get to meet up with the other teams from our base!

From Albania, we go to Vinnytsia, Ukraine. There, we will be helping out at an orphanage, as well as partnering with some YWAM people in the ministries they have there.

Following Ukraine, we make our way to Prague, Czech Republic for a few days. Our plans are still not very clear for Prague, but we’re praying into what God wants us to do there.

After that, we go to Poland. I can’t remember what the place is called that we are going to, but I think we’re going to be working with children’s ministries there too. Poland wasn’t originally on our list of locations, but since we have felt called to go there, a number of people on my team have gotten words about being expectant for what God is going to do while we’re there. I’m really excited for this location.

After Poland, we stop back in Biarritz for a night to drop off/repack a few things before we head out for the El Camino! 3 of the 4 teams from our base will be hiking the Camino for 3 weeks. Each of us on a different route. Our plan is to build relationships with people we meet on the trail and be able to share the love of God with them. Many people hike this trail in search of something, so our hope is that we will be able to bring Jesus to them and that they will find what they’re searching for.

We finish our Outreach phase and return to Biarritz for checkback week on June 7th.

Overall, I’m looking forward to each of our locations. Whenever I think about them, I just kept overwhelmed with excitement. I’m so excited to work with kids, and to be outdoors, and just to have the opportunity to be bold and trust what God is telling me to do.

So yeah, that’s what’s going on in my life right about now… I would love if you would pray for me and my team as we go out.

Some specific prayer requests:

  • Safety in our travels
  • Unity within our team (we prayed as a team for words from God to take on Outreach, and unity was a very strong one throughout our whole team)
  • Confidence to be bold (“be bold” is the word God gave me for myself to take on outreach)

Thanks again for checking back! I’ll update again in a few weeks, probably from somewhere in Sweden!

In Christ,

Shayla

























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Sweden and Albania and Ukraine… Oh my!