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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