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

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New Seasons

One thought on “New Seasons

  1. Sherry says:

    Wow!! Thank you for sharing! It is so beautiful to see the fingerprints of Jesus all over you! May you be so mightily blessed as you pour into the lives of children and their communities this summer through AIA!
    Wherever you go in life, may you always remember that helicopter hovering over you, and may it remind you of Jesus’ care for you, knowing that He not only hears you, but sees you, and loves to make Himself known to you. You are NEVER alone! ❤️ Sherry (Riley and Jakey’s mom)

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