Blessed Be Your Name

Hey, hey, hey!

With each week that passes, God continues to blow my mind. Also, how on earth has it already been nearly three weeks since I last posted. 

It’s been three incredible weeks, we’ve touched on Evangelism, Spiritual Authority and Lordship. Aside from feeling like I am a towel drenched with knowledge, revelation and new understanding, I’m focused on staying present and digging in until the very end. This is only a short season in my life. There will be a time for me to go home and spend time with my family and friends, a time for me to chew on all the truth that I’ve been learning over the past nine weeks, and a time for me to have more than just muesli and baguettes for breakfast every morning. However, that time is not right now, and I have come to be okay with that. I wrestled through a lot of homesickness over week seven, but God met me there, renewed my strength and has freed me from that sadness. Praise God. 

Our topic for the week was “Spiritual Authority” with an awesome speaker from YWAM Perth. I went into the week trying to be as open as possible, because in the past I have never really LOVED the idea of Spiritual Authority. It’s been one of those things that just freaks me out and so I never felt like I needed to learn about it. However, our speaker did an incredible job focusing on the power and might of our God, rather than influence that Satan has in this area. I finished the week with a completely different taste in my mouth about Spiritual Authority and I’m excited to see the way that God will continue to grow me in that area, especially during Outreach. 

The only words I can think of to describe last week are “freaking nuts”. On Tuesdays, we have an “open meeting” for everyone at the base and also people from the community. This week, the Holy Spirit was at work. We saw healing, incredible words from God and a number of people from the community even gave their lives to Jesus that night. It was awesome! Then Wednesday came. We had class, just like every other day, but again, the Holy Spirit came. By the end of class, all of the money that we as a school were trusting for for Outreach came in. All within an hour and a half, and all from people within the room. Nearly 13,000 euros, or 18,000 cad. We finished the week off with an incredible time of worship on Friday morning. We saw even more healing, words from God and we even saw the financial debt of the base be completely paid off! Within the week, the base debt went from 33,000 euros (46,000 cad) down to ZERO! The Lord provides as we obey. 

Overall, super crazy week. It was incredible to witness it all. I had started reading the book of Acts on Monday morning, which talks about Jesus giving us the Holy Spirit. This week was a testament to the fact that He is definitely still working through His spirit. 

“Blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

Psalm 113:2-3

Following that “freaking nuts” week, me and some friends had planned on going down to San Sebastian, Spain for the weekend. I could not have asked for a more perfect weekend. We went swimming, ate delicious food, enjoyed the beautiful weather and had great bonding time. It also happened to be some type of festival… So we saw some very creative costumes, a parade and danced along with the music filling the streets. All in all, it was the equation for the perfect experience and I felt so refreshed upon returning to Biarritz on Sunday night. I wished that I could bottle up the feeling and sell it, because it was honestly just so freeing and surreal. 

I had the song “Blessed be Your Name” in my head all week. In every high and low, He is worthy of our praise. Our God is so vast, mighty and powerful. Yet, He is so close and desires intimacy with all His children. Just a little reminder for you today. 🙂 

We have also started meeting for prayer with our Outreach teams each morning. I am so excited for my team and what God has in store for us. We found out this week that we will also be stopping in Poland for some time, just before we head to Spain for the El Camino. Some friends and I calculated that we will hit 10 countries in 3 months (including some day stops with our travel plans). I never really saw myself desiring to travel Europe, but here I am, and my heart has completely changed.  

So, that is a brief glimpse into my life the past few weeks. Thank you so much for your support and your prayers. I hope to do one more update of Lecture Phase before I head out, but if not, I’ll update you from Sweden! 13 days to go! 

Some prayer requests: 

  • For safety over our travels (we travel by bus from Biarritz to Paris on March 16th, I think, and then fly to Stockholm on March 17th) 
  • For confidence and security in what I have learned over the past 9 weeks, and the ability to apply it as I’m on outreach.

In Christ,

Shayla

Advertisements
Blessed Be Your Name

God Met Me in the Mountains

Bonjour and welcome back!

I spent last week (January 29-February 4) cut off from the world at a beautiful little ski chalet in the middle of the Pyrenees Mountains. As a school, we committed to having no electronics for the week, it was a really great experience. Our topic for the week was Relationships, so we got plenty of time to build into our relationships with one another. We went sledding each day, built an igloo big enough to stand in, had incredible worship and indulged in many baked goods. Amidst all of our fun, we did run into a few hiccups… First of all, we ran out of our water supply by Day 2. (aka no flushing toilets or showers) I’ll let you imagine the details of that one. We also managed to set off the fire alarm while attempting to bake brownies, we broke a window, a food processor and a broom stick, and had to make one trip to the emergency room. But we all lived to tell the tale, praise God! 

God knows us so well. “Who am I?”, “Who are you?”, “What do you like about me?” were all the questions that I found myself asking God daily in the time leading up to my trip to the mountains. The response I felt I was getting, “Just wait, keep coming back, I will show you”. Something that I have learned about myself is that I like to have fast results. If I’m not good at something the first try, I don’t feel excited to try it again. So when I’m talking to God and I’m not getting the answer that I think I want, the excitement to go back starts to fade. But, I did not leave my home for six months to stay the same, or to give up when things weren’t going my way. I listened to God, I came back to Him again and again. I would skip a quiet time and feel like weird feeling, almost like I was letting God down… conviction! But then, on February 2nd, God met with me. He reminded me how much he loves me and that it’s okay for me to be happy with the plans that he has for my life! It seems like a simple concept, Jesus loves me. I’ve sang the songs and read the verses for years and years, but the experience that I had this day was the first time I had revelation in my heart. I’ve felt for years that I’ve had the head knowledge of God, and I’ve known that I want to live my life for Him, but I wanted a reason. Finally, I experienced the two-way relationship that the God of the universe desires to have with me (and you), and it has changed my life!

Also, praise God for the timing of this revelation. I came back from the mountains with this incredible understanding of intimacy with God, just in time to dive into “Fear of the Lord” week. 

“Fear of the Lord”, what a daunting term, in my opinion. I’ve heard about this many times in church, and youth group etc, but it always felt like one of those terms that you just assume everyone understands, so it would be silly to ask what it means. When you become a Christian isn’t it just something you know? This week I got the opportunity to first realize that I did not know what it meant, and then to begin to dig into understanding what it does mean. 

Brief teaching of what I’ve learned: Fear of the Lord is not like an earthly fear. We are not to be scared of God the way that we are scared of a spider. It’s more of a fear of disappointing God and breaking relationship with Him. For me, I think of it like a relationship with a parent. (Crazy hey, since God’s our father) In the way that an ideal relationship with a parent has the parent disciplining the child out of love, and the child respecting those boundaries, God wants that with us. I think many people hate the idea of hearing their parents say the words “Im not mad, just disappointed”. We, as Christians, should have the feelings towards letting down our heavenly father. And the way that a parent will love their child no matter how many times they reject their advice, hurt them, or let them down, God will never stop loving us. It’s not about earning God’s love, we already have it. It’s about honouring God, and loving the boundaries that he sets in place for us, because he loves us. 

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures…. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”

·Titus 3:3-5·

I have spent the week in awe of God and the love that he has for me. 

Aside from lectures, we found out our Outreach teams this week! My team has named ourselves “The Cringe Republic”. We leave Biarritz on March 17th, to make our way up to Sweden for some time. Then we head to Albania for a week in April for a YWAM Conference. Following that, we’ll be in the Ukraine and the Czech Republic. We end our Outreach by hiking the El Camino trail in Spain for 2.5 weeks and meeting up with 2 other teams from our base. I am unbelievable excited for this journey. I don’t have many details of what we’ll be doing in our locations, but I have a feeling it might have something to do with showing God’s love to the people of Europe! If you feel lead to support me financially, you totally can. The deadline for giving is March 1st 2017. Check out the “How can I help” page, and hit me up personally so that I can confirm with the accounts people that your donation made it to me. Thank you so much if you have or plan to support me financially, it means a lot to me! 

Thank you also for your prayers. Looking back on my last post, every one of the prayers have been answered! Even the one for Mac and Cheese! God is good! 

Some more specific prayer requests:

  • For a development of a heart for the nations I will be going to (Sweden, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Spain)
  • For diligence/perseverance (God has given me some specific boundaries for this season of my life, one of them being a bedtime, haha. But it will be easy for me to drift back into my old ways. So just keep me in your prayers there if you don’t mind) 

Thanks for checking back! 

In Christ,

Shayla

 

God Met Me in the Mountains

What am I up to?

Welcome back!

I can’t believe I’ve already been here for three weeks! It feels like it has flown by, but at the same time it feels like I have been here for much longer. All in all, I love it here and I don’t think I can imagine being anywhere else at this point in my life. I probably mentioned this in my last post, but the people here are seriously the bomb.com. Three weeks in and I already feel like I’ve known them my whole life. I know that God has a lot in store for us as a group and I cannot wait to watch it unfold!

Our days here are pretty busy. We start the morning off with breakfast and quiet time at 7am. Morning chores are at 9am and class typically starts at 9:30am. Then we are in class until lunch at 1pm. The topics for classes change each week, so far we’ve done “Hearing the Voice of God”, “Nature and Character of God” and “Forgiveness and Repentance”. After lunch is when we do work duties, mine is lunch dishes… pretty self explanatory. In the time between work duties and before dinner we either have some free time, evangelism, or SBS (Bible Class). Following dinner we get the evening off, except not on Thursdays because we have forced fun with our small groups that night. Overall, the busy-ness of our days help it to go by very quickly. Some days are different, with worship or intercession, and on Wednesday we get to sleep in till 8am! But this is generally what I do each day.

So far the weekends have been pretty exciting. There’s no set schedule, meaning there is lots of time to relax and explore. This weekend we had a “girls day” with some of my roommates and went on a little shopping trip to the mall in the town over. Last weekend we went skiing in the Pyrenees Mountains… Seriously one of the best days of my life! The conditions were incredible, and I’ve never skied that good of powder. (Not that I ski much powder at home, but french powder was pretty sweet!) 

(This guy is from my school. He makes cool videos. This one shows what life is like here.)

Now, all of this is tons of fun, but the real reason I’m here is to further my relationship with Jesus. So far, it’s going great! Quiet time in the morning is a great habit that I’m working to form. Not every quiet time has been completely life changing and sometimes I spend too much time picking out my outfit or laying in my bed so I don’t get as much time as I would like. But it’s a work in progress and I’m starting to actually look forward to that time with Jesus. Another area that I’m working on is reading my Bible. Our Bible class teacher challenged us to read our whole Bible, front to back, by the end of our DTS and a number of us have jumped on that train. I don’t know about you, but I find reading it like a story is actually pretty cool! There are some parts that I’ve come across in Genesis that have caused me to be like “wat da heck…” (aka the part about Lot and his daughters). But all in all, I’m learning to ask more questions, which in turn is bringing more understanding and more desire to continue to read. I am still in Genesis, and I know there is A LOT left, but so far I am enjoying that challenge. One more fun thing we did this week was our application for Repentance and Forgiveness week. The day was absolutely draining, 15 hours of prayer and digging into God, but it brought so much freedom for everyone and our bonds are so much closer after it. 

 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 8:36

I think that is the majority of what I’ve been up to the past few weeks. The topic for class this week is “Worship and Intercession”, I’m looking forward to it. I’m hoping that the weather will stay nice so that I can learn to surf one weekend! But that’s about it that I can think of right now! I’ve heard that we might find out our Outreach locations in the next few weeks, so keep that in your prayers. I’m also still fundraising, so if you feel lead to donate, it explains the process on the “How can you help page?”. Please just let me know personally if you donate so that I can be sure the funds get into the right account. I appreciate your prayers and financial support so so much!

Some specific prayer requests :

  • For health/rest/healing (lots of germs are present when 90 people live in such a small area, so a number of us have come down with colds, myself included)
  • For continued perseverance and desire to dig in to God (This past week was very emotionally/spiritually draining, but God still has so much to teach me. Also it’s easy for me to coast along and take in information without processing or chewing on it, so prayer that I would stay active in my relationship with God would be appreciated)
  • For heart preparation (What God will teach me in the weeks coming up, as well as what He will be doing in my life during Outreach)
  • That mac and cheese would come on the meal rotation soon (We all really miss mac and cheese. #sendmac) 

Thank you again for your support! I miss everyone at home so much! 

In Christ,

Shayla

What am I up to?

Prince of Peace

Bonjour mes amis! 

I arrived safe and sound here in Biarritz on December 31st, just in time for a wild celebration to bring in the New Year! We had a dance battle, worship and prayed into the New Year. I trust that God will do amazing things in 2017. 

My first few days here have be quite relaxed. We went on a little tour of the city and the beaches, got settled into our new room at the surf hostel, and spent lots of time chatting and getting to know each other around the base. Students have been arriving for about a week now, tomorrow we finish our orientation and Wednesday we get started with our school! 

The city is absolutely gorgeous! Its quiet around town right since its winter, but apparently it gets pretty busy during the summer months. For now though, its just surfers, senior citizens and some sick YWAM staff and students… (by some I mean like almost 100 people, its a real party)

15824411_1323101074379455_3230635_o
One of the beaches here. (Sorry for only one picture, I’ll do my best to take more next time)

One of my prayers coming into this was that Jesus would remind me of why I am here, and would reveal to me that this is where I need to be. So far, I have received so much response to that prayer. First off, the first night I was here we broke into groups to choreograph a dance for a dance battle we had at our New Years celebration. Well, if you know me, you know that group dances are a one way ticket to my heart. It seems silly, but just the way that made the environment so fun and comfortable was such a blessing for me, especially after a long, tiring day of travel. 

A more intimate way that Jesus has answered my prayer is that during worship this morning, we actually sang a number of songs that have been on my heart over the past few months of prepartion. I remember singing these songs in church and just feeling overwhelmed with emotion regarding this trip. Now singing them in while I’m here in Biarritz has brought a new string of emotions and just a reminder that God has this all planned out. He is so good. 

Finally, as some of you may know, my best friend Kat is on her way to YWAM in Perth, Australia. Believe it or not, my base here in Biarritz was actually pioneered by her base in Perth! They call them sister bases, just like me and her are sorta like sisters. Again, a little bit silly, but it’s through these small “coincidences” that I believe God is in control. These tiny details that He brought together to remind me that not only does he care about the big plan, but he is also a God of intricate detail. 

Over this entire journey bringing me to YWAM, the name for God that has been on my heart is Prince of Peace. Especially during the Christmas season as we reflected on the verse Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – I have felt at ease with every circumstance surrounding this trip. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of  anxiety and nerves, but through it all I have honestly felt this unexplainable peace in my heart. Like the kids song says, “I’ve got a peace that passes understanding down in my heart”, that is what Jesus has provided for me. 

So, as you can tell, God is already active and working in my life here in Biarritz. My prayer is that over this next week, as we dig into hearing God’s voice, that I would really be able to experience that in a way that I never have before. Thank you so much for you prayers and support, it means so much to me to know that I have such a strong team on my side back home, miss you guys!

I hope you have a fantastic day, thanks for checking back! 

In Christ,

Shayla

Prince of Peace

Its the Final Countdown….

Welcome again!

(Cause I know this will be stuck in your head after you see the title)

Well my friends, I think this will be my last post before I step out and begin the greatest adventure of my life (so far)! As I have mentioned to some of you, I fly out of Vancouver on December 30th, 8 days, 1 hour and 56 minutes from right now. Craaazy, am I right? 

First off, I wanted to briefly answer the three most common questions that I’ve been getting over the past few weeks…

Q 1: Are you getting excited?

The simple answer, yes! Although it is honestly still so hard for me to believe that it is actually happening that sometimes I forget to be excited… if that makes any sense.

Q 2: Are you all packed?

Ha. If only I was that organized… 

Q 3: What will you be doing there?

Learning about God, serving others and having a blast… To be real with you guys, I don’t know very many details yet, so check back with me in a little bit and I’ll share with you what I’ve been doing!

One of the hardest things for me right now is probably saying my good-byes… I like to push it to the very last minute, so saying good-bye to someone when I’m still in Canada for another week just seems a little wacky. And plus, if I don’t say good-bye, am I really leaving?? (Unfortunately the answer is yes… but this makes it easier to think about cause then I don’t get sad) 

On a side note, Leah Thompson, if you’re reading this, please make sure that you stock up the base with buckets of tissues because I will probably be crying for at least 5 weeks straight. Happy, sad, scared, angry, hungry… you name the feeling, I’ll probably be crying because of it. 

Anyways, back on track. Now, since I’ll be gone for soooooooooo long, I love the idea of sending post cards via snail mail. If you are at all interested in receiving a post card or letter from me, feel free to send me your mailing address in a Facebook message. I’m not making any promises on this one, but I’ll do my best to send one to everyone that would like one! 

Speaking of Facebook messages, if you have donated to me financially via the link I gave on my “How can you help” page, would you please let me know in a private message? I just need to let YWAM know who has donated to me to insure that you’re funds end up in the proper account. Thank you so so so much if you have supported me in that way.  

I continue to ask for your prayer in these coming days. I ask that you pray for safe and smooth travels, for peace and excitement in my heart and that I would be ready and open to the ways that God will work in my life in 2017. 

Thank you for your support! I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you on this blog, so make sure to check back every once in a while! Until then, I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year! 

In Christ,

Shayla

Its the Final Countdown….

XXXVII

Thanks for coming back!

15183928_1276637719025791_1666336054_o
(Shoutout to the little guy I babysit for the use of his bath letters)

37 days (35 until I leave Canada) until my DTS with YWAM Biarritz starts. It still feels so surreal. Part of me is so ready to go, while the other part is still wrestling with the idea of leaving everything that I know and love for six months… SIX WHOLE MONTHS! 170 DAYS! 

So far I’ve gotten so much support from everyone, and I appreciate it immensely. It makes it much easier to trust that I am doing whats right when I have people standing behind my decision, so thank you!

As far as an update goes, I’m still getting a few more things together that I will need for my time away, but I already have my flight and an outlet adaptor… so I’d say I’m pretty much good to go!

In all seriousness though, I do have the majority of the important things looked after. The last major thing that I need to do is make the big money transfer, which I’m in the process of setting up. That being said, if you are still interested in helping me out financially, there is still time! My tuition for the first three months is due the first week of December, so I’ll be paying that pretty soon here. But you will still have the opportunity to give online to support my outreach phase until March 1st 2017. The link and instructions for that can be found on the “How can you help” page of my blog. This will help support me and my team as we go out across Europe to share the gospel with everyone we encounter! Thank you in advance for this, your funds will bless not only me, but many others throughout Europe!

As I have been doing my preparations, I have noticed God has started his preparations in me too. I have experienced some incredible revelations about forgiveness and the kindness of God. I know that I have a lot to learn during my time away, so to know that God is already working to open my heart and mind to new ideas about Him has been a very cool experience! Please keep me in your prayers for my final weeks of preparation.

Overall there still isn’t anything super exciting happening just yet, but hang in there, it’s coming soon! Thank you so much for checking in again! I appreciate your support and prayers so much.

In Christ,

Shayla

(If you have any specific questions that weren’t really answered on here, feel free to message me on Facebook or ask me in person.)

XXXVII

Counting Down the Days…

Welcome back!

I just wanted to do a quick check-in/update where I’m at. So since the last post, things are really starting to pick up! I have a flight booked for December 30th! This step was when it really hit me, there’s no turning back now. But don’t worry, I have a return flight booked as well for June 20th, so at the moment I fully intend on coming back when my DTS is over. 😉

Moving forward, I just have my appointment with the French Consulate in Vancouver on Monday. Feel free to pray for that, it’s essential that I get a Visa, and I’m feeling a little bit nervous for the appointment.

I’ve also started to look into the gear that I’ll be needing for my trip. Since we’ll be backpacking, there are a number of things on my list that I still need to buy (backpack, sleeping bag, hiking shoes, proper attire…etc). Silly me forgot to factor in these expenses from the beginning, so it’s been a little bit nerve wracking making sure I’ll be looked after financially, but I know that God has got it all in His hands.

Other than that, I’m just getting more and more excited for my departure to come. I know that the next few months will fly by, so I’m making sure to stay on top of my preparations, while also enjoying my time to the fullest.

Thanks again for checking out my journey! In just 78 more days I’ll be updating from Biarritz!

In Christ,

Shayla

Counting Down the Days…