ywam pismo beach outreach

Stories from Central America

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This winter we sent our DTS on outreach to serve first in Nicaragua and then in Belize! It was led by our staff members Aaron, Sarah, and Andy. The following is their experience through the eyes of Sarah. Our first two weeks in Nicaragua flew by! We spent the first 10 days in a little town called Masatepe. We had many wonderful opportunities to work alongside ministries in the area including sharing in local churches, serving food and passing out toys and clothes at a Christmas celebration for children, working at a farm that also operates as a rehabilitation center, hosting a worship night, and helping with a youth outreach. We quickly connected and made relationship with many of the locals and our neighbors!

On week three, we traveled up to the capitol Managua and spent our time partnering with a local church. We helped run children’s programs every morning, a VBS, and other local outreach in the city.

After our time in Managua we returned to Masatepe for our final two weeks in Nicaragua where we played with kids and served food at the local dump, helped wire a house for electricity for a local family, cleared land for a sustainable garden at an elementary school, taught English lessons, painted a building that will serve as a community and education center, and everything in between. I can't help but be amazed at all that God did in this country during our stay! I am thankful to Him, and so proud of our team and their hard work, dedication and love. We left the country with full hearts and with the same expectation to see God to great things in the second half of our outreach.

Our first ten days in Belize were spent at the capitol, Belmopan. Within one day of arriving we were graciously offered a van and a cell phone to use during our time by some YWAMers that we had just happened to meet. This proved to be a huge blessing to us and was a great help to get around the city. God’s provision is amazing!
One of our favorite ministries that we got to partner with was a girl's home. This is a safe place for girls who have been removed from difficult and abusive environments. Here they provide nurturing care, counseling, education and empowerment for all victim of abuse and neglect. We loved spending time at the home, whether it was helping during homework hour, doing devotions with the girls, or playing games outside.
We then drove to the south of Belize and arrived in Punta Gorda where we spent our last weeks of outreach. We stayed at an inn that is run by a local ministry. We shared at a women’s group, a youth group, and a church service- all which take place here at the hotel. It is really cool to see the students training and equipping people in things that they have learned in their DTS. One evening they taught on creative intercession and how to use art and creativity as we pray for others and seek God’s heart for them.

There were some amazing chances to serve the city and work with local ministries! One day we all met at 6:30am to do a prayer walk around the city and afterwards we went to town hall to share with the town officials and mayor to pray together with them. We asked them how we could serve Punta Gorda so that afternoon we filled up 11 trash bags at a local park!

Our days have been so full and we had many opportunities to serve and pour out. Our final days in Punta Gorda were nothing short of amazing and our team has really finished strong.

This week we also had the chance to work with a ministry that provides nutritious lunches to school age children. We all ate together and got to play and teach some Bible stories. We also had an opportunity to encourage and pray over the staff and workers, they have such a beautiful heart for these kids.

The last two days have been especially awesome for our team. On Wednesday and Thursday we got to work in villages tucked in the very south of Belize. Both were about 90 minutes away on a very bumpy dirt road. On Wednesday we visited Barranco, a Garifuna village and on Thursday we went to Sunday Wood, a Q’eqchi’ village. In both places we visited homes, prayed for families, played with children and shared at evening services. It was incredible to meet the families of these communities and get to know them.

Our time in Punta Gorda couldn’t have ended in a better way. It will be hard to leave this town and especially the good friends we have made here. I am so grateful for all that happened here and the privilege it was to be a part of it.

What a good God we serve! We will be welcoming our outreach team back to the states next week and can't wait to have them home! Stay tuned for information on a missions night we will be hosting full of testimonies and to hear first hand some of the things God is doing in Nicaragua!

Our favorite things! Gifts under $20 that give back.

PC: mudlove.com Christmas season is upon us! Are you looking for gifts that bless both your loved ones and someone in need across the world? We've gathered together some of our favorite non-profits for the ultimate wish list that gives back! (And all for under $20!) Check them out:

(click the non-profit's title to visit their website)

1. Prosperity Candle

$20.00 Narela Box. Each candle helps employ and support refugees and artisans.

 

2. The Restorative Initiative (TRI)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$18.00 Leather Journal. With every purchase, TRI sponsors individuals and organizations working tirelessly to abolish human trafficking and defend the worlds most vulnerable.

 

 

$18.00 Dice set. With every purchase, TRI sponsors individuals and organizations working tirelessly to abolish human trafficking and defend the worlds most vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$15.00 Wooden Spatula. With every purchase, TRI sponsors individuals and organizations working tirelessly to abolish human trafficking and defend the worlds most vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$15.00 Camel Bone Earrings. With every purchase, TRI sponsors individuals and organizations working tirelessly to abolish human trafficking and defend the worlds most vulnerable.

3. Water for good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$19.95. Each tumbler provides a year of clean water to 2 people in the Central African Republic.

 

 

 

$12.50. Each bag of coffee provides 6 months of clean water to 1 person in the Central African Republic. Check out their website for more blends!

 

 

4. MudLOVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$20.00 Bogart mug. Each mug provides one week of clean water to someone in Africa. (check out many other styles and colors on their website!)

 

$12.00. Each ornament provides one week of clean water to someone in Africa.

 

 

$20.00 'Pursue Love' tee. Proceeds are able to provide one week of clean water to someone in Africa.

 

 

Merry Christmas and happy shopping!

A Holy Act

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by Olivia Gallagher Can sitting down to a Thanksgiving dinner be a holy act? I believe it can.

The gospels are packed full of Jesus ministering to people with one of the most ordinary things we do: eating. He demonstrates how life changing conversations can occur during normal, everyday activities. We don't have to look far to realize some of Jesus' most impactful times of ministry was over a meal.

His first recorded miracle was to refill drinks at a big event (John 2). He shared conversation with Mary while waiting for a meal, and encouraged Martha that the table didn't have to be perfect (Luke 10:38-42). He ate with people who were both easy and hard to get along with. He shared big news, and big encouragement during one of his last meals (John 13).

So lets be intentional this holiday season! Let's offer to refill drinks, or hold a meaningful conversation while the turkey cooks. Let's help mom and tell her to sit down, that everything looks beautiful and you want her presence at the table. Whether your dinner table is full of difficult people, or people you feel at home with, let's make the most of every opportunity just like Jesus did.

 

Why do a Discipleship Training School?

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By Sam Gallagher

Why Do a Discipleship Training School?

A Discipleship Training School (DTS) is arguably the bread and butter of who we are as Youth With A Mission. That is to say, it’s what we do best. Before I tell you why you should do a DTS let me first tell you what it is. To put it plainly, DTS is six months of living out of the ordinary.  You leave your friends, family, your normal everyday life, and you put all that aside to learn what being a Christian is really all about. Some people have said that DTS is like a pressure cooker for Jesus, you go in the oven, and then six months later you come out completely changed. Let me explain why. First you come to Pismo Beach, a beautiful sleepy beach town on the Central Coast of California for what is called “Lecture Phase”. Lecture phase is 3 months long and it is where we fly speakers from all over the world to come and teach you about the love and goodness of Jesus Christ. We cover topics like spiritual disciplines, grace, the nature and character of God, and many more. But that is only the tip of the iceberg.

After lecture phase you will go overseas for 2-3 months with your fellow students to put into action the love and grace that has been displayed to you by our heavenly Father. I won’t lie to you, this experience can be really challenging. You will be working with your hands, your voice, and your heart. The goal is to experience all kinds of missionary work, from preaching and evangelism, all the way to digging irrigation ditches. Although difficult, outreach is life changing and inspiring.

So now that you know the general idea of what a DTS looks like let me try to explain why you should come and do one. First I must admit that I cannot really do it justice to tell of the friends you will make, the lives you will impact, and the life changing love of Jesus you will experience. So instead of telling you about all the amazing reasons to come and do a DTS let me explain to you that life doesn’t stop with a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission. The whole goal of a DTS is not to take you out of normal life and show you how great six months with Jesus can be, but instead it is to reinvent what normal life looks like for you. At YWAM Pismo we believe that your best chance of living life to the full is alongside of Jesus Christ. That’s why we want you to come do a DTS, but also go home and make an impact in your community, your family, your own “normal”. We want you to do a DTS because we want you to tell your town about the love of Jesus, and maybe coming to our base will help show you how.

Serving in YWAM as a family

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At 18 years old I remember boarding my plane to San Jose, Costa Rica. I had just applied to my DTS in Heredia less than a month prior and little did I know that the next six months would change my life. I met my husband, Aaron on the school and as newlyweds we went on to work with YWAM in South America. We eventually moved back to California, started our family and two kids later we were pastoring a church in San Bernardino. I looked back on our YWAM years with fondness and we were always excited when the young people from our congregation felt called to do their DTS.

When our daughter was two and our son was just four months I remember Aaron telling me that he felt that God was calling us back to YWAM. I thought he was ten kinds of crazy and even though I knew of families serving in missions, surely it wasn’t for us. As a 20-something I was happy to live out of a backpack in South America but with two small children it was a different story. In the months that followed God changed my heart and gave me a peace that could only have been from Him.

In July 2013 we packed whatever belongings would fit on our cars and made our way to Pismo Beach. Since then we have staffed and led DTS’s, pioneered a secondary school, and added another baby to our family. I can't tell you what a blessing it has been for our children to grow up in this environment. They are surrounded by different cultures, languages and food and also have countless honorary aunts and uncles from around the world. Last year we took our eight month old daughter to Greece to work with refugees and at the end of this year all five us will travel to Nicaragua to lead a three month outreach.

Serving as a missionary family has taught me to have more dependance and trust in God than I ever have before. I have had to lay down my rights and walk in obedience at times when I was scared and full of doubt. We have made sacrifices and have had to say no to our own agendas.

Being a family in missions has also been the most fulfilling, rewarding and valuable experience for us and our children. I wouldn't trade these years for anything and I look forward to what God has in store for our family in the coming years here at YWAM Pismo Beach.

-Sarah Ortega

Outreach Update

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With this having been our second week in the village and also our last official week of ministry before we debrief and prepare to head back to the states, things couldn't have gone more perfectly. As we went into this week, our main goal was to continually build on what we had already been doing, which was gaining influence and growing in the relationships with the villagers. This week definitely exceded my expectations and God opened some amazing doors that we were able to step into.

One of these doors took place when Simon, our Translator and intern for Zion Cafe had noticed a cross on one of the homes in the village. Simon then went to this home and began talking with the family that lived there. While there Simon was informed that they were the only Christian family in the village, and they later asked for all of us to come over and fellowship with them. This time with the family later transpired to us being able to bless them with scriptures writen on poster board for their home and for their gate so the other villagers would see in passing. They also invited us and our families to come with them on Saturday to the Thanksgiving service at their church.

Only two of our host mothers went, but even this was amazing and we're hoping by introducing them to this family that maybe they will go again.

Meeting this family was also a huge blessing because anytime you go somewhere to do short term missions you always leave hoping someone else will be able to keep being a light and showing the love of Christ. Knowing we leave this family behind gives us great encouragement for the things to come in the lives of the villagers.

Throughout the week we were also able to continue cutting garlic and were actually given the opportunity to go help plant in the rice fields. We also kept meeting the kids down at the basketball court every day at 4 o'clock. By the end of the week the kids had taught us their version of dodge ball, a traditional Thai dance, and were able to beat us in P.I.G .

To end our time in the village our team planned a bon fire where we invited all of our families to come and hangout one last time. This was a time filled with great laughter and Joy. We taught them how to make smores and they showed us how to properly break open bamboo rice.

Since all the families were there, we honored them by thanking them for their hospitality and generosity over the last two weeks. We truly were so blessed by our host families and they will all hold a great place in our hearts. We finished the evening off by singing some worship songs to the villagers and Sharing a few testimonies about why we follow God and what He has done in our lives. Ultimately, our last evening with our host families was amazing, and as we left this morning and the villagers waved us off I had this peace knowing we did what we were called to do, which was to love our neighbor as ourself.

- Austin