It's been a long time coming, but I finally decided to write a blog for all you guys back home to see no be in the loop. Here goes...
It all started a little over 8 weeks ago when I took some plane rides across the world to Australia. Excited for the months to come, not sure what to expect, but trusting God to do miracles. What would a music DTS in small town inland Australia look like?
I've had so many wonderful experiences so far. I met my team of 34 students plus staff in lovely Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. The view is amazing and the sights are incredible. We are at the top of hill looking down into a valley and have warm sunny weather mixed with foggy and rainy days. The thunderstorms are breathtaking as well. And the butterflies. Wow. There were thousands of them during the first 5-6 weeks here which is unusual. They were everywhere.
I got to eat kangaroo meat which tasted like juicy steak, I met and pet kangaroo as well. (which if you don't know is one of my favourite animals and was my first time seeing one. It was weird that I ate kangaroo before meeting one.) We went on outings to the beach, to an amusement park called Dreamworld, and I went on my first hike up a mountain called Tabletop. We have times where we go into town or to the gas station (I like walking to the gas station which is 40 minutes each way once a week by myself. It's a good time for me to talk to God and actively be listening to His voice.).
We have lectures every morning during the week. So far we learned about the character and nature of God, biblical overview, fear of God and repentance, evangilism, holy spirit, reationships, spiritual warfare, and music and missions.
Multiple people got healed, everything from dislocated shoulders and extreme pain because of illnesses to inner healing like forgiving people, experiencing more joy than ever before, and being healed from past hurts. My journey has been one of forgiving others and asking for forgiveness, of inner healing and learning more about who I am in Christ and who He is. It's also gotten me to step out of my comfort zone over and over again, to trust in God with everything, and to begin to see what God sees in people. It started by opening up to people, sharing my story and being vulnerable, and God has just taken it from there. It's a journey, every step of the way brings more things I need to work on and more things I can look back on and say, "wow! I would have done that so differently before."
It has also brought me new perspective. I've learned more about what spiritual gifts I have and how I can use them to bring God glory, what my passions are and developing my gifts.
One cool story. A week and a half ago we had a giving time as a base where we had the opportunity to give to each other in finances and nothing else God was calling us to give. Many people here still owed money for outreach and in school fees. One girl was given almost $7,000 by the base. It was such an outpouring of God's love and obedience on our part. In the middle of this, I was just basking in God's love and giving when one of the girls called out my name and called me over. She had a guitar beside her. I thought, no way is she going to give me that guitar. It must be there for some other reason. But, no, she said Katrina I feel like God wants me to give you this guitar. I heard you playing it yesterday and you should have it. Her middle name is Joy and she had a sticker with the word Joy on her guitar case. She said your middle name is also Joy right? It's Joyce, but pretty close. I was so taken back by her generosity and willingness to obey God. I started crying tears of joy and hugget her multiple times. I was so blessed. I had been learning guitar here, plaging on any guitar I could get my hands on and getting lessons by one of the staff here who offered. I had been thinking of buying a guitar when I got back, but wow. God blessed me here.
I'm going go Cambodia from April 22 to May 22 and am helping out with a music festival called Easterfest here in Toowoomba in the next 2 weeks.
There are so many more stories I want to tell you so if you have any questions just ask.
Thanks for everyone who's praying for me.
I will end this post with poem I wrote at the start of this DTS.
Lord, open my eyes to Your holy mountain
Your holy temple
the greatness of Your majesty
we need not be afraid but we are I awe
and we fall at Your feet in surrender.
All we have is Yours, all our thoughts, words, actions
Day to day breathing, talking, laughing
living, moving, balking
All to You, Jesus, saviour of my life