Thursday, 15 December 2016

"You give me JOY down deep in my soul"

The funniest thing happened yesterday. Here's the tale, in poetic form:

This afternoon as I sat on the bench
Hearing noises from students that I just couldn't quench
When all of a sudden, bounding out from nowhere
Came a dog with beautiful long silky hair.

It sat down right beside me and licked my hand and my knee
So I put down my books and I pet it with glee.
"A dog!", I exclaimed, "and a friendly one at that"
"You must be my gift from God" and I gave it another pat.

I saw on it's collar her name and phone number
And then phoned her owner, a find lad from Down Under.
A few minutes more with this dog did I spend
Stroking her fur and not wanting it to end.

All too soon did we go from the bench to the road
And what first did the dog see but dinner a-la-mode?
Leftovers from team building with M.A.D. DTS
Pasta, mush, and bananas, oh, what a mess.

I looked on and giggled as the dog ate her fill
Until her owner came by and took her back down the hill.
Now is the time my tale draws to a close
Please share if you will a story that kept you on your toes.

That really made my day! If I would have stopped laughing enough to think of taking a picture of this whole debacle, I would show it to you all. But, alas, I didn't. So you'll have to use your own imagination.

This past month has been eventful. It's also been a time of God stretching me. There were some days where I wasn't doing so well emotionally and spiritually; doubting God and myself, and comparing myself to others. I would realise that in myself and keep giving it to God. In those hard moments, God would show me that there was beauty in my brokenness and there were many good moments as well. I thought back to just how much I've learned over this past year and how much God's been faithful, good, and strong in my weakness. It reminds me of a song that this past DTS loved to sing; Joy. 

There's beauty in my brokenness,
I've got true love instead of pain,
There's freedom though You've captured me.
I've got joy instead of mourning.

Here are some highlights of the past few weeks:

Staff farewell/internship graduation. All of us staff spent an evening sending off the staff who were leaving and also to graduate the staff from internship. I graduated for the 7th time in my life that day. (kindergarten, grade 6, grade 9, grade 12, university, and DTS were the other 6 times if you were wondering.)

Our Thanksgiving party. My favourite part was playing the Guess the lyrics game. All of the songs were YWAM Toowoomba originals. Alex, a guy who was sitting at the same table as me, started writing the word "daddy" by almost every lyric. It was so funny!  Then afterwards, we set up the Christmas tree.

Local outreach week. Instead of just the students and DTS staff being involved in local outreach, all of us got to participate. I spent the mornings doing yard work, playing music at an age care home, and helping out at a youth group in Pittsworth (the same town I did Kids Games with back in June. I loved coming back and seeing some people I knew).  

Then on Sunday as a grand finale, we had a stall for Freedom Project and went to Carols in the Park. They set up a big stage in the middle of Queens park and have performers sign Christmas carols. People everywhere were wearing Christmas clothes, but they looked a lot different than what I'm used to in Canada. They had Santa minion t-shirts, elf style shorts, hats that lit up, and plastic battery powered candles. I sold some angel ornaments and bookmarks that I had made at home in October. Also, two of our students donated their original artwork to sell at our stall. They are so talented!

artwork by Allison, a student on the July 2016 DTS,
soon to be staff and one of my roomies
art by Emily, a student on the July 2016 DTS.
Such amazing eyes on that child in the picture! 
Our team leader Nathan busking at our stall.

Our final Bella sisters of the year. We celebrated the past year as well as said farewell to 4 of the Bella leaders. I loved spending last precious moments with the girls in my family group and giving away some hand made christmas gifts to them and other leaders and girls I got to know this past year. 

DTS graduation and saying goodbye to the July 2016 DTS. This one was bittersweet because I love them so much. My favourite part of this time was Honouring night where we sat around in a circle and honoured two people each. I could tell right from the moment I met them in July that they were a unified group of people and so kind, encouraging, and welcoming. They each have big servant hearts and have grown so much in the past 5 months on their DTS. I'm sad to see them go, but I know that God's got amazing plans for them.

I've also loved spending time with the other staff, especially in the last few weeks. I love you guys so much!

I'd love to hear your story of this past year, of God's providence and/or faithfulness, and some highlights. What's God been teaching you and how have you been growing?

Thank you so much for supporting me this past year in prayer. I honour you for stepping out in boldness. Much love!