Monday, December 1, 2008

The Beginning of the End!

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from the beginning to end... For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." 
- Ecclesiastes 3:11, 17

If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is to never worry about anything because God always has the bigger picture of life. Looking back at the journey I have gone on the last three years, I can only thank God for taking me where I have been. When I set out for my YWAM DTS school in January 2006 I left to find myself and the call that God had on my life. I knew I wouldn't be just anyone in the work place but that I was called to look outside the box and touch the world. Yet back then I had NO clue what God really had in store for me.

I can honestly say that God has captured my heart and completely changed me from the inside out. Taking every core thing that was in my life and transforming it in ways I didn't know were possible. I am so thankful for it all even though its been extremely hard at times and I haven't always understood why God had me doing everything I was doing. Everything that has happened the last three years was all about leading me into a future that is beyond my comprehension. I have been renewed, restored, and rejuvenated so that God can send me into the next season of my life.

With all that said I am home in my beautiful wild Colorado, the place that has always had half of my heart no matter where I was in the world! This next season isn't one that I would have predicted but one that I think I am finally ready for. The other half of my heart still belongs to Africa and that will never change because I will be back there someday soon to live out my God giving long term vision. However, for this season in my life I am stepping off of the mission field and staying home to see where God wants me to go from here!

Identidad Restaurada (Identity Restored)

So what happened to the project in Panama...? Like I said before God always has a plan for everything even if we don't know it. God truly transformed something that looked impossible into exactly what He needed it to be! We were all amazed to see everything come together especially looking at where we started out with it all. Nothing that we had planned all the way back in June turned out as we thought it was going to! It was a God thing from the start and He lead it where He wanted it to go, which we couldn't have been more thankful for.

Wrapping Up!
The last month we worked on getting everything that we might have been missing for the video to put it all together. The video guy, Peter, that I told you about came and took a trip to the Ngobe people in Lechuza which is up in the mountains of Panama with the team. A lot of great interviews came out of the trip and they were able to really get a whole new view of the indigenous people for the documentary. A lot of doors got opened while they were there and they are even going back in December to do a song-writing workshop where the Ngobe people are then going to do a cultural evangelism outreach with the songs for the other Ngobe villages. Which is something we had dreamed of happening on this project and just needed God to make it possible!

Peter worked with the team a lot on how to make outline scripts, the basics of how to make a documentary, and how to edit with the top editing software that he gave us. We went through all the video footage and photos that we had taken throughout the last three months and we started piecing everything together into a script for the video! The project is not done yet but the team there in Panama will be doing some follow up footage when they go back to the Ngobe village and are planning on finishing the project in January! We know that God started this project and will do amazing things with it when its finished to touch the hearts and lives of these people!

So What's Next...?

Well I guess you could say that what we expected the future to be is not what God has planned out for us because for the first time in my life I really want to go to college and work on the technical side of photography, photoshop, and graphic design! The plan is to be here in Colorado for the next 2 years to go to school and plant some much needed roots in one place. After traveling so much for almost three straight years I came to realize that in order for me to be a full time missionary down the road I need roots somewhere and a place to truly call home to send me out! So I will not just be here to go to school and work but to plant myself into a ministry and a core group of people that can send me out in a few years to be the support I need as a missionary! I'm excited and nervous at the same time because this is such a hard transition for me to be making. However, God specifically told me that if He provided for me on the mission field it would be no different at home because He was still the same GOd no matter what I am at! And that is exactly what He has done. Its been hard but God has already shut some doors that needed shut and opened some amazing doors for me to live here and go to school! I know everything will continue to fall into place because He has never stopped being faith! 

Monday, October 6, 2008

A New Thing!

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise." 
-Isaiah 43:19 - 21

This month has definitely been a challenge but such an amazing time in my life. Personally I have been stretched and pushed to new limits as I have helped co-lead this team, along with facing the obstacles in this project. God has taken me to a whole new level in life spiritually, emotionally, and mentally! It feels like I have seen a totally new light in my life and I have concurred a mountain. God told me before I left home that He was doing a new thing in me and that is exactly what He did! I have never had so much passion, desire, and anticipation before in my life!
God has also provide so much throughout this whole thing. Seeing the steps that have lead up to me coming here just blows me away and I can see God's hand all over my life. There are still needs in life but honestly when is there not a need for something else. What matters is that I can see how God has always provided and all I need is me and God to be together so I can concur anything that is in front of me. 
While I've been here doing all this its confirmed everything that I've longed to do in my life long term. Being in the villages using media as a tool like this to help them and the world is exactly what I want to do in the future in Africa. God has really used this time to show me that and given me some experience in doing so. Allowing me to see that the desires He has put in my heart can actually be done and make a difference in life. That its just about the timing of Him releasing me into that calling full time!

Identity Restored

There is no way for us to say that we are doing this project without all of it being a God thing! There have been many times that we've planned to go to a certain village only for the people to tell us that it wasn't a good time or something else was going on then. We spent a lot of time taking the whole thing back to God and say where, what, and how do You want us to do this. Putting it back into God's hands every time and waiting for Him to move the mountains. He has been faithful every time and we have seen His hand on this project so much opening all the right doors at the right time and leading us every step of the way.

Everything with the video has been a challenge from the very start and we have had to get creative in order to get the material we need. I have always believed that God will use the equipment that I have no matter how old or non professional it might be. It always makes things that much more of a God thing then a human thing. We have been using a little sony handy camcorder and a high tech voice recorder for all the filming so far which has actually been working great. We have been working on getting all the interviews with the indigenous people and exactly what God wants us to get in order to capture it the way it needs to be seen by the indigenous people. 

God has been providing so much and opened a lot of doors. In October we have a guy coming here to give us a professional video camera and the top quality video editing software there is, which was one of our biggest concerns. We will then be able to get the other shots we need for the video and put it all together by the end of this year. We are using this next month to get all the interviews we need, translating all of them, and getting all the photographs we need. So we can be wrapped up with that part of the project by the middle of November and can spend the last two months putting everything together. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Season with Amazing Opportunities

"The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity - in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground - in the land He swore to your forefathers to give you. The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands."
-Deuteronomy 28:1 - 12 (NIV)

The time I spent at home waiting on God was amazing. It was a great time of rest, being able to regroup, spend time with everyone back home, and prepare for the new season God wanted to move me into! I was excited to see everything that God was going to do in this next 5 months of life and exactly what doors He was going to open to me! 

While I was at home God started setting everything up for my time in Panama and everything that God wanted our team to focus on in the villages. We really feel God pressing on our hearts to put together a team of people to make a DVD, book publication, and more information about the indigenous people of Panama together. Everything the Base Administer wanted to do was everything that I wanted to do in the future in Africa, so my heart soared to be able to work on a project like this with the passion God put in my heart for this specific base the first time I went to Panama. 

I really didn't know what to expect when I came to Panama the beginning of August but I knew God was calling me to come! The day before I left Colorado the base administer, David, last minute stepped down because God was calling him to do something else, so that left me co-leading this team of staff on the base for this project. It is scary and is a huge challenge but something I believe God wants me to step up to. God has given me all the tools I need to do this and I have to step into the calling He gave me a long time ago! I know its going to be stretching for me and push me like I have never known before, but at the same time really excited and what I want to do!

Our team has been praying a lot and work out exactly what we are doing with this project and this is what God has placed on our hearts for this time...!
Within the heart of Panama there are six major indigenous tribes that live in the jungles! Their culture is rapidly changing as they lose hope for the future as indigenous people and are losing their identities. They are caught between their traditional ways and modern culture, not knowing how to hold onto one while embracing the other. So as a team of seven missionaries all working for Youth With A Mission on the Panama base we are called to help them restore their hope, cultural identity, and future.
We want to create a way for the indigenous people to see the hope again for their culture and be able to embrace it for what it is and who they are. Along with creating a way for the indigenous people to be heard for what they truly are. So we are taking the heart of music, video, photography, and storytelling to give them hope for the next generations, along with showing the world their lives as they really are. 

Message of Hope

We are taking a message of hope into the tribe to inspire the indigenous people to stand up for their rights and cultural identity. In this we will have music worships in the villages to inspire the people to utilize their traditional music and dance to reach the emerging generation. These workshops will result in recording the music in  every tribe and making a CD that can be used both to reach their own people and share with others around the world. 


We desire to see the older generation inspiring hope in the younger generation through their words and testimonies, showing them the way of living as indigenous people in a rapidly changing world. That it will not be our words but straight from their own people whom have found a way of living in this generation. Their stories will be filmed in order to produce a DVD available to distribute in the communities where we minister. 


We are taking in the aspect of photography to capture the culture and lifestyle of the indigenous people in a real way for the outside world to see it. This will be used on our website and to make a book publication combining their photos and their stories from the documentary in order to distribute into other parts of the world. We dream of their voices being heard and understood for who they truly are today throughout the world! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

God's Unexpected Changes

My team is in Kona, Hawaii now were they will be putting together the publication to raise awareness for the injustices around the world that we have seen, experienced, and studied over the last nine months. I was planning on meeting them there after our summer break but God seemed to have a different plan for me! As I said before God really pulled me aside and was speaking to me so much while we were in Costa Rica. During those quit times the two weeks before we all left for outreach God started showing me why He put me on this school, which was to see God, myself, and the world in a completely new way. Then He started speaking to me that i had come to that place of seeing those things happen and He was releasing me from the school to move on to something else He would reveal to me in His time. I realized it was harder for me to leave my team then to stay with them because I was comfortable with them and had the next year of my life planned out. Yet I knew that if I could walk by faith in everything else in my life, I could trust Him in this too even though I was scared to death to do it. I knew He would give me the strength to leave my team and move on o whatever He had for me next. 

While I was on outreach in Panama City, Panama, the base administer started talking to me about coming and putting together a publication about the indigenous people. At first I completely wrote the idea off and thought he was crazy because I didn't have experience in something like that. However, the week after outreach I knew that was the unexpected door God was telling me He was going to open to me that I wouldn't have been able to open myself or think to open. So, I am heading home for about a month to rest, prepare, and wait on God. Then the first of August I'm heading down to Panama to work with a team on a publication about the indigenous people. There are so many things in life that these people need their voices to be heard over, so we are setting up a team to work in the six major villages that are in Panama to understand the culture, hear the stories, and capture their lives with photography and film. We are planning on spending 2-4 months gathering everything and putting it all together, along with praying that God provides all the money, equipment, and people to put this project together! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Panama Outreach

After the first two weeks of lectures in Costa Rica we all went on outreach to wherever we felt like we were supposed to go. There were four of us that really felt called to go to Panama City to work with the YWAM base there! We spent 7 days traveling, working on the base, and living in one of the villages with the indigenous people. 

The YWAM base in Panama work very closely with the indigenous people and are well established with them. They have started a boarding school at the base for 12- 18 year old kids from the villages. One of the reasons they started to school was to get the girls out of the villages because once they get their menstrual cycle a lot of them get raped. When they become pregnant they are the wife to the baby's father, which means these girls are getting pregnant and married at the age of 12-13 years old. The base is trying to pull them out of there before that happens so they can not only teach them text books and the Word of God but basic life logic skill!

My team of four, plus an old friend from high school, spent 3 days living with the Embera Puru people in the San Juan village getting to see and understand their lifestyles, how they make a living, and tons of other things. They live on the banks of the Pequeni river and are made up of roughly 20 families. They make their living hosting groups of tourists who come to experience the Embera culture, along with striving in many ways to maintain their culture. Even though they are being connected more and more with the technology and the modern world. While the older generation is largely illiterate, the younger generation is now starting to go to university. 

It was an amazing time to just get to see the life of these people. We played in the river with the kids, ate in the huts with the women and babies, and worked with the men. Being there in the villages with the people pressed on my heart even more that I want to be doing this exact kind of stuff in Africa one day! Getting to live with the people in villages/jungles to really capture their lives with my photography and then being able to show the world who they really are and how they really live.

[Scott, Christina, David, Greg, me, Seyoung, & Maribel]

Making Plantain

Doing Landuary in the River

Jewelry the women make to sell to the tourists out of seed from the fruit or coconuts

After that we went back to Panama City where we worked with the 6th grades (12-13 year olds) at the boarding school on the base. We had a time of just sitting and asking questions back and forth so we could understand their culture more, how they feel about the boarding school, and much more. The next day we played games with them and then shared testimonies and teachings with them. We also got to see Panama City while we were there and explored the old and new parts of it and the Panama Canal. It was definitely the best outreach I have had and something that really impacted me. 

Bridge of Americas & the Panama Canal