Much has happened since the last time I wrote, and I'm so excited to share with you all! I want to begin by sharing a song I've been listening to quite a bit in the last few weeks, and I invite you to listen to it before you continue reading.
A couple weeks ago, the lecture topic was the father heart of God. This was presented in such a practical way, unlike anything I've experienced before. Our speaker spent a lot of time praying for each of us students individually. Our speaker's name was Peni Patu, and he has a gift of prophecy. When he prayed for us, he received a word and a scripture for each of us. Then, during class throughout the week, he had each person come to the front and read both their scripture and their word which was typed out in letter form. This revealed more to me about God's father heart than sitting through lecture would have, although that would be beneficial as well. When it came my turn, it was incredible. The words he gave me were some that somebody else had gotten for me in the first week we were here. After the time I've spent here, I've gotten on such a more personal level with God than I knew was possible, and I desire for it to keep going deeper and deeper. Peni made a good point on a somewhat different note that I want to share. When you go to the store and pay for something, it becomes yours, yes? You now own it. Jesus came to this earth and paid a price for us, we are His.
Last week was freedom week, what an exciting week that was! It was all about repentance, restitution, and forgiveness. These are some very challenging things to talk about, and most of us, myself included, felt much conviction during that week. A verse that encouraged me through the week was Galatians 5:1 which says "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage". Freedom does not fully come without repentance, and repentance does not happen without faith. I heard an excellent definition of faith; faith is believing/living truth about God, self, and others. The opposite of this is unbelief which can be defined as believing/living lies about God, self, and others. So ultimately, believing lies about yourself is essentially unbelief in God. This could include things like not believing you are beautiful in God's eyes, or believing you don't deserve to live, and the list continues. This is heavy, yes, but it spoke a great deal to me. At the end of the week, we were given an opportunity to pray out in front of our class to repent (1 John 1:9) and to forgive. When I first thought about it, I was thinking I could confess and repent of some things, but there wasn't anybody to forgive. I feel like I generally forgive easily, but God showed me a couple areas where I had not forgiven and how that was becoming a hindrance in my walk with Him. These were things that were so deeply buried that I didn't realize they were even there most of the time. One person I finally forgave was my biological father. I didn't realize how much anger I've been carrying around with me for so many years until God pointed it out to me. I don't remember most of my early childhood because of the trauma he caused (although there were many, many good times with my mom, and at age 8 I got a great dad!). I made a choice to forgive, and I almost immediately felt an overwhelming joy and huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. Forgiveness is a choice, and it can be a very hard decision but so worth it. I also confessed sins I've been walking in and am feeling the freedom from that as well. Doing these things just makes it easier to get closer and closer to God and build a relationship with Him.
Once every week, our class spends two hours together in the prayer room intercessing for different justice issues around the world. A couple weeks ago, our topic of prayer was human trafficking. I've always felt something on this issue, a sort of hurt for the people victimized in this, but I wanted to know God's heart for it. As soon as I asked Him to show me, he answered in the form of uncontrollable weeping. Now, I'm not much of a cryer, so I know this was God. I didn't stop for almost the entire two hours. I felt so much pain and love for the victims of trafficking, and I now feel so much closer to this issue. Also, on that day we prayed specifically for Hawaii as it is one of four states in the US with no anti-trafficking laws. We prayed for government officials to be softened toward the issue and for bills to go through. That afternoon at about the same time we were in the prayer room together, the first anti-trafficking bill went through and now only needs the governor's signature. God answers prayer!
I am so excited about our outreach! I can't wait to get to Cambodia! Our team had a team retreat this past weekend. We stayed in cabins at Kalopa State Park, and we spent time hanging out as family, sharing testimonies, and getting pumped for Cambodia. While we are there, we'll be staying at a YWAM base in Battambang. If you want to check it out, this is their website http://www.uofnbattambang.com/ .We have several ideas already of what we can do while there. Each of us will most likely be involved in teaching something. This could include teaching English, photography, dance, sports, music, art, etc.... We've also discussed possibly going out to remote villages to share the love of Jesus, helping a local cafe ministry, showing love to prostitutes, and so on. We have an extensive list of opportunities.
|Cambodia team at the cabin|
I am also still excited about my local outreach at the homeless shelter while here in Kona. Last week, we prepared desserts and I put together a bible study for anyone interested. Only one lady participated in my bible study, but it was awesome. I got to share my testimony and hear hers. We prayed for each other, and it was very encouraging, I think to both of us. Two weeks ago we had a sort of spa night. We did haircuts, manicures, and facial masks. It was a lot of fun.
|Kat and April give manicures|
I have definitely been gaining knowledge on photography, and it is fun putting it into practice. I'm excited to continue learning! Here are some of my favorite shots over the past few weeks:
|Rainbow Falls, Hilo|
|Rainbow Falls, Hilo|
|sunset from the back of a truck|
|Top of Rainbow Falls|
|Kolopa State Park|
I am praying for a new lens, feel free to join me in prayer for this. Other things on my prayer request list are a continued hunger for all God has for me, patience with the people around me, my injured tailbone, and time balance.
Until next time......