I cannot believe that week 10 is already finished. It’s official, we leave for Africa in less than 2 weeks. It’s a weird place to be feeling like something is coming to an end (and it is) while still having over 2 months until heading home. Getting so close to all of these people and knowing youre not going to see some of them for two months and then pretty much never again is also extremely bittersweet. It’s hard living in the moment with these lovely humans without the negative sting of knowing the reality of the future. But we’ve made bonds that’ll never be broken and memories that will never be forgotten, and for that I am so beyond grateful. It’s been interesting looking at next steps knowing the period you’re trying to plan for is still a ways away. All I know now is I desire more of God and want to pursue Him deeper and I think YWAM is a great way to do that. But I don’t necessarily know what that entails yet.
This week we talked about spiritual warfare. I was really looking forward to this week and our speakers Patience and Ray did not disappoint. We talked about what spiritual warfare is and how to fight it. It answered so many of my questions from past experiences but also gave me a lot of hope and a sense of power. We talked about how we have both the power and authority against the enemy since Jesus took the keys back when He died. We learned WISE (lol… you’ll see why in a second) ways to fight offensively. “Weapons of warfare” Worship. Intercession. Storehouse of weapons (the Word, the name of Jesus, fasting, the blood of the lamb, and character). Evangelism. (See… WISE…) The most valuable thing I learned this week though was about obedience. It seemed like everything kind of led back to that concept. Listening to and obeying God builds character, listening to and overlying God gives you the answer to which tools or weapons you should be using, being obedient daily in the small things makes it easier to be obedient in the big things. And most Importantly, God will be able to use us for the things He wants to do here on earth if we are obedient to Him. It’s all really cool stuff. And it definitely makes me want to lay down my will and my life the way Jesus did for us. I left this week with a newfound level of preparedness for outreach and also excitement and zest for life. It’s all very exciting.
As amazing as this week was, it also involved a lot of lasts. It was our last photography outing. We went and hiked table mountain with adventure track. It was a great time despite the rain and the cloud cover. We couldn’t see anything but we made it to the top!! So I’m calling that a win!! We went to dinner afterwards all wet and cold but it was a blast. Nothing is better than pizza at the bottom of a mountain in the rain. Adventure met us pretty soon after that and ate their own fries and pizza and all the good stuff. Photography ended up leaving, but in true Lauren fashion I hopped in the trunk of Earl (the suburban adventure was driving) and hid out for about an hour. I was reading this incredible book Andy loaned me called On My Worst Day by John Lynch. It’s basically a collection of stories about the ways God showed up in his life and it’s been incredibly eye opening. I was reading it and I just got this overwhelming sense that God loves me. It finally clicked in my brain. Which is really freaking amazing. The difference in my outlook has been noticeable. I was hoping for a moment where it just sort of finally made sense. Anyways I was able to scare the adventure track to some degree after the put the pizza in the trunk and we drove home singing classic oldies. It’s always those moments driving home and singing where I feel the most present sadness of this time won’t last. I just gotta appreciate life as it happens I suppose.
The advanced school and most of the staff left for a conference in Chico California on Saturday morning. It’s been weird not having them around, especially so close to the end of the school, but it was nice taking a birthday outing to Seattle for the day with just DTS. I feel like we’ve all grown really close over the course of the last 10 weeks and it was fun just hanging out and exploring together. When my car got to the city I realized I had left my camera battery at home (a photographer’s worst nightmare). I did’t have my spare either which was really poor planning on my part, but a few of the really awesome folks here decided to come with me to a camera store about a 30 minute walk from where we parked. It was the most amazing store ever. It took everything in me not to buy a new (used) lens. That didn’t stop me from spending way more than I needed to though. I bought a new cross body camera strap that I’m really excited about and will hopefully be useful on outreach. We met up with the other group by the ferris wheel, explored the market, watched some street performers, ate good food, went in a 7 11, and picniced by the space needle. We had the wildest Chik-fil-a experience ever, ate in a grassy area of a parking lot, and ended the day driving back home listening to the most out there playlist titled “Cows Have Guns” and I loved every second of it. I am seriously so grateful for this community. I seriosuly wouldn’t be who I am without them. It’s so cool to see the impact they’ve had on me in such a short amount of time, and I hope they think the same of me. I just adore everyone here and their hunger and desire to pursue each other and pursue Jesus. It’s the most beautiful thing. And Sunday was another beautiful example of that. We played cards and then went out to dinner for Eva’s birthday at this Italian place in Bellingham. It was delicious. We then went out for ice cream courtesy of Eva’s parents (I can’t wait to meet them). I got to laugh with my friends, pet and get kisses from a cute dog, and I got to talk to and buy cheesecake icecream for a man name Snowflake with some really sick face tattoos. We ended the night singing throwbacks in my car on the ride home. And it just makes my heart soar thinking about it. The people here are like no other. I’ll never forget any of them and the memories we made in those in between moments. It just brings me so much joy.
As this sort of season comes to a close I’m both really sad but excited for the future. I know this won’t be the last time I see a lot of these people. And that is incredibly encouraging. I can’t wait to go abroad and do ministry and serve with these brothers and sisters in Christ, and I can’t wait to hear the stories from the other team when we get back.
Until next time,