Houston, we have cleared the “lecture phase” preparation and are now headed for the launch pad.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to what YWAMers love to call “transition week.”
Transition week is a magical time where leadership ever so slowly and gently encourages YWAMers to look back on their lecture phase experience, take a long time to process and consider what they have learned, perhaps take a few days off to relax and recuperate and regain from energy after a grueling lecture phase, and then begin to pack a few things in preparation for outreach, which is completely scheduled and perfectly prepared for.
Transition week goes something a little more like this:
Evaluations, commissioning (Did I mention Loren and Darlene Cunningham personally prayed for and sent out all the outreach groups on base? So cool!), gifts, packing, meetings, phone calls, cleaning, photocopying, shopping, planning, more packing, e-mails, Skype calls, more meetings, hunting down lost items, writing notes, work duty, and maybe even a little sleep in there.
Dani and I with “Mr. YWAM” himself, Loren Cunningham, earlier this week. He and his wife, Darlene, were founders of the organization more than 50 years ago, and both still plays an active role. Such inspiring and wonderful people!
It’s been busy.
Honestly, I usually like busy.
But since Saturday, this has been a four-day week of a never-ending “to-do” list, and it’s only finally reaching completion.
Our weekend set the tone for the next few days, with our last two days of work duty in the kitchen!
Serving up muffins to a hungry crowd early Saturday morning.
Us Medical DTS’ers worked with Heartbridge Performing Arts DTS members, and they were such awesome teammates and crew members! We learned so much from them and were so blessed to get to know them!
Heartbridge had an even busier week than we did, with a full theatrical performance on Monday evening before they head out for outreach to New Zealand and Korea on Thursday! Their performance was fantastic!! So much talent and heart in this group.
If you happen to be in one of those nations in the next few months, check them out! :)
Our work duty crew, minus one who happened to be feeling ill. LOVE these fine people!
I also got the chance to celebrate the end of lecture phase with my beautiful roommates!
All 8 of us have lived in a space about 35 feet by 15 feet for the past three months. And when you’re that cozy in quarters, you start to really get to know each other.
Knowing each other’s likes and dislikes, each other’s silly habits and sleeping patterns and snack preferences.
You also get to know what annoys them, and what about them annoys you, and sometimes it ends in disaster.
But I was incredibly blessed to live with 7 women who have been full of grace, slow to anger, and abounding in love.
They have been my sounding board when I need to vent, my prayer warriors when I need help, my professional huggers when I just want to cry, and my co-conspirators in laughter.
I love them so much, and am so thrilled that I get to be on outreach with three of them!
Roommate finale dinner at Huggo’s On The Rocks, a little restaurant with an ocean view.
My girl Jenny and I celebrating with a Pina Colada (yes, Mom, it’s non-alcoholic), sand between our toes, and ocean breeze in our hair.
Today I also said goodbye to a wonderful woman who has become not only a mentor but also a dear friend.
Ruth-Ann was my “one on one,” a staff member who became my sort-of mentor during lecture phase, encouraging me and challenging me when I needed it. We laughed, we cried, we discussed deep things, and we baked a lot of cookies.
I’ll miss her conversations, her wisdom, and her heart a lot, but I’m so glad she’s praying for us as we head out!
Ruth Ann and I just outside our classroom, next to the preschool on campus.
And now that goodbyes have been said and my Osprey pack lays waiting for me, all packed and tightened up and ready to travel, it’s time.
My team leaves tomorrow, and there’s still so much left to do.
But then I remember… WE LEAVE TOMORROW!!
And then I start to get excited.
Cambodia, here we come!
Tomorrow after some final packing, cleaning, and turning in our keys, we’ll hop in the YWAM vans and head for the airport to catch a red-eye flight and a couple connections to Phnom Penh.
We’re expecting to arrive local time Friday morning, and from there we’ll meet YWAM contacts in the area, and get oriented to the culture and the nation. After a few days of museums and tours and picking up a few things, we’ll head to the northeastern city of Ratanakiri, where we’ll meet up with some locals and begin our work.
During our time in Ratanakiri, surrounding villages, and then back to the city of Phnom Penh and surrounding area, we expect to be doing a lot of health education, children’s ministry, health clinics, community outreach, and encouraging local churches and communities of believers.
It looks like it’ll be a busy schedule, but I think our team is up for the challenge.
There’s 12 students and 1 leader, broken down into:
10 women and 3 men.
2 married couples.
1 pharmacist, 1 doctor, 5 nurses, 1 occupational therapist, 1 teacher in counseling, 1 pre-med student, 1 navy medic, 1 oilfield worker, and 1 artist.
We have a diverse and energetic team, and as we get to know each other, we’re becoming closer and closer.
I love these people, and I can’t wait to see us all in action together, and how God works in us and through us in Cambodia!
We hope to be sending home weekly updates to keep you all posted on the happenings, but in the meantime and as we travel, we would love to have your support in encouragement and in prayer.
Some things we would love to have you join in praying for include:
1. Safe travels. With 13 adults, passports from 6 different nations, 14 different bags, 3 connections, 17 time zones, and over 18 hours of travelling, we will be one tired bunch. Please pray for our travels to be safe and for us to get adequate rest, and that we make all of our connections on time!
2. Prepared hearts. Please pray that we would have energy and enthusiasm for the trip, for compassion and love for the people of Cambodia, for peace and joy as we are faced with many obstacles and potential discomforts. Pray that we open our hearts to where and who God is leading us to, and that we would have willing hearts for what is to come.
3. Team unity. We want to be a team who loves God and loves each other first and foremost. It’ll be a tough couple of months, so pray with us that we would face challenges with positive, forgiving, humble attitudes, that our team might become stronger and stronger as time goes on.
4. Logistics and Communication. Cambodia is quite notorious for having communication problems, and knowing how difficult it’s been to plan our outreach, when we’re there it might be tough to schedule and communicate as well. Please pray for schedules to fall into place, for the right contacts to be made, and communication to be clear and effective. Communication is a great prayer point within our team as well, as we have 4 different languages floating around at any given time, with or without translation. Unfortunately, none of those are Khmer, but slowly and surely we’re learning that too. We love multiculturalism :)
5. Cambodia. Please continue to pray for this nation and the beautiful people who live there. Pray with us that their hearts would be softened by the Lord, their broken hearts would be comforted, their wounds would heal, their mourning turned to gladness.
Isaiah 61 is a passage we’ve felt pressed on our hearts for Cambodia, especially the first 3 verses:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
We want to bring joy and love, and be the hands and feet of Jesus in Cambodia.
We definitely cannot do it alone, and I’m so thankful God is with us, going before us and after us, hemming us in on all sides.
For if we are on the Lord’s side, we cannot fail.
Also, Internet will be sketchy in Cambodia. If I don’t post, it’s not that I don’t love you… It’s just that I’m probably hugging a Cambodian child or checking an older lady’s blood pressure. I’d love to read your note a little later, though! Promise I’ll check my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) now and again to see if you’ve written me. ;)
Love you all! Thank you for supporting me on this crazy amazing adventure. Your support and encouragement (yes, YOURS!) means so much to me.
Signing off with Aloha from Hawaii for the last time,
See you on the other side. ;)