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News from YWAM Suncoast sBS
So to start this off I just want to always express my heart of gratitude towards the time invested that you guys have put in to follow what I am doing and support. So, thank you all so much. These last three months have been absolutely amazing. I have been able to be challenged in so many areas, some being, teaching, coaching/grading students, studying, and always communal living! When I got to the Aus I had about a week before I had to start preparing for my teaching. In that, I was able to connect with students and get to know this year’s class.
After that I had 5 weeks to prep before I was to teach on the book of Ecclesiastes. Wow, what a time that was. I learned so much, but the golden nuggets that I was always left with were the questions…
“what is our then?” (once I do this…THEN I’ll be happy)
“why are we so easily unsatisfied with what God is doing now?”
I taught through the themes of “vanity” and “life under the sun” in my teaching to help the students get more of a grasp of what the potential author was trying to say out of this wisdom literature book. It was amazing to identify in my own life what some of those “then I’ll be happy” expectations were.
March was an incredible time, but wow, so much unexpected situations came up. Usually I have a grasp on that due to March being the busy week in our family because we have almost everyone’s birthday. But this month was jam packed with surprises. The things I was preparing for were, my teaching, my girlfriend’s birthday, my birthday, a potential flight to come home (for a friend’s wedding), and our spring break.
But as we neared the end of March, as most of you know, the virus spread quickly. Unfortunately, with those circumstances, and the prayerful decision from our leadership team, we had to shut down the school and send all of our students’ home. Staff had the option to stay but was encouraged to get home and work from there. For a bit, we were determined to ride it out there in Aus, but as uncertainty grew about VISA’s, medical insurance and the American economy and our supporters, we agreed the wise thing to do would be to shut down until fall. Due to the school closing down, we are now having to basically invent an online course to allow the students to finish from home.
(Praise the Lord)
With that all being said. I have arrived back home and my time in Aus has been cut short for now. We are all so blessed to be home and even more so because we can still continue everything we were doing in Aus right here where we are. I will still be coaching and grading students through FaceTime and will be helping out the school in any possible way that I can from home. One thing that really stuck with me that I thought was incredible, was a word that our base leader got from God. He said that the Lord, in this time, was calling us all home to our home nations, to reach our literal neighbor. WOW. What an amazing opportunity for us.
- for all the students to make it home safely
- for them to be encouraged, strengthened, and motivated to work from home
- for me while I’m home to be able to sow into my community and build/strengthen my relationships
- for the school to be fully funded in costs to maintain our property in this time
Thank you all again. I love you and will hope to see/chat with you soon.
(After the virus of course)
If you’d like to contact me
I'm writing with a heavy heart to update you on changes that have taken place three days ago.
Our leaders had to make the tough decision to immediately send all of our students’ home. Australia has started putting in stricter regulations as things start to progress. The number of people allowed to gather is shrinking, the ability to feed over 60 people is getting harder, international flights from Australia are close to being cut off, and ultimately, it’s impossible to quarantine our students properly.
This means that over the next few days everyone has been packing all their belongings, saying goodbye to deep friendships and will suddenly be back at home.
Despite all the disappointment, confusion and sadness, the atmosphere of our house has been one of worship & peace! God is doing small miracles in our lives and we’ve experienced the power of choosing trust!
Some Good News
We are in the process of setting SBS up online, so our students can still finish the school, studying the prophets & completing the whole Bible! This is such an incredible opportunity for their family & friends to see firsthand what they’ve been doing and be able to learn God's heart alongside them!
How this has affected me personally:
I had the option to stay or go home since I'm staff on a two-year visa. This was a very difficult decision for me because I felt like I just got here & am now fully settled in. Also, it is a lot safer here then home currently.
At first, I wanted to stay BUT then God stirred my heart to go home.
Ever since I stepped into missions, I've always been faced with leaving & laying down family to obey what God was calling me to do. BUT NOW God is giving me an opportunity to choose family first in this time & it's really incredible!
A lot has happened though since that decision. At first, I couldn't get a flight, but then finally got one (triple the normal price). Charlie also decided to go home and found a flight for the next morning ... so we quickly packed him up, then attended a dress-up dinner to send the students off well. 5am came quick & before I knew it, we were saying goodbye at the airport, not knowing for how long. After, I was left in shock with how much happened in One Single Day. Every day following has been full of ups & downs, from student's flights getting suddenly canceled to experiencing God's crazy favor and peace.
Through it all, God has embraced me with His presence and I am overwhelmed by a strong sense of security, knowing He is in control. I continue to trust Him & believe that He is doing such a deep work in this time!
What the near future holds:
It is going to take a lot of creative, eager minds to make it possible for the students to continue online. As staff, we will still do everything we’ve already been doing, and study different books to help the students as much as possible. Our heart is to provide the support they need to finish the school strong. Our locations may have changed, but our commitment still remains. I'm so expectant for what's in store and know that God works all things for good!
How you can be praying:
- Wisdom & Strength for the leaders as they navigate these next few months
- Safety & favor over all of us traveling home, that we stay healthy, have no stress, and no flight cancellations
- Complete comfort over all of our hearts as we process this huge change
- Peace, strength, & encouragement for Charlie & I
- Pray that hearts will be softened with gratitude all across the world
- That there is a QUICK end to the virus
- As we are in quarantine, my prayer is that laziness would not have a hold, but that we would seek God & go to His Word and be encountered by it
*In the midst of all this, God gave Celeese a little treasure on the way home. She had to fly back herself, which is never the easiest way to travel, especially under these conditions. But it ends up a young girl from a different YWAM Base on the Goldcoast was on her flight and had the same 24 hr layover at LAX as she did AND was also headed to Toronto, Canada where Celeese was heading. Can you believe God is so kind? The two became fast friends, even getting a hotel room to get some sleep. In the chaos, God is always providing. What a beautiful testament of his love for us.
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