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We are excited and are praying for the DTS starting on 9 March 2019. We pray for the students who come, to experience God and encounter His Father heart and love for them. We pray for healing and restoration over the students that come for the DTS. We pray for transformation over their lives and that they will be inspired to seek God with their whole hearts and follow after His heart for the rest of their lives. We pray that God will speak to students to also go and reach out and share His love to others. Will you join us in prayer?
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Up until 6 months ago I had no idea what YWAM was, let alone what it meant to be a 'ywamer'. I was leaving for South East Asia in a few days, beginning my year long sebatical, when my mum suggested I send an email to the base in Rarotonga. I was headed to New Zealand after Asia and thought, 'what the heck, it's close and I love the island'. I sent an email, threw together my application package, and left it in His hands.
While I was in Cambodia I got the news: I was accepted. As I began to research the organization I grew apprehensive about what I was walking in to. Questions popped up. What would the leadership be like? What was expected of me? Will they accept me for who I am? Let me explain that I am generally a very anxious person. I made the decision to take a year off my well paying, secure, safe job to travel the world and see what I could find. Throwing caution to the wind I left my cat with my parents and set out. It was not an easy transition. I was worried about a myriad of things that I needed to deal with when I got home, and they haunted my thoughts the moment I left canada. I would wake up in a panic, worried about how I would find a new place to live and what my options were for returning to work. Always, in the back of my mind, I was thinking about the chaos I had waiting for me when I got back.
The day I turned up at the Rarotonga airport, and found myself wrapped in a warm embrace from Kate, is something I'll never forget. She picked me up from the airport and drove me back to the base, inviting me for dinner with her family. It took a few days but I started to notice something was changing. Something was missing. It felt like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was at peace here in Rarotonga, on the base of YWAM. I was so struck by this feeling of peace and calm; my mind not constantly racing with the demands of the future. It wasn't that I didn't think about what needed to be done, it was that I knew it would be ok and that God had a plan for my life. It's something that I will take with me and remember when I feel weighed down and anxious about things to come. I have been blessed with 3 months here in Rarotonga, and have been shown the grace of God.
#ywamcooks #missionbuilder #myamazingtime
The New Year has been meaningful to all of us here at the base. As we gather to share our stories and reflect with one another, the same theme emerges, being thankful for what God has done in our lives in 2015.
Pressing forward into 2016 without forgetting to take with us all that God has done for us in the previous year. We are reminded of His faithfulness in our lives. In the time of the first Passover, God demonstrated His faithfulness by sparing the lives of the Israelites in Egypt. The Israelites were instructed by God to remind every generation after them of what He had done. Similarly we believe by always remembering all that God has done faithfully for us, we can step into 2016 with an established faith that in everything we are able to trust God.
In 2016 we pray that you will remember His goodness in 2015, share that with your loved ones and be thankful in everything!
Mangaia, Cook Islands
Here we are again at the time of the year when we celebrate giving with joy. I would like to wish all our friends, family and supporters "A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS!". We have plenty to be thankful for this season, I like to thank my wife Kate, our base staff Matt and Jess for being such a blessing.
My hope this season as we draw to a close this year is for all of us the REMEMBER JESUS, without Him there is no Christmas, He is the reason for the season. Remember Him in everything that you do.
I am grateful for the people who have volunteered their time on the base during this time, a special thank you to Carly Koeppen and Jina Brunke. You two are amazing!
A special Thank You to all the people involved in our Kids Camp, Children Ministry, Coffee N God, Prison Ministry and The Ark. To all the people who have come and gone the entire year, we loved having each one of you. We also like to thank the various organisations, churches, board of trustees and our supporters all around the world. Thank you all for your time, prayers and financial support.
We will be taking time off to celebrate the season and we will be back next year. We pray that this season will bring you joy. Love one another and be merry from all of us here at YWAM Cook Islands.
#ywamcooks #christmasmessage #rememberjesus
Walking through the gates of the prison on a weekly basis to meet the men has become a favoured routine of mine. Every week I see different men whom for one reason or the other have made choices that has led them into this stark and dark place, yet the island's prison stands in contrast to it's surroundings, a sad square block set within fences and almost framed by a backdrop of luscious rain forest and cloud covered jagged peaks. I remember thinking to myself, "what a beautiful place to be locked up in?". Therein lies the irony, somewhat familiar if I recall a past life that I once threaded, looks can be deceiving.
Most of these men are more than just in prison in the physical, they are imprisoned in their hearts. A sense of grief fills my heart when I witness the hopelessness and the lost that these men feel. The stories are varied but carry a similar theme, innocence lost, rejection, abandonment, identity crisis and abuse. They are a fatherless generation, searching for something that they feel that they have lost, they search in the wrong places, they want acceptance and a sense of belonging. They lacked the male role models who could've guided them to safety in their younger years, several of the men are repeat offenders and by conversations with them I gathered they feel like they have a family in prison. "If only they knew that they have a family in the kingdom of God" I often think, while listening to their stories. As I learn more about them and start building a relationship, I see God working in them miraculously. Jesus is truly the answer and the way to Jesus is by us living a life that He exemplified, this is what I have learned by being with these men. They will not believe unless they see, they do not care for lip service.
In the Cooks being a Christian nation, these men are bombarded every day with messages of God and Jesus, most of them grew up in the church. They have experienced those who say they are followers of Jesus Christ, who sadly abused them, judged them or condemned them. The lives of these followers did not witness Jesus Christ to them. So they become jaded and bitter at those around them. This is the reality we have to contend with. Yet there is Victory, time after time we have witnessed men giving or recommitting their lives to Jesus Christ. I am encouraged every time another brother comes to know His Lord and Saviour, what a privilege it is to witness God at work. Jesus has not condemned them and He has not forsaken them. Their bodies might be behind bars but for the first time in their lives they are free, free indeed. We continue to work with them helping them break out of the prison within their hearts, it is a daily walk.
These men have taught me great things, every time I see them I am challenged in my own walk with God. At times I am convicted, most times I am uplifted seeing the progress that the men make in their daily walk and in the questions that they ask. We carefully guide them back to the source, our Father in Heaven. A recent event where a young man in prison gave his heart to Jesus Christ, when a familiar verse was quoted, it made me take a second look at the verse, a closer look, it says "For God So Loved"....'so loved' what did that mean?...it meant a great deal for that young man knowing that he was 'so loved', as I read the verse out, something inside me made me repeat that portion to the man before attempting to read the rest of the verse, but before I had a chance, this young man, eyes filled with tears, spoke out the rest of that verse perfectly with a conviction so strong that it moved me to tears. Right there and then he gave his life to Christ.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16
You do not need to be in prison to be imprisoned. Many are wandering free while being in hellish prisons in their heart, I know because I was once one of them, as were countless others and we were set free by the grace of God. Jesus staged a prison break for me! He is able to do that for you too. If you are reading this and if you sense in your heart that you are in prison and want Jesus to set you free, you can say this simple prayer and seek believers in your family, friends or a nearby church to help you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour.
"Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the past-I'm sorry. I want to live to honour you from now on. You are my Lord. I place you first in my heart and ask that you help me to love you and love others as you command"
Staff - Prison & Men's Ministry
#ywamcooks #prisonministry #prisonbreak