Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Under Construction...

So we're here in Southeast Asia but barely have enough time to read our Bibles much less fix our blog. As you may be disappointed in the picture selection, you'll get more when we get time... and internet connection, sorry for the inconvenience. As for emailing or calling??? We have to pay by the hour and we'll try to get to as many of you as we possibly can, besides most of you are 12 hours behind us. Talk to ya soon!

We made it!

We’re all here! By the grace of God and the prayers and support of all of our friends and family, everyone is finally here! After 5 flights, 6 airports, and 36 hours of travel, we all arrived in Davao Philippines on Friday, April, 20th. It has been a long journey but we’re all finally here…for most of us it is our first time in Asia, for all of us it is our first time in the Philippines, for five of our team it was the first time flying, and for Amanda it was her first time to lose her birthday into the black hole of traveling through time zones.
We were all extremely tired but also very excited! Friday through Sunday, we stayed in a house on the property of YWAM Davao. There we met the Director of YWAM Philippines who shared his passions about God’s heart for this nation. During the weekend, we also attended a cultural orientation, a baby dedication feast, exchanged currency into Pisos, performed a “mini” night-surgery on an injured base dog and tried to squeeze in some time to recover from jet-lag. On Sunday morning, our team split into two groups. Each group ministered at a local Filipino church. Our team of seven attended a very enthusiastic and youthful congregation. It was such a blessing to experience a new culture worshipping God in their own unique way. We worshipped with them and we were also given the opportunity to be involved by praying with the people, performing a drama, giving a testimony, and Jason preached a beautiful message from Mark 5:25-34 about God’s deep love for us and His desire for us to not only be cured physically through medicine but also to be healed spiritually, psychologically and relationally through His love and community during times of suffering.
It’s been a whirlwind of three days but we’re loving it here! Monday through Thursday, we are attending the 35th national conference of YWAM Philippines. We are here for three and a half days to celebrate the Filipino culture and learn about it’s needs. , the president of the Philippines, will speak to us tomorrow about her nation and God’s heart for these people. On Thursday we will leave Davao and move into a nearby slum to begin living with and working with the people within it’s borders.
Please pray for us as we move forward…


It was sweltering hot, we had to find our way on jungle trails, ration our food, break camp at all hours of the day, run past bullet ants, eat sardines and beans for lunch and much, much more. If it sounds terrible… it wasn’t. We loved it! Jason and I were split up into two different groups. Each group traveled separately through the jungle of Talamanca, Costa Rica. I’m sorry to say most of our adventures have to be kept a secret to preserve the mysteries of Niko for future participants. However, we can say that it was an incredible time of working as a team and developing an appreciation for the survival techniques and limited resources of other cultures. We all re-united in the end, smelly, dirty and tired but very appreciative of each other, our cultures’ comforts and especially soap!

Week 12

Douglas Huston, the base director from Honduras, taught this final week of the lecture phase. The subject was specifically on “Missions” however, he also taught us “Worship” is the fuel and goal of missions. In the beginning of time (Genesis Ch 11) God set aside the Nation of Israel to be blessed in order to bless all the nations. This is what we call “The Great Commission” to preach the good news of hope and grace to the entire world. There are approximately 6 billion people in the world, of those, 4 billion people have heard the Gospel but sadly enough, one half choose not to accept it. With these numbers we can see that about 2 billion people have never had access to the word of God. So this proves that not only do we need to reach the un-reached but also the nominal Christians as well (those without a daily walk or the ones that show up to church just on Easter, etc.). Just as a few examples, to demonstrate how missionaries are dispersed in all the different nations. There are approximately 3 missionaries per 1 million Muslims in the world, 5 per million Hindu, 5.5 per million Buddhist, 7 per million Chinese, 52 per million tribal members, 69 per 1 million Jews, and on and on. These really show the need of every nation. The key is to meet people in their land, on their terms, and celebrate diversity by worshiping in their own unique way. The biggest task is to realize that the message and meaning is what matters not the vessel or form. Each nation and tribe has it’s own unique flavor of worship. The exciting passion is for every nation to worship our Father God in their unique style and not just the “western” way. We need to step out of our box and see the world for what it is. God has created diversity and creativity among us. Let’s celebrate these things together! We are still learning to live as Jesus in Phil 2:5-8 to humble ourselves as servants to the nations so continue to pray for us because we have another month and a half to go in Southeast Asia.

Friday, April 6, 2007


We're signing out for a while to trek in the jungle with the rest of our don't worry if you don't hear from us until the end of next week. We'll be battling the snakes and mosquitoes until then. Pray we make it! ...Mom, Dad, we were just kidding about that last comment...we'll be fine! HAVE A HAPPY EASTER!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Week 11

Week 11 was taught by the YWAM Director of Panama, Richard Tracy. The topic was “Relationships”. If you think about it, all the problems in the world are all some how relational in origin. The main reason is due to our self-idolatry (selfishness). It’s so hard to wrap a whole weeks learning into a couple paragraphs so if you have any questions please email us. Humility is one of the key words to use when talking about loving someone. This word kind of has a bad wrap for being week and meek. Humility consists of so many different characteristics. Servant, brokenness, encouragement, Speaking the truth in love, giving up our rights, do nothing out of selfish ambition, seek justice by defending the weak/poor, admit our weakness and wrong-doing, gentleness, seeing ourselves through the eyes of others, receiving forgiveness, and forgiveness is not an option. All of these terms seem impossible to possess at once in any given situation/relationship but just remember God created and retains all of these with us.

We focused primarily on guy/girl relationships and how God intended them to be. He created women out of a man; this clearly says that we are made for the purpose of being together. Too often do we look to the world for what sexuality should be. What we also do that is not what He created us for, thinking that looking good is bad. Guys… it’s not the girls fault that you stumble/lust, it is what lies inside your thoughts. Just as I have said many times, God created beautiful mountains to look at as well as women. It’s what we decide to do about those feelings we get (either admire the beauty that came from God or dwell on what can satisfy our needs). Remember “nothing I am physically or emotionally cause me to violate God’s truth.” God also created attraction. We discussed the differences in infatuation vs. love. Richard said that one of the great ways to overcome unhealthy views of the other sex is to imagine them though God’s eyes, admiring their inner beauty of knowledge, wittiness, humor, etc. Two new terms we learned were lasciviousness-excess of and concupiscence-preoccupation of the opposite sex. He even touched on fornication, adultery, sensuality, and defrauding of the other sex. At the end Mr. Tracy gave pointers on how to fix past broken relationships.

Very briefly, on a side note, he touched on “Spiritual Warfare”. We were created for battle and there are 5 main tactics to use/express when we feel under pressure of satan. 1. In the name of Jesus 2. The word of God (Bible) 3. The power of the Holy Spirit 4. The blood of Jesus and 5. Testimony

Week 10

Week 10’s lecture was on “Passion for God and The Heart of our Father”. These classes were taught by Jeff Pratt, a Connecticut native YWAMer. Throughout the week we studied (of course) our God the Father’s heart, His Passion for us, and how we can obtain a passion for Him. It is extremely important to know His love for us is unconditional. “There is only one being that can satisfy the aching abyss of the human heart.” C.S. Lewis. The best thing is that He is the only thing that can fill the void and even the times we don’t feel like worshiping, He’s still right there with us through it all. In 2 Timothy 2:13 it says “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful”. Never leaving or forsaking us is not a concept that we readily accept. More and more there seem to be broken homes, bad school experiences, and even hatred from the church that scar our hearts for life. Forgiveness isn’t the choice not to hurt and doesn’t necessarily mean you have to trust the wrong doer again. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”. 1 Peter 5:7 Ok through inner healing most of us confess what is ailing us and have repented taking responsibility for our actions but what most have trouble with is receiving from God all of your needs. We must not dwell in self-pity because this continues to look at our own needs and remaining the victim robs the love of God. All these were wrapped up with time of prayer for each other willingness to open up with one another in needs.