Newsletter type of post

IMG_3348

It has been a little while now since we traveled to the west and decided to call Colorado Springs home. Rejoining YWAM has been one of those things you can’t predict how it will go. So far it has been a challenge for us to really settle in and make this place feel like home. We realize we are in for a steep learning curve and when we look back we are already able to see some character growth, with lots more to come.

Here are some announcements!

  • In the month of February we were going to post a blog a day.
  • Our computer cord malfunctioned and we could not use our computer for a week.
  • After we got our new computer cord, we got discouraged and had a beautiful writer’s block.
  • Our “Mission” page is updated, since YWAM updated their system.
  • The renters in our house in NC moved out, so you can pray for wisdom in what to do with our empty house.
  • If you are thinking of doing a counseling school with YWAM (the one I did last spring), now is the time to sign up!
  • Pray for deep connections with people here on the base.
  • Pray for a fresh anointing and vision to see the world from God’s perspective.

This time in YWAM God is going to answer some important questions for us. He is going to take us deeper and pull some stuff in our lives out by the roots. He is going to show us what it means to minister to people and to be alive in Him. We are very excited to share our journey with you and hopefully inspire you in any kind of way.

IMG_3392

A day in photos

On Thursday February the 4th I took a picture every hour of that day. This happened to be one of the busier days.

5:19 starting the day with coffee and God

5:19 starting the day with coffee and God

6:22 How she wakes up that happy, I don't know.

6:22 How she wakes up that happy, I don’t know.

7:23 Start work. Pour overs take for ever!

7:23 Start work. Pourovers take forever!

8:39 My latte art is abstractive

8:39 My latte art is abstract

9:35 Joy came by to pick my phone up.

9:35 Joy came by to pick up my phone

10:42 Ellie at ballet

10:42 Ellie at ballet

11:26 I came home for some lunch, we all got our own individual pen to nibble on.

11:26 I came home for some lunch. (we all got our own individual pen to nibble on)

13:52 every semester staff needs to help with 4 lunch clean up's and 2 lunch prep's. Today I did the disches

13:52 Every semester staff needs to help with 4 lunch clean ups and 2 lunch preps. Today I did the dishes.

14:53 Back to work

14:53 Back to work

15:15 Abstract latte art is a lot harder then the regular kind

15:15 Abstract latte art is a lot harder then the regular kind

16:55 a quick errant at the office

16:55 a quick errand at the Kairos office

17:38 after a quick supper on my way to the broad moor hotel

17:38 After a quick supper, I’m on my way to the Broadmoor

18:20 We were going to turn this ballroom into a gymnastic event.

18:20 We are going to turn this ballroom into a gymnastic event.

19:58 A guy from the base helps every year and he asked me and 2 other guys to help him.

19:58 A guy from the base helps set up every year and he asked me and 2 other guys to help him.

20:30 I work as an volunteer day in day out but this was a payed job, answered prayer

20:30 I work as a volunteer day in and day out, but this job paid: answered prayer!

21:33 The broad moor is an amazing place!

21:33
The Broadmoor is an amazing place!

22:29 Pizza!

22:29 Pizza!

23:45 It was hard work but a lot of fun! Sunday we will break it down again

23:45 It was hard work but a lot of fun! Sunday we will break it down again

12:40 I finally came home and found Ellie wide awake. Its gonna be a long night :)

12:40 I finally came home and found Ellie wide awake. Its gonna be a long night 🙂

 

Stories from Kairos

IMG_3148

It all started when YWAM took over an old hotel and turned it into living quarters for students and YWAM staff. The hotel had a restaurant and a bar. The restaurant kitchen is the domain for two cooking schools– one secular one and a YWAM one.  The coffee shop, Kairos, is where the bar used to be. The coffee shop has been around for a long time. In 2011 it was a booming place, according to a Yelp review: “Not really a place for outsiders to go out of their way to patronize.”
It all changed about a year ago. YWAM asked the B.A.M (Business As Missions) team to take over Kairos and turn it into a profitable business. So they did. They made some renovations  and did some advertising. One thing I hear at least once a day is: “I saw your sign and thought I’d try it out.”  YWAM used to have a big sign out beside the road.  The B.A.M team chopped it in half and added “Kairos Coffee House” on to it. Big hit!
The last two weeks have been interesting for me since I had to run the coffee shop on my own.  One of the mangers got married and the other one was in Thailand for a B.A.M conference. It is always interesting running something you aren’t necessarily familiar with.

IMG_2814
One day a lady came by and ordered 3 drinks. She wanted a macchiato. I know what a macchiato is: two shots of espresso and the same amount of foam, no milk.  She took her drinks to her office across the street.  A little while later she came back and seemed quite upset. She kept asking me what this drink was, as she showed me the cup with the two shots, the foam was pretty much all gone and now the cup was half empty (in my opinion it was half full).  I tried to explain to her what it was, but our opinion about the macchiato was so different that I offered to make a new drink trying to understand what she wanted. She kept repeating that she wanted a Starbucks macchiato. I had no clue what that was. My friend who was sitting at the bar with his son then explained to me what a macchiato was and it all became clear to me that Starbucks is out there to confuse my customers.

It was very slow one day because of an east wind dropping 15 inches of snow. So I told the employees to close at 12:00 and go home. I was trying to dig my car out so I could go to the bank when one of the workers at Kairos called asking if I want to come over to do an interview with the local news. I quickly changed into some snow-free clothes and went over to the coffeeshop. A lady came over and asked some questions while she pointed the camera on me. The deal was that all the other coffeeshops in town were closed and we were the only ones open. So she asked what we did when it was slow. I told her that we make up new drinks and pointed her to our new special: Cinnamon Toast Latte.  We showed her how it is done, she drank the drink, loved it and went off. We closed as soon as she left.
That same day at 5:00 I went to the neighbors and watched it on television AND out the window, as she did part of it live in front of Kairos, talking about how all the businesses are closed except this awesome coffee shop! They showed some footage of earlier and me talking in my lovely accent!
This is the second time I got on TV working at a local business. The last time was at the Mountain View Restaurant in NC and they showed a closeup of my mouth while I (“the grill master”) expedited the food with my “signature whistle.”

I quickly snapped a blurry picture of the reporter

I quickly snapped a blurry picture of the reporter

Here are some quotes I overheard:

Three older ladies sitting at the bar being fascinated by the syphon coffee maker.  All of the sudden one pipes up and says, “Oh no, we’re late! We are supposed to pray and prophesy over people!” And off they went without their drinks.

A lady came to me the other day, asking if it was ok that the people who were sitting upstairs in the coffee shop were praying really loudly.

The Fuller Seminar is in full swing and the students come often to eat breakfast.  After breakfast a lady came by and told me her school leaders gave them the assignment to go out and bless somebody, so she asked if she could pray for me.

Not a day the same!

 

Review: Losing My Religion

Kirk-Franklin-2015

I have always liked music and I listen to a broad selection. I did not have to hide my country CDs in some hidden place in the floor so I was never tempted to listen to country. It might strike you odd, but I do really like black gospel. One of my favorites is Kirk Franklin. He had an album out not too long ago and I decided to buy it and write about it.

His last album, Hello Fear, left a huge impression; that’s why this album, Losing My Religion, had to wait so long– it had to be perfect!
The album starts with a spoken word about how Kirk lost his religion. The message Kirk is trying to convey is that religion masks love and mercy and how it can stand in between God and us, rather than connecting the two.

So your faith never rises above minimum wage
So when it’s time to save the world
You don’t know what to say
To your brother that you love when he tells you he’s gay
Do you push him away?
Judge him down till he leaves?
Give him a gospel he hears or a gospel he sees
Love wrapped in truth is the gospel he needs
There’s room at the cross for everyone, even me

Though his words are rhyming, I wouldn’t call it rap. Really that is what Franklin does best: talking. The album is full of songs where all he does is talk in between the lines or maybe a soulful shout here and there.  It is who Franklin is and it is what he does. Without his talking or shouting the songs wouldn’t be the same. You hear a beautiful verse, like in “True Story.”  It’s catchy, and you hear female vocals sounding like a choir. Kirk comes in and emphasizes certain words and helps you to feel the meaning. Besides, he writes the music and lyrics and plays the piano.
As a matter of fact, Kirk plays the piano since he was 4 years old.  His aunt Gertrude (who raised him) would collect aluminum cans and sell them, so she could pay for his piano lessons. By the age of 12, he led the church choir. In the meantime he is the brain behind 11 albums, several TV shows and his own record label.

The album is split up in three parts.
It starts all very positive with “Miracles,” the first song. It’s a typical Franklin song, very controlled, beautiful instruments and encouraging lyrics. The next two songs “123 Victory” and “Roadtrip” are very upbeat, talking about how God already has a plan for your life no matter how bumpy the road might be. There is freedom if you choose relationship instead of religion.

Then there is a change in lyrics. “It’s Time” (featuring Tasha Page-Lockhart & Zacardi Cortez), “Wanna Be Happy”, and “True Story” all talk about how life isn’t always easy but God is still there in those moments.
“Pray For Me” features Kirk singing with just the piano. It is very calm and quiet till he says: “Let’s pray,” and a group of male vocals start to sing the Lord’s Prayer.  It’s a beautiful crescendo that will give you goosebumps if you are a goosebumps kind of guy or gal.

The last couple of songs are more about prayer and worship and the longing of being in God’s presence. “My World Needs You,” which features Sarah Reeves, Tasha Cobbs and Tamela Mann, is a beautiful song full of harmonies and with it’s 7:16 minute, the longest song on the album.

Losing My Religion has the typical Franklin sound, (lots of female vocals) but with songs like “Pray for Me” and “Intercession”  where Kirk does the main part of the vocals, it adds a little bit more depth because you are actually hearing the words out of his mouth.
In the last song, “No Sleep Tonight,” Kirk is not sending us home without a challenge and that is to change the way we represent Christ and to not go to sleep before the issues are dealt with in a real way: with love and compassion.

New Stuff (by Ellie)

I have been doing some new stuff lately.

1.  I talked into a microphone for the first time.  I said, “I’m named Ellie and I’m 2.”  Then I held up two fingers.  My voice sounded so loud.

IMG_3120

I love living in beautiful Colorado.

2.  Now I’m a ballerina!  I have a tutu and special shoes and I go to ballet lessons every week.  When I’m all done with my class, I get a lollipop or a sticker from my teacher.

IMG_3222

I spotted mommy!

3.  I’m learning to read.  Every day I practice my flashcards and it makes me feel so grown up and important.  My mom says I’m exceptional and I tell my baby doll, “pop,” that she is exceptional too.

4.  We got a lot of snow and we went sledding on a huge hill by the library.  It wasn’t very much fun because it was too cold and windy and people were yelling and shrieking.

IMG_3078

Adam wants to be in my picture.

5.  I got to stay up later than mommy and papa and Adam one night!  My eyes weren’t sleepy and I was just bouncing all over the place, so mommy put on a movie about an orca named Willy and she said I should go to bed when it was done.  That’s what I did.

IMG_3133

I gave my baby doll her first swing ride at the park!

6.  My friend Lilly gave me her play kitchen with lots of dishes and play food and money, and even a blender.  I love it!  If you come over to our room, I will ask you your name and how old you are, then I will make you some chocolate pie and coffee with cream.

I have to go now, because Stella is here for a tea party.

Happiest 10 months

Hi, I am Adam.  I don’t know you but I love you!  You look awesome today!  Let me grab your nose and pat your face and try your glasses on because you are so fascinating!  Smiling’s my favorite!

IMG_3037

Want to watch me run?  I can wave!  I can clap!  I can climb stairs faster than you!  I can roar like a bear and I think you’re funny!

IMG_3015

I love my sister Ellie!  She is my best friend and we do everything together.  She thinks I am her little baby but I don’t mind because I love her so much and she lets me jump on her bed!  The best part is falling off!  You should try it; you would love it!

IMG_3108

My favorite words are “outside” and “stairs.”  I met a puppy at the park and he was bigger than my mom and he licked me!  Do you love puppies?  You look like a puppy!

IMG_3160

Yesterday we went sledding on a big hill!  I love snow!  I love pretty much everything, especially you!  You look miraculous!  Bye, see you next time!

A few thoughts on friendship

A few months ago, back in North Carolina, I was in a little prayer group and I asked them to pray with me that God would give me a friend in Colorado.  I was feeling a little on edge about all that vulnerability and living in a community that is constantly shifting.  I prayed for a friend that would be constant, and someone I could be myself with.
God is answering lots of prayers for us, daily.  Tuesday I prayed for eggs, (just because I forgot to buy them) and Wednesday Ben (his real name) offered us three dozen, just because they had extra.  I didn’t ask for three dozen friends though– just one friend.  And you know, so far I’m not seeing God’s answer.  My friends are far away or moving there.  Today I said goodbye to my best friend in Colorado as she moved to the other side of the world with her little family.  I tried to pray for her and bless her but instead I cried big, ugly selfish tears.
IMG_3154
It’s not always easy stepping into a new world, trying to find your rhythm when the wheels are spinning already.  You don’t have the luxury of running into an old friend at the supermarket.  Sometimes you test a friendship and discover you don’t have much in common after all.  You have to go over the basics of who you are, again and again.  It’s the plunge after the honeymoon phase, if you study culture shock.
Two wonderful things have come from my current lonely season.  First, I have come to value my true friends like never before.  I appreciate the time and vulnerability and the simple plodding of doing life together, bearing one another’s burdens and baring our hearts.  Isn’t friendship the most beautiful gift you can give?  You are offering the most precious thing you have: yourself.
IMG_3126
Second, I have found a friend in Jesus.  I don’t feel like a bother anymore to ask Him about all the little things, because the King is also my Friend.  Sometimes when I listen to my prayers, I think…. Does God get weary of all my vain repetitions, like I think I’ll be heard for my much speaking?  Does He just want a friend too, someone who’s willing to actually be vulnerable with Him?  He is a wonderful listener, for sure, but also a storyteller, a counselor, a mystery solver.  You can ask Him what’s wrong with your car, and He might explain (just like Google).  You can ask Him for creativity in homemaking and discover a beautiful, original solution (just like Pinterest).  You can ask Him about His day and He will tell you what’s on His mind (just like Facebook).  He will even show you little glimpses of His home (just like Instagram). He is a Friend of all Friends, the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

The Circle Maker

IMG_2767

Since me and Joy both are the youngest in our families, we seem to have a hard time with structure and discipline. We often just step in the car and go somewhere, or decide something and then do it. Because we want to better ourselves, we have lists upon lists full of good intentions– but good intentions won’t win the war. January seems a perfect opportunity for us to turn some of those good intentions into good actions.
One of my goals is to read 2 books a month. When I started trying, I realized that I don’t have time for it. My schedule is very irregular and often I have to work at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. The kids wake up before that, so I am occupied all morning and then go off to work and busy, busy, busy. By the time I am reading a book I fall asleep. The first book I tried to read was called The Circle Maker.  Actually, it was called The Circle Maker: Guide for Students.  I e-borrowed it from the library.
This is quite an amazing book and at one point it talks about making sacrifices to improve your prayer life and walk with God and push through in prayer.  I found it very inspiring. I was convicted that I don’t put much effort into trying to get to know God more.  So the next morning I woke up at 5am and decided to go to a place where I would not be interrupted.
This place was Garden of the Gods. I guess I forgot about the sun not being up yet and when I arrived at the parking lot there was a truck with its lights on, just sitting there. For a moment I thought, I should go back home. It was a tiny tad creepy and not to mention freezing cold. Since this whole thing was about pushing through, I got out of the van and started to speed walk toward my favorite rock. I got lost of course, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would say if I ran into somebody (which I didn’t).
I googled when the sun was going to rise. I had 45 minutes to wait. I found my favorite spot on top of  one of the red rocks. I prayed and had a good time with God. It was getting colder the less I moved. I had my Bible in my hand, but I didn’t read it because it was too dark and cold. I waited for the sunrise and when I realized I was on the wrong side to see it really well, I got up and left. There were many times during my morning adventure that I wanted to give up and be more comfortable, but I am glad I pushed through and did what I said I would do.
From then on, I set my alarm clock at 5am every day and I have about an hour to read the Bible, read a book and write.  The Circle Maker also taught me to keep up a prayer journal, which has been great fun!  In January I read three books and started my fourth one. Waking up at 5am is a sacrifice for me, but really it is nothing compared to what I get in return.  Now I just stay at home with the heater on high.

IMG_2766 (1)