Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Again

Thank you everyone who has supported me on this trip, your prayers and support have blessed me so much; it's hard to express just how much.  I have been home now for about a month, it's amazing how time seems to escape us!  After spending three weeks in China we traveled yet again to Hong Kong (26 hours on a train plus about another five counting a small train ride and bus rides etc.) where we spent five days for debrief week.  So much happened during the time we were in China that it would be hard to describe all of it in so small a space.  I've copied what I wrote for the YWAM blog and pasted it here to give you a brief synopsis:

Stepping into China felt surreal for me.  It was as if I was entering into a place that I was familiar with, but didn't know at all.  Going into Cambodia and Thailand was different because I had never experienced their cultures before, but I thought I knew about Chinese people and their culture fairly well before I experienced them.  Both proved to be far more wonderful than I expected.  Over the course of the three weeks we were there, we attended university groups where students came to practice english, helped out in a kindergarten, ministered to leper villages, and became involved with the local Christian community.  The courage and strength these people showed inspired all of us on the team; they had experienced the love of God and knew that nothing in the world was worth giving that up, not even physical safety.  God showed me so much in China about Himself through the people we engaged with.  I was struggling with a few things going into China, one of which was trusting God.  I knew He wanted to show me His faithfulness, but I couldn't seem to get past certain things that, to me, looked like failures on His part.  One sunday a few of us were invited to speak at a home church full of mostly new Christians, and I felt that God wanted me to speak to them on having childlike trust.  Still feeling raw emotionally, I went with my teammates and we spent time with these young believers.  As we sang songs in worship together, I felt the love of the Father fill the room; and as I looked upon the faces of the Chinese as they sang to God in their own language I felt a rush of His love for me.  As I spoke, it was from my heart and I knew that God had revealed Himself to me in that room full of people hungry for truth.  As much as we were there to be a blessing to the Chinese people, they blessed us with their unashamed love for God and desire for His kingdom.  God is doing amazing things in China, and I'm so glad I was priviledged to be a part of them. 
Experiencing China was like stepping into a living paradox.  Going in there you would think there would be strong spiritual oppression and the people would want to get out because of the lack of freedom.  On the contrary, the atmosphere felt so free and open it was almost like walking through open doors when you expect them to be locked.  The christians there don't talk about wanting to be free from the persecution, they only talk about how they want more of God.  I was so blessed by this experience and the people we met there, it really was life-changing for me.

Our final week of DTS was spent in Hong Kong at the base there.  We didn't do any official "ministry", although we blessed each other throughout the week with prayer and encouragement as we prepared to go back home and exit the dts environment.  We visited the local shopping places, saw some of Hong Kong's delights, visited a water park, and spent as much quality time with each other as we could.  We focused on going back over all that the Lord had taught us throughout the dts and letting it "sink in" so to speak.  During this week the Lord really gave me grace to take all He had given me in dts, but also to move onto the new things He has for me.  I looked at all of the amazing people who went through the experience with me and I was so thankful for those relationships He provided.  One of the highlights of debrief week (apart from all the fun hanging out stuff we did) was the creative expression activity where we described our dts experience using any creative outlet we wanted.  It was wonderful to see my teammates express what God had done for them, and to look at my own experience and praise God for His work.  I wrote a poem which I felt described one of the main things God helped me to do during dts, and that was to lift all of my struggles and burdens to Him and let His wings carry me:

To the one who is striving, to the burdened of heart
To the one whose peace is being torn apart
To the feelings of failure, shame and defeat
To the standards that seem impossible to meet
No pain is hidden, my sorrows are known
Despite what I think I'm never alone
He made my spirit, body and soul.
He went to the cross, His blood made me whole
He's the giver of life, and Provider of peace
I will give Him my burdens in this great release


God is sooooooo good, and I'm so glad He takes all the yucky stuff away and gives us hope and joy and peace when we ask Him.  Blessings to all of you, thank you for sharing this experience with me!!



Love, Aubrey

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Last Post Before the Big C!

This is the last update for three weeks because tomorrow we leave for the big C where we will have no communication with the outside world.  This week has gone fairly well in Chiang Mai, the Lord has answered prayer by bringing us students to attend our game night, student friends to hang out with, and more energy and excitement.  We had some really powerful prayer walks and fun times hanging out with the students and getting to know them. 
       The heat got worse this week because it hasn't rained too much, which has made it harder to sleep at night and to walk around during the day.  It's rained here much more than in Cambodia, which has helped keep the heat down, but some days there weren't any clouds in the sky and the heat was very draining. 
      It seems strange that there is only 1 month left of d t s, then I'm coming home!  I'm really grateful for all that the Lord has done in me, and for the dreams and desires He has given me for the future.  So much has changed, and yet it feels so natural to ease into the new things He's bringing to me:)  I will post again when we get into Hong Kong, please pray for our safety and unity as a group; we're going into unfriendly territory and God wants to do amazing things but we really need prayer coverage.  Thank you so much for your support, it means so much to our team!

Blessings from the Orient,



Aubrey

Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 5 in Asia!

We arrived in Thailand on Monday, though we've only been here in Chiang Mai since Wednesday.  We took the bus from Siem Reap in Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand, and stayed the night at the YWAM base there.  Then we flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and found our residence at Wongen (stands for One Generation) cafe.  The cafe is a YWAM based ministry that reaches out to the students at the university right across the street by inviting them to the cafe, making friends with them, and just investing in their lives to show that they are worth investing in.  We have been going out and looking for the main hangout places at the university and engaging with the students there.  We had a game night last night which proved to be successful with about six or seven students showing up.  We played group games for a while and then split off into smaller groups to play card games etc. 
     We really want to get on board with what God is doing here, and He is showing us His heart for this place.  He really loves these people, and it's been a blessing to us just being here and serving where we can.      
   It has been interesting seeing the differences between Thailand and Cambodia.  Apart from the slight drop in temperature and the change of driving direction (they drive on the left side of the road, as opposed to Cambodians who drive on the right), the spiritual atmosphere is different as well.  There has been a lot of apathy and heaviness going around the team, different from what we were fighting in Cambodia.  People are also not feeling well, so we're really contending for health and protection for our team right now.  We have two other events planned for this week: girl's night on Wednesday and movie night on Friday.  We are praying that people come and we'll be able to invest in them even though we're only here for a short time.  
          Sunday was our day off and Emmie (the coordinator of the ministry) has connections with the local tour guide agency so she was able to get us an incredible deal on a day around Thailand for us:)  We rode elephants through the jungle, visited a mountain village where we had lunch, saw a beautiful waterfall, and went bamboo rafting down a river.  It was so much fun!  
       God is doing lots of work here, different work from other places, and we are so happy to join in with what He's doing.  I'll update again before we leave for the big C, I love and miss you all, be blessed! 





Love Aubrey     

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We have one week left in Cambodia before we head off to Thailand.  So far it has been a very interesting stay here.  Last week we went to the drug rehab center on Thursday and Friday morning.  Thursday was interesting because the schedule we were given for the program did not end up being followed, so we only did about two things out of the five or six we had prepared.  However, despite the miscommunication it was a very rewarding time.  English teaching went fairly well, as well as it can go having to prepare something for students I had no idea how advanced they were.  It turned out they were more advanced than I thought, but it worked out ok and they responded very well.

           It was really encouraging for me to see that the work being done there was really having an impact on the people.  I wasn't sure at first if what we were doing was really meaning anything to them, but as we were driving home on Friday we all agreed that these men's lives were touched by the Holy Spirit.  When we first arrived I was a bit intimidated by the high cement walls, armed guards, and barred windows throughout the complex.  I wasn't sure what to expect; I didn't know if the men we would be working with were responsive, respectful, or even totally present mentally.  However, as soon as we entered the "classroom", all of my fears disappeared.  I can't explain it exactly, but I felt completely safe there and somehow I knew that they were responding to us and the pastor who works with them on a regular basis.  They had a level of joy and peace that one would not expect in a place like that.  It was a real joy to work with them, and I am a bit disappointed that we won't be doing any more work there, but I'm grateful for what we were able to do:)
       
The rest of this week we will continue to work in Bakong with the children and then we leave Monday for Bangkok, from which we will fly to Chaing Mai in Thailand. Thank you all for your prayers, everyone is healthy for the most part now and we've had more connection with the kids we work with in Bakong.  We still have three more days there so we're praying for more creativity and inspiration on how to connect and get responses from the kids.  One of the biggest things that's come against us as a team is miscommunication.  It has been happening with the leaders at the base, people we work with to do ministry, and between us as a team.  It's been getting better, but we would really appreciate prayer for clear communication and understanding.
     Thank you so much for your support, it means so much!'

Blessings,

Aubrey

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Siem Reap!

It's really hard to get internet because we have to go to an internet cafe that has free wifi and we haven't had too much time to go out lately.  We're staying at the YWAM base in Siem Reap where we'll be for the next week or so.  For the past week we have been ministering in a village about 30 minutes from the base working with kids in the afternoons. 
We do a program where we teach them songs and games, sometimes telling a Bible story and sometimes washing their hair and clipping their nails, depending on the day.  The kids seem to pick up the things we teach them quickly, and they really enjoy the different activities. The weather is extremely hot, almost oppressive, and there were a couple of sleepless nights at first of it.  We've had some attacks physically as a team as well, which has made things a bit difficult.  Ben and Lucy have both been sick for two days and had to opt out of ministry today because of it, Lisanne's stomache is not liking the food and she hasn't been sleeping well, Eva's knee got banged up from a fall today, Juil is having a hard time with the heat as are Kelly and myself.  We would really appreciate prayer against these attacks so that we can continue ministring where the Lord leads without any hindrances. 

Tomorrow we will be doing a program at a drug rehab center where we will be working with mostly male 17 to late 20 year-olds who are recovering from severe addictions to drugs.  We will be doing songs with them, active games such as volleyball, art, and teaching english.  On friday we will also do song and games, but instead of english we will be doing our "ribbon drama" (similar to the lifehouse skit) and sharing a testimony and devotional.  I have high hopes for this ministry because I've heard good things about it, but we haven't seen how things are done yet so we will have to be really flexible and have more than enough activities prepared, just in case:) (we've learned this from experience).   
       Please keep our ministries in prayer because although I know God has really great stuff planned, the enemy is trying really hard to make us feel like we can't make a difference here and we don't have the skills we need to do God's work.  We want to agree with what God's plan is, and if our God is for us then nothing can stand against us!  I will be teaching the english lesson tomorrow at the rehab center so I would also love prayer for wisdom and inspiration on how to help them.  The ones I will be teaching have a "basic" knowledge of english, but as of now I don't have any idea of what that means other than I won't be having a translator with me because he will be helping with the other group of less advanced students.  
                                                                        Thank you all for your support and prayer, this is an amazing experience, and I'm learning more about stepping out in leadership and creativity, as well as how to depend on God for strength and direction (because without His help I couldn't do anything).

More updates to come (when I can get wifi:))

Be blessed!

Love, Aubrey

                                                                                    
 



      

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We're Here!

Thank you all so much for your prayers, we made it to Phnom Penh, Cambodia!  We leave tomorrow for Siem Reap where we will be staying for about two and a half weeks, and then move on to Thailand.  We left saturday morning from Carlisle and arrived here at around 10pm Cambodia time.  The flights were extremely long (we traveled for about 26 hours total, including train) and we are still adjusting to the time change.
             The first thing you notice stepping out of the airport in Cambodia is the blanket of humidity that envelopes you.  The temperature is hot, but the humidity makes it feel like the heat is sticking to your body and won't get off.  Our hotel room has air conditioning, thankfully, but once outside there is no such luxury (unless you go into the main shopping place where the buildings are totally enclosed).  All of the markets and local restaurants are open and have similar temperature to outside; some are even hotter because there is no wind inside. 
            The people are lovely here, and their language is so intriguing.  So far I've been practing "thank you" (aw kohn) and informal "hello" (sua s'dei), and I hope to learn more words as I go.  We've ridden quite alot in "tuk tuks", open two-wheeled carriage-type contraptions pulled by motor bikes.  Driving down the street was a bit scary at first because there doesn't seem to be too much clarity on right of way or speed limits.  Most people drive motor bikes, though no one goes super fast and there is a lot of room for people to slip in, out, and through traffic.  There seems to be unspoken communucation on the road of who goes first or who stops for whom: there doesn't seem to be any right of way laws in that respect.
             Please keep praying for our team, we are in a predominantly buddhist nation and there are temples and shrines all over the place.  We are standing in intercession but we have had things such as weariness, heaviness, confusion, apathy, and discouragement come at us as a team and individually.  There's a lot of warfare that needs to happen, but greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world!  We head out tomorrow to our more permanent location in Siem Reap (where we are staying exactly I don't know) so please pray for our bus journey there and for our spiritual health as a team.

Thank you all, I love and miss you and there are more updates (and pictures) to come!

Blessings,
Aubrey

Friday, April 29, 2011

ASIA!!!!


                              The Holy Spirit has been moving strongly this week, and it has been really incredible!  Hahaha joy unending and laughter overflowing: drinking of the spirit pushes aside reason and overflows onto everything, including the body!  I can see that the Lord is giving me tools for what He is preparing me for in the future, and the process is quite exciting.  It’s really amazing when we stop trying to figure everything out with our minds and invite Holy Spirit to come and have His way; incredible things happen!  We had some awesome ministry times this week where spiritual baggage was broken off and there was bubbling joy (resulting in bouts of laughter), song, overwhelming peace, and many other spectacular things.  Intercession has a new door open for me, as it is becoming more exciting as the spirit moves and directs me how to pray more effectively.
                              We leave for Asia on Saturday!  It feels so strange that we’re leaving, I’m looking forward to what God has in store for us.  Thank you for all of your prayers, please continue to lift up our team as there are many stresses that come along with outreach.  I will be posting pictures and updates soon, bless you all!

Love, Aubrey 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finally updated! (sorry for the long delay:( )

             I realize that I haven’t posted anything in over a month, and I apologize for that.  Things got a bit crazy for a couple of weeks and then we were in Manchester the week before last so I could write nothing then.  The weather has become much better here and spring is at last arriving swiftly to Carlisle.  Trees are budding, flowers are blooming all around the city, and the back garden of the Vic is beginning to come alive with color and life.  As these changes in season are occurring in the city, the Lord has been speaking to my heart about awakening from the time of winter and moving into spring.  My eyes are being opened to the love which He is pouring out on me, and I’m finding myself sitting at a window or going out on a walk just to talk with Him and spend time with Him.  It’s not easy to do though because I’m so used to think of myself as simply “doing things” for God, rather than just being a child of His.  He is beginning to show me just how much He loves time spent with me, no matter what I’m doing. 
                              The week before last we went to the city of Manchester and joined about five other YWAM bases from England, Norway, and Wales for a week on evangelism.  About sixty of us stayed in a church located at the heart of the city where the area wasn’t the greatest, but the people were in desperate need of Jesus.  I learned so much during that week about God’s heart for people, and I learned things about myself as well.  It was a packed week with lots of meeting new friends and stepping out of comfort zones.  We went out and had some good conversations and got to pray for people while getting some good teaching on evangelism and fear of the Lord.  I especially loved one “treasure hunt” I did with Lucy (staff on the Norway base).  What you do in a treasure hunt is ask God for clues about the “treasure” that you and your partner are going out to find, aka a person God wants to bless, and write them down on a piece of paper (your “treasure map”).  This could be a physical description, place, prayer needs, etc. Then you go out and look for people who fit some aspect of the description you got and talk to them about what you’re doing. 
                              When Lucy and I went out we talked with about six different people, some long conversations and some fairly short.  One that was encouraging to me was when Lucy and I were talking to a teenager and his little sister when a mom with a double stroller with two little red-heads in it walked by.  I really felt like we needed to talk to her, so when we finished our conversation I asked Lucy if we could go look for the mom.  As we walked in the direction she had gone, we looked ahead and saw that she had stopped at the entrance to a park and was turning to walk back towards us!  As she neared I asked her if her young ones were twins and she said yes.  It turned out she was the mother of five boys and the twins were the youngest, which reminded me so much of my family I began to really feel God’s heart for her.  As we told her about what we were doing and asked if we could pray for her, Lucy got the sense that she needed to give the mom a prophetic picture she had drawn of a woman walking a dog on a beach with the words “Rest and Restoration” written at the top.  It turns out the family had a dog, and just the weekend before she had gone to the beach with some friends for a short vacation.  I think she was really blessed by what we said because we spoke a lot of life and peace into her and I really felt like the Lord wanted her to be rested and refreshed, as being the mother of five young ones with twins at the bottom can be highly stressful and tiring (you can ask my momJ).  I really enjoyed seeing the Lord reach out to people and touch their lives through me, it is blessed to be a blessing!
                              We leave for Asia in three weeks, which is so crazy to think about.  It’s almost been three months since I left home, and I can really see the Lord’s hand in where He has me.  I feel so blessed to be His child and to know that He will always watch out for me: He won’t let me fall.  Going to Cambodia, Thailand, and China is going to be an eye-opening experience for me and I’m looking forward to experiencing the beautiful Asian culture first-hand. If you could pray for our team this last couple of weeks it would bless us very much; there is still so much preparation to do, especially for the staff, and it can be very stressful. Thank you so much for your support and prayer, I’m really trying to focus in on what the Lord wants to show me now and will keep you updated on what He does, hopefully more often than I have the past monthJ

I send my love back home to all of you, bless you!!!!

<3 Aubrey

Monday, March 14, 2011

It’s so amazing how completely changing culture, surroundings, friends, and climate can show you so much about yourself.  I’ve been seeing different things pop up in me; strength that wasn’t there before, parts of me that are not actually “me”, but rather traits I have acquired from other people, and areas of vulnerability that I have been able to reveal.  I’ve been learning more about myself and seeking the Lord to help me find my identity in Him, rather than my identity in the world.
                              The weather here has been quite moody the past week or so; it doesn’t seem to know whether it wants to be grey and depressing, crisp and sunny, frigid and windy, or simply wet and freezing.  Friday night it was snowing outside, but it’s actually rather funny how I found out (for I didn’t notice right away).  I was on kitchen duty and needed to wash the floor, so I was walking through the dark hallway to get a mop.  As I neared the office door (going slowly for lack of light) suddenly Hannah flung the door open and leaped out right in front of me yelling something.  I gave a startled cry (for not only was it dark in the hallway, her exclamation was completely unexpected) and I fell to the floor, which made her laugh so hard she went on the floor as well.  We both laughed hysterically for a minute or so, rolling in the middle of the hallway and getting a surprised and confused look from Kelly who was walking by at the moment.  Hannah was excited about the snow and was going to proclaim it to the world, but I happened to be in her way at that moment and, apparently, gave her even more amusement because of my startled reaction.  leaping through the air right towards me. I in turn gave a startled cry and fell to the floor, which made her laugh so hard she went on the floor to and we were both laughing hysterically while rolling in the middle of the hallway for about a minute, it was pretty funny:) lol She was excited about the snow, and was going to proclaim it to the world but I happened to be in her way at that moment, which gave us both a story to tell and a good laugh. It's the second time she's scared me unintentionally haha
                              The Lord is working great things through this DTS, but there are constant obstacles to cross over along the way.  There are distractions, warfare, and challenges to conquer, all things defeated by prayer.  Thank you all for your prayers, they mean so much to me!

Blessings!

~Aubrey                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beginning Week 6!

I have been learning more and more about the love God has for His creation, and the depth of His passion for us.  He’s helping me to understand that He doesn’t love me for what I do for Him, the way I respond to Him, or even because He sees Jesus in me; He loves me for me.  That is what we are on this earth for, to be loved and to love.  We are here because God loves us, period.  Yes we worship, yes we serve and pray and go to church and evangelize; we do all of the things “good Christians” do, but none of those things are why we are here.  Ahgggg, why is that so hard for us to understand?  Why is it so hard for me to understand?  I want to understand it, I want to know the love God has for me on a deeper level, I want to see myself and those around me the way He sees us; that is just about the most difficult thing to do in a performance-driven world where love and affirmation are earned. 
                              Last Saturday we went to the Lake District via bus and it was beautiful!  We walked around a lake called Derwent Water (by the town of Keswick) and although we didn’t go super far (we walked about thirty minutes in) it took hours because we stopped so many times to take picturesJ  We saw lots of sheep, geese, dogs, and grass, not to mention water and gorgeous scenery.  Kelly stayed behind to spend time with Ernest and Emma (Ernest is Kelly’s cousin and also the husband of Emma, the YWAM base leader).  Lisanne, Juil, Eva and I all went together and we hope to go again because it was so beautiful.     

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What’s in YOUR pocket?  This week we have been blessed by having Steve Sullivan teach on God’s “family business” that we are a part of; God has said that we are blessed to be a blessing!  Steve talked about the covenant that God made with Abraham in the Old Testament that said he would be blessed and he and his descendants would be a blessing to all peoples.  Abraham had the “contract” in his pocket, and so do we!  We are all being challenged this week to not only receive the blessing of God (His kingdom on earth) but also reach out beyond ourselves and bless all peoples (the nations). 
                              The sun has been out today for the first in a long time, and even now as I sit in the lounge its rays pierce through the curtains brightening up the room a bit more, reminding me that the joy of the Lord is my strength…and that sunshine still exists.  Tomorrow Eva, Lisanne, Juil and I will journey down to Keswick (pronounced Kezick; any other pronunciation and you will be instantly branded as an identifiable tourist and looked at as, well, a tourist).  This place is in the beautiful Lake District, and we will hopefully hike around the lake and see some beautiful scenery with the sun smiling on us and a gentle breeze in the air (although I imagine that even if the sky is pouring rain the scenery will still be beautiful).
                              I have also been learning to laugh at myself this week; instead of getting frustrated or offended when I am teased for something, I’m learning to put aside my pride and be amused with my own humannessJ  Haha, it’s quite fun.  When I process things I tend to either sing, draw, or write as somehow the arts let out things inside of me that can’t be let out any other way.  Here is a little poem I wrote when I was processing through some things I didn’t, and still don’t, quite understand.  I’m learning to search out the things I have questions about, and instead of looking to my own understanding I look to the Holy Spirit to give me the answers I seek:


So many questions flying through my mind,
I cannot count them all
To think or not to think; answers I must find
Are there answers at all?
Jesus says to seek and discover,
Proverbs says the same.
My curiosity I cannot cover,
My mind will not be tamed.
You alone can fill my need,
Your word will provide.
Now my mind your wisdom feeds,
In You I will abide

Monday, February 21, 2011

And more pictures....


This is Kelly, Lisanne, and myself on Banker Street in downtown Carlisle:)


These are all of the "trainees", or those being trained in the DTS program.  From left it is Lisanne (from Holland) me, Kelly (from Canada), Juil (from South Korea), and Eva (From Arizona).

This is the whole team (plus Craig).  From left back is Juil,  Ben (DTS assistant leader), Kelly, Craig, Eva, Lisanne.  Crouching in the front is Lucy (DTS leader), Hannah, and me.
Well, this has been quite a week!  There has been a new face added amongst us at the base in the form of Craig, a native of Carlisle who did his DTS (discipleship training seminar) here a few years ago and since then has been staffing a YWAM base in Norway.  He came back last week because he is going to be leading the SOE (school of evangelism) here in the spring, the first held in England since around 1990!  Craig is staying with his parents who live near the base, and he stops by quite a lot during the week, in addition to coming with us on our outreaches.
                              So far we have had three evangelism “events” in the DTS, and there will be at least one per week for the remainder of the lecture phase.  The first was the Thursday before last when we had a “Thinking Allowed” event which is based on a book by David.  The book is a compilation of excerpts from his blog that take different topics in society and look at them from different perspectives, challenging people to think.  The turnout was fairly small, but considering it was our first attempt it went very well.  We have another one next Thursday, and the topic will be atheism (the last one was evolution).  We hope to have more people come this time, David will speak on the topic for a few minutes and then there will be a discussion time where each table will address the questions handed out and share opinions and thoughts. 
                              On Wednesday we did an evangelism activity where we had a sort of scavenger hunt to find different things in the city, such as people who had heard of YWAM, people who wanted prayer, getting someone to take a weird picture with us, attracting a crowd, and other things along those lines. We were in groups of three (I was with Kelly and Juil) and we went out into Carlisle for about an hour and a half. It was great because it got us out into the area and helped us to get more outside of our comfort zones, but it was also difficult because the people here are rather suspicious and not super friendly. Actually, it was a bit funny because the two people who said that we could pray for them would only consent if we prayed somewhere else.  One lady in Starbucks said that we could pray for her general well-being, but that she would prefer we do it somewhere more “discrete”.  No matter how many people we asked, how many places we went, or how many ways we put the question we could not get anyone to take a picture with us.  Even when we said we were on a scavenger hunt and just needed a picture with a stranger in it, everyone acted like we were stalkers looking for a target to follow.  However we did have a good time, and we learned some strategies on how to best approach the people of Carlisle, as they are quite different from those of Southern California.
            Friday night we went out to Botchergate Street, notorious for being the central of pubs, dance clubs, and other party places.  The street is closed off to normal traffic at night as people have gotten hit in the past,, and police have a constant and extensive presence there.  YWAM has been doing outreach there for about three years now, roughly every other Friday evening.  We have a table set up in front of a charity store (long closed by the time we arrive) which has given us permission to use the space, and we give out free coffee and tea to the passersby.  The reactions vary; most either decline the offer or ignore us all together, but there were a fair amount of people attracted to the free beverages.  I had multiple people ask me if I was from America, and then ask me why in the world I came to Carlisle.  Sometimes people don’t want to talk, but most are curious as to why we are there and what we do.  There was one good conversation I had with  a man who thought it was amazing what we were doing and kept on saying how we should feel so good about ourselves because we were allowing people who didn’t have any money to get a drink if they were thirsty (he also tried to give us money).  I told him we were there to bless people and be the love of  Jesus, and he proceeded to ask me what I believed.  I was able to tell him about how I believe in the God of the Bible, Jehova, and how I believe He is part of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Because of sin, relationship was broken between God and man, and that is why the Father sent His Son to earth so that His death could restore the broken relationship and take away all shame and guilt.  He was definitely searching, so I invited him to the Thinking Allowed event on thursday and after he left Hannah and I prayed for  him.  I hope he comes thursday but if he doesn't I trust that the Lord will water the seeds that were planted.
                                           I am so grateful for all of your support, thank you so much for your prayers!  The enemy hates what we are doing with a passion, so he will use every thing he knows how to distract, frighten, and discourage us from pressing further into God, your prayers matter!  Bless you all, I send my deepest love!

<3 Aubrey                                                      

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh my how time flies!  Weeks turn into days and days turn into weeks, and even when we do have free time it seems to be taken up by all of the seemingly endless things to do: laundry, running errands, straightening up our living quarters, etc.  I apologize for the long delay in blogging; I will try to write one at least once or twice a week, although unfortunately I can make no promises as certain weeks can be busier than others.
            Anyway, oh where do I start, well for one thing we are all adjusting to the new schedule rather well, although I suspect it will be a couple of weeks before we are completely adapted.  An average weekday for me would consist of waking up at around seven to my phone alarm and slowly walking either to the shower or downstairs to eat breakfast and drink some tea.  By eight we all start our work (“worship”) duties which, depending on the week, consist of cleaning a bathroom or doing breakfast dishes.  By 8:45, Lisanne, Juil, Kelly, Eva and I all grab our coats and head out the door for the ten minute walk to Eden community church where we have lectures.  The staff will have been there for about 45 minutes already, and we join them at nine.  We usually start out with either intercessory prayer or worship, and then whoever is speaking that week teaches for roughly two and a half hours (with coffee breaksJ) and then we walk back to the Old Vic (the base).  This week Lisanne and I had cooking duty, so we prepared lunch and dinner every day.  We usually have about one hour of free time during the day, but some days it gets taken up by other things and usually is between three and four in the afternoon.  After l unch we have small group where we (Ben, Lucy, Hannah, and the trainees) come together in the “lounge” and discuss our thoughts on the lecture.  We ask questions and glean from others’ perceptions, which also help us to process what we heard.  Usually two nights a week we have ministry prayer, one night a week is evangelism, and the other two are free.  Weekends are not as structured; we are at liberty to go and do as we like, although Saturday is generally sleep-in morning and Sunday we can go to one of the churches in the area. 
            That summarizes (roughly) our schedule, although it changes slightly from week to week.  The lectures have been really amazing; this first week was about the nature of God, the character of God, and what it means to really know Him.  David taught all this week, and he put some very thought-provoking questions before us, questions that basically laid out how we view God at our core.  It’s been good to have small groups and such so that we can all process what we are learning, and it also gives us opportunity to support and encourage each other as we draw closer together as a group. 
            Thank you all so much for your support and prayers, it is much needed and much appreciated!  Blessings to you all,

Love Aubrey

PS Happy Valentines Day!  May you know and receive the love of God for you; you are very precious to Him and He is seeking relationship with you  and all you have to do is say “yes”J

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pictures:)




Lisanne and I climbed down a grassy bank and over two fences to sit under the brigde because, apparantly, in Holland they "Do this all the time":)



 Lisanne
Standing under who-knows-how-old arches outside of the cathedral
                                                  




Carlisle Cathedral

Inside the walls of Carlisle castle there is a tower.  On the outside of this tower there is an old well.  Inside this old well, there is a giant hole.  Inside this giant hole, there is darkness, and a little bit of water at the bottom.  This old well used to be the primary source of water for the inhabitants hundreds of years ago.  Pretty crazy huh?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Update....

Well I really just wanted to upload this video, pictures coming soon.  I've managed to get some up on facebook, but these take a bit more time.  This was inside the great cathedral on sunday, Lisanne and I walked in a few minutes before the "worship" ended so we got to hear the amazing organ.  The experience was surreal, let me assure you.  Walking into a building with tons of history dating back to the early first century was incredible in itself; the eerie yet beautiful organ music ringing through the halls made it feel like a step back in time.  Today was the first official "lecture day", but really it was more an introduction to living as a community at the base and what that entails.  The location for our lectures is at Eden Community Church, about a ten to fifteen minute walk from the base.  We trainees headed out to the church provided only with a map and not super specific directions and attempted to make our way to the location.  To use the simplest explanation possible, we got lost.  Although we had already walked around town quite a bit, this part of Carlisle had not been highly traversed by any of our five pairs of feet as of yet, so finally we were found and brought to the church a half an hour after they expected us to be there.  Despite this, however, we had a good time and are slowly adjusting to this new culture and living situation.  Love you all and thanks for the prayers!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Journey Begins...

Hello again, it is now my third night here at the base and I am now safely tucked away and enjoying tea and warm sweaters.  Jet lag has not been so terrible for me, I don't know if it's because I arrived at the base in the evening or because God is having mercy on me.  I think it's a little of both:)  I've met all of my lovely trainee-mates and staff at the base, and I'm so excited to get to know them better.  In my room there is Eva (pronounced Ava), Kelly, Lisanne, and myself, and we are all working together to stay as warm as possible.  In the boys' room there is Juel (from South Korea) and Ben (assistant dts leader).  Total there are four members of the male species in the house (David and Ben dts leaders, Juel, and little Josh, the two-year-old accompanying his mom and sister for a couple of weeks here).  Yesterday we went to see Carlisle castle, and today we visited the cathedral.  Both sites are over a thousand years old, and my jaw was left hanging for about half of the time we were sightseeing.  Soon it's off to bed for me, and tomorrow we have our first lecture at the community church.  Goodnight and blessings!

<3 Aubrey

Arrived!

Sorry for the late annoucement of my blog, I arrived at the base Friday evening at 8:30 Carlisle time (about eight hours ahead of California time) and was too tired to send out the notice for it:)  I arrived safe and sound, apart from a few moments of near panic at the Edinburgh train station and 24 hours of little to no sleep.  My plane ride(s) went tolerably well, except for the length of the first one and my sheer exhaustion for the second one.  I flew from LAX straight through to Heathrow, London, and transferred to British Midland Airlines for my connecting flight to Edinburgh, Scotland.  From the airport I took the bus down to the train station, where I had a prepaid ticket for my train to Carlisle, England at 4:15 pm.  I arrived at the train station and after looking around bewildered for a minute or two I found someone and asked where the train to Carlisle would be.  The very kind and helpful gentleman directed me to platform 11 (I think there were as many as twelve different platforms scattered around the vast station) and said it should arrive at 4:00.  Making my way through the chilly station, across the road where taxis and other vehicles zoomed, and onto the rather frigid and deserted platform 11 I sat down with my giant rolling duffle and two heavy backpacks to await my train.  After seeing multiple trains come and go (it was not yet 4:00) I finally asked a couple who were near me how I would know which was the train to Carlisle.  They said that I could follow them because they were waiting for the same train, and that it hadn't arrived yet.   By four o'clock I began looking for the train to come, and then my friends spotted it down the platform a ways (I expected it to pull right in front of us) and we began walking towards it.  However, we were no more than halfway there when the train pulled out of the station rather quickly, leaving us stranded.  After speaking to the lady at the information desk, I was informed of the time of the next train to Carlisle, but not the platform.  It's a good idea not to assume anything in a foriegn, very strange train station where everyone knows what they are doing except for oneself, and that is exactly what I did when I assumed the next train would pull into the same platform as it did before.  Of course it didn't, which I discovered an hour later when I asked someone where I was to expect the Carlisle train, and as I ran to platform 7 I stopped and watched my coveted transportation pull out of the station and into the cold Scottish night.  By this time my hands were frozen, my body exhausted, and my spirits very low, so naturally my chest heaving with a sudden burst of emotion and my voice was shaky and tear-filled as I approached an official-looking man and asked him when the next train to Carlisle.  He informed me that there were no more trains, and that I should go to the information booth and see if they could help me.  Oh the emotion!  The information booth was closed and I began praying quite fervently that the Lord would help me and bring me exactly where I needed to be.  This was quite a test of trust, as you can imagine, and I'm not quite sure whether I passed it or not: I was having a few doubts at the time.  But the Lord is merciful and patient, and He was there with me even in my fear and emotion.  I found out from a more official-looking person (a lady with a security badge) and I asked her what I was to do with my situation.  She informed me that the next train to leave to Manchester (Carlisle is on the way, it's the train I should have been looking for all along) was in twenty minutes on platform 4 (by this time it was 5:40pm) and I hopped on it.  I was picked up by DTS staff members David and Hannah, and went promptly to bed at the base after a small bite to eat.  Sorry if my description is too long, I get to writing and I don't always know when to stop:)

Anyway, thank you all for your prayers and if you could keep in prayer the spiritual warfare (which I completely believe this was) then I would very much appreciate it.  God bless you all, I send my love:)

<3 Aubrey