Welcome to weeks 2 and 3 of our DTS!
At the beginning of week 2, our teammate Holly got homesick and really, really wanted ice cream. Since most DTS students are on a budget, ice cream was a luxury that she couldn’t afford. Another teammate prayed, “Dear God, you hear Holly’s longing for ice cream. She is your daughter and you love to bless your children. Would you show her that you hear her…would you give us ice cream?”
We didn’t know at the time but our speaker on Hearing God’s Voice – Joanna Pallister - felt that God was prompting her to ask the students which ice cream flavors they liked. Later the team was invited over for dinner, and guess what we had for dessert? Ice cream.
Holly would later ask in frustration, “I don’t think I can hear Him!” We learned this week that God cares so much to communicate His love and affection through our desires, and to affirm us of His intimate knowledge of who we are. He will find ways to help us hear his voice, such as nature, dreams and visions, Scripture, circumstances, audibly or a gentle whisper, and through other people.
This was strongly illustrated of Jesus as the Good Shepherd in John 10:4-5. “…and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He communicates because he wants to have a conversation and to be in a relationship with us. To tell us of His love and His plans for us, to provide and assurance, and protection from our own stubborn ways. The more we grow in this relationshp, the more His voice becomes beloved, known, and clearer!
And sometimes He speaks through ice cream!
On Week 3 we were challenged with the question, “How can someone be a missionary in an urban setting?” This week’s outreach experience designed to show God’s heart and love for the city – also known as Mission Adventures (MA), led by staffer staffer Brittni Arthur.
Vancouver has over 180 nationalities, and because of the variety of ethnic groups some of the world’s unreached nations could be our next door neighbor. It was also sobering to know that the biggest issues facing Vancouverites wasn’t homeless or poverty but isolation and disconnection.* What were the opportunities for making real connections?
Urban Plunge was an opportunity to observe two diverse neighborhoods connect or disconnect in material and relational ways; highly affluent streets and the most impoverished communities were located within blocks of each other. We walked around the area of Oppenheimer Park and struck up conversations. We exchanged stories of hopelessness but also of our hope in Christ and of new beginnings. A homeless couple named Shawn and Sabrina shared their coconut macaroons and how they manage to give to other homeless people during Canadian Thanksgiving. Such a stark contrast to the affluent yet detached atmosphere of the commercial areas just a block over.
How did she hear? Many of us don’t know what God’s voice is like. We get a passing thought or feeling and aren’t sure it was from God. ‘Is That Really You, God?’ is even the title the most popular book on YWAM’s history, written by founder Loren Cunningham.
How can we share our faith if we don’t know what others look like? During Temple Tour we visited three places of worship: a Buddhist temple, Mosque, and a Sikh Gurdwara where their religious scholars gave short lectures on the foundation of their faiths. This was followed by a Q &A portion where we could ask questions related to family and marriage, culture, politics and issues surrounding their faith traditions. We marveled at the architecture, color and decorating scheme, and different smells and sounds of these places of worship. We had the opportunity to make personal connections when we prepared and served meals for two resource organizations: Union Gospel Mission in New Westminster and Living Room in Vancouver.
We learned that connections are more than knowing a person’s name. It is knowing his or her culture, faith traditions, daily schedule, life story, struggles and joys and ministering to these individuals right where we are.
Source: Gillies, Craille Maguire. "What's the World's Loneliest City?" The Guardian. 2016. Accessed November 01, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/apr/07/loneliest-city-in-world.
@georgiastraight. "Vancouver Study: A City of Loneliness and Unfriendliness?" Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. 2014. Accessed November 01, 2016. http://www.straight.com/news/vancouver-study-city-loneliness-and-unfriendliness.