Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Now I Know

Nearly half of my DTS is complete and much to my surprise, I'm currently on Christmas break. Never thought we would have a break, but since it's Christmas time, I guess it makes sense. The Herrnhut base has kicked out all the students during this break, leaving us to fend for ourselves in the big land of Europe. Have no fear. After living the YWAM life for three months, we're covered. We've learned to be flexible, to do things spontaneously, and to trust in the Lord every single day. Thus far, my Mobile DTS experience has taught me a tremendous amount of why I always desired spontaneity. Doing things out of the ordinary is FUN! Let me share a little bit about my DTS lecture phase.

We started in Herrnhut, Germany at the YWAM base that our school sort of originated from. But really, we all had the similar feeling from the beginning that it wasn't our home. While we were at the Herrnhut base, we could walk about a mile into town and see people. However, all the people we would see usually tended to be other YWAMers. YWAM has completely invaded and overruled the population of the local Herrnhutters. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a few YWAM students have taken pictures of the locals. It's a sight to see someone in Herrnhut that isn't coming from the castle. Really. One thing that comes along with this nice little picture of familiar faces is just that: Familiarity. When I am surrounded with familiarity (and you may identify with me on this), I tend to create a new comfort zone. And that is what I had done for the first month of my DTS. Then God had us Mobile DTSers all pack our bags and head out to bring life into our Mobile DTS. And we headed to Hamburg, Germany.

Our mobile part of the DTS couldn't have started out any better. For the first two weeks of our mobile part, we lived in a church. The main sanctuary was the boys room/lecture room, the smaller sanctuary was the girls room, the cafeteria was our dining hall, and that was basically it. Because of safety reasons, we rarely had time alone. We were stuck in the church nearly 24/7 during our stay at Hamburg. Staying that close in living conditions to people really stretched a majority of our school.  Those that found it difficult would find closets to hide in and have their own quiet time. The best was seeing those people slowly open the door to see if anyone would notice that they were coming out of this "hidden and secret refuge" that they had discovered. I am very thankful for God giving me life experiences to get use to this sort of lifestyle. I personally loved living in the church in Hamburg. It reminded me of home and just constantly being surrounded with friends. Think about it: Voetberg's house. God definitely blessed me with the Vs. (Voetbergs, you guys have taught me a lot including how to function with chaos all around me. Love you all! Everyone in my DTS needs to experience the Voetbergs home!:) We'll try to arrange that...) Not everything of Hamburg was so grand. First of all, due to water resources, my first shower (along with everyone else) was day 6. During outreach, who knows...

And just about the time that I started to get comfortable in this new place, we headed off to Amsterdam. We experienced heavenly food, free of charge laundry, mattresses to sleep on, and a shower whenever we wanted. However, I personally never felt comfortable in Amsterdam, possibly because of the heaviness of the spiritual darkness. We stayed at the YWAM base which is located near the Red Light District. I think the Netherlands are beautiful, but it is also very tiring when you see the high level of tolerance within this country. Don't agree? Go to Amsterdam and try talking to the people about the coffeeshops that sell marijuana or the prostitutes that believe there is no other way of making money. Some things shouldn't be tolerated. Although I never felt at home during our one week stay in Amsterdam I began to feel comfortable. I wrote a little something in my journal about what I was only beginning to understand. Here it is:

November 16, 2010
Hebrew 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." We constantly are being taken out of our previous comfort zones. The first was our lifestyles before DTS, then Herrnhut, Hamburg, and soon Amsterdam will be within our comfort zone. God is taking us to all these places in such a short time to reveal where our dependence is. He is giving us an amazing opportunity to trust and hope in Him. In Him, we find all that we need, regardless of what we have or where we are. Learn to be dependent on your relationship with Jesus and you will learn to walk with Jesus. Grab hold of He who remains the same admist all the different cities, different schedules, different meals, different sleeping arrangements, different lectures, and all else that seems to never remain the same. God is a definite constant. Abide in Him and He will abide in you. Jesus our Lord has equipped us in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Learn to hear His voice, know His heart, and walk with Him.

I'll try to speed this up and will skip the details. After Amsterdam, we spent two weeks in Brussels, Belgium. During our stay there, we stayed with host families that blessed us beyond belief. Again, we entered into a new comfort zone, then left to YWAM France. It was our last two weeks of lecture where God completely changed our plans to go to Paris and He sent us to a smaller town than Herrnhut: Le Gault, France. No locals. Mareike and I walked to the grocery store. Best walk EVER. It took us two hours just to get there*. Hope that gives you an idea of where we were living. We all refer to it as Somewhere in France. Indeed, it was Somewhere in France but apparently no one else knows about it. Good times in France. God blessed us with rest and a wonderful time to end our lecture phase.

*Don't worry, we got a ride back with God's help. He gave us another testimony about trusting in Him. He always provides. Ask me later. I got to have some stories to share when I get back or then it would just be boring. ;)

Back to this blog now...

For the past few days, I have been experiencing quite a different life style than the previous three months. First off, I've gone from being amongst nearly fifty people that I've become friends with to now being around only three of the fifty. Daily lecture schedules are the past and now we have Christmas break to choose when we wake up, when we eat, and when we have quiet time. But once again, there is still One who remains. Yes, I'm sad to not be home celebrating with my family and friends, but it's more than okay. Had I not realized His consistency in my life, I would be an emotional wreck. From the past three months of being on the move and never having much to take hold on, I have grabbed tighter and tighter to He who remains. He is all that I need and He will celebrate with me whatever, whenever. I'm loving the uproot of the materlistic life and enjoying the different circumstances that God allows me to draw closer and closer to Him.

I'm buried in His heart. I can't describe it. God is my all and I am His.

Merry Christmas to all! I pray that you will grow more and more in your personal relationship with God because as you may know, walking in life with Him is the most fulfilling of all.

Keep praying...He never stops listening and I will never cease to need prayer.Love you guys!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

What in the world?! I did NOT expect to be so overwhelmed with ideas of what I could do with my life. UGh! I guess it's nice to say I have ideas rather than saying that I have no clue what to do after my DTS. But I would much rather prefer to have no ideas rather than a bunch of ideas. Why? Because then it would be a lot easier to just focus on my DTS now rather than trying to put the ideas to the side.

And putting them aside is what I'm trying very hard to do at the moment. My poor brain. Despite all the intellectual work it has done for me, I don't think I've ever had as many ideas rolling around in my head at the same time before in my life! If I could draw you a picture of my face right now, the top of my head would look like a volcano about to erupt. Unfortunately for me, the eruption can't take place until April 2, once my DTS is over. How many more days? I haven't started to count.

Yep. My brain is on OVERLOAD! And now we are getting on the bus to go to a YWAM base in France for the two weeks left of lecture phase.

Pray for me. I'm excited and trust in God to bring clarity about which idea to start working towards when I get DONE with my DTS. And I just can't WAIT to share my thoughts...but I have to. I'm learning A LOT about the wonderful word and lifestyle of PATIENCE.

These kinda things must happen after one receives Revelations 2:26. Check it out! CRAZY!!!!!!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

You Are a Treasure Chest

God loves me so much that He sent His only Son to die for me, not because I was worth it but to make me worth it. I am learning that I am more than just a child of His. What more does God think of me? According to 1 Peter 2:9, I am "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession."

God gave me a song, through the help of a dear friend by the name of Kayla Rasmussen, to better describe this phase of discipleship I'm going through. The song is "Finding Your Feet Again" by Denison Witmer.

"This is what it's like
Finding your feet again
The part of you that couldn't
Finally thinks you can

You're taking off some time to do this
A small apartment bedroom rearranged
To know that you are loved
You're finding your feet again
The part of you that couldn't
Finally thinks you can

A brownstone on a street in Brooklyn
The light tier flash from temperature to time
And people do the same
You're falling asleep again
Part of you a dreamer
And part of you is dream

And you said...

Go now in the light of your God
Go now in the love of your God
Go now in the peace of your God
Go now in the joy of your God."

I'm finding my feet again. My feet are to "walk in a manner worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:12) I pray for every footstep to show that I am walking and abiding in Jesus Christ.

I've been seeing several things repeatedly coming up that aren't just coincidences. Nope. I don't think coincidences come in such an overwhelming abundance of repetition. Oswald Chambers said something similar to when things come with a constant repetition or a strong persistance, God is desperately trying to communicate with you.

About a month or two before I left for DTS, I had this crazy idea to bring my violin. WHAT??!! Most common question EVER: "Kari, YOU play the violin??!" Yep. Given, I hadn't played since high school, but yes. I started to play when I was ten. Maybe I had let the amaziness of other musicians surrounding me create a bit of insecurity. (cough, cough, my Dad, Voetbergs, Puyallup Crew, musicians everywhere, wink, wink). Not a bit of insecurity. Yep. Complete intimidation of amazingly wonderful musicians. Yep. Fear of man mixed with a ton of pride. Eww.

In fact, during this time before I left, I had even realized then I had put the musical gift that God gave me on the back burner. Why? Because I wasn't satisfied with my performance, I feared the humiliation that comes with people being better, and I wanted to be the best. You could say I was slightly a perfectionist. Slightly. Nope. Definitely-I was a perfectionist (still have my tendencies; God grace is more than sufficient).

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love singing songs during worship but I've noticed that something is missing. My violin. Nope. I didn't pack it. And since this DTS, God has given me several different "coincidences" to remind me of how much I so wish I had brought it. Every place I've been, God has given me a reminder of what I have from Him. He placed a treasure inside of me. I tried to place this particular treasure out of my chest when really God wanted me to use my gifting to bring Him praise. I'm now understanding that He gave me more than I am giving.

He is giving me eyes to see that He will never remove the gifts He has given me. My violin is just about in reach, give or take a few thousand miles. I'm so excited because as I wait for a violin to have to play, now is the time that God is really growing a desire in my heart to play music for His glory. Now I'm just starting to wonder how much longer He has to stir up this inside of me. Don't worry. It's a work in progress, but I'm hoping to have a violin to take with me on outreach. Mom, Dad, and I are working out the details to make this possible. Who in Africa wouldn't want to hear my grooves? (Yep, Africa! Duh. ;-) Little rabbit trail, but I wanted to SECRETLY let you all know my outreach continent; specific location to be announced-->figured out...)

I'm staying with an incredible family in Brussels, Belgium. They love to play music and worship God! The daughter plays the violin. Of course! Tonight, we just enjoyed fellowship together and worshipped (I haven't played the violin yet...but I will). Once their daughter went to bed, I shared how God is revealing what I've been trying to deny and hide. Despite the past two years and not missing it, I miss playing the violin now more than ever. I now desire to play with a different heart. "The part of you that couldn't finally thinks you can." I don't care how awful I am or how awful people may think I am. My heart is for Him and I want to bring Him joy. I want to, I can, and I will play for Him.

Before we headed up to our rooms, our host parents prayed for Martha and I to be musical vessels; bringing glory and praise to God. Russ, Mr. FamilyHostMan, mentioned that earlier today, someone from church shared an impression from God. "Coincidence is God is trying to let you know something." Yes indeed.
So now, after listening to that one song over and over while writing this, I'm going to bed in the light, love, peace, and joy of God. Hallelujah!

Praise God!

Thanks for all of your prayers! I'm loving this YWAM craze! I have a treasure chest inside of me. This DTS is only the beginning of discovering all the other treasures God has woven within me. Start preparing yourself for what you will see from my life after this DTS. In other words, I'm dreaming bigger and I'm going to do things in life I never thought I would do because God's plan for me is bigger and better than even I or you could imagine. It's only the beginning folks...GET READY!

I am...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Who Am I?

I love people who are filled with life. They are the kind of people that draw others in and bring joy into the room. I admire those kind of people that are just on fire for God. I love people who are passionate and completely in love with Jesus. I enjoy being around people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone with confidence. I love people who are bold and courageous because of their trust in the Lord.

It's amazing how God can give you the desires of your heart. All the things I love about other people, I've always wanted for my own life. I want to be filled with life. I want to draw others in and bring joy into the room. I want to be on fire for God. I want to be passionate and completely in love with Jesus!! I want to be bold and courageous and willing to step out of my comfort zone because of my trust and hope in the Lord and my love for Him.

Well, God is revealing so much of who He is but even more of who I am.

A few nights ago, I had one of the first dreams that I could remember. My family and I were in Hawaii for something. It wasn't vacation but that definitely wasn't a problem. It's Hawaii! In the dream, I climbed this huge mountain with who I thought was my dad. The climb was WAY easier than I thought it would be. I wanted to climb it again the next day but no one else wanted to join me. There were other random things that were in the dream, including Staci informing me that she had painted one of my bedroom walls red while I was gone on my DTS. (Staci, that would be a horrible color to paint one of my walls. However, if you get the sudden urge to paint my room-do it! I would just ask that you pick colors that would look nice. Yellow and red is too much like McDonalds.) But really, the only awesome part of my dream was climbing this enormous mountain.

And then the morning after my dream, Kawika Drummond began our first lecture session on the Kingdom of God. Didn't realize that my prayer earlier that morning for God to reveal Himself more and more on a daily basis would come at such an abundance and urgency. That's what you get when you pray; God answers because He is faithful. Before digging into lecture, Kawika led us into a time where we each spent some time with God. During the quiet time, God brought clarity about the last night's dream. God told me that it wasn't my dad who climbed the mountain. God climbed the mountain with me and provided me with strength through the Holy Spirit. Then Kawika had us ask God what He thought of us. When I asked God, what He thought of me, He said, "Yes, Kari, you are a child of God, but you are more. You are a strong and courageous warrior who is willing to climb the mountains no one else wants to." After the short exercise, Kawika asked if anyone wanted to share. One of the guys, Brandon, shared and then he asked for any others to share. No one. And that's where God showed me, I'm willing. So I shared, as I have done so many times before.

And not only that, but students and staff, who I've know for less than two months, are coming up to me and sharing so many words of encouragement and prophesy. They don't even realize that what they are saying about who I am is what I've always desired to identify as with Jesus. God gives life abundantly. The more I learn about who God is, the more I learn about who I am. It's time that I start to grow out of the false identity I have been perceiving about myself and step into the fullness of who God has created me to be.

Oh yeah, and God has fulfilled another dream of mine. DTS? Check. Backpacking in Europe? Check. Pizza Party with the Homeless? Check. Yep! In Hamburg! Not only was it a Pizza Party but a whole other exciting adventure that God took me on (along with the other students that came-Mom:-)). And this my friends could possibly be the story to ask me about when I'm back: Pizza Party with the Homeless and MORE! I would need to be physically with you in order for you to truly understand how AMAZING my Pizza Party night. But until then, just know that God blew my mind (again) and gave me more than I could ever dream of! I can't explain it in writing and I'm far to lazy to type it out. I don't have video of it but I will never forget it.  I love homeless people, and Reggae people (WINK WINK HINT HINT). Awe! God is SOO good!

Okay, bedtime it is. I'm looking forward to setting up skype dates with you during my Christmas break (December 18-28) After Christmas break God is giving me the BEST birthday gift EVER! Outreach is planned to begin January 4, 2011. Not sure yet where I'll be but I'll be celebrating my birthday during outreach.

Keep praying! Love you guys. You rock!

Monday, November 1, 2010

In Hamburg...

I can't believe it. The first month in Herrnhut is over and we've now had two nights in Hamburg. It is so crazy how fast time goes by. I don't think we'll ever fully understand how time works. Sometimes it's too fast to keep up or too slow to function. Other times, the time seems to be at a perfect pace. Well, this last month seems to have gone by far too fast but I guess God knows best.
On Saturday, October 30th, we had a very early morning. Luckily, Silas, Sam, Man Sam, and I made homemade brownies and granola for the trip. That was a fun thing to look forward to during the long trip. Also, we were able to save some time by packing the night before but still had to wake up fairly early to start our ten-hour journey from Herrnhut to Hamburg. The morning began at 5:25am for me (slept as long as possible), breakfast at 5:30, deep cleaning of our rooms at 6, and then a normal fifteen minute walk (25 minute with the junk we all thought was important to bring) to the bus station by 7:45 to take us to the train station. Rather than spending a ton of money for the whole school to take a bus, we took the train. Maybe I should say "trainS" because we had at least six different trains throughout the little trip. But man, road trips (train trips?) are SOOO much fun! I love traveling!! At one point, I got to listen to 30 Seconds to Mars in a Burger King. Oh sweet Jared Leto. I've missed him...

Once we finally arrived in Hamburg, we had about a fifteen minute walk from the train station to the church we are staying at. I wish you could have seen all of us backpackers. After walking with our load, we are all convinced we packed far too much. Oh well, more to give. When we finally got to the church, all of us just wanted to sleep. We had dinner and then that's exactly what most of us did. By 8:30, we were out. Aww! REI! I love REI. My backpack, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. I can't even describe how amazingly great it is. That may change when I'm not completely exhausted, but for now, I'm very happy with what I have. Almost forgot, God gave me some of the coolest boots ever! The day before Mobile DTS left, MoTA students made a box for us to take stuff out of. And sure enough, the boots I had been praying for (my size, adorable, tall boots) were in the box. So thankful to the girl, whoever she was, who gave them up and I am VERY thankful for God to have put it on her heart to give up her boots. Yeah, God is AWESOME! Have I mentioned that throughout this yet?

Since we are living in a church, we can't really unpack and make it feel like home, but with this group starting to feel like family, I don't really think unpacking our stuff is the key to feeling at home. I think I'm really starting to like these kids. I might even love them at some point. Maybe. Don't want to make any promises. Sweet!

Sunday was such a great day. Since it was Halloween, our DTS leaders really felt led to have a night of worship. At 8pm, we had an hour of worship and then we also had prayer all through the night from 8pm till 8am.What a better way to celebrate Halloween then to praise God? There were 30 minute increments of prayer times throughout the whole night with at least two people praying each increment. I think we should do this every night. Prayer is so powerful. Probably because it's instant communication with God. And the night was a lot of fun. We played ridiculous games including the fruit game where you can't show your teeth and we played the faith/trust fall game where we had a person stand on a chair on the stage and then fall backwards to be caught by a group of people. At one point, the game became a human trampoline. So great! We're crazy, but safe (**Mom). I'm really diggin' this.

Yep. I'm having a wonderful time and can't wait for our speaker this week. Kawika Drummond is speaking on the Kingdom of God. I know God's going to rock my world even more. Now I have some bum deal we go...dun dun duh...

So, dearly beloveds, my wonderful family and friends, I don't have internet. Now, you may be asking, "Kari! What are you talking about?!! You put a blog up!!!" Yes. That is correct. I did put a blog up after I walked 45 minutes to the nearest Starbucks to use wifi for free. I love you all dearly and would love to skype, but there's kind of a little (BIG) problem. I would love to skype, but it just isn't going to work out with time difference and strict guidelines of when we can leave the church.

Hopefully I'll be able to skype in Amsterdam, Brussels, or Paris. If not, I'm on Christmas break from December 18-28 and I know that I can skype. I also know that I said to a few people that I would skype last week or I promised that I could skype while in Hamburg. I spoke too soon. I'm really sorry (especially to Aunt Sandy, Christine, Craig, Michal Paige, Kenny, Ashley, Terassa, and Kayla). I hope you can all still love me and continue to be praying for my whole DTS. I'll be keeping you all updated as best as I can. Infact, I can still write blogs...just have to wait for internet in order to share it.

And until next time, whenever that may be, know that I've been thinking about you all a lot. I'm so thankful for you all. You guys are such incredible friends. It's amazing how many of you folks I think of throughout each day. If your reading this, know that I'm praying for you and I've been thinking about you.

And Andersen family that lives on Pleasant Hill, expect a package soon. I may have already told you, but thought you might want to know...again....

Again, I love you all so much. I wish you all could be with me to see and be a part of all the cool things God is sharing with me. Now you guys just have to live dangerously and travel EVERYWHERE!!!! I love traveling. I love traveling and learning to trust God. I love traveling and learning to trust God and sharing the gospel amongst the spiritually dark places of Europe. Almost forgot to say, I shared my testimony last Thursday night where we did a mini-outreach in Zittau, Germany. God gave me boldness and confidence to speak with authority and share my testimony. I'm also really excited for God to give me a new way in expressing my love for Him. Our experience in Zittau made us all so hungry for what God is planning for us throughout the rest of lecture phase. Pray that God will continue to reveal Himself as I continue to seek Him whole-heartedly.

Well, I better sign out. Peace!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Spirit Within Me

For the past few nights, it has taken me what seems like forever to go to bed and fall asleep. Not that I haven't been sleeping well, it's just the getting to sleep step that has been fairly difficult.

During corporate worship this morning, I realized something. I could not stand still. To not move just seemed so foreign to my body. I couldn't just stand during worship. I had to move. But honestly, even the movement that I did still didn't seem to release all that is stirring within me. I probably should have just broke into a breakdance or something; B-boying (official term for breakdancing...ugh...I need to learn how to dance) would probably have helped.

And as the worship set came to a close, God gave me words to express my condition. I have a restless spirit within me. By no means is this meant as a bad thing. It's just that this spirit is the same Holy Spirit that was in Jesus, so you could say that it's pretty powerful. The Holy Spirt moves and knows nothing about sleep. I have never been more aware of the Holy Spirit moving within me than right now. Not only can I not seem to sit still, I can't stop thinking about how good God is. (The Holy Spirit-Genesis 1:2;Romans 8:9,11;1 Corinthians 3:16; 2:10-14; 2 Timothy 1:14)

My mind has been proven to be pathetic. In fact, I'm not so sure if my mind has caught up with everything. Maybe it eventually will. I won't be too upset if it never does because God can do more than I can comprehend.

To give you a brief description of my emotions right now, I'm going to attempt to make an
analogy/parallelism/hypothetical anecdote. Sound good? Then keep reading...

--> I have just jumped into a plane to go skydiving for the first time. It's something that I've always wanted to do and the moment has finally come. The plane takes off and starts to head up to the neccessary height of elevation. As the time passes by, a lot of thoughts start to run through my head. "Will I survive this? What am I doing? This is crazy. Wait, God has my life. What is there to fear? I took the training and I've been equipped. I trust God. This is crazy awesome. God is rad! I'm ready. I'm STOKED! I'm going to finally do something I've always wanted to! Oh yeah!" But then I realize that I still have at least twenty minutes or so until the plane finally arrives at the correct elevation to jump at. Now, with all of this excitement, I'm going to have to stay focused and wait patiently for the jump.

Here's the explanation if you don't get it and I had a failed attempt:
I am on a DTS in Herrnhut, Germany and about to start doing direct mission work for the first time in my life. I've had DTS on my heart for the past few years and now I'm doing my lecture phase. Already, I've had a lot of thoughts enter my head."Will I survive this? What am I doing? This is crazy. Wait, God has my life. What is there to fear but God Himself? God is guiding and equipping me. I trust God. I'm ready. This is crazy awesome. God is rad!  I'm STOKED! I'm going to finally do something I've always wanted to! Oh yeah!" Fortunately, the wait for doing outreach is coming to an end.

My school heads out on the 30th of October to Hamburg, just next Saturday. We'll be there till November 13th and then we head to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and then head back to Herrnhut for Christmas. It's still our lecture phase during this time but God has definitely been leading this school with such clarity. I know that God is stirring a lot within me. I think I know why God is. I'm so grateful for God giving us the Holy Spirit to rely on because there are going to be a lot of opportunities for the Holy Spirit to speak into the lives that surround us in each city.

Now would be the perfect time for prayer. I'll let you decide what needs to be lifted up to Him.

Well, I'm going to head out for a run. Even though I can't exhaust the stirring spirit within me, I know I can make my body tired. (I think Paul would agree-Romans 6:19)

Hope all is well! Again, thanks for following my updates. You help me to realize the support group that I have is full of amazing people. I love you all and I'm so encouraged by the fact that you read this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Story for His Glory

" will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses...(Acts 1:8)"

"Go home to your people and  report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you (Mark 5:19)."

Giving your testimony is one of the most simple ways in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyone who has come to live a life with Christ and for Christ has a story that needs to be told. It's your story and you have the authority to speak it. God uses our testimonies to further His kingdom. Whether we view our own story as radical, extreme, or boring, God views them all the same. He is so proud of all of His children and every story shared brings Him glory. When we share our testimony and speak with boldness, God is able to pry into the most hardened hearts. It breaks my heart to think that by not sharing my "boring" testimony, one of God's children would have to go through even more prolonged sufferings in this world before the true image of God is revealed to them.

For this blog, I've come to share one thing. Despite my previous thoughts of my testimony being "boring," I now realize the evidence of God's grace and His desire to have a personal relationship with every single person. I've also found how many different avenues of a testimony there are. I'm sure I won't be able to cover everything that has led me to Him, but this is what I've got to share with you for now...

As many people might say, I grew up in a wonderful Christian family. My parents raised me with love and taught me so much (**They are INCREDIBLE! Maybe you should hang out with room is available, as far as I know**). I went to Sunday school when I was pretty young but attended long enough to be able to learn the story of Noah's ark, Moses and the Ten Commandments, and Jesus Loves Me. But that was basically the extent of what I knew.

During elementary school, I tried out the whole youth group scene and I was really confused. One night at youth group, I would learn that we, as Christians, were to love one another. And the next day at school, I would see the same girls, from my youth group, be ridiculously rude to each other and others. "Friends" became the most frustrating/stressful thing ever. Whether they hurt me or others, it became quite the norm that I would come home, in tears, because I had been hurt at some point during the day. I guess I just expected more from friendships. Maybe I had too high of standards or maybe I had unrealistic expectations? Friendships were suppose to last a lifetime, right?

Thankfully, some of us are born into a family where we can have a best friend and I was (still am) fortunate to have my sister, Staci, become one of my best friends. The downside to this was that I put my everything into her. I started to believe that this sister could also be my best friend for life and help/provide me with everything! She was the one friend I had been searching for...right?

Everything seemed to be perfect. We got along great(we still do); we loved one another(we still do); we were sisters and we would always have each other(yep). She would pave the way and I would follow her. She would make friends and then I would become friends with her friends. Easy fix. Simple as that. Yeah? Everything seemed to be perfect. It wasn't until Staci went to live in Florida for six months when I realized that I had become dependent on Staci. It was pretty pathetic actually. Once she left, what was I going to do? I soon would found out during one of the most amazing summers of my life! Oh yes!

During that particular summer, I learned more and more about the faithfulness of God through reading the Bible, going to Bible studies, and hanging out with some really cool Christian kids. At some point, it just clicked. The friendship I had always desired had a face. Within the six months I thought I had lost my best friend, I realized that I had never even begun to seek after the relationship with the One I would be friends with forever and ever.

I can't fully explain it, but God provided such a great hard growing time during those six months to reveal to me that Jesus was and forever will be my best friend. My mom proudly shares a quote I said when I was really young. I was maybe four or five. I hope I'm remembering this correctly...."God is my most famous famous friend I've never seen before."

Little did I know that I would be able to see Him in all His wonderful creations and be able to have a personal relationship with Him that would never fail. I see Him everyday, everywhere. He never lets me down; He never ceases to amaze me; He is always with me. Plus, Jesus loves me this I know. Now I finally have the friendship I had been seeking after for so long. I have Him to guide me everyday. Also, no phone calls necessary. Don't need skype. Don't need to arrange hangout times. I can have complete communication with Him whenever, wherever. Without a doubt, I know that I have a specific purpose in life. God has an amazing plan for my life! I'm stoked to live it out for Him.

Watch out world! I'm determined to be a witness, a worshiper, and a warrior all for His name. With God, I can live in freedom and confidence, knowing that Jesus Christ is my comfort, my strength, my refuge, my joy, my everything. And it doesn't stop there, folks. God has given me so many blessed friendships. I'm now overwhelmed with the many friendships I have. Never saw that one coming.

The best part, God always keeps me in constant search and desire to know Him more. Everday, He reveals more and more of who He is and who He desires me to be. He's always taking me on exciting adventures and explorations. Really! Less than two years since I've been baptized and begun to seek after Him with everything I have, God has blown me away with crazy goodness! Praise God that He isn't the type to only want one best friend. He desires for everyone to have a personal relationship with Him. He wants to give everyone freedom from sin in His Son, Jesus Christ. Another thing that's rad about how He works is that He will continue to seek you even after you've begun to seek Him.

What a life! No stress? No worries? No fears? Sweet deal! For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.Yep, and now I'm chillin' in Germany, soon to be traveling around Europe, with my faithful Friend; my Savior, my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Awaiting the Awakening...

My deepest apologies to you all. I've got very little for you to really think about or at least I hope for this to be fairly easy to comprehend. It's okay if it takes you awhile, I'm still not really sold on the idea that I'm in a foreign country doing things I've never done before. Is this really happening?

Towards the end of last week, I became very familiar with the schedule or at least the one I'll have until we head off to Hamburg, Germany on October 30. (From October 30-December 18, the schedule is going to suprise us on a regular basis as we will be traveling. Great!) To fill you all in, here is what my daily schedule consists of...

During the week, I have a wonderful work duty to perform. I'm sure you other YWAMers are very familiar with the term and you probably can remember your work duty. Well, being use to lack of sleep and waking up early to serve people coffee, I figured that breakfast prep would be the best. For my work duty, I have to be in the kitchen, Monday through Thursday, at 6am. Therefore, I wake up at 5:55am and head down to get all the ingredients for breakfast ready.

Breakfast is from 7-7:30, so it's quite the rush of students. Somewhat entertaining to watch after I've already enjoyed my breakfast fifteen minutes earlier (quite the advantage when you're on the breakfast prep crew). Usually we have an arrangement of things to put in our yogurt and cereal. And of course, there's bread. And when the breakfast prep crew sees that we have a lack of food, we have oatmeal. Oatmeal here is the same as in America: easy to make, boring, and cheap. Luckily, there are a ton of different things, like flaxseed, raisins, jelly, nutella, sunflower seeds, and lentils, to help make the oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt unique from the previous day. It's nothing in comparison to the variety offered at the wonderful Quesadilla Factory. But for now, it's all I've got that offers variety.

After breakfast, everyone, except the breakfast crew, has quiet time till 8:30. Breakfast crew cleans up and we're usually done around 8. Then I head upstairs to grab my Bible and lecture notebook to take to class. Unlike the other DTS school that is also here with us, I get to go on a twenty minute walk into town where my DTS is having our lectures while we're here in Herrnhut. The walk is absolutely gorgeous and I really wish that pictures uploaded better but for now I'll have to wait till I get back home to show you all the awesome pictures I've taken. Basically, I get to walk through Narnia. If you know the song, Svefn-G-Englar by Sigur Ros, try to imagine what kind of scenery that song is trying to create. Yeah, my walk is about ten times better than that song my cause you to imagine and it hasn't even snowed here yet! Don't be jealous. I'm probably exaggarating, just everso slightly though.

We have our lectures in a small building off the church I've being attending. It's perfectly named the Jesus Haus. There's just the right amount of space for all the students and staff to squeeze in and become one big happy family. We usually start our mornings off with a set of worship songs and then begin the teachings. About halfway through our lecture, we have a kaffeepause. Think about it...yep, a coffee break.

Oh Cuppa Joe, you would be SOO disappointed in my decisions. Why? Because if I want to make the most of my kaffeepause, I'm gonna add as much sugar and creme as I possibly can. This week I plan on just drinking tea. Kaffee? Espresso? I'm not in Washington State anymore. Am I? Hopefully somewhere along this excursion, I will happily be reunited, or introduced for that matter, to a true taste of European espresso. The castle is offering its best, but it's more about quantity than quality. Did I mention there's over 220 people to provide for? Enough said. The castle is doing a fabulous job. Once our break is over, we have another hour and a half of lecture. After the final half of morning lectures, we head back to the castle to have lunch.

Oh, wait.....There is another meal that offers variety. Lunch is always a surprise. Lunch is the only hot meal. Sometimes, I can tell what it is but most of the time I just see it as food and that's really all that matters. I'm not much of a picky eater so I just grab as much as I can without causing a huge backup in the enormously long line. Also, Americans have it WRONG!! Not so sure if I agree with that previous statement, but nearly all the Europeans here claim that this way of eating is "healthier." So for now, I'll believe them.

After lunch, most everyone else who doesn't have breakfast prep as their work duties has to do work duties from 2:30-4. For this reason I am very grateful that I get to wake up early in the morning, assured to have breakfast without something running out, and I have quiet time in the afternoon. Currently, everyone is working and I'm sitting on my laptop, journaling. So GOOD!! (*Random story--I had a dream that all the Rabbs dyed their hair blonde in rememberance of me. I really pray this doesn't happen. Kate and Linda could maybe pull it off, but definitely a no-go for the Rabb men. Sorry, rabbit trail. The "So GOOD!!" reminded me of that BAD.)

Another short lecture session follows work duty and then we have dinner. I really think that we (Americans) have WAY better dinners. Actually, the thing is that they just have our lunches and dinners switched. Dinner usually comes with cucumbers, tomatoes, a variety of cheese, ham, turkey, carrots, and bread: everyday. The idea of sandwiches are what they're aiming for when it comes to dinner. I've learned to be creative when eating this arrangement of food. I rarely eat it as a sandwich. I'm not too much of a sandwich fan. For now, I just suck it up, admist all the European fingers pointed at me, followed by uproars of laughter, and continue to eat my dinner in my own special little way. Really, it's not bad at all. These kids love Jesus. Despite my unusual eating habits, they love me, too.

The night is OURS after we have dinner. Us mobile DTS kids have become very fond of having game night. We're really trying to be social. Nearly every night, there's a group of us playing games or just hanging out. And, I learned how to play Spades the other night. Silas taught me how to play. He and I played a game with another team for my first time and lost. Just last night, Dominic and I played on a team against Sammy and Adam. Dominic and I DOMINATED!!! Hahaha...the pun...did you kinda hear it? get it? Maybe that wasn't a pun.......ugh! I don't understand English anymore...What's the difference between a sweater and a sweatshirt? What does "special" mean? Vas?!!!

There's so many things I haven't even described. I'm doing things I've never done before. I'm living in a room that's about the same size as my whole room with five other girls. I'm learning that it's WAY easier to make your bed when it's just a sleeping bag. I'm reminded every night that I made a great investment for my sleeping bag. I'm doing my laundry out of a sink and then hanging it to dry over a course of two days or so. I'm finding out so much more of what I want to do and what I don't want to be doing during my DTS. I'm starting to be able to focus on the NOW and stopping to think about the LATER. I'm here now and I'm absolutely loving it. Sure, there's things that aren't the same as I've known, but it's all so new to me that I am exploding with giddiness [sp?:-)]. I want to be fully present and absorb it all in. I want to live life at its fullest and enjoy every second of it.

Please don't tell me this is just a dream. I feel like I'm awaiting the unwanted awakening. And if this is a dream, I don't want to wake up.

Dare I say it: God is rocking my world and I'm lovin' it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Two Lessons of the Day

#1-He Hears Even the Small Things
This morning was our first day that we had a schedule to follow. After breakfast, I headed back up to my room for an hour of quiet time. Thank goodness for a little trick I learned for when you don't know what to read but want to read a few quick verses. So I read the Psalms and Proverb of the day. Right after quiet time, I headed to all base worship where everyone meets (all staff and both DTS schools: Marriage of the Arts and Go-Mobile).

During worship, singing one of the many songs I had never heard before, there was a few words that I couldn't stop thinking about. "He is faithful to the end, He is faithful to my heart, He is faithful to the end; He will come and marry me." I just kept thinking about how faithful God is. Admist the big and the small "problems" that we encounter, nothing goes unanswered, unhealed, or untouched by God.

Psalm 4:1, "Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 34:6, "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles." Psalm 64:1, "Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint..." Psalm 94:11,13-14, "The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are a mere breath...That You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the  Lord will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsafe His inheritance."

Okay, so I shared those verses with you because they come into play. Anyways, back at the scene of worship. During one of the transitions from one song to another, a girl from the other DTS came up and shared that a word God put on her heart. Worship is a time for healing; reach out to God and ask that you may be healed, whether spiritually, emotionally, physcially.....Then one of the leaders stepped in and asked for anyone that needed some kind of healing to raise their hand for others to gather around and pray for them. This is where the verses become applicable. I started to think, "What do I need healed? Emotionally, spirtually...hmm. God, You've really blessed me. I feel strong.....but that stupid knee of mine. Why do I love to run so much?!" Once again, the leader asks, "Everyone who is need of prayer for any sort of healing, raise your head now so others can gather around and pray for you."

Did I raise my hand? No. I mean, it's just a little pain in the knee. I'm thinking maybe we need to be praying for people who have had major health problems, drug addictions, open heart surgery...yeah? Nope. Almost immediately when I thought that I wasn't in need of prayer, another leader came forward. "Hey guys, God just told me that someone with a leg injury needs prayer, so if that's you, come up here right now because I want to pray for you." I love the way He works. Whether you want to do something from the get-go or you hesitate, stomp your feet, refusing with as much effort to do something, God is always going to find a way to get you to do it someway or another. Proverbs 4:12, "When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble." Praise God! I haven't heard the usual cracking sound or felt the normal pain all day long! Super stoked.

Here's the lesson out of all of this: God is always, and forever will be, faithful. Despite how we view our problems, complaints, frustrations, or troubles, God is always waiting for us to come before Him and submit to Him. Nothing is too small to bring before the Lord. In fact, bring everything to Him. He's the best you can possible go to.

Lesson #2-Leaving Our Nets Behind
We also had our first "lecture" given by Jan, who is one of the base founders living here at the castle with his family. He shared a lot about the history of the castle and how Herrnhut began, but more importantly, he was sharing his excitement for this school. He likes to refer to us as the Pioneer DTS because we are the first DTS, from the Herrnhut base, to go mobile and travel around Europe with a very raw rough draft as to how or what we will be doing during the weeks out in the street ministries within Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris. (*Mom, it's safe. God's got our back.)

In this adventure, Jan wanted to remind us of why we are here. We are definitely all here for this craziness because God has a divine plan for each and everyone of us. However, there's a catch. We can't come here, thinking that this is just a six month time for us to step out of our normal life schedules to devote our lives to God. (**Puke, seriously. I really hope nobody EVER lives their lives like a planner..."my day, God's day, live for me, live for Jesus..." Am I making this point clear? Live every year, every day, every hour, every minute, every second for God. Got it? Good. I knew you would understand.=) Sorry about the rabbit trail, just had to get that in there.)....

Well, in talking about how our lives should always be pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14), he also referred to how the disciples all dropped what they were doing in life so that they could follow Jesus. Galatians 5:24, "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (*Staci, feel free to refer to Gal 2:20 instead...I'm sure you would LOVE to read that one again and again.)

To wrap it all up, I'm here in Herrnhut, Germany with one goal. To press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. I want to take hold of God and become who He wants me to be. Did I mention what I'm doing after I get back? Because I have no plans and don't want any until they are clear plans from God. Just as the twelve disciples left their work behind, I'm leaving my desires and passions behind.

#2 Lesson in a nutshell: If we truly want to be glorifying God, then we have to follow Him. Leave your fishing nets behind, whatever they may be, and seek the Lord with all your heart. Proverbs 3:5-7

Auf Wiedersehen!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Finally, Saturday Supper at Six

Apparently, if you are a Washingtonian and want to join YWAM and do a DTS in Europe, than Herrnhut is the place for you.There are three other students in my DTS that are from Washington State. A guy, Brandon, and a girl, Sam, graduated together a year ago from a school north of Seattle and are having quite an early high school reunion. The best part is that neither one of them knew of the other coming. Another girl, Emily, is from Vancouver, WA. We've got a few Canadians, maybe a Polish person somewhere in the crew, a girl from Austria, one very tall Brazilian man and A LOT of Germans.

I've come to the realization (as have the three other only-English speaking girls...I'm excited about this realization, really) that I am going to have to learn German if I want to mingle with all of the students these next few months. So far, I've learned six basic words. Four if you don't want to include the words sorry and the extended version of thank you. Correction, I'm learning how to speak German, not necessarily learning how to spell it properly.

When we were registering we had this fun little information card to fill out. Here's what I got:
Name: Kari Lea Andersen
Nationality: American
Country From: United States
Three countries you would like to do outreach: Ethiopia, Thailand, Cambodia
Favorite Superhero: Princess Leia
Favorite thing to do the most: Fellowship with others
Expectation for school: For God to bring clarity into what He has for my calling to fulfill my ministry for His glory

We finally had our official meet and greet. Dinner was much better than the previous nights. Kinda deceptive as to what we really get, but oh well, it's food. Unfortunately, food here isn't showing "The Best of Germany." I'm sure it will taste like royalty food after I'll enjoy it as much as I can! Then again, I love food so it really shouldn't be a problem.

Well folks, that's all I've got that I think might be interesting. I'll save you from boredom and write when I have something for you all to chew on. You bet it, I'll have some good stuff for you all.

Again, thanks for checking in. I LOVE to see how many new profile views I get. If you're ever bored and want to make me happy, go ahead and visit my page over and over again. How would I know it's just the same person stalking my page:-)

Love you all so so much! Oh yeah, almost forgot to ask.....Do you realize I'm in Germany?!!! I still haven't really figured that one out. Skype really makes this whole thing trippy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And the language barrier is evident....

First off, I would like to say that my family gave me one of the most encouraging sendoffs ever! I love you ALL! (Yes; Mom, Dad, Staci, and Michal)

Now, for some exciting stuff....

Right before I boarded my flight to London, I got into a conversation with a lady who was going to visit family. She asked me where I was going...."Germany." Another lady who was eavesdropping asked the infamous question for this whole trip, "Do you know German?" And you all should know my answer by now..."Nope." The flight to London showcased just a snipet of what I was going to encounter, as far as the language barrier goes. My flight to Dresden should have been called A WARNING FOR KARI; YOU ARE GOING TO REALIZE YOUR STUPIDITY IN GERMANY. Oh dear.Never knew how badly I would have wanted a short version of Rosettastone, despite the outrageous price, after the first three hours in Germany. Trust me, I already have one thing I would change. I would have studied enough to tell people I don't speak German, because when I say,"No, I can only speak English," they continue to have or at least try to have a conversation with me about where they grew up and their wonderful, new umbrella. Kids, listen to your family. Stay in school.

**I may have also sat by the craziest old man in Germany because when I was riding the train and he was talking to me, a younger boy started cracking up laughing. I looked at the kid, "Do you speak English?" He nodded. He continued to laugh and manage to tell me that the crazy man was talking to me but wasn't making any sense even in GERMAN! Great. I picked a winner to sit by. Too bad I thought the old man and crazy lady were a couple and then later found out that she thought he was crazy too! Yep, I thought they were just a sterotypical old couple that fought about stupid stuff. Oh no, she just happened to sit by the crazy man too. She later confirmed that she didn't know him once he got off at a stop at the train. She looked at me and rolled her eyes with a sigh of relief that he was finally gone. I think she was really grateful that she was able to express to me that she wasn't as crazy as I thought she was.**

So anyways, I represented an American, folks. Yes sir. Yes ma'am. I did. I done a not good jerb at it. Sorry. If you find yourself in a foreign country and people look at you like you're an idiot, I apologize. That was my fault.

After finding people (one nice gentleman) help me understand the transferring system for the trains, I was guided to a train that took me straight to my destination where Dick and Ruchama Aalbert were able to come pick me up despite the delay from previous plans. *At this point I think I should note that the language barrier has been with the locals only and not with the YWAM staff, for now:)

Once we got to the base, I had a tour of the Herrnhut Castle. Yep, fo'sho! It's pretty sweet! I'm gonna have to take pictures of it soon before the troops come in tomorrow. Yep, fo'sho on that one too, looks like I'm one of the very few to be here tonight because the other YWAM students and staff headed out to Switzerland to celebrate the 50th with the Cunninghams. Kinda sad I wasn't able to go to the celebration, but then again, the castle is nearly empty and there are a lot of rooms that need to have their pictures taken.

Only one bum deal of this whole check bag decided to not come with. Hopefully it will build up the confidence and come to Herrnhut soon or else we may have a problem. No clothes, no sleeping bag/mat...No big deal, I just ask that you all join me in prayer that it come eventually...soon, tomorrow.

Take care! I love you all and I'm so grateful for all your prayers! I'll try to keep you all updated as often as I can...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Here we GO!!!

Thanks for checking out my blog! First off, you guys are the smart ones and are going to get the good stuff. Not sure what that fully entails, but know this: my blog updates are most likely going to be WAY better than facebook. Well, at least that's what I say now and hope to live up to. I'll try my best to keep you updated on what I'm learning and how God is working. I love you all and I'm stoked that I have your prayers and support. When I'm finally in Germany, I'll write to you!

Until then...a dozen more days...for real...12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, there.