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.