God really knew what He was doing when He put me here (Duh!) But really my first week at YWAM Denver has been such a good mix of down time, get to know you activities, "awkward week" orientation, Spirit filled worship, prayer, sport, testimony sharing, and lecture periods full of Godly insights. It's hard to believe I'm been here less than a week! Where to start.... It's all kinda a blur honestly...
Monday was a very early morning but so full of excitement and newness. My flight was quick and painless and from the first encountering with the staff that picked me up from the airport, I knew I was going to be in a community that strived for a God like family atmosphere. They focus on the individual to call out their true identity and calling. If there's one thing I'd have to say about the staff is that they CARE. Our director Eric is so caring, wise and down to earth. I would definitly follow him into battle. They all work and serve us because that's where their heart is, to see us each our full potential. No paycheck. It's humbling. Even before all us students arrived they prayed over each of our packets, asking God to work in us and for His guidance as we were placed into our small groups. Our drive from the airport was so uplifting as us students in that airport run shared a little bit about why we had come and how God has redeemed our lives.
We got to campus and since our group arrived before "check in," I had time to head up to my room, rest and unpack. The first student I met at the airport, Joelle turned out to be in the same room of 8 (there is also a room with 15!) as me, so it was nice to have the company as we relaxed, processing this new adventure. We headed to registration and all I could think about as I was filling out paperwork, buying books, and getting my picture taken was, "So this is what going back to school feels like! Man, am I out of practice." Needless to say it was a lot for someone 2 years out of collage to take in. I am NOT used to these early mornings either! But I must say that my roomie sisters are awesome. It's been less that a week and we already feel so close and are already praying together, checking in, and just loving on each other. Very encouraging!
My first afternoon was pretty relaxed after the check in really, I ended up in the dinning hall watching soccer with a ton of the guys (per usual), met a girl from Columbia named Paola (whom I now get to speak spanish with as she would approach me when she had a question/didn't quite understand), and I rallied people to toss a frisbee (I'm already known as the "sporty girl" and one of the guys Reid likes to tell people I'm a "professional frisbee player." I'm no longer asked to play volleyball, I'm kinda just told.) There's also DTS school Director Eric's son Malachi (I think he is 4) that will run up to me almost every time he's around and say "your the friend that made a sand volcano with me!" (He doesn't remember my name but I don't even care as long as he keeps doing that!) Dinner was fun and I was the only girl that got up for seconds.... see a trend forming here?
Since we headed to worship that evening i'll just talk about worship in general now :) It's awesome! Love being in a room with a whole room of people who get into worship like I do. During worship we not only sing, but we may (as people/leaders feel called) break out into prayer for each other. There is even a mic that they have up front that people can use to share a "word" that they fell God has placed on their heart for the whole community. It's pretty special and a unique experience. I received a "word" from God just yesterday, Song of Solomon 8:6, and my heart was beating SO HARD (a good sign that it's from God, we all joke ;) That first night I was able to come up for the alter call and lay everything down fresh, anything that was still holding me back from being all in here, and an addiction. I feel so free!
Some amazing testimonies I've heard so far...... The director of a YWAM base in Chile told me a story during dinner about how his daughter with Downs Syndrome was swept up in a current (as a family they are always in or around the ocean) and was saved by dolphins!
A guy who, 2 days before needing to leave on outreach, did not have any of the money he would need to go. He then got an envelope in his mailbox (on a day mail doesn't get delivered) with $1,000. He was wrecked. He went up stairs to his room to pray and as he grabbed his pillow there was money under his pillow. He then walked outside, even more wrecked only to be approached by a guy that handed him another check. I think this story stuck with me because I still have about $2,000 to come up with for my outreach. God provides so I'm trying not to stress (easier said then done of course) and I honestly look forward to more cool ways he moves to fulfill His calling in my life!
Random other things... hmmm... have had a few times where just my Around the World DTS group has gotten to hang out (normally we are all combined with another school, the compassion DTS.) It's a blast, our team is very cool and so diverse. We laugh a lot. We only have 2 guys and that's including our outreach leader Matt. A little note about Matt and Bekka (his assistant for outreach.) They both very laid back. It's super refreshing. Matt in particular believes that outreach should operate a lot like real life, not forced, using peoples natural giftings. Always focusing on harboring real, authentic, relationships with the people we minister too. He also has a red beard like Xabi Alonso (Soccer player on the Spanish team).... and if I were a guy I think I'd have beard envy!
Some other aspects of the school:
Daily quit times with God. Every morning after breakfast we have a 50 minute period to just go on a date with Jesus. Sometimes people read, sometimes they pray, some listen to worship music, some people sing (like me.) Others may take a walk around the pond, some may draw, and the first morning I started reading a book my mom gave me "praying in color." and drew my prayers. It was COOL!
Small groups. My leader Clara is hilarious, genuine, and loves to go deep. Also in my group are Amanda and Nicola (both in the around the world DTS) and I just can't wait to see where we as a group go together! God definitely put us together for a reason :D There was a very special time on Thursday evening called the "commitment service," where we were asked (if ready) to allow our small group leader to wash our feet and pray over us. It was essentially symbolizing the allowing of our leaders into the deeper, sometimes dirty, more vulnerable sides of our lives. Just as the disciples were served by Jesus, they wanted to serve us. It was pretty wonderful. While some were having a more emotional time, I actually didn't feel overly emotional/moved. I more so felt calm and joy. Which I honestly thought was weird (I normally engage on a more emotional level, but then thought "no Aubrey that's dumb, let yourself move how you're naturally moving and own it.") I felt I had already committed to go all in on the first night and felt like "well, I'm here, and I don't have much else place to go, so yup, I'm all in." Clara and I spent the remainder of the time just sitting against the wall in the back laughing and sharing. We talked about music. Clara loves David Bowie!
Work duties: I'll be doing housekeeping around the campus 10 hours a week.
Lectures: We'll have a different speaker each week talking on topics like the character of God, Fear of the Lord, Relationships, Voice of God, Missions, etc etc.
Book reports: We have 2 written and 2 oral book reports due throughout the term based off of the four books we choose to read at registration. (more on those later)
We also have our weekly journal, weekly tests, weekly verse meditations and "creative presentations" based off of certain assigned topics. We have many options including dance, painting, poetry, music, teaching etc.
Phew! So that's a "little" bit about YWAM Denver and my first week! Hopefully more to come soon! Love and miss you all!