Laura's Update from YWAM in Thailand

Well, here I am. The same Tassie girl living the dream but in another location. I arrived in Bangkok Thailand two weeks ago today. I cannot even begin to explain those two weeks except for God is continuing to blow my mind, beyond any expectation or previous encounter. 
We spent a few days in Bangkok for orientation before taking another flight to the eastern side of the country to Ubon Ratchathani. 
For those of you that do not know, the Thai people believe that to "be Thai is to be Buddhist." The country is only 1% Christian, which means that the region of Ubon that I am in with my team is only about 0.18% Christian.  The challenging part is that a lot of the people here have grown up being Buddhist, they are rooted deep in following and serving a false god. How do you tell someone that your God is greater,  your God is stronger and your God is higher than any other?  At the beginning of our time here God was calling our team to be a house of prayer and I believe this is one of the main ways that we can make an impact.  Staying in close relation to our God and always drawing near to him. 

We are here in Ubon working alongside the YWAM base. I absolutely love it!  The people, the ministries and especially the food!  The base is involved in so many different ministries and are even focused on pioneering new ministries. We have been going to the Juvenile detention centre three mornings a week,  teaching English to girls and boys, sharing testimonies and playing games.  We have been visiting villages, listening to the locals stories and prayer walking. As we walked around one of the villages we prayed for some beautiful Grandmother's, one was deaf, one was blind and the other was wanting continued good health.  Most of them were saying that if they are to recieve healing then they will believe in Jesus.  If anything I have been learning just how important prayer really is and through that we can actually have an impact. I have been reminded of the parable of the mustard seed - all it takes is a small amount of faith, imagine what can happen with a lot!

Last week was one of my favourite days as we got to visit the women's prison.  It was so overwhelming just thinking about each individual life, how precious that life is to God and thinking that some of these woman may never make it out.  My heart broke for them as I thought of this,  how much more would the Fathers heart be breaking for them? 
Tears welled up in my eyes as 70 woman put  their hand up to receive Christ!!  Praise the Lord!  We got to pray over them individually and clothe them in love. What a privilege! But the fight has only just started.  Can you imagine starting your journey with Christ in prison? We need to stand and fight for these woman in prayer that they will be a light to others. 

This photo above is one of my favourite memories from our last week in Sri Lanka. We were able to visit the YWAM base in Kandy on our way to the airport.  It is literally in the middle of the jungle and I love it!  They are surrounded by bush and mountains. The base is mostly self sufficient as they make a profit off the tea and cinnamon they grow around them. Their vision is to reach and train the Sinhalese people as Sri Lanka is the only country with this people group. God has called them specifically to these people and it is by far an easy task. They have trained and equipped so many already and they are believing for many more to come through their doors even though they do not advertise or promote DTS online in anyway due to the closed nation that they are reaching. God's faithfulness always prevails. 

God has been teaching me so much while I have been away.  I am so excited to share more with all of you.  As my time overseas draws to an end (just over a week left in Thailand!)  God has been growing my heart for my own country and breaking it for those that are still lost. I specifically feel called back to Australia for a period of time - whatever that looks like, I am not totally sure yet but I'll definitely keep you posted on that. I will be returning home in December for summer and seeking the Lord on what my next steps will be. 

Prayer points:
- continuing to have an 'all in' attitude
- good communication and good attitudes within my team as out time draws to an end 
- our focus to remain on Thailand while we are still here even though it is easy to think of home and worry about what our next steps are

I cannot thank you enough for all of your support and prayers!! 

Much love,
Laura xo


Laura's Update from YWAM


Yes,  you read it right - I made it to Sri Lanka!!  I arrived with my team almost two weeks. We flew into Colombo (the only airport on the island)  then took a 7hr van ride through the night across Sri Lanka to Arugam Bay. I slept on and off, so I got a glimpse of the beautiful lush forestry and an elephant! It is  crazy to think that I have finally made it to my outreach phase of DTS; after three months of talking about it and preparing,  I am here! 

Jumping back to a few weeks ago after our lecture phase finished we travelled down to Sydney for about two weeks where we stayed at YWAM Island Breeze for local outreach.  It was an amazing time of ministry that included evangelism at malls,  feeding the homeless, cleaning the base and experiencing many different cultures. We all absolutely loved it and were sad to say "see ya later" to our island friends.  We travelled back to Newcastle for Annual Retreat with the whole Newie base (a weekend of camping and encountering God)  which I LOVED! Then it was time to head overseas which takes us to the 'now.'

Being my first overseas mission trip, I tried to lay down all expectations before coming as I really only had other peoples opinions to go off for what it was going to be like.  I just want to be open to what God has in store for me and not let preconceived ideas affect my experience. So there I was over a week ago, sitting at our hosts house listening to them talk about their vision for Arugam Bay and how their motto is to LOVE WITHOUT AGENDA. I was excited to hear that as this was truly how Jesus loved. We are to love with no expectations and no time limit. Always, in every moment as this is what the people of Arugam Bay need to experience; the love of a Saviour.

We are here in Arugam Bay with Surfing The Nations (do a quick Google if you have no idea what I just said - Tom Bauer,  the founder spoke to us about missions in week 10 of our lecture phase!!). Our hosts, Tiffany and Cody Carether, along with their two boys, Koda and Kenai, have been here for 8 years, loving on people and introducing surfing to the nation. They are from America and said yes to full time missions here as they love God and surfing.  It is amazing to be fully immersed into the ministry they have set up as it gives us a great insight into Sri Lankan culture. The Carethers have a weekly schedule which includes things like family nights,  bible studies, girls make waves (empowering women to surf), movie nights, kids ministry on Saturday morning (bible teaching,  beach clean ups and swimming/surfing lessons) and we've been involved in all of it. So we have been seeing the people of the  Muslim village up to three times a week which is great as we have so many opportunities to share Christ with them.

It is so beautiful as the fruit that I'm seeing coming from this intentional time of relationship building is the smile on kids faces when I see them again, or the fact that because I am looking after kids on the beach I am actually empowering women to go out and hit the waves!  Fruit here may not look the same as fruit during our evangelism times in Australia but I am learning to see God in news ways.  To let him blow my mind out of the water and allowing him to transform my heart.

I am SO blessed to be here in Arugam Bay, living by the beach with my amazing team.  It is literally a dream location. As far as food goes,  it is amazing!!  Except I am beginning to experience what it is like to eat spicy food three times a day,  everyday.  As one of my team members quoted,  "you can't rush the curry but the curry sure can rush through you" I can now say that with experience!  But all in all,  we are all doing pretty well.  It is so hot here that we've been sweating buckets for the Lord!  So I guess all the water we're drinking helps to flush out our system... 
Today was our Sabbath and I spent it attempting to surf and chilling out at restaurants with free Wi-Fi. Life is truly amazing. 

We are here until next Thursday when we will begin our travels to Thailand. To be honest,  I have not really thought about it much as my mind has been so focused on the here and now.  But I can say that I am so excited and expectant for what God has planned. 

Your prayers are SO valued! I cannot thank you enough.  Some prayer points this week:

-continued health for myself and the team
-boldness in building relationships with the locals and tourists 
-that we would seek out every opportunity to best serve and bless our hosts

Many blessings to you all, 
Love Laura xo

Jayden & Clrys Update

Just thought we should give you guys an update on what we have been up too.
Braydie and Faith left us on the 17th and since then we have been very busy. We are currently in the process of...
1. Registering our friends school of 180 children.
2. Building a chicken coop for our friends school.

Our hope with this is to feed all the children the eggs and then as the chickens grow sell them, so they can buy posho (flour and water cooked) and beans. Also plant fruit trees on the land. Our friends that have this school are a married couple. The husband is a pastor and they have  11 children (5 of their own and 6 adopted). I have know this lady since 2014. She makes her money by making and selling necklaces.
3. Trying to help another friend grow potatoes.

We would appreciate your prayers and we travel back and forth on public transport to the villages. Also we need to purchase the land for the chicken coop, so we need it to work out fast and smoothly. Thank you!

We will try to keep you updated on our plans!

Lots of love Jayden and Clrys! 😘

Extra note: the land is 4million Shillings equal to $1500 Australian. Jayden and I have the money to use for the land.
The thing we ask for is prayer for it. Getting land here is complicated. We need to get the real owner to sign it over. (Which shouldn’t be too hard we hope because we were told it’s for sale). We just need it to move quickly so we can begin the building of the coop. As we have 51 days left. :)



Laura's Update from YWAM in Newcastle

Hello family & friends!!
Thanks so much for committing to follow my journey over the next 6 months. What a journey it will be and already has been!

I have been here in Newcastle, Australia for just over 2 weeks now. WOW! It literally feels like I have been here for at least 2 months! It has been so easy to get to know others here, especially in the first week as we were all new. In case you are not caught up on what I am up to, I will explain a little…

I have moved my life to Newcastle – about a 3 hour train ride North of Sydney – for the next 3 months to live at the YWAM base here with 34 other students. YWAM stands for Youth With A Mission and I am doing a DTS (Discipleship Training School.) A DTS is basically a 6 month course that trains in discipleship to first know God then make him know to the nations. The last 3 months of the course is the outreach phase where we get to do local missions plus overseas missions.
We currently do not know where we are heading yet. I will be sure to keep you updated on that.

This July quarter we have two different DTS’s - cultures and creative; I am part of the Cultures World Explorers. We pretty much do everything together – study, worship, pray, eat, sleep and breathe ;) I share a room with 5 other young women making it hard to find my own time to just chill or hang with God but I absolutely love my roomies, don’t get me wrong. Living in community is one of the greatest things but it comes with its challenges. Our lectures have a different topic and speaker each week.

The first week my cultures group heard from our team leader Lydia Tan on hearing Gods voice and last week we had the YWAM leader from Wollongong, Bruce Skinner, speak to us on the nature and character of God. This week we have Steve Aherne on relationships, he has been with YWAM for over 40 years!! I am learning so much which makes me incredibly excited for the rest of the lecture phase.

Our week is Tuesday – Saturday so our weekends are Sunday and Monday. We are free to explore around on our days off and pretty much do what we want. It is nice to get out of the house and see some of the local beaches, cafes and walking spots.
During the week we are put on work duties that help with keeping our living area clean out of respect for everyone. For about 2 hours Tuesday – Friday I am in the housekeeping/hospitality group. This ranges from baking a cake for a birthday, cleaning a guest room, scrubbing the bathrooms or today we completely cleared out one of the bedrooms that was infected with bed bugs! YUCK! Let’s just say that I showered really well after that. Perhaps the Lord is just preparing us for outreach. Fun times!

God is truly stripping things right back for me. He is breaking down the barriers and walls that I have held up in the past, areas of my life that perhaps I have not opened up to God about before and letting go of the box that I have held him in to enable a much deeper understand of my heavenly father. The lectures are provoking us to own our faith and to not just take on board everything that they teach or tell us but to test, study and approve whether we are going to take it one board or not.
Send me a personal message if you have any specific question, I would love to hear from you. I will endeavour to keep you all updated on life here in Newcastle as best as I can. I am hoping to send emails out every couple of weeks.

Things I would appreciate prayer for:

· Finding more time to recharge with God
· Reaching out to deepen relationships with others
· Being open to change through the Holy Spirit.

Thank you so much for all the prayer I have already received. I am forever grateful. It means so much to me that God has surrounded me with such supportive and generous people.

God bless,