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,