When you love someone – divorce doesn’t just happen

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So I was going to post this on Facebook, but I’ve already written two posts the last hour, so I’ll make a blog post instead. Besides, it’s gives me a bigger chance to say all I want to.

I’m sitting at McDonald’s eating my ice cream and fries, and then in the midst of the lovely Christmas songs on the radio a (wild) unknown song appears… I’ve never heard it before and as you do, I listen closely to the lyrics.

The song is called “When you love someone” and it’s performed by James TW (no idea who that is…).

It’s basically addressed to a son that is acting up because of changes at home. His parents get divorced and he starts fighting and pulling away. And then it goes “you’ll understand when you love someone”.

What struck me was how sad the song is. “sometimes moms and dads fall out of love, sometimes two homes are better than one”…

It made me wonder what other people think? Do they think it’s a “beautiful” song? Do they also feel the immense sadness and feel like shouting “it’s not meant to be that way!”?

Sure, there are always exceptions to every rule, but love is not something you just “fall out of”. You don’t love somebody one day and then the next you don’t. Love is a choice. You have to choose, every single day, to love a person. When you stop choosing love, that’s when you end up feeling “out of love”. But it’s a choice. You chose to do it. It’s not something that just happens.

This song even touches on the affects on children of divorce. It always affects them. There’s no “clean break”. We are created to live in family units of a mum and dad and kids, and if that is disturbed, then of course there will be consequences.

Well I’m done ranting. These are my thoughts, based on a random song on the radio. Also influenced by the fact that I have been reading a lot about relationships and I’ve been learning a lot about them lately.

I definitely recommend reading Dean Sherman’s “Relationships – the key to live, sex and everything else”.

Blessings to you all my dear friends. Choose love! ❀

Amanda

Sharing is caring

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Well it’s been a looooong time since I wrote something on this blog, in fact, tomorrow will be 18 months.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Jimmy Needham the last year, it’s my typical driving jam and I have been doing a lot of driving.

There is one song that has stuck out for me a while, well many, but this one inspired me to write my thoughts. The name of the song is Part The Clouds. I was thinking about sharing a few lines from the song, but reading the full lyrics now, I can’t choose. It’s just all so good and hits the mark. I’ll just share first and then post the full lyrics.

The song is about how we often tell the “nice and simple” version of the gospel, and how that isn’t helping anyone. We need to tell people who God is without skipping the not so popular parts.

I find that I often tend to think about how people will react to anything I say and I will alter my story depending on who I’m talking to. I will accentuate some details and skip others. This all happens automatically in my head. I think I do it because I fear that I might unintentionally hurt somebody in some way.

Anyway, while listening to this song, it hit me straight in the heart. “God was once so palpable before the shades of grey” “The living water will not quench us if it’s watered down”.

We think that we are helping people find Jesus by making it easy. But if we don’t tell the whole story, who will? If our identity is in who Christ is, how do we know who we are if we don’t really know who He is?

I’m not saying that the gospel is complicated. Jesus loves us so much that he died for our sins and has freed us from eternal death, giving us eternal life instead. But there is more to it.

If we really care about helping people then we should be honest and not sugarcoat it. Especially in this PC day and age. Everyone is always being careful with what they say, well the only outcome is that nobody knows what anything is. If we don’t give people the truth, they will turn to what the world says.

I for one, want to be known as the type of person who cares too much to hide anything. The one who stands for what she believes in and won’t back down on matters, big or small. Compromise – yes, but not if it means losing conviction.

I don’t know if this all makes sense to anyone else but me. It doesn’t really matter though. This is my blog full of my thoughts πŸ˜‰

Alright time for the lyrics and a link to the song πŸ™‚ https://youtu.be/l4Y6X2MKTfs

I like, like to be liked

And no one likes to hear the truth

And I’ve seen what the truth can do

So I tried, tried to downsize

The part of You that’s hard to tell

But the layoff didn’t go so well

Beat around the burning bush

‘Til that fire went away

God was once so palpable

Before the shades of gray

We might as well just fold our hands

If we can’t call a spade a spade

‘Cause we will miss the heart each time

If we won’t ever shoot them straight

These pleasantries shading me

And you too along

Let’s part the clouds

And show the world the Son

We think, think we are helping

By giving You a little flare

But it doesn’t matter what You wear

‘Cause runways aren’t Your forte

You prefer the narrow road

Even though it’s not en vogue

The gospel looked so very cold

One night as I passed by

So I gave him my best sugar coat

And dressed it in a lie

This living water will not quench us

If it’s watered down

Its not our place to hide again

This treasure that we’ve found

——–———————

Blessings, Amanda

P. S Just in case anybody starts reading the older posts, I am back home (technically not home, but Sweden) again πŸ™‚ DTS was great, so special and life-changing. It was much better than expected. I had a great outreach, sailed for five days on a ship, and had fun in Vanuatu sharing God’s love. My outreach team was amazing and I miss them very much. If you haven’t thought about a DTS before, think about it now. It is a great opportunity to get to know God better, get to know yourself better and to learn and practice sharing what you have learnt. (advertisement alert!) YWAM Dalarna are running a DTS in April. 2018. It is going to be awesome. The leader is one of the wisest people I know, somebody who is always there to challenge me and guide me in every part of my life – my mum πŸ™‚ check out dts.ywamdalarna.se for more info. Or go to ywam.org for DTS’s worldwide

Week 9 & 10 – Identity and Calling & Defending Your Faith

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In 3 days I move to the ship. In 11 days I leave for outreach. In 66 days I graduate from my DTS. And in 96 days I will be back in Sweden.

Two weeks ago Mandy Hudson taught on the subject Identity and Calling. To me, her teaching surround the term “in CHRIST”. She said a lot of good stuff but in my mind it all came down to those two words. Who are we in Christ? In the world we might feel rejected in different ways, insecure, and insignificant. However, in Christ, we find true acceptance, security and significant.
Everything we have been through, every part of our upbringing affects who we are in the world. But in Christ, we are constantly accepted, secure and significant. That is who he created us to be. Because of the free will God gave us we have a choice to make; Do I want to live in the world and by the world’s ways, or, do I want to live in Christ and be who he says I am?

Last week Doug Sparks came over from America to teach us on the topic Defing Your Faith. To be able to defend my faith, I have to know what I believe. But not only that, I need to know WHY I believe it. Have you ever heard someone speak about a subject they’re not interested in or maybe they don’t even agree or believe what they say? Not very convincing, are they? Most great influencers of the world believe 100% in what they say and they are willing to go to great lengths to protect and spread their beliefs. You can tell if a person is a true believer. God has called us to influence the world, not to be influenced by it. If we are to do a good job influencing we better believe 100% in what we say. Today’s generation are very against anything fake. If you say something you don’t believe, people can tell, and often they will think all you say is a lie. We have to be sure of what we believe and we need to know why, because if someone challenges your faith and you don’t have a secure foundation, you might find yourself being shaken.
Doug challenged us this week and he made us think about our beliefsystem.

On Saturday, my outreach team and I went to Rotorua to spend the day together and get to know each other better. We went to a Redwood forest and took a 11.5 km hike through the woods. With all the stops we took we walked for 5 hours before we were done with the trail. Legs sore but spirits high, we went to the beach and got some food. It was so much fun to grow closer as a team and in less than two weeks we will be spending much more time together.

This week we have to pack up all our stuff because we will be moving to the ship on friday. It feels so strange to be leaving this place that has been home for the last couple of months. Honestly, it feels like much longer than just three months. Only four teams are going to be going on the ship so in a week we will have to say goodbye to some of our friends. When we get back from outreach we will have a week together and then we graduate and everybody leaves. I am very excited to see what God is going to do in everybody’s lives.

As I wrote in the opening paragraph I am coming home in July. God told me a few of his plans and it starts with me going home. I am happy to go back, but I sure will miss this country (I doubt this is the last time I’m here).

In other news:
* Me and my Swiss friend made a board and markers for the game BrΓ€ndi Dog. So we have been playing that a few times. So much fun πŸ™‚
* My phone worked for a few days and now it’s dead…. I am so happy that I have my tablet (it also works as a phone…. Yay!!!)
* it’s getting colder, however we are packing for warmth since Vanuatu is going to be warm.
* we had a Fun auction to raise money for outreach. Over $8000 was donated.

Week 8 – Relationships

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“Hi, I’m Will. God’s will.”

This week has been all about relationships. As a relational person, I see every interaction with another person as a relationship of sorts. Friends, family, acquaintances, partners and so on. Learning about relationships is learning how to relate to people. Catherine Hosking talked about some foundational bricks for a healthy relationship. Honour, trust, understanding, forgiveness, love etc. In the beginning of the week she challenged us to honour the two people sitting beside us in a special way during the week. The week was full of people figuring out each other’s love languages and blessing each other in different ways. I felt so blessed by my friends, finding small gifts on my bed and being honoured in different ways.

This week has gone by so fast! In three weeks time I will be packing up my stuff and move to the ship. We have a week to acclimatise to life on the ship before we sail to Auckland, where we will be giving tours of the ship and doing whatever God wants us to do for two weeks. After that we leave for Vanuatu. I am really excited and I am confident that God has big plans for our outreach.

God has been speaking to me a lot about his plans for my life and I am excited to hear more about it especially during the week to come. The topic of the week is “identity and calling”. I look forward to telling you all about my plans for the future once I’ve figured out a bit more.

Between Friday and Saturday we had a burn-night in the chapel. We worshiped between 7pm and 7am. It was amazing. God’s presence was so strong in the room.

In other news:
* I should not have started eating toast… How do I stop? Help… πŸ˜‰
* YWAM makes the world small… Apparently my dad met my outreach leader’s dad in Hawaii. πŸ™‚
* I get to buy more skirts and dresses. Yay!!! In Vanuatu we need to wear skirts or dresses that go over the knees and over the shoulders.

Once I finish processing what I’ve learnt, I will probably share it… But until then, God is good. He loves us very much and he has good plans for us. Much better than the ones we make for ourselves πŸ˜‰

Love you all and bless you!

(Oh, and it’s soon Easter….so exciting to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection here. He is alive!)

Week 7 – Holy Spirit

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Hey everybody! I can’t believe that more than half of lecture phase has come and gone. In a little over a month we will leave Tauranga for outreach and in 3 months time we will be graduating. Time goes by so fast.

On Thursday we had the honour of joining the Justice DTS and pilgrimage DTS as they were having their graduation, it’s crazy to think that soon we will be the ones sharing stories from outreach, receiving our diplomas and saying goodbye. Enough with the sadness. Let’s focus on what is happening now.

This week Kristen Williams spoke on the topic: Holy Spirit.
Although, as Kristen said, the Holy Spirit isn’t a topic, it’s a person.
He talked a lot about that when we ask the Spirit to move in us we can’t pick in what way he will come. He can make us laugh or cry or fall on our face or just enjoy his presence.

The students who live on the ship joined us for lectures and then slept here at the centre during the weekend. A lot of people but a lot of fun. And, I was a weekend warrior, which means that I got to clean the base on Saturday (seriously can’t believe I enjoy cleaning…. Happy now, mom and dad?) πŸ™‚

It’s been two weeks of autumn here and the nights are getting significantly colder, even though the days are still warm. Autumn in march…. Strange. And it’s Easter soon…. Aaah…feels so strange with the opposite season.

In other news:
* I’m getting really excited about outreach.
* my phone died but my amazing dad has ordered a new battery for me, so hopefully it will be up and running soon.
* I had my first toast the other day (we have a 24/7 toast station where we can help ourselves to bread and butter, peanutbutter and jelly. So most people have toast pretty much all the time). I put banana on it so it reminded me of how dad used to make toast for me when I was little.
* also, Emma, if you are reading this…. I think of you every time I eat breakfast now…. I eat a bowl of porridge and two banana toast. And drink a cup of tea…. I’m starting to eat like you πŸ˜‰
* I love being here and the people are amazing. My one-on-one is super cool and I absolutely love my outreach team.

Week 5 & 6 – the Fear of the Lord & Spiritual Warfare

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Update. update.. update…

Well here we go again. I know I completely missed last week’s update, it’s been a couple of very intense and busy weeks/weekends.

Week 5 of DTS was about the Fear of the Lord. Jen Patterson from YWAM Akron, Ohio, came to teach.
It was really good and God set us free from the Fear of Man so that we can have the Fear of the Lord instead.

This past week (number 6) was about Spiritual Warfare. Beryl Henwood from YWAM Zion, up north in NZ, came together with two helpers, Tim and Rachel. Together they ministered to us in many ways.
The spiritual world is really real and there is a war going on beyond what we can see. But if we choose to be on God’s side in the war, there is nothing to fear. He is so much greater than anything else and He has given us the authority, through the blood of Jesus, over the demonic realm.

There’s been a lot of teaching and I have a lot to process, but one thing I know for sure, God is good and faithful and he calls me his daughter.

Last Wednesday we went to the ship to help work on it (chipping rust and sanding everything). It was hard work but well worth it. When I go on the ship for outreach I can say that I was part of making it happen.
We ended the afternoon with baptisms, a whole bunch of students got baptised and it was just really awesome.
Then we had pizza and worship and some outreach prep. Long day, but it was all for the glory of God.

In other news:
* I’ve been making porridge for breakfast every morning (are you proud of me, mom?)
* Did I tell you that I can solve the Rubiks cube now? Thanks you Heidi and Daniel for teaching me!
* We spent the whole weekend doing first aid training so now I have a certificate! Yay! πŸ™‚
* I had the honour of writing a blog post on the Marine Reach page. If you haven’t read it but you want to, go to mrmdts.org and find the post called “God: Lion or Lamb”. Also read the other past and future posts πŸ˜‰

The next two weeks, the teaching sessions are going to be combined with the ship-people so there are a lot of people around.
I am super excited about the week to come, the topic is Holy Spirit.

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Week 4 – Nature and Character of God

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Well hello there! It’s been a little while. I’m sorry for being late again, but I really don’t have an excuse. .. πŸ˜‰ oh well I’m here now.

Last week Femi Oni flew over from Britain to speak to us about the nature and character of God. Femi also shared his experiences from being a medical missionary with the medical stream.
It has been a very intense week and I am still processing everything.

On Thursday night we found out what outreach teams we would be in. And it was quite an interesting experience so I will tell you about it.
During the third week of DTS we were told that all the medical students would go to Vanuatu on outreach but we would be divided into five teams. Three teams would be on the ship and two would fly. Then they gave us three days to pray about what team to be on. That is, we were to ask God for a number between 1-5 and then write a motivation and hand it in to the staff. (I’m glad we were learning more about hearing God’s voice!).
They didn’t tell us which three teams were going to be on the ship, but I did the same thing, it turns out, as many others who wanted to be on the ship. I tried to take a logical loon at it, either they’d put 1 & 2 on the plane or 4&5, or maybe 2&4. So logically 3 would (hopefully) be guaranteed to be on the ship. Well as I was praying about a motivation for the number three, God clearly said “No, you don’t get to decide. I am going to choose where you’ll be.” I know that God’s way is the best so I was still excited when I got the number four. It was interesting because God just spoke to me in four word “phrases”. Like “the least of these”, “be still and know”, “my love is sufficient”, “the cross is enough”. Then He told me that the goal for outreach was to love people and He gave me 1 John 4:19 (we love because he first loved us).
I was convinced that I would be flying to Vanuatu and God gave me peace about that, but He sure does have humour… guess what? I’m on the ship!
I am super excited about what will happen during outreach but also during the rest of lecture phase.

We’ve been here a month but it feels like home and the people here really are family!
During the weekend the staff were off on a retreat and it was fun to see how the group pulled together and created our own churchservice since we couldn’t get anywhere. It was amazing.

In other news:
*I received a package from home yesterday and I’m soooo happy! Chocolate!!! πŸ˜€
*Missing home a little bit and missing people but having a great time here.
*On Sunday, a friend and I decided to climb som rock in the stream by the waterfall and I almost made it without falling in.. but yeah, I did. πŸ˜‰ soaking wet, but the sun was shining so it was okay πŸ™‚
*My roommates and I found out that the walls in our ModCom are magnetic, so yesterday I bought some magnets and now we can put stuff on the walls. .. yay!!!

Love you guys! If you ever want to talk, I’m sure we can find a time and way… πŸ™‚ Blessings!

Week 3 – Hearing God’s Voice

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Good morning, or day, or evening – wherever you are! πŸ™‚ It’s still weekend somewhere, so I’m not too late…. yay!!! πŸ˜‰

This week our school leader Cheyne Hosking spoke on “Hearing God’s voice”. We had a lot of teaching, he shared some stories from his life about hearing God’s voice and then we did a lot of practical stuff. Have you ever spent five minutes just thanking the Lord (not praying or anything else, just thanking him)? Or have you ever followed your five minutes of thanks with five minutes of blessing (still, no praying)? Well we did. It was amazing. Sometimes we are so busy asking God for things, that we forget to praise him for who he is. During the week we also spent a lot of time just being quiet and waiting for the Lord to speak. We practiced hearing His voice in many ways, one of which was standing with our backs against an unknown person and asking God for a word for him/her. God doesn’t need us to filter or make sense of what he’s saying to fit the other person. He wants us to be obedient and just say what he says.
We have been reading “Is that really you God” by Loren Cunningham,Β  and it’s all about hearing God’s voice and being obedient in follow His directions. If you haven’t read it, do! It’s also a story about the founding of YWAM. Really interesting and inspiring. (If you want to read it, contact my parents – you can buy it from YWAM, available in many languages) πŸ˜‰

In other news:
* I like this part of my blog, might make it a permanent thing. πŸ™‚
* I went opshopping (shopping at second hand stores) on Friday and it was really cool, bought two dresses.
* Almost finished all my swedish candy :/
* The base was fumigated on Wednesday so we had a field trip to the strand and the mount, I might have had two ice creams…. oh well πŸ™‚
* I got a card from my grandparents,Β  so exciting!!!

God is faithful and good!

Love you all and miss you, blessings!

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Week 2 – Lordship and repentance

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Hey lovely people! Sorry for the late update.

Last week was amazing. Marty Emmett from YWAM Bethlehem, here in Tauranga, came and taught on repentance and Lordship.
It was a good topic to start the DTS teaching with. Many of us were believing lies that we needed to repent from. Marty taught us some steps on how to repent and one thing he said hit me. He said that God has already forgiven us. We just have to receive the forgiveness. We don’t have to beg for it, because he already gave it to us.
(If you have more questions about the teaching, feel free to ask me – but maybe wait a while, I am still processing most of it)

Last week we also had our first stream time and the staff presented a bit about what we will learn and do. We talked a lot about compassion and we will continue doing so as it is an important foundation for anything medical we do.

We found out that we will be going to Vanuatu for our outreach, the medical DTS will be divided into 5 groups, 3 on the ship and 2 will fly there. This week we are praying about which group to be in… more about that next time.

What else…? The staff are amazing, I love the one-on-one I’ve been assigned. The students are awesome! We have gotten to know each other better and they are really cool.

In other news:
* I now know all 18 of YWAMs foundational values, and in what order they come. (Yay for putting them on every bathroom door!)
* I never thought I would like cleaning this much – folding laundry is my new favourite hobby! (I help out with housekeeping 6 hours a week)
*Cockroaches are scary. ‘Nuff said.

Please pray for good health, a few people have gotten a cold.

Love you all! Blessings!

Week 1 – orientation & life stories

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Hi everybody! I will try to update a post once a week, probably weekends, since we are pretty busy.

This week has been amazing! On Saturday the 23rd, the Annears drove me to the base and after getting my bag to my room, we went for a swim down by the waterfall in the valley. Yep. You read the right thing. We have a waterfall. I can swim in it whenever. πŸ™‚

Anyway, my room is a mod com (like a 6x4m container/shack thingy). I live here with three girls, two from Canada and one from America. Most of the other girls live in dorms with 6-10 people in a room, so I am very thankful for my room.
After getting settled in, I spent the rest of the weekend saying hi to loads of people and forgetting names. It was great. πŸ˜‰ I think we are around 75 student in total but maybe 25 of them live on the ship. In my stream (medical compassion) we are around 42 students. The majority of us are girls and the student are from all around the world. In total we are 6 swedes plus one swede on staff. And then there’s a half-swede/half-israeli girl on staff and two girls who lived at the YWAM RestenΓ€s base for a while. So yeah, a lot of swedish people…. We will probably have to do some kind of swedish thing… like bake bullar or semlor. πŸ˜‰

The week started with introduction and orientation. We have had amazing worship times in the mornings and every morning we also have our own quiet time with God.
On the Tuesday we did something really amazing. We participated in a traditional Maori welcome ceremony called a “powhiri”. The Maori chief of the land that the base is on welcomed us into the “Whanau” (family) and after listening to speeches and singing Maori songs, we did a “Hongi”. This is where two people push their noses together and share a breath. Doing this with the staff and also the chief and two Maori warriors was so amazing and intimate.

From Wednesday to Friday, we spent the days sharing life stories. It has been a very emotional week. Hearing the stories lets us get to know each other better and helps us understand where people are coming from, but it is also an excellent opportunity to pray for each other and help each other through the struggles of life.

This weekend I have played a lot of cards, taught some of my new extended family how to play maui, and now we’ve played it loads. It’s just really fun to get to know people better. Living together for 3-6 months we will probably become very close and I am excited to see how we will grow together.
Sunday evening I went to a church called Mosaic. It was a good church service and the teaching was about growing in my relationship with Jesus and growing to be more like him. At least that’s what I got from the teaching ;).

I am really excited for the week ahead, we are starting with a real schedule and are going to have teaching every day.

Please pray for health, I have had a bit of a headache and sore throat throughout the week.
Also if anybody wants to send me a letter or a picture or candy (xD), feel free to do that. Send it to:
Amanda Stevens
Marine Reach DTS
237 Warner Road
RD3
Tauranga 3137
NEW ZEALAND

Love you all! Blessings!

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