|YWAM Dan & Sarah|
When thinking of quintessential Fall traditions, Thanksgiving tends to make the top of the list. In the midst of bright colours and harvest vegetables, we gather around tables thinking of what we're thankful for. And then the leaves fall, the grey rolls in, and the days feel to grow exponentially shorter and shorter by the day. Enter November. And what strange and trying times we are in right now. I can feel a cry for hope, for peace, for joy, for love to be renewed in the hearts and minds and families of the people around me. And this, my friends, is where the true traditional hero of Fall rolls in: The tradition of Advent. The coming. What hope can we have, if not in Christ's coming? What peace can we find? What joy can we muster? What love will last? In Him and only in Him will we get through! And so for all of us, whether we find ourselves filled to the brim with the hope of the coming of Christ to restore all things, or whether we are scraping by to try to grab a hold of a thread of that hope, my prayer for us is this: That advent wouldn't just be about Jesus in the manger back then, but that it would remind us of his advent here and now within us, renewing us, and his advent when he comes again to make all things new!
"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul. who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Wishing you a beautiful advent season!
We're back to work in the big old YWAM house!
Much has changed over the year that we were gone: Many new staff have arrived. A few schools have come and gone. The roof was torn off by a windstorm. Covid hit and then most of our training programs were shut down and all students and some staff had to leave. Since our centre has a strong emphasis on training, the lack of schools running has had quite an impact on the daily, weekly and monthly rhythms of all of our work. Despite the challenges, there were also some new initiatives born out of this time, especially in the domains of intercession and local community involvement. Needless to say, we arrived back in September to a YWAM community who had been through a lot and where much had changed. We've found our way back into our roles on the leadership team, Ministry Development School, and the University of the Nations. We're glad to be back and are trying to find our way through it all to understand where the Lord is leading us in all of this.
Our foster care journey...
As you read in our last update, we've begun the application process for foster care. We're still in the very early stages. We've sent in our application, done some online training, and now have a very thick French book to read! We are now waiting for the agency to reach out to us to begin a long and intense series of evaluations and interviews to see if we qualify. In the meantime, we are enjoying spending time with our newly adopted Leopard Gecko, Sahara!
On the horizon for Sarah...
Over our sabbatical, I made the decision to devote this next chapter of my life to investing more in my artistic career. It is a step into wonder and curiosity to see what this road will lead me to. As I prayed about this over the last several months, the Lord put it in my mind to finish my degree in fine arts (something I began a long time ago). I don't know exactly for what purpose yet, but I know it will be useful for me in the coming years - both in and out of YWAM. My plan is to apply for school in Montreal but stay living in Dunham. I will finish the remaining classes needed for a Bachelor of Fine Arts, hopefully double-majoring in Drawing/Painting and Education (taking anywhere from 1.5 - 3 years).
This decision comes with many implications as well as many question marks. The biggest implication involves my work. During my time back at school, it will not be realistic for me to continue working with YWAM and so my YWAM ministry will be on pause during this time. Though I know that the Lord has given me the "go-ahead" for this, and that my team has blessed me in this decision, it is still one that comes with mourning, and if I'm honest, fear of leaving what I know. All I know at the moment is this first step: finish what I started. He'll show me the way as I go. Jesus longs to see the sphere of the Arts filled with his Glory and goodness and so I am following Him there.
In the meantime, if ever the opportunity arises for you to come visit, if you pass by the little Dunham bakery this spring, you may see a few paintings by a certain artist that you know hanging on the walls! Come by for a supper or a coffee and I'll tell you more about all of these things!
A BIT ABOUT DAN.
I'm closer than ever to being finished my SBS! Having begun in 2013, I've found myself sometimes wondering if I'd ever finish. However, this last year allowed me to make extensive progress and I've now completed 55 out of 66 books. It won't be long now!
On another front, things are moving in the College of the Arts! This last month, we were able to co-ordinate the first ever "Biblical Foundation in Arts Seminar." This is a pilot project that we will eventually be developing into a 3-month intensive course within the College of the Arts, which anyone pursuing a degree will need to take. This first 3-week trial was hosted via Zoom out of South Africa and we had around 25 participants from 16 nations, predominantly from African countries. It was so exciting to collaborate and create together as well as hear how God is on the move all over the world in and through the arts and Kingdom-minded artists.
And finally, after a close call with an axe, my finger is almost completely on the mend! If you want to hear the crazy story sometime in the coming months, come by for a supper or a coffee and I'll tell you all about it (well, supper may not be the best context for this particular story!).
Thank you all for reading. Thank you for your encouragement through this time. We know this is a challenging time for many, perhaps most, of us. May you find the strength and the peace to finish this year strong, and may the hope of all things being made new in Christ refresh your hearts and minds!
With lots of Love from the two of us!