There is a lot I can report regarding this last stretch of time between newsletters: it is hard to know where to start or what to cover. I think I will start with ministry.
I would like to ask all of you for prayer. Throughout this quarter we have been working with 25 DTS students on the farm, and during that time there have been ample opportunities to minister to them. Much of this means helping them process the lectures and experiences they have had and are going through as we work. I specifically want to mention two actual students I will refer to only by their first initials: C and E.
Amazingly, C is not a believer. I know this might sound strange and you may ask the question, “Why did a non-believer sign up for a Discipleship Training School—a school focused on going to the nations and sharing the gospel?” The truth is that this does happen, and it tends to happen for a number of reasons but for now those aren’t important to cover at the moment (if you’re super curious feel free to follow-up with me). C and I have been having conversations about encounters with God, hearing His voice, experiences with the Holy Spirit, and my own story of coming to Christ. C is very open, and at this point is desperate to have his own encounter with The Living God. Can I just ask all of you to pray for C? There are others in the DTS (including amongst the 25 at the farm) who also came to the school not knowing Christ and have had encounters with Him that have radically changed them—and C is seeing this. He wants the same, and I want him to have that SO BADLY. Please keep him in your prayers.
The second student—E—is a single girl who found out that she was pregnant close to the beginning of the school and her boyfriend back home isn’t a believer. As I was working with her and some of her roommates she shared with me that she had started having dreams since coming to the school that had made her begin to question her sexuality and asked me, “Am I a lesbian?”
I think E’s struggles are very indicative of common issues facing many youth in the US and other Western nations. Please pray for E and other students like her, that those of us that God has placed around them (like me) would be given the right words to speak: God’s truth sprinkled with grace.
Outside of ministry, I have been tasked with doing educational workshops at the farm for all farm staff: I have now been dubbed “Professor Ben” by my workmates and am taking them through different topics in agriculture every Wednesday morning. We also have a volunteer who has joined us as a sort of unofficial intern: she has been getting both experience in the various systems we demonstrate and has been getting a lot from God during her time here (an experience that isn’t unusual in my understanding). She manages a church’s community garden in a major city on the mainland.
I have also been spending a lot of time support-raising. In July of next year we will lose the first 20% of the total 60% we will be losing (of our total income). So far we have raised about half of that 20%. Pray that God would lead us to those He has prepared so that we can cover the full 20% loss by July, and the other 40% before their respective drop dates as well.
Outside of this we stay busy with health related things (covid-19 testing for Emett, kidney ultrasounds for Liesl, and more that I will mention momentarily). Of course much of our focus was on national elections as well.
This coming week we will keep busy as YWAM will be celebrating its 60th anniversary as a mission and there will be a number of staff-related events connected to that. Also, I may have mentioned before some severe pains that Heidi was dealing with—we found out that she has around 8 gallstones. On December 4th she will be getting surgery to remove her gallbladder. She will not be able to lift anything over 5 lbs. for a week, so I will be taking that week off in order to help take care of the baby and other things. Our students leave for outreach on the mainland US sometime mid-December and we will be splitting up chores and management of the farm during that time—so I will continue working part-time through the Holidays. Christmas will be just us here in Kona.