Quick Update!

Hey All!

I know this is very short but I want to be better at communicating (even if it’s brief)!
Things are going well here… I am currently carrying out my position as a teacher here as well as stepping up into the role of ‘session leader’ for 2 weeks because Rachael (THE session leader) is teaching abroad in another School of Biblical School. Needless to say, I have been keeping very busy!

We had the gospel of Mark last week and have moved into the gospel of Luke this week. God is so faithful to challenge and encourage the students, staff, and myself through His word! There is always more revelation of His might, power, beauty and character to be seen.
I am reminded of James 4:8… “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you…” Now, in context, this portion of scripture is calling believers to pull away from worldliness and be sanctified in Christ… but there is also this promise that as we do that… as we seek His face and live lives according to who we know Him to be… He will draw near to us.. we will see MORE of who He is. AMEN!!

I hope you are all doing well… I think and pray for you all OFTEN.
If you think of it, I would appreciate prayers for my teaching of Philippians next Friday (Nov 6) as well as attempting to fill the shoes of our Session Leader as she is abroad. It’s such an honor to serve!

Be blessed as you fight amidst this world to draw near to God and trust in His promise to draw near to you!

Love, Victoria

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Another Great Start!

Hey all! Well, it’s been another large gap between blogs and I’m sorry about that.  The last class graduated at the end of June; I headed home to Nebraska beginning of July. One week was spent in Ponca, Nebraska (my hometown) with people from my church… I was able to catch up and teach the inductive method a few nights. It’s always good to be home!  I also got to spend time with other supporters, friends and family throughout the state.

At the beginning of August I was able to fly out to California and visit some my good friends and major supporters – The Glanzes and Rices. Mike and Amy Glanz recently found out they are expecting! Congratulations Glanzes!

The  rest of August was spent back in Montana, devoted to staff training and preparing for the new school to arrive. We have 43 students this year who come from the US, Canada, Holland, Norway, Korea, Kenya, Thailand, Ukraine, and India.  Already, this school has exemplified amazing attitudes in their study of God’s word.  It is a difficult and intense 9 months but their hearts are centered on God’s face. It will be an honor and privilege to teach this school. 

Thank you for your encouragement, prayer, love and financial support… It means more than you know to have you stand beside me and support me in this ministry of seeing God’s word go forth and change lives.  

Thank you also for standing with our base a few weeks ago as we faced the forrest fire… we were asked to evacuate but instead we packed our bags in preparation to leave and prayed all night. The expected windstorm never came to pass and the firefighters were able to contain the fire. God truly protected our base and the people around us. Go God!

I have enclosed some pictures of our staff for this year as well as pictures of the fire 🙂

God bless you all as you live lives for a God who holds the world in His hands! He is good.

 

The fire coming toward the base Friday night (Sept 25, 2009).

The fire coming toward the base Friday night (Sept 25, 2009).

Helicopters carrying water from the lake to contain the fire.

Helicopters carrying water from the lake to contain the fire.

Plane dropping retardant.

Plane dropping retardant.

Staff 2009-10 Photo

Staff 2009-10 Photo

Some staff hanging out before a busy year!

Some staff hanging out before a busy year!

Week 3 of SBS 2008-2009!

Well, it’s already been a couple weeks since my last update. I have come to the conclusion that life goes faster as it goes on!  I look outside to see the colored leaves and layer up when heading outside… how is it fall?!

Despite the weather turning cold, things are going really well here. The students have finished Philemon, Titus, and Ephesians…and at the present are studying Galatians – Freedom in Christ!  What a good book.

We have 11 international students this year and 40 from North America, making a total of 51! It’s the largest SBS we’ve ever run in Montana, which is really exciting.  Two weekends ago, we were able to head up to Glacier National Park for the day – less than an hour from YWAM. It was an optional trip but most of the students decided to attend.  Glacier is one of the most beautiful places in North America but most of the park will not be accessible until June now!  We had to get the trip in quickly. (Hopefully the internet will be fast enough for me to upload a couple pictures! 🙂  

That’s pretty much the gist of what’s been going on here – teaching students how to study with the inductive method (I taught during Titus), grading, being a dorm mom, and road trippin’ to Glacier.  

I trust you are all doing well. Please keep me updated with prayer requests on your end – I love that!!! It spans the miles to bring us closer!  Prayer requests from here would be:  

– Students: help in continuing to understand how to do their work and also against sickness in the dorm!

– Myself:  Please pray for my teaching preparation. I have about a month to prepare but there is a lot to pull together!

Thanks again for praying you guys!! Blessings, victoria

 

Okay… the internet is really slow and therefore my pictures are NOT uploading. I will try to add them later – just pretend I’m in a foreign country where slow internet is normal (like Nebraska). 🙂

Staff Retreating and Ruthless Trust…oooh!

Hello again 🙂

I think it has been about 2 weeks since my last blog and I apologize about that, but I am getting better right?!  I’m sitting in my room preparing to hit the sack. Somehow I woke up with a sore throat, runny nose, sneeze, and nasal headache.  Praise God for a neighbor who gave me some cold and sinus medicine for the night!  🙂  However, I would appreciate any prayers for good health you could spare!

So…what has been going on?  Well, we had an SBS staff retreat from August 22-24, then had our all-base staff retreat from the 25-28.  It was a lot of retreating and very good.  Basically, we had several speakers, fellowship and a break from our daily routines. It was a challenging week as well as encouraging – encouraging to get back to the basics and to really build one another up as a community here in YWAM.

Back to the Basics:  A quick synopsis of this would be… that it’s important to move past the milk (as Paul says), to not be ignorant, to grow… but also not forget the basics of pure faith.  Remember back when you would try to have a quiet time in your earlier days perhaps?  – I would sit down and say, “Okay God. Open to the page you want me to read…” At that point I would flip the Bible pages and stick my finger in at some random point.  From there, I would read whatever it was and take whatever it was out of context in order to apply it to my current situation in life.  HA!  Maybe some of us still do this from time to time 🙂  Anyway… the point is that while that was taking the Bible out of context most of the time (gasp!), we believed God’s word was living and that God would speak!!  So contrast that with how we mature Christians go about reading the word… us with our inductive method, carefully taking into account the historical background, looking at the original reader’s point of view, etc… sometimes we (and myself to be clear) get into the mindset where we only read the book in which we’re studying or perhaps it’s like pulling teeth to make ourselves read the Bible.  Relate??  One of the phrases I heard during the weekend and which stuck in my mind was, “Where’s the simplicity in our relationship with God?  Get back to a place where we love to meet with and pray to God.”

Ruthless Trust:  And another random bit of “newness” from life is a book I’ve begun reading. I’m only in chapter 3 now (just started!) It’s called “Ruthless Truth” by Brennan Manning.  So far it’s very good. One quote I remember off the top of my head is “You have not said in your heart ‘I believe in God’ until you say ‘I trust God.'”  Chapters 1-2 basically speak on the importance of trusting God and thankfulness.  There is a story of Mother Theresa telling a young man to let go of praying for clarity because he wants to cling to clarity rather than trusting God with the unknown.  Very challenging!  I better not attempt to keep explaining it or you will not have a reason to read it!  SO – check your local library for this good read!!  (or maybe ask them to get it?? …I’m sure Beth Folks would know, ha!)

I hope this finds you all well. Please let me know if you have any prayer requests.  At the moment I’m praying for a few individual friends as well as my church 🙂 Thank you all for your prayers and support. It is GREATLY appreciated.

Love to you!!  And please see the front cover of “Ruthless Trust” by Brennan Manning below.

Staff Training

Hello again!

I hope this finds you all well and in a cool place. We are in our second week of staff training in preparation for our next school of SBS, which starts in September. Last week, we had Mark and Dawn Masucci as guest speakers. It is always a blessing as well as enriching to have them teach us.

The past two weeks have been full of teaching, studying, working, planning and fellowship. Therefore, I thought I’d add a bit of multimedia flavor to this post. I haven’t made my video yet but have not forgotten the idea!

So, before I head off to compile student welcome biographies and packets, staff biographies, study Corinthians and a load of other things… here are a few pictures and a “hello” from me to let you know that I’m still alive and happy to be here in Montana!

God’s richest blessings and love to you today,

Victoria

And here are the photos! …

Staff supper for our director's birthday!

Staff supper for our director

More food and fellowship with fellow staff!

More food and fellowship with fellow staff!

Back in Montana!

Hello all!

Well, this site is OVERDUE for another update from me. I keep saying I’m going to do better and hopefully I WILL get better!!

Now, on with the update… I am back in Lakeside, Montana preparing for another school of Biblical studies (SBS) after a very nice time at home in Nebraska, from July 3-28. I had the opportunity to check my email once while at home… I just chalk it up to rural life 🙂 I LOVE Nebraska!! I love the people, I love the land, I love the culture, I love everything. It was a good time. Part of my time was spent in Ponca, where I grew up, with my church family. They were gracious enough to let me give the message that Sunday. They give me more support than I know what to do with – so THANK YOU Ponca family and friends!!

I also got to spend some time in the Fremont/Omaha area with some of my friends from college, which was refreshing as well.

The rest of my time was spent in western Nebraska with my family. We spent much time preparing for my grandpa’s estate auction. It was a lot of work but also brought many good memories from my grandparents and family. One question the time has caused me to ponder is what my legacy is to be. My grandpa passed away last November and somehow I was also given the honor of speaking during the service. He is one of the most amazing and honorable men I have ever known or met. He was the same every day of his whole life – he served people beyond what they ever asked and never wanted to be highly esteemed. He just served, loved, and lived a righteous life. And EVERYONE attests to that.

Again, back to my beginning question – What will my legacy be? What will people say? And what does God see in me?? A couple quotes from my DTS were “Dying for Christ is the period at the end of pages and pages of LIVING for Christ.” (Jeremy West) … and what if I died today? What would my legacy be? Would I be proud of all the “middle sentences”? I know we all have these times when we refresh this question in our lives, but I think that’s good!!

So, that’s my question to you as you head off for your day or head to bed. What do you want your legacy to be?  And what does that look like for today? What does it mean for tomorrow?

God, give us the grace, power, and heart to follow you with reckless abandonment each day. Be glorified and lead us. Thanks for the chance to live our lives as a part of your story… a story bigger than ourselves.  Amen.

Well, keep in touch and I’ll do the same!

Victoria

PS: Stay tuned for a short, home video within a month or two!

Thank you Mike and Amy!

Well, I am a little late in my blog thanks but I wanted to take a moment to shout out a special thanks to Mike and Amy – two of my supporters. I did my dts with Mike, where we spent time in China. He’s like a brother to me!  I met his now-bride Amy for the first time during Thanksgiving in Kona, when she flew down to spend the holiday with Mike. I fell in love with her there…and got to know her through Mike’s never-ceasing discussion of her throughout dts 🙂

Anyway, they called me the second week in January asking if I was busy the weekend of the 18th. I said ‘no.’  They in-turn told me they would pay for me to fly down to southern California (including DISNEYLAND tickets) the next weekend if I could. (I think that was a RHETORICAL QUESTION!)  So…the week after teaching 2 Peter and Jude, I got to take a mini-vacation in so-cal, going to Disneyland, the Bodies Exhibition, icecream, Mexican food, Thai food, Mongolian food (it was vacation – of COURSE we ate a lot!), driving along the coast, picking oranges off the tree in the morning for breakfast (!), and of course spending time with two of my favorite people in the world (and their families).

So THANK YOU Mike and Amy for your priceless friendship, support, love, and generosity. I was blessed beyond words and am still riding off it! 🙂

Love you both!

Alive?

Yes… I am alive. I just received a quick email from my friend Mike telling me I needed to update more often, even if it’s just saying that I am running around like crazy 🙂 Thanks for the kick Mike!

So, this is the first time checking email since leaving Montana mid-December. I have to say that western Nebraska isn’t necessarily “up to speed” with the world wide web. However, I LOVE Nebraska and it was good to be home for a bit.

I arrived in Nebraska after two days of driving on my birthday, December 15. It’s hard to believe I’m already back in Montana; break goes so quickly!

As I prepared for the Christmas season, something new hit me. I had been thinking about the Old Testament and what it meant to THEM that first Christmas. They, as a people, had seen good and prosperous times with King David, then difficult times throughout the rest of the Kings and Prophets. They had been dragged away into slavery. Despite their being exiled, many had listened to the propets’ promises from God to send a Savior, a Redeemer, a Prince of Peace… they moved back to Jerusalem, rebuilt the walls and the temple. They awaited their Savior with faith that God, who promised, was faithful.

As I thought about their mindset during that first Christmas. God came totally unexpectedly and in a way all of His own design. So… what does Christmas mean to me? Yes, it blows my mind to imagine that GOD came as an INFANT! – An infant – which especially during that time had no power, no authority, no riches, etc. He came as a lowly baby.

However, something hit me deeper than all these thoughts this year. I was reading 1 Cor 11 where Paul is talking about communion. He says that we are to take communion and profess the Lord’s death until His return. OUR GOD IS GOING TO RETURN!!!!

It seems like there has been an abundance of heartache the past few months. My grandpa passing away, 2 members of YWAM Arvada, 2 sisters from New Life in Colorado, people in the Omaha Westroads Mall, a friend of mine from college passed away Dec. 31 unexpectedly. She had spent much time in South America, had graduated with a nursing degree, worked with homeless kids up in the Twin Cities…she got a lung tumor and was gone within a few weeks. I am heartbroken for her family and it just isn’t fair. This world is not fair. It is a broken world and things aren’t always as God planned them to be. BUT…we have SALVATION, we have our SAVIOR, we have the SPIRIT speaking to us daily, we have a God who LOVES us…and He has promised to return, to take away sickness and death, to give us eternal life, and to make us whole.

We do have a faithful, merciful, loving, trustworthy God. Just as promised to send His son to the world the first time, so He has promised to return again. And He will! We come together with common union, together as a body, to remind one another of our Great God and His promises…to encourage one another to be a holy and sanctified people to shine in the darkness around us and proclaim that OUR GOD REIGNS despite all circumstances. We have a hope and faith to push forward through all.

One more thing… the Jews who had rebuilt the walls and temple in Jerusalem, waiting for God to send His promised Redeemer hadn’t heard a WORD from God since the last prophet until John the Baptist for 400 years. God speaks to us DAILY!!! How great is our God? Our IMMANUEL. God is with us…and He will come physically again to take us…until then…live on!!!

Merry Christmas and may God bless you RICHLY this year as you seek and live for our Savior, Jesus.

Prayer Requests: (we have to have these right??)

1. I teach 2 Peter and Jude next week (Wednesday). Please pray as my studying comes to an end and I prepare my lecture!!

2. The students as they finish the New Testament and prepare to enter the Old. Also safe travel as they head back to Montana.

A life worth Christ dying for…

Hello,

Again, I apologize for the gap between communications with me. Life goes faster than I can keep up it seems sometimes. I have been trying to carve out a bit of time where I can actually take some time to relay what has been going on.

In the last couple weeks we have gone through Mark, Luke, and Acts (this week). God has spoken some mighty things, some of which I think I should have already known and have certainly heard before, yet the Spirit has the power to really drive things deeper into my heart and with a more stark reality. Along with these three books I am currently studying 1 Thessalonians like my life depended on it – I teach next Monday the 29th (prayer request!).

There is sort of this repeated theme throughout these books of really pushing through all the difficult things life seems to throw at us…pushing through to see the good, to see the bigger picture of what’s going on, to realize that difficult things will last only as long as our lives to live a radical life worth Christ dying.

My point here is not to blatantly say that life has been horrible lately (on the contrary actually) but to say that truly, life will consistently have difficult times. I don’t really ever think there is anyone who has life completely easy for their lifespan. With this in mind, what is our perspective? I think of a little kid with a hurt thumb…not just a little hurt but grossly infected, throbbing, might fall off kind of hurt thumb. Ohh it hurts… and we immediately go to God and say “pleeeease heal my thumb because it hurts!” Maybe God will heal your thumb right away…maybe He’ll wait. For the sake of my point let’s say He’s waiting. We deal with our hurt thumb for awhile…

Okay…now I need you to picture this in your mind for me… picture this kid (or yourself) with his hurt thumb shaking it in the air up to God… pleading God to heal his thumb… what are you looking at? You’ve got your thumb up in the air between yourself and God…you can’t even see God…you only see your hurt thumb.

So that’s my point…we need to pull our thumbs down and see the character of God. What do we know of Him?

He’s faithful, good, trustworthy, has taken care of things in the past, is bigger and more powerful than the storm we’re going through, the list is endless…

The Thessalonians were suffering persecution from the Jews and the Gentiles when Paul wrote to them in 1 Thess. My mind and heart are wrapped around who these people in Thessalonica were (mostly because I’m studying them)… Paul, Silas, and Timothy had come through teaching them for at least 3 weeks – teaching them about Jesus, that God had called the Gentiles to be His elect people – and then had to go on their way down the road…to Berea, Corinth… Many of these believers were abandoned by their families, rejected by communities for turning from idols to God…they were being persecuted.

What do you think Paul tells them??

He says “not only has your faith sounded forth in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere…” (1:8) The Greek verb he uses here for “sounded forth” is “exêcheô,” which is where we get our English word “echo.” Paul paints this picture of the faith and acts of the Thessalonians resonating out forever. They’re setting an example in the midst of their suffering of living a life worthy of God…loving one another, serving one another…loving God and people (which by the way was completely different from non-Christian culture at that time. There really weren’t any morals at all. Even their religions included sexually immoral behavior as WORSHIP!) Paul is saying that by turning from idols to God, by choosing to live a life holy to God, despite opposition, they were making a larger impact than they even realized! There was a bigger picture…

So what do we choose to see in life?? Do we focus on the things round us that could be better or do we see the good? What are we making of life? Do we waste time? And the main question is if today was your last day on earth…would it have been worth Christ dying for?

That’s been the question rolling around in my mind each day the last few weeks… I suppose it is a good thing to think about. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and regret all the wasted time, energy, and love on anything other than what brings glory to God.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I know it was long! I trust this finds you well and living a life that impacts eternity.

Please keep me in your prayers as I finish preparing to teach 1 Thessalonians and teach on Monday. Pictures will be coming soon (after I teach). Have a good day!