Hope

I want to give an update on my nurse practitioner program and the preceptor situation. First of all, I want to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement! It means so much to Jason and I to know that we have such a big family of supporters to stand with and to lean on when things get rough.

In addition to stretching my faith and trust, this experience has taught me hope. I’m a realist, and I don’t like to be disappointed. So, I tend to guard my heart in situations in which I think I may be let down. This often prevents me from truly hoping. Instead, I hope that it will happen, but I consciously prepare for a let-down.

My post on Saturday was me working through my thoughts and feelings with God related to the disappointment of losing my preceptor. I wrote it in my journal and then decided to share it, word for word. I often can’t verbalize what I’m feeling in a situation, but if I begin to write it out, it just flows. After writing it all out, I felt a sense of relief. God and I both knew how I truly felt. I knew I had to make a choice, then, to choose to have hope and choose to have faith. I wasn’t sure if a feeling of hopefulness would come, but it did. By Saturday afternoon, I had a renewed sense of hope. Even though I didn’t know how it would turn out, I knew that it would work out.

My school was very gracious and encouraged me to keep trying to find a preceptor. I sent out a plea to everyone I know on the island that may have a connection with a doctor. I chased several leads, but nothing came to fruition. A woman I volunteer with at the YWAM Health Clinic had told me that she was going to see a new doctor on Monday. I asked her to ask this doctor if he would accept me for clinicals. I had already called this office several times, but they said they weren’t accepting students. I gave her a copy of my resume anyway, along with a letter explaining what I needed. I didn’t hear anything back, so I figured it was another dead end.

On Tuesday, I went on an outreach with a group of people from a clinic in town, along with a police officer and an EMT. We went around to areas that the homeless frequently stay, and we gave out hygiene kits and offered wound care. I had already been communicating with an office manager at this clinic about doing clinicals there. The ladies that I went on outreach said that they would talk to the appropriate people to get me in for a clinical experience. I was so encouraged! I thought this was the ‘in’ I needed to finally find a preceptor!

I talked to an administrator from the clinic later on that day, and she informed me that they already had a student doing clinicals there, and they had just hired several new staff members, so they would not be able to accommodate me at least until mid-October.

My sense of hopefulness quickly faded. Even though my university was being gracious, I knew I had to have a preceptor at least before my first clinical assignment was due, which is this coming Monday. Jason and I were in the kitchen on Tuesday evening, cleaning our dinner dishes. I asked him, “At what point do I give up? Every single door that I thought would open has been slammed in my face. When do I stop trying?”. He said, “Well, I guess when God tells you to stop”. Not the answer I wanted to hear. God hadn’t told me to stop trying, but I felt that it was useless.

Five to 10 minutes later, my phone rang. It was a doctor from the office that my friend had taken my resume to! He said that he hasn’t taken a student in a couple of years, but he would like to help me, since I’m doing it for missions! I got all the information from him I needed and hung up. I ran to Jason, yelling that he’d said he would do it, and then I cried tears of joy. I laughed at God’s timing in the phone call right after questioning if I should give up.

I still don’t understand God’s timing, and I probably never will. But, I know that it is for His glory and for my good and the good of all His people. I don’t understand why, when you pray for something, it could happen instantly, or it could take a few days, months, years, decades, or a lifetime. But I do know that prayer changes things. It does something in the heavenly realms that we can’t understand. Sometimes it feels pointless to pray, especially if we’ve been praying for something for a long time and nothing has happened, or if you’ve prayed for a loved one to be healed, but they end up passing away.

 

I can’t tell you why it seems that some prayers are answered easily and others take years of crying out to God, and some are answered with a “no”. The Bible tells us to pray relentlessly. There is a parable in Luke 11:5-10 that Jesus told about the persistent friend. He instructs us to pray so much that it almost gets annoying! Persistence is key. God wants to help us, but there is so much going on in the spiritual realm that we don’t understand. Not to mention that Satan is trying to wreck everything. So, we must stand strong in our faith and “pray without ceasing”. I have seen prayer do incredible things right before my eyes. You just have to take a step of faith and have hope. God will ALWAYS meet you there, even if it doesn’t turn out like you expected.

Thanks for your part in this breakthrough of finding a preceptor! I hope it will encourage you to keep praying and hold onto the hope that God offers us!

Love and blessings,

Jason and Monica

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Are You Letting Me Down?

I Trust You. 3 simple words. Kinda roll off the tongue for a ‘good Christian girl’.

But do I really mean them??

When the rubber meets the road, when my dreams are shattered, when my faith is shaken, do I really mean it?

When God brought us to Kona, I thought it was so that I could continue working on my Nurse Practitioner program. God is the reason I even started the program. It was His will and His prodding that made me decide to do it. And it just makes sense. I can do so much more as an NP in medical missions than as a nurse.

So, I began looking for a preceptor to do clinicals with for my school back in June, when we were still in Manila. I called several family practices, but no was was available and/or willing to accommodate me. I tried again when we went home for church camp. Again, a lot of dead ends. Then, someone finally called me back and said that they could take me. After that didn’t work out, I re-visited a clinic I had already tried. They changed their minds and said they could accommodate me, but then said maybe not, but that they would try. I tried one more doctor, who said he would do it! I turned in all the necessary paperwork to my university. Once I finally got approved to start clinicals on Wednesday, I called the doctor to schedule a time to start. He never called back. I tried again the next day. Nothing. On Friday, I got an email saying that, basically, the approval process had taken too long, and he was not willing to proceed as my preceptor.

I was crushed. Really, after all the ups and downs in this process, it all comes crashing down? My course syllabus states that if a student doesn’t have a preceptor by week 3, he/she may be administratively withdrawn from the course, and they would have to wait another year to take the course again. Friday was the end of week 3. And I’ve already called every doctor’s office in this town, as well as some an hour away. Even if I found another preceptor today, it may take weeks to be approved.

I thought this was your will, God! I’m doing this for You! Why is this happening??

I Trust You.

I certainly hope I mean these words. I think I mean them. I guess you never really know till it’s tested. Like gold, you never truly know it’s real till you put it in the fire.

Refinement.

It sounds like such as elegant word, but it hurts like hell.

I thought this was Your will, God! I literally left everything for You! And, honestly, it feels like You let me down.

I always think about the song, King of My Heart. At the end, we sing, “You’re never gonna let, Never gonna let me down” over and over. I remember singing that hesitantly the first few times, because I wasn’t sure that I truly believed it in the depths of my heart. After a couple of months, however, I knew it to be true with every fiber of my being. I still know it. So, why do I still feel like You’ve let me down?

I guess this is where faith, trust, and hope come in. I KNOW You’re working this all out for my good, even if I can’t see it yet. I KNOW you are always, always good, even if I can’t wrap my head around it. I KNOW I can trust in You, no matter what.

One of my favorite verses has always been Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose”. I know without a doubt that, yes, God is working all things out for the good of His Kingdom, the Church. Us. The Body of Christ.

But what about me personally? Is God working everything out for MY good?? After all, I gave up everything to follow you, so I deserve………Wait. I don’t deserve. I don’t actually deserve anything. Because God sent His Son to DIE for me. He was the Prince of Heaven; Earth and all that’s in it was made through Him. He deserved nothing but a life of glory.

Instead, He chose to come to the earth, that “was created by him, but the world did not recognize him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him” John 1:10-11. He deserved to be worshiped day and night, but, instead, he was beaten, spit on, and nailed to a tree.

So, why do I deserve to have everything work out the way I want it to? Don’t get me wrong, God LOVES his children and wants what is best for them. That’s why, sometimes, things happen, and we can only see them as bad, as road blocks, as dream-killers. But God can see the whole picture. And through that, He can work EVERYTHING out for the good of those who love Him.

So, whether I’m able to continue school this semester, or if I get withdrawn from my course; if I finish it 2 years from now, or 10 years from now, or maybe even not at all, I can trust that His hand is in it and that it’s all going to work out for my good.

Because He’s never gonna let me down.

Please join us in praying that God’s will be done in this situation, and pray for grace and peace for me, whatever the outcome.

Love and blessings,

Monica and Jason

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Surprises

oh my! Where do I begin?! Well, surprise, we are home! It was a complete surprise to us as well! Last Saturday, we were talking with Justin, our church’s youth pastor, who said that he was in desperate need of more leaders for youth camp. Jason told him that we would pray about and consider coming home to help. We are in a transition period, so we have a couple of weeks off. Jason told him that we are already trusting God for 5 or 6 more supporters to give $100 per month, so what’s one more? Justin replied that we are crazy, then asked if we were serious. He then told Jason that he would try to find the funds to get us here.

We are so exhausted from traveling, so we wanted to be sure that coming home was God’s will. We both prayed and felt that it was right. Justin called back and said that he found someone willing to pay for our trip home! So, we bought plane tickets and left Hawaii about 5 hours later! Yes, I said Hawaii.

I have been trying to figure out the best way to explain that we will be missionaries based in Hawaii, without people thinking we’re just there on vacation. I have been quite nervous about announcing it, but then I realized that that fear is just Satan trying to discourage us. God clearly told Jason and I when we were in Perth, around March, that our next step would be Kona, Hawaii.

This was a very scary decision for us for a number of reasons. First of all, Hawaii is super expensive. When we look at the numbers, we won’t be able to afford it. But, we keep reminding ourselves that God called us there, and He won’t abandon us. He will provide whatever we need; we just have to trust! It’s also scary because Kona is by far the biggest base in YWAM, and we are country people who like small communities. Then, there’s also the fear that people won’t understand or take seriously what we’ll be doing in Hawaii.

We were only in Kona for 2 days before leaving to come home. When we go back this Friday, I will be on staff part-time with the on-campus health clinic as well as an urgent care that YWAM operates off-campus. This urgent care is open to the public and offers holistic care, including prayer, if the patient wishes. I am super excited to work with the local community while blending my faith and nursing. I will also be picking up my nurse practitioner program, from which I have taken a one year leave of absence to do missions. I don’t know what it will look like, doing school and missions at the same time, and I don’t know if I will work on it the whole time we’re in Hawaii. I will just take it one semester at a time and ask God what each 6 month block should look like. Jason will be staffing a Discipleship Bible School in Kona. He is looking forward to digging deeper into the Word while leading and discipling students.

We’re not completely sure how long we will be in Kona. The ‘plan’ is 18 months, but we will see what the Lord says and where He will lead us.

It has been so good to be home. Going to camp reenergized us and filled us up again. God is so cool! We’ve been saying for months that youth camp is the one thing we really wished we could come home for. We never thought it would actually happen! What an amazing God we serve!

If you would like to help support us in this mission that God is leading us on, you can donate through our account at Good News Community Church. You can do it online at http://www.gnccjc.org/giving. Just select ‘Hallquist’ on the drop down menu.

Thank you so much for reading! Oh, by the way, we were able to raise enough funds to give out 1,103 bibles in Manila! Thank you for all you do; we love you!!

~Jason and Monica

Miraculous Hope

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This is our friend Boying. We met him and his wife the first week we were here. He fell 5 years ago and injured his back, causing spinal cord compression and spinal stenosis; he has been bed-bound ever since. He has a wheelchair, but he is quite heavy to lift. His son is the only person who can transfer him, and he works most of the time. The last time he was out of bed was May 9, 2016.

Boying and his family had lost all hope that he could ever recover. He hasn’t been back to the doctor since his fall, because they cannot afford it. Even though Boying is confined to his bed all the time, he is surprisingly joyful and quite funny! He is an amazing man!

We did a little research and found out that there is a hospital in Manila that would see him for free, since he is a resident. So, we took him there for a repeat MRI, to see if there is anything that can be done for him, but the hospital said that it would be a 4-6 month waiting period for it! We were so discouraged, but we waited for him to be seen by Family Medicine, at least. After about an hour of waiting, he was in terrible pain from sitting up in his wheelchair. I went inside to see how much longer it would be until they could see him. A woman pointed to a mound of papers, which were all people who were ahead of him and said it would be another 2 hours. I went back and told him in total defeat.

I felt so hopeless; we had just dragged him all this way in intense pain for nothing. He kept telling Jason and I that it was ok and that it is very hard for poor people to get good medical help here. I was about to burst into tears! Boying’s son, who came with us, went to try to find a jeepney to take us back.

Just after his son left, Boying said, “They just called my name!”. I couldn’t believe it! It was a miracle! I saw how many people were in front of him, and there’s no way his name should have been called, but it was! He was able to be seen and even got his blood drawn and ECG. The people and service was great, which greatly encouraged Boying. It planted a seed of hope in him that he had completely lost!

Even though we weren’t able to get the MRI, Boying got a thorough check up and was able to apply for disability benefits. More importantly, he and his family were able to see that there is hope for him!

Our team decided to pay the extra cost and get Boying an appointment for an MRI at a private hospital, so we could get it done before we leave. I called Boying the night before to tell him what time we would pick him up.

Much to my surprise, he said that the free hospital was able to get him an appointment for next week, instead of 4-6 months!! Another miracle! His wife even had the transportation set up already. I was overjoyed, because Boying and his family now see that there IS hope and options for him! It also allowed them to see that they don’t need us around to take action.

After Boying gets his MRI results, he will go to another hospital with a spinal surgeon to see if he is a candidate for surgery. If he is able to have surgery, he could quite possibly walk again, or at least be able to get in and out of bed and his wheelchair easier! Please pray that all of this will come to fruition, so that he can have a better quality of life. We would love to see our sweet friend walk again!!

Thanks for reading!

Jason and Monica

 

Beauty For Ashes

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Smokey Mountain is a former garbage dump that people live on. It is literally a mountain of garbage. There used to be thousands of people living on it, but after a land slide killed many people, the Filipino government evacuated the mountain. Many people returned, however, and about 100 families live there today.

The decomposing trash and ash from many fires has created a layer of soil on top of the mountain. Trees, plants, and even bananas and vegetables now grow where there was once only trash. Smokey Mountain is actually the greenest place we have found in Manila!

imageThe people, especially the children, are also some of the most joyful people I have met. There is extreme poverty in some places, but there is so much joy in their hearts. I am reminded of a verse, Isaiah 61:3, which says, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory”. This is my prayer for Smokey Mountain, and I have been able to see the fulfillment of this in the joy of the children.

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Our team began going to Smokey Mountain every week. At first, we held a clinic for children. Then, we began going house-to-house, offering medical services and prayer.  Being able to offer medical help opens so many doors. As soon as people hear that you are available to do check-ups or treat the sick, they immediately become engaged and lead you to the ones that need help. We have met so many amazing people that way! Then, we are able to follow up with them the next week.

We met a woman who has a special needs child. She led us to her home, where we prayed for the child. We gave the family a bible, but neither her, nor her husband, could see well enough to read it. We were able to get some reading glasses and give them both a pair, after which they could read the bible!

Please join me in praying for the inhabitants of Smokey Mountain. Pray for increased joy and hope in their hearts and for a greater understanding of God’s love for them.

Love and blessings,

Jason and Monica

 

The Word of God is Loud

Hey friend! Jason and I are officially half-way through our outreach in Manila already! Jason and I have always said that you couldn’t pay us enough to live in the city, and now we are living in one of the most densely-populated cities in the world! I have definitely learned to never say never! It’s amazing how much grace God has given us while living here, though. It has made the transition much easier than I expected.

Manila is quite a loud, bustling city. The public transport, called Jeepneys, are modeled from WWII jeeps, and they make quite a ruckus, along with many motorcycles day and night. Filipinos are also very fond of karaoke and basketball games, both of which can be heard from our room all hours of the night. Haha! For the first couple of weeks, I slept with ear plugs and wondered how anyone could ever sleep through all the noise. Now I never use ear plugs and always fall straight to sleep. I think I could sleep through anything now!

Ministry times have been very fruitful. We have been doing medical and dental clinics almost everyday. We pray with each patient and often share the gospel with them and/or give them a bible. As of the end of last week, our team has shared the gospel with 981 people, seen 244 salvations, prayed for 1,323 people, and seen 33 healings!

Everyone in Manila knows of Jesus, but many people do not know what He did for them or how or why He lived on Earth. There are a lot of misconceptions about God and how to be saved. That is why we have a goal to give out at least 1,000 bibles. We have already given 450 people a bible. Our team is fundraising for the rest of the money needed to buy the other 550 bibles. If you would like to help us reach this goal, you can click on the link at the bottom, which will take you to a paypal account set up for the bibles.

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us visited a hospital to encourage and pray with patients. I came across a man whom was staying with his wife, whom had had a stroke and could no longer speak. I could tell that the man was worried and tired from continuously staying at the hospital for over a week. I prayed for his wife and then for him. I asked if he had a bible. He replied that he had one at home, but he wasn’t able to go home and get it. He lived far away and needed to stay with his wife. When I offered to give him a bible to read while his wife was admitted, he readily accepted, with tears in his eyes. As I was getting him a bible out of a book bag, I accidentally dropped it on the floor, making a big thud. The man said, “The word of God is loud!”. I laughed as I agreed and let this thought sink in. The word of God is indeed loud. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.

After I left this man and had visited more patients, I walked back past his wife’s room and saw him reading the bible I had just given him. There are many more stories like this one about people receiving bibles. You can help us get even more amazing stories by helping us raise the remaining $1,200 needed to purchase the rest of the bibles. We have been giving out both full bibles and New Testaments, which are cheaper. We would like to give out as many full bibles as we can, which cost about $2.50 USD each.

Here is the link to donate, and thank you so much for reading! Love and miss you,

Monica and Jason

https://www.youcaring.com/manilabibleproject-799288

 

Manila Bound

IMG_3680We made it to Manila!!! When I first started writing this post, the first line said that we were heading to Manila soon, but I wasn’t able to finish it before we left! Now we’re sitting in the airport, waiting for our ride to take us to the church we’ll be staying at. I can’t believe outreach is already here; the time has just flown by!! We will be in Manila for 11 weeks. We are here with my (Monica’s) school, the Medical Missions School, so Jason will be the lone male among 11 women! Haha! Jason definitely won’t be idle while we’re doing clinics, though! He will probably be evangelizing, discipling, worshipping, taking blood pressures, etc.

We will be staying in the heart of the city, in the district and city of Manila. We would appreciate prayer, not only for safety, but for Jason and I to adjust to the city. We do not like city living; it has been a struggle for us since coming to Perth. Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world! (God definitely has a sense of humor, hey?) But God has been teaching us a lot about contentment and joy in every situation. He is beautiful, even if our surroundings are not!

During our first week in Manila, we will be doing prayer walks through the streets. We will also read the Bible out loud, in shifts, continuously, from cover-to-cover. This should take around 72 hours. After the first week, we’re not sure what we’ll be doing, exactly. We are hoping to partner with a local hospital in Manila. We will definitely be setting up our own clinics and treating patients. Evangelism and discipleship are definitely on the itinerary, as well; this will be the heart of everything we do.

Even though we don’t know what outreach will look like, I do know that God has some amazing miracles in store! We are super excited to see Him move in this city! We hope to send updates from Manila, assuming there will be access to wifi. Please continue to pray for our team, for grace as we adjust to the city, and that God would ready our hearts and the hearts of the people we will meet.

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers! We can’t wait to post more updates of what God is doing in Manila! Love you!
~Jason and Monica

 

Heart Strings

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Hello Friends!!! Apparently we’ve been in Perth 7 weeks already! What?! Time has absolutely flown by!

The transition from Townsville to home to Perth has been quite challenging. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions! First, we had to adjust to being back in Western culture after going to PNG, then we had to say goodbye to all our Townsville DTS friends, followed by joy when we were able to see our families again back home, then a very difficult goodbye to them, and finally, adjusting to Perth and beginning friendships all over again. Although YWAM Perth is a great base, we have had a difficult time adjusting. Things are very different from what we were used to in Townsville, and it is a much, much bigger base. The city is also much bigger, and we hate city living! In addition, our schedules are quite different, so Jason and I don’t get to spend much time together.

God has been working overtime in our hearts, however, teaching us contentment, joy, perseverance, and His goodness and faithfulness. He is molding and shaping us to be more like Him and more in love with Him, which has been amazing! I thought I was a pretty strong, well-rounded Christian after our DTS, but I quickly realized I have a long way to go! We never arrive at a place where we have it all figured out. It is a life-long journey – a marathon, and each day has a new set of challenges. But God is right beside us the whole way; sometimes he is gently leading us, sometimes He is walking beside us, and sometimes, in the most difficult times, He carries us. It is a beautiful journey when we have Jesus to guide us!

I (Monica) am doing a Medical Missions School here in Perth. This school is for medical professionals or those with a medical background who have a heart for missions. We learn how to mesh our medical experience with the Gospel in order to heal people holistically and bring them the hope of Jesus. So far, I have learned clinical examination skills, spiritual healing, HIV and communicable diseases, malnutrition/dehydration, skin diseases, community health, mental health, dentistry, emergency response, Aboriginal health, and much more. I am learning how to integrate physical and spiritual healing, in order to tangibly show God’s love and hopefully bring some people to Jesus!

Jason has been doing a Discipleship Bible School, in which he goes through the whole Bible in 3 months, learning more about it and about God’s character. He is just finishing up the Old Testament this week! He has lectures every morning, and in the afternoons, he is in a reading group with some of his fellow classmates. They read aloud the assigned chapters and discuss it. For each book, he writes out an assignment about the author, content, context, God’s character in the book, and how he can apply it to his life.

We really enjoy our schools! God has also been opening my eyes to the needs of the homeless in the city. Every Friday, my class goes to a park in the city, where the homeless tend to gather, to do evangelism. I must admit, I was a bit leery to interact with homeless people and try to tell them about Jesus. The second week of evangelism, my partner, Alyssa, and I met a man named Abdul. Abdul came to Australia illegally from Afghanistan, so as a result, he spent 3 years in a detention center. He came to Australia try to find work, in hopes that he would be able to send money to his wife and children, who had fled to Pakistan, and maybe even bring them here eventually.

Abdul’s family used to own a successful store in Afghanistan, but the Taliban came and killed his mother, father, and his oldest children; tortured Abdul, and then burned down the store. That is when he and the rest of his family fled to Pakistan, and then Abdul came to Australia. As a result of all of this, Abdul now has mental health disturbances. As you can imagine, he has difficulty sleeping and often has night terrors, so he often opts to sleep in the park or on the train, even though he has an apartment.

Abdul is very, very kind. He is also very lonely, because he has no way of contacting his family in Pakistan, and he doesn’t know many people here. He knows who Jesus is, but it is difficult to know if he fully understands what it means to be a Christian, due to the language barrier. He has been to many churches, looking for help, and he has told us of his frustrations associated with the Church. Christians often invite him to come to church. They give him coffee and a biscuit and say, “Come back next week”, but they don’t actually do anything to help or create close relationship. In Afghanistan, family and community are central to everyday life. If someone is in need, they are immediately taken in and helped until they are able to help themselves.

When I heard Abdul’s stories, I immediately felt so convicted. What have I done for the poor and needy? If Abdul was in my town back home, would I have helped him? Probably not. What are churches doing to counteract homelessness and poverty? In the Western world, it’s every man for himself, and the Church is obviously not doing its job to help ‘the least of these’.

Abdul now looks forward to Fridays, as do I, and he loves talking to Alyssa and I. We pray over him every week, and he always says he feels better after prayer. Please join us in praying for Abdul- for his mental and physical health, his family in Pakistan, and that he would come to know Jesus personally.

Thank you for reading and for your prayers! If there is anything Jason and I could be praying for you about, please put it in the comments or message us! Love and miss you!!

~Monica and Jason

~DETOUR~

Placeholder ImageHello friends!! This post is brought to you from the comforts of home! It has been so good to come home and see our family and friends! It’s been super refreshing for us!

I wanted to write a little post about where God is leading us next. We had planned on staying in Townsville, Australia, where we were based out of the past 6 months. We were going to join staff there and help with the ship ministry. We started getting restless with the idea, however, on the last week of outreach in PNG. We didn’t know where this was coming from, because we really liked the Townsville base. But the feelings persisted, for me at least.

After returning to Townsville from our PNG outreach, we were going upstairs to do some laundry, and I spotted a brochure for a Medical Missions School in Perth, Australia. I was immediately intrigued. The Medical Missions School is for medical professionals or those who have completed YWAM’s introductory medical course. It includes 3 months of training on basic dentistry, community health, God’s character and His healing, obstetrics, suturing, and much more. Then, there is a 3 month outreach, putting all the skills to use, in Manila, Philippines. Jason also explored options for him in Perth, and he found a Discipleship Bible School. This school is an intensive study of the entire Bible.

Perth seemed like a really good option to us, but we were very confused about what we should do. Each day presented a new option that we could pursue, and, of course, we could stay in Townsville. We were supposed to be going home in a week, and we had no idea where we were going to go after that. One night, I was stressing out about the decision, and I decided to read my devotion for the day. The devotion just happened to be about how God wants to cocreate dreams with us and turn them into reality, but we must wait for His timing. I knew He was urging me to trust Him and He would reveal our next step in His perfect timing.

A day or two later, one of our leaders had a dream that confirmed our consideration of Perth. Both of us then got peace that Perth was the right decision. As received further confirmation when staff from Townsville prayed with us DTS students who were graduating. One woman, who had no idea that we had changed our plans to Perth, prayed over us and said that she felt like God was going to use a detour to teach us, grow us, and bless us more.

I’m so glad that God’s thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts and His ways are so much higher than ours! We have no idea what this detour will hold for us or what our next step after this will be, but I am certain that it will be far greater than anything we could ever hope for or imagine. Our God is so faithful!!

~Jason and Monica

The Land of the Unexpected

Hello!! Jason and I are back in Australia as of December 4th. We had an amazing 9 weeks in Papua New Guinea (PNG)!! I have been majorly procrastinating writing this post! I mean, how do I even begin to explain all that God has done and what we’ve experienced during those 9 weeks??

Papua New Guinea, known as ‘the land of the unexpected’, is an absolutely beautiful country with beautiful, generous people. Even though they may not have much, they will give you their best. Their hospitality is second to none! We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the people we met!

During our first week in PNG, we stayed in Wewak, a city in the East Sepik Province, on the northern coast of PNG. There, we helped sort a shipping container full of supplies for the medical ship, the Pacific Link. From there, we drove to Balif, a rural village south of Wewak. No YWAM team had ever been there before, and the whole district came out to welcome us with handmade leis, songs, dancing, and lots of flower confetti! We spent 2 weeks in this village, and each day, people from surrounding villages came to listen to health teachings, be tested for reading glasses, and receive prayer. Every evening, we put on a program for the different villages, which included testimonies, teaching, and music.

IMG_3903.JPGJason’s favorite memory from Balif is of a men’s small group we had one day. We taught on loving God, loving others, and spiritual warfare. After each teaching each subject, the men and the women split off into groups to discuss it. In a culture that is very shy and doesn’t like to talk about personal matters, we were afraid the groups would be painfully silent. But we were wrong! Both men and women opened up and freely discussed sensitive subjects, such as domestic violence, which is a prevalent problem in PNG. The men in Jason’s group were fascinated to learn that beating their wives goes against the teachings and love of Jesus. They were soaking up each word of truth! At the end, the men had a time of repentance and worship. It was a powerful evening!

One of my favorite moments was during one of the evening services we held. Earlier that day, we had prayed and asked God what He wanted us to share with this group of villagers. We kept getting the verse 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will heal their land”. We were a bit confused on how we could incorporate this into the service, but we went with it. What resulted was a passionate time of repentance. All of the approximately 700 people in the church stood up and proclaimed that they wanted Jesus in their homes, and they vowed to work together with surrounding villages for the common good of the people. They then broke out singing the PNG national anthem, which starts out,

“O arise all you sons of this land,
Let us sing of our joy to be free,
Praising God and rejoicing to be
Papua New Guinea. Shout our name from the mountains to seas
Papua New Guinea;
Let us raise our voices and proclaim
Papua New Guinea”.

God did incredible things that night!

After leaving Balif, we spent a portion of the next 3 weeks in Wewak, where we worked with schools and churches, and for the remainder of the time, we were in other villages along the coast. There, we assessed village needs for future YWAM teams to address, worked with villagers on water filters and sanitation, did health teachings, and put on programs in the local church each night. We were also able to baptize 13 people and just spend time creating relationships.

In week 6 of outreach, we joined an Introduction to Primary Health Care School team from our base in Townsville and went to a town called Yangoru. We stayed in the hospital there and held health clinics. It was refreshing for me to be able to do some healthcare!img_4531

After a week in Yangoru, our teams headed back to Wewak to board the Pacific Link, the medical ship operated by the YWAM base in Kona, Hawaii. We spent the remainder of outreach sailing to island villages, where we held health clinics each day. We partnered with healthcare workers from PNG to provide general healthcare, family planning, dentistry, immunizations, and optometry.

Reflecting back over outreach, God really helped me conquer my fears. Public speaking was one of my biggest fears, but God asked me to share my testimony of overcoming fear the first day we did a program. As soon as I opened my mouth, God gave me courage and boldness to proclaim His message of truth. I shared that testimony quite a few times, along with many other messages, without fear!! God is so good!!

We also learned that Jason is quite the preacher! He is very passionate about relationships and teaching men how and why to properly love their wives and children, so he was our go-to relationship speaker! The men responded very well to Jason and often came up to him with questions afterward. img_4168

If you have any questions or would like to hear more stories, just ask in the comment section! We are also coming home to Missouri on December 18th for a month-long visit, so we can talk to you then as well! We would love to tell you all about it!

Thanks for reading and for all the prayers while we were on outreach!!

Much love,

Jason and Monica