“I get to call this place home”

It’s now February and I’ve been in Vancouver for officially a whole month now! As the saying goes, “boy does time fly!”

There’s so much to update you all on so I’ll make this blog post more of a general update and share my time so far through pictures. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll go deeper on what my specific prayer requests are – thank you!

Ok, so for those who don’t already know this is actually my third time landing on the shores of this mountainous city, but my second time here with YWAM.

Arriving here I was filled with excitement and expectation, as well as a sense of relief. Travelling for five weeks over Christmas and New Years was wonderful, but the many flights, timezones, jumping from one house to the next and living out of a suitcase does eventually take a toll.

When I landed here, I felt like I could finally exhale, whispering to myself,

“Ah, I’m here, I finally made it home.”

That concept of “home” has been on my mind since moving here. I’ve never really used this label for another place other than Sydney, Australia. It made me reflect on what actually makes a location worthy of this title. Is it simply a place of origin or birth, or is it more? Can this sense of ownership come from a connection with the landscape, or certain relationships, or maybe it’s just a contentment in our spirit. I’m still thinking about this one…

For me, Vancouver has felt like home pretty quickly. I was super blessed to have my DTS (Discipleship Training School) leader from 2016, offer me a spare room at her place. Her home is pretty familiar, I spent a lot of time there as a student drinking many cups of tea and chatting for hours. Right now there are three of us, including a girl named Lisa from Germany who is a snowboard instructor- cool! We are renting a self contained basement of a house, which is pretty common in Vancouver. It’s small, but has everything you need – kitchen, bathroom, laundry, living room, three bedrooms etc.

I also happen to live right next door to the director of YWAM Vancouver, Randy and his wife Rita. They have a very large home and are incredibly gifted in hospitality. Their house is always full of people from all over the world who may be staying for a night, a month, a year – whatever goes! They already gave me a key to their place and have invited me for dinner a few times – they kind of feel like Mum and Dad here which is nice.

On my first day as staff at YWAM Vancouver there was another staff named Cindy who also started at the same time. This was really comforting to not be the only new person, but to top it off she also lives next door at Randy and Rita’s. We’ve made it a thing to keep up our exercise by walking the 40 minutes to and from work each day together, rather than getting a five minute ride in.

So I’m in the Communications team and there are four of us in this department. I’ve spent my time so far meeting with several team members to understand what everyone’s role is and where gaps need to be filled. I’ve basically been functioning as a consultant reviewing all of our communications channels from our website, social media, promotional materials, media assets etc. Right now my main priority is re-vamping our social media platforms (follow us on Facebook & Instagram), as well as conducting an overall brand audit. I’m facilitating a brand workshop in a couple weeks with key team members to ensure all of our communications are consistent so prayer for that would be wonderful!

In addition to the above, I have a “one on one” with a DTS student named Taylin, from Colorado. She is in our Snowboarders/Skiers DTS which started in January and will be going to Japan for outreach in April. As her mentor, we meet weekly to chat and pray – I love it!

One of the things I’ve realised about my new role at YWAM is that I feel incredibly blessed. I sincerely mean this.

Leaving Australia end of last year, or even 12 months before that in November 2017 when I first (or finally) made the decision to obey God’s call and say yes to being a missionary in Vancouver, my thoughts were,

“Why me, why do I have to do this?”

As I sit here looking out the window at the snow falling and thinking about my week ahead I can boldly say,

“Why me, why do I get to do this?”

It’s amazing how God can transform and renew our minds and hearts. Originally I felt as though I had this huge mountain ahead of me, that it would virtually be impossible to raise all the support I needed to be a full-time volunteer and that this move was the scariest and riskiest thing I’d ever done – it almost felt like I was throwing my life away. I guess I was in a sense…

But throwing my life away, or handing it over to God and saying “Yes, use me, lead me, I will follow”, has been the best decision and something I’ll hang onto for the rest of my life. I don’t want to forget it.

Every Monday morning at YWAM Vancouver we begin the week in worship. Every staff and student gather to praise Him for an hour. We then bag an insane amount of bread and pastries that have been donated from Cobs Bakery, which I believe is an Australian company. On Thursday mornings we have intercession where we pray and intercede for a particular nation or issue happening in the world. We also have a prayer room at the office that can be used at any time, and it’s common for most meetings to begin and end in prayer.

Again, I repeat. I GET to do this!

WOW, thank you Lord.

As much as their has been an abundance of new in this last month – new country, new city, new home, new housemates, new work, new church, new friends…the list goes on. I am thankful that this has drawn me ever close to God. There have been some low moments as I embrace this phase of “transition”, but I instead of looking at the mountains (literally) as an impossible feat, I now see it as the certainty of His promise.

For 2019, there are three words I want to live by:

Slow

Deep

Local

I felt like my life the last few years in Sydney was very busy, too busy. I didn’t really rest and a sabbath was virtually non existent. So, I’m making it a priority now. It definitely feels quite counter-cultural, but I know this time is precious and literal food for my soul. For me, I don’t want to forget why I’m here and how I’m here.

To partner with this idea of living slow, I also want to live deep. I don’t want to be rushing from one coffee catch up to the next, but have time for conversations to linger and to really get to know people, deeply. Above this, I hope to go deeper with God, getting to know Him like an old friend.

Local is something I’ve never really had. What I mean by this is I want to settle where I live and be part of the community, getting to know the people who make up my home, building relationships with them. Never in my life have work, friends, church, my grocery store, coffee shop etc been all within walking distance of home – it’s so awesome! I want to embrace this and be fully present in the city God has called me too, loving Vancouver as best I can.

To end a blog post that was pitched as “a general update” (well done those troopers who are still reading), I want to share something I read recently which stuck with me,

“I must remember the reason I’m here. Not for my own joy or gain, but for the growth of God’s kingdom.”

Remember. 

I will remember why I’m here, how I got here from God’s faithful provision and through incredibly faithful and generous people, and, who it is I am working for, who my focus is to be each day and every morning as I rise.

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View from our kitchen. First official snow day of 2019 in Vancouver.
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View from our living room.
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View of North Vancouver and Grouse Mountain (I think). This is about 100 meters from my house.
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Morning commute isn’t so bad on foot.
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The office of YWAM Vancouver.
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This is where the Communications Team live. My desk is in the far left corner.
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The prayer room.
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How I get around Vancouver.
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I visited a Vineyard Church. It’s a 5 min walk away from my home!
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Coastal Church has become my new home church.
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They do monthly worship nights where all the life groups across the four campuses gather, it’s awesome.
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Friends already inviting me over for dinner – so much fun.
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The waterfront downtown.
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Sunset Beach. Yes, Vancouver has beaches.
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I really can’t get over the mountains. You literally see them wherever you go!
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My view from an evening run. If you look real close, those two white patches on the mountain are ski slopes.