Monday, December 18, 2006

Advent Prayer (by Henri Nouwen)

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do, seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy, seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking light.
To you we say, Come Lord Jesus....

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas tree fun

We had a great time cutting down our Christmas tree with friends on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and there was snow on the ground and mountains all around. Zara had fun as well, although she thought it was very strange when we cut down a tree and then placed it in our house!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Day with Zara

Sorry for the avalanche of posts, but I guess there's a lot to say...

On Thursdays I (Zach) normally watch Zara, while Amanda does YWAM work. Today was an interesting day for Zara and I. Maybe you'll find it amusing. I wish I could show you some pictures of the day, but unfortunately our camera didn't have a memory card in...

Zara and I took the bus downtown, and the bus ride itself was a bit of an adventure. We were in a rush to get out of the house (of course), and I proceeded to get on the wrong bus. It didn't take us too far out of the way, but it added a bit of excitement to the day. So instead of one easy bus ride to get downtown it took us three confusing buses. By the time we got there, Zara was ready for some walking around. (As a sidenote here, Zara has just learned the word "Starbucks" but I'm going to try and weed it out of her vocabularly somehow.) It was fun to watch her walk down the sidewalk and just take everything in. She gets very distracted by people, and loves to watch them. We didn't really have much of an agenda other than walking around and maybe doing a little Christmas shopping. However we only made it to one store (Old Navy) because I quickly realized the futility of trying to shop with Zara and no stroller to strap her into. She's just too busy to sit still and let me look for anything.

After our "shopping" experience we were looking for something else to do when I saw a Carousel that is set up every year downtown for kids. She seemed really interested in it, so I thought it would be fun for her to ride it. I was definitely wrong. She hated it. In fact, they had to stop the ride to let us off because they thought Zara was about to go crazy. She rode her horse for approximately 13 seconds before jumping into my arms. At that point my only goal was to assure her that not all horses were as strange and crazy as these.

After that the trip (and the rest of the day) went rather smoothly. We made it home safely and later in the afternoon continued our weekly tradition of going to a cafe in Queen Anne to see our friend Rachel. It was a fun and eventful day.

Thailand team

Just wanted to pass along a picture of the team that will be going with us to Thailand. We leave January 8th or 9th, and will be returning in early March.

Jeremiah 29

This week we have one of my favorite speakers. His name is Ron Ruthruff, and he's the Director of Ministry and Program Development at a downtown Seattle street-youth drop in center called New Horizons Ministries.

The focus of the week has been two-fold: 1. Give our students a look at what life is like for kids living on the streets--specifically in Seattle. We watched a documentary called "Streetwise," which followed the lives of a few kids from Seattle who are living on the streets. We've been talking quite a bit about child & adolescent development, and the issues that these kids are facing--realizing that much of their formative years are being shaped very differently from those of us who have had parents around to help us navigate the confusing waters of adolescence. 2. Secondly, Ron has been spending quite a bit of time talking about cities--the formation of cities, issues in cities, and what our role as Christians can be to be a part of transformation in the cities we live in. It's too much to attempt to summarize here, but I really find these subjects fascinating. I find myself wanting to become more educated on the subjects--especially in terms of specific issues happening here in Seattle.

He uses a pretty extensive bibliography for his teaching, but there are a few main books that he references, if you're interested in checking them out:
The Corner
A Theology as Big as the City
The Prophetic Imagination

He also uses scripture extensively in his teaching, but one of the key ones is found in Jeremiah 29, where God commands the exiles to "seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." The main idea being that our welfare as individuals is intimately connected with the welfare of the community (city) around us.

It's been a good and challenging week. These last few weeks before Christmas are always difficult ones to maintain our focus. With the Christmas break approaching (along with our overseas outreaches) it can be quite diffiecult for all of us (students and staff alike) to really be present with all that is happening. We have to be on guard against "checking out" of all the activites we're involved with--teaching, small groups, outreaches in Seattle, etc.

Please be praying that we would have a strong finish to this portion of the DTS.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Some of our YWAM students and I voluteered on Sunday to hand out water at the finish line of the Seattle Marathon. Why the city of Seattle decides to hold it's annual marathon during the rainiest month of the year is beyond my understanding, but despite pouring rain, the marathon went on!

Our job wasn't too hard handing out water (besides being very cold and wet), but I'm always amazed at the dedication of people that complete marathons. Especially on Sunday. Every runner was shivering and soaking, but continued to run for 26.2 miles just to finish and complete a goal. Made me think about how often I take the easy way out when things don't go as planned for me or when there are obstacles or frustrations in my way. I hope to be a person who continues to have perserverance and discipline in my life, even when things are very difficult and I feel like quitting.....

Happy (late) thanksgiving!

We had a great thanksgiving week. All of my family was here and we had a great time being together, relaxing, and allowing them to see more of our world here. Here is our little nephew Micah enjoying his first thanksgiving!
I have to brag about my husband for a second- Zach wanted to plan the thanksgiving meal this year and he did an amazing job! He's always been a good cook, but he really out did himself....planning the menu, shopping list and giving us all jobs to do in the kitchen. Since I plan so many of the YWAM meals, it was so nice to have him take over! Some of the highlights we had that day were apple-pomegranate cider, pumpkin soup, roasted red pepper dip, butternut squash cassoulet (yes, cassoulet, not casserole!) and of course an amazing turkey. Oh and some of the best gravy i have ever had besides my grandmas (I can never do gravy right!) Needless to say, we were all very impressed and I felt really thankful to have a husband who is such a good cook!
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving day celebrating with family and friends....

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rain, Rain Go Away...

In case you haven’t seen the weather for Seattle recently, we are currently living up to our reputation that it rains all the time here. Usually when people say that, I just roll my eyes and brag about our beautiful summers and argue, “it really doesn’t rain THAT much here….” But this month is proving me wrong. So far in November we have had 11.2 inches of rain!!! Our average month of Nov. usually produes 5.9 inches, and we’ve had double that and are only half way through the month! It feels like we have a long winter ahead of us….it only makes me more thankful for our cozy little house and the warm fires that zach has been building in our fireplace almost daily. Despite the bad weather, I want to be thankful for all of the things that we DO have.

Last week I spent time volunteering at World Relief, which I do each week with a group of our students. World Relief is an agency that serves refugees and particularly in Seattle they help to resettle refugees when they arrive here and help place them in homes, teach them basic skills, and get them enrolled in English classes. Our job as volunteers is to help teach an English class each Thursday. Last week we were teaching parts of the body and to help we taught them the children’s song “head, shoulders, knees and toes”. I have to say it was hilarious to see the grown men especially singing the song along with us and doing the motions too! ☺ Each of the people we teach there has such a willingness to learn and gratefulness to us for helping to teach them. I feel it is the least we can do as so many of them have come from horrific circumstances and are now faced with tackling life in a new culture, away from everything familiar to them. They have more persistence and perseverance than I can imagine having.
After class, one of the women asked for my help in filling out some paper work for her child’s school. As I sat and talked with her I learned a little of her story. She had recently lost her husband to heart disease and had just moved here with her 2 children. She knows no one and can barely speak English. That day, she was faced with the impossible task of filling out a pile of paper work to enroll her children in school. Thankfully, since I am a native English speaker, this was an easy thing for me to be able to help her with. Left on her own, it would have taken her hours and hours to complete. I felt so much joy from being able to help in just a small way to relieve her of that burden, yet I am aware she has much bigger challenges facing her as she settles in to life here as a single mother in this strange land. Being able to help this woman reminded me of importance of acts of kindness to others in our path. So often I am so focused on my life or what I need to get done that I barely take time to notice those around me. I was reminded of the ability we have to help carry each other and relieve each others burdens and it challenged me to look for more ways to do that throughout my week. I came across a non-profit organization committed to spreading kindess- they can be found at They have declared this particular week “World Kindness Week” so we challenged our students to each look for at least one opportunity this week to show kindness to those in their path. We are going to share our stories and experiences this Friday and I’m excited to hear about the creative ways that they find to show love.

Friday, November 03, 2006

End of a long week...

It's been a very full week for us. Our speaker for the week could only come for two days, so Monday and Tuesday we added a bunch of extra sessions to give him as much time as possible. We were pretty worn out after those days, and hoping for some rest towards the end of the week. Unfortunately though, a number of our students and staff have gotten quite sick (colds, flu, etc), so we've been spending quite a bit of time tending to them. This morning I (Zach) was at the hospital with one of our students who had been up all night throwing up... Not fun. She's ok, just very tired and a bit dehydrated.

This weekend should be good and restful. We're going away with our small group for the weekend. We get on the ferry late this afternoon, and we'll be getting back Sunday morning. You can be praying that we get the rest we need, and that we continue to get over the colds that we have. (Zach and Zara both have lingering colds.)

Overall, (aside from all the sickness) I feel like things are really progressing well with this group of students. We're really enjoying our time with them, and they seem to be getting a lot out of the teaching. They're quite eager to gain a better understanding of their faith, which is fun for us to be a part of.

We'll be leading a team to Thailand in January, and we'll be meeting with our team regularly starting next week. It'll be fun to start talking about that, and preparing for the trip. More details on that to follow...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hello friends! We've decided to start this blog as a way to keep in touch with people who may be interested in what we're doing out here with YWAM Seattle. We'll try to update it regularly so you know what's going on with us...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

new students

Here's a picture of our students and our staff... The picture is taken at Gasworks Park in Seattle.