Here’s our latest update from Annie Watkins, sent a few days before she departed for Costa Rica…
I now only have three days left in LA. A lot has been happening here with lots of people heading off home and to outreach. One school left for Israel a few weeks back – the School of Prayer and Missions. Another – the School of Ministry Development – had their graduation on Friday and will be leaving over the next few days. The two teams from Calling All Skaters (CAS) DTS have left for outreach; one team headed to Chile on Friday and team China are leaving today. That leaves the Transformations DTS who are doing outreach in Hollywood for a few weeks before heading to St Vincent in the Grenadines. And then there’s my school. Team Thailand and Cambodia head out on Thursday morning and my team leave Thursday evening. It’s incredible to think of all the people that will be heading out to different countries and back to their homes to show God’s love to the people they meet.
We’ll be doing awareness and prevention work in Costa Rica, as well as working directly with girls on the streets and in after-care. In Panama at the YWAM base they are wanting to pioneer a Justice ministry so we get the amazing privilege to help pioneer Justice 180 there which is an insane opportunity. God works in such crazy ways. Although our visas didn’t work out for Brazil we prayed a lot for that country and are still believing that sometime in the future YWAM LA will be able to send a team there. But God had favour on our team and has opened up so many exciting things for us in Panama. We might also get the chance to train government officials in Human Trafficking prevention – we’re not sure quite what this will look like yet but I’ll try and keep you posted whilst we’re out there.
Robert, our school leader, spoke on Missions last week for our final topic of Lecture Phase. It was a really impactful week and has really got me excited for going on outreach, it felt unreal for the longest of times that we were actually leaving, but since that week my mindset has been changed and I’m ready for whatever God has for us in central America. I’m ready to do God’s work, whatever that may look like.
Sidley Tiddlers had their Christmas party a few days ago, with 29 people there! Best of all, none of the children were scared of Father Christmas! 🙂
They didn’t have the fun all to themselves though, in Sunday Club today Jonathan, Matthew and Laura made this brilliant Nativity Cake, featuring Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, angel, 3 wise men, 2 sheep & a cow. And after the service they got to eat it!
Christmas is still a special time of year in Uganda, though people celebrate mostly on the day itself. All the build up to it we have back in the UK doesn’t really exist here – most people are too busy trying to make ends meet. What a lot of people do is cook a special meal for their families, perhaps slaughter a chicken and cook it on Christmas day! Some go to church for fellowship too.
Lifehouse always has a Christmas day service. I’m hoping the King’s Kid Choir (the children’s choir of the ministry) will be putting on a special production for Christmas day – though that is to be confirmed.
Next week we’re having a conference for all the pastors and leaders of all the various Lifehouse Community Church branches in the region! I’m not sure how many people are expected, but I think it’s a lot! There will be teaching, preaching, praise and worship, prayer and eating for all the attendees. Visitors who come from afar will sleep in the classrooms at the school – it’s a good job we’re on school holidays now! I’m going to see how best I can serve the people during this time.
The King’s Kid Choir Creative Dance ministry, which I’m leading, is going on well. I’m teaching dance to the kids, asking the Lord to inspire me with movements and more music we can use. It’s something I never expected to be doing!
Recently, a local friend and I started a Co-op Savings and Credit Society in Mityana. Our aim is to boost small businesses and operate a savings facility for people who wish to save with us. Exploitation by vicious money lenders and a fear of using big commercial banks has left many small business people without a savings facility or access to micro-credit. So that’s how we started and we are now just 2 months in. So far, we’ve achieved 100% pay back rate on the loans we’ve given out and are mobilising savings. Business can be transformative to people’s lives, I’ve seen that, and if we can do it in such a way, with integrity, honesty, transparency and responsibility, in a Godly way, honouring God at all times, we can’t fail to succeed! I’m confident that with the calculated risks we take we are going to help people realise growth in their small businesses, which will help them achieve a better standard of living for themselves and their families.
We’ve also been busy at the King’s Kid Medical Clinic, installing a rainwater harvesting system. A big tank has been installed and all the guttering around the clinic is going on at the moment. Once it’s all connected, we shall be collecting all the rainwater which falls on the roof and not wasting it any more! The water is going to supply the clinic and the vegetable garden we planted nearby. I expect it will all be finished before Christmas.
That’s all for now, greetings to all at Sidley!
I’m so thankful for the time I’ve been given to specifically focus on developing my relationship with God and learn more about his Kingdom and my part in that. I’ve been blessed with so much; incredible friends and leaders, opportunities to do things I would never have dreamed of doing and visions of more amazing things to come. For my first thanksgiving in America I had the privilege of cooking and preparing food for everyone on base who didn’t go home for the holidays.
It was such an amazing time of fellowship and really showed me what true community should look like. That’s one of the things I love about living at YWAM, the community. Everyone is supportive of each other and there’s always people who show the love of God to you. These pictures offer a taste of the evening and show my wonderful small group. We meet every week to talk about what we’ve been struggling with and what God’s been teaching us, I love them all!