Hello from Riga, Latvia!
In this letter, I will get into how God led me here, what I am doing here, future plans, my overall experience with YWAM Pismo Beach, California, and outreach to Nicaragua and Belize. I wanted to keep all of you updated who have supported me with such love and generosity and also encourage you that by believing in me, God has been able to do greater things through me. It has been a hot minute since I’ve been able to blog and use technology. While on outreach, all of my technology “mysteriously” stopped working. I took this as a not so subtle sign to really focus and hone in on God’s heart for the nations and my role on that trip. So sorry if you thought I was ignoring you! That is definitely not the case!
A year ago, I never felt worthy enough or good enough to serve such a good Father. This time last year I was drinking and doing drugs. I was selfish and lost. But Jesus chose me for some crazy reason. He was faithful and relentless in His pursuit of me. He made a way when there was no way.
“You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.” -Psalm 23
On May 4, 2017, He led me to a youth group, which felt a lot like coming home. I couldn’t get Jesus out of my head. He planted seeds that prepared me for a radical encounter with Him. I was absolutely overwhelmed when strangers portrayed and embodied such relentless love to me. They spoke into my life and read me like a book. They received words of knowledge that only He would know.
I left behind the life I knew for Him. I had no idea what following Him would look like, but I trusted Him and was obedient in the direction He was calling me in. I gave into the doors He opened for me and the ones He closed. He proved His faithfulness by providing finances, friendships, inspiring mentors, and protection along the way. He brought me across the country to YWAM Pismo Beach, then to Nicaragua and Belize to minister to His people.
“The Lord replied, “Don’t say I’m too young” for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.” -Jeremiah 1:7
We had the opportunity to work with 34 different ministries! Here are some, just to name a few:
- Installed electricity, maintained the fields, and assisted in opening day for a farm that feeds local children and doubles as a rehabilitation center in Masatepe, Nicaragua.
- Provided food, hosted a service and went door-to-door praying for residents at the local dump in Nicaragua.
- Brought in street kids and taught them English.
- Cleaned up trash and cultivated the land behind a school that would be used to provide fresh, healthy vegetables and fruits to locals (Nicaragua has high-rates of diabetes and malnutrition).
- Prayed with Punta Gorda’s town council and received a task each week, such as cleaning up local parks.
- Cleaned and organized YWAM base in Belmopan, Belize.
- Ministered to, led bible studies, and tutored the girls in Marla’s home, a safe place for girls to come that have been neglected, abandoned, and/or abused.
- Painted the LifeNet church and led a youth group event.
- Prayed for patients at the hospital in Belmopan and witnessed healing.
- Spoke at numerous church services and taught various workshops.
My team of 3 leaders, Aaron, Sarah, and Andy, 3 kiddos, and 6 girls accomplished a lot! It was amazing to see the fruit of our labor and how God moved mountains in and through each one of us. Our leaders encouraged us to step out in faith, break down barriers, do things we never thought we could, highlighted our strengths, and gave us the freedom and courage to lead the team ourselves.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” -Matthew 4:19
DTS has given me an environment to find answers, a deep relationship with the Lord, lasting friendships, faith, hope, and trusting mentors. I am forever grateful for my YWAM family for leading me into an everlasting, deeply rooted relationship with the Lord.
I definitely was not the easiest student to host. I came in with a lot of issues, but they always extended mercy and grace. They walked with me through the dirt, dug deep and did a lot of refining. They gave me a family I can trust. I am leaving a free woman because they chose to sacrifice their time and energy to break chains in my life. They were patient, understanding, gracious and forward when they needed to be.
YWAM Pismo Beach created an atmosphere open and inviting to all theologies, practices, denominations, questions, and concerns while giving the Spirit freedom to move. The staff partnered with me on the journey through doubts and touchy subjects. They offered their opinions while being respectful and encouraging of my own prayer and exploration of God’s character and nature. The example of the leaders and openness in the schedule paved a way for freedom and empowerment in hearing God’s voice.
I absolutely love what DTS did for me, and the program it provides for new followers, old followers, traditional followers, and charismatic followers. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone; I believe everyone should have the opportunity to do a DTS in his or her lifetime. I am hoping to continue working with YWAM in the future. I have dreams to do a School of Ministry Development and join staff someday. I believe in the YWAM Pismo Beach base wholeheartedly. I hope that each staff member knows how valuable and treasured he or she is to Jesus, the Kingdom, and my testimony.
I was baptized on November 2nd, 2017 by Chris Failla, one of our amazing speakers!
Troy Sherman was a speaker during the lecture phase of my DTS. One night, he came over for dinner where he informed us about the unacceptable devastation and suffering happening all over the world. I was aware that human-trafficking and sexual exploitation was an issue but not to the degree that Troy described and testified seeing first hand.
Four months later, I still wrestled with this issue and carried a burden with me for women I had never met before. I believe this hurting resonates with me from the Father heart of God. Jesus gave me several confirming signs that brought me to Riga, Latvia, which is a destination for sex tourism. I will be working with Freedom 61, stationed in Riga, Latvia, for the next 3 months. Freedom 61 was gifted a room on the bottom floor of a church that has been transformed as a café for women working on the streets to come in, find refuge, eat and drink. The café is designed to spark a relationship and hopefully, introduce them to freedom. Freedom 61 also owns a center for women committed to changing their lives and seeking help. The center is equipped to assist in rehabilitation since most women come in with addictions, it also offers professional counseling, art workshops, teaches farming, domestic skills, nutritional value, helps find permanent housing and work opportunities, and provides a loving, mercy-filled, grace-giving environment.
“God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.”
I will also be working alongside the YWAM base centered in Riga, hosting teams, and getting connected with church and youth events. I am very blessed and excited to be given this opportunity to serve. I have full faith that Jesus will fill me, equip me, and provide for me so that I can meet these women with wisdom, grace, discernment, and understanding.
I was also given the opportunity to serve in China for the month of July, teaching English to migrant workers and working at Alive Camp, teaching English and hosting a workshop on photography and creative writing!
“The Lord will work out His plans for my life for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.” -Psalm 138:8
I am also pleased to announce that I have been accepted to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California for this upcoming fall semester! I have also been gifted the Founders Scholarship for academics. Westmont is a Christian, liberal arts school, where I will finish my bachelor’s degree in Communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in photography. It is my hope that with my degree I will be able to continue doing hands-on missions work while informing corporations, organizations and interested people of the suffering going on in the world and the ways that they can help get involved.
Your love and support have been truly incredible and encouraging. Thank you for believing in me. All glory be to God! If you would like to stay updated on my journey, you can subscribe to my blog and get email notifications every time I post! If you are interested in helping in the suffering that is going on and supporting a missionary, like myself, who is willing to go, fight for those who cannot, and sacrifice their time, energy, and love, you can contribute to my GoFundMe page that will also be linked below. Prayers are also greatly appreciated. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions 🙂 Thanks again for your love and support!