Here are some stories and testimonies from one of our February DTS students, Joel and his time on outreach.
"The first week was in the Outback - in Cunnamulla, an aboriginal town. We stayed with a couple who do amazing things reaching out to the youth of the community - using their warehouse to invite kids to build go-karts, kayaks and run schools in engineering and flying. They teach skills to help get people off the streets and give them the opportunity to love and value them, providing them a safe place to grow. They also have a church and a youth group drop-in centre daily. So that week was really cool, having fun with the kids - we played games, shared the gospel through dramas and spoke on identity. I built some really good relationships especially with an 11 year old named Harvey. I got to encourage him to dream big, believe in himself, and trust in God. We even got to go wild pig hunting, play bingo with the local elderly, play rugby with 20 other Australian young guys and go up in Wayne's 2 person plane over that area which was really cool.
Next we flew to Cambodia and landing in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. We were met by our contact Vandy and got a tuk tuk through the busy and colourful night-lit streets to the YWAM base, The next day we were given an orientation of the culture and history and we're taken to a museum/memorial for the Khmer Rouge killing fields - a big part of their recent history with a significant impact on the people since. It's such an amazing country, amazing culture, amazing food, amazing people, who were really friendly and hospitable. The food has so many different flavors of curries and weird tasty fruits. The weather's was very hot and humid as well with monsoon rains (a lot if rain pouring down) almost every afternoon. The first 2 weeks we spent in a lovely family's stilted house in a village in Prek Por - a young Cambodian Christian couple with a baby. We got to teach English to kids of all ages in their house and at the local private school. We shared dramas and bible stories and sharing at their local church. Then the next week we were in Svay Rieng with an organization called Kone Kmeng (means 'children' in Cambodian) which works with churches to help kids grow up in safe families without exploitation and with opportunities to get an education and helps families out of poverty teaching them skills building wells, toilets for them and giving them water filters. We got to drive each day to a different village, standing in the back of a truck to do kids ministry, games, dramas, bible stories and in the evening we got to spend time with some amazing Christian students. We helped with education by Kone Kmeng - teaching some English and having bible studies sharing some of our experiences and what we'd learnt over 'lecture phase' of DTS. We encouraged them in their faith and their relationship with God... to trust in him, knowing who they are and how much they're loved. To know God has an amazing plan for their lives. My time on outreach was amazing, I grew and learned a lot. I had a lot of breakthroughs, learning to be bold, to let go fears of what others think go. I'd been living since my childhood believing lies that I'm quiet or shy because that is who people said I was, so I started believing it. We all pick up things that people say about us, and over time we start to believe them about ourselves, believing the labels put on us, when the truth is we are loved. We are loved & treasured for who we are not what we do. We are all made for great things and we need to throw away any beliefs that tell us differently. If we want to grow and be strong we need to persevere through difficult circumstances. It was a lot of fun working with kids, playing games teaching them things, as I could just be a kid again, be silly and let go of worrying about what others think. In the bible it talks about having a child-like heart (Matt 18:1-5 to always have joy Phil 4:4-5). I learned how important it is being humble in your relationships with people, being child-like, but not childish. When we grow up we need to leave childish things behind, like pride. So one very important lesson to learn in life is how to be humble, serving, putting others before yourself. That is true love, self-less. That is what Jesus showed us, He showed us true love. In the bible 1 John 3:16 says 'we know what real love is, because Jesus have his life for us. Love is an action, not a feeling, and Jesus showed that for us.' In Matt 15:13 Jesus said 'there is no greater love than to lay one's life down for one's friends'. It may not always be literal, but true love is being so selfless that you'd be willing to die for someone if you had to. Jesus showed us his love for us by dying for us for our sins so that we don't have to die, he did it so we could experience God's love and freedom and be in relationship with him, he wants us that much."