I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported me financially, through prayer, friendship, discipleship, reading this, and however else I've been supported this year. It's been an absolutely incredible experience that I will never forget, both the Discipleship Training School and the School of Worship through Youth With a Mission Denver.
I've learned an absolute ton and met a lot of very cool people and made a lot of good friends.
If you want to hear my song that was on our School of Worship album titled "Arise," you can listen to it here: http://www.myspace.com/findingwill
If there is one thing I can take away from this year it is I have learned what really matters in this life. Love. Love God and love people. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21)
I'm almost done here in Denver for the year. It's crazy. It's went by so fast, especially the School of Worship. We just have two jam-packed weeks left. We listened to our CD the other night, and it sounds pretty good. My song is the closing song and I'm definitely pleased with how well it turned out. The album name and theme is "Arise."
On the weekends and other free time during the week, a couple friends and myself have been recording some of our own stuff for fun. We set up in the Worship Center and track drums and then guitars and keys and vocals after that. It's pretty fun. We're going to try and do some more tracks before we're done here.
I feel like God has been working in me in a few areas of my life. Patience is one. I don't know exactly where I'm headed in life but I do think I have a general idea of where God has called me. Music. So, that being said, I just need to be patient and wait in anticipation as to where He places me and see what happens. It's also exciting though. I wouldn't want to know exactly where I'm headed. Where's the fun in that? So I'm just taking it one step at a time.
Also, I feel like I need to take risks and live outside of the world's norm. I don't mean being stupid, but I mean not always being so comfortable and secure. I mean taking risks for God and living my life out in faith.
My friend and "accountability staff partner" here was out to breakfast with a few of us guys this morning and he was talking just about this. He said he thinks one of the worst places to be is on the fence - one foot with God, and one foot with the world, and just getting torn to shreds. I don't believe that's where I am right now, but I know I have been there and I sure don't want to be there. He talked about how in Numbers 13 when there are 12 Israelite spies who go and scope out the scene in the promised land that God has for them. They all come back and say that yes, it's flowing with milk and honey and it's as nice as God says it was, but there's way too many foes there, and there is no way they can conquer them. But God had already promised this land to them. Then comes Caleb.
"Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." (Num. 13:30)
Look at this guy. What a rebel. He could have just agreed with everyone else and been comfortable in his place. But he had other plans. He knew God had promised them this land. He knew God would deliver them. It didn't look easy, I'm sure. I'm sure he was a little scared. But he was convinced to go for it anyway. He was living by faith. He was living by God's strength, not His own. Being a musician may seem like a lofty, risky thing to pursue. There's a risk that I may not make a lot of money. But if that's where God has called me, then I'm more than willing to take that risk. I want to be a Caleb.
Here's a few pictures of us recording and how we're set up. It's pretty fun.
Hey so it's about week 6 or so into the School of Worship here in Denver. That seems really crazy to me that we're already halfway done. It feels like we just got here. Time flies when you're having fun! Yeah!
Anyways, what have we been up to? Music. And more music. I like it. We've been writing songs and developing them as a band. I only brought my electric guitar here thinking I'd be playing pretty much only that. But considering we have three electric guitarists, one violinist, and one vocalist in my cell band that hasn't exactly happened. We all switch up according to each song and what that song calls for. So far I've played electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and I've sang for some songs. It's fun. I'm thinking about writing my next song on piano....
Here's a picture of my cell band:
(l to r) Erika (violin, piano, vocals); Tony (guitar, bass); Tommy (guitar, drums); me; Will (cell band leader); Sophie (vocals)
We have class each week in the morning, with topics ranging from Worship in the Word to "Worship Evangelism" to the history of worship and stuff like that. Last week we had Rob Morris and he was awesome. Hands down, my favorite speaker I've ever had in YWAM, DTS or SOW. His message was simple: Love God and love people. And we had many a good discussion over this. He was probably the most motivational and inspiring speaker I've heard, and he doesn't even try to be that. He just had conversations with us. He said God's heart is for justice, for the poor, the lost, the brokenhearted. Who did Jesus usually hang out with? He is the founder of the organization Love 146. Its purpose is to fight against child sex slavery, and provide safe homes and the like for victims. www.love146.org.
This week we don't have teaching. Instead, we are preparing to record our school CD. It will be 7 songs, handpicked by John Connor (former SOW Director and producer of the album) from the songs we have written as students. My first song, titled All For You was picked to be one of the songs, which I'm pretty excited about. I'll definitely do an update once the CD is out.
That's right. I'm back in Denver. I apologize, I never plastered a final outreach post. Busy. And I forgot. It was awesome, though. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and made a lot of really good friends. Some of which I am now seeing back in Denver at different schools.
I'm back here for another 3 months and I am doing the School of Worship. We have 12 students in the school. There are two "cell bands" in which we each write songs and then as a band we work with those songs and play together. It should be interesting and a lot of fun. This first week is just legistical stuff, and we haven't played any music yet. I'm excited for us to do that. I'm ready to play.
It should be interesting to see how we're going to play songs in my cell band because we have 3 electric guitarists, 1 violinist, and 1 singer. No bassist. No drummer. So... yeah... it should be interesting. We'll see what happens.
I'm here with my good friend Jordan from back home. He did his DTS in Australia last year and went to school this past fall. He decided for sure he was going to do the SOW with me just about 2 months before the school began. So he dropped out of college for the time being, and started to apply. He didn't have any money. So he needed $3,500 in a month and a half. Kinda crazy, eh? Well, he worked a lot and sent out a bunch of support letters. He needed at least half of the money by the time we showed up at the base here (this past Monday). We drove down together and he still needed over $500 just for that first half. This was Saturday morning. By Sunday afternoon he had it all. Not just the half that he needed for sure. All of it. For the whole school. God is the ultimate provider. It was really sweet and really exciting to see Him come through. And now we're here together and it's going to be awesome.
Our first song is due Monday. The theme is "Arise." I haven't really started yet. These next three months should be sweet.
We are in Ushuaia. It is most definitely the most beautiful city I have ever been to. Mountains and ocean and wonderful people.
It´s usually around high 40s or lower 50s I would guess, and if the sun´s out, it really gets nice. Yesterday was our day off from ministry times, and as a group we went down to the ¨Fin Del Mundo¨ or the End of the World - the very, very tip of South America. Unfortunately the path to the very tip of it was closed for some reason, but we were about a 10 minute hike away from it.
We´ve been working with specifically 3 different churches here in Ushuaia and have done services for them and have hung out with the youth and we did a program on the main walking strip and a TON of people stopped to watch. It was really cool. Because there´s so many people (tourists and locals) walking there everyday.
This week should be really good. We have lots of cool things planned, and we´re really getting to know the people here, especially the youth around our age. It´s incredible how well you can connect with people and get to know them even with a language barrier.
We have an awesome opportunity this week too. We will get to personally meet and even do a service with Loren and Darlene Cunningham who are here this week for something. They are THE original founders of YWAM; they started it all up in 1960. It´s pretty exciting.
Hey, so things have been pretty busy the past couple weeks here in Argentina. We spent 5 days up in Chaco, in northern Argentina. It gets pretty hot up there. It was consistently over 100 degrees everyday, and I wouldn´t be surprised if it hit 110 or 120 a few days when we were there. We wouldn´t do any ministry in the afternoons just because it was so ridiculously hot, nobody was out in public. We had siesta time, which are good for naps.... unless you´re in Chaco. I´d fall asleep and 10 minutes later wake up in a pool of sweat. So instead of napping, we just sat and talked with each other and the neighborhood kids. It was fun.
The people in Chaco were so cool. The pastor and his wife were so hospitable and made us great food. We did our drama called Forgiveness to the song ¨Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape¨by the band Underoath for the first time there. It´s a powerful drama. The first time we did it there, the pastor said to everyone that he never cries in front of other people, but during that drama we made him cry in front of his entire congregation.
We did a lot of work with the youth of the church, and they were so fun to talk and work and hang out with. One night we went down to the main plaza where a lot of people hang out at night and did a program, and a ton of people from the church came with us. It was a lot of fun. They were all about taking photos with us too. I swear one kid took about 6,388,298 photos that one night.
After the 5 days we headed to the bus stop where we would head out to Compana and when we showed up, the whole crew from the church was there waiting and they had made big signs for us and even gave us all gifts. One sign had all our names on it and another said ¨Thank you for come to Chaco!¨ Awesome.
The past 3 days we spent in Compana and it was a similar story. We spent a lot of time with the young kids and youth there. We did a night out at the plaza there too, and earlier in the day we had even taught the kids from the church some of our dramas and they performed one.
We had 3 services in 3 days while we were there and performed dramas and taught at every one. The first night I gave the message. I talked about finding true, lasting joy that comes only through Christ. Later on, I´d like to post a blog on just that message, and the whole idea of it. Last night I played electric guitar in the worship band. Like I said in my last blog, the worship is so laid back and spontaneous compared to back home. About 5 or 10 minutes before the service started, they told me they wanted me to play guitar. Then I (hopefully) find out the key of the song and from there we play. No chords, nothing but the guitar and wing it. Fun stuff. Then they wanted Rosie and I to play a worship song, and that was another just ¨Ok, come up and play¨deal. No practice or prep or anything. So we went up and played Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord. It went well, though, I think.
Now we´re back in Quillmes (Buenos Aires) till 4 AM this next morning and we head out on our 50 hour bus trip down to Ushaiua.
Please pray for me and the team that we don´t just go through the motions but that we really seize the opportunity we have here and give it everything we´ve got, because when we do step out and do that we´ve seen that huge things come out of it, and it´s totally worth it.