Madison | Snowflakes [Made to be Caught]

Lately, I’ve felt a call to be more. But I’ve been afraid. To which God graciously responded, “But don’t you know that snowflakes were made to be caught?”
I am that made-to-be-caught Snowflake, and so are you!
Read on to see more of what I’ve been learning!

 


“But don’t you know that snowflakes were made to be caught?

And we’re the only ones who’re afraid as we fall”

 

The Inner

I wrote this piece inspired by a speaker at a conference who said, “Good theology makes for good art”. And I began to ponder this and question if my art-by that definition- is good or bad?
I started asking myself, “Why is theology so important in art?”
Well, the answer is simple. Even in my pieces that aren’t as explicitly Christian as the one above, my study of God (theology) informs them. The way I tell stories, my commitment to excellence, my desire to connect with the listener, it’s all inspired by how I see God interacting with the world. Inspired by this revelation I wanted to create a piece of “good art”, and knowing that I needed to create one to present to Spark [art elective in the DTS which I co-lead], I thought about what I’d been seeing to be true of God lately. The truth of it is this: that He calls us higher than we can soar alone, our wings are weak in comparison to the winds that whip us into submission- He calls us deeper than we can reach without Him- He the breath in our oxygen tank that enables us to continually go deeper. What is a scuba diver capable of without breath?  He calls us to be stronger than we can imagine absent His influence on our lives, and so I wrote a piece about this. I spent 36 hours locked away in my room writing, feeling the pulse of the heart of God, how persistently He calls us, and how strongly His desire for us to answer this call.
“Come to me! I’ve come down to you that I might raise you up with me! Arise, mighty valiant warrior!”, He calls us just like He called Gideon.
This year I have been called to Radiance. To shine; a light among darkness, and moreso than ever before.
I am intimidated by this. Afraid.  But like the snowflake I speak of “We’re the only one’s who are afraid as we fall”. God, in His faithfulness is going to catch me. He- the oxygen in my tank, the strength in my wings, the courage behind my conviction.

This year is going to be an exercise in abiding in the truth that I am made to be caught, and that He calls us to nothing wherein His presence is not. He is with me.
A couple Mondays ago I experienced a minor crisis, I was left alone to teach the first night of Spark. Due to poor weather the rest of my team was unable to come and I was stressed because it was a very sudden change that I was unprepared for.
In my franticity God told me to go outside in just my socks.
But it had been snowing all day! WHY WOULD YOU HAVE ME DO THAT?!?!
I didn’t understand why He asked me to do it, so I questioned Him and He told me that I wouldn’t understand until I did it. Fine. I submitted and went outside barefoot and stood in the snow.
You know how when you wash fruit you’re allegedly supposed to do it with cold water because cold water allegedly shocks the fruit or something? Yeah well I was fruit standing in the cold snow shocked clean of my worries as I so clearly heard His comforting voice say to me, “I am closer than the cold on your feet.”
I walked back in, eased and comforted into confidence and faith. He is with me.
Long story short, the night went fine and fluid. Less structured than what was planned, but from the lemons came lemonade. Yum. And amidst my fall, He caught me.

 

 

The Outer

  • The winter DTS is off to a booming start, I am co-leading Spark which is the art elective and I’m so excited to be involved with these students! 7 girls who are all excellent creatives and all learning to intertwine their faith with their creativity! It’s so delightful to watch their process of integration!!
  • I am living at the Phos House [YWAM Madison’s campus ministry house] and this year I am not staffing there, just living, which is nice as I feel more free to engage relationally with the students. But I am leading a friday morning Small Group! The year is off to a great start!
  • Last year I was a student in the BSN and this year I am staffing the BSN (Bible School for the Nations)!! Woo!!! Just got the news like 5 minutes ago, y’all, I’m so excited.

The Photos

PoemIAmMyFathersChild
This is a poem I wrote for a friend of mine and she turned it into this!
Matthew
Bobby Buckets aka Matthew Charles with the clean fade
HiroLeaving
Kimono goodbye pics are the sauciest
[Hiro and Mayumi departed from YWAM Madison back to Japan!]

 

ManuelHiroMatthewLastNightHiro’s last night in Madison. Pic ft Manuel, me, and Hiro @ The Decent Dane

 

Matthew&Wesley2017
My nephew Wes and I in Saint Louis

 

Becky&Matthew2017
My sister Rebecca and I in Saint Louis!

 

Timia&I
My good friend Timia who I met in South Africa during DTS outreach 2 years ago came to visit me in Madison! We had a great time catching up! Love you, friend!

 

Mike&MayaWedding
Mike and Maya’s [MFB] Wedding reception! I got to give a speech!!

The Prayers

  • I am looking to establish a creative presence online through instagram and facebook, sharing my poems, and in order to effectively do that I need an iphone 7 [For the excellent camera it boasts]. In the next couple of months I am hoping to be able to purchase or have somebody donate to me an iphone 7.
  • I have been very tired, and lacking energy lately. Please pray for endurance and a desire in me to see Christ’s strength revealed through my weakness.
  • Spark is off to a great start! You can pray for the students as each day they are being discipled, encouraged, strengthened, and reformed, that they would continue to press in fervently, receiving all that Father has in store for them!
  • I’ve got some creative projects I’m working on and need people to come alongside of me. Please pray that the right people partner with me and catch the vision and do so at a relatively low financial price to myself LOL.
  • Relationships in Phos House to continue to be strengthened and delve into new areas of intimacy, that we can truly be a Christ-like community.
  • Pray that God reveals Himself to me in powerful ways and I am faithful to continue to seek conviction and conformation to the image He made me to, as I am studying in prep for BSN

 

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Tanzania | Do I really make an impact?

Wrestling through the question of, “Do I really make an impact?”

MatthewMirriamTajiNathanTanzania

My perspective has never been a ‘filled to the brim, glass full’

It’s been, ‘if I don’t see the water it can’t exist at all’
but when you name a woman’s child
you begin to forget those “do I really make an impact?” doubts

 

The Inner

One sunday morning in Morrogoro, Nathan and I were at church. I was to be the preacher of the day, but at the end of my sermon the Pastor of the church asked Nathan if he would share as well, “just say anything, we just want to hear your voice!”, They pleaded.
After Nathan’s spirit filled message of the importance of a 7 day faith, the pastor invited us to his house for “2nd service” as he called it. “There is a time to speak and there is a time to be silent, just like there is a time to preach and a time to eat”, he said. Second service as he so affectionately referred to it, was code word for lunch time. The stomach needs to be ministered to, too!
During 2nd service there was a woman named Miriam, she spoke better english than any of the other africans I’d met in a while, she worked with the UN on an agriculture initiative, and she was clearly pregnant. We asked her how long until she is due and she said, “two weeks”.
Timothy, the man who had brought Nathan and I to the church asked Miriam what she was going to name her child and she said, “Benson. My husband loves that name”.
Timothy commented on how nice the name Benson is and then asked if they had a name picked out if the child was to be a girl, to which Miriam told us her husband doesn’t want a daughter, which is why they only have a name for a boy.
Timothy’s rebuttal was, “Well what are you gonna do if it’s a girl?”
And then Miriam turned and looked directly at Nathan and I and said, “I know that everybody around here is a prophet, but especially you two, will you name my daughter?”
We looked at each other and then back to Miriam and said somewhat sheepishly, albeit greatly honored, “Yes”, and went back to talking to each other.
When we noticed that Miriam was still looking at us, I looked to her and I said, “OH! You mean NOW? Name her right now?”
And Miriam nodded and said, “Yes.”
So Nathan and I turned to each other, closed our eyes, and began interceding, seeking what the LORD would name Miriam’s daughter, and I heard God say, “name her Laurel, because she will be like a laurel to her father”.
I opened my eyes, looked to Nathan and he said, “Go ahead, it’s you.”
And I turned to Miriam and told her what God had just told me.
“Name her Laurel, because she will be like a laurel to her father.”
Immediately, she wrote the name Laurel down, committing it to memory.
After lunch we drove Miriam home, and within the hour she went into labor. A 30 minute labor, and the child that was birthed was a girl!!
A girl that Miriam faithfully named Taji (the swahili equivalent to Laurel).
It’s as if baby Taji was just waiting to be named, and once named she bursted forth from her mother!
Two days later Nathan and I went to Miriam’s home to visit and intercede for Taji, and while there the surreality of the moment really hit me.
This family, for generations, will not forget our impact on them. Miriam will always remember how her daughter was named, and Taji, once old enough will hold dear to her how she was named as well, and will tell her children the story as well. God, Nathan, and I are intertwined with the story of Miriam and her family.
How beautiful, and how needed this affirmation and shift in perspective.

The Outer

Tanzania granted me a new perspective on missions. In my life I’ve spent time in Trinidad, Mexico, DRC, South Africa, and Tanzania (this is my second time there) and I’ve always wondered, “Are we really even making a difference?
A valid question, given that in short term missions you’re there for a little bit, and then leave. How could you actually know? Of course, you take it back to God, and He says, “yes you made a difference” but for some reason there is still insecurity and disbelief. Only a slight comfort taken in the words of the Most High- with thoughts of, “if only I could SEE”
because, “seeing is believing”, right?
For me it was. Although blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
In Tanzania we were able to spend a weekend in Tarangire, a location I spent a week in last year.
We pulled up in our vehicle and the Pastor of the church we did the seminar in last year noticed and recognized me, greeting me with warm smile, loving handshake, and asked if I could preach in his church again that weekend, which I eagerly agreed to.
He remembered me.
This moment was the first of many affirmations I encountered in Tanzania, affirmations that had me truly seeing that the work I do, does matter, does make a difference, does impact the lives of those we minister to.
When we finally reached the part of Tarangire where the old church building was- a place where giraffes and elephants could be seen at night, poking heads through the windows of our homes-  one of the girls who had grown close to our team last year, Violet, saw me and came to me, giddy as one reunited with a long lost friend.
The warmth in her eyes was precious as gold, and welcoming as open arms. She asked by name of the girls on my team from last year, “Where is Kyra?” “Where is Kari?” “Where is Corrie” “Where is Katherine?” And she started to sing one of the songs we taught her “Sijui Ki-Swahili” which is a song we made up that means, “I don’t know Swahili” [LOL. because she actually doesnt. she speaks masai
She remembered us.
Our ministry was founded on relationship, and endured because of the relationships that we cultivated.
Such a surreal moment to be back there, to be remembered, and in turn to be pursued by them to continue working amongst them, affirmed of the impact of the work we do.
And now that I’ve seen that we do make an impact, hopefully I don’t question that anymore and I can continue in faith that everything done in Christ is impactful.

 

The Photos

Nathan&NiwaeliTeachingTanzania
Nathan with Niwaeli (our translator) teaching on Joshua during our seminar in Morogorro (I joined the team at the beginning of this seminar, flew in from Congo.)

BandPictureTanzania
goin to the city!  Ft. Nathan, Matthew, Cameron, and Emily

MirroringTanzania
Nathan, “Should we climb up the mountain?”

MatthewBeautifulTanzania
Matthew, “HA. Nah, let’s not”
*Turns around and goes back to base after realizing he is severely out of shape and should start working out back in america*

MatthewMirriamTajiNathanTanzania
This is Miriam and her newborn daughter Taji. One day after a church service that Nathan and I preached at she asked us to name her then unborn child. We prayed and I heard the name “Laurel”. Taji is the swahili equivalent.

 

This is me holding Taji. She was 2 days old.

 

All the seminar graduates dancing their way to the front

Emily&PastorMarkGradTanzania
GRADUATION YAYYY!!!!! This is  Pastor Mark. He told me that I am exactly like his younger brother. He’s a great guy and he graduated woohoooo!

MorogorroGradTanzania
Group graduation pic! YAYYY CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!

PastorMarkMorogorroGradTanzania
The gave us Masai garb, which is what is draped over us.

 

TarangireViRafikiTanzania
This is in Tarangire, we spent a weekend here and it was amazing! During my DTS outreach I spent a week in Tarangire and these two ladies, Vi and Rafiki were close friends of our team. When I showed up in the village this time Vi came to me and asked by name about all of the girls who were on my team last year and she sang some of the songs we taught them last year. It was a tremendous affirmation that the work we do, even though we can’t always see the fruit, is fruitful. That weekend was so lovely.

JosiahandITanzania
I GOT TO SEE JOSIAH!!! He is Elisante’s (our contact in Tanzania) son and my little brother. We bonded last time I was in Tanzania, he is overjoyed to see me, and I him!

ElisantesKidsTanzania
This is Josiah, Jesse, and Joshua, 3 of Elisante’s 5 children

NathanTeachingTanzania
After the weekend in Tarangire our team drove to a village called Leguruki. This seminar was smaller and a great deal more challenging.

Matthew&EmaTeachingTanzania
It’s not all beauty shots of me. Here’s me teaching on David and the importance of having a pure heart and clean hands. Ema, our translator is at my side.

MamaFazillyTanzania
This is Mama Fadilly (Mother of Fadilly), she and her husband opened their house to our team. And she always encouraged me to shower. Because of her I was the cleanest person on our team. Thanks mama!

TeamPicTanzania
Mama Fadilly’s family and our team! Fadilly is the boy, Debora is her youngest daughter, and her husband is the man in front of me.

 

 

The Poems

being compiled into a chapbook which will be available for purchase…

#SupportYourLocalMissionary
#SupportYourLocalPoet
#SupportYourLocalMe

 

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Congo |Courage and Belief

I can not do in or through you
that which you are afraid to complete
And this is why I said,
“Not in fear, but in courage and belief.”

searching_for_god_by_jojoesart-d82e2qq

 

 

The Inner

I realized that I’ve inhabited a space of fear when it comes to dwelling in my identity in Christ. My identity as a person of God.
I’ve been afraid to proclaim Him, His goodness, and His Kingdom, and so I silenced myself.
I’ve been afraid to attempt to glorify Him with outright action out of fear I’d be silenced by others.
And perfect love has no fear in it so I was confronted with the awareness that I needed to re-examine and revolutionize my motivation so that I could love more like Him.
Not in fear. But in courage. And belief. Because apparently, loving in any other way muzzles the Most High.
In essence I was paralyzed.  And Father urged me into understanding with equal parts urgency as tenderness, saying “not in fear, but in courage and belief.”. He spoke to me of Luke 15, of 1 John, and of Sonship. This truth that as children of His we are called to be motivated by love, and not fear. Ratified by relationship. Love is eternal. And Fear will one day fade, as will our motivation if it is fueled, and left as fumes by fear.
The DRC was an exercise in being courageous, and walking in belief. Throughout my month in DRC I taught 2 four hour teachings in our 2 week seminar and preached every sunday at church, and God not only encouraged me to share my life stories- dispersing them throughout the teachings- but He freed me to share, by revealing more of His perspective on my life, and from this revelation conviction was birthed within me. I came to see more and more how much Christ has saved me, and not just saved, but transformed me. And if transformed, then empowered. Empowered to usher in His kingdom with just as much courage and belief as Christ.
And so here I sit, an empowered individual in Christ, reconciled to truth, seeking to establish His Kingdom, making known His glorious goodness, with equal parts urgency as tenderness, in courage and belief.

The Outer

During our month in DRC there was an elder man named Raphael (The cover pic of this post is him and I) who captured my heart. Obviously aged a bit, but this Pastor had a fire within him. One day after a morning of teaching the seminar I was at our house talking with a teammate and Raphael came to our house. He spoke Lingala, the tribal language so I had to call Mana (our translator) over so that we could communicate.
Raphael asked me to pray for him because he felt that in his old age he had lost some of the boldness of his youth. And I was touched because God had been speaking to me of boldness, courage and belief, and the crux of what He said was that boldness stems from conviction, and conviction from belief. So I ministered to Raphael, telling him what He had first told me and I then prayed for him.
Afterward Raphael left our house with a smile and inspiration to grow.
One week later it was the weekend, and in order to graduate from a BELT seminar you have to do local outreach, so our YWAM team split up onto different local outreach teams with the Congolese people. Ashley and I traveled with the group that had Raphael and they taught about the Greatness of God (His nature, qualities of His which just are). On that team Raphael taught, and granted we had no translator so I couldn’t understand a single word he said ( 4 hours of not understanding what was happening around me haha) I saw the fire with which he spoke, the conviction, the belief. The time that we had met up in prayer yielded a harvest of boldness for Raphael and I praise God for that. When we debriefed the local outreach, many of the seminar participants reported back that the people they had ministered to said they had never heard the Gospel taught in such a way, and that if more teachings like ours were brought to them, they would want to give their lives to Christ.
And I began to see a picture of multiplication.
Of spiritual empowerment. We came, we taught, and they learned. And now they have the teachings so that they can go, they can teach, and those they teach can learn. And the cycle can continue in ever generative cycles creating more and more understanding of God.
Being able to be a part of this Congo outreach was indelible to my spiritual foundations and many more things happened that I don’t have space to write about here. Ask me bout em.

 

 

The Photos

WhereIsNoahTanzania
Our Congo Team! Minus Noah. [Left to Right: Emily, Jake, Me, Kelly, Ashley]

TeamBushPlaneCongo
Bush Plane Selfie! Flying to Buta ft Kelly, Jake, Emily, and Ashley

SkyviewOfCongo
Views from the window. DRC is so beautiful!
WaterClosetCongo
WC. Water Closet. Aka Squatty Potty

SquattyPottyStanceTanzania
Nathan (in tanzania) demonstrating Squatty Potty stance for your viewing pleasure

MatthewStoryCongo
Mana (our translator, to my left) and I teaching outside

TeamTeachCongo
Ashley, Mana, Jake, and Emily teaching the children

NatureCongo
Lovely

KellyAshleyCongo
Kelly and Ashley with some of the women that served us

WalkingCongo
Going for a walk in Buta

SweepDirtCongo
poem coming below about this. . .

EmilyPlayCongo
Emily in the evening playing with the village kids

WomenCongo
Group pic with mostly ladies and Mana

LittleGirlCongo
Every time I go to Africa I come back wanting to have a daughter..do you see why?

MatthewandManaCongo
Me teaching the destructiveness of sin. Our teachings interact with the posters behind Mana (our translator) and I. But you cant see my poster cause we in front of it.

NativesPosterCongo
Some of the participants looking over the posters, desiring to embed truth into their lives.

 

23659971_2016190885074855_1168917310_o
Our local outreach team! I’m behind the camera… smile!

LocalOutreachInCongo
Local Outreach in action..Im a terrible photographer

BridgeCongo
But sometimes I take pretentious photos of bridges in attempts to be artsy. LOOK AT ME ALL CREATIVE AND STUFF.

HappierThanILookCongo
I’m happier than I look, I promise

OpenAirCongo
We went to the market and preached the Gospel of Jesus. It was lit.

OpenAir2Congo
Leaving the market in a Congo line. . .

GraduationCongo
70 people graduated from our seminar! Woooo!!

Raphael&MatthewCongo
Raphael and I, one of the graduates, an elder who warmed my heart.

KellyAshleyMatthewGoofyCOngo
Sometimes ya gotta make goofy faces

Matthew&Ashley&CongoleseCongo
And sometimes you pray over sick babies

AshleyAndMatthewRBeautifulInCongo
And sometimes you take pictures at graduation because the villagers are so persistent and they won’t let you not do it haha

PapaMamaJustineCongo
And sometimes you meet elders who earnestly seek Yahweh and His truth and a life centered on it

NoSmilesInCongo
And sometimes you leave a nation that has captured your heart and you’re happy for all that God has accomplished in and through you and your team, but the locals are sad and dont smile for the picture.
But they don’t smile becaues Congolese people dont ever smile for pictures not because they are sad haha.

 

 

 

The P.S.

A post on Tanzania will be coming soon. . .
Share this with your friends, your church, and your mama!

 

 

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Madison | Faithfully Awaiting

 

Sun Up Gold Sky Heaven Clouds Night Wallpaper Iphone 6
Nurture within me a devotion to dependence
this notion of need like that of  a family about to be evicted
with no refuge left but the snow covered streets
I am desperately aware of where I’ll be if you don’t come through
And I never want to forget how much I need you like water, food to eat, and love too
That’s why I swear to treat the clouds that cover heaven like an open sunroof;
I will see your glory unhindered

 

The Inner

The above is a prayerful poem I penned over the weekend, inspired by a conversation I had with my Aunt Linda. She said that church bored her because she could tell that a majority of Christians in America are unaware of their (our) desperate need for Christ, and because of this blindside we as a church are ineffective, and unable to ratify the world as we’ve been called to.
I wrote Devotion as a response to that heartcry of my dear aunt. I long to be dependent and aware of my need for God. How many times has He provided for me? I remember when I was in Tanzania last year my outreach team was asked to orchestrate a week long seminar, and we were utterly unprepared. We only had enough spare time to prepare that day’s teaching that very same morning, and most days God asked me to be the main speaker of our group(talk about being stretched!). Every morning I spent with Jesus, glaringly aware of how much I needed to see Him come through and provide me with a topic for the day and a body of content to fill it. The last day of the seminar I asked God a question I hadn’t asked Him before, “What will my notes look like today?”. And He responded by showing me a picture of a blank page. He was telling me not to have notes. Right then I was desperately aware of how much I’d need to rely on Him, even moreso than how much I relied on Him the days before.
That day I spoke to the church for a little over an hour and I felt alive! Electrified! I saw the glory of YHWH on display through His faithfulness to provide me a means to complete the end which He called me to!
And it is this notion of need
this devotion to dependence that my spirit knows it needs to carry within me.
I wrote that poem, meaning it, but not fully knowing what I asked for, yet even now as God makes me aware of other areas I need Him, I am encouraged.
Encouraged, for one, because God answered my prayer. He indeed is nurturing within me a “notion of need” and I am beginning the journey to being devoted to dependence on Him.
I say all of this as a sort of Ebenezer. A documented monument that God is faithful to His children.
A reminder that I need now more than ever.
This coming September I go on outreach with the rest of BSN (Bible School of the Nations) and I will be going to The Congo and Tanzania, each for one month. My team will be hosting BELT (Biblical Education & Leadership Training, a YWAM Ministry that partners with Wycliffe Bible Translators) seminars aimed at teaching biblical principles for ratifying self, relationship with others, and their nation to the pastors and leaders of the villages we go. The amount of money I need to raise for outreach is about $5,000.
Michael, my one-on-one told me that it is actually a blessing to wait on the Lord for greater and greater amounts of money.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
So here I sit, faithfully awaiting, knowing my need, and staking my claim on He who’s storehouses overflow, He who richly provides for those He’s called.

The Outer

  1. I’ve been in bible school for the last two months, and I’ve been thoroughly blown away. The things I’m learning are truly treasures.
  2. My involvement with Phos House and Spark are done for the rest of the year. They both ended fantastically!

 

The Photos

ClassTime
Class time! Michael is teaching us from the book of Jeremiah.

MeTeachingAmos
For the last two weeks BSN has been hard at work studying the Minor Prophet books of the Bible. We were to choose a book, study it, and then teach it. The book I chose was Amos. This is a picture of me during my teaching of the book of Amos to the class. Teaching was such a joy! To be able to communicate the heart of God is one of my newfound pleasures.

Sparkies1stYear
From January-April I was staffing Spark, an Arts program in the Winter DTS (Discipleship Training School). This is a pic we Sparkies took (Staff and students) during DTS graduation.

LoriAnne (Left), Noelle (Middle), and Evelyn (Right) wrote and performed a spoken word piece. WATCH THIS.
Noelle and Evelyn were in Spark this year. Sooo I’m a proud father.

 

EmilyandI
This is Emily, one of my dear friends. Like a little sister to me. She was one of the DTS students that was in the Spark track which I staffed. She’s amazing and I love her.

PhosPic
With the onset of BSN, my involvement with Phos House comes to a close. This is our end of the school year picnic party!

KayakTori
Over the July 4th weekend two friends from my DTS Tori (top right) and Aishah (Top left) with her now husband Mark (bottom right ) and I got together to go Kayaking in Lake Menona. I’ve never kayaked before. It was great.

Assyria
Last week the Bible school took a trip to Chicago to go to the Oriental Museum of Ancient History to learn more about the history of Israel, the Canaanites, Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt. This is an Assyrian something-or-other.

CampWapus
I am King Wapus. We took a bonding camping trip last month. This is Ashley and I playing cards to pass the time. (I won.)

BSNroster
The whole Bible school on the eve of our Love Feast!

 

Prayer Requests

  • Right now, I could use a whole lot of prayer in the area of finance. As stated above I need $5000 for outreach to The Congo and Tanzania.
  • I need focus, to press in to the bible as we begin the New Testament.
  • My momma’s lease ends this month, she still hasn’t found an affordable house. Please pray for provision.
  • My twin

Mazatlan | Comin’ down from the sky hit the ground runnin’

17492343_10154716381014055_924777495276019825_oFully engaged
The world outside of their game falls away
that is why I wish everyday
to be like how the children in Montebello play

The Inner

It was Wednesday afternoon and I sat in a chair on the beachfront balcony overlooking blue skies and an even more blue hued ocean and thought to myself, “It’s time to dig in and write my sermon.”
I’d just found out the night before that it was I who would be giving a sermon the following day at a house church in a colonia called Montebello.
I was elated at the chance. Not nervous, and that’s because in Africa last year I’d given 7 or 8 sermons. In fact, I was so excited at the prospect of preaching that the night before I was quite restless and I didn’t get much sleep at all. And as such, I was dead tired all day.”
I persevered through the tiredness and finished my sermon, expecting it to fall between 30-45 minutes. I titled it, “The Father who Fiercely Loves” and it was about how God’s perfect love inspires new life within us, and me in particular. In form it was a sermon sandwiched by a testimony.
By 5:30pm it was time to meet as a team. I asked them to pray for me because I was sincerely worried that my tiredness would negatively affect my message and that in giving it, I would not be joyful, intriguing, or as captivating as one should be when they speak on how powerfully redemptive God’s love is. Cause I mean, it’s not MY sermon, it’s not MY message, it’s His that He has entrusted me to give to His people. I’m just the middleman and I want to do my job well.
My team prayed that the Spirit would fill me and that the very moment I would step foot in the house church I’d come alive, and Fellas, that’s exactly what happened. I was so joyed as I spoke to the church. So full of life. So energized. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like that before. I treat that experience as His Spirit speaking through me, and through that, God really revealed a piece of His heart to me. He loves telling us about Him. He loves being known by us. He is so dearly excited at the prospect of being known because He doesn’t long to be a mystery.

At the end of the day I laid in bed reflecting on my time spent speaking at the house church. It was a wonderful blessing. My mind went to David, one of the other staff, because after the sermon I had walked back to the base with him and asked him what he thought of my sermon, and one thing he noted was that I spent a lot of time on my testimony. And he’s right, I did. But I hadn’t planned to. I’d planned to breeze through the testimony in 15 minutes and it had ended up taking 30. And I attribute that to this: as I spoke, God kept bringing up memories to me, and so I kept sharing them. And perhaps God didn’t bring them up for the church, but just for me, either way, through giving a testimony which was more vulnerable than I had planned I truly came to see, much clearer, the hand of God upon my life. The redemption. The restoration. It’s all there.
And this ride we call life is not nearly over for me. When I’m 50 I hope to look back on a life spent like a sharpened blade in a warrior’s hand: ready for whatever He asks of me.
Mazatlan filled me afresh with a new dedication and devotion to my call through the experience of my Father who Fiercely Loves.
Mazatlan has inspired a fire.
And of course, when I say Mazatlan, I mean God. So thanks God. You’re good.

The Outer

  1. Last Tuesday was the last day in our Spark curriculum. It’s over! It’s been a blast! The students have grown so much. It’s an honor to have walked alongside them through this.
  2.  Mazatlan Outreach was a success!!! Pictures will be below.
  3. The Bible School for the Nations (which I’ve been accepted into) starts April 28th and runs until September 1st so I’ll be pretty busy in the coming months.

The Photos

IMG_6593Rancho De Los Ninos, a home for special needs kids in Mazatlan. We spent the day here doing some construction work and with the kids (See below)

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Keven and Mary (team leaders) posing for a pic on the job site
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David pouring cement mix into the pail

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Jon hanging out with one of the kids at Rancho, and Megan in the background hanging out with another.

 

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Different day, working on YWAM Mazatlan’s brand new Mercy Ship. (Ft. Hayley, Me, and Jon)

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Nathan, the grout pounding champion, on the Mercy Ship
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All work and no play makes for a sad spring break

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Panorama! We hiked up to a Lighthouse and interceded for the city of Mazatlan and God gave me a piece of His heart pertaining to how much He loves and desires to have the city for His own. It’s His inheritance, He said.

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In Montebello we visited the homes of the neighborhood and asked the kids to come out to play with us. We played some games, and then David taught them how Jesus can calm the storm.

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Pose! Megan, Hayley, and our lovely translator Claudia

mazatlan
Couldn’t get a good pic but we were playing Futbol

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This is the House church I spoke of earlier which I gave a message at

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Come on now, that’s just a good picture. We on the way to do ministry. JOY OF THE LORD. (And sunshine. And beach. And daily tacos. And cheap smoothies. Okay everything was perfect. everything.)

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Nathan gave a short message to a youth group! Ft. Claudia and Nathan

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When the sun too much for ya

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Team travel picture ft Matching Shirts & Goofy Faces

 

 

 

Prayer Requests

I really just need funds for Bible school. Outreach is in september, we’ll be going to either The Phillipines or to the Congo. I’m looking to raise about $3500 between now and september. If you’re interested in partnering with me as I live out the life God has called me to,
call/text me at 636-203-8077.
Email me at Matthewb@ywammadison.org

 

Madison | Goodness! Be…Redeemed.

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The Inner

The last two months have been jam packed with goodness.Although it has, at times been very difficult, I’m learning to lean more on my community. That’s how we were created after all. “It is not good for man to be alone“. Inviting people into my life is difficult by nature and nurture, but the people in this community are trustworthy, and day by day I am growing in vulnerability. I remember a few years ago a shared a poem I wrote with a friend. This poem was incredibly vulnerable. It expressed a darkness within me which I could speak of only in written word. Yet, this piece was a cry for help. I told her I showed it to her because I didn’t know how to talk about it, and she, in simple response, challenged me by asking, “Don’t you think it’d be better if you could talk about these things and not just write about them?

Yeah. I do.

God has largely delivered me from the dark depths which I was entrenched in for the last 7 years of my life. The pattern has been broken, and I have been freed, and like the girl who challenged me to speak then, God is challenging me now. He gave me a vision of myself in a prison cell (I like to imagine it’s Robbin Island, the same cell as Mandela. Or perhaps the cell from which King penned his letter from Birmingham Jail) and the cold metal doors slide open and I was free. I stood up, guilt replaced by hope, and the restraining shackles that tethered my feet to the floor of the 6 x 8 cell were broken. “I am free!”, I thought jubilantly, a smile radiant across a face which bore the heaviness of the remembrance of destitution.and I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Do not let your freedom be apathetic. You have been freed that you may free others. So, Celebrate your freedom! But empathize with the prisoner, do not neglect them, instead fill them with hope! For yours is a story which bears the mark of my glory. My holy hand is upon you, know me, and you will know goodness”

He has since, highlighted His goodness to me.  Yesterday I received a prophetic word, I was told that I am like David in that through my most joyfully jubilant highs, to the searing sorrowful lows, whether my tongue laments, or rejoices, I will cling tight to the essence of God’s goodness. And, I am not there yet, but I know I will be!

Another piece to this puzzle are the words “Be redeemed“. I’ve discovered in these recent months I tend to derive my worth from my work. But! I am not the prisoner I once was, there is a different path set aside for me now, and this path is not merely set in the realm of doing, no, it pertains to the condition of my spirit, my Be(ing). He has assured me that the Doing He has called me to is secondary to the Being He has called me to. Moving forward I will focus my eyes on becoming a man who intimately understands my worth is received from the blood of Christ which has freed me into a new life, and everything I do is an exertion of my newfound being.

The Outer

  1. The Winter DTS has been going strong for the last month, I’m part of the team running the Spark elective ( More info on what that is here ->http://www.ywammadison.org/dts/sparkdts/) . The 5 students who are in Spark love it and it’s such a blessing to be able to put on Spark for them. They came expecting it to be something else, but they have told me they are all pleasantly surprised by their experience of it. Praise God!
  2. I live at the Phos House which is the campus ministry branch of YWAM Madison. This year (and every year) Phos House does a mission trip  during spring break, March 18th-24th. I do not currently plan to ask for money for this trip as I will just divert some of the funds which I recieve every month to pay for this trip, although if you feel led to give more, I of course would be overjoyed and appreciative. The estimated cost of this week long mission trip is $630 for grounds fees and $700 for the flight, totalling $1330.
  3. I have applied for and been accepted in to the YWAM Madison Bible School of the Nations (BSN for short..we YWAMers love our acroyms).  The purpose of BSN is to equip those who are seeking to know the truths of the Bible that transform individuals and nations, and to enable them to effectively communicate these ideas to others. The BSN gives the necessary tools for students to build a biblical foundation for life and ministry. It seeks to cultivate in the students a deeper love for God and for truth, and to build confidence in God’s loving character in how He brings about His purposes in Biblical and modern history.  The school runs from April 28th-September 1st 2017. The cost is $3950 for lecture phase and $2500-$3500 for outreach, totalling  $6500-$7500. My current finances, over the 5 months of the school would allow me to raise $4250 (covering lecture phase), leaving a gap of $3250 which I will need to raise between now and right before outreach. I will be fundraising for this school, looking to add more monthly supporters to my current team, as well as one-time donors. If you know of anybody interested, please, ask them to email me at Matthewb@ywammadison.org or text/call at 636-203-8077.
  4. I was invited to perform at an interfaith event here in Madison called Race and Faith: Seeing Color. The hour long event was filled with storytellers regaling moments when they saw color. This is a recording of my performance of a piece I wrote titled, “Runaway Slave”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkB3FQehtDs

 

 

The Photos

 img_6046Phos House Staff & Students Pic

img_6090Celebrating Chinese New Year at Phos House

img_6038Game Night at Phos House

img_6067some DTS Students on Outreach Reveal Night..anxious! Locations are Costa Rica, Asia, and Romania

img_6199One of the Spark students (Evelyn) and I. We’re buds.

img_6151Just last weekend we had a Spark Retreat and one of the activities we did was encouragement based. Taped a piece of paper to our backs and others were free to come write something nice about us on the back. It was delightful, and so life-giving!

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We got face masks on our Spark Retreat!

img_6161My face bout to be baby booty smooth.

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I was in the newspapers (not for Race and Faith). Won some money. God is good. This was in January, since then I’ve dropped the moniker “Apollo Charles” and decided to be Matthew Charles.

Madison | The Butterfly Illusion

 

 

a Butterfly as

seen by a caterpillar

is a mystery

-Me

 

Wonderful and glorious as it may be, the butterfly is usually an illusion. I came to Madison, intimidated by the spiritual giants in my presence, and instead of shining as the light I was created to be, I shrank, and made myself small. I rationalized my actions easily.            “What can I contribute that they can’t?”, a question I cruelly tortured myself with. I found that the more I excused myself, the less driven I would become. And the less driven I became, the easier it was to excuse myself. Although that is not to say that those mature in the faith here have had a negative effect on me, no, the negative is spiritual warfare that I failed to recognize. This community inspires me, continually. Their dedication to seeking the Lord, and understanding His heart in practical terms has, by proximity to their flame, instilled a fire in my heart as well. My flaw was in gazing upon them believing them to be butterflies and me to be a caterpillar, when instead, truly we are all in cocoons. Not a single one of us is who we used to be, and we are also not the fully realized versions of who we were created to be. I find comfort in this.

It was spoken over me that Madison is a place where I will be able to lay down roots and experience radical growth, and as I’ve been here in Madison the past month I can attest to that. I am from small towns and Madison is the most diverse city I’ve ever lived in. The house I live in (called the Phos House) is home to international students from South Korea and Japan, which is a microcosm of the diversity on the University campus which is home to 4,000 other Asian international students.

At the Phos House our ministry is primarily relational. We spend time with the students, get to know them, host small groups most days of the week, eat dinner with them. Simple things that build up. Being that this month has been a bit disorienting to me, I haven’t been as intentional as I would like to be in building relationships with the students, but as I develop a schedule for myself I will be better able to befriend students.

November and December have been full of Spark Art meetings as we are creating the curriculum for the winter Discipleship Training School beginning in January. As a promotional tool for D.T.S. I wrote a spoken word poem and partnered with Kevin who is a pianist to create a beautiful piece which Spark is intending to use as a promotional tool advertising what the DTS experience is, while at the same exemplifying Spark. Last night we went to the studio and recorded it. I’ve very excited for this piece.

 

Pictures (I’m bad at remembering to take them, bear with me haha)

img_5495 Phos House staff meeting over scones and Rooibos tea

 

img_5526Making Meals at Phos House ft Maya (no longer with us) and Kizzy

 

img_5548Phos House game night!

 

img_5634 Recording a piece titled A Crimson Glisten Upon Ebony Skin (Studio f. Kevin and I)

 

img_5630Something to remember as you go about your month

 

Praise Reports:                                                                                                                                                  -Studio last night (Rom8:28).                                                                               -Hunger to go deeper into understanding our Father is at an all time high.                                                                                                                -Making friends, establishing support(emotional, spiritual)

 

Prayer Requests:                                                                                                                                -Overcoming the spirits of Intimidation, Isolation, and Intellectualism in Madison                                                                   -Pledged funds to come in                                                                                                                     -Artistic inspiration. Next month is the annual Best Of competition at the Cedarburg Open Mic I frequent and the winner wins a few hundred dollars. I could use that money.

 

 

I love you, and God loves you. Peace and blessings upon you.

South Africa | Remember

 

Never having left the hood I was raised in,

I have become a product of my placement.

The naive fearlessness of my youth has left me-

Replaced by a bold untamable hope. 

When the sun falls from the sky 

And the bright day fades into blackness:

The children rush to their homes..

The streets aren’t safe anymore .

I remember sand skiing and joyful nights marked by a father’s love and mother’s hugs

No more. 

All around me I see broken families: gun toting, drug addled, single parents perpetuating examples that’re cancerous 

I am the last artifact of a generation past 

And I am the architect of our future

(Remember) 

You are the future 

And I will build you up

I will fortify your walls

I will teach you love

And You will keep my words hidden within you like a secret code 

Hear my whispers and heed my roar

We are more than we are taught 

And that is why I seek The Source:

Because the heavens reveal our worth

•Remember•

Inspired by and written for Pastor Mark in Retreat.

IMG_4566Left To Right: Corrie, Me, Tori(team member that joined us in SA), Pastor Mark, his wife Felicia, Kyra, Katherine, and Kari

We’re all workers in the Kingdom. The question is, are we all working?

This was a question I found myself pondering over subconsciously in South Africa. But first, a little recap. My team and I traveled to SA (South Africa) after spending around 22 days in Tanzania. In Tanzania God taught me a lot about identity. He stretched me tremendously, as described in my last blog post. In fact, the prayer I had while we were putting on the seminar, which was, “God, name me, call me as you did Gideon, and Mary” was inspired by a book I was reading titled Army Arising. When God called Gideon, He named him. This name was, “Mighty Hero/Valiant Warrior” (etc depending on translation) and I’m sure that as Gideon was threshing wheat in the wine press, a “Mighty Hero” was the last thing he felt like, nevertheless God called him as it.

When our Father places a call on our life, it may not be something we can understand as of yet. Despite this lack of understanding, He is still faithful to grow us into our calling. Just as the feet of children grow into needing bigger shoes, so to do we spiritually, so to speak, grow. He named me, as an answer to my prayers. The name, for the purposes of this blog, is unimportant, but know that just as Gideon perhaps felt overwhelmed and underprepared to walk in the understanding of his new name, so did I.

One day I had a vision. In it I was shown two hands by a riverside, grasping up water and transporting it. I asked God for clarity as to what it means. He told me that just as the hands are a vehicle for the water to be transported, my words are a vehicle to bring spiritual war. The thought of this tantalized me. When I was young I felt like I didn’t have a voice. Like I went unheard. As if my thoughts didn’t matter. And here comes God, through a vision redeeming that false perception. Effectively saying, “Matthew, my son, your voice matters, and it matters a heck of a lot more than you even know right now.” Thank you Abba.

In South Africa I was challenged by our Host, Siyabonga to step out and share my poetry. His reason was that South Africans are a very poetic people and they would greatly enjoy it. I wasn’t nervous about sharing. I’m actually a fairly proficient Poet. I just didn’t know if what I had to share was acceptable given that the purpose was ministry, and when I write, I don’t write Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus. I write about the world around me and the world within me and try to tackle both with a biblical worldview. Telling the story of a young man who is honest with himself and his struggles. Anyways:

One night we were hosting a high school youth group in Retreat (A township mostly inhabited by colored people. Colored people are of Indian descent) and at the end of the night, the kids asked me to share some of my poetry with them. I shared one called This Fight with them and they loved it. I intended to be done, but I felt a nudge inside that I was supposed to share another. Seated, I looked to them and asked, “do you want another one?” And they all said yes. So I did. And in this one (Chosen) it speaks of Freedom, Loneliness, and Renewal. When I got to the part about loneliness I felt another nudge to look at a girl and direct- no, more than direct- to intensely focus every word in hopes that they would barrel into her soul, and she would keep them keyed up there, as a treasure of truth, once lost and now found. When I finished, the Spirit of intensity left me. They applauded, and our program was done. I was unsure if what I said to her mattered to her or not, I was unsure whether it was just me performing, or whether it was God redeeming.

That night during our team debrief Kyra had said that she had talked to the girl One on One and God had told Kyra that she dealt with loneliness as well. The girl cried when Kyra brought it up. This was confirmation to me, that what I had said was more than mere performance, but our Father trying to reach the girl by any means to comfort her, and let her know, just as he let Gideon know, that He is, was, and always will be, with her.

When I write, it is more than self expression. It is opening myself up to become a vessel of my Father. I become the pen and He becomes the hand that controls my strokes. Often times I do not know the significance of what I write. But when I share it, people are sure to tell me that it meant the world to them. This is, indeed, a part of my calling. And it stems entirely from hearing God, and going with His flow.

My job in the Kingdom is to be a mouth, speaking the truths of the heart of God in this crazy world.

 

now it’s picture time! (P.S. didn’t get many ministry pictures because we weren’t allowed to take our phones into the townships. Hope you enjoy the pics anyway 🙂

 

IMG_4286Squad(minus Kyra and I) Left to Right: Tori, Katherine, Siyabonga our Host, Kari, Corrie

IMG_4972   First day in SA I made Brai, aka South African BBQ. It was delicious

IMG_4257We lived here. Muizenberg. 45 minute train ride away from Cape Town.

IMG_4506When the Orange so good it got you zoning

IMG_4612Tori kicking a ball with some kids

IMG_4508Sinazo teaching us to make Justice Dolls (displayed at the right)

IMG_4362Justice Doll up close. Raising awareness of the tragedy which is Human Trafficking

IMG_4315After-preaching selfie ft me Kyra and Corrie

IMG_4558Kari, Tori, and Tim(South African bible school student) leading worship at Pastor Mark’s Church

IMG_4595“What did you feed me?!?! A ROCK???” -That girl

IMG_4641Kyra and Sasha. She’s a student in the DTS going on in Muizenberg. Those two are tight like pigs in a blanket.

IMG_4308POSE WITH THE CONGREGATION

IMG_4602Practicing her mommy skills

IMG_4968    Tori, Sasha, and I. Happiness

IMG_4531   Kari and Katherine doing the “Sin Chair” skit during the youth group I wrote about earlier

IMG_4974South Africa was a triumph.

IMG_4965#BasicChristianBeachAntics #Jesus!

 

 

 

Praise Reports:

God is good. South Africa was great! And I am tremendously blessed. Having returned, so many people can see a change in me. Glory goes to God.                                                             Also, lately with the socio-racial climate of the country I’ve been heartbroken. And feeling as if the local churches didn’t care. But last Sunday a church invited me up during the service to dialogue about what’s going on and bring a Godly Black perspective to it. It was such a blessing and many people came up to me afterwards thanking me and saying I clarified much and helped them see a new truth. Thank God for speaking through me!

Prayer Request:

I’ve applied to be a Discipleship Training School (what I just did as a student)staff in YWAM Madison. In the next week or so I should know whether or not I’m accepted. I ask that you pray that God’s will is done. If I’m accepted I’ll need to raise a lot of money fast, so, also pray for my own diligence and perseverance.Also, my brother is in a detention center awaiting trail for a possible 5 year prison sentence. Pray that God’s will is done, and that people of God can reach out to him no matter where life may take him.

 

 

Thank you for sticking around to the end, hope you enjoyed the story and pictures! Thanks for all of your support and interest in me and my journey with Father.

 

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanzania / South Africa |Ubuntu: I am, because WE are.

There is a saying and it goes something like this, “When I is replaced with We even illness because wellness”.  In the last 6 months I have learned the importance of community. I come from a loner-esque background and was extremely worried I wouldn’t adjust to being around so many people, but I was wrong. I loved it.

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(My friends and classmates the last 6 months)

Our Father taught me so much it’s made me question my whole life’s purpose (in a good way). My team, 6 girls; Kari, Corrie, Kyra, Katherine, and Tori went on outreach first to Tanzania for 3 weeks, and then to South Africa for 4 weeks. I’m going to tell you a story from each location. But first! PICTURES FROM TANZANIA YAYYYYY !!!

 

13234766_10154205528849570_1593599959_oTeam minus Tori headed to Tanzania. Left to Right: Katherine, Kyra, Kari, Corrie, and I (Tori joined us in South Africa)

 

13242202_10154207163669570_358349247_oSo we took pictures like this. Hi Tori! (Left to Right:Kari, Tori, Kyra, Corrie, Katherine, Me)

 

IMG_3625She shops in the Missionary Clothing aisle at Walmart.                                                             (Corrie after preaching on our first sunday in Tanzania)

13214914_10154207163099570_1088427608_oPlaying Bata Bata zinga (Duck Duck Goose) The kids loved this game!

 

IMG_3723 (1)Bible story time ft. Katherine in a school plus 75 kids not pictured. She’s working hard!IMG_3642
So ya gotta balance out the work with a little play! Katherine and Josiah, Elisante’s (Our host) son.

IMG_4219Brothers bonding. I love that kid ( On the way back from school ministry)

13262293_10154207149684570_1550446766_oStory time with Kyra! Elisante is to her right and is our Host and at times translator

13241651_10154207149844570_447140442_oSong and dance time!

13230787_10154205533349570_332470778_o 5 of the girls from one of the morning schools we hosted in King’ori (Tanzania)

13234802_10154207143934570_2102625001_o Five minutes later we turned that rock to pavement with a sledgehammer. And by we I mean I, but they watched so that counts for something, right

13234735_10154207146689570_1140362922_o(1)SMASH BROS. Fam? Smash Fam? uhh..   (Kyra working hard at Shalom)

 

13241674_10154207147254570_379394814_oWe helped out for a few days at an Orphanage called Shalom. This is Corrie with a few of the orphans

13225047_10154207146079570_1492315076_oTHUMBS UP CAUSE GOD IS GOOD! Kyra at Shalom

 

13234942_10154207143409570_1626299584_o(1)This kid is a treasure ( At Shalom)

 

13235066_10154207147554570_863922673_oA couple staff and a few of the orphans at Shalom (Karatu)

13223681_10154207140139570_56992393_oPraying for Momma Warra. She is the tremendous visionary responsible for creating Shalom orphanage. God bless her

 

IMG_3732   Hey lookie me and Josiah again. Right after I preached

 

13214540_10154207117539570_1806347416_oHappiness (After preaching at our seminar in Masailand)

13241526_10154207164419570_1316709004_owait a second..how’d this get in here…

13262324_10154207142739570_794572843_oPosing for a picture with Laseeka, a Masai man who is an Elder at the Camp of Blessing church we hosted our seminar from (also ft. Katherine, I, and Corrie)

 

13234690_10154207117139570_537802726_oMe speaking at Camp Blessing. Next to me are Glory,(Elisante’s sister) Elisante, and Bishop (the Bishop..idk his name so I call him Bishop..good guy that man is.. very humble)

 

A good 5/7th of our daily ministry was with children, hence the many children in the pictures. And while children were a huge part of Tanzania, the most impactful time was in Masailand, (the middle leg of our 3 weeks in Tanzania)where we were asked to hold a six day long seminar, preaching for two hours every day. It was very intimidating because before that I had only preached twice. In my life. And both times were the weeks before. God greatly stretched me by testing my obedience. Every day except one he called me to preach, and so I would have the morning (About 4-5 hours) to prepare my sermon for that day. It’s important to note that I was not alone. Kyra, Katherine, Kari, and Corrie were there speaking as well, but God asked me oftentimes to speak the longest. The 4th day of the seminar I was going to be speaking with Kyra. As we were preparing that morning I asked God, “What will my notes look like?” and He showed me a blank page. Now, I knew that He was asking me to go up without notes and speak, guided by His Spirit. I was nervous. I wrote a couple notes on my hand and when it was time for the service to begin, I waltzed up, quite desperately aware of just how much I needed Jesus to guide my tongue. That day I spoke for an hour, with no notes(the picture above is from that experience). I felt so assured, and so organically natural. With notes at times I felt robotic, unable to convey myself through the veil of paper I was using. But speaking without notes freed me. I’ve never felt more like myself upon a stage than in that moment. In that moment I saw that God wants to use ME. Not the carbon copy cookie cutter version of me. But the ORIGINAL me. The creative me. As I spoke I tied in many art references and ended up using art as a metaphor for life as a follower of Christ. We’re supposed to lead a life like we’re pioneering an art form: It’s brand new.  The experience was humbling. I saw in a glimpse who I am in relation to my Father in heaven.

 

Who am I?

I’ll write about that (and other stuff) in my next update which will be about our time South Africa.

 

Thanks for reading! And thanks for your prayers and support of me in my journey!

 

Praise Reports:

-DTS is over!

-I’m back home

-I’m figuring out what my next step is

 

Prayer Requests:

-DTS is over, I’m back home, and figuring out what my next step is. I need Father’s guidance and assurance.

-My twin is quite possibly going to prison for a couple years. Hearing in September. Pray that God’s will is done. And that whatever happens this becomes a season where he builds his dependance on Him in Heaven.

-My mom. Physical strength. Spiritual fortitude. Continued seeking of God’s will in her life.

 

God is good! ALL THE TIME. All the time, GOD IS GOOD. And that’s His nature WOW.

-Matthew

 

P.S If you’d like to contact me personally my email address is followapollo@hotmail.com