July 30, 2016

Loving Well

Week Three down. 
This week's topic was entitled "Practical Peace Making And Worldview"
Now, for a lot of us, that tittle can make a stomach crawl. But lucky for you I'm not going to touch much on that. 


I wanna talk about what it means to love people with intention. Not just people close to you, not just the sweet ones in your church, I'm talkin' everybody. 
Easier said than done for sure. We have all heard the verse "love your neighbor as yourself" but can any of us say we really do?
The big one that hit me was my perspective on the issue of poverty and homelessness. We cannot open our eyes to see until we recognize we are blind in someway. I recommend taking 15 minutes and watching this TED Talk "The Danger Of A Single Story
I realized after watching this video and discussing in our class, the vast "blinders" I had on my eyes which effected my interpretation of so much.
Anyway, back to the poor. I don't think Jesus was kidding when He told us to care for the poor. There are countless scriptures and letters all pointing us in their direction, but yet we see a homeless man on the street and turn the opposite direction. "Most of us read the gospel as if we have no money and most of us spend our money as if we've never read the gospel"- Abraham Heschel
I don't want to sound like some extremist but honestly Luke 12:33 "sell your possessions and give to the needy..." It sounds pretty clear to me. 
For a lot of us it is very difficult to look suffering straight in the face and like Mother Teresa said "it's not that Christians don't care about the poor, it's just that Christians don't know the poor."
After this week I now see wealth and success differently and don't think I could ever live that way comfortably because if the abundance of someone is contingent on the abundance of another, something is seriously wrong. I want to learn how to see someone through Christ's eyes and how to effectively reach out to those in need all around me. It's just learnin' how to love well. All of this is just getting me more and more excited for Outreach in September. Jesus is doing crazy big things. 

July 18, 2016

Learn About Him, and Learn Some More.

First two weeks of DTS! The first week we did what most would do and went through our manual together as a class. We discussed a lot about what actual community looks like within our own lives as well as within the church (which go hand in hand btw). Our school leaders and staff are by far some of the most inspiring people and over the past few years have really sought the Lord's heart on the topic. They have created a list of "culture pieces" that make up intentional Christian community. I'm not going to take up your time by listing them all (though I'm so down to discuss them with you at another time), but I will highlight one in particular that has really latched onto my heart.
Disclamer: these ideas are straight from my "A Life Together " manual and I would not be writing any of this if it hadn't been for the eloquence of the writing in said manual and the power of the Holy Spirit giving me clear understanding. 

A culture of awareness and stewardship
A fancy way to say "keep your eyes, ears, and hearts open to reality." Be an active learner. This applies to several things; be aware of the issues in the world, those around you, your own heart, as well as the Lord's. Actively purse a deeper understanding of God, the world, and our place within it. 
As our school leader Steve so eloquently said "refuse the tendency to solidify discovery." Cultivate a lifestyle of "open minded-ness" meaning never quit seeking out new understanding or knowledge. 
For such a long time I would discover something new about the Lord and leave it as that. I created this mentality of thinking I had figured God out (which is impossible by the way). It wasn't until I got here and was introduced to this idea that I realized it. It's true the Lord is constantly enlightening us with new revelation but don't be so quick to end it in a period (i.e. "."). Be open to receiving new knowledge and end it with a comma instead (i.e. ","). Get my drift? 

"God is most easily lost when thought to be found" 
^If that ain't the truest thing^


So yeah, there's that. 
Hope everyone back home is doing well.
I would love to hear from you as I continue these little updates.
Also, my mailing address is attached if you would like to connect via snail mail 
As always, love you big 
-Awn 

Anna Concepcion 
A Life Together DTS #213
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy 
Kailua- Kona, HI 96740

July 15, 2016

Quick Update: Life In Kona


I totally live here now...for the next three months at least.
Dang, I can't believe it has already been a week since I arrived here on a plane last Thursday. The Lord has honestly done so much in my heart since arrival day. Lots and lots of tears, lots of laughter, and lots of discovery.
I have already started to bond with fellow students in my DTS, and when I say bond I mean it feels like its been years of friendship in the making. I really dislike the heat and try my hardest to not be irritable, but all of that aside, here is a real quick overview of what I'm up to:

 

The University Of The Nations, YWAM Kona. 
I am overwhelmed by the amount of spiritual history and culture here. I am surrounded by different nationalities and languages. I think during my walk from my room to the prayer room here on base I overheard at least four conversations in different languages. 
My favorite thing is seeing the little missionary children (who probably have more stamps on their passports than I ever will in my entire life) playing and giggling on base. The amount of diversity here is amazing. 


Another thing I am loving is the plant and animal life (I know I'm such a geek). If you know me, you know my love for plants so of course I'm going to point it out. Everything is tropical, its Hawaii for goodness sake. The palm trees are gorgeous and they have some of the most beautiful, vibrant flowers. Something else that I've noticed is this little creature they call "Mongoose" which are pretty much the Hawaiian version of a squirrel. I love it all. 


 This is our cafeteria that happens to be right outside our front porch (as pictured below). This is where we eat all of our meals and enjoy lots of good conversation over coffee. 


We all lucked out because our DTS is so small (7 girls total), we have 3 girls in one room and 4 in the other. These rooms are made to fit 10 girls each with one bathroom...so know that we are grateful.   Like I said earlier, we have all bonded and enjoy spending time together in this shared community space. Please enjoy this picturesque image of our new rug and cascading hammocks.
Sadly, these rooms do not have any air conditioning except for the ceiling fans so I'm definitely trying to learn how to cope. First thing I bought on this island was a portable fan...


Something might be wrong with my sleep schedule because of the jet lag but I have been up every morning around 5:30am right before sunrise and have had the pleasure of watching the sun come up right behind this lovely volcano. I am enjoying every bit of being here and can't wait to sit down and process all that the Lord is doing in my heart. I am learning so much about community and the way that we are created to love one another and just the way that we should pursue Jesus in our day to day lives. It is honestly a beautiful thing. 



July 8, 2016

Arriving In Hawaii Part 2

July 8th, 2016:

Okay, so I made it. And they were right when they said "Welcome to paradise." I am facinated with the culture here and the spiritual history of the way the Lord has marked this land in years past. When I set foot on the campus I, and 6 others on the van from the airport with me, were greeted by a lovely young porcelain red head by the name of Libby who welcomed us by jumping up and down, arms flailing, yelling "hooray new students, new arrivals, welcome welcome!!!." (The campus is so large, I have yet to see her again). 
I was then led to the registration table and celebrated with cheer and applause as I approached my check in area. The rest of that evening is mostly a blur because of the jet lag, but my first night in Kona was surreal. 
Moving on to today...
The day started early and the sound of new students introducing themselves echoed through the cafeteria. "Hi my name is..." "Where are you from?" "I'm here because..." "How old are you?" I am lucky enough to have already begun to know my fellow interns and I am beyond excited to spend the next 6 months with them. 
We then were welcomed on to the island by the natives here at "Island Breeze" where we were required to remove our shoes and present them with gifts from our "native lands" as a sign of honor and respect to them and their beautiful island.  It was so sacred and impacting, I couldn't help but be moved to tears. Once the ceremony was finished we moved onto orientation and then our meet and greet with our DTS. 
After dinner we went on to our night service or as they called it "Aloha Night At Ohana Court." I am just going to be real and honest here, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I said yes to YWAM Kona. And I feel like the Lord is saying "just you wait Awn, cuz I'm about to blow your mind." Hawaii is know for their huge ocean waves due to the lack of continental plates, and I don't think it's any coincidence that I feel overwhelmed by the wave of His presence here. I spent the evening weeping before Him undone by the fact that because of His goodness He brought me here. He brought me here to minister to me, to teach me, to train me, to love on me, to reveal to me secrets of His heart, treasures in His word, and discover His heart for ALL of the nations of the earth. And all I could say in response was "here I am, I give it all to you, I give you everything." Though I will not do it perfectly, my spirit is willing and tonight I said yes for the rest of my life. 

-Awn 

Arriving In Hawaii Part 1

July 7th, 2016:
Reporting live from 37,000ft in the air. Flight destination: Kona, Hawaii. 
I can honestly say this is one of the scariest things I have ever done. Right up there with zip lining over Nevada, Missouri or getting my booster shot at 12 (I'm a whimp when it comes to needles). The past few months leading up to this day were full of "preparation" for today but you can't really ever prepare yourself for the emotions that come along with something like this. I was always just "excited" and I'm still so excited but I'd say the last week I started to get nervous. I was saying goodbye to everyone I knew and loved, to familiar buildings and streets, to my favorite city in the whole wide world. I've never flown this far before. I've never been this far from home. I already miss my mom. I think I might have over packed. I don't know anyone there. 
Is this what it's like to graduate and go off to college? Because I've watched a lot of teenagers graduate and head off for school but never heard about the tears and hard goodbyes or nervousy jitters. I might just be the only one. But I'm just telling it straight. Non of this is easy, but I know and trust that it is all going to be so worth it. I mean it's Hawaii for gosh sake!   
I'm just trying to be real about this, I am so glad I'm doing it. I'm so excited for what the Lord is going to do in my heart and in my life. I can't wait to learn all the things he is going to teach me. I'm stoked to see how he moves in the lives of others around me. 
BUT
it's still very hard.
Sometimes you have to let go of something you love in order to grab hold of something He has in store for you. And that's what I keep telling myself. All of the time and money and tears and worry that went into getting me here will all be worth it. 
Well, I'll leave you with that. Thank you again for all of you that gave in someway to fund me and this mission school. I'll keep you updated 
-Awn 

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