Upcoming events/projects in the life of Kelcie!
TWENTY SIXTEEN (2016)
We're already heading into our 3rd week of this year's School of Innovative Youth Ministry!
It's hard to believe that this is my sixth youth ministry school that I have been part of and while this journey hasn't been easy I'm thankful for the lessons I've learnt and continue learning through leading this course.
Our theme this year is John 10:10 (seen in the picture above)
I love this verse spoken by Jesus because I'm reminded of his purpose and heart for us. He didn't sacrifice his life so that we'd be miserable, depressed, or hopeless. He sacrificed his life that we may know what true life really is...FULL, ABUNDANT, OVERFLOWING-rooted in love, perfect unaltered, not a single ounce of selfishness: LOVE
It's hard for us to fully grasp this but Jesus' agenda wasn't that we follow a whole list of rules and religion.
"God meets us where we are, not where we pretend to be."
When I look back on 2015, I’m shocked and amazed but most of all I’m filled with
t h a n k f u l n e s s.
In the last year I’ve never felt so inadequate in the work God has called me to, however, I can tell you without hesitation that in every hard time, difficult decision, every tear filled overwhelming moment- He made a way for the miraculous to happen.
I could write about how it was all about me, the things I’ve learned and grown in, how I’m awesome, instead here are some of the things I’m most thankful for this past year.
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Those are just a few things I’m thankful for this past year.
Looking to this new year my desire is to continue seeking love, hope, faith, and peace. We’ve been seeing a lot of momentum and breakthrough in our youth programs and I know that there really is so much more in store for us this year, stay tuned!
Thanks for your prayers, thoughts, encouragements, and love.
This year has been quite the whirlwind, just the other day I was talking to a friend and calculated that I’ve roughly spent about 180 hours traveling by car which is more than a week! That’s also not including flights and trains.
We’ve got a few more weeks left in the year with a handful of exciting things. Here are some recent highlights of what’s been happening in my life.
Outreach for SOIYM: This was the first year that we’ve been able to split into two teams! One team is in Thailand with Matty my staff for the school and the other team is here in Australia working with our youth ministry- Youth Street.
I recently got to go and visit the team in Thailand and see how they were going. What a special time, it was actually quite surreal for me because I have been leading the outreach teams myself for the past four years, but now having the opportunity to train and equip another leader as well as seeing that practical multiplication & growth for the school has been so rewarding.
Another highlight from this trip was being able to see my youth pastor, Buddy and his family who have been living and doing ministry in Thailand for the past several years. He spoke for a week during the lecture phase, so it’s great to continuing connecting.
There are only two more weeks left of the school, so please be praying for us as we finishing this season.
Awesome Newcastle Grant: One thing that we had heard from God while praying for outreach was “grants” We wanted to apply for a few grants to be able to upgrade some of our equipment for Youth Street and our activity teams (surfing, sport, performing arts, dance, art, and skate)
I put in an application for a $1,000 grant and after not making it through the first round I felt a bit discouraged. What i was unaware of is that our application automatically rolled-over for the next entry round. To my surprise I got a phone call saying that we made it to the final three. I had just 3 minutes to pitch our vision and hope for why we should get the money. I was extremely nervous beforehand but was able to take a moment and pray with my housemate and allow my heart and nerves to settle in God’s peace. To my joy and surprise we were picked as the winner!
Those are just a few things I’ve been up to these past few months.
Byron Bay Outreach
Now heading into next week I have the privilege to lead our team to Byron Bay, eight hours north of Newcastle for a schoolies outreach with a group called Red Frogs-
read more about them here RED FROGS
We’re looking forward to an incredible week of getting to connect with loads of young people and also the practical aspect of helping “safeguard” them.
Five Day Escape is our annual camp that we run for teenagers.
Our purpose is to live life to the fullest!
We do this by nonstop day and night activities whether that's shopping at Pacific Fair, day trips to amusement parks such as Dream World and Wet’n’Wild, live bands and team challenges, as well as late night movies,
5DE has something for everyone!
This year will be our 16th year running the camp and for me personally this will be my 6th year staffing. I love 5DE because not only do we get to have loads of fun together with one another but it's a great time to be able to develop further friendships, to step out of our own comfort zone with meeting new people or face our fears by riding some of the craziest rollercoasters. We get to know each other at a whole new level and I love getting to take the time to go deeper in my friendships with our Youth Street Crew, hearing how they're going with school, home, friends, and getting to encourage what living life to fullest truly means.
The value of investing into young people.
When I tell people about what I do, youth work & leadership development, their first response is usually quite positive. Then as the conversation continues and it is discovered that I'm a full-time volunteer doing this work the response begins to change dramatically. This is the point where I feel like it becomes more of an interrogation rather than a conversation: "You mean you don't get paid?"
"How long have you been doing this?" "When are you going to get a real job?"
My list goes on of questions I get asked, I actually don't mind the questions.
In fact, I kind of like the questions because through those conversations I get to explain the "why" behind what I do.
I believe young people can and are shaping the world around us.
When I was a teenager I had dreams, passions, and desires that were burning inside of me, things that I never thought possible. I'm so thankful for the different influences I had in my life, whether that be my parents, teachers, friends, or other mentors. They believed in me, they gave input into my life to help me accomplish the things I wanted to do, and they still encourage and support me.
I am investing my time, effort, and life to see change in this world. I'd like to see change in many of the heartbreaking issues we face today: suicide & depression, bullying & self-harm, child exploitation & abuse, poverty & lack of education.
By training & equipping leaders to reach a generation change is possible.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve sent out an “update”
There are so many stories and highlights I have from my time at home and since coming back here to Australia continuing with my work here at YWAM Newcastle.
One major highlight is that I GOT MY VISA!!!! This means that I can stay here in Australia for an additional two years and at the same time I will be completing another course that goes toward my degree in Christian Ministry.
Leaving Australia after Boxing Day, I expected to be back by the end of January, however, my time with my family went from an estimated time frame of four weeks, to being nearly four months!
My initial visa application was refused for reasons that I still cannot fully explain but if there is any thing I’ve grown more and more confident of throughout these past several years it is that; regardless of our circumstances, emotions, and perceptions- God is FAITHFUL.
When we put our trust and hope in him, he comes through for us.
That’s basically been my whole year thus far- a cycle of freaking out about everything I see before me and the decisions I need to make, taking those worries & concerns to God, praying and hearing what he has to say, then following his direction and leading.
I realise that this update might sound a bit crazy (all this talk about hearing God’s voice and such) but if there is anything you’d want me to explain more, like the how’s & why’s, please just message me and let’s connect, also if you’d like to hear the long story about my recent visa journey I’d love to share that with you as well.
Within my work here with YWAM things have been going really well, we’ve been continuing to grow in our capacity to connect and empower the local youth of Newcastle through several different opportunities like our weekly reading/mentoring times, Saturday activity teams (surf, skating, dancing, art, sport, performing arts), and partnerships with other youth initiatives.
We’ve just finished our fourth week of the School of Innovative Youth Ministry (SOIYM) which is the six-month training course I’ve been working with for the past five years- this is our biggest course we’ve ever had with 10 incredible, passionate, and loving students. (see photo below)
Our world is the most connected than it has ever been with the use of internet, social media, and other forms of technology, however, I have found that we're even more disconnected from each other than ever before. I've often been in social situations where I look around the room and realise everyone is in their "own world" with their smart phones (I've even been guilty of this too!) but they're connecting with people, just not any of the people they are with! Their friend just messaged them or they're sharing a photo of what's happening... We forfeit real relationship growth for 'likes' and 'comments'
I'm on a journey to find a balance between face-to-face relation and digitally assisted connection while living in a hyper-connected age with the pressure to always keep up, especially considering I'm in the area of youth work/development.
Let's be real----> I use my iphone like a "mum"!
I don't want to buy digital books, I like the real thing.
I'd prefer not to use facebook, instagram, computers, email, and etc. but I don't want to give up on the friendships I have all around the world or cut myself off from being relevant and influential.
Join me on my journey navigating God's heart in this matter :)