Monday, December 28, 2009

Untitled… You can decide.

By Shannon Mintz 
December 20, 2009

Composition brings control -
Yet neither come, but only a sharp staccato
beyond muscle and mind.
Movement crescendos into a palpitating flurry
not noticeable by the outer man
but fully arresting the inner presence.
Without Reason guiding activity, beats
increase and change
- -No knowledge of consequences,
And led by dive and flight, upon further exploration
- - Freefall - -
What caused exhilaration and addiction but
A big bang?

Is this work undone, unfinished, a fragment
left to the devices of cause and effect?
Or is it a transformation, accepted for its brief jump,
as the tide ebbs and flows
or the volcano erupts?
But beauty descends - captured by a creator.
The partial is filled with belief.
The caterpillar still awaits in the cocoon -
The unknown is yet to be known.
Hope is out to jury.

little bird...part 3...the fall

By Shannon Mintz
November 2, 2009

little too high,
then come crashing down again.
when will she ever learn?

her wings aren't light as air-
instead they're tarred feathers.
her flight isn't with angels,
but impeded by the fall.

slow little bird...dragons at her back,
singed and smoking tail.
careening to the earth below...
or is it lower still she plummets?

Little Bird...Part 2...Singing Lessons

By Shannon Mintz
October 15, 2009

Little bird,
learning to chirp.
Little bird voice -
does it squeak or wail?

Is it for the finding out -
of attention or sustenance?
Or of bringing food to the beak...
or a song to the dawn?

When will bird learn how to sing
a symphony of song?
But--why? when? where? who?--
Are these questions that matter?

Is it for the quiet of an empty forest
or for a choir of blended voices?

Is it for the crowd of rushing pedestrians,
for the audience watching theatre thespians,
or for the contentment of bird's own-self-choices?

little bird…part 1

When I should be finishing my newsletter, I sadly get sidetracked by birds and such. Ah, well.
By Shannon Mintz
October 10, 2009

the bird flitted out in the desert-still.
stupid little bird.
not understanding what was harm or health.
and bird should know by now.

scarred by past, traps and prey.
scared by future - who is friend or foe?
what to do? where to go?

seeking, but lost. found, but sought?
to weak for flying heights, hoping reality is not mirages.
waiting...for oasis.

there are moments when inconspicuous poetry is found in the most random places and speaks to me

Ich bete wieder, du Erlauchter
By Rainer Maria Rilke, from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

I am praying again, Awesome One.
You hear me again, as words
From the depths of me
Rush toward you in the wind.

I’ve been scattered in pieces,
Torn by conflict,
Mocked by laughter,
Washed down in drink.

In alleyways I sweep myself up
Out of the garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
Who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
In wordless beseeching, that I may find again
The eyes with which I once beheld you.

I am a house gutted by fire
Where only the guilty sometimes sleep
Before the punishment that devours them
Hounds them into the open.

I am a city by the sea
Sinking into the toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
Had poisoned my mother as she carried me.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
That now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
In an all-embracing mind that sees me
As a single thing.
I yearn to be held
In the great hands of your heart—
Oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
And you, God—spend them however you want.

(August 31, 2009, Read in Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey, pages 38-9)

YWAM School of Dance Studies Preparations and Prayer - Dec. 10, 2009

Hi friends,

As December is a crazy month for all of us, with Christmas coming, I just wanted to give a short, little update.

We are in full swing for preparing for the School of Dance, which begins January 4th at the YWAM Montana base. Our students begin to arrive Dec. 30th! All our staff have so much on our plate, but I know that God is going to give us everything we (I) need, even though at times I know it can be overwhelming.

This is what I have to do and what you can pray for! I definitely need it!

* I am doing a lot of administration/logistical work for the school. This means getting transportation info/tickets for guest artists, researching outreach locations, ticket, and visa information, among many other things.
* Dancing each day with the other staff, as staff prepare and practice for the dance classes and choreography they will teach. For me this means getting in dance shape! As it has been quite a few years since I have dance intensively, please pray that I don't get frustrated, and for my mind and muscle memory to work! It needs practice to remember dance combinations easily and quickly, and I'm quite out of practice!
* Pray for our students... So far we have 9 students, 7 which are international, 2 of which are guys! They are from the USA, New Zealand, Norway, Germany, Rwanda, India, Netherlands Antilles, and Singapore. Pray for them to get their visas and for finances to come in.
* Pray for our health and against injury. I have been feeling not quite up to par lately, and hope I don't get sick. Last week our school leader Kate had an accident with her fish bowl, and had to go to the emergency room for a cut.
* It is very cold here! But the snow is coming slowly. It has been in the negative degrees, and this will definitely be a shock to our warm climate students. I noticed a couple nights ago my car was sliding on the ice, but I controlled it. So I had a look at my tires, which are bald. New snow tires or all weather tires would definitely be a blessing.

In light of everything, the staff and I are getting so excited to staff this diverse, international school! I just read through all the students' applications, and can see that they desire to grow in the Lord, be discipled, bring the gospel to the nations, and learn how to use dance to do this! Many of them have a call to missions and a desire to start or continue dance programs in their countries or in other nations! Please pray with me that God may be glorified in the 2010 YWAM School of Dance!



Upcoming and New Plans - Oct. 2009 Support Letter

October 15, 2009

Dear Family and Friends:

I hope and pray you are having a great day and that this letter finds you in good health! Because you have touched my life, I want to fill you in on where my life is these days.

As you may know, I have been staffing Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) through YWAM Montana for over two years now. It has been an absolutely amazing time discipling students from the ages of 17 to 50 from various countries around the world. I have had the joy of leading small groups, mentoring, teaching God’s Word, and preparing and leading two outreach teams to three countries (Turkey, Thailand, and Cambodia). Through leading outreach teams to the locations mentioned, I have seen many people make commitments to Jesus Christ, others discipled, and still in others, seeds were planted. My heart was so moved as I watched the power of God transform the lives of countless people.

I believe God has called me to continue serving as a missionary with YWAM. I could not be more excited as I embark on this next season of life. Beginning in January, I will teach in the School of Dance Studies (SODS) for the next term. In some ways this will be similar to a DTS in discipling students but also focused on training them in their gift of dance. We have seen how this equipping time provides them with the tools to impact the Arts and the world through dance for the glory of God. I am excited for this opportunity to grow in something new, to support an accomplished school, and to use my dance training and my love of dance in this way.

I do not know the full scope of God’s call and vision for my life, but I do know I am in right in the center of God’s will. I have a deep passion to see lives transformed eternally for the glory of God. I could not think of anything I would rather do than this! Whether it’s in the United States or abroad, I love bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to the unreached, discipling believers, encouraging churches, and empowering youth in their walk with God!

In closing, I would love to have you continue to pray and partner with me in ministry. If you feel led, I do need financial partnership to continue ministry in missions. I rely solely on relationship-based support for all my living expenses. I do not receive a salary. My greatest need is for monthly support, but one-time gifts also help. You can fill out the response form below, and mail it in the return envelope. Please know there is no pressure, but I just wanted you to know what is going on in my life because you are important to me.

Thank you for your love and consideration. I so appreciate you being part of my life!

May God bless you,

Shannon Mintz

Thank you for partnering with me as I continue as a missionary with YWAM. Your monthly tax-deductible contribution is greatly needed and appreciated.
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Pictures Continued - Nov. 2009

Pic 1. Our DTS team praying for a woman at a Thai church.

Pic 2. With my Khmer English students. Funny gangsta girls!

Shannon’s Life - All Aboard! Nov. 2009

(Pics: 1. Lil' girl taking our pic; 2. Our team; 3. Painting the church's new toilet rooms; 4. Lil' Daniel and I speaking to University students; 5. Grace and I)

Dear friends and family! A lot has happened in the last year! By March I came back from two months of ministry on the Next Wave (130 foot YWAM sailing ship) in Sicily and Greece and jumped into preparations for the April Discipleship Training School (DTS).

The Next Wave ship ministry was amazing! As part of the crew, I served them in any way I could. I did lots of upkeep on the boat, developed friendships with crew and a DTS outreach team (Harpenden, England), and served in the local churches. One of my favorite memories was traveling to Enna, a high mountain town on the island of Sicily. While there, I helped with a church outreach and shared in their meetings. I felt like part of their church family and was so blessed even though I went to be a blessing! This experience showed me how much I love to encourage believers around the world to draw closer to God, to reach out to their community, and to step out in missions! My time aboard the ship also gave me a closer look at an intensive, community environment where it takes effort to be healthy and value each person. A surprising door that God opened for me was to speak into people’s lives and the Next Wave’s ministry through serving & building relationships. Yet again, I see that I like new experiences and learning new things where I can change. Even though I was there for only two months, God used me!

YWAM Values 1 and 2 ~ “To Know God and Make Him Known”
After our students completed three months of lecture phase, my co-leader Becca and I led ten people (including a family and 12 year old son) to Thailand and Cambodia for the two month outreach phase of the April Discipleship Training School. We were a diverse team in age range (12 to 50) and in nationalities. Our students were from the U.S.A., Canada, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan! Not only did this give us many opportunities to grow relationally, but students and leaders also grew in character!

In Ratchaburi, Thailand we worked alongside a YWAM couple Bromwyn and Noiy. Our team used English to share about Jesus in three schools and with university students. After one class, a student asked our translator questions and accepted Christ! We loved playing games, singing, and teaching Bible stories to Burmese refugee kids. We also served the local churches by planting trees, praying for people, and sharing in services. Over 1000 Bibles were given away at our evangelistic programs to a neighborhood and a factory. Many people heard the gospel for the first time and now have the opportunity to read the Bible! Ratchaburi was our students’ first ministry area, and they rose to every occasion in preparing and in serving various ministry opportunities!

About four hours north of Chiang Mai, up a winding mountain road
that makes motion sickness tablets a necessity is the small town of Pai, Thailand. It has become a tourist hot spot because of it’s beautiful scenery, retreatful nature, and draw for adventurous spirits! Beforehand however, we only knew we would be working with a small, isolated church. But this church turned out to have such a heart to reach their community. The team was able to serve the church by cleaning, painting, and sharing in their services. We also used teaching English to tell about Jesus and teach Bible stories in three schools. We were so humbled & blessed that God would use us as a public school invited us to do an evangelistic program where 38 students made commitments to Christ!

In Battambang, Cambodia, we partnered with the YWAM base’s ministry,
discipling and evangelizing through building friendships. Our students helped with English classes at the YWAM Youth Center, sharing testimonies on “God days” with the non-Christian students (even 12 year old Daniel). We taught English as part of a church’s outreach ministry, ministered to rescued trafficked girls, and ran a VBS program for orphans. One highlight for our team was joining Kaylan’s and her brother Dath’s ministry. We reached out to slum and street kids by teaching English, Bible stories, worship songs, a New Believers class, VBS, and feeding over 120 poor families on Saturdays! Becca and I did specific ministry teaching English and sharing testimonies with a group of youth each day and also taught devotions for staff at a rescue and rehab ministry to formerly trafficked girls.

There are several experiences and people that were so impactful to me this DTS and outreach. One time after a service, our team prayed for church members. As I was praying, I just held the pastor’s wife in my arms as she cried. I so desired to surround her and these believers in prayer as I realized how few Christians there are in Thailand and maybe how alone and few they may feel. Another day we prayed for a sick woman in a hospital, and I was so moved by God’s heart for this woman. This was the first time she said “yes” to accepting Christ! I don’t know if she was saved right then, but she is stepping towards Jesus! There were days on outreach when I had so little of my own strength, but God gave me His hope and strength again and again. One specific instance I had no time to prepare the devotion I had to give to the trafficked girls ministry staff. But I was able to teach for forty minutes! Afterward the pastor asked me to speak in their Sunday service. That God would choose to use me when I felt so weak was so humbling. It left me in such awe of God who meets my needs so tangibly!

Please Continue To Pray For Me:

- My Health: Immune System, Body, & Skin
- As I transition out of the Personnel Office (which I helped with temporarily this fall.
- Safe Travels Oct. 24-Nov. 22 to E. Montana, Minnestoa, Wisconsin, & California
- It’s my birthday Oct. 27th
- Preparing for School of Dance Studies: Lectures & Dance
School of Dance Studies is January 4 - August 20, 2010
- Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
- Financial Support: Monthly & Projects. Currently, my support is below budget for what I need to make ends meet this year.

I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at the below address, e-mail, or phone. If you would like to see me while I’m traveling, please contact me soon! I’d love to see you if I’m in your area! May God bless you.

I'm Off With My DTS Team to Thailand and Cambodia - June 16, 2009 E-mail Update

(pic 1: Me Sailing the Next Wave Ship in the Med.! pic 2: Me with My Small Group Girls.)

Hi All Family and Friends!!!

Yes, I'm outa here again. I'll try you more about it below. But I just want to say my mom is a smart woman! Here I have had a hard time finding the time to finish this update...I was making it all pretty and needed to add a beginning and ending at least, but with going to California June 2-8 and now, today June 16 flying out with the outreach team I am leading to Thailand/Cambodia for 2 months, I just kinda ran outa time! My mom said why don't I just send it as here ya have tells what I am doing and what is up. I apologize for any mistakes or roughness or lack of further info in some spots!

Spring 2009 Discipleship Training School

Training Up New Leaders
I cannot believe that I actually do this, but not only as D.T.S. staff do I disciple students in their walk with God and help train them to be future missionaries, whether on the mission field or in the native country, but by working with new staff, I am able to walk with them through learning how to staff, how to lead small group, one-on-one mentoring/discipling, lead a class, teach, and lead an outreach. This happens in an informal setting through relationship and also formally working with new staff or people that ask for discipleship. I feel quite humbled to be used in this way.

Mini Outreach - Spokane, WA:

This was a week of challenge as well as growth for students and staff! It seemed a jam packed week where we served, served, served! First Evening) Praying for people and evangelism on the streets of downtown; Day 1) Physical labor at a kid’s camp for underprivileged youth (night: optional street evangelism); Day 2) More street evangelism; Day/Evening 3) Cleaning, serving coffee and dinner, playing and singing worship music, talking to the homeless and less fortunate people at City Gate Church; Day/Evening 3) Street evangelism, Working at Union Gospel Mission, talking with the men in rehab there, Running the evening chapel service (leading worship, two students shared their testimonies, one student preached - they rocked it! God totally showed up and led our students!); Day/Evening 5) Worked at World Relief (office work, purchasing items for new refugee apartments, setting up furnishings in refugee apartments, going with a refugee on a bus, teaching English to refugees), debriefed the week as a team; Day 6) Clean the church we stayed at, packed, drove 4 hours HOME!

Shannon & Amy’s Awesome Small Group:

This Small Group I have the awesome privilege of co-leading with new DTS staff Amy. She is a wonderful person with a heart for the Lord, the students, and discipleship! This being the first DTS she has staffed, it's again humbling that she may be able to learn from my small group, one-on-one mentoring, and leading experience. It feels weird to even write this, as she is doing a great job and is such a great friend too!
We have a beautiful small group of girls: Anya (Ukraine), Becca (Washington), and Constance (Montana). It is wonderful to see them grow in knowing God and their identity in Christ! They are so kind-hearted (trouble-makers wouldn’t even be used in the same sentence), and as leaders they bless us so much!

Thailand & Cambodia ~ June 16-Aug. 14

My Outreach Team

Becca and I are so excited about out outreach team! We have a total of 12 people, representing 6 nations: U.S.A.: leaders Becca (Viginia) and I, Jonathan (Texas), Natalie (Washington); Canada: Daniel H. (call Hutch); Northern Ireland: Grace; Australia: Katie; Japan: Mai; 1 family from New Zealand: parents Garry and Annette, 18 year old daughter Tammy (who is a student also), and 12 year old son Daniel S. This is awesome diversity which can lead to various venues of influence but also can lead to many differences which could cause disunity.
*Please pray for our team that we would become more and more united (as we did on mini outreach), becoming vulnerable and laying aside our own rights to prefer and love each other!

Rachaburi, Thailand

For our next 2 weeks we will be 2 hours west of Bangkok, serving local YWAM workers by reaching out with kids' ministry, to university students, and Burmese refugees. Pray that this is a great experience in getting our students feet wet in missions and fully "walking on water" in our trust in the Lord!

Pai, Thailand

We will be spending about 3 weeks in the northwest area near Chiang Mai, serving a local church that doesn’t get much help or have a pastor. We will be sharing testimonies, preaching, leading worship, teaching English in the schools (which leads to more ministry opportunities), going into a hill tribe to pray for people and hopefully do construction.
*Pray that we can serve them, bring refreshing to the Christians, and that people would be open to the Love of Christ!

Battambang, Cambodia

We will be here about 3 weeks, serving through YWAM Battambang. We will be teaching classes at the Youth Center, playing with kids and holding babies at orphanages, possibly serving at prisons and ministering to women who came out of prostitution. We are really excited about developing relationships with people, that they may see Christ in our lives and hear who Christ is through friendships!
*Please pray for deep friendships to form and to recognize and take opportunity of divine appointments with people for God to work in hearts and transform lives!

How am I doing?
This has a several part answer, and it’s hard for me to admit my struggles and weaknesses. At the beginning of this Spring DTS, I was crying to God and said, “I don’t want to be vulnerable!” And God began to tell me that He made me to be vulnerable. God uses my vulnerability to minister to others, even though the process of what I am going through may hurt and be a struggle at the time.

Ever since last year’s mononucleosis (Nov. '07-Feb. '08) and having several colds/flu and walking pneumonia, I have been battling a weak immune system. This means I get sick about once a month. Since December ‘08, I have been ill five times, and most of these put me in bed for several days! From March until Oct. ’08 I felt much better because I began to take several vitamins and supplements. However, in the fall I was unable to keep it up because it of the expense.

This has been an interesting personal season in my life. Asking questions of the Lord, finding some answers, wrestling through alot. But I feel it's okay to wrestle, as in Jacob's wrestling match for blessing in Genesis. I can't go into details right now, but the sun is getting brighter through the clouds.

As we all are holding our breath and struggling in our current economic condition, I am also feeling the squeeze-very tightly. Over the last 6-12 months I have lost several monthly supporters and have not been able to gain any ground. My average income Jan.-May 2009 have been $480 a month, where I would need $600 a month to float more safely. I know I should "cast my cares upon the Lord" and I try, but it is sad to say that worry in this area have affected me negatively. I believe God has called me to D.T.S. staff, but doubts do creep in. This fall I hope to spend some time visiting you, my friends, and my churches, spending time with God, and recuperating/resting - even to visit, I do depend on financial support to get there. If you could please pray about supporting me monthly or even with a one-time gift, it would help me tremendously. I cannot do this without YOU being part of the vision God has called me to! (If you would like to give, you can e-mail me at while I am on outreach. Please send gifts to ...

YWAM Montana
Accounting Office
501 Blacktail Rd
Lakeside, MT 59922

For a tax-deductible receipt, do not write my name on the check, but write #3499 or include my name on a separate sheet of paper. Please let me know whether this is monthly support or not. And thank you, really, thank you.)

*Please pray my health to be restored, for perseverance, renewed joy, for truth to replace the lies so I can Listen and Know God and His promises for me and for my future direction.

Here are some quick bullets of how you can pray for me.

* Immune System & Skin Condition (severely dry skin - am now trying to use special shampoos and lotions.)

* My Finances

* Prepartions for D.T.S. Outreach to Thailand/Cambodia, June 16-Aug. 14

* My Outreach Team: team unity; for what’s on God’s heart; love for people; for the ministries/contacts we’ll work with & people we’ll meet - to spread the love & transforming power of Jesus!

* Becca & I as we lead this team with discernment, God’s strength & power!

* My Future... I am praying about what God has next & when. As of now, I feel I am in the right place until God tugs me.

Thank you for listening! Now to sleep for 2 hours until my 3:30am van run to the airport! Blessings! Shannon

Next Wave - Kiato, Greece Update 2 - Lil' Stories

(Pics: Barbara with Next Wave friends; Barbara, Grace, Me, and Randi (R-L); Italian friends fish dinner; Me eating lil' silver fishies; my plate of fish food!)

Barbara…This is a bit of a crazy, God story.
So one day I meet a girl from a closed communistry country, Barbara, who has come on our boat. I’m wondering, “Well, I haven’t seen her before. How did she get here?” It seems once she walked on, Captain Lehman and Grace were like, “You must stay here.” So Barbara bunked two nights in Randi and my room. Okay, so here’s the back story. Randi and I learned as we chatted with her that night. Barbara was visiting a friend in France who she had met and stayed with during the Olympics. After visiting her friend in France, Barbara didn’t have plans but got on a train south to Italy. Barbara said that she kept being drawn to the water and to boats. When she arrived in Catania, Sicily, she even insisted on finding a place to stay near the sea…the only place (inexpensive also) was a camping/motor park. Once she’s at the park, she sees a motor home with a fish symbol on it, goes to the camper and says that she saw the fish and wonders if they are Christians! They are, and they are my Swedish friends from church. My Swedish friends bring her to the Next Wave, being that it is a boat filled with Christian young people, and a better, cheaper place for her to stay.

Barbara is a Christian in a persecuted, closed communist country (sorry I can't say where)! She went to an international school in this country growing up where her teachers were Christians, unbeknownst to the government, and attended an international church there, where these teachers worshiped. She met Jesus through these “international workers,” who are committed to take the gospel to all the world! Barbara then attended university in the U.S.A. where she was a witness for Christ to other students and her teachers alike. Missionary to the U.S.! Fun, huh…God’s pretty cool at the extraordinary! Barbara felt that God may have led her to the Next Wave, and she’s praying about coming back to the ship either to become short-term crew or attend a DTS (Discipleship Training School). Please keep her in your prayers…she told her parents of her plans, and they seemed okay with it, even though they aren’t Christians.

Another interesting thing about this meeting with Barbara is that my roommate Randi did her DTS outreach in this same closed country for 2 months, so knows some of her language and was able to easily connect with Barbara. And I brought a book about a man from this country who became a Christian and then was persecuted there (in the last 2 decades), and was in the middle of reading it when Barbara came. I felt I should leave this book on the boat for Barbara to read when she comes back (and also Randi) because Barbara doesn’t know all the heritage of what God has done and is doing in her country through the blood and suffering of missionaries and native Christians there. Since I am writing about this, I highly recommend this book (e-mail me for the name if you want to read it). This is the most transformational book I may have ever read, other than the Bible! If you ever think you have it all together as a Christian, this book will destroy you, but also open you up to God’s grace that you can never earn your way into the Father’s embrace. It’s wrecking…I feel like I have less understanding of Christ’s walk for me now, but I also know what God says to me that I do not have to walk in this man's shoes because He created my feet to fill my-sized shoes. God will help us through every situation, scenario possible…through His strength! Amen-cuz I don’t have enough of anything to handle this world, but He does. That’s reassuring.

“When you’re faced with such trials, the key is not to run from them or fight them, but to embrace them as friends. When you dot his you’ll not fail to experience God’s presence and help” (p. 312).

Fish Dinner…

With Francesco, Francesco, Bernardo, Simona…
Two guys that Dustin, Randi, and I met at church wanted to visit the boat. As we were “trying” to speak with them (Francesco knew very little English and Bernardo didn’t know any), we talked about how some of the guy crew loved eating the horse burgers (seriously, horse is like a delicacy here), but these guys were emphatic that we not eat horse because you will be served bad meat, from horses that were injected with a lot of steroids, some are race horses, which would make you really sick and/or “crazy in the head.” Yeah, well, I already knew I don’t eat horse…I had my own horses growing up. But I did try just a bite once, on the street cuz the horse butcher gave it to our group. Yuck. So not into eating my pets! Then I said to the guys, “I haven’t had fish yet, and we live on a boat in the sea, and I love fish.” And they started telling us we have to try fish here because it is so good, “the best,” Sicilians would say! Everything is “the best” in Italy! So they invite us to dinner at their home (I was not trying to coerce a free fish dinner out of them, I promise).

Saturday is the big day, and Dustin along with his wife Kari, Randi, and I are picked up by Francesco, another Francesco, and Simona (our Italian missionary friend to Argentina who speaks perfect English and helps us out even while she is on vacation). It was an amazing dinner of amazing fish and calamari and filled with fellowship by lovers of Jesus! Another reason why I love Italian families and hospitality! You feel like you have entered in and always been a part of their family!

I have become quite comfortable here, making this home, to some degree. One of the leaders remarked that she appreciated how I really take ownership of the boat and ministry, that I act like I am going to be here for 2 years, even when I am leaving in a few days. I sincerely appreciate her encouragement. I hope this is a strength of mine—adapting to new situations, learning from it, and hopefully, contributing to it.

Next Wave - Kiato, Greece Update 1 - Feb. 9, 2009

(Pics: Me at Sunset; Me and Oli tying down the flying jib sail; Me and roommates Randi and Tasha)

Time has sailed by, quite quickly! I can hardly believe I have only 5 days left on the boat! The past few weeks were so busy…is it really the 16th of February?!

New Crew Has Arrived…

The Next Wave is always in a state of constant transition. This includes different countries, cultures, ministry opportunities, maintenance needed, who is on board… Recently, there have been several new crew. January 16 a new 6-month crew member from Germany arrived, Marcus. He has previously served as a counselor on a Swiss boat for troubled youth. Then January 30 my new roommate Tasha arrived (19, from Vancouver Island, Canada). She was a student in their last DTS on board, and is going to staff their upcoming September DTS. Tasha is such a joy and has made friends here so easily! I believe I am here to help her transition more easily, and we’ve become close friends. After we arrived in Greece, we were blessed with 2 ladies, Chris Quilling and Theresa Hafen, arriving to serve us for 40 days by cooking our meals for us. The awesome thing is that they are from my hometown Eureka, MT! They had connections to the boat through my roommate Randi, who knows Theresa’s son Daniel from the YWAM MT base. It’s such a small world! It’s a lil’ Montana takeover…awesome food-seriously-and blessed fellowship with these wonderful women of God.

Let me tell you about other roommate Randi.
Funny thing is Randi is also from Vancouver Island (quite a few here). She’s the person I knew when coming on the boat. I believe I first met her when she visited the MT base during my DTS; then she did her DTS and School of Biblical Studies at MT. We didn’t know each other well when I came, but we’ve become such close friends now. We encourage and de-stress to each other. God knew I needed Randi on this boat, but He knew she also needed me during this time—what a blessing in His perfect timing! She’s an amazing artist and loves the Word of God and loves to teach it. I can’t wait to hear the amazing ways God is going to use her! I will be sad to leave her, but excited to see her in the future, if God wills.

I was able to visit and share at our main contact Mario’s church 2 times. One of those times I shared on hearing God’s voice. It was awesome to see how each person’s message after me fit in with what I shared. I love connecting with people in this way and seeing people touched with what God desires for them. After church one day Captain Lehman and I went to eat at a Swedish older couple’s motor home (my first European mobile home park-unlike the U.S.-very compact). They came down from Sweden several years ago and just decided to stay in Sicily. Literally, their mobile home looks out on the sea! Beautiful. This lady Tes from England also ate with us. The couple has befriended here, and that day was her first time to church in many years. She is not a Christian and seems very superficial in most of her thinking, but she heard the Word of God. Please remember Tes in your prayers as that dear couple invests in her, and that the wall around her heart would crumble and receive true healing.

The DTS did a lot of prayer walking and spiritual warfare
around the city of Catania while here. One of the areas they focused on was a street where the prostitutes lived, which they called Hope Street. Time there included talking to the prostitutes on the street, but my DTS friend Kate said that one prostitute even looked forward to seeing her again and wanted to know where a church was. Sometimes their pimps were unhappy with what was going on, but they were careful. A group from one of the churches also went with them one time and some of the Sicilians were surprised and never knew this area existed in Catania. Hopefully, this leads the church to seeing the need and doing more ministry in this area. The DTS wanted to end their time at Hope Street impactfully, giving victory to Christ, so at the end of our time in Catanai, DTS and some crew went to Hope Street one last time (I was at a Sicilian dinner so missed out). Some people prayed, others worshiped, and others cleaned the street as they walked.

Goodbye Dinner…
To conclude the ship’s and DTS’s time in Catania, Sicily, and to say goodbye and thank you to the many contacts, pastors, and churches we worked with, we hosted a thank you celebration dinner January 30 on board the Next Wave. Our saloon (main living area) was filled with shipmates and 20-25 guests (approx. 50-55 people)! A DTS student Missy and I spent 2 days organizing various jobs that needed to get done and pitching in all that day to prepare. Several of our students and crew made appetizers and desserts, representing several countries around the world. 2 generous Sicilian ladies cooked the main course for us. I was one of eight servers to tables, busy running around all night (and grabbing a bite in the back hall when there was a moment). The dinner was a huge success, and ended with worship, thank you, recognizing our wonderful and funny main contact Mario, and praying for each other.

The Sail…

We had to sail north to Messina, Sicily for more fuel before heading to Greece, leaving Monday night, February 2nd. All crew was on deck leaving port, manning different stations. I was on fenders, moving large balloon-type buoys, so the boat wouldn’t hit the keyside (dock) when pulling away. I was also on the 5-8am and 5-8pm watches, with watch leader Randi, crew Fred and Tamara, and DTS students Pendo, Gareth, and Jordan. It was an awesome watch being able to see sunrise and sunset each day when clear weather (I usually miss sunrises because I am not a morning person). Our watch and the 8-11am watch brought the boat into the Messina port, and I was asleep by the time be pulled out. Everyone, including me, had interesting sleep patterns between watches. 2 days of our sail were quite rough, with big swells that rolled the boat from side to side so that I could reach out and touch the water from the deck. I watched someone slide off the bench outside because they weren’t careful—this proved to be quite a hilarious site! The boat also rocked front and back at times. This sail I took precautions, just in case, with an ear patch to prevent seasickness. Others took pills. And still others, got sick anyway. I am thankful and happy to say I was NOT sick, and most of the time Randi and I were the only ones feeling good on our watch. We took ½ hour rotations as lookout (for other ships, objects in the water), writing down our coordinates and plotting our position on a nautical map, and being at the helm (steering the boat). Helming scared me at first because I am steering a big sailboat and I didn’t understand how to). But once I caught on, I loved it! In the wheelhouse, I watched the radar screen, which had my position and course (in degrees, like 70), and I tried to stay as close to that as possible. I also watched the rudder angle on another dial because that is what the wheel controls. One is always correcting (turning the wheel right and left often) to stay on course (straight) because of the waves and wind pulling and influencing the boat. One evening when we were in the large Greek inlet, Randi had me helm from the outside wheel! Here I had to follow a large compass (with no rudder angle or radar screen) to stay on course. I had never done is outside before, and we were heading towards a large suspension bridge! They said I was doing fine. I kept asking if someone else should take over because we had to line the boat up with 2 lights to position the boat in the right spot to pass under the bridge and not hit other boats coming the opposite direction. Well, I guess they trusted me cuz I steered the Next Wave under that massive bridge without mishaps, I might add! What an awesome sight—because the sun had set and the sky was darkening with the bridge lights on, and all heads looked up as our 2 masts reached to the sky and then to the bridge as we wondered if they were short enough to make it under (knowing they were)…and oh, they were…as we glided below. What a rush! I believe I was all smiles and practically jumping up and down. Afterward, Daniel told me they would have taken me off helm had they not trusted me and thought I was doing a good enough job.
I have like four more topics I want to write about, but this is lengthy as it is…and it’s getting late…so more to come on the fish dinner in Sicily…my Shipmates…the DTS outreach team leaving…and Greece (Kiato, Corinth Church—that’s right, I saw a baptism in Corinth!...).

Thanks for listening, friends! Blessings! Shannon

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Next Wave Ship Update 1 - Catania, Sicily Italy - Dec. 31, 2008-mid-Jan. 2009

O my gosh. So much has happened since I got here. And HERE is Catania, Sicily on the sailing boat the Next Wave! Crazy.
I have been blessed so much. Thanks to all of you who helped me get to Redding and to the Mediterranean! As of yet, I still need to check my e-mail and bank account to check to see how my finances are and if money is coming in. I think that I am doing better financially, but have some unforeseen/forgotten expenses (my overnight at a hotel during my flights). So I will let you know when I know something more!

Roadtrip to Cali…

Umm, what can I say? For those of you worried. I had a second driver with me (God story: his flight was canceled from Kalispell to Redding so needed a ride) so David helped out a lot, driving on quite a bit of bad roads. For those of you with a bit more stomach for the adventure…snow and ice most of the way, but we didn’t have any close calls. Never put chains on. Drove through snow bumps and ruts galore in Spokane, where it was quite interesting watching people carry shovels around. I believe people paid them to get their cars unstuck. We were finally rewarded with Starbucks we found in Spokane! Arrived 20 hours later in Redding, so ready to collapse and be done with the snowy, wrong roads, detours, etc.


Was amazing! I think God knew I needed time and encouragement with friends there—and I felt exactly that! Ah, I was so blessed by my friends, to crash at the Kluttz’s, eating their yummy food and dragged into playing Ultimate Guitar Hero (video game). I admit the NEED to get better at the guitar or drums drove me at times, even though I don’t like video games. I spent Christmas in Paradise with the Bedsaul’s, who opened their home to me, even sharing in their traditions of seafood and more games. I didn’t contribute much but my alfredo sauce. It was a fun, relaxing time with my old roommate Julie and the family. The rest of my time in Redding was spent running around seeing many of you I love and visiting my church Risen King. I am so sorry for those of you I was not able to see, but I ran out of time with only four days there.

Fly, fly away…

I flew out of San Francisco Dec. 29 and arrived at Heathrow, London, England on the 30th. After the 10½ hour flight, my body was on the wrong time so I slept for four hours in an airport chair, draped over my bags (yes, I did wake up every ½ to hour). I wonder what the people next to me thought? Next I boarded a flight to Rome, Italy, arriving late that night. I had a hotel room reserved and my travel agent had checked that there was a free shuttle. However, much to my surprise, it was too late for the shuttles, so I got swindled on a taxi. That was an experience. Let’s just say I have a potential date with my cab driver if I ever travel to Rome again—he would love that. Ha. Not me. The best part of the hotel was the hot shower and breakfast. No, sadly I did not have time to see anything in Rome. The landscape looked arid, but with quite a bit of vegetation, including palm trees—but it’s winter, meaning VERY COLD, even here (like I need warm clothes, thick jacket, scarf, gloves—I did not bring enough sweaters). In the morning (31st) I flew to the island of Sicily, and two of my ship crew, Randi (who I knew some from YWAM MT last year) and Eric, picked me up. That day I got a tour of my new home-a 42 meter sailing yacht! It used to be an icebreaker in the 1950’s, and was refurbished in the 80’s. It sleeps about 50 people; currently there are 40 on board (14 crew and 26 DTS outreach students and staff from Harpendem, England). It feels roomier than I thought it would be, except for my bedroom…but I like the cozy atmosphere (it’s not that warm, heat-wise). There are larger ships in the port, but we are the largest sailing boat.

New Year’s:

The rest of the day I was able to take it easy, and that night all of us went to a large church for a New Years’ Eve service, to bring in 2009 with worship, prayer, and celebration. Several DTS students shared. Most of the service we couldn’t understand, but what I was amazed and blessed to see young and old Sicilians worshiping and praying in Spirit and in power! It blew me away when I learned that they are many evangelical churches in Catania! Most of these churches are pastored by men, who were saved and discipled by one British missionary, Philip Wiles, (now in his 80’s) many years ago. What a legacy! This man recently gave a devotion to us on the boat which was really great, and he is coming back to share more. He met Loren Cunningham (YWAM founder) in 1961, before YWAM began, and spoke in DTS’s many years ago.

First Days in Catania:

Because I arrived on a holiday, I was able to take it easy the next two days and walk around the city streets. One day several of us went out. They showed me around to the open market, the opera house (so beautiful, with huge statues and crazy amounts of Christmas lights illuminate it at night), the elephant square (another statue in the center), and an old castle (we toured with statues, artifacts, paintings, and even a moat…yes, a moat-no water though). Most streets are narrow, some stone, and look up and see amazing architecture-so old and so beautiful, gothic-like. All the buildings, apartments, etc, look ancient, wore down, but so full of character and history-untold, forgotten stories permeate every stone. At the castle, we met 3 Americans from Duluth, MN, one stationed at the U.S. navy base here. We chatted with them and invited them to tour the boat-hopefully, we were able to be a light as we shared and got to be real with them about what we are doing for God.

The DTS students go on outreach into the city most of the week for prayer walks and evangelism. They visit many churches on Sundays and youth nights, sharing testimonies and teaching in the services. I am not sure what else they do, but we as crew will be able to go with them some days. There is so much opportunity here that we can take part in. Many days we have Sicilians visit the boat, touring it, talking with us, bringing food. Random people drive their cars by and stop to chat. Our contact Mario is amazing, setting up ministry with the churches. He shared our grocery list with the churches, and they have been blessing us with so much food, even coming to cook phenomenal Sicilian pasta meals for us on board! Seriously, the hospitality here blows me away! But I am going to have to watch what I eat because there is so much good bread and pasta!

One day three couples came to visit the boat and made lunch for us. I helped the women in the kitchen and then was able to talk to one. Cynzia and her husband began a ministry called Jesus Generation, which has a heart for young people and evangelism. She said that many youth know about Jesus or were brought up in Christian homes here but were pushed to behave, and they never believed in Jesus personally-thus rejecting Christ.
This couple’s heart is to reach people through true caring and friendship with more of a process of “Belong, Believe, Behave.” She told a story of how this happened with one of the couples sitting at the table with us. I got so excited hearing her heart and about their ministry! I was also able to ask her questions about her life and about the Sicilian people. Hopefully, I will be able to work with them while I am here.

Enna Youth Visit Boat:

Another day we had a large youth group from Enna visit (in the exact middle of Sicily, they call the belly button ☺ and the highest city). We split into groups to have them tour the boat, climb the ratlands (rope ladder) and bowsprit (wooden pole at the front of the boat), and be pulled up the main mast on the boatswain’s chair. We ate lunch together, talked, some DTS students shared, and we worshiped and prayed together. Everyone sang in their own languages all at the same time (there are also several countries represented by the DTS: U.S.A., Canada, England, Wales, Iceland, Germany, New Zealand, Ecuador, Tanzania, South Korea; & Crew: U.S., Can., Eng., Ghana). Talk about unity and fellowship of the body of Christ. It gives me shivers just thinking and remembering it! There will be more ministry with the Enna church while we are here.

As Crew,
Much of my day, when not ministry, is spent working on the boat, maintenance mostly. I am now getting a better picture of how much upkeep a boat needs: ropes replaced, engine rooms, floors… With my boat/sailing experience is lacking, I am putting my painting experience to great use: chipping rust away, painting on rust converter, primer, and the final coat-several times over. I have paint on my hands all the time, and thankfully I brought painting/work clothes, which have another lovely layer added to the previous YWAM MT dorm paint colors.

Other times during the day I get to interact with the DTS outreach team. Recently, I have been blessed with some significant conversations and prayer times with people. One morning I was able to talk to and pray with a student Ashley who was touched by what I shared during that morning’s devotion. In that moment I realized that, if for only that moment, my time on this boat is worthwhile. I am slowly building friendships and I am excited for more time to share and pray with people. I feel that I have, so far, easily adapted and fit in-some crew have said so as well. I hope to be an encouragement here and a person who brings peace. I am praying more into God’s purposes for me here during this time, thinking that God may use me in greater ways than I thought, which kinda scares me, but I hope to be ready for what God wants of me.


We went on a 3-4 hour sail one night to empty the black water tank, in other words, toilet or poop tank (has to be emptied so far from shore). This was my and the DTS’s first sail, and in the dark. As we got out of the harbor, then it began to rain and the sea got rougher-quite rough actually. So we were getting soaked, and the ship was rocking (several got seasick-not me!), but through all this, several DTS and I got to help sail, put up and down the sails! It was so much fun, and gets you so pumped, and the adrenalin is rushing! Ah, what an experience, and it’s so different than anything I’ve done, so different than land-locked Montana! I will get to learn more when we sail to Greece.

Upcoming Enna Ministry:
This weekend (Jan.10-12) I am going with a couple of the crew to do ministry with a church in Enna. I do not know what this weekend will hold or what I will be doing?-soccer, sharing in church, singing maybe, but I am excited for the opportunity to interact with Sicilians and be a blessing. Since I have been in Sicily (and before), I have been asking God for a message specifically for here, cataloging all previous things I have shared and other things on my heart lately. I think God began to give me something more this morning, and I am praying and studying into what this should be.

Update on Enna Trip:

Three crew, Ben, Fred, and I, had the opportunity to go to Enna to do ministry with the evangelical church there. This was amazing. Their pastor is Sicilian and his wife is Swedish; she did a lot of the translating for us. Saturday evening, they had an evening planned to reach out to non-Christians. They played music-they have an amazing worship band, each of us shared our testimonies, and all ate awesome pizza. After I shared Saturday, this lady Bianca, had me write a note in her Bible, and then she found someone to write a note to me in English. Her message so spoke to me and made me cry (Sunday she was crying when we left). On Sunday we all shared again at the service, and Fred gave a great message. God did give me something to share, like I had been asking Him. When I shared, I was so overcome by what God had placed on my heart that I was on stage crying (being emotional in normal for me, but they didn’t know this). I basically shared a call to missions, that their sphere of influence, the people in their church, would be even greater than their city, but to other nations. One teenage girl Noemi came up to me afterward and hugged me crying (she didn’t let go for a while). I believe God touched her and called her to missions! Please remember her in your prayers. The church there truly walks out the family of Christ to each other and reaching out to their community and to us, during our short stay there. They filled us to bursting at a Sicilian lunch with the Radenda family (elders in the church)-I felt adopted in! For the two days I stayed the night at Engelica’s house. She showed me amazing hospitality, driving me around, showing Enna to me, and became a friend, so close to my heart. There are so many others from Enna I was blessed by and count as friends now. Hopefully, I can share more with you someday.

Interesting Things:
-I felt like I was the minority who spoke English on each of my flights (including BritishAir), especially on my Italian flights, and I stuck out like a sore thumb! My ¼ Italian heritage sure doesn’t show here (though I have seen a couple blond hair, blue eyed Italians, lighter than me)!
-And there are huge, snow-capped mountains in the middle of Italy (I saw them from the airplane). Snow-capped, volcanic Mt. Etna rises above Catania!
-Everyone in Europe and Italy wears boots. I should have brought mine.
-Again let me emphasize, it is SO COLD here. The unusual day here is clear and sunny, but it is winter here…and Italians have little or no heat in their homes, churches, so unlike America. I am NOT sunning myself on some Mediterranean vacation—haha.
-The boat rocks all the time, but usually it is small, and I don’t notice. I actually like the feeling and haven’t felt sick. The past few days, however, there was a large storm at sea. We are safely in the harbor, but the waves hitting the breakwater (wall that protects us) were several stories high, higher than many buildings. After the storm, the swells were really bad, rocking and jolting our boat for about 2 days. We broke a line and hit a boat behind us, so we were always checking and tightening the creaking lines, tying us to land. All crew and some students were jumping up to help, even when a visiting youth group was on board.
-I love Italian food-even marinara!

-Half of the Harpendem DTS outreach, the Spain team, left for Spain Jan. 12th. It was sad to see those 13 leave; they were awesome, and I’m excited about their upcoming ministries. The boat seems a bit emptier now, but the Italy team (13 others) will still be with us until mid-Feb. I am excited to get to know them more. I love the feeling that I am still a part of YWAM, discipleship and outreach, with the DTS and the ship’s crew, even though I am not with the Fall Montana DTS I staffed.
-Jan. 13th Greg, one of the ship’s short-term crew left (he is crew on Swedish ministry ship now in Spain, which the Spain team will be working with).
-We will be sailing to Greece Feb. 1 or 2. This is a 3 day sail, and I am so excited. I believe that I will be there the rest of my time here.
-About Feb. 22, I hope to be flying to London for a couple days with Emily Goulding!
-Feb. 25 I will be flying back to San Francisco, California.
-Feb. 27-28 I will be driving back to the YWAM Montana base. Pray for clear, safe roads this trip!

Sorry, guys, I have written this e-mail over a couple weeks on my computer. Our internet on board isn’t working right now, so it’s hard to find time to go to town and get online. Please e-mail me; I would love to hear from y’all though. I miss my friends and family. Keep me in your continued prayers, my time here, and my finances. Oh, and please pray for my throat-it started getting sore the other day…and many people have gotten pretty bad colds lately. Also, pray for our washing machine, which stopped working the other day. This creates a problem with 30 people on board now; it’s hard enough to a time to wash with so many people-and I need to wash my clothes right now! Ha. But we have been so blessed lately, with churches giving us food and even monetary donations. They are so supportive of us, the boat, missions-I only pray that God can use us to bless them!
Love you all. Thinking and praying for you! Shannon Mintz