December 31, 2009

Bringing in the New Year. Hooray 2010!

I made it to 2010! My entrance into the new decade was wild... I spent several hours in a prayer room on base with some friends talking about theology, and other crazy ideas that we have learned as a team throughout our lectures. We were so engaged in conversation that we didn't even notice the clock hit midnight! Wild huh? Well to celebrate, I decided to go back to my flat, and wake Jason up (notice I had to "wake" Jason up? He's getting old...) Anyways, I walked into his dark room, found his bed, and in perfect unison... I yelled "Happy New Yeeeaaarrr" while raising my arm to slap him in the chest! Well, I did indeed slap him, but since it was dark, I may have missed. Let's just say that he curled into the fetal position and let out a moan. I'm sorry Jason. But that's what you get for not making it to midnight.

One year ago, I spent New Year's eve with Jimmy in San Jose. We sipped a fine beverage, and smoked a fine cigar. I knew I had a lot to look forward to in the year 2009. But I really never imaged that I would spend the next New Year's eve in a Ywam room in Australia! During 2009, I experienced some great things. I graduated from the University of Colorado with a Mechanical Engineering degree, which was a huge personal accomplishment. Also, I got to work at a fantastic summer camp in Estes Park, serving as a sports coordinator. I met incredible people had made great memories. Then, Jason and I embarked on the greatest adventure of our lives to date. We packed our bags in faith, and traveled here to Australia. Our time has been everything we could have ever hoped for; full of adventure, learning and experiences that will never be taken away! I'm so thankful to be here.

Now I look forward to 2010. I feel confident more great things are on the horizon! I'm really looking forward to the outreach phase of my DTS. Our team will travel down the coast of Australia to Canberra to listen to Loren Cunningham speak. Then, we will travel to Sydney, New Castle, and other larger cities to promote the Ship Tour (, hang out with youth groups, speak at churches, and evangelize to the city. Should be epic! I'm also looking forward to returning to Colorado in March; this time with more passion and purpose than ever before. I'm especially looking forward to getting a rock climbing membership, playing indoor soccer, and possibly getting a few snowboarding trips in! Oh, and getting a job too.

I'm excited for the new year. I think Jason is too... despite the rude awakening that I gave him last night. Much Love

December 28, 2009

Song Recommendations from Matt

Here are a couple of amazing worship songs that I suggest you purchase on iTunes, or watch on YouTube:

1. Your Love Never Changes by Jesus Culture
2. Let Heaven Shout by Kristene Mueller.

Both are so good, and if you knew what was good for you, you would download both of these immediately. Also, I just uploaded 90 pictures from my PNG trip onto Facebook. Check 'em out! Much Love.

December 25, 2009


Hey Everybody!!

I have a Christmas Gift for you!! If you want to see my favorite 82 Pictures from PNG!!
Click the Link below, and then click the button in the bottom left side that says slideshow and enjoy!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas to you all! Love you and miss you!


December 19, 2009

PNG, Stay Left Right Turns, and 90 degree White Xmas

So gather around boys and girls for Jason's Story time. I have much to tell, and seeing that its five days until Christmas there is no better time to get a cup of Wassel (Shout out to Palmer Lake) and read some PNG, Ausie stories!

First things first. PNG. It's hard to put into words. But using the best word invented, and to make my Uncle Lars proud, it was AWESOME! Flying into Geroka, I was looking out the window of our tiny little plane, and my mouth dropped! Holy crap I thought to myself this place is so freaking pretty! We landed the plane, and after getting out and picking our bags up at baggage claim, which was a big table on the side of the run way, I looked around, the air was fresh, crisp, it was cool, everything was green, giant pine trees! Tears filled my eyes as I said, "God this is where I belong!" And that was just the first ten Minutes!

Our three weeks was really encouraging, we spent a lot of time in small little villages, that had no running water, or electricity, we would sleep in the typical, Highland Round hut, which are big circular huts, with a fire pit in the middle. Every village we went to went above and beyond with welcoming us. There was lots of dancing, and singing, and feasting. It was so special! The people of PNG are so beautiful, have such wonderful hearts! The message I found myself saying over and over again, was how special all of them were, and how much they have to offer not only the people around them but the entire world! Telling them there was something incredibly special about their country and them as a people!

There were so many moments throughout the three weeks, that I turned to my team and said, oh my gosh I feel like I'm in the middle of a movie right now! Haha one village we walked to had an actual real life tree house! How cool is that, we all kept saying, um are we in Never Never land! Where is Peter Pan? Or Froto from the Lord of the rings?

Because the Land is so fertile in PNG the people, aren't starving, which is great. However they are still incredibly poor. There is major needs for education and health care within the country, which made us excited about the efforts kicking off with the Australia PNG ship tour! Because thats a huge focus.

Overall the trip was extremely humbling, encouraging, and so special. My team did amazing and I really felt like I grew a ton during the time!

Being back in Australia has been good, Matt and I have really been missing Colorado for Christmas, we had a strange experience last weekend, when we went down to the beach. The city put on a huge Christmas Carol event, so here Matt and I are showering on the beach, the ocean on one side, Palm trees above, with 10,000 people singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" It was a bit strange.

As Matt mentioned the two of us got our sweet Australian Drivers License. My first drive was a bit terrifying, I was as Matt said, thrown to the wolves for my first right turn. Lets just say, with the shifting being with the opposite hand, turing the windshield whippers on full blast instead of the turn signal, and having to take a right turn while driving on the left side of the road, ended up with me, driving on the wrong side of the road!!! My driving instructor Whato calmly said, woah woah woah, and I veered back over into my lane. Haha but all is safe, and I am becoming much more comfortable driving on the opposite side. Just have to keep remembering to stay wide on the right turns!

Other than that, it's hot, like really hot, like 93 degrees with awful humidity hot. Born and raised in Colorado Jason Phillips is starting to get a bit kooky with no snow and cool weather, and Christmas stuff everywhere. All that to say keep soaking up the cold, drink some delicious chai or coffee for me!

I have so much more to say and tell, but that'll do for now! Hopefully everyone is doing great! I miss all of you! So much! Life is great, and as I said in previous blogs, my time here has been so good for me, Matt and I know we are suppose to be here and learning so much!

Oh and I'm working on pictures!! They should be up soon, and I'll let you all know ASAP!

Merry Merry Christmas!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE to you all!

December 17, 2009

Aussie Driver's License

Here is a picture of my sweet Aussie driver's license. Jason and I both got our licenses so that we can help drive our team vans down the coast of Australia in just 1 month for the second part of our YWAM outreach. 2500 Km. 43 teammates. 4 team vans. 3 days of driving from Townsville to Canberra. Should be a blast! Now I just need to learn how to drive on the left side of the road and get used to the drivers seat being on the right. Ask Jason how is first Aussie "right turn" worked out... LOL!

Matt's PNG Recap!

It's been just under a week since returning from Papua New Guinea (PNG). On one hand, I miss spending time with my teammates and experiencing some pretty crazy cultures. But then again, it sure is nice to return to our base at Reef to Outback for the Christmas season. It's not quite like being home for the Holidays, but it will do!

My team of 10 had a terrific time in PNG. We spent one week in a village called Bereina (a 5-hr truck drive from the nation's capital, Port Moresby) where we stayed at a Pastor's house and connected great with the community. The picture above is of me playing guitar with some friends in Bereina. Our typical day consisted of walking or driving to different areas within the village and developing relationships with the people. Sometimes we would visit schools, other times we would the local hospital. By the evening, our team would prepare a "program" and present it to the village. Each program usually had testimonies, funny skits, serious dramas, worship, and a gospel message tied together. Sometimes our programs were lighthearted, and other times they were very powerful. But regardless, the PNG people were always sooo thankful for our presence. They truly are beautiful people. Below is a picture of me and Jess leading worship at a Saturday morning market in Bereina.

After our time in Bereina, we traveled to Hisiu village, a nice coconut village located right on the ocean! At Hisiu, we had a never-ending supply of coconuts and seafood. Again, the people treated us like royalty. Every meal was provided, although my stomach couldn't handle seafood by the end of the trip. We even had a formal tribal dance with all the people in the village on the last night! The elders of the community sang "prophet songs" (honoring the prophets of the Old Testament) and the younger community dressed up in grass skirts, face-paint, and flower crowns and taught us some ceremonial dances. It was probably the craziest and most bizarre night of my entire life! At one point, a man came up to me and pulled out a a small bag filled with a white, powdery substance. I thought, "Oh No! We are about to take drugs together!" But to my relief, it was only baby powder, and he wiped it on my face for some reason that I never discovered... Anyways, I couldn't help but laugh out loud several times that night and think to myself, "What am I doing with my life!" Below is a picture of our team that night.

By the end of the trip, our team ministered to over 5,000 Papua New Guineans, and saw about 100 dedicate (or re-dedicate) their lives to Christ! But even more special was the connections we developed, and the people that we got to pray for. At the end of our time in both villages, lines of people would come shake our hands, and most woman would be crying. One lady even commended our team for doing our dishes after every meal! She said that a common stereotype among the PNG people is that white people don't know how to do dishes... Um you can insert your own funny comment here...

This missions trip was unlike any I had ever been on! But as I mentioned, it's wonderful to be back "home" to our Reef to Outback base. I have to hand it to the staff here, because they know how to celebrate Christmas. We have a party every other night it seems like! This is very good, because I'm starting to miss family/friends right now more than ever. Love you all!


November 22, 2009

PNG! Here we go...

In just a couple minutes, our entire team will be headed on a Greyhound bus to Cairns, Australia. From there, we will fly to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Our individual teams will disperse to different locations within PNG. We will return on December 10th.

Pray for: Team Unity, Good Attitudes, Freedom

Love you family and friends. Can't wait to share stories.

October 30, 2009

Goroka! Goroka! Goroka!

Good day Mates! Jason Here.

As Matt has informed you, We have our outreach locations! Hip Hip Horay! So I'll be heading to Goroka, Papa New Guniea in about 3 weeks, I'll then come back to Townsville for a few weeks and then head down the Australian coast promoting the YWAM ship tour. But let me tell you what I know so far about Goroka! Basically if there was a outreach location that was made for Jason Phillips it would be Goroka!

Goroka is located in the Eastern Highlands Providence. The above is a picture of it! Sounds a lot like Boulder, they were in the Guinness Book of world records for having the best climate in the world! The temperature doesn't reach above 78 degrees all year!! Sweet! An afternoon rain shower is pretty common. Goroka is known around the world for there coffee, and they host the annual PNG coffee festival every year.

So lets review... Perfect weather... Mountains... Coffee... and an awesome team! Sounds like a dream come true to me!

So were still figuring out what exactly we will be doing there. We will be working close with a YWAMer there who used to be a full time Doctor, but decided to retire from that and help people in PNG instead, he really wants to build a YWAM base in Goroka. Along with helping him we will be visiting hospitals, local churches, doing dramas, and visiting high schools, and much more.

So the team! There are 11 of us on this trip! Seriously quality people to the max.

Our fearless leaders: Amelia and Aiden (Amelia second row far right Aiden, far back center)
Bottom Row left to right (Hannah, Kena, Carah Vicki, Casen)
2nd Row ( Desiree, Joel, Abbie,Aiden, Me, Amelia)

If your reading this blog it probably means you care a lot about what Matt and I are doing! I would really appreciate you praying for our team! Here are some specifics! Pray that we would have unity, that we wouldn't show up with our agenda but instead for hearts ready to serve and love wherever the need, and that relationships would form with the local people in PMG!

In addition to that team, I get to be apart of another sweet opportunity, one of our DTS staff found out that I have a passion for photography, Matt and I get to actually be part of a team that will help capture and design a creative arts exhibit that will tour with the boat and will give people a glimpse into the lives and needs of people in PMG. Basically wherever the ship is there will be a cool interactive exhibit with cool pictures, and stories, to try and engage people into joining the cause! I'm way excited about this! It's always been a dream of mine to capture what God is doing around the world and do it in a way that will inspire people to make a difference. Looks like I get my chance at that!

Lastly, I to am raising support for this trip! Right now I need 1200 buckeroos! If you want to chip in to make this happen, that's awesome. If not, totally fine I still love you like crazy!

If you do want to donate its fast and easy, just click on the link below and it will take you to the school web page, or you can mail a check to my folks and they will get it in my account.

Jason Phillips
P.O. Box 1085
Palmer Lake, CO 80133

Hope everyone is doing well! I keep telling Matt we need an 8th day so I can stay caught up on stuff, one of those being keeping in better contact with all my friends and family at home. Missing all you guys!

Love Love Love


October 29, 2009

Port Moresby...Here I come!

Hey Wonderful Family & Friends,

I just want to give you a quick update on my outreach information. Recently, our entire school learned some exciting new news including our exact outreach destinations, and even our smaller teams that we will be traveling with!

In just one month, I will be headed to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG)! You've heard of it right!? Well let me give you a couple Port Moresby fun facts!

First of all, Port Moresby is the closest major city to Townsville, but you have to take a plane to cross the Torres Straight to get there. Port Moresby, also the capital of PNG, is one of the world's "least livable cities" (ranking 137 out of 140 cities). It has a population of over 250,000 people, and our team will be there in one month.

The picture above is my team. From left to right: Emma, Me, Alfredo, Katy, Britney, Timmy, Jess, Helen (team leader), Melinda & Amanda. We will be doing construction, speaking at churches, doing dramas and sharing the Gospel for three weeks. If you would like to be apart of sending our team out, then here are some specific prayer requests. Pray for: team unity, passion for the people of PNG & desire to serve.

I'm raising financial support to make this trip possible. I need $2500 to come in over the next month to cover the cost of outreach. It's taking a tremendous amount of faith to see how God will provide for me, but I'm completely trusting in his provisions. If you are willing and able to help, then please write a check to GREATCOM (tax-deductible) and send it to my family's address:

Matt Howard
19420 Aspenwood Dr.

Monument, CO 80132

If you aren't able to financially support me, that's okay! I would love it if you continued to check my blog and pray for my team. Your encouragement means the world to me.


Grab some popcorn. Take a seat. Watch the Ship Tour video.

October 28, 2009

Our crazy team!

Here is a picture of our sweet-az team! P.S. Aussies usually add "-az" to the end of most emphatic statements because it's the cool thing to do! Try it.. you can be cool too! Isn't that tight-az?!! Jason is on the left, and I'm in the far back. We are awesome-az.

October 21, 2009

The moment we've all been waiting for!


Reef to Outback (our YWAM base in Townsville) has a unique opportunity coming up in 2010! Using newly-acquired 110 ft. ship, YWAM will be working to provide medical services and inspire the youth of Australia to reach out and make a difference in Papau New Guinea, a country directly north of Australia. The YWAM Ship Tour will be unveiled soon, and our team will be apart of it!

Our team of 37 will leave in about 1 month for Papau New Guinea (PNG). It's supposed to be a truly indigenous country; some tribes have never seen a white boy in their life! We will serve in villages around PNG, perform dramas and share the value of Christ. After 3 weeks in PNG, we will return back to our base for another month of lectures. After celebrating Christmas with the staff at our base, we will prepare for the finale of our DTS.

Starting in January, the entire team will road trip down the entire east coast of Australia until we hit Canberra, which is down south near Sydney (also the capital of Australia). Why Canberra you ask? Well, YWAM is celebrating its 50th anniversary in late January, and we will be there to party with DTS's from all around Australia. Loren Cunningham will be there! HE ONLY FOUNDED YWAM! No big deal... At that point, our team will go port hopping, joining the Ship Tour at different ports on the coast of Australia to do medical missions and also to inspire the Aussie youth to make something of their lives.

What an outreach, right!? Our team could not be more excited about the news. God continues to blow our expectations out of the water. We are so pumped, for so many reasons. From day one we have seen and heard the heart beat of our base, led by Ken Mulligan, the director of our base. The Ship Tour is such an extraordinary opportunity to learn & grow in our faith, and to serve & love those around us. Check out this website for more information and a fantastic video found on the home page!

We will be sending out more information at the end of the week with more details on the outreach, and for ways that YOU can be involved.

Love you all. M & J

October 20, 2009

Wanna see my Aussie Crib?

Here is a picture of our "flat" that all the fellas sleep in. I took the picture yesterday afternoon during sunset. Not too shabby eh?

Please let me try to explain some of the great happenings out here in the DOWN UNDER. So far, I have learned that the base here in Townsville is remarkable. The staff here is grounded. I appreciate that. They are true leaders. Not whimpy spiritual people... real men and women of God. That is good. Our team leader, Buddy, is 26, and has the spiritual maturity of most elders in the church. Of course he is humble too, so he wouldn't admit that. But our team has responded great to his leadership. The team is growing in unity as well. We are being challenged deeply during our lectures. My journal is already 6 pages long, full of scribbled notes and Scripture. Essentially, we are being stretched, challenged, humbled, and mostly... SO EXCITED FOR WHAT'S NEXT!

Stay tuned, in the next few days we will announce all the details about our outreach locations! It will be unlike any other DTS that YWAM runs...

Interesting fact of the day: I have seen wild kangaroo in the outskirts of Townsville, and I have also eaten Kangaroo Kabobs. Cool!

October 16, 2009

Fresh Bread, Neon Vests, and A TIM TAM SLAM

Hello my people!!! Oh how Matt and I miss you all. A few days ago I showed him a picture Alex emailed me of her and Matt's sister Brooke working together at the Dermatology clinic. Matt ripped the phone out of my hand and put it to his heart, made the saddest looking puppy face I have ever witnessed and then began to let out a whimper. That's right Matt Howard is a wimpererrrrr (sp?) I am too when it comes to missing all my friends and family back at home. Don't get me wrong, life is pretty swell down here, were not complaining, just know that you are all missed!! Ok that's enough sappy stuff. On to more deep spiritual things!

For instance, an interaction I had with a local Ausie in the Mall. It was Sunday evening, hot, we had escaped to the mall which is a ten minute walk down the road. Matt and I were on a search for various items, towels, shampoo, etc. Anyhow, I saw the local baker shop throwing all of his loaves of bread into a large trash bag. I ran across the mall, literally ran. And grabbed a few pieces of loaves off his shelf, and said. Why are you throwing these away! Its perfectly good bread! Turns out he wasn't throwing them away, and a lady popped her head up and asked if I would like to buy them. I said no thanks and walked away feeling like a doofus! Awkward!!

Some, turns out moments...

Turns out Scottish people sound exactly like the people in Braveheart... go figure.

... the people from England really do drink tea, all the time. Matt is slowly caving in. I on the other hand have officially made my way to the dark side. A straight up black cup of coffee no longer taste like dirt, its just pure goodness. And helps me stay awake after my olympic run and workouts at 6:00 in the morning.

... I learned you don't stare too long at Ausie men dressed in funny looking neon yellow vests while in their cars, or they will really angrily tell you to eff off and give you the middle finger. Yet another awkward interaction.

... They have this crazy contraption drink thing called a Tim Tam Slam. You bite off two corner ends of a piece of chocolate that is hollow inside, you then dip it in coffee and quickly drink through it, then drop the entire thing in your mouth and it melts. Its quite delicious. So I finally had the opportunity to try one during morning tea! I nailed it perfect. I was so pumped that I threw my hands in the air and yelled! Yes I just did a CAR BOMB!!! I quickly realized when everyone's eyes lit up, that I had yelled the wrong drink. Oh dear... haha
In all seriousness its been great. Being around people all the time is taking a little bit of getting used to. But it helps that everyone really are Rockstars. My team is awesome, and continue to be blown away by the leadership. I have been learning a lot. Mostly that God is faithful, that His love really can change lives, and go figure that the Bible has some pretty cool stuff in it!

Well... I'll do a TIM TAM SLAM for all ya all's back home! love love love

October 15, 2009

5:45am Wakeup calls and 10:30am Morning Tea

This picture is take from inside our auditorium on base. Every Wednesday morning we have staff and student worship. This week the theme was to run the God with childlike faith as pointed out in Matthew 18:3-6. In these verses, Jesus says that "whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven." So we grabbed balloons and bubbles and worshiped as a team! At one point, I was kneeling on the ground when a little child from a family on staff ran up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder and said, "bubb-o?" Then he handed me some bubbles and I happily joined him in blowing bubbles! Cool experience. Try it sometime. Oh, and that's Justin Claypool leading worship in the background. He's a good man. It's great seeing him everyday around base!

Here is something that our team is working on adjusting to... 5:45am wake up calls! Yep, that's right. Everyday our team meets on the porch of the base at 6am for exercise. We can run, walk, play at the playground, do push ups, sit ups, or whatever we like, just as long as we're exercising for 30 minutes to start the day. Our team leader, Buddy, is a big believer in getting up early and creating a discipline of working out so that we can also make alone time with God in the morning. I'm proud to say that today (the first day of workouts) was quite easy considering Jason and I are coming from 7,000 ft elevation. In the mid-morning of each day, we do something much more enjoyable though. We have "tea-time" and drink tea/coffee, and eat biscuits/oranges every single morning for 15 minutes. It's a nice break each day.

So today I found myself missing my days (and friends) at Camp Timberline a lot. That happens occasionally! I volunteered for the maintenance team here on base since we are all required to do "work duties". Today, our maintenance team of four guys worked on detailing one of the camp vans. We scrubbed down the outside, cleaned the windows, mopped the floor, and armor-all'd the seats. It was hot, tiring, and very humbling. Sometime in the middle of mopping the floor inside the roasting van I thought about our maintenance team at camp this summer and remembered how much hard work they put into each day.
People like Mike Lamb come to mind. He worked his butt off, served faithfully, and did it with the best attitude in the world. Note to self: Be like Mike! Anyways, everyday from 3-5pm our team will work around the base and put in some good hard work hours. We will be working on remodeling a room on base, cleaning and detailing our six camp vehicles, and all sorts of other daily tasks. Should be fun, eh? And humbling...

October 12, 2009

Ah don't we look so nice? This is us right outside the Brisbane YWAM base (which is NOT our base). We only stayed there one night on our layover between California and Townsville. Each backpack is a solid 50 lbs., and our little bags are deceivingly heavy. Plus the guitars? Wow! We walked 6 blocks from the base to the Brisbane train station and then another 10 miles from the train to the Airport. That's an exaggeration. But we shed some tears of pain.

Crazy Indian Chanting

So this morning, our DTS team was working on some team building exercises. One of the tasks was to break into groups of three and act out one of our YWAM core values. Jason's group selected the core value known as "Value the Individual". Picture this! Their skit started out with a girl playing guitar up front, and a very...well... jolly Kiwi named Selena singing a traditional praise song.

Then all of sudden, Jason came bursting into the room holding two glass bottles, one in each hand. He had long strands of toilet paper hanging from each one as if to mock those charasmatic people who dance with streamers in worship (c'mon, you know the ones!). He danced around for a moment, and then let out the most unbelievably outrageous shout I've ever heard in my life; a combination of yelping seal and Native American warcry! He pranced around for a while and continued to loudly worship and twirl his cute streamers, clearly annoying the simple worship song. It was hilarious, the whole team was laughing so hard. Then Selena delivered the punchline to the guitar player, "You mean I'm supposed to respect this individual?" Unbelievable. Jason at his finest!

The picture above is taken right outside our base. The facilities are clean and organized. They have the highest standards at our location. It's aparent that the organization pays attention to detail and expects the best from the staff and students alike. Our team leader is truly amazing. His name is Buddy, and he is originally from New Zealand. He has staffed 7 DTS's (ours is the 3rd he has led). He has a great feel for our team, he leads us effectively and is a great communicator. I appreciate all those qualities about him. Tonight, Jason and I ate dinner with Buddy, as well as Justin and Amanda Claypool. Justin works in the communication department here on base and went to Liberty High School in Colorado Springs. I met him WAY back in the day through a common friend. It's fun to see him now and see how God has impacted his life and even brought a baby his way!

Fun facts so far:
1. Australian currency is made of plastic. The bills are waterproof and virtually indestructable. Great for surfing.
2. New Zealanders refer to Titty Twisters as "Nipple Gripples". They had never heard of a "Titty Twisters" and got a good laugh out of it!
3. Shampoo is rediculously expensive. I refuse to buy a small bottle of shampoo for $5.99! I won't do it. Hair might not be washed in 6 months...

That's all for now. Love you all!

October 10, 2009

Made it to Townsville: Hanging out at our YWAM Base!

So you might ask... What is the first thing that a couple of YWAMers do once they arrive on base? Well, Jason and I have downloaded the Buffs game and are watching it online! Typical right?

We arrived late last night into Townsville after a smooth flight from Brisbane. The temperature is warmer, and the town is nice. When we stepped off the plane, three members of our team staff were there to greet us. We headed to our base and realized right away, we made the right choice!

First of all, the July DTS group is still here on base. That means that their are nearly 70 students here at the same time (our team is approximately 37 students--a few are still waiting for Visa confirmations). The base is truly amazing and their is so much energy here right now. When we got to our base, we met DTS students, staff members, and a bunch of kids from all over the Townsville area. Every Saturday night, our base has Youth Street. They invite the youth from the town over for worship, games, food & just loads of fun. I'm getting the impression that our DTS is very focused on reaching youngsters. I'm stoked for that, considering I spent the last 4 months working at summer camp! The prototypical Aussie boy wears vans, skinny jeans (skinnies), a baggy shirt (tall tee), and a hat that covers a mop of hair. Oh, and he skate boards everywhere! I do not skate board and I will never wear skinnies. I need to find some way to fit in here. HA!

Currently, Jason and I are killing time while we wait around for our first team meeting. The beach is too far away to walk right now. Otherwise we'd certainly be there. We're sleeping in a flat right off base. I'm in a room with 9 other guys, and Jason is in a separate room with 1 other fella. Wonder how he pulled that off! In his words, "God likes him more." Oh well. Anyways, the picture at the top right is one of Jason, myself, and our friend Nate who is currently a student on the July DTS. We get to spend one week with him before he heads off on his outreach which is to other parts of Australia. He seems really happy that he is here. He clearly has had the best three months of his life so far! God is really teaching him some great things.

Bottom line. We're glad to finally be here. It's nice to finally unpack some clothes and meet people that we will be spending a lot of time with. Time for lunch and a quick run to the mall to buy toiletries, towels, etc.

October 8, 2009

Brisbane, Australia: We made it!

After eating a great deal of In-N-Out, surfing in San Diego, watching sunsets, and being spoiled by our friend Mark Johnson, Matt and I hopped on a plane from LAX and headed down under!

We are officially safe and sound in Brisbane, Australia. Right now, Matt and I are sitting at a downtown Starbucks which is my safe place.

On the plane, Matt seemed thrilled about his new iPod. He spent some time with the big man and listened to worship music, read his bible and wrote in his journal. I, on the other hand, slipped away and drank a double Jack & Coke right before the flight and then laughed my butt off while watching The Proposal.

After an amazing sunrise, we landed like a feather in Brisbane. Since our ultimate destination is Townsville (a 2-hr plane ride North of Brisbane), we contemplated what to do in Brisbane to kill a full day layover. After customs, I immediately grabbed a Latte, while Matt read about deadly snakes. Our original plan was to stay in a hostel and bum around downtown, but all of sudden I spotted a guy holding a YWAM sign (YWAM is the discipleship school that Matt & I will be partnering with in Townsville). That's when things got interesting!

Matt was away grabbing money from an ATM, so I was left with a hefty decision: leave our luggage and track down the guy, or continue to supervise like Matt told me. I made the responsible decision. I jumped out of my chair and left the luggage behind! Of course I had my eye on it the whole time, but I made my way to the guy holding the sign and asked if we could stay at their base. Sure enough, we will be staying at the lovely Brisbane YWAM tonight and enjoying dinner with their team! How cool is that? This is a great reminder to us that God's got his hand on our trip!

October 1, 2009

Jason and Matt's Top Ten Miss list!

  1. Family
  2. Girlfriend
  3. All my peeps
  4. Chipotle
  5. Starbucks
  6. Mountains with Snow
  7. Comfy Bed and Teddy Bear
  8. LOST parties
  9. Room with Jeff Davenport
  10. Pearl Street Mall
  1. Mom & Dad. free rent, free love
  2. Brooke Noel Howard a lot!
  3. Stefan Hagen
  4. In N Out's double double
  5. Starbucks..... NOT
  6. Bryon Stark
  7. Jenna Jones
  8. Boulder and Camp Timberline
  9. Tommy Parrott
  10. Jimmy and River Lakey

September 24, 2009

The down low on the down under

WHY: A corner desk? A cup of coffee? A morning meeting? Maybe one day... but not today! Jason and I are stoked about our upcoming adventure. We are excited to experience new cultures, meet cool people from all over the world, and probably even run away from deadly snakes. Yikes!

WHAT: On October 12th, 2009, the journey officially begins. We'll depart for Townsville, Australia and link arms with a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base. For three months, we'll grow in our faith, serve the youth in the community, and prepare for our outreach to neighboring countries.

PURPOSE: We're 24 years old and eager to learn. We're passionate about making a difference in the world. We're excited about the opportunities that the Lord has put in our life! The time is right now to encourage and love people around the world.