The first week of classes is complete! It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here for 2 weeks. So much goes on each day, that it feels like we’ve already been here a month.
The theme of the school this year is ‘Radiant’. The theme my first year was ‘Shine’, so I really feel like God is trying to teach me about keeping my eyes on Him so that I can shine and radiate His light. It’s something that is brought up everyday, and I’m trying to begin living out a life of daily, moment by moment, keeping my eyes on Him.
We have worship together every morning, and it’s so beautiful to see how God encounters us on a daily basis. Yes, some mornings I don’t really feel like going, or I have a hard time entering into worship, but it is still a daily choice I have, whether to just sit in the back, or go all in and keep asking for more of Him. So this past week, I made it my goal to daily go to the front of the room, where I didn’t have the choice to just sit down and be an observer. Even on days where there may not be profound revelation or encounter with God, I know that He is still encountering me, and His presence is still there in the room. One day during worship, I was reflecting on my life, different times, different seasons, and I heard God say, “The love you think you’ve known in life so far, is nothing compared to the love I have for you!” It was so beautiful and has given me such an excitement to see how He will continue to steal my heart and draw me closer to Him.
Class this week was a lot about re-discovering the basics and going deeper with them. The Word of God truly is living, and I personally want to have a much deeper passion for reading it. I don’t want to just read ink on a page, I want to see the life that is behind each word. When we really dig deep into the Word, there is so much revelation that God wants to give us. We had an assignment this week to write out a list of as many names/attributes of God as we could find/think of. As I thought back over who God has been in my life, I loved realizing that He is my Dream Giver, and the Counter Of My Tears. In the past couple of years, God has begun to speak to me through dreams, and it’s been so amazing to discover this new language of dreams. And over the course of my 24 years, there have been plenty of tears – both happy tears and sad tears – and it was so beautiful to think about how He has seen each tear on my face, He has counted each one, and He still holds each one. I encourage everyone to take time to think back on how God has shown Himself to you in your life, and make a list of all of His different names. It is such a great tool in prayer and worship – there is so much revelation in each name. We also had to write two Psalms this week, which was a stretching assignment for me, but is now something that will be a regular part of my life. Psalms are such a beautiful way to express what we are thinking and experiencing, and also a way to praise our God. (My first Psalm is below, at the end of this post – I don’t claim to be a writer, but I hope it will be an encouragement to you to begin writing your own Psalms on a regular basis)
Our schedule changes each afternoon, and we have different classes/service times. On Mondays we go out into the village and do different local outreaches – like cleaning streets & helping out at a local restaurant with maintenance. Today I got to help clean the streets of the village we live in. It was a blessing to be able to serve this local community where we live for this season.
We also have life-skills class once a week with different themes, a dreams class, and Romans class. I am so excited for each class, and already see how God is preparing me and teaching me through the different classes.
Each week we celebrate the Jewish Shabbat together as a community. On Friday night we have a big dinner together, and Saturday is set apart for rest. On Saturday night, we all come together for worship as the Sabbath ends. This past Saturday night was amazing. We had a time of praying for Cyprus, and during that time, God gave me a picture of the revival to come, and after I shared it He began to do a new work in my heart. I have never felt a huge connection to the Island, but when He allowed me to see the revival that would come, my heart became more connected. A big theme this year that keeps coming up is the enlargement of our tents (Is. 54:2). Some of the leadership began to pray the my heart would be enlarged for the nations. God did enlarge my heart that night. First, I feel He connected me more to this Island where I have learned so much and received so much encouragement. Secondly, He gave me such a burden for Russia – something I’ve never had in the past. Growing up in Ukraine, I took on a lot of the animosity that exists between the Ukrainian people and the Russian people. As a Christian, I knew I was called to love all people, but I certainly did not like Russia. I allowed that dislike to affect my love, and although I said with words that I loved them, in my heart I don’t believe I did. I began to repent for my bitterness, and asked God to give me His eyes and heart for Russia and her people. As I prayed, He truly did open my eyes. I began to see the darkness they live in and the oppression they live under. I began to weep for them like I have never wept for a nation before. I don’t remember ever interceding like that for a nation before. It was such a special time and a beautiful time of healing. I have never had a desire to go to Russia, but as of last night, I can’t wait to go there someday! Even today, as we were driving in the car, a Russian song came on, and I found myself tearing up again. Our God is so good, faithful, and gentle to correct us. I am so thankful for the love He is putting inside of me for ALL nations.
The first week was so amazing and went by so fast! I am continually being filled with expectation for what is to come. I am so blessed to be here and to be receiving further training, teaching, & direction. On March 1st, we will be leaving for our month-long trip in Israel where we will be serving different people and ministries. Since I got here, $1800 has come in! Praise God! But, I still have a balance of $4000 that needs to be paid so that I can go on the Israel trip, the outreach trip in May/June, and finish the school. God has brought me so far already, and I know He will be faithful to complete what He has begun. Would you please pray about helping me to complete this season of training? You can check out the ‘About’ page on this blog to find details on how to donate (all donations are tax-deductible).
Thank you so much for all of your support and your prayers! Being here is a result of both your financial support & prayer support. May you continually be living in and experiencing His joy over you and His blessings in your life. Blessings from the Island of Encouragement, Krista
Krista’s Psalm 1
You oh God are true. No lie can stand against you. In my deepest doubt, you came and showed yourself. From birth till now, you have been by my side. In times of sickness, you were healing. My provision in time of need. My friend through solitude. Each tear I’ve ever cried, you now hold. Not one has fallen from my face without you seeing it. And in the morning, you were my joy.
Though you hold the world, you still desire me. You long for me to look at you, you wait for me to match your gaze. How indescribable you are!
When the enemy came to destroy and separate me from you, you preserved me from evil. You came in as a mighty warrior, jealous for me, you were my victory. Now you come in the night, giving dreams of life! You have defeated all lies, no longer to be recalled. You are the author of my faith, the rock on which I stand; firm and immovable. From birth till now you have been by my side; now I declare, from now till death I will stay by your side.