Monday, September 26, 2011

10 years

This year my birthday had a dual significance. Not only did it mark my 31st birthday, but this year it marked ten years since I came to YWAM Jacksonville, and met Vanessa. I never would have thought back then that ten years later I would still be working with YWAM. It's been a wild ride, and one that has seen me finding an amazing wife, spending three years living in China, and now helping to train others to go. Recalling the countless friendships and lasting memories would take days, but I'm so thankful for everyone who has been a part of these last ten years, from friends made in Jax and abroad to financial and prayer supporters all over the country. You've all had a major role in this amazing season of life.

The first picture ever of Vanessa and I

Our DTS outreach team

Life in China

10 Years later

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our new Home

At the beginning of June YWAM Jacksonville moved from the west side of town, our home for the past six years, to Jacksonville Beach. Our family followed a month later, and we are now living at the YWAM base. We live in a two-room "suite." Below are pictures of our new home as well as the new base.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Philippines

A few weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the DTS outreach team we have working in Southeast Asia. I met up with them in Manila, and hit the ground running. The team was working with YWAM Manila, specifically the Balut Center. This base is involved in numerous ministries at the old Manila dump, and the new landfill, Smokey Mountain Dump. In addition to feeding programs, they are also involved in reaching out to TB patients, helping them receive treatment. They also hold Bible studies for all age groups and help facilitate sponsorships for children living in the dump. I was thrilled to see our team working alongside people making an impact for the Kingdom. Many of the staff at this base grew up in the dump and are now pouring their lives into reaching those still living there.

In my years traveling I have been exposed to many things, and, to be honest, I thought I'd seen it all. Was I ever wrong. From the moment we entered the Smokey Mountain Dump I was both amazed and appalled at the depravity of the living conditions. We weren't even allowed to go into the actual dump, only the outskirts. Everything you see in the video below was shot in those areas. The area with all the wood is where they make charcoal from the wood that comes to the dump. The air was so heavy with smoke that it was hard to breath. The building that you see us using was built by YWAM to facilitate Bible studies and other programs. Because we had such a large team, we were able to, in addition to holding children's Bible studies and feedings, bathe the children. It was an awesome time of ministry and a blessing to see our DTS students diving right into the ministry, regardless of how difficult it was.

Smokey Mountain Dump from Aaron Herrema on Vimeo.

If you would like to make a difference in this area, there is an organization in New York that works with YWAM Manila to help sponsor these kids. For $95 you can send a child to elementary school for an entire year. You can check out their website here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Faces

One of my favorite parts of being involved in YWAM is getting to meet so many new people. One of the main way this happens is through the training schools we run. Just about a month ago we started our Fall Discipleship Training School (DTS). I has been really great getting to know these students and seeing how God is working in their lives. The guys in the pictures with me are James, who I am discipling while he goes through his DTS, and Wilson who is apprenticing under me during this school.

My wife, who talked me into starting this whole blogging bit, was recently featured as a guest blogger on a friends site, which has since been re-posted on numerous other blogs. Check out my super creative wife's blog here

Friday, October 15, 2010


I recently returned from a very enjoyable visit to Waco, Texas. The purpose of the visit was David Crowder's Fantastical Church Music Conference. I attended with a couple of friends. We enjoyed times of teaching from Francis Chan, Rob Bell, Louis Giglio, and others. We also had great times of worship with Crowder, Mike Crawford and his secret siblings, Hillsong London and many more. The overall theme of the conference was the question, "why do we sing?" While that question was answered in many different ways, I came away dwelling on the following thoughts:
1) Finding a way to use creativity within the church as a tool while avoiding it becoming a distraction.
2) As someone who looks for the best ways to share truth cross-culturally I was challenged to do the same through the words of the songs I write for the American church as well.
3) Looking at and evaluating our churches through the light of scripture rather than our own cultural biases.

On the fun side of things, we enjoyed some of the best restaurant food (I must state "restaurant" because nothing beats my wife's home cooking) I've ever eaten. If anyone is ever in Waco, I highly recommend stopping for a meal at Georges, home of the El Nino potato (pictured below), and crazy wings (chicken wing stuffed with jalapeno, then wrapped with Pepper Jack Cheese and Bacon). Absolutely Glorious

yes, that's 1 lb of baked potatoes loaded with chicken-fried steak,
then doused with gravy and Cheddar cheese

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Smiley Faces

I love my two little girls. They both bring so much joy into my life. Being able to be these little girl's dad is so rewarding for me. Although at times they can be a handful, I love every minute.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Joys of Fatherhood

I love being a dad! While at times it can be tiring and frustrating, it is so rewarding. Here are a few of my recent highlights.

Father's Day was a really fun time of feeling appreciated by my family. Lyla made a tasty breakfast for me, with Vanessa's help. They then lavished some great gifts on me, including a new travel mug, coffee, and anew shirt. I also got a gift that Lyla hand-picked for me. It was a children's horseshoe game. She apparently told Vanessa that she thought it would be fun to play with daddy. trying to teach a almost three year old to play horseshoes was quite the adventure. She couldn't understand why you would ever throw a horseshoe at a stake far away when it was so much easier to just drop it over the one right next to you. In the end Lyla ended up using the stakes as drum sticks.

As Lyla get older things change. A couple weeks ago, I went into Lyla's room to let her know that "nap" time was finished. This is what I found
I asked her to sit on her bed for a photo & she couldn't

I was playing guitar the other day and Lyla wanted to play with me. So, she went to get her maracas. Below is how she returned to the living room.
We've had lots of thunderstorms recently here in Jacksonville. As a result we've spent a fair amount of time without electricity. Searching for inside, no electricity activities has been quite the challenge. I think I found a winner. Lyla really enjoyed this fort we made, and weathered the storm inside while reading her favorite books.

While Lyla requires the most attention, I'm still able to spend plenty of time with our new little bundle of Joy. This is how she likes to spend her time with me