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.