It's almost hard to believe that it has already been a year since we first came to Kona, Hawaii. Last year when we arrived into Kona our plan was to lead one Discipleship Training School (DTS) and then return to Haiti. But little did we know that God had a bigger plan in mind.
Being here at YWAM Ships we have learned so much on leadership, pioneering, community living, structure of base and ministry strategy. It has been an environment for us to grow, learn, ask questions, observe and hear how God is wanting us to move forward in His perfect timing. Sean Murphy, Danny Lehnmann and Brett Curtis have been amazing mentors throughout this process and we feel so blessed to have them pouring into our lives and supporting God's calling upon us.
Our original plan was to lead a DTS this January with Sean Murphy and then launch back into Haiti with a team this coming April. But our plan got thrown for a loop when we found out in August that we were expecting our first beautiful baby Georges! Amongst all the excitement of the baby coming in May, we quickly realized that launching to Haiti in April was not very practical. So yet again we have been reminded that God's timing and plan are perfect – even though sometimes it is a different plan than what we had originally.
We are beyond blessed and full of anticipation for a new chapter of life to begin now as a family of 3! Thankfully Kelsea has had a beautiful pleasant pregnancy and didn't even have to deal with morning sickness. She is currently 27 weeks pregnant (almost 7 months) and is feeling great! Kelsea desires to have the baby near her family in Colorado so sometime near the end of March we will return to Colorado and intend to stay there for a few months after the baby is born. We had an ultrasound the other day and got to finally see our precious baby. It was just so breathtaking! We will send a fun photo to reveal the baby's gender soon :)
Amongst the excitement of the baby we are also enjoying leading the DTS again this January-March with Sean Murphy. We have a total of 37 students who are all awesome and really ready to run hard to pursue God and have transformation in their lives. It is such a privilege to walk along side students in the process of them learning more of God's love, character and a relationships with him. It is even more precious to have a few students who are brand new believers and are so open to encountering God in a deeper way. Its only been a couple weeks of class and there has already been many great, beautiful testimonies of transformation taking place. God is so good!
One student we are especially excited about is a girl name Laica and she is from Haiti! For those of you who have walked with us throughout the immigration process you understand that getting a tourist visa to come to the US is no small matter. But Laica felt strongly that she was supposed to come to Kona to do a DTS and believed that God would make a way. She even had a dream of being in the class here a couple months before the DTS had started. And they gave her the visa! She worked so hard and was able to get enough money for her plane ticket out here and also her $1,000 down payment for the DTS. God is so faithful!! She is a beautiful woman full of so much joy and talent. It has been so much fun for us to walk with her, especially since we miss Haiti so much! You can be praying for her that God will continue to provide all the finances and favor for visas for her to go on outreach to Togo Africa and Germany for the months of April and May. If God brought her here to Kona all the way from Haiti, we have confidence that He will make a way for her to go to Africa and Germany!
This DTS will have 6 teams going out on outreach for the months of April and May. The students will be going either to Cambodia, Burma, Togo Africa/Germany, Papua New Guinea and Haiti/Panama. We are very excited to see how God will use these teams in big ways for His Kingdom. Although part of our heart wishes we were going on outreach with them, we are also very excited for our new adventure around the corner with Baby Georges!
Please be praying for God to continue to move in the hearts of the students and that there will be favor with all the different visa processes (out of 37 students we have 11 different nations represented). Also continue to pray for a healthy baby and smooth pregnancy as we enter into these last few months. Thank you so much for all your prayers, support, encouragement and love! We feel so deeply blessed to have such a great crew of people cheering us on and pushing us towards God's calling on our lives.
We pray that this year of 2016 will be filled with great blessings for you and your families!
Special Prayer Request
Please be praying that God will to provide the rest of the $6,000 USD Laica needs to go to Togo, Africa and Germany for her 2 months of outreach. To partner with Laica in going to Togo and Germany you can click HERE and designate the donation for Laica Charles.
During our time here God has been speaking to us a lot about the base and ministry we are to have in Haiti. In prayer one morning Philipson saw this picture of a boat with the name “Freedom” written on it. He heard God say that just as the Africans were brought on ships to Haiti to be slaves, God will use ships to take the Haitian people all over the world to bring freedom. We see now even more clearly why God has brought us here to the YWAM Ships base here in Kona, Hawaii and we now feel confirmation that God wants to launch YWAM Ships in Haiti! We know that ships are something we both know very little about, but we also know that God calls us to do things that are beyond our own ability so that we trust in Him to make it happen. What a privilege it will be to see what was once used for slavery become redeemed to now be a vessel of freedom!
Philipson and I have also been involved in some of the leadership meetings and getting to see more of the “behind the scenes” of leading a YWAM base. We even got to be a part of a 2 day seminar on Crisis management and how to be well prepared for many different types of crisis. It was a really great seminar and really helpful to show us what we need to set in place in order to handle a crisis.
It has been a fun, busy summer and we are excited for what God has in store this fall! Our plan is to do a fundraising tour for the YWAM Ships Haiti base this October. So for all of you who live in California, and Colorado we look forward to seeing you! We'll keep you updated on the details as it gets closer.
After the tour we'll be coming back to start preparing to lead the next January Justice DTS again! We are really excited to have more opportunities to disciple youth and we are even more excited to have those who will be going to Haiti with us as staff of theJustice DTS too! It will be a great time of us as a team working together, learning more about each other and seeing each of us operate in ministry. It's going to be quite a fun time!
Your prayers and support make all this possible!
YOU are making a difference in the lives of the people of Haiti!
If you would like to financially partner with Philipson and Kelsea in Haiti please click HERE
It is hard to believe that 2 months of outreach in Haiti is already done. It has been a season of immense beauty, growth, challenges, and transformation. As you may recall, the Lord had put on our hearts for us to focus this outreach on strengthening the families of Haiti. We felt the Lord wanted us to help couples that have been living together, to come out of sin and be united in marriage. Thanks to all of you who so generously donated dresses, suits, rings, shoes, and decorations, our team left for Haiti on April 2nd with 50 wedding dresses, 50 suits, 30 bridesmaid dresses, 40 pairs of shoes, 50 rings and $1,500 dollars for the receptions. With everything all packed to the brim in 20 suitcases we made our way to our first stop in Criox des Bouqets a part of Port-au-Prince the capital of Haiti.
We connected with our good friend, Pastor Marcel Ternivall and his church Tabernacle of Faith. Our first 2 weeks in Haiti were so amazing as we got to visit the elementary school and teach them about hygiene and sanitation, lead the youth program, participate in an evangelism crusade in the local park, help paint the church, do kid’s ministry, preach in the church of 1,000 people, and plan a wedding for 15 couples!
We also got to go visit a poor, small town called Letan where Pastor Marcel had planted another church. In this village the people live in only mud huts and the church is built out of wood polls and a tin roof. We got all the children of the community together and did some songs, testimonies and a drama about how Jesus has created us and how he has given us freedom from our sins. The community was so excited to receive us in their church and they kept asking for us to return again.
One of the most powerful times in Croix des Bouquet was when we were doing marriage seminars for all the couples in the church. We did a three day seminar on relationships, how to value each other, family and marriage. Each of the students prepared a teaching on one of these topics and shared it in front of 200 – 400 people. The couples loved the seminar and truly appreciated what they had learned and they were very eager to put it into practice in their own lives. It was beautiful to see how God was using young people from all around the world to come speak truth and bring transformation to the families of Haiti.
These couples had lived together for years. And due to lack of finances the idea of a beautiful wedding, was just a dream. But how great is it that God cares so much about our dreams and our heart’s desires, and even more so about us walking free from sin. God allowed us to have the sweet privilege to see the dreams of 15 women and 15 men come true as they stepped out of a life of sin and came together as one, united in marriage before God!
Thank you again to all of you who supported, prayed and encouraged us and our team during the past two months. We are immensely blessed by all that God has done in us and in the lives of the people of Haiti. Thank you too for your understanding as we were unable to communicate often during the outreach due to lack of internet availability. Stay tuned for more stories and pictures of our outreach adventures coming soon!
Philipson & Kelsea
The YWAMShips JUSTICE DTS started the first week of January here in Kona Hawaii and now it is hard to believe that three months has already flown by! Now we are off to change the world! Next week all of the staff and students will be flying to 8 different nations to bring the living Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread God’s Kingdom.
Our name is JUSTICE DTS because God has called us as a school to focus on many areas of injustice in the world and to learn how to bring healing, restoration through God’s LOVE! For three months we’ve been learning about the character of God and how to make Him known among the nations, and also how to become a blessing in four specific areas of injustice in the world which are: WOMEN AND CHIDREN AT RISK, HEALTH CARE, JUSTICE WATER, NAUTICAL.
In three months we have seen God radically transform the lives of all these young peoples. We’ve seen them receive the Holy Spirit in mighty ways and step from darkness, shame, condemnation, unbelief, and into a new life with Jesus. We believe that God has anointed these DTS students just as he says in Isaiah 61 -
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news
to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and
release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of
vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow
on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the
display of his splendor.”
We will be traveling to five different locations in Haiti and our desire is to begin the foundation of the future YWAM Port-au-Prince base by connecting and building relationships with Haitian pastors and ministries around the nation. We would love for you to stand in prayer on behalf of our team here are their names: (Amanda, Mckenna, Mattea, Ikaika, Sindre, Sophie, Nick, Rodberry), the future of the YWAM Port-au-Prince base, and that the hearts of the Haitian people will be ripe for the harvest!
We mentioned in our last update that the HAITI TEAM would be doing many different ministries such as mass weddings in 4 different locations, wedding seminars, children and youth ministry, and partnering with Justice Water to build a 2,500 gallons rain catchment tank to provide clean water for the village of Kanj. We are very honored and excited to announce that we have officially received all the following items for the wedding ministry, thanks to you!
• 39 Wedding dresses
• 85 Bridesmaids dresses
• 28 Women shoes
• 9 Men’s shoes
• 18 Shirts
• 10 Ties
• 32 Men’s suits
• 46 Women and Men’s rings
On behalf of the entire Haiti outreach team we are so grateful, and humbly say THANK YOU to all of you that partnered with us in supplying these items needed for doing the weddings in Haiti!! We pray that you “will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). Thank you for your heart of generosity and all the hard work, prayer and money you have put into this outreach to bless God’s Kingdom in Haiti.
We currently are still trying to raise a total of $6,000 US to cover all marriage certificates and receptions for the weddings. God has greatly blessed us in providing $1,575 US. We are still in need of $4,425 US to reach our goal. If you would like to donate financially toward the Haiti outreach team please click here to donate.
May God richly bless you!
Philipson & Kelsea
Philipson got the opportunity to lead worship at the YWAM base Haitian style! This is actually a dream come true for Philipson. Over the past 5 years he had tried many times to get a U.S visa to come to YWAM Kona but was always denied. But now, not only has he finally made it here to the YWAM Kona base, but he also got to lead the entire base into worship from his own country of Haiti. The entire crowd got completely into it and had a blast! Check it out!
This month of February has been one of the most incredible, powerful and overwhelming months of our lives as DTS students as well as staff. All the amazing teachings that God has been providing in this training program and the mighty transformation that the Lord is doing daily in our lives is fantastic. We stand in a position of gratitude to the Lord for using YWAM as such a blessing that is shaping our entire lives to a greater understanding of the Word and Jesus Christ, but even more so, His heart for each of us on earth. It's a privilege and grace for us to walk through this season in our lives growing and entering in the depth of our relationship and intimacy with God!
We are even more excited for two months of outreach that is coming up in April and May, where we will be going to the Nations to share God's love to His people! All of the DTS students and staff will be split up and go to outreach in 7 different countries all around the world: TOGO, HAITI, PANAMA, THAILAND, CAMBODIA, MICRONESIA, FRANCE.
For HAITI, our team has a real desire to help families and marriages. A very large number of couples in Haiti, have for many years of their lives wanted to get married, but have not been able to just because they can't afford to pay for a ceremony, a dress, or do a little reception. All of these things are very important in their culture and due to lack of money they resolve themselves to living together outside of marriage. More than 80% of the couples live together but are not married.
In Haiti, a wedding is one of the biggest celebrations in the lives of the people. It's also the biggest way a man can prove to a women that he is capable of loving her and capable to be a leader of the family. And the community sees living together outside of marriage as a shame, especially in the Christian community, but many feel they don't have an option. Even many Christian couples who started living together before they became Christians, their heart's desire is to be married but they simply can't afford it. Our heart's desire is to help these couples to finally have the privilege of celebrating their marriage.
During our 2 months of outreach in Haiti, our goal is to do mass weddings (which are common in Haiti) in 4 different locations all around the country. Each mass wedding will cost about $1075 to bless 10-20 couples with the gift of marriage. This $1000 will cover the reception for all the couples, the food for all the guests and a cake for each couple. We also are wanting to help each couple to get their official marriage license which costs $75 per couple.
The couples are also in need of rings, wedding clothes and shoes, ( i.e. suits, wedding dresses, brides maid dresses, nice shoes) which they normally can not afford. So we would love you to help with any donations of these items that we can take with our team to Haiti to bless these couples.
In addition to the wedding we would also love to bless each couple with a "honeymoon." This honeymoon would cost $100 and will provide 2 weeks worth of nice meals for their family. This means their family could have not only beans and rice but also a piece of chicken with their meal everyday, which is really rare! Most families are lucky to get only 1 meal a day and that is with no meet. So we would love to be able to bless these couples above and beyond just and wedding and also with these nice meals as their "honeymoon."
So here's where you come in!
We are asking for donations of:
Our heart is not only to provide the wedding day for these couples but to also help give a solid foundation to their marriages. The couples that desire to get married will also be apart of a week long marriage seminar that our team will be doing for all the couples. We will be teaching on valuing each other, communication, unconditional love and God as the foundation of family and marriage.
We have also asked the leaders in the church and families to participate by encouraging the families to invest in the wedding anyway they can. The amount we ask is not going to be the full cost of the expenses for all the weeding, but we feel very strongly that the leaders, church and families also need to walk in gratitude and value this blessing from God by providing in every way they can. We would like to invite you to join in this wonderful opportunity to build up families, celebrate marriage, and change lives!
To donate financially please click here! Then select the option for "Q1 DTS (Jan-May) Outreach Fund" and in the additional comments please designate the donation for the "Haiti Outreach team weddings.''
If you would like to donate any items such as dresses, rings, shoes, etc…Please mail them to: YWAM Ships Kona, c/o Haiti Outreach Team, 75-5687 Alii Drive, Kailua Kona, HI 96740, U.S.A
As we look back on the year of 2014 it is overwhelming to see what all God has done in just a matter of 12 months. We have been challenged, loved, stretched, built up and grown in so many ways. And we are excited to see how we will be stretched and grown in the new year of 2015.
One of my favorite moments this past year, you all may be able to guess, was when despite it seeming impossible, my husband was given a 5 year visa to the United States. During that entire visa process it was a time of God really drawing us to believe for bigger, to push for more and to imagine the impossible. It was a reminder of how truly big God is. That He isn't in a box or confined to the expectations of this world, but that His word is true when it says, “with God ALL things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). We witnessed the hand of God open big doors and we are believing and expectant to see Him open even bigger doors in this year to come.
These past few months of us being in the United States have been a time of sweet blessings. We were able to spend 3 weeks in California visiting many friends, family and some site-seeing adventures along the way. A special blessing for my heart was getting to proudly introduce my beloved husband to all the people that have a special part of my life. And It was so fun to get to experience America in a new way through his eyes. Watching him experience all the extra blessings God through in along the way, such as Philipson getting to play a Baby Grand piano for the very first time! Some of our other trip highlights were getting to see the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the San Diego zoo and most definitely getting to go to a Hillsong concert (a life long dream of his). We also had the pleasure of helping out at a local homeless shelter serving food and Philipson played worship songs as they all ate. They had never had anyone come and play music like that before, and many of the people felt very blessed by it. All in all, it was an amazing California adventure!
A few days before Thanksgiving we flew into Denver, Colorado my hometown, to finally see my wonderful family. This was the first time my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents got to meet my husband face to face...a moment I had dreamed about for so long, finally had come true. When Philipson met my grandparents for the first time, I started crying because of the overwhelming gratitude to God for making that moment possible. On Thanksgiving day I had more than enough things to be thankful for as my husband and I spent the day with my wonderful family.
My grandparents loved Philipson and wanted to be a part of making his dream come true by taking him to see snow for the very first time ever in his life. We drove up to Estes Park and Philipson got so excited when he got out to touch and play in the snow. His first words were, “It's cold!!” We enjoyed the beauty of the great Rocky Mountains and also had fun seeing a fox, deer and a lot of elk up close. Finally being able to say that he has seen snow was a dream come true for Philipson.
One of the unique privileges we had during our time in Colorado, was that we got married...again! We decided to have a celebration of our marriage in Denver for all of our friends and family since many of them were not able to make it to the ceremony in Haiti. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception at Radiance church, the church I grew up in. My dad walked me down the isle, Philipson and I renewed our vows – even it being the second time, I still cried – and then had a simple reception of sharing our story and life in Haiti with everyone. During our first wedding in Haiti Philipson and I were unable to have our First Dance, nor was I able to have my Father-Daughter dance. So an extra special moment for me during this celebration in Colorado was I finally got to have my First dance and my Daddy-Daughter dance. I was again overwhelmed by how God knows our special desires and even though it didn't happen the first time, he made a way for me to have my special dances.
We also were able to have a short adventure in Texas as we drove all the from Denver, Colorado to San Antonio, Texas to visit Philipson's older brother Peterson. It was so great to spend some time with him and for Philipson to get to be with his brother who he hasn't seen in over 3 years. We also had the pleasure of seeing, and me meeting for the first time, our little niece Tabby. She is almost 5 years old and is such a smart little girl! Philipson wanted to bring her a gift that she would always remember him by, so we went to the store and found a huge teddy bear...It was bigger than Philipson! She absolutely loved it and I'm positive she will never forget her uncle Philipson.
One of our Texas highlights was when we stopped in Lubbock, Texas for a few days to visit some friends. While we were there they took us to see their cow dairy farm of 40,000 cows. We had never seen that many cows before! It was really cool to see the whole system of how they take care of the cows and how the dairy works. Also, a secret desire of Philipson's has always been to go hunting and to shoot a gun. So our friends took him out into their field and let him practice shooting at a target all sorts of guns and rifles. How can you go to Texas and not shoot a gun right? Philipson had a blast!
Our two months in the United States went by like a blink of an eye. Every moment was filled with so much love, joy, blessings, and thankfulness. We could not be filled with more gratitude to God who opened the door and for all of you who made this trip possible through prayer and support. Philipson and I feel so encouraged knowing that we have so many who are believing in us, praying for us and pushing us further into God's calling on our lives. We are refreshed and excited for this new step, new season and new beginning!
May the Lord abundantly bless you in this new year of 2015!!
Philipson & Kelsea
P.S. We have arrived in Kona, Hawaii -update coming soon!!