Sunday, November 2, 2014

I've moved!

Hey friends!
Thank you to all of you who have faithfully followed my journey and been a part of this road the Lord has me on.  But I figured it was time to start a new blog (clean up the look of my site a little).  So please head on over to my new page and check it out:

Love you all!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Celebrating new life in Jesus

One more week down and time is flying! Despite our busy schedule I enjoyed some good rest and sweet times in the Lord's presence this week. I've taken up painting with watercolor and I find it very relaxing and a good way to be creative and process my thoughts and the things the Lord is saying to me. And at times it's even a way for me to bless other people.

Once a week Johnny Gillespie comes in to do training days. We go through core truths of the Gospel and practice sharing the good news with each other. It's been such a practical, necessary tool and I've loved getting to think through different ways to share what Jesus has done in my life. One thing we focused on was sharing what our life looked like before and after meeting Jesus. And I realized something about my own story... 

I've always been a person who has loved people deeply. I grew up feeling like this was a weakness, because I would always end up getting hurt. I experienced a lot of pain and loss due to people I loved dying or moving away. I was constantly looking for people to love me back the way that I loved them. But once I experienced the perfect love of Jesus, my need to be loved changed. Rather than offering my heart and waiting for someone to give love back I was able to love freely from an overflow of Jesus' love. There was no longer a need to measure the love people were giving me because I had already received what I needed from the Lord. And since then he has been showering me with love through his presence, his word, his blessings, and the people around me. Walking in love is so much better than searching for it. And I've come to accept my ability to love people deeply as a gift from the Lord!

On Thursday, we went down to the pier as a class and celebrated as 7 of my classmates were baptized in the ocean. It was so exciting to hear their testimonies and the ways the Lord is moving in their hearts. Does it ever get old getting to see people choose life over death? Jesus is so good!

And Ken and Bonnie Keller came to Kona! I was so blessed by them. They took me to Splashers and as you can see by the picture above, the burgers are a bit out of this world :) We visited and talked about what the Lord is doing in Hawaii and Arroyo Grande. My heart was encouraged for sure :) Who's coming to visit next?!
Love you all!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Relationships and living intentionally.

Some people say doing a DTS (Discipleship Training School) is like trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose. I have come to find this statement so true. So bear with me if my thoughts are a bit jumbled. I'll try to give you the highlights...

This last week Eric Swanson-Dexel spoke to us about relationships - our relationship with God, family, marriage, friendships, and living in community. Relationships are something I value so much (But believe me, I'm not perfect at them). God created us to be in relationships, yet they are not always the highest priority in our culture. We are so consumed with checking our phones, trying to get to the next conversation or task that we often lose the value in seeing people. There is so much to learn about the character of God in hearing people's stories and the ways he has won them over. 

God has been showing me what it means to live an intentional life. Each day he wakes me up and I have the choice to live. I choose how I love people. I choose who my life is pointing to. How you live your days is how you live your life. And as I walk closely with Jesus, I will automatically love people from an overflow of him. It makes me so excited to go out and love people well. 

Lastly, God is showing me more of himself and more of his heart. I love this quote from Anne Lamott that says, "We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be." We are not called to live a life of mediocrity, but an exceptional life because he made us wonderfully unique. I'm constantly learning what God's love looks like and how deep it goes. I don't understand it in the slightest and can't comprehend it's depth, but there is beauty in that fact. So I'm constantly learning to accept it and allow it to call me into worship.

On our way to volunteer at the 2014 Ironman Championships

This weekend some of us had the opportunity to volunteer at this year's Ironman Championships in Kona. We passed out cold drinks and cheered people on as they swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and ran a full marathon (26.2 miles). These people are insane and so inspiring! It was so fun to being able to cheer them on and encourage them as they were running. The guy who won finished in 8 hours and 12 minutes!! And amazing side note, some YWAMers spoke to him the day before the race, prayed for him and felt led to tell him "The Lord is with you. And to show you that he's with you, you are going to win the Iron Man Championship." And then HE WON. I can't wait to hear the testimony of this man in Heaven one day :)


 And then Sunday (of course) consisted of beach time, school reading, and Acai bowls :)

This is my beautiful friend, Juliane. She is from Norway and we love to laugh together.

Week 3, here we go!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I'm in Hawaii!!

Hello friends!
This is my first update to you from the beautiful land of Kailua Kona, Hawaii! As I write to you, I’m sitting at Daylight Mind Coffee Company, and I had to share my view with you. Unreal, I know. I find myself waking up everyday looking out at the ocean with a thankful heart that the Lord would bring me to such a beautiful place to learn more about him. But isn’t that so fitting to his character? He is the giver of life and every good thing and I find he often draws me to himself through his beauty.

I can’t believe we’ve only had one week of classes, because it already feels like I’ve been here a month. We had a couple days of orientation, our school went to Hepuna Beach (as seen above) on the first day of “class” and went cliff jumping (Can check that off my bucket list!), and we’ve been having classes, exploring town, and just getting adjusted to life in Kona. The Lord is moving and stretching me in so many ways that it’s hard to put into words all that he is doing. But guys, Jesus is so good. Of that I am certain.

One of the things God is reminding me of this week is that I am here solely to know him and to fall deeper in love with him. There is no other agenda and I love that. When else am I going to have six months dedicated to just studying his Word and falling more in love with him? One thing I love about our classes is that we will randomly stop just to respond to God’s goodness in worship, prayer, and intercession. One day we were worshiping through music and I was so overcome by God’s love and his presence that I just couldn’t hold back the tears. It was a wonderful moment to just soak in God’s faithfulness and beauty.

Yesterday, my friend Micaela and I took the trolley to Magic Sands Beach, had the most amazing acai bowls, walked around town and swam by the pier. It was the perfect day of rest that I needed. And then our outreach team had dinner together...

And YES, we found out our outreach locations this week! I can’t post exactly where we are going, but if you’d like to know please text me or send me your email address so I can send you the announcement!! 

Some things you can be praying for:
*Deepening of relationships and unity in our school and outreach team
*That God would continue to wreck my heart 
*That I'd learn to continually walk in his love
*Funds for my outreach

Thank you so much and I love you all! Oh and if you'd like to communicate through snail mail I'd love to hear from you! My address here is:

Tamara Shibata
Comm Trans DTS - 4th Quarter
University of Nations
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy
Kailua Kona, HI 96740

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A late summer update...

Hey friends! I know this is a bit after the fact, but below is my summer update after being at Hume Lake (in case you aren't on my mailing list). Time is flying and I'm already in Kona! I continue to covet your prayers in this new transition and praise God everyday for bringing me here.

I love and miss you all!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Courage, dear heart.

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."
-The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

As I get ready to board a plane to a new place, new people, new adventures, I'm reminded of the day the Lord called me to COURAGE. I was standing on the Avila Pier looking out at the view you see above, worshiping in awe of my beautiful Creator. As I prayed and watched, I could feel God building up courage in me. I didn't know what it was for - all I knew is that change was coming and he was preparing me for something he had down the road. I felt excitement and joy, strength and boldness like I could fly. I stood there for who knows how long soaking in his presence and trying to freeze that moment so that I'd always remember that feeling of triumph and strength in the arms of my first love.

A few weeks later I was offered a summer job at Hume Lake. There were so many obstacles in my line of vision at the time, and though I wanted to accept the job, I was fearful of all the unanswered questions. A sweet friend reminded me that we often have to take a leap of faith before the Lord clears the path. So sure enough I took that leap and God paved the way for me to go. And what a blessing this summer was! And he never ceased to remind me that he was the one who had brought me there.

And just as I was accepting the job at Hume Lake I was accepted into the YWAM Discipleship Training School in Kona for the fall. God is so good! And now summer has passed and the fall is becoming a reality. Many times throughout the summer and still now I'm reminded of that February day in Avila Beach, when God called me to be courageous. And he has provided more than enough since I gave that firm "yes." Because something God taught me this summer was that I can be totally out of my comfort zone, but completely where I need to be. Because courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to do something that frightens you. No, this road we walk is not always safe and we're not always comfortable, but God has called me to a higher purpose.

To remember that I am not my own.

So take courage today, dear friends.

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I cam convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." - 2 Timothy 1:6-14

Monday, January 14, 2013

Holy Spirit come

I may be the worst blogger ever. Sporadic much? Oh well. I know you'll forgive me...

Just wanted to share a little something that I found very encouraging this weekend. We spend a lot of time talking about unity in the church. It is critically important - and for many reasons. God created each of his children so magnificently different. But how does he expect us to be unified while embracing those differences?

Ephesians 4:3 says "Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace." When our focus in life is connecting with the Holy Spirit, we will naturally be bonded to people who have the same purpose.

I read a blog devotional by Cody Carnes recently and he said:
"Being a unified body doesn't mean we all operate exactly the same, look the same way or live out the same calling. It means we're all connected to the same "brain" - the Holy Spirit. Just like our brains communicate with our hands and tell them to move, the Holy Spirit communicates with us. When we obey, we can confidently walk in what we were created to do."

And what "we do" looks different. What God constantly reminds me is that we all worship differently. We all connect with God in a different way. We are all called to do different things in life. But God is the bridge between those things and all are important in the body of Christ.

"The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit... If the whole body were any eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it." - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 17-18

So we have to do our part. Connecting with the Holy Spirit ourselves so that we can live as Christ's body as He intended. I love this A. W. Tozer quote so much:

"Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified."

If you'd like to read the original devotional (and I recommend you do), you can find it here :)

Happy Monday, friends! Praying you are able to connect to the Holy Spirit in a strong way this week.