Revelation in the Probation Office

A few weeks ago, sitting in the office of my probation officer, we began a conversation much like we do each visit, about current global events/disasters/atrocities, which inevitably leads to, “what really is God’s perspective on it all?”

December 6-12th: I just returned from a seven day trip to Puerto Rico, where myself and two others went with a relief focus caused by Hurricane Maria. The situation was worse than we anticipated. The day we arrived marked 90 days since Maria struck, and for 45% of the island meant the 90th day without electricity. It was hard to overlook the debris and trash, the congested traffic because traffic lights are gone, and leveled neighborhoods, to imagine what San Juan, a top 10 tourist destination, looked like before. But, in the midst of it all, God is moving.

December 15th: A little background about my friend, and probation officer. Similar to the other four probation officers I have had, he has a tendency to view life with skepticism and analyzes situations critically. Much of that outlook can be attributed to the environment he works in, and often times, difficult people he’s interacting with. However, he loves telling stories of the individuals he has “helped” throughout 20 years of being a probation officer. I have slowly gained trust with him and we have developed a friendship over the past year. My trips to refugee camps in Greece, or homeless camps in Lubbock, have reminded him that there is the ability for an “addict” to experience restoration and have a life transformed. And frankly, he is fascinated with all I have shared about what God is doing globally.

For the sake of the story I will call my probation officer Steve. I walked into Steve’s office and started with small talk, as I waited for the door to creak open and I could begin sharing the Jesus-lining hope I found in Puerto Rico. He started by bringing up a recent conversation with his mother-in-law about her donations to a distant, non-profit that is feeding children in Africa. Of course, attached to that conversation was negative, skeptical notions. But, he followed it with a nice compliment, “That’s what I like about your organization, you have a good balance of taking care of the need here, too.” Steve is well aware of the nations I’ve been to and time I’ve spent out of the country the past year, but this common response from Christian’s in America was the opening I was looking for! I began explaining my perspective, through my experiences (testimony). “Although I had life changing moments in those nation’s, there have also been life-altering encounters in homeless camps of Lubbock, Tx, unforgettable conversations on Bourbon Street, and recently going back to Shiloh, in Houston and sharing about God, at the place that saved my life. You see, Steve, those moments are held with same value and admiration in my eyes as anything I have experienced abroad. And the reason is because of the common denominator they share-an absence of God. The significance, and urgency for people not pursuing Jesus in Tyler, is no different than a man unreached in Indonesia.” That concept took Steve back. There I was, someone who admitted a personal dream is to be a full-time missionary in a foreign country, but was confessing: the impact felt is identical, no matter where. Essentially, I was conceding, the need is overwhelming in America, too.

But, I continued.

Steve has a background in Christianity, is aware of Jesus’s philosophies, and like most in the Bible-saturated community we live in, knows the Great Commission mandate’s believer’s to, “make disciples of all nations.” For Steve, there is no disputing, “it’s not a bad idea to go drill water wells where there isn’t water,” but like most American Christian’s, as creatures of this culture, tendencies always come back to our needs-America’s needs. I continued with the my perspective that was shaped by wrestling with God. “Steve, did you know that in America alone over $10 billion is spent on church buildings each year? And the amount of real estate alone that is owned by churches in the United States is worth over $230 billion.” This astounded him, (and myself each time I consider).

I boiled it down. “Steve, truthfully, I believe there are enough resources to care for the Spiritual health of America. But, I have not found it to be the case in the countries I have visited.” The light bulb went off. He understood three things that he had not before. 1) I was not thrill seeking, or valuing foreigners more than my neighbors. It is God’s agenda that leads me, which is people-centered, all over the world. 2) Praise the LORD for supporters, (such as his mother-in-law) for the people in these shattered areas! Who else is going to help? 3) There were ample resources within the American church to care for American’s, which importantly lead to, his responsibility as an American believer.

I do not know if Steve had ever heard an explanation of why it is important to help people outside of America, or if he even had ever sought an explanation out. But, I do know that he had a perspective change that day. Whether it was through seeing a felon, former addict give the explanation, or if hearing the logical reasoning is what did it. All that is important is the paradigm shift that happened from the usual hopeless lens he sees situations through. And most exciting for me was the third revelation he had that day about his responsibility. I believe that with every revelation the LORD gives us, attached is a “call-to-action,” and Steve heard it that day. As I left he said, “Thank you for that, Anthony, I feel rejuvenated. I am going to chew on this conversation and share it with my wife. I am going to pay it forward.” I told him the first thing I was going to ask when I see him on January 9th was, “What did you do with what God showed you?”

Hurricane Relief |Ponce, Puerto Rico
Clearing trees in San Juan

Puerto Rico was an incredible experience that moved me…So much so, that I will be leading a team back March 11th-17th. If you feel like this is an opportunity you want to be apart of, then let’s meet a need. The urgency is consuming. Please click on the GoFundMe link below to learn more.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund

I am an open book. I would love to talk.

Until next time.


Alcoholism Did Not Have the Last Word

My name is Anthony Huerta and I am a YWAM Missionary.


I grew up blessed in Lubbock, Texas. Looking back I see God’s hand all around my upbringing. Sure, my parents have had their issues; definitely, there were some questionable role-models along the way; absolutely, my family liked to have a good time, but overall, the issues were no different than nearly all American families.

No poverty, no abuse, no neglect, no one holding a gun to my head to drink, yet, somehow between the ages of 18 and 23 I was arrested 8 times in 4 different states and suffered 4 seizures from alcohol withdrawals. Sitting here, it is wild to think that those weren’t the greatest consequences. When I consider it, I am filled with gratefulness that He kept me alive through it all.

I really started drinking heavily at the age of 16 when I was given my first fake ID. True to West Texas stereotypes, there wasn’t much to do in our town outside of high school football, basketball, and baseball. It began as it does for everyone ~ socially on the weekends, centered around some event. It was like a carnival ride I had never experienced because of height restrictions. My entire life I had seen the people I looked up to, my family and my role-models, having a blast on the ride, and now it was my turn. When finally able to experience it for myself, boy did I love the ride. Everything about it was exhilarating! From the moment I illegally walked into the liquor store and looked the cashier in the eye, to the way I sauntered back to the car packed with friends, carrying a “handle” of vodka and a 30 pack of beer. The pride-induced euphoria was like none before. It was a set-up! Satan had it all planned out, down to the last detail. It was all part of his much larger, conniving, deceitfully designed plan. His plan that feasted off my insecurities and need to be wanted. It was genius and the outcome was death.

Unfortunately I never truly pursued a relationship with God growing up, despite going to a “Christian school” until eighth grade. Things like “God created the Earth in seven days” and “evolution is bad”, were ingrained in me. I went to sleep hearing stories of God bringing two animals of every species onto a boat a guy named Noah built. Every spring was the routine of picking out a new pastel shirt, hearing about Jesus dying on a cross, and chasing a saltine with some grape juice. All were familiar stories to me. It was just assumed I was a Christian kid that would end up okay. But one thing is certain: there was never any personal responsibility impressed onto me to seek HIM out for myself. So I continued life, getting into a little trouble throughout elementary and junior high. There was the occasional “disrespect,” “tardy,’ “excessive talking,” but nothing out of the ordinary for a young boy. No blatant warning signs, no tweenage crisis, no desperate outburst’s for help, just a normal kid growing up in West Texas. I went to church on Sundays and church camp during the summer. Someone would have been able to say, “The family’s healthy, successful, and respected; Anthony is fine.”

I guess I had always somewhat known I was out-going, smart, and athletic, but I went to a small private Christian school. How popular, bright, and able was I really? So in the summer leading into my eighth grade year I made the decision that it would be my last year at that small, underwhelming Christian school. My pride had told me I needed more competition. I was getting overlooked. I was being kept from spreading my wings. I needed more opportunity. I had to know what it was like outside of that “little Christian bubble.” My class went from 80 students, to 800 students over a summer. I was like an Arab woman dropped into a swimming pool in the middle of Las Vegas! I was far from being sheltered at home, but it could not have prepared me for what was about to unfold.

Fast forward to the spring semester of my sophomore year in 2008. I was 16 years old, newly elected to Student Council for the upcoming school year, and dating a girl from the rival high school. I was excelling in school, athletics, and popularity. At that point it seemed like the future was in my hands; possibilities were limitless, especially in sports. I grew up playing soccer competitively. It was my life, and I was good at it. From a young age, the plan was for my family to invest their money then, so I would get a scholarship in the future to pay for my education. Everything was going according to plan, until that spring. Life was too good during that time. The devil was handing me all the pleasures of the world on a silver platter: money, popularity, influence ~ all self-gratifications. It was impossible for me to attain all those things without the repercussions that accompanies sin. I saw exponential growth in all the wrong areas: selfishness, vanity, envy, greed, control, PRIDE.

In March of 2015, I was standing ten feet away from a former principal that I had spent every day with for a year. I had been up since dawn that morning drinking and wandering around my neighborhood, like most days. My level of concern for seeing someone I knew depended upon the number of pints I had drank in the day. This particular day ~ “Who cares?” It was around lunch time when I decided to enter a restaurant. It was a popular place in the impoverished area of my apartment building; I knew there was a good chance there would be a familiar face. I don’t remember exactly how drunk I was, but I remember being totally embarrassed after initially noticing her. “Should I wave? Smile? Turn and leave?” Then we practically brushed against each other and all of those insecurities vanished into shock when she turned, made eye contact, and left. Never saying a word. The only explanation is that I was unidentifiable.

Months, and months, and months of black-out drinking had worn and torn my body apart. Despite only eating a meal every other day, I was bloated. My mornings were filled with vomiting and shaking until I could get my hands on alcohol, any type of alcohol. There was no appetite until a half-pint of Everclear, or cheap vodka was down my neck. Any idea of a job was contingent on me being able to suffer through about 3 days of intense withdrawals in order to be able to sit in front of an employer without showing blatant signs of substance abuse. If I could get to the interview and manipulate my way into a position, I was moments from my next binge. Then, drinking on the job was the only way to functionality. Needless to say, there was a 2+ year period from the winter of 2012, to the spring of 2015 when I walked into that burrito shop, where I did not keep a job longer than 3 months. Who was I? What had I become? How did I get here? Sitting in that restaurant hurt, I thought back to just a few years prior when that same principal had exhorted me, “You’re as gifted as any student. And you can do anything in this world, as long as you don’t kill yourself first.” Something had to change because I was moments away from killing myself, or worse, someone else.

Throughout the remainder of my junior and senior years of high school everything escalated. There were moments when I felt I was growing up too fast and doing things I shouldn’t, but those quiet convictions were quickly shouted down by the attention, glamour, and excitement of it all. Satan was having a field day with my insecurities, and I was insulating his advancements in my life with my pride. “Everyone’s doing it. Partying isn’t affecting my athletics or grades. Aren’t those the standards we live by?” There was always a justification and these were a few I used. It is remarkable that I had genuinely duped myself. The “Father of Lies” had a son named Anthony. I had justified and rationalized my behavior so many times in my mind that I genuinely believed I was an exception. My reputation as the “good kid” from a Christian school was quickly replaced as the guy that throws all the parties. I was living day-to-day without regard for myself or others. Consequences were viewed as opportunities I could manipulate my way out of, and to that point in my life there had not been any serious consequences. That was all about to change.

It was the Fall of 2010, and I was freshman at Auburn University. I made the decision during my junior year of high school that I would not pursue a college sport; instead I would get out of town and strike it big at a school all had heard of. Even the college decision making process fueled my ego. It was glamorous to me that I would leave Texas and go to a popular school no one I knew had gone. That is important to understand because again my pride would insulate me from admitting failure, mistakes, and desperation. It took about three months before I was calling home from a jail cell in Athens, Georgia. A group of friends and I were in town for a big football game when I drove into a DWI checkpoint. Of course I went straight to jail. Though it was the second time I was in handcuffs headed for jail, it was the first time I did not have a plan for a way out. The only people that cared enough to pay for something like that were 24 hours away, and there was no getting a hold of them. I was scared. How long would I be here? What would come out of this? Was my future in jeopardy? Many promises were made to God that night, yet none were upheld. I was bailed out by accident, and five hours later I was getting high to numb the mistake I had just made. That night was a foreshadow of the next four and a half years. I had zero coping skills. I was so out of touch with reality that when a consequence would show up, I lost my mind. My emotions were a roller coaster because I never saw the world through a sober lens. The only thing that felt better was exactly what put me into those situations, making the issues even more compounded. From that night in Athens until April of 2015, I was arrested 6 more times. Each time drove me deeper in despair and helplessness. I was suffocated with embarrassment, self-pity, and shame. The arrogant pride I had developed and nurtured in previous years, was slapped, mocked, and trampled upon. The glass house I had customized was shattered. I woke-up hating the position I put myself in, but in actuality I was loathing myself.

Then the ultimatum came which saved my life. My family was at their wit’s end. Within the month I had been arrested for Public Intoxication, wrecked a vehicle, threatened suicide, and was a week from being evicted. I was backed into a corner. I couldn’t go to the street. That would not look good in court for the Felony DWI case that had yet to be resolved. I knew I couldn’t get a job and stay clean, and my health was deteriorating. I was terrified to be alone without alcohol, for fear of having a seizure with no one around. I didn’t have a hand to play; it was either go to some Christian rehab in Houston for a year, or risk a consequence I was not willing to face. So I went, not fully convinced that God was a solution, but fully convinced that I would use the year to get my feet back under me, heal up, and get this case behind me. Even to the end, my ego was letting me believe that from the position of “rock-bottom” I somehow had leverage and was in control.

The truth is-God was in total control. It took two weeks before I was at the altar repenting before God. What followed was the greatest, most productive year of my life. I committed my life to Christ, and allowed Holy Spirit free reign to expose and heal any area from the inside-out. I was blessed to spend a year at Shiloh Ministries and glean under the leadership of YWAM Alumni. God had it all planned out. His plan was, “good-not evil,” and HE wanted to restore my “future and hope.” During the year at Shiloh I was introduced to YWAM for the first time. Several teams of YWAM Tyler missionaries came to teach throughout the year. They simplified life for me and cleared up stereotypes. Explaining that not everyone is called to a lifetime of international missions, but everyone should carve five months out at some point to wholly devote to God. The coincidental thing about my life was that I did not have a “life” to go back to, so I went for it. I joined the Summer 2016 Discipleship Training School.

I have been at YWAM Tyler since June 28th, 2016. It has been far more than I could have designed for myself. Truly, with all the resources in the world at my disposal, I could not have set myself up to see the beauty and majesty God has allowed me to experience over the last 15 months. DTS Lecture showed me what a lifestyle in communion with God looks like. Through the hundreds of missionaries that call YWAM Tyler home, I saw first-hand how the Bible describes a living and active life directed by God. Because I had never lived on my own sober, it was vital to my transition back into society. I need the Godly role-models to off-set 23 years of selfish desires.

I came to YWAM Tyler with what I believed at the time to be healthy and pure motivations: live for God, stay sober, find a Godly wife, be involved with Church, etc. All were absolutely fine, but God had other plans for my future, and DTS Outreach Trip was HIS big reveal for me! HE blew me away. I went on an eight week adventure with God that covered over 20,000 miles. Finally towards the end of the trip, while sitting on an over-crowded subway in Asia, after a long day of incredible ministry, I was overcome with the most fulfilling feeling of my life. I had put my selfish ambitions and desires aside and was walking in the middle of God’s plan for my life. I could see myself living and breathing the first chapter of 1 Corinthians. “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.” I was nearly dead a few months prior, now HE was trusting me with HIS Son’s story. Only God could do that. It was the most sure moment of my life. There I knew, this is what I was made for. I believe God has specific plans for each of us which peak our talents and gifts, and if we experience a glimpse of our individual calling, it is an indescribable feeling that is undeniable. I had that experience and am hooked for life. There is nothing like seeing other people overwhelmed by the love of God.

Over the past 12 months I have worked with un-reached people groups, children, youth and college age groups, foreigners, and Americans. I have done street evangelism and addiction ministry in several of the largest cities in America, and I have been in disaster relief zones and refugee camps. I’ve developed plays and acted in skits, spoken in front of thousands, and traveled to four countries on three continents. However, the most memorable aspect of it all is the people I’ve met along the way. These are God’s children, and whether you’re on an isolated mountain in Southern China, or a college student on Bourbon Street, God’s desire is the same: to be in a relationship with them. International missions may not be for everyone, but it is irrefutable that we are all called to make disciples of all nations. Whether in your hometown or to the world, we all have a story that has been created with God, and it must be shared.

My name is Anthony Huerta and I spent six years in deep addiction, and to tell you the truth, I would not have it any other way. This has been my story.

Glory to God.

4 Earth Shattering Truths Learned on Outreach

After sitting in three months of mind-blowing DTS classes, I was ready to get our there into the real world with the rich truths I’d learned! The best way to solidify all God has done in our lives is to transfer the knowledge into daily experience, allowing His grace to have its perfect work.  And that’s just what He did during our 8 weeks of travel covering 20,000 miles, including 2 nations in East Asia.

These are a few of the earth shattering truths I experienced when training became application. 

1. God is forever WORKING in me.

There is always that one, unavoidable moment of desperation on outreach. Mine happened at midnight on a dilapidated bridge in an East Asian capital city.

We had been traveling for 36 hours at that point. We had a 6-hour bus ride, to catch a 24-hour train ride across the country.Train Ride Across China We arrived just in time to make a connecting 2-hour shuttle from the outskirts of the capital city, only to find out we had missed the last subway to the area where we were staying.

We were left to the last resource, our feet. We had a several-mile hike through the concrete jungle of the capital, loaded with luggage, trudging through construction sites that are only operational during those wee hours.

Needless to say, we were exhausted, hungry, weary, disgusting. As I was walking, the roller on my suitcase slipped into a gap between the concrete, ripping it loose from the bag; meanwhile I slipped into a pot-hole, twisting my ankle in the process. I pulled my leg out, minus the shoe because it was stuck in mud! I’D HAD IT! WHERE WAS GOD?! Then He spoke, “It is not always about feeling ME here, it is about knowing I AM here.”

2. Pharisee does not look good on ANYONE.

We are blessed to be able to travel under the umbrella of an incredible organization called YWAM. There are many privileges, and doors that open, simply because you are a YWAM team. One of those opportunities is public speaking.

While in Korea, everywhere we went there was a crowd eager to hear us speak. It was nerve-racking at first, but like anything, my comfort zone expanded; as a matter of fact, it became adrenaline. I began asking to share.DSCF0693.jpg Some was God … most was Anthony. I even began getting disappointed when our days consisted of “work projects.” Which is actually what I am best at! It was a shameful learing experience to say the least. My motivation became selfish, and that was not why I came to East Asia. But, as always, God graciously highlighted the issue, gave me the opportunity to respond, which allowed me turn the remainder of my trip around. Glaring me right in the face was the point God was making.  He placed two nearly identical verses in back-to-back chapters of Matthew, “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 19 and 20).

3. Seeing the world God’s way begins and ends with PEOPLE.

I had the incredible privilege to introduce someone to Jesus for the first time. We were at a remote village hidden in the mountains of East Asia. It was like stepping back in time several centuries. There was no electricity, or running water, and the same rice harvesting techniques that were used 400 years ago were being used that afternoon.

We came across several ladies easily over the age of 70 burning paper, as they sat cross-legged, humming low-key hymns. I asked the translator what they were doing. He responded, “They are worshiping a dead spirit.” This particular nation wanted to keep their people in feeble positions such as these ladies, in order to maintain control. So they used intricate propaganda techniques that kept the people in the dark by elevating the government leaders to positions of immortality. It was unforgettable sitting with these women later in the afternoon swapping stories from the Bible and ancient legends. That afternoon will never be forgotten, and it brought to life Romans 10:14, “And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?”


4. Non-believers can be used by God.

It helps to have a flexible personality on outreach because rarely do these trips go completely according to plan. On one of those occasions, the Holy Spirit used a young boy at a bar to drive home a vital truth. The night began with us bringing along small groups teenagers that were involved with a Korean youth group to do street evangelism. The goal was to simply demonstrate how to spark conversations with complete strangers on the streets of Seoul.

DSCF0709.jpgUnfortunately, the young people I was with were not too thrilled about this from the beginning, and the weather did not help.

About half an hour in, drenched from rain, the teens were headed home. So for the next 2 hours I was on my own, frustrated with the language barrier. I ended up in a bar district, interceding some, people-gazing much more, when I saw a young boy. He looked like he had just rolled out of bed, and was visibly distraught. He was dragging his father out of the establishment, eventhough the father was not finished, just yet. It was heartbreaking.

The boy would bring him to his feet and get him to the door, then the father would break free and fall back into the bar. The men in the bar were laughing. The young teenager was crying tears of anger. I decided to step in. We physically carried the father a block down and then 3 flights up to his home. The entire time the boy was sobbing. I asked him if I could pray to Jesus with him. He shrugged me off, saying in broken English he didn’t believe in God. But, as I was leaving he said, “If Jesus were here, would he help like you?” It was such an emotional half-hour. I couldn’t think of anything except, “All people will know you are my disciples by your love for one another” (John 13:35). That is how the gospel becomes an universal language.

7 Earth Shattering Truths Learned in DTS

Globally there are 25,000 full-time YWAM missionaries right now, and every one of them has completed a Discipleship Training School. DTS is remarkable training that is intended to bring you into a more intimate relationship with God. While igniting your passions, you discover your part in God’s purposes for the world and learn to follow Jesus in new ways with a different perspective.

It is intended to challenge us through teachings, community living, practical training, AND that’s just the lecture phase. These are just a few of the truths I learned during my DTS Lecture Phase:

1. God is not a fast-food restaurant.

HE works thoroughly, precisely, and PATIENTLY in my life. HE doesn’t expect “faith that moves mountains”, when you have only been following HIM for two weeks. God understands that we must grow, step-by-step, in all areas of life.

It was a struggle of mine asking other’s for money. Because of my upbringing, I felt like a burden hounding folks to help support me on a trip to Asia that they WERE NOT EVEN GOING ON. But, through small nuggets of truth here, revelation moments there, and encouraging conversations through lecture phase fear subsided. Finally, my perspective was flipped. Revelation sank in that I was actually withholding a blessing from people by NOT ASKING if they wanted to be apart of what God is doing!  Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.”

2. Teamwork DOES make the Dreamwork.

The Kingdom of God needs EVERYONE: extroverts, introverts, artists and mathematicians, the meek and the bold, the talkers, as well as, the thinkers, both, sensitive and strong. All play an equally important role in impacting God’s most intricate creation of all, people. From the boldness and passion of Paul, down to Moses’ insecurities about public speaking, to the bravery of Esther, and the meek and submissive spirit of Mary Magdalene, all play a vital role in making God known.

This truth was in full illustration in my DTS. There were 28 students, ranging from 17-72 years old, 10 teenagers, 3 married couples, a successful 45 year old, a college graduate, a drug rehab graduate, a few college drop-outs, and 2 nationalities made up my class, and ALL of us were right where we were supposed to be, doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing.

3. It is impossible to grow in my comfort zone.

Bring on the difficult times; I KNOW it will benefit me. New roommates, needing $3000 in 3 weeks, doing terrifying things, no hot-water, getting more roommates, questioning what I have been taught my entire life, no privacy, then getting more roommates, all are things I experienced before going on outreach! Situations grow us, and the degree of difficulty correlates to the degree of maturation. “The testing of (my faith) produces perseverance,” James 1:3.

4. God can always purify my “pure” goals.

Entering a 5-month school, which was focused on deepening my relationship with God, I thought my ambitions were pretty unselfish, compared to the “world.” However, looking back, I see how many selfish desires went into my decision of doing a DTS. Prior to coming my main interest for YWAM was the classroom, which in itself isn’t bad; the problem was I had no desire to share any of the things I was learning.

It did not take long for me to realize it is not God’s plan for anyone to bottle knowledge, and we are all called to be missionaries in one way or another. I am here to tell you it is the best possible life! God is infinite LOVE and infinite INTELLIGENCE; HE is who I want designing my future! God tells us, “I have it all planned out-plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11.

5. There is nothing I can do to change my value.

My value is not determined by deeds, works, or merit. I am a sinner saved by grace, and there is nothing from my past that my Father can even see! It was the most liberating moment when I received the revelation of Jesus dying for me while I was still a sinner. If HE chose love and sacrifice, instead of judgment and condemnation when I was wicked, then I must STOP trying to mean more to HIM. God’s opinion is immovable at the highest possible level. He loved me before salvation as much as HE loves me after. “I-yes, I alone-will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25

6. Intercession is not a dull exercise left for grandparents!

Gathering a small group of people to pray for an hour, about an unknown topic is not a glamorous, marketable exercise for youth groups. However, it only took one intercession time for that pre-supposition to be shattered. I was in a group of 8 skeptical and confused students as we sat silently waiting for God to share what “HE wants us to pray for.”

The silence was disrupted by a girl that heard the name “Nicolas.”

Another chimed, “I saw some Colombian coffee beans, whatever that means.”

A surprised student then said, “I saw a dam that turned into a flood gate, with people climbing over.”

“We should Google this,” suggested our intercession leader.

It turns out that at that moment the nation of Colombia and Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, were reaching an agreement that would open the border between the two. I still don’t fully understand the significance of this agreement (only God knows), but we later learned that for a year the borders had been closed, preventing many Venezuelan’s from receiving medicine, medical aid, and treatments they had previously relied on. Now it is easy to dismiss this as coincidental, but I know it was God’s way of meeting a few wide-eyed, narrow-minded DTS students at a moment we needed a sign, and HE wanted to include us in HIS divine plan!

7. Time in the classroom does not substitute my alone time with HIM.

I was exposed to incredible truths for the first time during lecture phase; however, my life was not changed in the classroom. A benefit of having the most life-changing season of your life on a secluded 500 acre ranch in East Texas, is that you are never far away from tranquility. The lush rolling hills of Twin Oaks Ranch is a perfect spot to really learn how to distinguish the voice of God.

I was never at a loss for seeing HIS majesty displayed through the pink sunsets, lost in thought overlooking one of the ponds, or hidden under a 40 foot Oak somewhere. I fell in love with God all over again during those private, intimate moments alone with Him in His creation. My quiet times with God are the most valuable moments of each day, and I am blessed I get to spend them amidst such a beautiful place. 2 Timothy 2:25 says, “God grants repentance.” It was during those intimate moments when God magnified my life and the plans for my life, which in the end is why I came to this DISCIPLESHIP program.

Have your own earth shattering moments in a discipleship school at YWAM Tyler. To find out more follow the link:

YWAM Tyler Blog

Stop Worrying About Refugees

Where to begin…

Greece came and went, and the Shiloh Retreat at YWAM is over. I am left alone, with God.

Since March 28th I have traveled 14,200 miles, seen two nations, and encountered countless people that have forever impacted my life. I was the “vessel” bringing the Gospel, but it feels more, and more like the people I met were the tools God was using on me.

The friends I met in Greece from all over the world will never be forgotten, even if I never see them face to face. Thankfully, through certain apps, and email I have kept contact with eight guys I met in Camp Moriah, from Congo, Cameroon, and Ethiopia. Unfortunately, it seems their optimism has dissipated from the level we were able to spark while there. Soon after we left the Summer heat began taking its toll, while the overall Greek budget for the Camp dwindled. The first to go was the generators. It has been tough attempting to encourage from a totally different world away, when we both know a favorable outcome does not look likely. However, I am reminded, and I do my best to relay the message I wrote on a tent wall in Olive Grove, “My HOPE is determined internally. I choose to have a GOOD DAY!”IMG_0275 edited HE loves them, and through the storm HE is LORD. JESUS is the cornerstone of HOPE.

This past week saw the fruition of a dream that myself, and many near to my heart have shared. I had the privilege of organizing an eight day retreat for Shiloh Ministry at YWAM Tyler. It was an incredible, groundbreaking week. We had FUN, created FRIENDSHIPS, and spent the nights WORSHIPPING. This video is a glimpse into the week.

 Arise to Freedom | Summer 2017

Recently while reading Ecclesiastes a verse in the first chapter painfully stood out, “in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases in knowledge increases in sorrow.” The past three months I have definitely increased in knowledge, but true to this verse it came with seeing some tough situations. So what is Solomon saying? What is his solution? How does this pertain to present-day? While working at the epicenter of a humanitarian emergency like the European refugee crisis, I felt like an ostrich getting his head pulled out of the sand. Realistically this situation is not going to end well for most, and that hurts me. I continued in Ecclesiastes, and the truth Solomon stands on is found in chapter 3, and it requires the relinquishing of the desire to know what God is doing. Once that expectation is given up he concludes, “(we) cannot see the full scope of God’s work from beginning to end…there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can…for these are gifts from God.” You see, God is sovereign, and as a Christian we must be okay with that. Isaiah 40:12 describes God measuring the “depths of the ocean in the palm of HIS hands”, and even after all I’ve seen, I am quite comfortable being right there.

Until next time,




On the Island of Lesvos, in the town of Mytillini, at the camp of Moriah, is an area called, Olive Grove. To a West Texas kid it is a fully indescribable place, full of unbelievable stories, and inspiring people. I am reminded daily, “this is the epicenter of an international humanitarian crisis, of course God’s hand is visible.”  I can’t justly describe all the nuances, and details right now, but know this has been an eye-opening, encouraging, shocking, and uplifting experience, thus far. Sure I have seen and heard some deplorable stories, but doesn’t His grace abound that much more in desperate situations. It is not figurative, God literally shines the brightest in the darkest places. I have been inspired by the response of the Greek citizens that have incurred these costs, been humbled by the long-term volunteers pouring out themselves daily, and revitalized by the relationships I have made.

I have been working in Olive Grove, an area outside of Camp Moriah, that is considered the toughest section of the Island, and I have fallen in love with it. Olive Grove began as an overflow level outside the camp’s walls, but is now the primary housing for African refugees. Because it is outside and away from the Greek Police, Military, and women, it has a “lawless”, dangerous reputation. There are 160 men throughout, 80 staying in a large tent that typically sleeps 110, and 9 smaller tents that house the remaining men. The demographic is predominantly Congolese, and Ethiopian/Eritrean, but Sri Lanka, Cameroon, and Egypt are also represented.

My first 4 hours in OG left me wanting to bang my head against a wall, while questioning God and myself. Those first hours, (still dazed from shock of the conditions and attitudes) I was vainly trying to be pro-active. In myself, trying to be solution-oriented. Head down, picking up trash, criticising the UN, and Greek Military for their impractical way of handing out food, attempting to explain to the men (which turned to arguing), the nature of why things are operating this way, yet not understanding myself. It felt like I was scooping water from a sinking ship, with a fork. Then I heard God say, “That is not why you are here. Go make friends, and show them my Son.” So I became one of them. Now in Olive Grove I am making friends. We bar-b-que every afternoon, we play corn-hole, checkers and work-out, I am learning French phrases and teaching Spanish ones, I find doppelgangers of celebrities to give out nicknames…It really suprised the other volunteers when they came down the other day, and I was playing checkers with Eddie Murphy!

You see, what would make more of an impact in this situation, I come in, hand out some food, and take out the trash, or, sit amongst them and learn the names of their kids, their favorite foods, or favorite Michael Jackson song. A liberating truth: “I can’t solve this, but He can, AND He is already here.”

I wish I could document all I am experiencing more thoroughly, but just the other day several journalists were arrested for taking pictures inside the camp. I also stress the severity of the situation, as well.

These women drowned the day we arrived. The news was not verified until Friday that some were Africans, several in Olive Grove knew. Please keep praying.

One relationship at a time. That’s the practical solution I can offer, that leads to my Father.

Until next time,


olive grove

Congolese brothers, Henry and Bob
20170502_174909 edited
“No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a SHARK

Athens -》Lesvos

The clock just passed midnight and I’m on a bus headed to the airport to catch a 5AM flight to Lesvos Island. The past week in ATHENS has been as anticipated. To say the lines are blurred between refugee, immigrant, tourist, and Greek citizen would be an understatement. Some seem privelaged, only to find out there family was killed by Hussein in Irag, or Gaddafi in Libya. While other, well-dressed, immigrants have been indignant and frustrated with the economic crisis-that is Europe, to only hear them blame all circumstances on America’s oil driven greed. Most are consumed with anger, and essentially fear, so with that my level of explanation has greatly diminished with each passing day. The responses have become expected, so I don’t steer the conversations there. Instead, it has been more, and more about childhood, fond memories, anything that will create an opportunity to point to my Father.

I don’t have time to tell you about Mohamed from Senegal, or Apostolis, the Greek caretaker of the Christian mission, or Kurdos & Twanas, the 17 year old Iraqi translators that loathe ISIS for what they have done to their families, yet spent this afternoon taking Olivia and I to the beach (after we bartered with them to go to church-street kids).
Meeting people like this is what my God compels in me, and in actuality, it turns out to be my reward. How amazing.

We’re split up now. The girls staying in Athens, the guys headed to Camp Moriah in LESVOS. We will be staying on a ship docked in the harbor. Please keep lifting us up, it is how you can come alongside us.

I have no idea what tomorrow has in store, but man, I can’t think of a more beautiful statement right now.

Ephesians 1:22,23

Love y’all,

Kurdos, Irag (17) Mohamed, Senegal (42), Wednesday
Mohamed Gibson
Afghan refugees, Omonia Square, Athens, Saturday
Kurdos, Twana, Olivia & I, Sunday afternoon 


I don’t take credit for anything. Apart from my God, I am nothing. This should be the concluding thoughts, but as soon as I sat, this is the only thing I could type out.

Now let me tell you about Houston.

We have had an indescribable time here. As it is coming to an end, and I reflect on the past 17 days, it is unbelievable how God is affecting every area of the nation’s fourth largest city. I am fortunate, and grateful this Easter morning that God has allowed me to be apart of this experience. It has given me a glimpse into what He envisioned His church to look like. Whether we were acting out dramas on the side of a U-HAUL that unfolded into a stage, going into Fifth Ward with Hip-Hop Hope, or visiting a 60 acre ranch that is being transformed into the nation’s first sex-trafficking rehabilitation center, there was still the same message of reconciliation. AND most crucial, these ministries are going to the people and places that are in DIRE NEED of reconciliation. That is the Church the book of Acts depicts. 2 Corinthians 5:18,19 is an explanation of my life right now, and it feels like the anthem by which the past 3, and upcoming 5 weeks will be guided by, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” Praise God He doesn’t count our trespasses against us.

Hip-Hop Hope, Fifth Ward
Clown Skit, CAT (Children’s Activities Truck) Ministries
Worship, Shiloh Ministries




In a few hours, I will be heading to Greece, to continue with this same message. ALL must be reconciled. It is an unfortunate consequence of being born into this world. But, fortunately, “the LORD is patient towards (us), not wishing any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)” If even one, comes to repentance through our trip, then it has been well worth it.

Please, continue praying for us. It is our first line of defense.

All glory to my Savior, Jesus Christ. Happy Easter.

Until next time,


Houston & Greece, Let’s Go!

The details, (for the most part) are in!

Our School of Evangelism will be traveling to Houston on March 29th, and will be there through April 14th. While in Houston we will be teaming up with YWAM Houston and the ministries they have established. One of their largest ministries is Street Church, on Montrose Ave. Montrose is a traditionally homosexual district with a large homeless community, yet, the Wednesday Street Church service typically has several hundred people gathering in an abandoned parking lot. We will also have “Brothel Prayer Drives”, participate with a ministry in 5th Ward called “Hip-Hop Hope”, as well as, spend time at the ministry I came from, Shiloh.

hip-hop hope
Hip-Hop Hope, Houston


Immediately after Houston, we’re headed to Greece. While in Greece we will be partnering with Euro Relief, a non-profit organization that provides shelter, clothing, and sanitation on the island of Lesvos. Our group of 20 has committed to three weeks of work, which requires us to divide into multiple groups that will provide round-the-clock assistance on the island. We will be assisting in the area of tent repairs, and medical attention, as well as, passing out supplies like food, clothing, sleeping materials, and bathroom essentials. Anywhere needed, we are available.

camp moria
Camp Moriah, Lesvos, Greece 
lesvos refugee
Lesvos shore


Next, we will be going to Athens for the remaining 8 days to partner with a ministry that concentrates their focus on drug abuse, sex-trafficking, and homelessness in the streets. From what I have been told, this ministry only goes out from sunset to sunrise.

<> on June 13, 2012 in Athens, Greece.
Athens, Greece


Needless to say each location will present its own set of issues and obstacles while there, some we can prepare for, others will be unexpected. An invaluable necessity for us while there, is prayer. Please, it is the group’s, and myself’s first line of defense. What if the success of our trip was determined by what we were praying into right now? Also, we are still lacking finances for our trip. It is $3000 per missionary, and there are 22 of us going. Any amount, any way, is greatly appreciated. It does not go unnoticed. Please be obedient, and simply ask God what capacity He wants you to participate through. If there are any questions, ideas, thoughts, or concerns, please reach out. My information is on the “About” page, and ways to help are on the “Support Me” page.

It is a privilege to be partnering with you, and I can’t wait to share all God is doing in this desperate situation that is oozing with opportunity for Him to show up, and show out. He is still a miracle worker and His plans always involve reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:19,20. To all the world.

Until next time.


Dare to be Creative

A concept that has been on my mind, finally being articulated.

In my relationship with God, how much does HE want me to tell HIM what I want to do in my life. Is it even “legally acceptable” for me to share these things with Him? Am I being disobedient, even if my heart’s motive is to please Him? Hear me out. For the most part, my thought process towards the concept of obedience towards God has entirely been about waiting on God for direction. But, what if He was waiting on us to tell Him what we want, then He would guide us?

This week we are being taught by Carlos Penning, a YWAM Base Director from Chico, California, and he mentioned a story that features an important aspect to the question I have been wrestling with. In the story of David and Goliath, it is interesting that David did not wait for God to tell him to approach Goliath. In this passage there is a fundamental pre-requisite to what I have been contemplating. David had already put in the countless hours seeking God, which prepared him to have no doubt about what he was to do in that situation, or what God wanted to happen. The teenager also understood the ability he had approaching Goliath, under God’s anointing. David probably even felt how Goliath was making God feel while taunting the Israelites.  He knew all these things, and out of any example, who better than the leader about whom God said, “a man after my own heart,” to look towards as an example. David had a foundational understanding of every aspect of this situation, and without hesitation he made a decision, then acted on it. And God was with him. The most important take-away: God was at the center of his motivation.

If God is at the center, will you dare to get creative with your dreams, or, is it possible for a Christian to be sitting in a pew for a lifetime, waiting on direction from God. Psalms 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and HE will give you the desires of your heart.” This is the revelation: from the beginning I was under the impression that I was directing God towards what I wanted to do in life, and these were my aspirations, but, in actuality these are God’s ideas. He was the one that put them there, I am just humbled He has included me. I know it is true, if motives are pure, it is okay to dream alongside Him. God’s resources are vast, and He is deeply concerned about your dreams and desires.

Until next time.


Carlos Penning YWAM Base Director Chico, California