From Brazil to Lockdown

Hello from a situation I never could have imagined. I am back in the UK!! The past weeks have been the strangest weeks I have ever experienced. 2 and a half weeks ago I was in sunny Brazil, enjoying the last few weeks of ministry with my Youth With a Mission (YWAM) outreach team.  We knew things with Covid-19 were escalating but we were always up to date with the situation. On the 13th of March our base back in Norway decided to call us back as there was talk of borders closing. We started to prepare ourselves as a team to return back earlier than planned, however the next morning we received the information that we were all going to have to go back to our own countries as Norway’s border closed that night to us as internationals. It was a shock, one that we never saw coming. Within 24 hours of that call we were all on flights back to our home countries. 
Coming back to the UK so soon was very unsettling to begin with. All of my possessions are still in Norway, so when I arrived back in the UK I paid a quick visit to Primark to acquire a pair of jeans, a long sleeve and a jacket – things which weren’t really a necessity in Brazil… But I felt the Lord’s closeness and with Him I started to feel at peace. I am now living with my Dad, Step-mum, step-brother and step-sister in Odell, Bedfordshire. As for the team, everyone is now all safely back in their home countries – the majority of us in some form of lockdown. We have been putting the videocall program ‘Zoom’ into good use, and I’m sure we are not the only ones! I really appreciate those who messaged me and have kept me lifted in prayer – it really means a lot!     

IMG_2143Although our leaving of Brazil was crazy – our time there was absolutely incredible! I have so many testimonies that I can’t write them all down – which is a very good problem to have!! Throughout our time there God was so faithful and spoke so clearly to us all.
The photo above is my team made up of 11 people: 7 girls and 4 guys from 7 different countries – Germany, Norway, Canada, Kenya, Ukraine, The Netherlands and of course the UK. Watching them grow over the past months has been an honour and a blessing. Their hunger for the Word inspired me to want more and watching them step out in Faith encouraged me to keep going – I could not have asked for a better team to have lead! 

We were in Brazil for just under 2 months, in which we were in 3 main places. Camaragibe, a small community in Recife (North East of Brazil), Piratininga, a village in the State of São Paulo and Duque de Caxias, a city in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Throughout our time in each place, we got to experience the beautiful thing that is Brazilian hospitality. In every place we were welcomed with open arms. When we arrived in São Paulo, a group of friends that we had never met or had contact with until that day came to collect us from the airport and hosted us. We were in the city of São Paulo just for a weekend for a mission event called ‘the Send‘ – 150 thousand people meeting in 3 stadiums for 12 hours in Brazil to worship Jesus together. Our stadium had 70 thousand in and it was an experience I will never forget.

One of my favourite testimonies is that the Brazilian President turned up to one of the other stadiums. Once the organisers knew he was there, they invited him up to the stage. He stood on the stage and proclaimed that Brazil belonged to Jesus. When we found out, the stadium broke out in applause and worship. Revival is happening in Brazil!!! 

In Brazil, we were involved in a lot of different ministries. These included practical work (working in a jungle is very fun, tarantula’s are not), homeless work, street evangelism, youth and children’s work, prison ministries, carnival outreach, home visits, sports ministries and work in elderly homes. Here are some of the highlights:

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Carnival is an event I’m sure we all have heard of. But being there in reality is something completely different! Prior to our travel to Brazil, we believed we were joining an already organised event however this didn’t turn out to be the case. So 4 days before carnival we met as a team and sought the Lord together. After being at the Send a few weeks before, we knew that God was doing something in Brazil and carnival was an incredible opportunity to meet people and share Jesus. When we met as a team, I felt the Lord tell me to create a group dance. I’ve never really made a dance before, let alone create one and teach it all in 2 days! But when I told the team, they got right behind the idea – one of the student actually helped me create it! When we arrived at Carnival we were informed by the police that we couldn’t do anything. However I knew that this is what God had spoken, so as a group we had a time of worship and intercession to seek the Lord and ask what to do. One of the translators felt that we should go and ask McDonald’s which was two minutes away, and not only did they say yes, they allowed us to use their car park and gave us a socket to plug in our speakers.
We were there until sun set! We did the dance four times, street preached to the crowd, and split into the groups to meet, talk and pray with people. That day we prayed with so many young people and introduced people to the love of Jesus. 

Homeless ministry:IMG_7147
Whilst in the State of São Paulo, we had the opportunity to work with a project called “Galpao” which is a Homeless project. At Galpao, the would provide a place for people to eat, have somewhere to shower and get some new clothes. They would also have someone share a devotion with them.  Every week (sometimes twice a week) as a team we would go and serve with the workers. We were split in teams – some would be cooking, some would be serving, some would be helping with clothes and others would be talking with the people. We also had the opportunity to lead their Sunday service, where I got to preach and on the closeness of God. Building relationships with these people was very special to us as a team. Hearing their stories and their struggles but still seeing their heart and faith in the Lord really showed me how much the love of God was in them. We got to pray for them and bless them, and I can say that that project has truly impacted me.

Youth work 
Throughout our time in Brazil, we got to work with a lot of different youth in a lot of different Churches. Whilst we were in Piratininga (a small town of 13,000 people), we got to work with a Vineyard Church. The last time I went to a Vineyard Church was last year in India where the Church community met underground, so it was really cool to be a part of a Vineyard Church over in South America on the other side of the world. On the 29th of February, as a team we got to be a part of running a worship and prayer night for the youth of the Church. This included sharing testimonies and praying for them. One of the students talked about how God had healed her and if anyone in the room needed healing in whatever way to come and we would pray for them. And it was all hands on deck – around half the room of 120 people came forward to receive prayer! It was such a powerful evening, we saw the spirit move as people met with God and were healed mentally and physically. 
One of my favourite testimonies is that I got to pray for a girl called Jhulia. She had broken her toe badly and was wearing a big boot over her leg as she couldn’t walk properly without it. After we prayed the first time, she said she thought it had got better but she couldn’t tell as it was very strapped up. So she decided to take off the boot to find out. 4 minutes later she was walking up and down the side of the room with no bandage, crutch or boot… completely HEALED!! It was amazing for her to see and for her boyfriend who had come to join to pray for her. Afterwards she said to me “if I knew this was going to happen I could have brought another shoe – I only have one with me!” Happy to say she borrowed some flip flops and was able to show everyone her new foot!!IMG_6552

Left to Right: One of the translators, Jhulia and her boyfriend David

As well as working with and helping disciple youth, we also got to work with a lot of children. In Camaragibe, Recife, we got to work with a project called ‘Show de Bola’. Show de Bola is part of YWAM Recife (where we were staying) and it’s goal is to reach out to children and youth of the neighborhood through football. Recife has one of the biggest crime and murder rates in Brazil, which makes it hard for many families to keep their children safe and keep them out of danger. A rule of the project is that the children have to respect each other and have done all their school work that week as a way to make sure they stay in school. The project started in 2006 with 15 boys and today more than 100 children and youth are a part of the project! We got to lead some of the children’s football practices and share devotions with them. As well as football, three times a week the workers of Show de Bola go into the local community to visit the families of the children to support them. This can be through checking up on school work, prayer for the family and seeing what they can do to help them be safe. As a team, we got to be a part of this multiple times, going into the community and seeing the kids in their own homes and meeting with their families – praying for them and blessing them. As well as this, we got to do some door to door evangelism – praying for and meeting the people of the local community.

Street Evangelism 
Street evangelism looked different every time we did it. In Recife, we were involved in street night evangelism. As a team, we would join a group who would go to the streets every Wednesday and Friday nights to work with the youth, adults and families living on the streets. We would play with the children and make them feel safe. You can tell the good work the YWAM Recife base was doing as you can see the relationship between the people and them.  A problem they face is that a lot of people are addicted to drugs, particularly sniffing glue. When we were there, children as young as 8 or 9 would be addicted to sniffing glue. Sniffing glue can be life-threatening – even if the result isn’t fatal, the risks associated with glue and other inhalants include possible brain damage and severe breathing problems. Please keep the YWAM Ministry team who does this work in your prayers – they are doing such great work!

In Rio, we joined a group of friends who wanted their city, state and country on fire for Jesus! Our ministry was primarily evangelism whilst in Rio. This involved hospital ministry, doing dramas in the street and prison ministry.

Although the very bittersweet end to our trip, God was faithful. These stories are just a little snippet of the things that we saw God do. Even though we are now all dotted around the world, I have to give a shout out to my amazing team! My co-staff, Ben and Thora and the 8 amazing students: Leonieke, Meike, Peter, Artem, Juliet, Amy, Lucy and Stian. These people are so amazing and getting to chase after Jesus with them has been and honour and a blessing. We are now putting the videocall app ‘Zoom’ to good use!!

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The team were particularly amazing when I received some difficult news. On the 10th of February I woke up to the news that my Grandma June had passed away. Many of you will know that I came back quickly to the UK before going to Brazil to visit her as she was unwell after a very sudden battle with cancer. However it didn’t really hit me that that was the last time I was going to see her. Finding out this news that a loved one has passed when your half way around the world away was very hard. It was some of the hardest days and weeks, especially as I couldn’t go back for the funeral. My Grandma had such a heart for mission, so I knew she wanted me there. I miss her terribly, but I know she is with Jesus and at peace.

But what about now? Well, I have some exciting news! As of today (Sunday 5th April) I am now a DBS Student. DBS stands for Discipleship Bible School, a secondary school ran by YWAM where we read and study the bible together in 12 weeks. This school is something I have always dreamed of doing, so this opportunity is amazing! God really knows how to make good from any bad situation! So for the next 3 months, I will have 50-60 hour weeks, studying the whole bible by lectures, small groups, essays and a lot of homework. This is a big challenge, but one I am very excited for! Obviously due to the world situation, this is now all run online. SO along with 28 others scattered all over Europe, we will use our lockdown to dig deeper into the Word! Please keep me in your prayers as I will need a lot of energy and concentration for such a high intensity school. 

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Prayer points:

  • For the new DBS to run smoothly and that God will speak to me in new ways 
  • For the students on the DTS who are now all over the world, that they can find rest and peace about the school ending early
  • For our country and the world fighting Covid-19, especially those in health work
  • For my family to feel the Lord’s closeness, especially after loosing Grandma June 
  • That the worries over finances will have no hold over me as I know the Lord is my provider  
  • For Hayden’s parents who work in healthcare and the police over in the US

As for Hayden and I, we are now back on the same soil! Both of us had to leave the countries we were in very quickly and 2 days after I got home he also arrived in the UK. He was also supposed to be going back to Norway and so found himself in the same situation as me when the borders closed. Straight after he arrived we went into lockdown as a country so he is now living here with my family which was not planned but is proving very fun! My dad enjoys it, they go on runs together and make ikea furniture, so I think he’s happier than I am that he’s here! IMG_3837

I hope that you are well, wherever you are living in the world. Please send me a message if you have any prayer requests or need anything and I will do anything I can to support you during these crazy times. Thank you for your messages, prayers and support – especially over the last weeks! They truly mean a lot.

All my love! Blessings,

Hannah

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New Year, New Season, New Countries

Namaste and welcome back to the organised chaos that is my life! This year has been one quite unlike any other, as I’ve not just been to 2 new countries, but to a whole new continent! I have spent 10 and a half weeks in India and Nepal which were the most incredible, challenging and eye-opening weeks of my life, and I would love to share some of the stories with you! But as you can guess, there are a lot of stories to tell!! So to catch you up, here’s some of what’s been happening:

  • I have been hiking in the Himalayas in India for 6 days, 3200m up, whilst camping (and falling) in a lot of snow

  • I not only met elephants, but got to ride one!!! Plus, we also got to see a rhino – very close up 🦏

  • We got to celebrate an Indian National Holiday called ‘Holi’ where basically people throw dry paint at each other to celebrate welcoming in the spring 🌸🌸🌸
  • I somehow got to see the Dalai Lama in a hospital!!??!!! – legit one of the coolest stories I think I’ll ever be able to tell people
  • We got to visit the TAJ MAHAL !!!

But most importantly, I’ve seen Jesus totally meet, heal and change people’s lives… HE IS SO GOOD!!!

I had the joy of sharing this Asian Adventure with 7 amazing people: two Germans, two Americans, one Canadian, one Norwegian and one Swede, and yeah… they’re pretty great!!

I can’t even begin to express how much these guys mean to me. They are the best supporters, the biggest encouragers and the best ever friends; I am beyond grateful for them ❤️. As a team, we witnessed SO much, so here are just a few examples of some of the things we experienced…

One of the ministries we got to join in on was working in one of the Nepali slums. In this we went around one particular slum area at least twice as week and got to meet, build friendships and share the gospel with the people there.

⬆️ This photo is taken in this slum area. Every time we went there we were welcomed with such love, hospitality and warmth from families who have so little and yet were prepared to give so much. But in this environment where pain and poverty was so present, we could feel the need for Jesus.

We met a family all living in a one room house – a man, his wife and their 4 children. Now their youngest child had previously not been able to walk properly. However, back in October ’18 last year, another team, who was a part of the same ministry that we were now doing, shared with this couple how much God loves them and their son, and that He had the power to heal him, and well… HE WAS HEALED! (🎉🎉🎉) This family had seen the reality of Jesus, however when we met them they still were practicing Hinduism, but could see that there was more. This of course made us very very excited. So over the next 5 visits, we had the opportunity to share with them. Some shared their testimonies, and some got to share some of the teachings from the Bible. As well as this, we got to encourage others in this community by talking and praying with them – especially for healing. One example was a young girl in her early twenties who had struggled with back pain for more than 5 years and was on medication to prevent severe pain. When we were sharing with this family on one of our visits, she came and sat at the back of the room and didn’t say a word to anyone. After a while, we asked if she had any pain and if we could pray for her, to which she said yes. So the translator and I laid hands on her back and began to pray and WOAH was it crazy. Her back became very hot, and after we had prayed she said all the pain had left!

*We later saw her 2 weeks later and asked how she was doing to which she responded that she has had 0 pain and hasn’t touched her pain medication since* THANK YOU JESUS !!!

“But what happened to the family?” I hear you ask? Well, in the beginning of February they decided to make Jesus their Lord and Saviour!!! And not only did both the husband and the wife give their lives to Jesus, they TORE DOWN THE IDOLS in their house, threw them out and put the Bible up there!!! So good 🙌🏼

There are so many more stories to share about what happened in the slums… more healings, more people meeting Jesus and people being filled by the Holy Spirit! So if you’d like to know more please please ask and I’d love to share with you!

As well as slum outreach, we were also involved in Dance Bar (night life) ministry, working with street kids, doing evangelism to people in the mountains as well as experiencing (and falling in love with) Nepali and Indian culture.

*Fun Fact: in India when you go to the cinema, they place the Indian National Anthem before the film starts and you have to stand and sing with them??!!!! Plus they have intervals in the middle of the films?? Crazy.

In total we were out for 74 days – 41 in Nepal, 27 in India and 10 travel days (ish). Throughout our adventure, God provided at every stage. One example is through our VISAs where we actually had to go back to Nepal from India as we did some paperwork wrong, so our VISAs actually expired earlier than we thought. When we were back in Nepal, we were unsure on what to do BUT what happened next was just SO amazing. On the second day of being there, 2 of the guys in the group went out to get groceries and got stopped by a Nepali man on the road, asking them who they were and who they were ‘with’. Turns out this guy was a Nepali Pastor who felt God tell him to wait on this street where our guys were walking until he met them! We had no clue who he was before, but by the end of the week we were eating dinner in his house, worshipping with him and his family in their living room and doing ministry with him! We were so blessed by this guy and his family, and we’re all are so grateful that we got to meet him!

Overall, the 10 weeks we spent in both Nepal and India were absolutely incredible. We met so many wonderful people who blessed us as a team as well as getting to see Jesus do some pretty awesome stuff!! If you are reading this and want to hear more, or if you have any questions, I would love to talk and try to answer any questions you may have. ☺️💛

I’ve been back in Europe nearly 4 weeks now, really really missing Asia but still very glad to be back! However, the travelling did not stop at Nepal & India… turns out I’d missed England more than I thought I would and actually visited home for Easter weekend! And what made it even better was that 5 of my friends from my DTS came with me!! It was so so lovely to be back in B town to see everyone (if I missed you I’m sorry, it was a very quick and very spontaneous trip!!) My Dad turned the house into ‘YWAM Bromham’ (the hottest new YWAM base apparently…), we visited London (classic tourists), and ate a lot of fish and chips, a roast dinner and a full English breakfast – yes I educated them well. 🇬🇧🇬🇧

As for now, I am back in Norway on Team weeks – where my DTS team and I travel and visit churches & youth groups all around Norway for a month! We want to see more youth on fire for Jesus in Norway!🧡🔥 We’ve just come back from one week in Kristiansand, in the south of Norway, and are now preparing for the next week! There’s only 3 and a half weeks left of DTS now, which seems a bit crazy (how has 8 months gone so fast???), but I’m still loving every minute and I can’t wait to see what happens in the last few weeks!

~ Hannah – Still small and still loving life x

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Roadtrips, Christmas and National Anthems

Hello, God Jul and happy holidays!!🎄🎄I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and have enjoyed your celebrations! It’s crazy to think that I’ve been here in Norway for over 3 months now and am 1/3 of the way through my DTS (Discipleship Training School!!) The past month has had many new adventures and new experiences, but also some sad goodbyes! Here’s an overview into what’s been happening…

  • We’ve been back working with Bible to all Østfold (Bibelen til alle Østfold), however this time just for the day in a place called Moss
  • We also have been back to the mountains in Edland to work with the youth there, in some rather interesting weather!!
  • My friends from England (Emma, Louise and Jasmine) and came to visit me🇬🇧🌹 we spent 4 days in Oslo and managed not to get that lost
  • It’s snowed… A LOT (and has not gone away!!)
  • I’ve spent my Christmas with 2 Americans, 2 Germans, a Norwegian and a Papua New Guinean here in Skien and it’s been a dream✨

Now the last time we got to work with “Bible to all” was in the beginning of November, where we helped with the Bible distribution in the county of Østfold (if you have no clue what I’m on about, I’ve written all about it in my last blog post) The objective of Bible to all (Bibelen til alle) is to give a free bible to every home in Norway. However, last time we didn’t quite get to finish, SO on December the 8th, we got to go back for the day to help distribute again! However this time, we were distributing in the snow ⛄️ As you can imagine, this created the opportunity to have a lot of fun (we’ll just forget about how cold it was!!) Now I’ve just about hacked driving the YWAM vans on the right (aka the wrong) side of the road, however driving in Norwegian winter, in the ice and snow, is a different story!! We got stuck a total of 7 times but it was such a laugh and it was so good to get to go back and help this worthwhile organisation again!

~ Me and the lovely Danish Julie, my partner for the day (we all were in pairs as we handed out the bibles)

Continuing the snowy roadtrips, a few days before “Bible to All” we got to go back to help at a youth group in the mountains in a place called Edland, just over 3 hours away from Skien. The last time we were in Edland was October the 31st, so it was good to go back, especially as there were a lot more kids there than the last time (we think Halloween may have been a contributing factor… however we would have been happy if just one kid showed up!!) However, despite having a little bit more experience in driving in snow, the journey on the way back from Edland was one no one was prepared for! There was 11 of us on this trip and we were split into 2 cars, Max (one of the Germans on my DTS) driving one and me driving the other. However, the fan in the car I was driving decided to stop working, meaning that it got increasingly harder to see, until I was driving with my head out the window!! Now this may sound entertaining, but believe me at the time it really wasn’t and when you’re driving in winter at 11 o’clock at night in Norway and you cannot see because the windscreen is fogged up, it’s really not fun 😅 This resulted in us pulling over a few times before we finally stopped and tried to figure out what to do. The solution? Pray. So all 11 of us from both cars got out and by the side of the road in the snow and at 11pm at night we started to pray. And, well, long story short, THE FAN STARTED TO WORK!! Our amazing Father is a God of healing, including cars!! Not really the day we had envisioned, but it’s definitely a day, and a testimony, we will not forget!

Christmas in Norway 🎄🎄

See I would say I’ve been in a Christmassy mood for around the last 2 months now, so you can imagine how happy I was when we had our YWAM Skien Christmas party to celebrate the season before most people headed home for Christmas break! Now I will always be loyal to a good British Christmas dinner (Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, turkey, parsnips and pigs in blankets YES please) but I’m telling you, the Norwegian’s sure know how to make a good Christmas dinner!! This included trying a lot of new food and drinking a lot of JuleBrus, which is basically ‘Christmas soda’ (that’s right, Norwegians love Christmas so much they have their own Christmas Soda?!!) Massive shoutout to the team that made all the food and to everyone that organised such a successful and fulfilled Christmassy night!!

Most people went home to their various home countries to celebrate Christmas, but 7 of us stayed in Skien and so we got to celebrate together! However before this, as soon as Christmas break started I went to Oslo for 4 days, as my friends from my hometown Bedford, in England, Emma, Louise and Jasmine, came to visit!! After not seeing them for 3 months, it was SO good to catchup and to explore Oslo (they didn’t like the cold so much…) I hadn’t really seen much of Oslo before, and so I felt like a proper tourist going around seeing things like the Royal Opera House and the changing of the guard at The Norwegian palace, as well as going Christmas markets✨

As soon as I had said goodbye to the girls and got back to Skien, I quickly got prepared for yet another road trip (yes we do road trip a lot!!) The 6 of us (myself🇬🇧, Carly🇺🇸, Marilyn🇵🇬, Janina🇩🇪, Stephen🇺🇸 and Max🇩🇪) went for 2 days to visit Roald, a Norwegian on our DTS who is from Arendal (WHERE FROZEN IS SET!!) Luckily this time no car fan’s decided to break, however we did get stuck for a bit in the snow… I’m now learning that this happens a lot in Norway! It was so lovely to go and stay in such a welcoming home and we were very grateful for Roald’s family’s hospitality (plus the food was absolutely incredible!!) We made a snowman, went sledging, got incredibly cold and had a very ‘koselig’ time! ~ 6/8 of the students on my DTS – Janina, Roald, Stephen, Max, myself and Marilyn

The journey back also proved entertaining, as the snow was very heavy and really did not want to stop – Massive shoutout goes to Max who drove so well and got us home safe despite all the lovely weather conditions (however we all think he just wanted to practice his wheel-spins)

Spending Christmas in Norway was very different to any other Christmas I’ve ever experienced. No we didn’t have Christmas crackers or the things I’m use to, but it was so nice to experience how different cultures celebrate the season (not to mention Norway celebrates on the 24th of December instead of the 25th!!) as well as celebrating with people from all over the world that I get to call my friends ❤️

As Christmas is now over and as we prepare for the new year and a new season, we sadly have had to say a lot of goodbyes. One of the hardest is to one of the girls on our DTS, the lovely Marilyn Arua, who left on December the 28th to go back to her home country, Papua New Guinea. Marilyn is a little bit different to the rest of us as she has been here in Skien since March instead of September like the rest of us on our DTS! Sadly her visa is now up and so she is returning home to PNG. Marilyn is one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met and carries so much joy wherever she goes. She is beyond talented in so many areas and has been such an asset to our impact DTS family. Although we are all absolutely gutted that she is leaving, I’m sure I can say for all of us that we are so grateful that we got to do life with her the past 3 months and that she will be incredibly missed! Marilyn was one of my roomies and has become one of my closest friends here in Skien, but I know this is more of a ‘see you later’ than a goodbye! I can’t wait to see,and hear about, all the amazing things that God has in store for you!! We love you Marilyn ❤️

After we dropped Marilyn at the airport in Oslo, the rest of us ventured into Oslo. Now although 2 of us were Norwegian, somehow I still became the tour guide and navigator! Now if you’ve ever been on a road trip with me, you will know that this either went really well or absolutely awful… luckily we all still live to tell the tale!! We did some more sight seeing, attempted to become friends with a Royal Guard and fell over on a lot of ice – just your average day!

That evening I chose to stay in Oslo after they had all left as I was going to a conference run by Jesus Revolution called ‘Kingdom Come’. I’d met quite a few of the people in Jesus Revolution before at events like ‘Get Focused’ and credit to them, they sold this conference pretty well!! And well, it did not disappoint! It was so good to get to see and experience what God is doing through this amazing group of people!! Not to mention I had to sing the British national anthem, on the stage in front of the ENTIRE conference (thank you so much Sara Lang) Word of advice, always know your national anthem, just in case you get volunteered to sing it on a stage in front of 100 people (because that of course happens all the time, right?) It would be awkward if you forgot the words on the stage, not that I did that…

So there you have it, another month update in that madness that is my life! I hope you’ve enjoyed the read!! As usual if you have any questions, feel free to message me☺️💛

Happy new year!! / Godt Nytt År!!

Hannah x

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The Place That Makes Me LOVE Monday’s

Hei og velkommen to another update from the organised chaos that is my life! I’ve been in Norway just over 2 months now, but wow does a lot happen in 2 months!! Here’s an insight of what’s been happening…

  • I’ve been on a lot of road trips to places like: Sarpsborg, Tønsberg, Kirkøy, Oslo, and Rjukan – in the mountains with SNOW!!
  • YWAM (Youth With A Mission) have actually allowed me to drive (not quite too sure why they did, but I think I’ve hacked the whole driving on the right thing now, plus no-one’s been injured yet!!)
  • I’ve slept on a lot of Church floors, which is a lot better than it sounds!
  • I’ve celebrated my first ever Thanksgiving as well as celebrating one of the other school’s graduation

  • I went to a 10 hour worship session called Burn (I only hacked 7 hours)
  • I’ve learnt a lot, especially in my faith, and I’m loving every minute of Norwegian life!

Now before I moved here, the only 2 places I knew of in Norway was Oslo and Skien (where I currently live), however the only time I had actually seen Oslo was inside of the airport when I landed back in September, so I figured that this should probably change! So along with 5 others, we went on a day trip to Oslo, where we both did bouldering at an indoor climbing center (I had really really missed climbing) and did some exploring/sight seeing of the actual city! This was the second time I had actually driven on the right side of the road, and for some reason I thought it was a good idea to drive to the middle of Oslo on a Saturday??? Luckily all was good, I only got beeped at twice which I counted as a success (note to self, if you have a roofbox on the car you’re driving, don’t go into a car park with a height rescrition, it doesn’t end well…)

~ These photos are from Oslo’s Opera house ✨

We were in Oslo just for the day as the next day, (the 4th November) my DTS travelled to a place called Sarpsborg to be a part of a movement called Bible To All (Bibelen til alle Østfold) which was an experience I definitely won’t forget!! Everyday we would have teaching, worship, around 12 hours of free time (aka nap time) and then we, along will around 100 others, would all go out to different parts of the county of Østfold to distribute bibles for around 3 hours. This basically meant knocking on peoples doors and offering them a free bible; however it also meant speaking in Norwegian, which proved rather interesting in my case! My Norwegian is slightly improving, however I still get a lot of my pronunciations wrong… my highlight being instead of saying “we’re from bible to all”, I actually said “we’re from bible to Allah” (the Norwegian word for all is ‘alle’, which in my defense sound a little bit similar…), which when you’re offering someone a free Bible rather confuses them; it was entertaining for everyone else though!! Anyway, apart from this slightly awkward moment, this week meant I got to meet so many lovely people, got invited into to peoples houses and got to chat/pray with them and talk to so many others who share the same passion as me – reaching the unreached!  This week really taught me that you don’t need to be able to speak the same language as others in order to be kind to them and show them God’s love. And despite my many epic fails of trying to speak Norwegian, it actually really improved my understanding of the language!

~ me, Josef, Marilyn and Stephen after a very fun evening of handing out Bibles

Now as you can probably guess, this week was pretty intense and very very tiring (shout out to my DTS who were all amazing and put up with my tiredness❤️), but it was not over yet! We left Sarpsborg on the Friday and then traveled straight to our next event, a youth weekend in Tønsberg called ‘Get Focused’, this year being called ‘frihet’ meaning freedom. We were there serving on team, doing everything from cleaning bathrooms to running the YWAM Norway stand. It rained ALL weekend (no exaggeration), I slept under a table Friday and Saturday night in a school and washed my hair in a sink, but I loved every second! We got to connect to a lot  of other people who are being used by God in so many incredible ways, as well as meeting what seemed like thousands of Norwegian youth, worshiping, dancing, praying with and for them and just having fun!

Despite a lot of rain, not much sleep, getting lost in the fog (which we blame google maps for) and sleeping on the floor every night, this week was SO SO good and totally worth all the tiredness, and if you ever get the opportunity to go to any of these events, or ones like it, I totally recommend it – believe me you will not regret it!!

As for the past week we have had a lot happening at YWAM Skien! This week we celebrated a not so traditional Thanksgiving, one of the school’s, called DBS, graduation as well as holding 2 events, a women’s conference and a missions day!! There’s never a dull moment here in Skien, but that’s just the way it should be!

So yeah, I guess you could say life’s pretty great right now, as this was just a little insight into what’s been happening the past month! If you’d like to catch up or want to know more send me a message and I’d love to tell you all about it!

Thanks for reading, Ha det!!

~ Hannah x

p.s. it’s only ONE month until Christmas 🎄🎄

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Jumping into new adventures

Hello and welcome to me trying to attempt to summarise the past month into a single blog post… It’s been a bit if a crazy month, so let me briefly break it down:

  • I’ve been woken up at 3am, whilst wild camping, by loud electro music and made to do aerobics
  • I live in an old prison, and yes there are bars on the windows
  • It took me 3 weeks to realise I was saying the Norwegian word for no wrong, which now makes me understand why I kept getting weird looks when I attempted to speak Norwegian…
  • My DTS team represents 7 countries and my accent gets imitated everyday, but no one has hacked it quite yet
  • I eat 4 meals a day #winning
  • I live with the BEST people and I’m 100% loving life!!

If you’re reading this and you have no idea what’s going on, let me explain! After finishing working @ Min y Don Christian Adventure Centre in Wales on September the 8th, I went back to Bedford for what seemed like the quickest 10 days of my life and prepared for my new adventure, starting a Discipleship Training School called Impact DTS in Skien, Norway with Youth With a Mission (YWAM).

On Tuesday the 18th of September, after packing, unpacking and repacking the night before (classic Hannah) I flew to Oslo and after a 12 hour journey, I arrived in my new home in YWAM Skien! I was then met by the welcoming staff and students of the DTS… In Impact there are 3 Americans, 1 Canadian, 2 Germans, 2 Norwegians, 1 from Papua New Guinea, 1 from Sweeden and me, and I couldn’t wish for better people to do the next 9 months with!! There is also another school called a DBS running here in Skien which started 3 weeks before us and they, as well as all the staff here, made us feel SO loved and welcome, everyone here is pretty great so I settled in straight away!

This is my new home:

Now as you imagine when you start to live with new people you get to know them pretty quick! However, bonding on DTS came pretty quickly as within a day of arriving we’d been told we’d be going on a ‘Wilderness Trip’ that weekend. However, all was top secret until the day before we left, on Friday the 21st of Sept. All we were told is that we were going camping and to be prepared to leave in the middle of the night! This is when we realised that this was not going to be your average camping trip (to anyone who went to Soul Survivor with me, this was no SS camping!!) This is all we knew…

  • We were not told how many days we would be away for
  • We had no clue where we were going
  • We could only takes 5 things with us
  • No watches, no phones but LOTS of questions

So to break it down, this is what went down that weekend:

  • We were told to go and find a river on the other side of Skien, but you guessed it, no maps! We had to find a stadium , then had to go find the a street which has the most Norwegian name (I can’t even say it, let alone attempt to spell it!!) Next we had to find house number 87 and then turn left… simple right? Thank God we have 2 Norwegians to ask people where on earth to go!!
  • When we eventually found this river, we paired up and canoed down it to the next point. Despite 3 people ending up in the water due to all the canoes getting stuck, it was a pretty great! This time we did have a map, which included these 3 instructions:
    Don’t die
    Don’t get lost
    Eat your breakfast (at one stage this LOVELY trip was supposed to start at 5am by waking us up by the fire alarm, luckily plans changed due to the weather so we started at 9:30, PRAISE THE LORD)
  • We then hiked for a little bit, ended up canoeing again and found where we camping! Now having lived in Wales for the summer months I’d got used to lots of hills being around, but I’d never seen anything quite like this place! It was just breathtaking, Norway nature is pretty jaw dropping and if you’ve never seen it, GET HERE!!
  • After we arrived, we set up camp, including making our very own nature toilet
  • We then split into 2 teams, Team Europe and Team World, and did team challenges. It started with making dinner over the fire and ended with playing catch with eggs in the dark – my walking boots will never be the same again…
  • The evening continued with us having prayer and worship by the campfire!! It was such a dream worshipping with my new little family in God’s breathtaking creation!
  • When we later found out the timings, it turns out we finished worship around 11:15pm so naturally we all were quite tired by this point, but oh no we were not finished yet! The team challenges continued with us running up and down a hill in the dark trying not to get found in order to get to the top to reach the “unreached people group” (some of our staff having a ball dancing round a fire)
  • By the time this had finished it was around 12:30, but wow did it feel so much later (not knowing the time really does throw you off!!)

Now I don’t know what your camping trips have been like, but I can guarantee ours may have been a bit of a different experience!

  • At 3am we were awoken to this loud electro music booming on speakers and our leaders shouting “GET UP GET UP GET UP” and what do you know 20 seconds later we were doing aerobics, you know, as you do! As cruel as this sounds however, they did give us hot chocolate and buns afterwards, which I still think was an attempt to butter us up, but I won’t lie they were pretty darn good
  • The next day we woke up to the most beautiful morning, made breakfast, packed down the camp and then the team challenges continued!
  • A few hours later we were back in the canoes and were then met by the vans to take us back to the base where we would find out about phase 2, which we later found out to our relief was eating dinner!!

Now apart from everything smelling like smoke (*disclaimer* when washing your clothes do NOT tumble dry woolly hats, it won’t end well as I had the joy of discovering…) being very very VERY tired and nearly losing Josef aka the ‘Sweed’ who claimed that he didn’t get lost, we just didn’t know where he was… it was SUCH a good weekend where we all grew so much closer together as staff and students and despite our many “is it nearly overs?” was a weekend that I’m sure we’ll never forget!!

These are the people on my DTS: (from the left) Elle, Janina, Josef, me, Sunniva, Marilyn, Stephen, Max, Hayden and Roald

The weeks that followed luckily involved no more 3am wake ups to do aerobics, however did include 3 fire alarms… luckily no fires though!

Days at YWAM start at 6:45am for breakfast, followed by cleaning for 30 minutes, quiet time and then teaching starts at 8:30am.

So far in teaching we have studied Hearing God’s voice and The Father Heart of God, and my mind has already been blown! We have been so blessed to be able to be taught by so many great teachers, some including guest speakers from all around the world! Getting to learn together, laugh together, cry together, worship together, pray both for each other and with each other and do life with all these people here in Skien is such a joy and I honestly can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next 8 and a half months!!

This past week, from Friday the 5th to Tuesday the 9th of October, my team and I travelled to the mountains to a place called Fyresdal. We were there to help lead a Norwegian Youth Camp lead by one of the Church’s here in Skien! I think it’s safe to say it was a new adventure for the majority of us; the main focus of our DTS is youth ministry but not many of us had ever been to a Norwegian youth camp before, but wow was it incredible! Getting to talk, pray, worship and laugh with these kids was such a joy and their hunger to know more reminded me why I have such a heart and passion for youth work!! An extra bonus was that Fyresdal is one of the most beautiful places EVER!!

Well there you have it, my attempt at writing just a snapshot of what’s been happening here in Skien in the past 3 and a half weeks!! There’s been so much more happening, including evangelising on the streets of Skien, film nights and trying lots of new food (who knew brown cheese was a thing???)

The amount of stories that I already have of what God has been doing both here in YWAM and in my own life has just been amazing!! So if you can put up with hearing story after story, or if you ever want a catchup, have any questions on what I’m doing or why I’m doing it, please feel free to drop me a message and I would love to catchup and to talk !!

Sending all my love from Norway, Ha Det x

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Back to prison life

Hello from Norway! Firstly let me apologise for the delay in posting my blog… I try to post at least every 2 months but recently I’ve struggled to get one out, but I’ll try and update you on everything that I can!!

Let me give you a quick recap but keep reading for exciting news !!

  • I am currently staffing this years Impact DTS (the same school I did last year), so I’m back to living in the good old prison
  • I have just caught my 31st flight of this year after being in Poland on a YWAM Skien base trip for 3 days (not too proud about my carbon footprint but in awe of home much God has provided for me!)
  • I gained one more monthly financial supporter so thank you for your prayers🙌🏼
  • And last but not least, the outreach location has been decided for this years DTS !!!

Since the last post, things have been getting crazier back in Skien as this is my first time staffing a Discipleship Training School (DTS). The school is now in full swing, we are now just about to finish up for Christmas after what has been and incredible 3 month lecture phase!

We have 8 students: an American, a Canadian, a Dutchie, a Kenyan, 2 Germans and 2 Norwegians!!

I love getting to help run their school, each one of them are so great and make all the preparation and planning SO worth it!! God has been doing some amazing things! Healing both inside and out and clearly speaking to so many of our students! It’s so exciting to see them flourish and learn and I love having the opportunity to stand alongside them and grow with them!!

I also have a wonderful staff team! I love running this school with them – they truly are wonderful and I am so thankful to staff with them ❤️

Talking of DTS’s, back in October I got the opportunity to go and visit 2 of my friends from my own DTS! Max and Janina, both German, are currently doing a School of Worship in another YWAM base in Hernnhut, Germany! It was so lovely to see them and stay in their new base and be with them for 3 days! When you live with people for 9 months, travel the world with them on misson and watch God do incredible things with them BUT then they move, you certainly start to miss them very quickly!! I also got the opportunity to meet up with one of my friends who I used to work with in Wales back in Summer ’18, who is staffing a DTS at the same base!!! Talk about a small world!! 🌎

Here are some pictures from our time together (not to mention that they now live in an old castle… some might say an upgrade from our lovely old prison!!!)

Onto the news you’ve all been waiting for, the location for this years Impact DTS Outreach!! Originally I thought that we would all go to Nepal, as we witnessed revival starting to break out there – especially in the slums, however as we spent time as a DTS staff team praying and asking God where He wanted us, a country kept coming up that none of us expected!!

SO… at the end of January, myself, Thora and Ben (2 great people who I get to staff with) will take the DTS to BRAZIL !!!🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷

This is a country that none of us saw coming, but as we prayed more and more we realised that this is where God was directing us to take our team! We asked the students to also pray, not for a specific location necessarily, but for anything they felt God was saying about our outreach! They wrote it all down and then as staff we went and continued to pray. Later, after we had talked about Brazil we looked at the pieces of paper and so many of them got the same as we did – regarding ministries and things we would be doing!! While we are there, there is a massive mission event called The Send which we will be attending (if you don’t know what they are they check out the link!) We will also be in Brazil for the time of Carnival where we will team up with a ministry team in São Paulo to do street evangelism during this event! God has certainly got something great in store for this DTS outreach and we are so excited to see what is going to happen and what fruit will be brought out of our time there!

I am now in my final couple of weeks at the base before Christmas! Sadly I won’t be coming back to England this year as I will be going to America for Christmas!! My boyfriend Hayden is from Pennsylvania and is currently home with his family so they very kindly have blessed me with a trip to the US so I can meet them all and celebrate Christmas with them! I have never been to America so I am very excited (I also haven’t seen Hayden in person in 3 months, so I’m very excited for that as well!!) 10 days to go!!!✈️ ➡️ 🇺🇸

Healing

Recently God has been speaking to me a lot about healing. I love praying for people but recently I have seen so many healings I have lost track!

Recently I got to preach at a Church in Arendal called Filadelfia. I felt the Lord tell me to preach on healing so that’s what I did! A few months ago I received healing in my leg, as my left leg was around 3cm shorter than my right leg. It’s something that has never really caused me pain, but it was very noticeable! I went forward to be prayed for by one of my friends from Jesus Revolution (another mission organisation based in Oslo) and my leg grew out!! It was something I’d never witnessed myself, so praise Jesus!!! My legs are now the same length🙌🏼

After I had finished preaching and sharing this story, the youth leader of the Church told me to go and stand at the back in case people wanted to be prayed for. He wasn’t sure if anyone would come forward, but he said to do it and see what happened! And well, I think I was praying for people for around 2 hours !!!! Holy Spirit really met people and we got to see a lot of healings! I was there praying with the students (so cool to see them step out) and one girl came up to me and said “I have the same problem in my leg”. Her left leg was shorter than her right leg! So we prayed and immediately her leg started to grow and they became the same length! The rest of the night she spent crying and worshipping her King! I spoke to her 2 days later and she told me that she had had back pain for many years in connection with her leg. The meeting was very loud so we couldn’t talk much but the next thing she said was incredible… SHE HADN’T HAD ANY PAIN SINCE!!!!! God is so good!!

Prayer Points:

As for prayer points, there is a lot that needs to be sorted and planned in the next coming weeks as we leave for outreach in 6 and a half weeks so it’s going to be very busy time, but I always am in need of more of God’s wisdom! I am so thankful for everyone who has been praying and interceding for me since I left the UK, and I know that your prayers work so thank you so much!!

As for specific points you can pray for, here is this years list:

  • For wisdom for a new opportunity that has come up for me that could mean another year in Norway before Nepal
  • For the DTS students, that they will continue to be open to whatever God is speaking to, and teaching, them, and that as a class we will continue to grow closer to eachother and to Jesus
  • For my relationship with Hayden, that we will continue to grow as a couple despite many thousands of miles apart and a 6 hour time difference
  • For financial blessings for outreach (and I have been definitely blessed in the past weeks and months – every bill has been paid, including extra bills that I wasn’t expecting, your prayers work!!!!)
  • For strength for my family after a recent passing of a loved one

Support

I really believe that God has called me into full time missions and that he will provide for all of my financial needs. I just want to extend an invitation if you feel that you want to join me.

Firstly I want to stress that my heart is not to pressure anyone into giving money. I know that God will provide so there is no pressure on you to give. One of the biggest ways to support me is through prayer, and I’m so thankful for everyone who have covered me in prayer so far !! I just want to extend the opportunity to give if you would like to join. 

If you feel like you would like to support me monthly, or with a one time gift, you can do so through the link below or contact me if you need help / more information (eg my bank details or help with paypal )

My paypal account is: hannahplace1100@outlook.com

I am so thankful for all your prayers and financial support, it really means the absolute world to me!! Feel free to drop me a message anytime about what I’m doing or if you just want to catch up (or you can always come and visit – £9.99 flights to Norway just saying…) Also, if you have any prayer requests please please message me as I’d love to be praying for you – it’s not just me who needs prayer!!!

Be blessed,

Hannah x

7 months, 12 countries

Hello from Romania!! I’m currently in a village called Prod (5 hours out of Bucharest), with a youth group from Skien in Norway, to serve with some missionaries out here. We have been doing everything from digging deep holes for fences and toilets to running a children’s camp for around 100 kids from the surrounding villages!! It’s been an intense week so far with very very little sleep, but it’s definitely been a week to remember

As a team, we have been so blessed out here. We have met so many kind and loving people, most which have very little but yet gave so much. I think I’ve sung heads, shoulders, knees and toes a million and one times now, but seeing how happy these kids are when they dance makes every second here worth it!!

Thank you to everyone who kept our team in their prayers while we’ve been here!! All 17 of us have loved being out here and have fallen in love with the people here! We’ve preached, prayed, worshipped, sang a LOT of kids songs, got absolutely soaked (being a leader on a water obstacle course doesn’t leave your clothes or shoes very dry…) , laughed, cried and we all have felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to be out here! Thankful for Jesus for his constant protection and provision!

We arrive back into Norway late on the 7th August, where a few of us go straight from the airport to help run the youth programme in YWAM Norway’s National summer gathering (not to mention 4 days of camping…) what’s sleep again??

Just incase you were thinking you’ve misread the heading of this update, you were not!! Somehow I have been to 12 counties this year!!!! From Norway to Romania, Turkey and Austria just to name a few! God has been so faithful and it’s definitely been a unforgettable 7 months! However before the craziness of summer, I graduated from my DTS!

From September ’18 to May ’19, I have been doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) in a place called Skien, 2 and a half hours south of Oslo in Norway. The people in the photo above are honestly amazing. They have been the best travel partners and the best of friends. I’m so grateful for each and every one of them, for the way they’ve encouraged me, laughed with me, prayed and cried with me and just been there always, I can truly say that they are my family! Even though we’re now all scattered around the world, I’m so proud of all of them and I can’t wait to see what God does in their lives in the next few years!!

Here are some highlights from the year:

During DTS I was in Norway, Nepal, India and Germany, all of which I had never been to! However I didn’t have much planned for summer. But I was really praying that I could keep going on mission trips. I have such a love for taking youth on short term mission trips because my first mission trip to Kenya impacted my life so much and gave me such a strong realisation of how important The Great Commission is. And now, nearly 3 months after graduating, I have been to 8 more countries, most of them on mission, and I’ve seen God act in incredible ways in so many different cultures.

It started by going to a conference in Vienna, Austria called awakening Europe in early June. It started off a bit crazy because me and my boyfriend Hayden decided that flying was too normal, so we flew back to England from Norway to get my car and then DROVE to Austria!!! It took us 2 days as we stopped over in Frankfurt in Germany overnight to visit some of our German friends from DTS!

When we arrived in Vienna, it got even crazier!!! This conference was INSANE! The day’s were made up of morning and evening meetings as well as afternoon evangelism, where both myself and Hayden got to lead teams. 10,000 people who love Jesus flooding Vienna with the love of Jesus, we caused quite a stir! Over the course of 3 days, 800 people got saved !!🙌🏼 God is so good!

Straight after Awakening Europe (with a quick stop over in Czech Republic on the way back, because when you’re that close you have to!) we headed back in my car to England as 2 days later we were going to Turkey!!

Turkey was possibly one of the craziest trips I’ve been on as I knew very little about where we were going and the culture there. Just before we were due to leave for awakening Europe, Hayden’s friends over in Turkey sent him a message asking if he wanted to come back for a few weeks to run the youth programme! So we booked tickets and once we were back from our roadtrip to Austria, we caught a flight to Turkey, along with our friend Dan!

We were there for 2 weeks, working in a school that the Church puts on for Syrian refugees as well as building relationships with the youth there. We were there during the election time and I’ve never seen so many people celebrate and election result!! The youth there asked so many questions about God and one even decided to get baptised!!!

Since then, I’ve been back home in England for 3 weeks, visiting family and friends and seeing my Dad get married! I also somehow managed a girls trip to France for 3 days!!

What now though??

Well, I have decided to stay on in Norway for another year, working with YWAM by staffing this years DTS! The DTS starts this September and graduates next May. I am SO excited for this years DTS, and I can’t wait to see what God does in the next coming months!

Prayer Points:

  • For more DTS applications for this September and peace for those who have already been accepted
  • For financial monthly supporters
  • For the youth group that I’ve been with here in Romania, that their boldness will keep growing
  • Provision for a Church in a Roma village here in Romania to buy a building for their church

Support

I really believe that God has called me into full time missions and that he will provide for all of my financial needs. I just want to extend an invitation if you fee

Firstly I want to stress that my heart is not to pressure anyone into giving money. I know that God will provide so there is no pressure on you to give. One of the biggest ways to support me is through prayer, and I’m so thankful for everyone who have covered me in prayer so far !! I just want to extend the opportunity to give if you would like to join. 

If you feel like you would like to support me monthly, or with a one time gift, you can do so through the link below or contact me if you need help / more information (eg my bank details or help with paypal )

My paypal account is: hannahplace1100@outlook.com

This year has been amazing and beyond my wildest dreams – I am definitely living the dream! God has done so many incredible things this year, things I definitely didn’t see coming, and so I cannot wait to see what will happen in the next year!!

Blessings,

Hannah x

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