Friday, November 4, 2011

48 students have arrived

The school has started!!!! We have just finished week one of lectures. 
The lecture topic was Character and Nature of God. Kim Brinkman taught. She is the school leader for the Beach to Bush Discipleship Training School that is currently running. The students started arriving little by little over a week ago. There are 48 students from all over the world and 15 staff!! The welcome dinner was wonderful.
There was lots of fun preparation all day in the kitchen! Kate is on the far right, Maija is next to her with the short hair, and Katrina is in the back chopping yummy veggies!!
This is Jess. She is a co-leader on the school. Love her!
Getting the community room ready, setting our chairs and tables, center pieces with colored pencils, candles...
"YAY!! Welcome dinner is tonight!!!!!"
We all gathered in this room (the community room) and ate a yummy meal with dessert. We had name placements for each person and had a few fun table games. Afterwards we had a bon fire outside with smores, tea and coffee. 
In each corner of the room we had a little display of each focus, this was the music corner!
Film and photography focus

The welcome dinner was on a Thursday night. That first weekend is testimony sharing with the entire school. So all 63 of us gathered in the MAD room, (media center where we have lectures and worship nights), we gathered with pillows, blankets, and tissues. Each person shared their testimony. I prayed the night before and felt like God wanted me to go first. So I shared my testimony first. God gave me a picture of a door being opened wide - I felt like if we as staff were open and honest then thats like opening the door for others to be open and honest. God moved and the students/staff were totally open. As each person shared more unity filled the room. Testimony sharing lasted Saturday, Sunday, and some parts of Monday and Tuesday. 

Last night was our first small group. We will have small group once a week for 2 hours. There are 10 girls in my group and I am co-leading with my sweet friend and fellow staff Maija from Finland. It was a beautiful time together with cookies and sharing. Within that group of 10 I have 4 "one-on-one's". I will sit down and meet with them each individually every single week for about an hour. Walk along side them, mentor, disciple, challenge, pour into. God has already given me such a heart for each girl, and the school as a whole. It doesn't mean I won't be pouring into the other 44, paperwork wise though, and on a more personal level, those 4 I will be connecting wtih. I am excited to see what God does. 

Tomorrow is Saturday and the school is helping volunteer at a local school festival down the street. We will go and volunteer however they need - face painting, picking up rubbish, helping people sell things in their stalls or with whatever they need, running errands, talking to people in the community, etc. This will be awesome to pour into the community!!! I'm so excited!

Next week the lecture topic is Hearing the Voice of God and my school leader, Jason Salori will be speaking. He is such a man of God and carries so much wisdom about this topic. Its so neat to already see how GOd is moving and working in the students lives. 

Morning tea happens every single day at around 10:30am. This is the courtyard. We have fruit and pastries, tea and coffee. These are some of the students!!
Orientation day! Morrison is leading the art focus with me. We were at the photo station, taking photos of all the students for the MAD photo board!
Maija, Anna, and Katrina in relaxing and planning.

MORE NEWS: Jason has shared with us 15 staff the outreach locations for this school and has asked us to pray. I am not allowed to reveal them right now, but that will be coming soon as the locations and outreach leaders are confirmed!

I am still in need of $3,500 for outreach specifically. That much has already come in and if you have given I am so thankful that is definitely an investment in the kingdom! Outreach is Feb 14 - April 2 (roughly) My goal is prayer is to have all the rest of my funds raised before Christmas. You can donate through my blog (with paypal) or you can send checks payable to Alicia McLeod to 9205 Natchez Drive Brentwood, TN 37027.

I hope everyone in America is enjoying the fall leaves and cool weather. Its getting hotter by the day, summer is on its way. I love each of you with all my heart. Thank you for praying and being apart of this amazing journey God has me on!

I will write soon!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Art Studio - Before/After Pictures

After hours upon hours of hard work and fun...the art studio renovation is COMPLETE!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Group Project - Tree Painting

Yesterday the 4 art leaders painted together! It was such a fun afternoon! Jason, the school leader, gave each focus an assignment to create a piece collectively in one day. We worked on it yesterday afternoon...

Morrison, from South Carolina (far right in the green), Kalli, from Montana (black shirt sitting in the middle), Katrina, from Scotland (tucked away behind Kalli) I will be leading the art track with these lovely ladies! I'm so excited!

We all have different painting styles. It was incredible to combine them.

Time to add needle and thread...

One stitch at a time. Little details I adore!

My darling Katrina! Love her so much!

Final project! Felt birds sewn in + needle and thread, and "imagine" written on the left hand side.

It was a blast! I am so excited to lead with these girls, God is incredible. More to come...

I love you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strained tendons - A season to grow...

I've been back nearly 3 weeks now! The day after I landed I woke up and ran for an hour. (The day before I left home I ran a half marathon) The weather was a bit different, breezy and cool. The second morning I did the same thing, woke up while it was still dark and met the misty roads and sun that was soon saying hello. The third day I was back my right foot was bothering me, the tendons were sore when I would walk - I noticed this around lunch time and tried to forget about it thinking it would go away. That next morning I went running and tried to push through the pain, but couldn't. Finishing back at my driveway I could barely walk. This happened August 4th. Two weeks later I still haven't been able to put on my running shoes and run. This happened from over running and a lack of stretching - (the half marathon then more running and no rest) strained tendons in my right foot, something that needs serious proper healing or else it could get worse.

For someone who is used to running an hour or more everyday, to not being able to run at all - you can only imagine how I would feel. I cherish my morning runs with Jesus, Him being the first person I speak to - the one I run with.

My running shoes sit on my shelf, untouched. I sit on my comfy chair with my leg propped up and a bag of ice on it...I just finished playing guitar - I like to turn all the lights off in my room except this one lamp, open a window so the breeze dances in..I was just worshipping God, singing my own song and this came out.

Outside of running
Outside of my shoes
Outside of running
I choose you

God is teaching me so much through this season of not running, letting my tendons heal, being patient and not frustrated, being thankful for feet. He's got me in a place where I'm literally still a lot of the time - I see myself as a little girl climbing up a hill, running through trails, jumping, swinging, and this injury is like God picking me up and saying, "Leash come here, let me show you something, take your shoes off for a bit, come down this hill." I follow with a frozen face, He's taken me back to our field full of wildflowers, kissed by the sun the petals shine, we walk to the middle of the field and there is a foundation, strong wood.. it looks like the foundation for a HUGE house. God brings me to the middle, takes my hand as if to dance, and looks at me and I smile - I start laughing, we laugh together so hard the birds resting on tree branches 100 miles away can hear this joy. Our eye contact is still and we both know what we're thinking.

"I am your daughter, your beloved bride. Your delicate rain. You are my foundation. I am yours. You are mine. Running isn't my foundation. You are my hiding place God. You are my joy. You are my perfect peace. In you I am content. You are my strength. In you I stand firm as your beautiful daughter, your beautiful bride."

He nods with a smile. Takes my hand and we begin to dance. (Or in my case, cradles me) I feel the weight lift off my back, and the burdens off my chest, every worry, every fear, every thought is lifted like the wind. We dance. My eyes meeting His - this is where I'm supposed to stay always...He is so lovely.

Other news: These past three weeks I've been renovating my art studio!!! I will post about that soon once its completely done! I have before and after pictures. God is so incredible.

I love you, I will write again soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Four airplanes - 30+ hrs of travel - God is good

I made it back safely!! Nashville to Austin - Austin to LA - LA to Sydney - Sydney to Brisbane. Thank you everyone for praying! The travel was long and connections were a bit rough but the entire time I felt so covered by prayer and by Gods Presence, and I made it just fine! I am so thankful for every prayer - thank you!!! My Aussie Grandparents picked me up from the airport and I slept like a baby for 15 hours the first night.

I had Sunday morning to myself at their house and I had some sweet time with God and read all of the encouragements from my Open House! If you are one of those people thank you thank you! It blessed me so much and I will keep them forever. I'm writing in my cozy room, with my orange scarf wrapped around my neck. Coming back to winter is a bit of a shock to my system! Its so nice to see my YWAM family again!

I unpacked this morning, cleaned my room and had some yummy fruit for breakfast. Sweet conversations with friends here, many hugs and catching up. Another adventure begins! God is so good.

I can't put into words how covered I feel with prayer. God is so constant - so real, so everywhere. I am learning that it is possible to live in peace always. I love Psalm 34 - "seek peace and pursue it." It's right in front of us like a beautiful butterfly resting around us, a gift, a treasure, we gotta grab it and hold on to it! I will update again soon, I am safe and well, resting in the Lord. I love you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

''You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being.''

I sit here with a glass of water near me - I am overflowing with peace and joy - God is so good! My time at home has been more amazing than my little words can describe. God has orchestrated every moment - it has been a time to give and a time to receive. Like a pvc pipe with both ends open - a flow effect. Praise the Lord for precious family time. Here are a few photos.

I love my sisters.

Dear friend.

First time in one year my whole family was together. Big card game - lots of laughter.

One crazy cute bunch. Celebrating James' 20th birthday. God is good!

All together!!!

God takes my breath away. No matter where I am, He is there. His Presence is so thick, so fulfilling. I have had such rich rich times with God during this past month at home. He always brings me back to our secret place, the most important thing - intimacy with Him. Baby steps with Him, minute by minute. Trusting His lead each step of the way, no matter where my feet are in the world.

Thank you to everyone who came to my open house! What a blessing! I can't tell you how much it meant to me! Seeing your faces and hugging your necks brought so much color to my heart, thank you thank you. It was a beautiful evening with dear friends and family, paintings, hoots, laughter and sweet conversation.

This Thursday, July 28th, I will get on a plane and fly back across the world to Brisbane, Australia. No matter where I am, I know God holds me - He is my source for everything. I am excited about the next 10 months. God has so much in store! I will be leading another Discipleship Training School (DTS) - the students will arrive at the end of October and the school is for 7 months. Until then I will be serving on the YWAM Base and in the community, preparing for the school through prayer, planning, and finishing my art studio where the students will create with the Lord - and learn how to just enjoy Him and use their gifts to glorify Him.

Thank you for your prayers and support! May blessings shower on you today and everyday! I love you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dear moon

I heard beautiful music earlier tonight. Sat at a black table with a friend and starred somewhere on the stage, lost in the beautiful notes and voices that echoed all around me. I drove home enjoying the dear company of my darling friend. I noticed the moon was hiding, a misty cloud layer was all I could see. Even though I couldn't find the moon, I knew it was still shining. Gods gentle loving reminder that even when I can't see what He's doing, I know He hasn't left my side and His eyes haven't left me. If you search for Him, you will find Him. I walked into a sleepy house and poured a glass of juice.

You know those days when you're dying to talk to your best friend? Waiting for them to get off work or answer their phone so you can spill your heart in hopes that they will catch it and have something to say? God is really bringing me to a place where time after time He is that person for me. He began speaking to me about this when I was in Germany and the Czech Republic. Speaking to me harshly, really wanting to get my attention day after day - He is the only constant thing. He is the only thing that can satisfy my heart. I walked into the dark rec room of the house, set my juice down on a small table, and just collapsed on my tummy on the couch - rested on a soft pillow, well many pillows surrouded me actually. I took a deep breath and just layed there for about 10 minutes. I had so much to tell my Lover and I couldn't wait. I began to whisper my heart. He really is the well that won't run dry, the ocean that never ends, the eyes that never shut.

The moon is still shining, even though I can't see it tonight. God never loses sight of me, and He never loses sight of you. Just talk to Him, tell Him about your day, your night with a friend, your fears, a funny joke, He can't wait to hear about it all.

Bon Iver meets my ears once again - tends to be my music for writing these days. Picture a pitch black field and all of a sudden a glowing butterfly leaves a tree branch and begins the fly, being the only glowing thing in sight. I feel like I'm that butterfly, writing to a dark void. Everyone is probably asleep at this hour. But thats ok! Well these are my words, and if you are reading them, smile please - God has so much love for you. I love you too, sweet one.