His Character, His Nature, His Ways

As the end of our third week at YWAM comes to a close, our DTS have continued to pursue a deeper knowledge of the personal God by studying His Character (defined as His moral attributes), His Nature (defined as His natural attributes), and His Ways (defined as His personality). YWAM has a modular teaching philosophy, which means that each week we focus on one topic with one (usually visiting) teacher. Our professor this week was Peter Warren, a YWAM veteran and leader who has both a profound knowledge and a powerful personal testimony of who God is, especially as revealed in the Bible.

Throughout our weekday class sessions, Peter presented the character of God to us in a very systematic and organized way, with so many quotes and Bible passages to provide a solid foundation. Honestly, my brain is still reeling from all the information! He used a lot of his own personal stories and life experiences as a testimony as well– many of which he shares in His book, When The Shooting Stopped, which is one of the required readings for our class.

Even though Peter has a deep knowledge of Scripture and is a talented orator, what impressed me the most about him was his humility and approachability. Instead of being intimidated by hard questions, he was willing to admit when he didn’t know something. He also was very clear about dividing facts from opinions, encouraging a fellowship mentality by inviting us to discover truth alongside him.

My dorm building at dusk

How to sum up all the other happenings? In our Discipleship Training School, every student has been wrestling with their own personal baggage and presuppositions about God. We are constantly soaking in so much head and heart knowledge. Through it all, my lifeline is worship– both personal and corporate.

Every weekday morning, we start our mornings with an hour of corporate worship (with the entire base). I am also in the Worship Elective, which meets for 2 hours every Monday and Thursday. AND there is also a prayer room (with a piano) where I can run at any time of day to process. LOL! I am also so thankful for my student body, who share such a love of worship — even those who are not pursuing leadership in worship. Take a listen:

One of our informal worship circles in our dorms

Many of you know that before I left Miami, one of my prayers/desires for YWAM was that I would find fellow worship leaders and Jesus lovers who shared my love for songwriting. I am so happy to report that this prayer has been answered! Our Worship Elective is centered on worship leadership AND songwriting, with all students being challenged to write songs, even if they have no prior experience. Before the end of our lecture phase (ending this December), we will have written one individual song focused on High Praise (worshipping God and declaring His character) and one collaborative song focused on Intimacy with God (more personal and heart-focused).

It’s not difficult to admire God’s creativity and artistic touch on this campus. Our 198 acres include sandy walking paths, secret forest trails, a large lake, and rolling fields. Every evening at dinner, we eat in the golden glow of the setting sun and often walk down to the lake for the full view.

I am enjoying the journey. We only have about 6 weeks remaining on the Orlando base before our outreaches begin. Our DTS leaders felt a unique call for our school to not only pursue overseas outreach, but also participate in ministries locally and within the United States. Because of this call, we will be finishing our lecture phase about 2 weeks early to team up for national outreaches before Christmas break. Then in the new year, Lord willing, we will continue on to our overseas outreach.

Sunset at the lake

As always, your support and prayers continue to comfort me. Stay tuned for more updates. Thank you for reading!

God With Us – Emmanuel

Somehow, more than a week has already flown by since my last update… Time seems to be moving so fast and so slow!

Here at YWAM, we are still settling into a routine and adjusting as our schedules change. Our environment is saturated with worship, oral teachings, required readings, and good conversations.

Since I arrived on campus, I have been constantly encouraged and comforted by the presence of Scripture everywhere. All of the teachings and spontaneous words we have been receiving have been grounded in the word of God, and many of them have even had a topical focus related to the power of the word of God.

But Simon Peter answered Him, โ€œLord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

John 6:68 (NKJV)

It has been an amazing experience to see the “words of eternal life” seeping through from every direction. In class this week, our DTS leader Hannah Suggs is teaching us about hearing God’s voice, reviewing passage after passage that speaks of God’s heart to connect with us, to speak, and to lead us out of captivity. In our first meeting for the Worship Elective, we also learned about prophecy in worship.

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

Ezekiel 37:1 (NKJV)

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, the prophet is spiritually led to a valley, where God begins commanding Him to “prophesy” over the dry bones laying there. In Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word used for “prophesy” is naba, defined further as “to prophesy, to speak (or sing) by inspiration…”. Our teacher pointed to this passage as an example of how God loves to co-create with us: to use us as His instruments to touch people and speak to them. As worship leaders, we have a unique privilege to sing songs that can break down emotional barriers and spiritual strongholds in a person’s heart, paving the way for encounters with God’s “still small voice” [1 Kings 19:12].

The passage from Ezekiel 37 stayed with me, and I dove further into it in my own personal study. When the Lord calls Ezekiel to prophesy at the beginning of the story and the end, He ends the prophesy by saying each time “then you shall know that I am the Lord” [v. 6] and “then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it” [v.14].

So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Ezekiel 37:10 (NKJV)

In the context of the entire week (learning about prophecies, the voice of God, and our entire class crying out to hear from the Lord and feel the presence of His Spirit), I felt the Lord calling me to remember all the things He has already done in my life and in the lives of others I know. Through my short time at YWAM, God has already been hammering in the power of our individual and corporate testimonies. Even though He provides us with so many avenues and ways to know Him, often the stories of how He has moved in the lives of individual people with hearts surrendered to Him are the ones that resonate the most.

After my experience last week of feeling lonely and struggling to make meaningful connections, the truth of “God with Us”, a personal God who draws near to us and wants us to seek His face in return, is sweeter than ever. Since the beginning of the week, He has been nudging our small body of students individually to lay down idols that have been blocking a singular view of Him and to come sit at His feet — to just be present, to just breathe, to just be still. He has been confirming this truth in my own life by stripping away all distractions and calling me to go further into His presence.

Please pray for guidance and clarity for our leaders as circumstances in the world change. Please also pray for continued vulnerability and willingness from our student body to be open to hearing God’s call. Thank God for the work He has already done and the work He is still doing. He is worthy of all praise!!

Thank you for reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. I was tickled by the fact that this song was just released by Dante Bowe just 5 days ago (see below), just in time for our class focus. God can speak to us in so many different and personal ways. How do you recognize His voice?

The Lord Will Provide – Jehovah Jireh!

Dear Readers,

I will start this blog post update with a PRAISE REPORT! I am so grateful and humbled to announce that I am FULLY FUNDED FOR BOTH MY CAMPUS AND OUTREACH PHASES OF MY DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING SCHOOL. Thank you to everyone who has given sacrificially to support me. It has been such an encouragement to receive your financial support, kind words, and prayers.

Today was the first day of our Orlando Discipleship Training School at Youth With a Mission. There are many changes and adjustments that have the power to wear me down mentally, emotionally, and physically. But God has been continuing to renew my spirit through prayer reminders, corporate worship, and the presence of His comforting Holy Spirit. Over the past few weeks, I have been reading the book of Isaiah. This morning, I opened by Bible to Isaiah 61, which begins:

This passage and the subsequent chapters were an encouragement at the beginning of the morning that God is sending me into this experience for a reason and He is paving the way for relationships, outreach, and the songs that I am praying to receive from Him.

Through the fast-paced settling in process, I have been experiencing some doubts and heaviness centered around leaving home and my treasured community there. We started our first group DTS meeting by worshipping together as the staff prayed over the students and we declared God’s promises. I declared that– even though I am in a new place and there will be awkward moments– I am not alone!

Never been so free caught in Your love for me

Never been more secure, knowing Your heart, Lord

“Joy” by Housefires

Thank you for reading! More updates coming soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our beautiful campus

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus… to YWAM!

no turning back, no turning back.

excerpt from a hymn originally titled “Assam”
accredited to the story of Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh

As I write and think about you, Reader, I hope everything is well with you and God is teaching you new things in this season. Over the past 2 months, due to the changing global climate, my “next 5 years” timeline has been slightly adjusted. In short, I will now be graduating from my Hospitality Management program at FIU in August and entering a new season in September 2020.

During a month of prayer for discernment as I considered several drastically different possibilities for this new season, I followed the “God Nudges” and chose to enroll in Discipleship Training School at the Orlando base of the world-wide Christian organization Youth With a Mission (YWAM). This Discipleship Training School (better known as DTS) is focused on personal growth and deepening a relationship with Jesus Christ through teaching, worship, and fellowship with other growing friends and mentors– all for the purpose of gaining HIS heart for the nations. It is an intensive 5 1/2 month program consisting of 3 months of classroom training followed by 2 1/2 months of outreach where we will be challenged to directly apply what we’ve learned. Note: Because of COVID-19 and closed international borders, it’s still unknown what the outreach phase will look like in 2021, but I am trusting that God will open the doors for what He has already planned for me and the other students in DTS this fall (September 2020).

Not surprisingly, I have chosen the WORSHIP track of DTS, which will challenge me to grow specifically as a worship leader and musician. Because of my background in and passion for Hospitality, I am also treating this as an immersive learning experience of practicing Christian hospitality and guiding others to connect with one other and with Christ.

I was made by You, I was made for You

And I am unfulfilled, without FULL COMMUNION

“Since Your Love”, United Pursuit (2015)

As I enter this foreign atmosphere, I am excited for new growth and challenges, and always thankful for my supportive web of family and friends. The process of writing this letter has been deeply emotional and personal for me as I imagine your faces reading this… I am so thankful to have a connection with each one of you. You are truly cherished!

As with any school, there is a financial cost to attend DTS, and I am confident that God will provide the needed funds for the work that He has called me to do. Because God so often works through His people, I am asking for financial partners to support with funds in addition to prayers. If you feel that God is calling you to be part of my financial support team, please read the instructions below.

  • TOTAL Financial Cost of DTS: approx. $8,000 needed
  • Campus Portion: $4,000
  • Outreach Portion: approx. $4,000, pending location

I will be leaving for Discipleship Training School on September 29, 2020, and will be striving to raise the full amount of $8,000 by this date.

The best way to give is to add money directly into my account on the YWAM website through the PAY button. Please designate any donation by including my name โ€œAnna Tuttleโ€ and the program name “DTS” to ensure that it gets allocated for the right purpose (see image below).

You are already part of my support team. If you feel God encouraging you to give financially as well, thank you! It would be a tremendous honor to have you invest in me and the people who our team will love and serve as part of this mission.

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME! This week I turned 20 years old, and as I consider the coming year I see a lot of change and challenges ahead. I have never lived away from home, so I am terrified but unbelievably excited to experience the immersive environment that YWAM provides to live, struggle, and grow alongside other budding followers of Jesus. Your prayers mean everything to me!

Thank YOU for being part of the supportive network that is providing me with such a strong kickstand of prayer. For those of you who would like more information about my experience leading up to and during DTS, I will be updating this blog regularly and would love to discuss my DTS on a more personal level over email or phone. Leave a comment below or email me at anna@annatuttle.com. If you are praying for me, I hope that I can be praying for you. Let me know how I can!

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: โ€œFear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)