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. 🙂
With less than 5 days remaining before the beginning of my DTS program at YWAM, I have been focused on packing my belongings, spending last days with dear friends and at my home church, and planning the next months. Needless to say — these few days are flying by!
Even in this busy season, God has been dropping constant reminders that I am on the right path.
I am overwhelmed with the generosity of people who have supported me financially. Giving requires sacrifice and obedience, and I am so thankful. Through your gifts, my Campus Phase (my first three months training in the Orlando base) is already fully funded. Glory to God!
Regarding the final 2 months focused on ministry work, an outreach location has not been decided yet so we are still unsure what the final financial amount will be. Please continue to pray for discernment for our leaders as they pray and listen for God’s direction.
Other reminders from God have come in the form of teachings and worship songs (follow my Spotify playlist for this new season!). In our Oasis Women’s Bible Study on Tuesday nights, we have been learning about the Names of God and hearing testimonies from women in our community every week. Each week I am reminded of a different side of God’s character and how indescribably vast, powerful, and loving He is.
This past Tuesday, I was asked to give the featured testimony. What an honor! Though it was challenging, God knew that it was exactly what I needed to finish off this season at home — and He brought me clarity through the process of writing, as He so often does.
Watch the full message from Heather Funk or just my testimony at the end through the YouTube link below.
All things are “working together” in this season, and though it feels strange to admit it, I feel ready to leave. I have experienced seasons that have been much more hectic and less prepared than this one, and I know that the future holds more of them. Yet in all times, God still holds me in the palm of His hand.
More updates will be posted after my arrival at YWAM! Stay tuned. 🙂
I find this popular verse increasingly relevant in each period of life. Sometimes I will recognize a pattern of anxiety in my habits that has gone unnoticed in my mind for days, weeks, or months. Once I recognize the pattern, it takes even longer to diagnose the source or reason for the nerves.
“Test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Although I am sure this verse has meant many different things to different people, to me it means this: God knows the source of my anxiety before I know it myself. And spending time with Him points me in the right direction — spending time in His word helps me to know myself better.
A few months ago, after making the decision to enroll in Discipleship Training School at YWAM, I experienced a compulsion, which I can only liken to the nesting of a pregnant woman (LOL), to clean and organize my living space in preparation for my upcoming departure, which was still several months away. I gave away bags of clothes and excavated storage boxes from my closet that had lain untouched for years. Even though I was still juggling more pressing duties like finishing school, my anxiety was centered on my departure from home.
Those “anxious thoughts” have gradually transformed into nervous excitement as my DTS approaches in less than a month. May-August was a blur: I completed my last school semester and started shifting my focus towards practicing musical instruments and leading worship. Since my graduation in early August, I have been learning our Audio Visual system at church and practicing acoustic guitar.
Grace (pictured above on the left playing the cajon) and I had the privilege this week of listening to some videos of a recent songwriting retreat with workshops from some of our favorite songwriters. It has been such a sweet time to spend together before I leave Miami and to refine the skill we both love. Amanda Cook led a session teaching about the importance of extensive reading and habitual, disciplined writing for any kind of aspiring writer.
Good writers are readers.
Amanda Cook, Bethel Songwriting Retreat
My own reading has mostly revolved around topics that remain a priority since June. Racism remains an ever-present reality in our country as shootings and protests continue. I pray for God to open the eyes of the blind, including my own. Although not all the works I have been reading are from a Christian point of view, I am thankful for the perspective and humility that their stories bring.
This is a deeply “saturated season” for me as I soak in the work of talented writers and endeavor to pour out my own thoughts. I am so thankful for the privilege of leading worship and expressing myself through music.
With my departure for YWAM only 27 days away, the sense of anticipation is growing! God has opened doors for me to spend quality time with new and old friends, and I am so thankful for that community.
Thank you for supporting me through monetary gifts and through prayer! I am overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have already given sacrificially to help send me to YWAM. It’s not a small sum, but God has proven himself faithful! That being said, I am still not fully funded for my Discipleship Training School. If you have not already given, please ask God if He has chosen you to give a gift of any amount to my lecture phase and outreach next year.
Not sure on how to give? Find the directions here.
I often feel that I have nothing to say. On the topic of racial injustice and many others, I have generally remained quiet because I sensed and felt guilty of hypocrisy by simply posting a viral video or picture of a person whose name I will mostly likely forget. I know that I am imperfect and I know that I will forget. I can’t remember all of their names because they are so many. And it’s easy for me to forget because this is not a reality I live with every day. Even the difficulty of remembering is evidence of the privilege I experience. Every day.
I see evidence of my own privilege in the fact that my most prevalent reminders of racial injustice are the waves of posts that I see periodically of a face and a name on social media: stories of real horrors happening all over our country and world. What could I possibly say? How can I add anything of value to the dialogue? I’m so keenly aware of my ignorance and horribly ashamed of my tendency to forget.
So I say nothing.
Once again a face is circulating our feeds. The name “George Floyd” is accompanied by videos, pictures, and hashtags. Everyone cries out for justice.
As I scrolled and read caption after caption, still feeling that a simple repost would never be enough, I searched for other ways to help. Books to read, organizations to follow, research to conduct. I found others who shared their stories of remaining silent and realized that it takes courage to invite the challenge. My ignorance is not something that should prevent me from speaking and listening– only by joining the dialogue will my actual prejudices be revealed and challenged by those who know more than I do.
I am finally able to break my silence when I remember that I do not have to say something profound.
This article, written over 20 years ago, changed my perspective. The issues discussed are still extremely relevant today. Sometimes it’s not enough to just listen. I am so thankful for those who have loved me enough to challenge me on other social issues and for what I have already learned. I know that I will never be done learning.
I thank God for reminding me that the first step is to educate myself and not to be afraid of starting conversations. I found some books to read and I know that God will open the doors for real conversation in His timing. I only pray for the courage to be vulnerable and not to protect my ignorances and prejudices behind a shield of silence. I pray for reminders to continue the fight whether the voices are deafening or silenced.
Today I am saying that black lives matter. I am recognizing that we live in a broken world where both systemic and individual racism still exist. I believe that we are all created in the image of God and this God whom I worship “shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35). As one post (see below) declared, “I worship Jesus Christ — a dark-skinned, middle-Eastern Jew!” His Spirit inside me is the only One who can bring true conviction and remembrance to my limited viewpoint.
So challenge me! Send me book recommendations or other content that has guided your learning experience. The conversation is open. I am ready to listen but I am also ready to speak freely and act openly.
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.
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 “Anna Tuttle” 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.