bonne année tout le monde

…and cue 2018!

Hi friends and family! Happy new year! I am back in my home in Biarritz, but I have had a grand time away visiting my family in Singapore. It was so great to see them and spend time together after being away for a year. It was a Christmas I will never forget! As some of you probably know my dad found himself in the hospital from around the 20th-26th due to a staph infection but he is doing a lot better now and we definitely made the most of it despite the unfortunate event it was. Days were spent exploring the city (a really cool place), playing volleyball, trying all sorts of new foods, swimming in our pool; needless to say it was a sweet time and I feel refreshed and ready to start 2018.

I also had a dreamy week in Vietnam visiting a friend who did her DTS last year that lives there with her family. Another friend from Germany was visiting her at the same time and I got to hang out with both of them and stay with her family. It was so nice to be back in Southeast Asia and I know for sure I’ll be back again!

Thinking back on this year I am overwhelmed by all the experiences I have had and how God has moved in my life. I’m so thankful for this community of YWAMers that have become some of my closest friends. I’m so thankful that I got to staff the Backpack Europe DTS 2017 and all the opportunities it gave me to grow and to lead, to serve and to make even more friends all over the world. I’m so thankful for my supporters at home in Canada and how I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if I didn’t have their financial support. I’m so thankful for God’s faithfulness and how I’ve learned and experienced it more than ever before this past year. I’m so thankful for fresh vision and dreaming about the future with a God that is for me.

As we speak, there are students arriving for the Football DTS this quarter. And one of our buildings is being emptied out and re-done to host a cafe/surf shop. I am serving this quarter on the Sports Ministry Team! (Which at the moment is just 3 people-one of them to return in March). And I am continuing my online course in Nutrition/Natural Health due to be finished in March which I am greatly enjoying and learning a lot. I mentioned this before, but all staff here are going to attend french classes this and next month to work towards fluency. I haven’t raised the full amount (still needing 330 euros) for 2 months of classes, so if this is something you want to give towards, let me know!

I am so excited for this quarter, especially as we brainstorm and dream with God what Sports Ministry is going to look like, and how to further incorporate health, fitness, and nutrition into our base and into missions and developing nations.

Thanks for reading and wishing you a sweet year ahead full of good gifts from the Father and leaning on Him in all situations.

SB

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Prayer and Fundraising Update

Hi everyone! I hope you are all well and gearing up for the lovely Christmas season wherever you are in the world!

I thought I would write up a bit of a November prayer/fundraising update this month!

I have had it on my heart to do some fundraising before Christmas this year to raise funds for the new year, for future flights, French courses, visa costs, etc. I have macrame wall hangings and art prints for sale! (Photos down below!)

A friend of mine on staff here is going to her home in the Vancouver area for Christmas and is willing to bring my hand-made macrame wall hangings with her in her luggage and meet in Langley for free pick-ups! So that means any one of these hangings could be in YOUR HOME for Christmas or under the tree for that perfect gift! (haha, am I selling you on it?)

I have also made some watercolour art prints that will be by donation as well. If you’d like one I can send you the file online and then you are free to print it out/frame it however big/small you would like!

Every hanging/art print is by donation, what you would like to give towards what I am doing here. I’m so thankful for every dollar that has been given so generously over the past year, and with my 2-year commitment over halfway done now, I’m excited to see how God provides for this year, too.

Ok, some prayer requests:

-My Carte de Sejour (renewable french Visa for the next year) application was processed, but I just received a letter yesterday that said it did not get fully accepted due to some problem with my Canadian bank statements. I have until March to figure it out but I would love prayer for this to go through and whoever will be processing it next to have grace.

Vision for 2018! I have different ideas of specifics I might do on base when I get back from Singapore but I would love some clarity and for God to speak clearly to me about where I should serve.

Finances! I have enough monthly support to pay in each month for food and lodging, but not much extra to buy other necessities that come up month to month like new volleyball shoes, gas to drive our vans to my volleyball games/practices, etc. It’s always an adventure trusting God for daily needs but I have tons of stories already of how he provides! I am trusting for more monthly supporters for the 2018 season.

-Continued growth in the French language. I love my volleyball club for this reason (besides that volleyball is just the best sport there is..)- I am totally immersed in French for 4-6 hours a week! God really has given me a gift in picking up languages and I’m praying for continued ability and knowledge to grow.

THANK YOU again for reading this, praying with me, and supporting me as I serve with Ywam Biarritz.

I am posting these onFacebook, too, so please let me know if you are interested in one before they’re gone! And please feel free to spread the word, share the link on Facebook, to see if any one else in the lower mainland area is interested. The “payment” can be received to my online giving group with Chimp or with Paypal, whichever works better for you! Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend!

Steph 🙂

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october-november

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving and spent time with friends and family! I got to Facetime some of my family that were together in Calgary for a few days and it was lovely to see them and chat a bit. There are certain times of the year where it is harder to be away from my Canadian community and family, and certain moments where I miss different aspects of Canada more, and thanksgiving is one of those times! But that being said, we are actually having a Canadian/American thanksgiving celebration tonight here in France! We have been making loads of pies in preparation and are inviting some people from the community to come and enjoy the night with us. So it should be lots of fun!

The past month the base has been running the lecture phase of the Surf themed Discipleship school and the students get a new topic and speaker every week. Running hospitality is going well, and I have been factoring in 1-2 hours a day for my natural health and nutrition course. So excited for how God is going to lead me in this. But for now I am still continuing to serve the base in Hospitality and I’ve also started to lead some worship times on guitar or piano.

New things happening here: There is a staff here who is starting a new DTS in the spring! It is called the Awaken DTS, with lectures in french, and when it starts, the quarter will be totally in French! So it will be a great opportunity to be more immersed in French and improve comprehension and speaking in a number of ways this Spring. With that quarter, the base leadership is wanting all staff to be at a greater level of French and we are going to be taking French lessons from a local language school across the street from the base. I am going to do a fundraiser of some sort for the fees (about 500 euros) for 2 months of intense study. Beginners can start at a beginner level and some of the staff who already have a basic level of comprehension will start at a more advanced level. We are planning to start classes in groups in January and February. I will be letting the Facebook world know about the fundraiser and be praying into it this month.

Another exciting announcement! I am going to see my family in Singapore on the 6th of December! I will be on holidays until early January and will be spending some much-needed time with my family after being apart for a year- and how exciting- in a country I’ve never been to before! So I am looking forward to it greatly. November is already here and the weather is cooling off for fall. The changing of seasons is a beautiful time! So thankful to be here serving and loving Jesus and the people I am living with and doing life with. Thank you for your prayers and support always!

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new quarter

It’s October! It’s been a whirlwind of a summer season here and we are soaking up the last days of 20+ degrees and gorgeous sunsets over the Atlantic. The 12 surf and snow DTS students have arrived! They will be having lectures October-December, and their outreach January-March ish. But they seem like an incredible school and it’s been awesome to get to know them a little bit the past week.

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Maddie & Sunsets!

Early Saturday morning 10 staff members left for Paris to pioneer a Ywam base there! They will be running the Backpack Europe DTS and the Music DTS and hope to start many other training schools. Exciting times for them, sad to see them leave but they are only an overnight bus away and are going to do great things there!

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Paris team packing up their moving van!

So what am I doing this quarter? As you know I have been running the Hospitality ministry on base, and I will be continuing that with another staff this quarter as we look at how we can improve and make hospitality at Ywam Biarritz the best its ever been!

In other news I am excited to share with you some different things God is leading me into this fall. As some of you know, and some of you may not, since graduating high school I have struggled with my health. It seemed like every other month I was back in the hospital with pelvic pain, getting blood tests done, ultrasounds, and all seeming to lead nowhere. Last summer I was officially diagnosed with insulin resistance and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome- which is actually quite common, affecting 1 in 10 women. There is no ‘cure’ for this illness, and after doing (lots of) my own research, I decided to make a big change in how and what I eat. There are hundreds of testimonies of how this diet and lifestyle change has helped women with symptoms and reversed ovarian cyst growth altogether. I am still trusting the Lord with this for full healing as I do what I can do to help my body function the best it can as I stay away from processed foods and sugars and choose fiber-rich foods, whole grains, and lots of lovely greens. I am planning on getting tests here done again soon to see where I am at with my hormone and blood sugar levels, as well as further ultrasounds. BUT God has been revealing more of my heart and speaking into greater vision and calling for my life, and a big part of this is women’s health and nutrition!

Of course I don’t know exactly what this broad subject (including a huge heart for maternal health and babies in the 3rd world specifically) holds..but I am excited for what it will bring my way. I have applied to start an online program in Applied Nutrition and will be starting within 2-3 weeks to get some foundational knowledge of a holistic approach to health and nutrition. As well I am planning on taking different free 5-10 study hour courses online moreso on topics like Maternal health and public health in the developing world.

As Ywam Biarritz our vision is to “adopt” communities in Northern and Western Africa and the Middle East and work in community development and there is so much opportunity for women and children’s ministry within health and nutrition in these places. 2 staff members are going to Niger next month to pray into places there and see what God has. So for me it is moreso a time of sowing and planting, and we will see in the next year(s) how God will lead!

Thank you for everyone standing with me in finances and prayer- some prayer requests this quarter would be for financial provision in different expenses that have come up. I got a donation last month to cover my $400CAD visa which was a huge answer to prayer! My appointment went well and everything went smoothly so I will be awaiting my Carte de Sejour to come in the mail. Praise God! But you can stand with me in prayer that finances are provided for the entirety of the nutrition courses, as I feel like God has really led me into it for this time. I have also been sick for a couple weeks with a sinus infection, and prayer for speedy healing would be awesome. This quarter is also a totally new season for the base with a lot of staff leaving for Paris, and that God would continue to bless and move here and that we would be a place still centered around family and community and that the students would all fit in super well.

Thank you so much! Praying for you and thinking of you!

Steph

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“we are from Syria”

We are created for connection.

It’s incredible how true this is and how I’ve learned it in my own life. Sometimes, often, I am blown away as I think about the opportunities I’ve been given to connect with different people in my short 21 years. It’s an amazing thing to travel to a foreign nation, learn new sounds and try your best to communicate, with an acquaintance or a stranger who has dwelled there for the entirety of his or her life; and here you are, stepping onto their soil for the first time in yours.

Yesterday I had to renew my visa and drove to Bayonne to the “sous-prefecture” to pull a ticket and wait for over an hour to then be denied due to various birth certificate validity issues. Not worth it.. but before my appointment as I was waiting, pacing, standing, checking the time, a family came in, they had a son that was maybe 3 years old, and they stood beside me in this crowded, large room. The little boy was goofing around in his stroller, and I smiled at his mother, who smiled at me, then at him, obviously just smitten with this son of hers.

“You are from Canada?” The mother said softly to me, noticing my array of documents.

“Yes!” I smiled.

“And where are you from?”

“We are from Syria.” She replied, smiling.

We chatted for the remainder of my time there. They had 2 more boys, and they had just gotten into France 2 months ago. They had been in Athens for over a year prior. This woman was so sweet, and her husband as well, so kind and gentle as he helped his wife remember certain English words she had forgotten.

After my appointment I said a quick goodbye as I exited the building and I felt tears stinging my eyes. Tears for this beautiful family that I got to connect with for just 10 minutes, but knowing they have been through so much to be where I stand on French soil.

To connect with people is one of the greatest gifts we have; and it can make a pointless trip to the prefecture deeply worth it in some mysterious way.

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exciting news + financial update

Hi everyone! Hope you are savoring the last bit of summer wherever you are. I feel like I say this every time I start a post but this month is flying by! The past weeks have been busy preparing for the conference we are hosting in 2 weeks. We are going to be about 100 people here in total, and we have people staying in our staff apartments, friends’ apartments, the base, in tents, other apartments; needless to say we are going to be a full house for a week!

But this morning I want to share a bit of my financial needs with you. Some of you reading this may already be supporting me monthly, and others have given once or twice, and some faithfully pray. All are so important in the unity of sending and empowering missionaries. This and next month I do have some costs that I am going to need help covering.

National Conference is happening next week and it is where all Ywam bases in France come together and fellowship somewhere in France. We are renting some cars and making the 8 hour drive to near Montpellier, and camping there for the 5 days. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet more missionaries in this nation and to hear from speaker John Dawson! The total cost for this trip for staff is 140 euros ($208).

Visa Renewal: My one year visa will be expiring at the end of September and I am gathering my paperwork for the renewal process. After it gets processed it will be 269 euros ($401). 

Spring visit back to Canada: I have been praying about making a trip back to Abbotsford next year to connect back with Sevenoaks, supporters, and friends, and I felt strongly to go in the spring next year. I will be needing flights (between $800-$1000) covered and once I book them I will let everyone know when I will be back so we can have coffee and catch up! Hopefully I can catch some of Julia’s CBC volleyball games as well which I so miss watching.

In other exciting news, some of you may remember that I did some fundraising last fall by selling some of my handmade macrame wall hangings! I am doing it again! I made an etsy shop which you can see HERE! I am hoping to attract some buyers from France because shipping costs to Canada, I’m not going to lie, are a joke. But when I come to Abbotsford I will bring some if any of you like any styles you can let me know and I can make something similar. They are really in right now and I love making them, so please let me know if you would like one!

If you would like to give to cover some of these expenses, please pray about it and let me know. I am going to be praying for these costs covered this and next week, so please join me in prayer as well!

You can give online with my Chimp giving account, and get a tax-deductible receipt. Feel free to email me at stephaniebweiss@gmail.com if you have an questions about it, too.

So thankful to be doing this and thankful for my community of supporters. Enjoy the last couple weeks of summer and keep us here in your prayers for the next few busy weeks! (The week after the conference here we have another staff wedding we are all attending and I am helping with bouquets and decor which is right up my ally and I am looking forward to it). Here is a few photos of late. Last weekend a few of us went camping and it was lovely to get away for a couple nights.

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Wall hanging from the shop!
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Successfully opened a French bank account! Needing this to apply for French health care system.

God bless and have a great Wednesday!

 

what I’ve learned | Year one of being a ‘full-time missionary’

I have been a full-time missionary with YWAM for about 1 year. (Probably a bit more including when I came back as a volunteer staff back in February 2016). I am 21 years old. I don’t get paid. I don’t have a university degree. But there is nowhere else I would rather be at this point in time and nothing else I would rather be doing.

I think the expectation as you enter your twenties is that you have a small window of time left to “get it together.” To become fully independent. To choose your career, finish university, solidify a decent job to earn enough money not just to survive but to “enjoy” life. Not only is this expectation a reality for young adults but on top of that you have the pressure of being attractive and desirable to the opposite sex, healthy and fit, posting aesthetically pleasing things on social media that make your life look interesting, not to mention having only a small portion LEFT of your twenties to find the one person that is going to commit to loving and cherishing you for the rest of your life and vice versa.. it just doesn’t seem feasible. Sometimes I feel like I have less of my life “figured out” than I did when I turned 18.

I can say that I am not really living out the “normal” stages of a person’s early twenties. I have committed 2 years to a lifestyle centered around Jesus, relying on others for financial support despite my age, listening to God and hearing more of His call for my life. Serving where God calls. This last Spring it was Sweden, Ukraine, Poland, and Spain with an outreach team of 9 students that had the same committed call to know God and make him known in the world.

But I can say fairly confidently that this past year, I have learned a lot.

I have learned that all the money in the world belongs to my Father and He has blessed me countless times with more than enough.

I have learned so much more of the French language, communicating with people on a daily basis even if it’s a quick conversations with the bakery-employee or the dear French grandmere who is can’t find something in the grocery store.

I have learned that it is possible to lead a team of young people serving God throughout Europe and enjoy every minute. (And how to book flights for 11 people on a budget.)

I have learned that God has placed dreams and desires in us for reasons we have yet to even imagine.

I have learned that the Holy Spirit is active today and is speaking and inspiring every minute of every day.

I have learned to conquer fear and doubt in my life and trust in the faithfulness of a mighty God.

I am learning to walk in the identity of being a child of God. Not in performance, not in what I can do for God, but understanding I don’t have to be anyone other than myself or do anything to earn grace or earn love.

And I have learned that I have so much to learn. SO much to learn.

I am excited for another year. To dream what it may hold, and to be laughing in the unknown, rejoicing in the known, and spending time with my Father who will reveal more in his good timing.

I may not have it all “figured out” but I guess you could say I have “figured out” that God is on my side. My biggest support. My biggest dream. My highest goal in life. And that is why there is nothing I would rather be doing than serving in Biarritz this season of my twenties. I’m so thankful.

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