The last two months have been jam packed with goodness.Although it has, at times been very difficult, I’m learning to lean more on my community. That’s how we were created after all. “It is not good for man to be alone“. Inviting people into my life is difficult by nature and nurture, but the people in this community are trustworthy, and day by day I am growing in vulnerability. I remember a few years ago a shared a poem I wrote with a friend. This poem was incredibly vulnerable. It expressed a darkness within me which I could speak of only in written word. Yet, this piece was a cry for help. I told her I showed it to her because I didn’t know how to talk about it, and she, in simple response, challenged me by asking, “Don’t you think it’d be better if you could talk about these things and not just write about them?“
Yeah. I do.
God has largely delivered me from the dark depths which I was entrenched in for the last 7 years of my life. The pattern has been broken, and I have been freed, and like the girl who challenged me to speak then, God is challenging me now. He gave me a vision of myself in a prison cell (I like to imagine it’s Robbin Island, the same cell as Mandela. Or perhaps the cell from which King penned his letter from Birmingham Jail) and the cold metal doors slide open and I was free. I stood up, guilt replaced by hope, and the restraining shackles that tethered my feet to the floor of the 6 x 8 cell were broken. “I am free!”, I thought jubilantly, a smile radiant across a face which bore the heaviness of the remembrance of destitution.and I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Do not let your freedom be apathetic. You have been freed that you may free others. So, Celebrate your freedom! But empathize with the prisoner, do not neglect them, instead fill them with hope! For yours is a story which bears the mark of my glory. My holy hand is upon you, know me, and you will know goodness”
He has since, highlighted His goodness to me. Yesterday I received a prophetic word, I was told that I am like David in that through my most joyfully jubilant highs, to the searing sorrowful lows, whether my tongue laments, or rejoices, I will cling tight to the essence of God’s goodness. And, I am not there yet, but I know I will be!
Another piece to this puzzle are the words “Be redeemed“. I’ve discovered in these recent months I tend to derive my worth from my work. But! I am not the prisoner I once was, there is a different path set aside for me now, and this path is not merely set in the realm of doing, no, it pertains to the condition of my spirit, my Be(ing). He has assured me that the Doing He has called me to is secondary to the Being He has called me to. Moving forward I will focus my eyes on becoming a man who intimately understands my worth is received from the blood of Christ which has freed me into a new life, and everything I do is an exertion of my newfound being.
- The Winter DTS has been going strong for the last month, I’m part of the team running the Spark elective ( More info on what that is here ->http://www.ywammadison.org/dts/sparkdts/) . The 5 students who are in Spark love it and it’s such a blessing to be able to put on Spark for them. They came expecting it to be something else, but they have told me they are all pleasantly surprised by their experience of it. Praise God!
- I live at the Phos House which is the campus ministry branch of YWAM Madison. This year (and every year) Phos House does a mission trip during spring break, March 18th-24th. I do not currently plan to ask for money for this trip as I will just divert some of the funds which I recieve every month to pay for this trip, although if you feel led to give more, I of course would be overjoyed and appreciative. The estimated cost of this week long mission trip is $630 for grounds fees and $700 for the flight, totalling $1330.
- I have applied for and been accepted in to the YWAM Madison Bible School of the Nations (BSN for short..we YWAMers love our acroyms). The purpose of BSN is to equip those who are seeking to know the truths of the Bible that transform individuals and nations, and to enable them to effectively communicate these ideas to others. The BSN gives the necessary tools for students to build a biblical foundation for life and ministry. It seeks to cultivate in the students a deeper love for God and for truth, and to build confidence in God’s loving character in how He brings about His purposes in Biblical and modern history. The school runs from April 28th-September 1st 2017. The cost is $3950 for lecture phase and $2500-$3500 for outreach, totalling $6500-$7500. My current finances, over the 5 months of the school would allow me to raise $4250 (covering lecture phase), leaving a gap of $3250 which I will need to raise between now and right before outreach. I will be fundraising for this school, looking to add more monthly supporters to my current team, as well as one-time donors. If you know of anybody interested, please, ask them to email me at Matthewb@ywammadison.org or text/call at 636-203-8077.
- I was invited to perform at an interfaith event here in Madison called Race and Faith: Seeing Color. The hour long event was filled with storytellers regaling moments when they saw color. This is a recording of my performance of a piece I wrote titled, “Runaway Slave”.
Phos House Staff & Students Pic
Celebrating Chinese New Year at Phos House
Game Night at Phos House
some DTS Students on Outreach Reveal Night..anxious! Locations are Costa Rica, Asia, and Romania
One of the Spark students (Evelyn) and I. We’re buds.
Just last weekend we had a Spark Retreat and one of the activities we did was encouragement based. Taped a piece of paper to our backs and others were free to come write something nice about us on the back. It was delightful, and so life-giving!
We got face masks on our Spark Retreat!
My face bout to be baby booty smooth.
I was in the newspapers (not for Race and Faith). Won some money. God is good. This was in January, since then I’ve dropped the moniker “Apollo Charles” and decided to be Matthew Charles.