So a quick backgrounder: I got married on March 24, 2017 LAST YEAR! Since then, my husband Kevin Wyant has applied for an immigrant visa so I can live with him in the US.

Yesterday Kevin and I received emailed instructions from the US National Visa Center. Now we can move forward with submitting the final forms and documents for my immigrant visa. We don’t want to bore you with details but we know the big question has always been, “How much longer?”

This process can take up to 10 weeks, and after that, I (Esther) can get scheduled for the consular interview in Montreal. I’m still staying with my loving and supportive family in Ottawa , while Kevin works and resides in Washington (USA) ️️🇺🇲️️. There are days when we really miss each other…he wants my Filipino   cooking, but a person can only have so much lumpia and rice 🌯🍚!!!

We are thankful and continue to praise and worship God whose grace is sufficient for everything. Thank you for your love and support!

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Sleepless in the pen

(From a few nights ago)

 

I couldn’t sleep
So I counted sheep
When I got to ninety-nine
I couldn’t find the one

I forgot to count myself

You see
The Shepherd had
Come back for me

I was lost
But now I’m found

That silly sheep
That was redeemed
Counted one to
One hundred

And fell asleep

Continue reading

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YWAM DTS 6-month update

If you like to-do lists you may think my list from September 2016 as somewhat exciting.

  1. Finish master’s degree – check.
  2. Serve the Philippines for 2 years full time – check.
  3. Apply for missions training – check.
  4. Pack up my life – check.
  5. Fly to Canada – check.
  6. Trust God for future – still checking on a daily basis.

#6 is what keeps me on the edge of my seat. I can never predict what God has in store for me, and though I want to plot out my life I find that God is a much better Navigator.

Last year around this time I was preparing to leave for Kona, Hawaii for Youth With a Mission’s Discipleship Training School (YWAM DTS Kona) but my US visa application was denied; I felt your shock and dismay mirror mine. You cheered when I got the go-signal to transfer to YWAM Vancouver. You kept in step as I sought God’s voice and stepped into uncharted territory. You read my blogs and supported the cost of training one missionary student – me.

You may read our YWAM Vancouver DTS Fall 2016 blog (scroll down to the bottom of the webpage to see links to the weekly posts, written by yours truly).

Here’s my sixth-month (technically seventh but I’m the only one counting) update for you readers, supporters, and friends!

I was finally “sitting at the foot of Jesus” but the cost of discipleship demands that I give up (control of) my life so I can could gain it (Matt 16:25). I had to re-open unhealed wounds, became vulnerable with a team that was more than half my age, and admit my numbed desires and dampened spirit. But I also received healing, fell deeper in love with Jesus, and saw the Father’s passion and pursuit of me in ways that I had never experienced before.

First though, I had to wrestle with God just like Jacob did. On the first week our financial statements were handed out and my heart sank into my stomach when I saw the $4000+ balance. I went for a walk during lunch break, furious with God and the predicament HE had put me in! They’ll never let me go on outreach if I don’t pay the balance on time. What was I thinking? Did I really hear your voice? Am I really supposed to be here? Where are the people who promised financial support?

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I wrestled with God on my first week of DTS.

By faith the school allowed me to go on outreach with $3000+ balance due but I learned that when one of my biggest human securities was taken away – money – I became emotionally and spiritually undone because I was not grounded and rooted in God’s love (Ephesians 3:16-19).

On of our team excursions in Isan, Thailand we drove through a winding road that was lined with flame trees (Delonix regia) on both sides. I asked our driver to stop so I could take pictures and he proudly explained that their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej had planted them. Throughout his 70 years on the throne the King was known for his love of planting trees to revive Thailand’s denuded forests. Incidentally, the species regia is of Latin origin, an adjective meaning “royal, or a king, regal.”   Thailand’s beloved King and Queen planted seedlings, which grew up become royal trees: beautiful, elegant, and serving a noble purpose of keeping the ecosystem intact.

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Flame trees (Delonix regia) line this road in Isan, Thailand.

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Monkeys scurry down from the treetops to check out their human visitors.

Here’s some photos from Flame Tree Festival every May in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (where I used to live and work). Locals and tourists looked forward to the week when the flowers would burst into scarlet and orange splendour.

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Flame trees in Saipan

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The red-orange flowers contrast with the turquoise waters of Saipan’s barrier reef.

That lovely road in Isan brought to mind Isaiah 61:3 (ESV).

“…to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”

What did God grant?

My prayer for ice cream. Healing for my right wrist during a class exercise in prayer. Courage to pray for strangers at a mall in Burnaby, BC. Healing of a deaf man while we were on outreach and hearing a woman’s story of Jesus healing her paralyzed arm.

On my first week at DTS I thought God’s love was inversely proportional to my balance due: $4500, $3000, and the remaining $1300. Now my lecture and outreach fees have been fully paid in God’s time.

The divine joke’s on me because on our very first Monday (we have community worship every Monday morning) on the very first week, we sang “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture.  I was mouthing…

My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can separate 
My heart from Your great love
Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me 

Suddenly, a supernatural tidal wave of what I can only humanly describe as love washed over me and pushed me to my knees! Tears, snot, and mascara ran unimpeded down my face. No one snickered or looked away in embarrassment because everyone in that chapel knew where that overwhelming love was coming from!

My King and my God planted me so that I would take root and blossom like those flame trees. As I grow stronger in Christ’s love I find so many reasons to rejoice instead of mourn, and when people see God’s work in my life I want them to praise and give God the glory because God has granted us love and life.

 

 

 

 

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Suck it up, honey

“Suck it up, honey.” (Followed by icons of ice cream, igloos, a pic of Westeros Far North, and a GIF of Jennifer Lawrence sobbing).

That’s what I got from my husband who lives in currently warm and sunny (but ashy) Washington, after I complained of the rapidly dropping temperature in Ontario. That’s what you get from someone who spent 25 years in the US Navy and thinks anything is preferable to deployment for months on a carrier.

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I get to stay in Canada longer

I received my approval to stay in Canada until March 2018. This means I get to stay with my parents and sister and keep on cooking, doing laundry, cleaning, managing their calendar, etc. and being an awesome house-elf but I don’t need Hermione to free me because I enjoy all of it!

Esther is freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

Now we’re just waiting for the next advisory in Kevin‘s petition for alien relative (that’s me) to join him in the US. In the meantime he’s visiting me in Ontario this October. Woohoo!!!

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Korean Style Pork Chops

I tried this recipe for Korean Style Pork Chops and liked it!

Many North Americans I know don’t prefer the sweet influence on the meet but if you’re Asian, you’ll like it especially if you also like Korean beef bulgogi.

Go easy on the frying part. I suggest using low or medium-low setting. You will risk burning the honey+garlic marinade if your pan is too hot, even if you use the cast iron skillet. To save on electricity and if you’re not cooking a huge batch, you can use your toaster oven.

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Music for life

With the news of flooding, devastation, killing, and war around the world I took some time to listen to music and remind myself of life, beauty, hope, and heroism. I stumbled upon the opening strains to “Planes Fire & Rescue” Main Title by Mark Mancina. Kinda reminds of the theme to Star Trek: DS9 too. I still get chills everytime I listen to the brass section.

You can listen to it here.

 

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“Despacito” by Walter Manglona

I lived here for almost 5 years. Yep I was an island girl in the Philippines (7000+ of them) and I was an island girl in the Northern Mariana Islands (7 of them). Check out Walter Manglona’s version of  “Despacito.”

 

 

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I know

“I know that I know that I know that I know!”

Today I felt the the Father pouring out his love for me. It came in waves and I couldn’t deny that such pure, intense and love was from a God who knows me inside and out. He created me and takes delight in me. He loves to know my thoughts and feelings. He loves when I respond and react to His love and wants nothing more than a relationship full of faith and trust in His goodness, kindness, tenderness, and strength. And He calls me to dive deeper into knowing more of He he is and wants to be for me – and for you.

All I could do was say, “Thank you, Father” over and over again. Thank you for your

unceasing love. I couldn’t see if before but I see it now. The world and the Enemy will try its best to cloud my heart in doubt and fear. I just have remind myself that the one who made the Universe and calls the stars by name KNOWS ME and He will not let me go. God’s Word says this and confirms it in my heart.

 

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Esther’s YWAM DTS Vancouver Last Newsletter #6

We returned from our Thailand outreach all looking tanned (especially me with my Filipino skin) and excited to be back at YWAM Vancouver homebase! For the next two days we recounted to our roommates at the Napier and Parker houses the flavorful and spicy meals we had, cultural shocks and adjustments, miracles we’d witnessed, the goodness of God’s sustaining grace, and also prepared reports for graduation night.

We spent the week emotionally and physically “unpacking” through “re-entry” sessions. These were important so we could process our experiences, share learnings and realizations, have the tools to ease back into our homes, churches, and countries. Most of all we used the time to praise God “in the assembly” through the Holy Spirit’s work on outreach. A significant portion of our group sharing was on things we learned about God, the world, and ourselves through lecture phase and outreach. Here’s some excerpts from the DTS students and staff!

What we learned about God on outreach:

  • He is for me. His love does not despise or condescend my weakness
  • He wants to give us gifts that are unique to the individual
  • God blesses me when I am obedient

What we learned about the world:

  • God is the same even though we may worship differently
  • There’s no right way to do anything, we just do life differently
  • God is really creative…cultures are beautiful
  • The world (other people) is always searching for something bigger than they are
  • It’s easier to adapt to the world where you are, than trying to create your own world

What we learned about ourselves:

  • If I wanna do something, I’ll just go do it. I live in the present..not wait 10 years to do what I want to do
  • I didn’t think I’d enjoy speaking truth into the life of other people, but now I do
  • I didn’t give the Holy Spirit space to have control but now I can step back and let Him move
  • I’ve learned that I bring safety to a group in the way I am and how I handle myself
  • I can agree with my unique character traits, not just the parts that I like. I’ve always wanted to meet people’s expectations, which has given power to labels but now I want to accept all the traits that I have, to not be ashamed or hide (put a mask) to hide from other people

On our last Friday we had a morning of helpful instruction from David Bornman, Senior Pastor of West Coast Christian Fellowship (which currently houses YWAM Vancouver’s school and offices). He gave pointers on preparing a 30 or 60 second short but informative reply to the question, “How was outreach?”

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David Bornman, Senior Pastor at West Coast Christian Fellowship

He gave us steps on how to use our intense spiritual experience in regular life; use our perspective on prayer and missions to encourage our home churches; and how to have a humble heart as we share our “mountaintop experience” to our family, friends, churches, and communities.

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We got a snowy treat this week

Our celebration had two highlights: First was a delicious dinner at Tap and Barrel at Canada place, where were joined by the DTS Hockey Team who returned from outreach – Coach Glen Bueckert (joined by wife Lorraine), Noah, and Karl! What a sweet reunion even though they’d only been back less than 48 hours and still very much jetlagged. Second was our graduation held during 3C Night allowing the Vancouver community to join and celebrate with us. We even Landon’s auntie and grandma as visitors! Susi, Florian, and Landon all took turns regaling the audience with anecdotes and snippets to describe outreach in Isan and Phang-Nga. Nate prepared a short video, Christian described the growth that God had worked in his life, and Holly sang a special composition.

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Dinner at Tap and Barrel 

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View from Canada Place

We prayed for Jaron who has finished his two-year commitment as staff. He’ll be going home to time with family in Ohio and pray about his next steps in life and ministry. Our instructors through the lecture phase also blessed and anointed us with “courage and hope”, dedicating us to God as we go out and fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 18-20:

…“ Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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Graduation night wasn’t complete without a trip to our favorite McDonalds on Hastings for sundae and French fries. Sarah, Flavia, and Jaron joined us for a cold drive to the Golden Arches but when we arrived the system was down. We stood there, disappointed. Suddenly Holly walked up to the counter and started ordering.

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#friesbeforeguys  

 

Did your order go through before the system went down?” I asked, confused.

She replied, “No, it’s back up.”

But they said it would take 20 minutes,” I pressed.

Well, I prayed and it’s up now!” she matter-of-factly replied.

This is the same Holly whose faith was so small that she couldn’t pray for ice cream on our first week (but God answered my small prayer of faith anyway). So rejoice with us for our God is greater, our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other!

Join us as we continue “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (Heb 12:2 NASB). I continue to trust that God will provide the rest of my outreach fees, since YWAM Vancouver sent me to outreach though I hadn’t complete my payments.  I still owe the school around CAD $1800+ from $2100+ that I owed around graduation time.

Right now I’m at my parents’ home in Ottawa, Ontario and helping out at the house as much as I can. I recently spoke on what makes Jesus worth following to the young adults group at the  Filipino Community Church (of East Gate Alliance Church). I want to serve the body of Christ here, using the tools and teachings I have received on DTS.

If you want to help me my outreach fees, here’s how: 

  1. Go to the YWAM Vancouver “Payments and Donations” site http://ywamvancouver.org/donations-payments/
    1. Go to Payments & Donations
    2. Go to Make A Donation
    3. Go to Paypal, and click on DONATE NOW. You will be routed to a page where you can pay through Paypal or Credit Card. Paypal account is not needed.
    4. Please ensure that you specify what your donation is for (ex: Esther Pinzon DTS Fees). Click the link that says “This Payment is for” and give the name/ministry. You may write: Esther Pinzon DTS Fees
    5. The option to pay through Project Funding Office is only if you need a Canadian Tax Receipt.
  1. Deposit to my Bank of the Philippine Islands Savings Account 0473-0686-21
  2. PayPal using this link https://www.paypal.me/estherpinzon
  3. Make your cheque or money order payable to “Youth With A Mission”and include a separate note for: “Esther Pinzon, DTS Vancouver”. Mail to the address below:

Youth With A Mission
PO Box 57100 RPO East Hastings
Vancouver, BC V5K 5G6

Ph: 604.436.4433
Fx: 604.436.4466

HELPFUL LINKS:

YWAM Vancouver http://ywamvancouver.org/

DTS latest blog: http://ywamvancouver.org/latest-dts-blog/

 

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Esther

 

 

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