Israel Team Update 1

•April 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hi beloved ones,

about every week I will write an update that goes out to all my students families and friends so since I am already writing that for them I thought
I’d post the same updates here for all of you to read as well.
So here is our first update:

Hi friends and family,

We have been in Jerusalem for a week now.
So far it has been amazing. The team is getting along very well and everyone is really enjoying our time here.

Since we are in such a historical place it has been unavoidable for us to not see some of the sights in the Old City and doing that has been a lot of fun and a good team building experience. And this is really such a beautiful city!

Before we left we felt that our time in Jerusalem specifically would be marked with a lot of intercession and worship. This has come true since we live just a few blocks from a 24-7 prayer house (and on the other side of our home is the valley which Jesus referred to as Gehenna : )) so we have been going to the prayer house a lot. This place is very much in need of this due to all the tension politically and religiously.

We have also found out that people here, especially young people, are very open to talking to us about the Messiah which is very exciting. There is a part of the city which is more modern and where everyone goes to hang out in the evenings and we have been going here almost every night to talk to people and sing worship.

It has been really good and a lot of us have had many good conversations with people and we have been allowed to pray from some of them. I always expected that everyone here would be very educated in the scriptures but as we have been around here we have found it is not true. What they are being taught is more so teachings from different rabbis and not so much the scripture it self and there is even part of scripture that they are not allowed to read, like Isaiah 53 for example. So it gets very interesting when you bring things like that up when talking to people.

One of our first days here we got to love the poor by putting together food packages for about 600+ families. We spent about 6 or 7 hours straight, together with lots of other volunteers, packing vegetables into huge bags each one weighing about 30 pounds each. I have never seen so much food in one place at the same time. It was like packing up a whole grocery store into bags. Then the families came in the late afternoon and they all got to take two bags of food each.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that we got invited to go to a three day long New Age Festival at the end of this week. It is very expensive but we prayed for a few days about it as a team and we felt from God that two people should go and that those two would be me (Paulina) and Marissa. So we will be leaving on Thursday and stay at the festival until Saturday and the rest of the team will still be in Jerusalem continuing our work here. The festival is a very intense place with over 30 000 young people coming to seek spiritual experiences outside of Judaism. I have heard that people even come all the way from India to come to this three day event. We will not go alone but together with a group of believers that go to these things regularly. They say that this is the best event during the year to share with people about the Messiah. So we are very excited about this.

Please keep praying for all of us, we need it.

Shalom,

Paulina, Philip, Justine, Marissa, Karman, Sarah, Audrey, Lea and Alissa

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On the road again / På väg igen

•April 10, 2011 • 1 Comment

Hi everyone!

Tomorrow, Sunday the 10th of April we will be on our way to Israel and Ethiopia. We have some exciting two months ahead of us, but as always there are many thoughts and emotions moving around inside of me the night before such a trip. First of all I am filled with joy. Joy about the amazing things that I will be privileged to see Jesus doing both in me, in my students and of course in the people we will meet on our journey. I feel honored that God has entrusted me and my co-leader Philip with the responsibility of these seven beautiful daughters of Him. It is my first priority to love these students, to see them find God more and more, to discover who they are and how God is wanting to shine through them. I want to empower them to walk in more faith, love and power than they have done before and to see their lives be transformed as the lives of the people they meet also are being changed forever by the love of God. And I feel an overwhelming peace about this outreach. God has been meeting me more and more lately as a father and mother convincing me that I am safe with Him and that with Him I can do anything. I know I am nobody special but He is. Even though I am not sure of all, or actually almost none, of the details of what we will actually going to face and be set to do on outreach I feel calm and peaceful and confident that we are walking in the will of God. Faith is another thing that I have been given more of than usual for this trip. As God has changed my view of Him slowly into seeing His goodness more than seeing Him as a demanding and very serious person, faith has awakened in me cause I know He is in love with His people and He wants to show it to them desperately. And He will use anyone willing to do so. So here I am God, send me! More of You and less of me so that your love could change the world forever as my life is being poured out as an offering to you. Thank You Jesus for Your love and provision for me.

And thank you all who are standing by me in this and please be praying for me and my team. It is hard for me to leave Robert for this long and especially right before our wedding. Please pray for us.

Love and Peace in Christ,
Paulina Gudmundsson

 

Hej allihopa!

I morgon, söndag den 10 april kommer vi att vara på vår väg till Israel och Etiopien. Vi har ett par spännande två månader framför oss, men som alltid det finns många tankar och känslor som rör sig inom mig kvällen innan en sådan resa. Först och främst är jag fylld av glädje. Glädje över de fantastiska saker som jag kommer att ha förmånen att se Jesus göra både i mig, i mina elever och naturligtvis i de människor vi möter på vår resa. Jag känner mig hedrad att Gud har anförtrott mig och min hjälpledare Philip med ansvaret för att dessa sju vackra döttrar. Det är min första prioritet att älska dem, att se dem finna Gud mer och mer, att upptäcka vem de är och hur Gud vill lysa igenom dem. Jag vill ge dem möjlighet att leva i mer tro, kärlek och kraft än de gjort tidigare och att se deras liv förvandlas liksom livet för de människor de möter också förändras för alltid genom Guds kärlek. Och jag känner en överväldigande frid inför denna resan. Gud har mött mig mer och mer nyligen som en pappa och en mamma och övertygat mig att jag är trygg med Honom och att med Honom kan jag kan göra allt. Jag vet att jag inte är någon speciell men Han är. Även om jag är inte säker på alla, eller faktiskt nästan inga, detaljer om vad vi faktiskt kommer att möta och göra på denna resan känner jag mig lugn och fridfull och säker på att vi vandrar i Guds vilja. Tro är en annan sak som jag har fått mer av än vanligt för denna resa. I takt med att Gud sakta har förändrat min syn på Honom till att se Hans godhet mer än att se Honom som ett krävande och mycket seriös person, har tro vaknat upp i mig för jag vet att Han är förälskad i sitt folk och Han är desperat efter att visa det för dem. Och Han kommer att använda någon som är villig att göra det. Så här är jag Gud, sänd mig! Mer av Dig och mindre av mig så att Din kärlek kan förändra världen för alltid när mitt liv hälls ut som ett offer inför Dig. Tack Jesus för Din kärlek och att Du förser mig med allt jag behöver.

Och tack alla ni som står bakom mig i detta och be gärna för mig och mitt team. Det är svårt för mig att lämna Robert så länge och särskilt precis innan vårt bröllop. Be för oss, vi behöver det.

Kärlek och frid i Kristus,
Paulina Gudmundsson

Philip, Alissa, Justine, Audrey, Lea, Sarah, Paulina, Karman, Marissa

 

Ett liv förvandlat / A life changed

•March 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hej allihopa!

Detta är en video som en av mina elever gjort. Den handlar om hur Gud har förvandlat hennes liv under denna tiden hon har gått vår DTS. Videon är verkligen fantastisk. Och om du har stött mig ekonomiskt eller genom bön eller på något annat sätt så vill jag bara säga tack för att du har gjort det möjligt för mig att vara del av hennes liv. Du är en del av vad Gud har gjort i hennes liv. Så tack!

This is a video one of my students made. It is about how God has transformed her life during this time she has been at our DTS. The video is truly amazing. And if you have supported me financially or through prayer or in some other way I just want to say thank you because you have made ​​it possible for me to be a part of her life. You are part of what God has done in her life. So thank you!
P.S. You might have to go to YouTube and watch it cause I’m not sure it will play from this blog.

Israel, Ethiopia and the Strip Club

•March 2, 2011 • 1 Comment

Hello family and friends,

DTS OUTREACH

It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes by during DTS and I just realized how soon our outreach is coming up.

We bought our tickets last week, we are getting our vaccines this week and  our visas next week, practicing Hebrew, planning children’s ministries and practicing dramas and preaching and then on April 10th we head to the airport.
Our time in Israel will probably be very different than out time in Ethiopia. In Israel we will travel around a lot to different cities while in Ethiopia we will stay in the same city the whole month. Traveling around versus staying in the same spot always gives very different opportunities for ministry.

In Israel we will be in Jerusalem first and we will be there during the Passover which will be a very exciting experience. In Jerusalem we will do a lot of intercession since this city is so intense spiritually. Our ministries are not fully set up here yet but we are in contact with some different people over there that are helping us to plan things. But I am very excited to be in this city. A word I have felt from God for our team is about bringing life into religion. Jerusalem is such a religious city and it seems like everyone is pursuing God, but most often it is only dead religion, among the Muslims, Jews and even the Christians. I am so passionate about seeing people who are trying to find their way to God be found by the One Living God who loves them. I long to see them to find eternal life in Him.

From there we will travel to a city called Ashdod and there we will help with a church run by native Israelis but also with a lot of immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia. We will help them out with home groups and there will also be opportunities for evangelism. We will be here for about two weeks.

After Ashdod we will go to Tel Aviv which is where we will spend the remaining time of our Israel trip in. We are in contact with a couple there that can set up ministries for us. They do outreaches to drug addicts in the streets and we will go with them when they do this. The street which they do to are also heavily populated with prostitutes so we will do all that we can to share God’s love with them as well, showing them that they are valued and highly esteemed and beautiful in God’s eyes. In Tel Aviv we will also be able to work with several different churches. Some of them feed the poor, some reach out to African refugees (of which there are many in Israel) and we will join in with this. We will also be given opportunities to preach in the churches.

Our Traveling Route in Israel

On the 13th of May (the day after my birthday) we will travel to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Over there we will really be busy. The YWAM base there have so much good stuff going on. They have community development programs, they have water programs for the villages, they have homes for orphans and ministry to widows. We will not be lacking in things to do. I will update you all more when I know more about what we are doing. There are so many connections between Ethiopia and Israel, both historical and biblical so I believe there is a specific purpose that God is sending us to both these countries and I am excited to find out what it is. Please be praying for our team to be prepared to both give out and to learn from the new cultures we will encounter and that the people we will meet will have soft hearts to receive what God has for them.

This is the city where we will be in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

STRIP CLUB OUTREACH ON VALENTINES DAY

I also wanted to write again about what happened Valentine’s Day with our outreach to the strip club to you ho haven’t heard yet. It was amazing!!!!!! It was so much better than I hoped. God really paved the way for us.
Not only did they let us in but they let us walk through the club, into the dressing room and meet the girls and give the gifts to them personally. I got to meet the girls and my heart flooded with love. It really felt like my heart was doubled in size when I saw them and when I got to hug them.
It was above my expectations. We went there in the evening of Valentine’s Day with gift bags and the bouncer let us through to bouncer number two. I told him that we were there to give gifts to the girls who worked there. He was skeptical but when I said I got permission from the manager he became more positive. He asked if wanted to give the presents directly to the girls instead of just leaving them to him at the door. I was surprised but said yes so we went with one of the girls through the club, to the back and into the dressing room. It was amazing that we got to do this. Afterwards, I was reminded of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago about the strip club. I dreamed that we actually got to come in and meet the girls and see their reactions to our gifts. And now, we actually do it in reality. In the dressing room we got to give the gifts to the girls who were there and we left the rest on a table to the girls that would work there later in the evening.

And their reactions. It was also my above my expectations. Not one of them was skeptical. They were so happy and they hugged us and told us their names and we got to tell a tiny bit about why we wanted to give them these gifts. I can not even describe how it felt. Throughout the rest of the evening I felt my heart getting filled with love for them. I am so grateful that I got to meet them, that I got to see their faces and know their names. This was truly a sign from God that He has big plans for them.
When we left the club even the bouncer thanked us.
Thank you Jesus for making the impossible possible!
Please keep praying for these girls and that God will show me the next step to take to keep reaching them with His love.

Happy New Years Letter

•February 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hello Beloved friends, I hope you’re having a good 2011.

Here is my newsletter on what’s been going on lately in my life. Choose which one you want to read, Swedish or English, click on the link and read it.

Nyhetsbrev, januari 2011

Newsletter English

a very impactful video

•October 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Check out this video, you need to watch the whole thing to get it.
It is amazingly well done and very powerful.

En spontan resa till älskade San Francisco / A spontaneous trip to beloved San Francisco

•October 20, 2010 • 1 Comment

(Swedish first and after the pictures you’ll find the English version.)

Hej allihopa!

I torsdags tog jag bussen upp till San Francisco vilket var ett ganska spontant beslut. Det var spontan tanke med tanke på hur mycket jag normalt planerar allt annat jag gör i livet. UMU San Francisco har ett arbete som heter Because Justice Matters (BJM) som jag har arbetat med tidigare när vi har tagit vårt justice DTS upp hit för en vecka eller så. De gör mycket arbete med de många strippklubbar som finns i staden, men också med prostituerade och andra kvinnor i riskabla eller våldsamma situationer. I början av förra veckan kände jag verkligen att jag behövde åka upp hit och stanna några dagar för att besöka och lära av UMU staben jag känner i BJM.

Jag fick ett så starkt tecken på Guds godhet mot mig för jag hade bokstavligen inga pengar att åka upp hit med, men på bara några dagar fick jag nog för min bussbiljett och mitt boende och mat på UMU basen i San Francisco. Jag vet att det inte var en enorm summa pengar som jag behövde, men jag hade inga alls och jag kunde inte förstå varifrån pengarna skulle komma ifrån så det rörde verkligen mitt hjärta att Gud försedde mig med pengar så snabbt och i sådana slumpmässiga sätt så att jag kunde åka. Det var också en bekräftelse på att det Han ville att jag skulle åka på den här resan och att Han hade något betydelsefullt för mig här. Och det hade Han verkligen.

Jag fick sitta ner med BJM personalen och fråga dem alla mina miljoner frågor om deras erfarenheter och råd om att nå ut till strippklubbar i Kalifornien. Detta var mycket hjälpsamt och jag känner mig ännu mer säker på att nå ut till tjejerna i strippklubben där jag bor. De berättade att de reaktioner de har fått har varit mycket positiva och att de har verkligen fått en massa kärlek från Gud för dessa kvinnor.

Jag fick också hänga på i några av de aktiviteter de gör under veckan vilket var fantastiskt. På lördag hade UMU en kvinnodag, till vilken de hade bjudit in alla kvinnor i området till en “Chocolate Galore” dag. Området där UMU basen finns kallas The Tenderloin och är det område där de flesta av de hemlösa, knarklangare och prostituerade finns till dag och natt. Omkring 100 kvinnor kom och fick en påse med lyxig choklad, något som de aldrig skulle kunna unna sig annars. De fick också tillverka smycken med oss och det fanns tillfälle för bön och ett bord med information om olika härbärgen och hjälp som finns i om man blir våldtagen eller slagen i hemmet.
Varje måndag har de också en Nagel Dag där alla kvinnor är välkomna att komma under ett par timmar på dagen och få en manikyr. Jag fick göra detta vilket var kul trots att jag var väldigt nervös och definitivt ur min “comfort zone”. Rengöringa, fila och sätta nagellack på folks naglar är inte min starka sida. Det slutade med att en av kvinnorna fixade till mina naglar istället. Det var fantastiskt! Jag var glad och det var hon också lyckligtvis. Nageldagen gav verkligen en hel del möjligheter att få mer djupare och intima samtal med kvinnorna. Jag fick faktiskt prata med en kvinna som jag träffade på lördagen under choklad dagen och hon berättade att hon inte behövde bo på gatan längre på grund av information hin fick av oss om härbärge för kvinnor som blir slagna i hemmet. Det gjorde mig väldigt glad att höra!

Jag fick också sitta och prata med en kvinna som BJM personalen känner som blev sexuellt utnyttjas av sin pappa hela sitt liv tills hon var 20 år gammal. Det var en mycket sorglig historia, men hon pratade mycket om helande processen och om bra sätt att nå ut till och relatera till kvinnor som har utsatts för sexuella övergrepp. Detta var mycket informativt eftersom stort sett alla kvinnor i sexindustrin är utsatta för sexuella övergrepp och de flesta av dem har utsatts för övergrepp som barn också. Hon talade om hur hon hittade sin väg tillbaka till Gud igen och hur det var en stor del av hennes helande, vilket jag älskade för jag tror till 100% att ingen till fullo kan bli hel om det inte är av Gud. Och det var väldigt bra att kunna sitta i en sådan intim miljö med den här kvinnan och kunna ställa alla mina frågor och höra de djupa delarna av erfarenheterna som en överlevare av sexuella övergrepp har.

Så för att avsluta, detta var en fantastisk resa och jag är beredd att gå tillbaka till Pismo och fortsätta söka Gud och söka upp och älska tjejerna i strippklubben. Helt annat ämne, fick jag också köpa en mycket varm halsduk att använda när jag kommer till kalla Sverige i vinter eftersom alla jag bara äger tunna Kalifornien kläder för tillfället. Jag ser fram emot att träffa alla er svenskar igen.

Be gärna mer för kvinnorna och männen i strippklubben i Santa Maria.

Kärlek,
Paulina

 

Some of the clubs in San Francisco

A sign outside one of the infamous strip clubs

 

Hello everyone!

Last Thursday I took the bus up to San Francisco due to a fairly spontaneous decision. It was spontaneous considering how much I normally plan everything else I do in life. YWAM San Francisco has a ministry called Beacuse Justice Matters (BJM) that I have worked with before when we have taken our Justice DTS up here for a week or so in the past. They do a lot of work with the many strip clubs found in the city, but also with prostitutes and other women in risky or abusive situations. And in the beginning of last week I really felt that I needed to go up there for some days to visit and learn from the staff I know in BJM.

I got to receive such a sign of God’s goodness towards me cause I literally had no money to go up there but in just a few days I recieved enough for my bus ticket and my housing and food at the YWAM base in San Francisco. I know it was not a huge sum of money that I needed but I didn’t have any and I didn’t see at all where the money would come from so it I really touched my heart that God would provied that money for me so quickly and in such random ways so that I could go. It was also good confirmation that I was supposed to go on this trip and that God had something significant for me here. And He really did.

I got to sit down with the BJM staff and ask them all my million questions about their experiences and advice on reaching out to strip clubs in California. This was very helpful and I feel even more confident about reaching out to the girls in the strip club where I live. They told me that the reactions they have gotten have been very positive and that they have truly gotten a lot of love from God for these women.

I also got to join in with some of the activities they do during the week which was amazing. On Saturday YWAM put on a women’s day where they had invited all the women in the area to a “Chocolate Galore” day. The area where the YWAM base is located is called the Tenderloin which is the area where most of the homeless, drug dealers and prostitutes hang out day and night. About 100 women came and got a bag of fine chocolates, something they never would be able to treat themselves to, they got to make jewelery with us and there was opportnity for prayer and for information about different shelters and help available in case of domestic voilence and rape.
Every Monday they also have a nail day where all women are welcome to come during a couple of hours in the day and get a manicure. I got to do this as well although I was very nervous and definetely out of my comfort zone. Cleaning, filing and putting nail polish of people’s nails are not my gifting. One of the women actually ended up doing my nails instead. It was amazing! I was happy and so was she. This activity really gave a lot of opportunity to have more in depth and intimate conversations with the women. I actually got to talk to a woman that I met on Saturday during the chocolate day and she told me that she just got off the street because of the information about women’s domestic violence shelters she got from us that day. That made me very happy to hear!

I also got to sit and talk with a woman whom the BJM staff knows that was sexually abused by her father all her life until she was 20 years old. It was a very sad story but she talked a lot about the healing process and about good ways to reach out to and relate to women that have been sexually abused. This was very informational since pretty much all women in the sex industry are being sexually abused and most of them have been abused as children as well. She talked about finding her way back to God again and how that was a huge part of her being healed which I loved cause I believe to 100% that nobody can be fully healed unless it is by God. And it was very helpful to be able to sit in such an intimate setting with this woman and being able to ask all my questions and hear the deep part of the experiences of a survivor of sexual abuse.

So to conclude, this was an amazing trip and I am ready to go back to Pismo and keep seeking God and  seeking out and love those girls in that strip club. On another note, I also got to buy a very warm scarf to use when I get to cold Sweden this winter since all I have these days are light California clothes. I am very excited to see all you Swedes again.

Please keep praying for the girls and the men in the strip club in Santa Maria.

Love,
Paulina