Sunday, August 21, 2011

August in Brazil

August in Brazil... sounds like it would be nice and warm...not true :) The weather here in Curitiba is crazy!  One day it will be warm, around 70 or 80, and then next day it will be FREEZING cold and raining.  The majority of the weather has been cold, but we are getting used to not having any heat and learning to wear lots of layers! :)

Our schedule has stayed the same since last update.  The classes have been really good and God has definitely been teaching me more about who He is and who I am in Him.  This past week has been my favorite week so far.  It was on "The Father Heart of God".  We had the founder of YWAM Curitiba come and share. He was a great teacher.  We talked a lot about how we view fathers and mothers, areas we could have been hurt in, and then focused on God as our Father. It is so amazing to come to the place where you see God as your Father and that we are His children.  God really spoke to me about my love for Anna. He told me that the way I love her, the way I want to protect her, provide for her, comfort her, teach her, give her the best of everything, that is the way He feels about us. And His ways are even deeper than ours! That the love I have for her cannot even compare with the love He has for me! I had always known God was my Father, but this week really brought a new reality, a connection between my mind and my heart, and a true way of viewing that God is my Father. It was a week I will never forget.

Nathan has continued leading worship and intercession everyday.  He has also been teaching a couple classes as well.  He taught one on worship and one on being poor in spirit.  He is planning on teaching two more classes on faith in September.  He is an amazing teacher.  He really knows how to teach from the heart of God.  God has also been so faithful in our times of intercession.  Since being here we have seen a family's adoption process go through, a girl's family who was going to lose their home get an extension on their payments, and our translator was healed of cancer!  God is so faithful to His children!

Anna is doing great.  She is learning to say more words and is definitely exploring her independence :) She is a true blessing from God.

We are here for about another month and then are off to Scotland!  Please continue to pray that all of our finances will come in, as we still need to buy our tickets to get there.

God is a good Father and He is ALWAYS faithful!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life in Brazil

Exactly 3 weeks ago today we arrived here in Curitiba, Brazil! The flight to get here took 2 days, and Anna did AMAZING!  God definitely blessed us with a baby made to travel.  We arrived late Sunday night, and went straight to bed :) We are staying at a ministry campus that rents out rooms for conferences and schools like we are doing.  We have our own room and bathroom which is great.  We are not in the same building as the rest of the staff and students, so it is a little quieter. It is a winter here, so it has been cold, rainy, and humid!

Here is a breakdown of what our daily routine looks like:
7am: breakfast
7:30-8: devotional
8:15-9: worship or intercession
9-12:30: class
12:30: lunch
1-2:30: work duties
2:30-5:30: dance practice or small groups
6:30: dinner
After dinner is normally free time or time to read our book or work on our journals.

This is the schedule that I am on.  Nathan is leading worship and intercession while we are here, and it has been awesome!  After that, he is with Anna while I am in class or dance practice/small groups.  I have lots of breaks during the day that I am able to spend time with Anna, and then my nights are focused on spending time with her and Nathan.  It has been an adjustment for me not having as much time with Anna, but Nathan and her have been having an awesome time together, and I know that this time they have is irreplaceable and will be something that develops her into who she is going to be as she grows up.

Since we have been here I have had teachings on prayer and intercession, the attributes of God, the redemption plan of God, and our identity in Christ. All the classes have been in Portugese and then translated into English.  This has been a challenge sometimes, but God fills in the gaps that are lost in translation :)  The classes have been really good and the teachers have been awesome. I have really enjoyed everything we have been learning, and feel so blessed to have this time to focus on God and learn more about who He is.  He has been so faithful in speaking to both Nathan and I and we believe that this will be a time of tremendous growth in both our lives.

Anna is doing great.  She had no problem adapting to this new environment and culture.  She has made friends with everyone and is always the center of attention...and she loves it :) She is learning some new words and seems to be growing up so fast.  She is such a blessing!

We always need prayer, so here are a few prayer requests that we would love to have you pray for!

-Finances for Scotland
-Continued health for Anna and us
-That God would open up doors for Nathan to share the gospel at the local skate park

Friday, July 8, 2011

Leaving for Brazil!

As I write this, I'm realizing that by this time tomorrow, we will be on an airplane on our way to Brazil....crazy. 

Brief recap of the past couple months:  At the end of May we drove from Kansas City back to Atlanta to visit my family and to hold a fundraiser to help raise the funds we need for the next 6 months.  The time with my family was really nice and relaxing.  We were also blessed with someone giving us a cabin for a couple of nights for our anniversary while we were back.  Isn't God good?
After we got back we had our dessert fundraiser. It went really well!  It was a pretty small turn out, but the Lord provided! Through our fundraiser, we raised all the funds we needed for our DTS, as well as gaining a few more monthly supporters.  We feel so blessed by God's faithfulness and people's generousity and encouragement.  It was a really refreshing and uplifting time while we were in Atlanta.
We returned to Kansas City with about 2 weeks before we had to move out of our apartment and head back to Atlanta for our flight to Brazil.  The week we were planning on leaving, we spoke with the leaders of a ministry that we are associated with, who said they had 2 guys who needed some furniture for an apartment they were getting.  To make a long story short, we ended up letting the 2 guys move into our apartment and use our stuff while we are gone.  This was perfect because they will move out in January, giving us a guaranteed place to live when we get back!  Another little surprise from Jesus :)

On our drive back to Atlanta, we got a call from my dad who said that our visas had arrived and were at the post office ready for us to pick up.  We got in late that night so we went the next morning to get them.  We opened them up and saw that they had been denied due to them needing additional information.  We received this information on Friday, giving us 8 days til we were supposed to fly to Brazil! Because we live in Missouri the only consulate we could apply at is in Chicago, and to mail in the information would take 7 business days not including the mail time.  This was impossible to do before we had to leave :) So Monday morning Nathan got all our information (including the additional stuff they needed) and drove another 12 hours to Chicago.  Thankfully, one of our friends from Kansas City has parents that live outside Chicago that Nathan was able to stay with. While Nathan was there he ended up meeting a guy at a skate park and shared the gospel with him. It was a very fruitful time and Nathan is going to continue to stay in contact with him. God works all things together for good and for His glory!
 It's been pretty funny how everything we have tried to plan and prepare for in advance has ended up changing at the last minute! It has definitely kept us on our toes! But through all this craziness, God has been so faithful and so good to us.  He has provided for every additional financial need, He has given us peace and confirmation in what He has called us to do, and He has accomplished HIS will in all circumstances.  So with all that, Nathan picked up the visas today, and yes, they were approved! He is currently on his way back now and we will be flying out tomorrow at 9PM for Brazil!!! We are so thankful for all that God has done and how He has caused everything to fall into place perfectly (even if it was at the last minute) :)  He has shown His goodness as our Father over and over again. We are so excited about all that He has in store for us while we are in Brazil and later on in Scotland.  We know that great things are going to happen for HIS glory!
- for travel safety and ease with immigration.
- that Anna will sleep on the flights (the long ones are overnight) and that she will be an AMAZING traveler :)
-that God will accomplish in our lives all that He wants to accomplish.
-that God will use us to accomplish in other's lives all that He wants to accomplish.
-for health and protection while we are in Brazil.
-for the finances we need to buy our plane tickets to Scotland.

Thank you and we will keep you updated during our time in Brazil!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota Tour

We left April 26th and traveled to Minneapolis, MN to begin our outreach.  We arrived that evening and met the people who would be housing us for the 3 nights.  The following day we had our first school assembly.  It was a Lutheran school, but we were told that many of the students were Buddhists, Hindus, or would not acknowledge that they were Christians.  We did our school assembly program and then were able to preach the gospel and give a full altar call.  Nathan preached and out of 400 students, 100 kids made a commitment to give their lives fully over to Jesus.  39 of those responses were kids who had never gone to church, and 2 of the largest drug dealers in the school were of the first to respond!  This was an amazing way to start off the outreach.  That night we had our first show. The show went awesome and we saw a great response!  The next day we had another school assembly at another Christian school.  We were able to preach the gospel in this school as well, and out of 450 students 408 made a commitment to surrender everything to Jesus!  God is really moving in these northern states... Here is a brief overview of the rest of the outreach:  That evening we had another show. We left the following morning for Grand Rapids, MN where we had 2 school assemblies and a full show.  After the two nights there, we left for Spooner, WI. where we held one show at a local church.  The next day we left for Fargo, ND where we had a day off, a full show, and then participated in the local National Day of Prayer.  Throughout the whole outreach, over 1800 people heard the gospel preached and there were 808 recorded decisions made for Jesus! This is incredible! Although almost all of our shows were in churches, a couple of the event's average responders were teenage males that had never been to church.  We saw many people recommit their lives to Jesus as well.  We saw people set free from depression, healed from neck injuries, set free from panic attacks and insecurity issues, and saw many people receive truth after believing lies for so long.  Jesus made Himself known in a huge way during this outreach.  He used us and our ministry to call His children home. He desires that none should perish, and over these 9 days He saw so many hearts turn to Him.  He is rejoicing! :) Check out our facebook page "The Bartels" to see some pictures!

Nathan and I led the team of about 20 team members.  I was also Program Director and Nathan led worship and was the main Evangelist for the outreach.  Being in leadership during this tour was such an amazing experience.  We definitely tried to lay down our own abilities and let God lead through us.  It was trying at times (especially with a baby :) ) but God is so faithful and always meets us and strengthens as we rely on Him. He is perfect in all His ways, and it is so good to know that we have a good Father who cares about us, guides us and gives us wisdom as we seek after Him.  God really showed me that in the busyness of outreach and life, it's those brief moments that we have, where we pause, focus our eyes on Him and say "I love you Jesus" that really touch His heart. It is so important that even in crazy times, that we don't lose sight of Jesus and that we don't let our minds become preoccupied with things that do not really matter.  But in the midst of schedules, we must keep our minds and our hearts steady on Him and who He is.  And the chaos all of a sudden finds an order, and the busyness and craziness all of a sudden become peaceful, because He is consistent and He becomes our strength and what carries us along.   HE IS FAITHFUL.

Now we are home and looking forward to the local ministry we have here, preparing for our trip to Atlanta, and getting things in order for the upcoming Discipleship Training School in Brazil!  We are so excited about the rest of this year and all God is going to continue to do!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Starting to Get CRAZY!

I know it has been awhile since we wrote anything, but life really has gone from "not a ton going on" to "no time for anything!"  But, it has been good!

First of all, we have some really exciting news!  We have been praying for awhile about doing a Discipleship Training School with YWAM.  This is a 6 month internship through Youth With A  Mission and is needed in order to be on staff with YWAM, and is also a great opportunity to have time to study the Word of God and grow with Jesus through teachings and an outreach phase.  Nathan completed this school in 2005, but I have yet to do one.  So after praying, we felt that God said YES.  SO.....we are leaving July 9th for Curitiba, Brazil!!!! We will be there 3 months.  I will be doing the school and Nathan will be helping with Anna and doing staff responsibilities with the school as well.  After the 3 months, we return to Atlanta for a couple weeks of rest, and then leave for the outreach phase of the school.  We are going to be apart of an outreach going to Scotland.  It will be a tour with GX, so we will be back with our specific ministry.  I have been asked to be Program Director for this outreach.  The most exciting part of all this is that our plane tickets to Brazil have been bought already!!! God is so good!  Someone gave us their air miles and purchased 2 tickets for us.  So amazing.  I think we are both still in shock.  We still have a lot of money to raise, but this is a huge blessing.  Right now we are looking at needing around $8,000 for the school, tickets to Scotland, Visas, a passport for Anna, and bills while we are gone for these 5 months.  We know that God will provide and we are so excited for all He has in store! Please pray for us, and about partnering with us in what God has called us to do.  If you feel led to give please email us at

What we have been up to lately: since last post, we had our GX Staff Retreat.  We went to Arkansas for the weekend and spent time worshipping, vision casting, and being commissioned in our new staff positions.  Nathan has been encouraged and commissioned in stepping into a team leader position for any tour that it is needed.  I have been asked to be Co-Program Director for all of GX International.  Me and one other girl will be overseeing everything that happens within the ministry as far as how the program for our shows is put together.  We will be in charge of making sure new dances are created and videos are made as often as needed.  We will make sure that each outreach has a complete dance team.  And we will oversee the program and training time for each outreach to make sure the show looks the best that it can.  There is a lot more that we will be doing, but this is the basis of what we do and everything builds off of this.

After the staff retreat, we went straight into Creative Camp, where dance staff members came together to choreograph new dances and revamp the old ones to keep our shows progressing.  Nathan also helped put together ideas for 3 new skate videos, and will be the "star" of one of them :)  He has really enjoyed putting this video together as it means even more skateboard time for him.  He has continued going to his Skate Bible studies twice a week and has had the opportunity to share Jesus with a couple kids.  He also was asked to lead one of the studies he goes to when the other leader was out of town.  He talked about the Holy Spirit and what His role in our lives is.  He said it went really well and he really enjoyed being able to do this.

We currently have moved in to "boot camp", our training time for outreaches.  We are leaving the 26th of this month to go on a 10 day outreach to parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.  We will be moving towns almost everyday, but spending a few days in Fargo, ND.  For the outreach, Nathan and I will be team leaders, I will be Program Director, and Nathan will be one of the Evangelists.  Most of our team is GX staff members, so we  feel very honored to lead such a strong team.  I have been dancing a few hours everyday for the past week and have now started dancing full 8 hour days until the end of this week.  Nathan has been amazing in watching Anna while I do this.  It is a really great time for them to spend together.  Please be praying for us as we go on this outreach. Pray that God will really move in the areas that we are going to. Pray that many people will give their lives fully over to Jesus, that many will be set free from strongholds, that the Word of the Lord will go forth in boldness, and protection for our team.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

God Provides

The past few weeks have been a time where God has really been showing His faithfulness and provision.  He has not only shown up in our personal lives but also in GX as a ministry.  This past Saturday GX had a dessert fundraiser to raise finances for the new staff house that was purchased last year.  The house was purchased to be used as the GX International office, staff housing, to have extra dance space, and have an area to hold conferences and meetings.  The goal of the house is to have a space available to bring staff in, prepare them, and send them out.  The founder of GX bought the house for an extremely low price and he along with other staff members have been volunteering a lot of their time in helping to fix it up.  The goal of the fundraiser was to raise the money to pay off the house and to bring in extra to continue being able to fix it up.  The fundraiser brought in over $9000 and 5 monthly supporters.  Although GX is still in need of finances, this was a huge blessing and a great example of God's provision!  Please keep GX in your prayers and believe with us that the rest of the money needed will come in over the next couple months.  God has also been providing in our lives personally.  Nathan received about ten days of work which helped bring in the extra finances we needed for the month.  Along with this, God has given us little surprises here and there by bringing in extra money from random people.  Even though we still are trying to raise support to meet our monthly budget, God has been so faithful in making up the difference while we are working on this.  This past month has been a time for Nathan and I to really reflect on and rest in the fact that GOD IS GOOD.

I have been continuing to dance twice a week and have started teaching ballet to the staff here in order to work on our technique.  Nathan has been able to skate a lot more now that the snow is melted and the sun has been shining.  He has met a few friends at the skate park and is looking forward to investing more into those relationships.  The different Bible studies we are in are continuing to go well and we really feel like GX as a community is being united in a new way through these.

This past week has been a time where we have started making and establishing some short term future plans.  We have committed to leading a small church based outreach in Fargo, North Dakota from April 27th-May 9th.  We, as a couple, will be team leaders, and I will be Program Director for the outreach as well.  We also are planning to take a trip back to Atlanta the first two weeks of June.  We have committed to being a part of the larger outreach to Fargo this fall.  I will be Program Director for this as well. At this point we are planning on going to Scotland for an outreach after Fargo.  Please begin to pray about partnering with us financially for these outreaches.  We will send out more specific needs and details soon.  We are so excited about this summer and fall and so thankful that God is using us to further His Kingdom!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

God is Good!

As I had said in the last post, we had our first outreach Super Bowl Sunday.  We went to the community center and it was a very small crowd, probably around 20 people.  However, after the gospel was preached 5 people responded and gave their lives to Jesus!  Thank You God!  Right now, we are in the process of putting together other outreaches.  I have been in contact with local homeless shelters and youth centers and asking them to have us come out and do small shows and preach the gospel at their facilities.  I have heard back from one and they are very excited.  I have a meeting with them next week to go over all the details, so pray that everything falls into place.  Nathan and I both really have a heart to reach out to the inner city youth and homeless while we are here in Kansas City.  This is just the first step and I am excited to see all that God has planned.
I have continued doing accounting and all is going well! Nathan is enjoying his skate bible studies and God is definitely doing something in the skateboarding community.  We have started a marriage bible study that a couple in GX are leading.  We are meeting every other Monday for dinner and then the study.  We have had two meetings so far, and the DVDs still aren't in, so we haven't really done too much yet, but we are excited to be apart of this study! The couple that is leading, really has a heart for marriage, as so many are falling apart all around us. Their heart is to minister to the couples in GX to help our marriages grow and strengthen in Jesus as we are all in full time ministry and life can get crazy.
Dance practice is still going really well.  I am really enjoying being able to practice on a consistent basis and to develop more in my skills.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, Nathan will have more opportunities to skate outside at the free skate parks, so he is really excited about that :)
We have continued building relationships here in Kansas City with other young people.  We have been trying to have a group over about once a week for a meal and fellowship.  We usually end up worshipping, praying, and encouraging each other before the night is over.  It has been awesome!  God has definitely shown up and has encouraged all of us with His love and affection for us.  It has been a huge blessing for us to have our own place so that we are able to do this.  It is so important that as the body of Christ we encourage each other daily in who we are, how God sees us, and even prophesying and giving words of knowledge for one another.  We as believers need these things from each other so badly, and Nathan and I are really learning this and trying to walk in it, and we are seeing God move in the hearts of us and people around us.  It has been amazing and we are excited to see God establish an even larger community of people for us to fellowship with.
On the family side of things, Anna is doing great!  She is such a joy and growing up too fast.  God has been so faithful to us as we have stepped into this call.  He has met every need and has gone above and beyond what we even expected.  We serve a GOOD God!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Beginning to feel settled...

This past week has gone by pretty quickly.  I had my first day of training for accounting on the 26th of January.  I met with our ministry's CPA and the other woman I am going to be working with.  We spent about 4 hours going through the system and getting trained on all I need to do.  I actually really enjoyed it and am excited to be working in this aspect of the ministry (my mother would say I am not her daughter) :)  Nathan attended his weekly skateboarding bible study and has continued to build relationships there.  A couple in our ministry started a "home group" that will meet on Wednesday nights.  We had our first meeting last night and spent a few hours in worship (led by Nathan), prayer, and spent time giving thanks to God.  We talked about how thanksgiving makes a difference in our lives, no matter what the circumstance is.  Giving thanks helps us remember the goodness of God and it keeps our perspective on Him rather than on ourselves.  It was an awesome time.  Nathan has continued volunteering his time at the GX staff house and has gotten a ton done!  The leaders of GX are so thankful for all his hard work.

These past few days have been pretty slow as we got hit with a big snow storm and were snowed in for a couple days.  A few nights prior, Anna had her first fever, so we spent the weekend and the days during the snow just relaxing and working on things from home. Anna was fine after one night, just a random fever, and she woke up smiling and laughing the next morning :) Thank You Jesus!

Nathan has reconnected with an old friend from when he lived in KC before, and they have decided to meet two nights a week to read the Word, pray, and encourage each other to pursue all that God has for them. We also have a marriage bible study we will be attending on Monday nights.  I am dancing two days a week (Wednesdays and Fridays), and we are continuing to invest in relationships around us, all while we are continuing to work on setting up outreaches to preach the gospel to those who do not know Jesus.

Please keep us in your prayers, as we have our first local outreach this Sunday.  We are joining up with Team Xtreme to be apart of a halftime show during the Super Bowl.  A community center is putting on a  a Super Bowl party and has invited us to come and put on a small performance and preach the gospel during half time.  We are doing one dance and then will have the opportunity to pray and speak with people after they have heard the gospel message.  We are really excited to begin ministering in the area and cannot wait to see what God is going to do.  Pray for salvation to come during the Super Bowl! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life in Kansas City

We arrived in Kansas City, MO on January 5th.  We drove the 13 hours in 2 days and arrived in the afternoon.  We unloaded our moving truck, set up the beds, went to sleep, and woke up the next morning to drive to Wisconsin for our good friends' wedding.  Let's just say, it was a LONG week!  We had a great time in Madison celebrating the marriage of our friends we met on an outreach several years ago.  I was a bridesmaid and Nathan was a groomsmen.  We had a blast!  We returned to KC on Sunday the 9th, and began the process of unpacking and getting settled in our new home.  We found a ministry that has apartments on the campus, and they rent out to YWAM staff for a very reasonable price.  We had not seen the apartment before we moved in, but thankfully, it is awesome!! We are living in a one bedroom apartment in a complex with other YWAM staff and older missionaries.  It is very quiet and we love it.  The apartments are supposed to all be white, but ours was painted and it makes it feel very homey.  It took a few days to get all the furniture arranged, as we were trying to fit a 4 room amount of furniture into 2 rooms!  But, after a few tries, we did it!  And it looks perfect :)

The Monday after we got in from Wisconsin, we attended our first GX staff meeting at the new GX staff house/offices.  It was great to see everyone and start to get involved again.  I took on a few admin tasks, as GX is trying to put together a fundraiser this spring, and needed some flyers, invitations, and other info put together.  That same week Nathan attended a skateboard bible study that a friend he had known previously had started up.  He had a great time! Our apartment is about 2 min from the International House of Prayer.  I have been trying to commit about 2 hours per day to going to their prayer room and spending time worshipping and interceding.  Nathan has also been trying to go the same amount of time.

After our next GX staff meeting we began to feel even more settled in.  I am training in to help with finances with GX this coming Wednesday.  I don't know exactly all that I will be responsible for, but I am excited to be able to help with this area and look forward to being more involved with the ministry. I am also doing other admin tasks as needed.  Nathan has been attending the same bible study every week, and also has another one every other Thursday.  Both of them are great ministry opportunities for him and he is excited to build more relationships and really make an impact at the skate parks.  He also has started volunteering time working on the GX house, as there are many repairs that are still needed to be done.  He is also going to be leading worship at our "home group" that is going to be starting up next week.  The dancers of GX started rehearsing yesterday, and we will be trying to get into the dance studio a couple times a week to train and work on choreography.  We have also been spending time continuing to work on raising our monthly support.  We set our monthly budget at $1500 and currently have around $800 committed per month.  God has been faithful to meet our needs this month and we know that He will be faithful for the rest of our lives! But we are continuing to ask Him for creative ideas on raising support and pursuing those avenues.

Besides ministry stuff...we have been able to have friends over for dinner, Nathan went to a birthday party, we attended another birthday party as a family, we have gone to church, met friends for coffee, and are excited to be surrounded by so many awesome friends and look forward to making new ones.  Anna has started walking (you can see a video of it on my facebook page), she is talking a ton, and we are really enjoying living here as a family.