Category Archives: General

Lori's Lollipops – December 2018

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What a privilege it is to be part of something that is bigger than myself. That privilege comes with some pretty long hours and lots of dedication, but after spending 3 months in training, we now have 53 students and 10 staff who are out sharing the gospel with people in 5 different nations… and that is pretty incredible. Here are a couple of testimonies from my students about their time in DTS:

“DTS has honestly been a life-changing experience. I came to this school with a rocky relationship with God, waving in and out of going His way and going my way. I can say with confidence that DTS is going to be that pivotal part of my life where I go His way and stay on course. Throughout the school God has given me glimpses of what He has planned for the rest of my life. I came here with no interest in evangelism but now I understand the importance of sharing the gospel with others so they can choose eternal salvation.” ~Tyler B.

I never really expected to be here. My life before coming to Montana was a mess, my faith was spiraling downward and Jesus was put on the back burner. I was living a really selfish and self-seeking life and pushing a lot of people away from me out of fear and guilt and shame. When I first got to YWAM I was about to turn right around, hop back on the plane and high tail it outta here. Long story short, I stayed. I stayed because the community that I ended up finding here at DTS so quickly became my family. The way our leaders championed us and loved us
endlessly made me feel safe and accepted, and I began to build a strong and grounded foundation in the Lord. I started realizing through Jesus, my leaders and my friends that I AM worthy of being loved and believed in; that I’m not forgotten and done for, but that God has a plan for me and my future. I never believed any of that before coming here. Now don’t get me wrong, being real and raw and vulnerable with other people and even myself has always been challenging, but it is a worthwhile part of the DTS. It’s been amazing to see Jesus work in me and completely transform my heart, and also see Him do the same in my classmates!” ~ Ana Z.

Halfway through our training phase we traveled to Spokane, WA for a week of mini-outreach.  I was proud to watch students step out of their comfort zones and conquer personal fears to reach out to others who were hurting, hungry, and broken. Collectively as a school, we were able to talk to more than 400 people throughout the week on the street, at the bus depot, mall, park, etc.  Nine people felt God’s healing power as we prayed for them and a handful of people got saved!!  The students gained boldness and   passion for reaching the lost, and got great practice for doing ministry overseas.

“Christ Our Rock” has been our school theme, and is very meaningful to me personally. We spent a lot of time talking about how we need to build our house on the Rock so that when storms come we will be able to stand on a firm foundation and not be blown away. How fitting in a time when there are so many things vying for our attention, asking us to believe in them, many of which would cause us to fall – much like being built on sand. May all of us be like the wise man Jesus is talking about in Matt 7, and build ourselves upon Christ our Rock – the only unshakable foundation in this world!
Merry Christmas!

Lori's Lollipops – August 2018

Click here for the August 2018 Newsletter in PDF Format

I love having foreign friends! This summer a friend visiting from Taiwan, who was enjoying the Montana treat of huckleberry ice cream every day for 2 weeks, was feeling guilty and stressed that she was endangering the bears by eating their food! She was quite relieved when I reassured her that our Montana mountains have more than plenty of huckleberries to share between the bear and human populations! ☺
Trusting While Life’s Hard: I’m sure when apostle Paul was shipwrecked and hanging onto debris in the middle of the sea, encouraging the other passengers to not give up hope, he couldn’t’ve known that he would land on the shore of an island where God would move mightily and that the people of Malta would all get saved in the end (Acts 27-28). In a less dramatic way, I feel I can relate. If I can be a little vulnerable with you, there have been some unexpected valleys to travel through this year. Many of our staff have been going through difficult personal losses or health crises. Loss of parents. Loss of babies. Breast Cancer. Leading young staff who are walking through these things while also experiencing some of my own personal difficulties feels a little like holding onto a piece of debris while still in the middle of the sea. But I’m putting faith into the goodness of God and trust that he has a plan in all of it that I just might not be able to see yet. My prayer in the midst of it is “… renew a steadfast spirit within me”.
Change All Around: There is a lot of change underway at YWAM Montana this year! For a very long time we have struggled to meet all together as a staff and student body because we do not have a space that holds all of us. We also outgrew our cafeteria many years ago and have been eating in shifts in order to lessen the amount of long lines standing outside in the winter. We have already made progress towards building a new facility that will serve as both a new cafeteria and an auditorium. So far we have turned a classroom into our new kitchen, moved our old cafeteria to a new location on our property, demolished the old kitchen, and now the foundation for our new facility is being built as we speak. Classroom spaces on campus are going to be like a giant puzzle this fall, with lots of shuffling as we manage with a lack of space until we finish our new building next year.
Another Transition: Many of you have been praying that God would bring more leaders for our DTS Dept. so I would not be alone in leading it. In May, another leader stepped in and has been running with the overall leadership, and we are in the process of raising up more staff to join our team so that further oversight can bring about more growth. Please continue to pray for more leaders to complete our leadership team.
Ready or not… here we go! In addition to all of the above, I will also be leading our Fall DTS. It is shaping up to be a big school. We are in full swing of staff training and preparations for the students to arrive, and will be kicking things off in just a couple short weeks! I am excited for the vision and direction God is giving us for this school, and believe He is going to do so much in the lives of our students coming, just like He always does! Please pray that God would give me the strength to continue strong!
For His Glory, Lori

Lori’s Lollipops – December 2017

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“Thankfully I packed light” I thought to myself as I loaded my 80 liter backpack full of  Bibles. We’d left as much of our personal stuff behind as we could just for this. On it went, the heaviest pack I’ve ever carried in my life.  My team and I took a step on the narrow path before us. Then another. And another. The sun went down. The headlamps went on. And the trek continued. Enduring through sweat, some tears, and a good deal of pain we finally  arrived at our destination – the homes of people who have never held a Bible in their lives, some who’ve never even heard the sweet name of Jesus and about the crazy love He has for them. Honestly, those few days of Bible distribution were some of the most physically      difficult of my outreach, but also some of the most beautiful and worthwhile and hopeful. My life was transformed through that, and mine  wasn’t the only one. Through my team’s endurance, over 800 Bibles were distributed, and for the first time some of those villagers now have the chance to experience the one true Hope—Jesus. They have the   opportunity to read the Word in their own language and encounter the one true God. Please pray for those families to open that book, to dig in and be curious, and for them to be open to the Hope through the Holy Spirit! – Bree K.  

(Please do not redistribute the stories in this newsletter)

We have had a great year here at YWAM Lakeside! We’ve trained 269 students in 27 schools , sending out 18+ student teams to our Target Nations.  Included in those numbers are our DTS teams, of which we just welcomed 2 back, and sent out 4 more! The amazing testimony above is from a DTS student who just returned from a gospel restricted nation.

The Surge Celebration:  Our three year partnership with YWAM Taipei came to a finish in Nov.  I was able to go to Taiwan for the celebration, along with a few others from Montana. There are so many things to celebrate, including 3 new YWAM locations that were pioneered out of YWAM Taipei!  While most of our efforts took place in Taiwan, we’ve also been able to host a few individuals over here in Montana. One such person is Yona. A Buddhist, Yona tagged along with a friend in order to learn English. During her time here, she began to ask questions about Jesus, and eventually got saved and then baptized! She is now in the middle of her DTS in Taiwan.  The story continues on, as Yona’s long-time boyfriend just got saved a couple of weeks ago, and we are hoping more of her family members follow suit!

“Thanksgiving.”  (Nope, not the holiday ) “Thanksgiving” was my word for 2017.  Little did I know when God dropped that word into my heart for this year that I would find it challenging.  In truth, taking over the leadership of our DTS Department by myself—and with it many more responsibilities – being thankful throughout the year was not as easy as I had anticipated.  But the stories of people’s lives being touched by the gospel, like the testimonies above, are what keep me going. Please continue to pray for 2 more leaders for our DTS Dept. to complete our leadership team.  Let me end by sharing the verses that’ve been my close companion this year.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:4-7   

Merry Christmas!   Lori

Lori’s Lollipops – July 2017

Click here for the July 2017 Newsletter in PDF Format

Is it just me, or is 2017 flying by a little faster than usual?
In February I got the privilege of traveling to Thailand to attend an international    gathering for DTS leaders who serve their regions by providing staff training and     oversight to Discipleship Training Schools. I had the pleasure of meeting some long-time YWAMers who “paved the way” ahead of us, and enjoyed connecting with people who have the same heart and passion for training up young leaders and missionaries.
In March, three of my co-workers and I arrived in Ukraine just in time for Easter. Let me tell you what! Ukrainians know how to celebrate this meaningful holiday!  There were colorful festivals and Easter shows going on for the entire month of March.  People there are unabashed in their celebration of the resurrection of Christ.  While there, we did some debriefing with staff members serving in Kiev and Ternopil.
Sadly, on our last day, I was pickpocketed for the very first time in 21 years of international traveling! Stepping off of one of the most crowded metro rides I’ve ever been on (and I’ve been on a few!) I reached into my purse for my wallet—but it was gone! There went my cash, card and driver’s license… taking my pride right along with it!  I was so thankful the thieves didn’t nab my passport though, and I was able to get home safely on a few borrowed dollars.
In April, one of our DTS outreach teams got to minister at a drug rehab center in Cambodia.  After sharing, the team offered prayer for healing. The first guy they prayed for was healed instantly of a headache. Soon after a man came forward and declared that he wanted to give his life to Jesus, so on the spot, he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Anticipating what the Lord wanted to do, the team got to go back a few days later.   After sharing the gospel, the team told this group of recovering drug addicts about the love and forgiveness they could receive from God if they gave their lives to Christ. The entire room of 65 people stood up. Completely stunned, the team thought “surely, they don’t understand what they are committing to”, so they had the guys sit back down ☺ as they retold the gospel in further detail, and again, all 65 people stood to give their lives to the Lord!  Hungry to learn, they asked the team for Bibles so they could immediately grow in their understanding of God and how they can become more like him.
NEW POSITION:  This spring, our DTS Directors let us know that they would be leaving YWAM this summer. I was asked to take on their role, and have already begun serving in this capacity. Running 4-7 schools with 35-ish staff per year, we hope to form a team of 3 people to lead our DTS Dept, but the other two additional people have yet to be identified.  So with this new responsibility, I have put my involvement with our debriefing ministry on hold for the time being.
I would love for you to be praying with us for this transition, especially for me to be filled with wisdom and vision as I take on a greater level of leadership here at YWAM Montana.
For His Glory,

Lori's Lollipops – December 2016

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REVOLVING DOORS: This September we welcomed 127 new students to our campus to be discipled and grow in Biblical understanding.  We had 5 Titus      Project teams go to India, Nepal, Cambodia, Taiwan and Ukraine to do Bible teaching.  Just as they were arriving back in Montana we had 6 DTS outreach teams heading out to Thailand, Ukraine, Cambodia and Taiwan. Our SBS students are currently finishing up their first quarter of inductively  studying the Word of God.
In October we hosted a Debriefing Training Seminar with 8 participants who learned the basics of debriefing. A week later I flew down to St. Croix to teach in their DTS on Identity in Christ. It was a great week, and I really enjoyed teaching that topic!  Another quick turnaround found me in Taiwan in November for 3 weeks with a fellow debriefer, Anna.  We met with a number of staff in Taipei and Taitung to do pastoral staff care.  It was a worthwhile trip, and it was great to reconnect with so many friends and my sister’s family.
MORE REVOLVING DOORS: Transition is a normal part of life as a YWAMer, but while it is normal, it isn’t always easy.  These past couple of months I’ve said goodbye to most of my close friends as God has called them on to other places.  I’ve known each of them for 3-8 years, and am thankful for their friendships and how God used them in my life!
As we head into the Christmas season and are reminded of the reason why we celebrate, I find myself agreeing with Simeon’s proclamation in Luke 2 where he says,  “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared  in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”  I am so thankful that our Savior came to earth, and that we get to live to proclaim the truth of who He is!

  “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his  father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever;
his kingdom will never end.”  Luke 1:32-33

As the famous carol aptly puts it, “He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.”
Oh, the wonders of His love.  Merry Christmas!

Lori's Lollipops – July 2016

Click here for the July 2016 Newsletter in PDF Format

Nobody wants to read a boring newsletter!” …That’s usually my first thought as I sit down to write an update.” So many things happen, life is so busy , yet how do I write about what I consider to just be “normal life””? Well, here goes… in a newsletter I’m calling “THE YEAR OF SEVENTEEN”…
Seventeen Years Old:
As I realized that the number 17 began to appear in various places throughout this newsletter, I also realized that though it rarely gets brought up in conversation these days, I was 17 yrs old when I felt called to long-term missions. My introduction to missions happened years previous to that and I was already intrigued by the thought of it, but in February of 1997 is when I felt God’s clear calling on my life and I knew that I would become a missionary.
Seventeen Tests (Health Update):
If you recall, in my December newsletter I asked for prayer because (seven years after my extensive blood clotting) I was going off of my blood thinning med’s in order to get my blood tested again. The news that came back from Mayo Clinic in January was excellent ~ the results for 17 different tests were completely clean… no blood clotting disorders! I was excited and celebrating! However, just a few weeks later, my leg began to get super achy, swollen, and was quite painful… and my celebration came to a sudden halt. Sparing you all the details, after another ultra sound exam on my leg my doctor and my vascular surgeon together concluded that I have a blood clotting disorder that simply doesn’t show up in testing. So back on another blood-thinning medication I went! I felt discouraged and defeated… but after about 3 days of grieving over this less-than-desirable news, I felt convicted to be thankful. So I’ve been choosing to celebrate that, with some extra care and a few adjustments, I can go about my life as normal, continuing to travel and do many of the things I love. I am blessed!
Seventeen Schools:
In January I staffed my 17th DTS, coaching Brandon & Aksana as they led their first school. I got to teach for a week in the DTS, helping students and staff understand who God has designed them to be and how to work with each other in teams. We sent teams out to Ukraine, Taiwan and India for 2 months, all of them returning with stories of what God is doing in each nation and how they got to be part of it!
Asia (x 17):
In April I did a pastoral visit to our outreach teams in Taiwan and India. I spent a week with each team, meeting with staff and students—listening, praying, and advising where needed. We do these pastoral visits from time to time just to help keep our teams healthy. This happens to be right up my alley, and it was a great way to be involved with the outreaches! (Coincidentally, if I add up the number of countries in Asia that I’ve been to, including multiple trips to some of the same ones, it adds up to… you guessed it! Seventeen!)
Seventeenth Year:
When I was finished in India, I headed to New Zealand to visit my sister Pam and her family. It had been two years since last seeing them, and it was a great way to finish my whole trip to Asia!
And finally, just to top off all my “seventeens”, I’m headed into my 17th year of full-time YWAM staff. God has been faithful!
That’s it for my seventeens!

Lori's Lollipops – July 2015

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July 2015

God is on the move!  Now that is definitely not a new thing, but let me fill you in on what is going on in our neck-of-thewoods.  YWAM Montana is partnering with YWAM Taipei for 3 1/2 years in what is called “The Surge“, to accomplish 3 mutual goals that our two bases came up with together.  This focused effort in the nation of Taiwan has already been amazingly fruitful, with more people coming to Christ and being discipled than ever before!  It is so exciting to be part of this partnership (that began last fall), both together as a ministry and on a personal level.  My heart for Taiwan started in 2002 when I took my first team there, and has grown with each additional time I’ve gone.  Having my oldest sister and brother-in-law there as long-termers just sweetens the deal even more.  I love watching other staff come to love Taiwan like I do, and I hope to take part in a small team going there later this year.  On the flip side, we’ve also had more Taiwanese staff come to Montana to get further training and strengthen relationships as well.
An eventful start to this year…  Life was rolling right along as 2014 gave way to 2015, when suddenly we got an early morning call from Costa Rica.  My dad was having a major heart attack.  Amidst phone calls and waiting for news, I made plans to fly down there, leaving the next day.  Against all human probability, my dad has lived to tell about it.  My parents were serving at a YWAM location in C.R. for a couple months when all this took place, and I happened to have a good friend there who spent a week with us, translating and helping out wherever she could.  She was a God-send for us!  Nine days later we returned to Montana, having been able to get my parents on the exact same flights home as me!  My dad has been able to regain a lot of his strength and keeps as busy as ever.  (And I wonder where I get that from?!?!)
St. Croix continues…  After 5 1/2 years, I finally got to go back to St. Croix!  In March I went to teach in their DTS, which was a huge privilege for me.  I loved being part of a school there again, albeit in a different role.  I had an incredible time catching up with old friends and seeing some of the places that were very memorable for me.  I expected to feel strange or out-of-place, but as it turned out, I felt right at home.  Much has changed, yet much is the same.  In fact, I even found myself naturally picking up old habits – like walking around turning off fans or lights that weren’t being used to save electricity! Ha ha… 🙂
Debriefing…   I enjoy my continued work with our debriefing ministry on base, Emmaus Encounter.  Since our sessions are confidential, I am normally unable to say much about them.  However, this quote was writing by a recent debrief for the purpose of sharing, in order for you to get to hear more about it.  This photo captured a very holy moment as she spent time giving back to God the things that she no longer wanted to carry her self.
“Through debriefing I have been able to process and get a better perspective on some of the things that I’ve done and been through.  I can now see where God was in some of the events and decisions from my past that had always been confusing to me.  Debriefing has given me freedom to leave the past behind and wisdom that I can take with me into the future.  It has also built my faith in God and his love for me.  My debriefers listened and walked through the week with me, not trying to give me all the ‘right’ answers, but consistently pointing me to Jesus as the one who will help me to understand and interpret my past accurately.”
TESOL: Adding a skill set for future ministry…  SO MANY REQUESTS come from our Target Nations and countries around the world asking for English teachers, or wanting outreach teams to focus on teaching English as a ministry because it is so effective.  This is something I have done many times on outreach before, bumbling my way through it ok, but lacking skills and confidence.  The “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages” course was run here this spring during the evenings and on Saturdays in order for full-time staff to have the opportunity to do it. (And as if my life was just a little too dull…  I’m kidding!!)  Even though I’m not really an English fanatic, I felt God prompting me to take this course so I would be better prepared for the endless ministry opportunities that come our way.  I had way more fun learning all things TESOL than I thought I would, enjoyed our Saturday morning practicums with Spanish and Russian ESL learners in the valley, and look forward to using this new tool in future ministry!
Partnering to advance God’s Kingdom…  After 16 years of serving with YWAM I still feel called to full time missions.  I’m glad I get to be one of the “goers”, and even though it comes with some sacrifices, and times hardship, I’ve always considered it a privilege.  I cannot be in full time ministry without the generosity of people like you.  I recognize that not all of us have the desire or opportunity to be in full time missions or “go to the nations” in this way.  For those of us like me who can go, many others like you can send… and so we can partner together to advance God’s Kingdom.  I am looking for more partners in ministry, as my monthly support has decreased in recent years.  While I don’t write about this in each newsletter, I wanted to let you know of this need and opportunity.  If you feel led to partner with me in this way, or have any questions at all, please let me know!  You can always pass along my info to others as well.
As always, I hope this bit of news from my corner of the world finds you doing well in yours.  
Love, Lori

“May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may He be gracious to you, show you His favor, and give you His peace.”  Numbers 6:24-26 (Living Bible)

Lori's Lollipops – December 2014

Lori's Lollipops - December 2014

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Merry Christmas to you all!
This holiday season has brought it’s usual hustle and bustle, with so many things vying for attention. As we speed towards Christmas Day, I pray that each one of you will experience God’s presence powerfully and be uniquely drawn towards Jesus.
The last few months found me splitting my time between DTS and debriefing. In October I taught in the DTS during their mini-outreach in Portland, and then spent a week on the Oregon coast receiving further training as a debriefer. As December rolled in, we had to say goodbye to several of our wonderful DTS staff who are moving on. Although there is constant transition in YWAM, and you get used to it to a degree, it remains hard to say goodbye to people who have become close friends and “family”.
Upcoming God Story: Towards the end of March I will be heading to St. Croix to teach in their DTS. I am thrilled! This will be my first time visiting since I left in 2009, and I am excited to see what God has in store, both for the staff/students in the DTS and also for me personally. When I left it was under stressful circumstances, and since God is in the business of restoring and redeeming, I anticipate his greater purpose for this trip! I am looking forward to reconnecting with a few friends, visiting meaningful places on the island, and reflecting on old memories while making new ones. (And on top of that, who’s going to complain about trading a week of Montana winter for the turquoise hues of the Caribbean sea? Not this girl!!)
YWAM Montana—Lakeside : The bigger picture… Through my newsletters you get a glimpse of what I do, but that is a very small part of the bigger picture around here! I’ve listed a few base-wide stats from this last year that I find amazing and fun:
– We ran 30 schools, with 334 students from 34 states and 24 countries.
– 568 people got saved in 27 nations as the Gospel was shared through staff & student outreaches.
– We have 158 full-time volunteer staff — who have consumed 105,968 cups of coffee, and flown on 1,229 flights this year. 
To read some great stories and articles written by students and staff, visit our website : You’ll also see that we are celebrating 30 years of ministry in August 2015, which all of our alumni and supporters are invited to!
May your hearts be filled with the hope of Christ! For His Glory, Lori

Lori Rietema | 501 Blacktail Rd. Lakeside, MT 59922 |

For more information on financial donations and partnering with me in ministry, please contact me. Donation checks can be made out to “YWAM”, a note with my name attached, and sent to the address above. Year end gifts dated in 2014 will be process until Jan 9, 2015.

Lori's Lollipops – September 2014

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SEASONS. They come and go in various shapes and sizes. I just celebrated 15 years of being in full-time missions (!!) and am so thankful for this life I get to live – both to God for his calling and strength, and to my partners in prayer and finances! Over the last 15 years I have been able to travel to 26 nations and many U.S. cities – intentionally sharing the gospel of Christ, leading and teaching students, training and mentoring staff, and so much more. My highest highs and lowest lows have all been experienced on the mission field. Some seasons have been more enjoyable than others, and some less, but they were always worth everything I had to give. I consider myself very blessed to be able to continue on—whatever lies ahead.
Speaking of seasons, those climate changes come regularly here in Montana, too! This past WINTER I spent time working with our debriefing ministry. In February I taught in the DTS on their mini-outreach in Spokane, WA with below zero temperatures outside—sleeping on the floor of an abandoned church, hitting the YMCA for showers and trying to stay cozy while teaching and doing ministry. Brrrr….
In the SPRING I had the privilege of coaching a new DTS leader, Katie, and she did a great job of leading her first school. Shortly after the DTS started there came an emergency need for another outreach leader to join with a Winter DTS team we had in Costa Rica. Feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit to fill that need, I rearranged my schedule and headed down to C.R. for 3 weeks. It was quite the adventure, not really knowing the students and them not knowing me… but I jumped in to help where I could. When I returned to Montana I finished out the training phase of DTS with our Spring school, and we sent that team out to Thailand for the summer. They had a great outreach, and returned with stories of the gospel changing lives in prisons, schools, and villages… there are even several Buddhist monks who are interested in learning more about Jesus! Go God!
My SUMMER was wonderful! Every four years my immediate family gets together… and this was the year! In July we gathered for a week in Montana, making the most of go-carts, water balloon launching, soccer games, hiking trails and water slides together. We then traveled to Michigan for a greater family reunion on my dad’s side. Eighteen of us hit the road in a school bus that my dad converted — it had places for 20 people to sit, bunk beds for 8, a counter for sandwich making, an emergency potty, a couple small tables for playing games, and the potential to be either the best or worst idea ever!  It was a great way for my nieces and nephews to get to know each other. If you’d like to see photos of the bus trip – in all it’s glory – feel free to look on my facebook page…
We are now entering FALL once again… oh how time flies! Our base began the fall quarter just this week with 7 schools running and 129 students from all over the world! I will keep busy with debriefing, staff mentoring, and administrative projects for our DTS.
I hope you are all doing well.
For His Glory, LORi

Lori Rietema | 501 Blacktail Rd. Lakeside, MT 59922 | | 406-890-5208

For more information on financial donations and partnering with me in ministry, please contact me. Donation checks can be made out to “YWAM”, a note with my name attached, and sent to the address above.

Lori’s Lollipops – Jan 2014

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Winter greetings and a Merry belated Christmas to you all!  I hope your Christmas season was full of Jo!  I just returned a few days ago from a trip to Asia and New Zealand, which was absolutely wonderful!! Let me tell you a little bit about it…
In September I began to get more involved with Emmaus Encounter, our debriefing ministry.  This ministry is focused on helping long-term missionaries stay healthy on the field.  It is a week-long process where we guide the debriefees through telling their story – whatever that is.  Often times these people have gone through a lot of transition and/or grief, and have experienced injustice at varying levels.  Our goal is that by the end of the week the debriefees will have received some perspective on their circumstances, having heard very personally from God, finding healing and freedom, extending forgiveness, and are able to move forward feeling strengthened.  My heart for debriefing developed out of being the beneficiary of one such week myself, immediately following so much trauma in 2009 – starting with nearly losing my life to extensive blood-clotting, followed by some close friendship difficulties, and ending with 7 burglaries, I was pretty emotionally “messy” for a while.  Being debriefed and having a safe place to share my story helped me immensely and brought me a long way in the emotional healing process in just one week’s time.  The desire to get involved with this ministry stayed simmering in my heart for three years, and then surfaced to become a reality at the end of 2012.
In November, our Emmaus Encounter staff went to Battambang, Cambodia, for a couple weeks and debriefed 9 of their staff.  Our time there went really well and was very fruitful!  Due to confidentiality, I cannot tell you much about the people we were debriefing, nor their stories, but I’m happy to say that our two weeks in Cambodia were fantastic.  It is a privilege to walk alongside and encourage missionaries in need of refreshing!
Cambodia itself is an interesting country in that over 80% of the population is under the age of 30 because of the massive genocide in the late 70’s done by the Khmer Rouge. Our team was able to visit a “killing cave” on our day off, which was a very sobering experience. We heard there are still an estimated 4-6 million activated land mines that remain undetonated around the city of Battambang alone, meaning the threat of the Khmer Rouge still lives on in the reality of deaths or disfigurement caused by exploding land mines in the countryside. Despite this, Cambodians (from my brief observations) seem to be a relatively happy people who are open to talking about their history, choosing to move on from the horrors of the past rather than getting stuck in a victim mentality.
After our debriefing ministry in Cambodia was finished, I headed to Taiwan for a week to see my sister Amy & family, and also caught up with a few friends there. It was such a fun week, and it flew by way too quickly! I then traveled to New Zealand, visiting my other sister, Pam, and her family. I was able to spend Christmas with them, which was super exciting as the last Christmas I had with Pam was 16 years ago! It was also my very first Christmas with my niece, Lanae, and nephew, Micah, who are ages 13 and 8. Since my immediate family is only able to get together every 4 years, it was a dream come true to go down there for a visit and reconnect with precious loved ones!! I have re- turned from my whole trip feeling rested and ready for what is next.
In the spring I plan to help our DTS in the capacity of coaching our new school leader. Enjoying this role last year, I’m going in for round two. In between schools I continue to help with debriefing, mentoring younger staff, teaching a little bit here and there, and the fun stuff = administration!
As 2013 has come to a close, I see God’s thumbprint on my life. I hope the same is true for you. May you be blessed in 2014!! For His Glory, LORi

Lori Rietema | 501 Blacktail Rd. Lakeside, MT 59922 | | 406-890-5208

For more information on financial donations and partnering with me in ministry, please contact me. Donation checks can be made out to “YWAM” with “#3027” on the memo line instead of my name, and sent to the address above.