Lori's Lollipops – September 2014

Click here for the September 2014 Newsletter in PDF Format

Text Only:
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 | lorisrietema@hotmail.com | 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

Click here for the January 2014 Newsletter in PDF Format

Text Only:
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 | lorisrietema@hotmail.com | 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.

Lori’s Lollipops – Sep 2013

Click here for the September 2013 Newsletter in PDF Format

Text Only:

Back-to-back schools. Teaching. Discipling. Advising. Logistics. Sending out teams. Montana fires. This equals the exciting buzz of a pretty-much-normal year,I would say… Hello everyone!
In January I staffed a DTS (Discipleship Training School) and had a small group of 5 girls that I had the privilege of pouring into. Here is a summary from one of them about how God changed their life during their 5 months here:
“Coming into DTS I felt like I had it all figured out — I thought that in order to please God and for Him to love me I needed to read my Bible more, pray more, and do more. As a result I was constantly disappointed in myself when I didn’t measure up to that standard. The sad thing is that the world conditions us to believe that we can always do more to get something, and I real- ly believed that was true when it came to my relationship with God. I was caught up in legalism and “earning” God’s love. But week after week in DTS, the truth that nothing I can do can make God love me more or love me less started to go from my head to my heart. God used fellow students, my small group leader Lori, and speakers to bring freedom in this area of my life. When outreach began in Brazil, I was able to share my freedom with others and speak into the lives of people who were walking in the same bondage I had walked in just months before. God truly released a boldness in me and a freedom that has changed my life. I am forever thankful to Him and to those who were a part of this journey and I can’t wait to continue telling others of God’s love for them!”Morgan S.
In February I was able to teach for a week on Personal Design and Team Dynamics while our DTS was in Seattle for one week of out- reach. I really enjoy teaching this topic, and its wonderful to see students come to a greater understanding of who God has made them to be individually, and how they can effectively work as a team. All four outreach teams went to Brazil.

It has been on my heart for several years now to begin helping new DTS leaders as they take a step up in leadership; transitioning from staff to school leaders. During this spring quarter I had the privilege of coaching one of our new DTS Leader’s, Leah. I acted as a sounding board for her, giving advice and encouragement as needed. I find this to be a very fulfilling role, and enjoy serving and supporting new leaders as they develop their leadership abilities to a greater measure.
Thailand is one of YWAM Lakeside’s “Target Nations”. We have been sending teams there consistently for over 25 years. Until recently those teams only saw sporadic salvations of Thai’s, but this has shifted over the last couple years, and our teams are now experiencing hundreds of Thai’s giving their lives to the Lord. This spring DTS team was even able to teach in a prison DTS in Ratchaburi – literally held in both a men’s & women’s prison!! The prisoners lives have been radically transformed by the gospel, and they do “outreach” to other sectors of the prison, sharing the gospel with other prisoners. Here is a story (photos prohibited) from one of our student’s in regards to her experience with this amazing ministry:
“During outreach I felt like God was calling me to teach in the Prison DTS. I doubted myself, and tried everything I could to get out of it. Some team members encouraged me, saying they felt like God was going to show me His goodness. Coincidentally, I had been planning to teach on Gods goodness! God totally came and met me in this place of doubt and inadequacy. During my teaching, two men in the prison became Christians!! God is SO good, he showed me that he never fails us.”—Angel B.
Summer: While this DTS team was on outreach, I stayed in Montana, staffing our leadership development course called DTS Equip. We had 20 participants from 7 different YWAM locations around the world, ranging from brand new DTS staff—to school leaders—to staff of other YWAM schools and ministries. This variety made our Equip course a rich experi- ence for everyone involved. Adding to the busyness of summer’s end came the 40th wedding anniversary of my parents. My family hosted a small celebration to honor them and this increasingly rare milestone. On the heels of this came a local wildfire, located up Blacktail Mtn a few miles from us. The sound of helicopters, planes and trucks carrying machinery filled the air. Our campus was on standby for evacuation for a week. We extended our property to use as the command post, and hosted 80 firemen sleeping in tents on our field; our staff putting in extra long hours helping serve early breakfasts and late dinners to those putting out the fire. The fire was able to be contained after a few days, and thank- fully our schools and summer programs finished without too much disruption.
Coming Up!  This fall I will spend more time focusing on our debriefing ministry. In November, six of us will be heading to Cambodia to debrief some staff members there. I am really looking forward to this trip and the ways that God will use us in Cambodia!! Please pray for wisdom for us, as those we debrief are part of (or serving) the generation overcoming the tragedy caused by the Khmer Rouge. More on that in my next update…
Lori Rietema

Lori's Lollipops – Sep 2012

Click here for the September 2012 Newsletter in PDF Format

Text Only:

“Before DTS I depended on my own strength and understanding. I was a heavy thinker and I was harsh on myself. I planned everything, so there was no space for God in my life. However during DTS I was eager to seek God’s love. I needed Him desperately. I needed His guidance and freedom in my life. Finally I could feel His love and freedom in His embrace. I can’t even explain how great that feeling is. God is great and He totally changed my life. He is my love, freedom, Savior and my perfect Father.”   — Jooyoung Oh, S. Korea
Hello everyone! I just finished leading the Spring Discipleship Training School here in Lakeside, MT. I began preparing for the DTS in January, my staff joined the prep efforts in February, and the school started the beginning of April. We had 20 students from 5 nations. God met with each person uniquely and the students have walked away forever changed. So many of them found freedom, just like the testimony from Jooyoung above.
From June to August, two outreach teams went out to Taiwan and Uganda. I co-led the team to Taiwan. Well, within hours of arriving, I received excellent news. During my last trip to Taiwan in 2007 my team had befriended a Taiwanese girl named Karen. We shared about Jesus with her, and she stayed connected to the YWAM ministry after my team left. Karen became a Christian after a while, did a DTS and SBS in Taiwan and is now one of the main DTS leaders there. So, five years later with a different team, we are hoping that this same story will repeat itself in the future, and that the seeds we planted will bear much fruit in the years to come.
**Quick note: In Taiwan it takes a long time for someone to become a Christian because it often means you will be ostracized from your family. Many Taiwanese will accept Christ without telling their families. Baptism, being a public confession, is what a lot of them consider as their real commitment to God.**
While in Taiwan, much of our ministry ended up being with children. Five weeks in a row we helped run kids camps in various locations around the country, hosted by churches but attended by non-Christians. A typical day for us included singing songs with motions, teaching and acting out Bible stories (David and Bathsheba was a fun skit!), teaching simple English, playing sports or games, and trying to keep kids in line in spite of the language barrier. Our days were very long and tiring, but we were able to minister to over 400 kids, teens, and college age helpers. Here are a couple of great stories from those weeks:
During our 3rd camp in XinZhuang, our theme was “Jesus: Friend and Savior.” We acted out Bible stories about Creation, the Fall of Mankind, & Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. On our final day with the kids Brandon shared the gospel, and one 12 year old boy, Tom, ran right up to Brandon afterwards, saying “Is that really true? He did that for me? And I can be friends with him?” He got saved on the spot, and brought more family members to watch our dramas and hear us preach the next day.
Jay was one of our camp helpers. An addicted videogamer, he was a loner, and his sister Esther miraculously coerced him into helping with this kids camp. We got to know Esther and her friend Lily easily (both believers), as they were outgoing and spoke good English. Jay, however, was extremely shy and rarely spoke to us the first several days. By the end of the week we could tell he was definitely observing us a lot. Esther mentioned numerous times that she saw tremendous differences in Jay while he helped with the camp, and when they visited our team a week later, Jay informed us that he now wants to follow God and be baptized! His countenance had changed, he seemed far more open to friendships, and he told us that his life would never be the same after encountering Jesus through our lives and testimonies!
There were 12 high school girls helping with our camp in Tainan. A few of the girls opened up to our team about being homosexuals, which they told us keeps them from becoming Christians. We were able to do a drama and share the gospel with the girls on Wednesday night, praying over each one of them. One of the girls, whom we named “Grace”, has a very soft heart towards God and a couple of team members were able to minister to her quite deeply. We believe she is quite close to becoming a Christian. Another girl, Candy, had some stomach cramping issues, and I felt God tell me to pray for her. God healed her stomach and she didn’t have to go to the doctor as she had been planning to do that day at noon. She was very excited, and it also opened her heart more to hear about Jesus. We know that each one of the girls has an understanding that Jesus loves them no matter what, and we are hopeful that many will come to know Christ in the years to come.
One night towards the end of outreach we were able to go to a hospital and pray for some patients. We got kicked out after about 30 minutes. On the way out Aksana and her translator stopped to talk to a lady that God had given them both pictures of while praying prior to entering the hospital. The woman gave her life to Christ right there in the hospital corridor!
In a disappointed-turned-hopeful event at our 4th camp, a few team members felt God highlight one college student, Mars, to
them. Mars seemed very interested in Jesus, and on our final day with them Allyson tried giving a Bible to Mars, but he wouldn’t take it, claiming that his father would not allow him to own a Bible. Allyson and some others were extremely disappointed. However, the next day Mars told the team that he had called his father—who gave him permission to own a Bible, so Mars asked if he could still have it and read it! We are hopeful that his interest in Jesus is very real.
On the horizon…
For 12 years I have been staffing and leading DTS’s in Montana and St. Croix. I have loved doing this, and always gave it my all. For several years God has been increasing my desire to disciple staff. During this last DTS God began to show me that now is the time to step into and pursue of a few different things on my heart. Rather than lead any DTS’s myself this coming year, I will be investing more time in staff training and development. This will include staffing DTS Equip, coaching new DTS leaders, helping debrief missionaries who’ve gone through difficult experiences, teaching in DTS, and traveling to help train and equip staff at other bases around the globe. I would appreciate your prayers in this transition time.
Coming up soon…
You may remember from my previous newsletter that some of my financial support has declined in the last couple of years. In October I will be taking time to raise support in order to continue fulfilling my call to global missions. If any of you are interested in partnering with me financially, or just want more information about what I do, shoot me a quick email, and I will gladly send you more information online or through the mail.
I would also love build a greater prayer team, so if this interests you, please let me know!

Lori's Lollipops – Feb 2012

Click here for the February 2012 Newsletter in PDF Format

Text Only:

2011 in Review: Jan—June: I finished the School of Biblical Studies at the end of June (started Sept 2010). During the nine months, we went through each book of the Bible at least 5 times, and studied them inductively. The school was challenging, and full of long hours of studying, but definitely worth it! God did so much in my life during the SBS… and I learned so much during the in-depth process. I have a new respect for the Word of God like never before. Understanding some of the historical background information and how the original readers would have been impacted by the messages was probably my favorite part, and it helps the Bible come alive!
July—Sept: The summer time was busy with staffing DTS Equip, our 6 week staff training school held here in Montana. We had 20 students from the USA, Canada and Ukraine. During Equip we had a week of local outreach, and for several days our participants held “cardboard testimonies” on Main Street in Kalispell and Bigfork. The signs were met with mixed emotions, but this photograph made it to the front page of our newspaper in Kalispell. The front side of this sign said: “Was searching for purpose…” We would flip them consistently as people drove by.
Sept—Dec: In the fall, I participated in Titus Project, an outreach program for SBS grad’s. We learned to teach the Inductive Bible Study Method and an Overview of the Bible, and then 4 teams went out to remote areas of the world where Bible teaching is requested and pastors are usually uneducated. I went to Colombia for 2 months, and had a fantastic time! Within Colombia we traveled quite a bit, experiencing Hispanic, African/Colombian, and Indigenous cultures. I taught 19 times in 9 different cities/villages, drank 130 cups of coffee in 57 days, we were stopped by police patrols x3, ate alligator once, saw countless tarantulas, and witnessed over 25 ppl give their lives to Christ.
On our first day of ministry we taught at a high-security prison. It was quite the experience to say the least! After entering through 5 security checkpoints, having our passports held and getting frisked a couple times, we found out that we had 1⁄2 the time to teach Bible Overview as we were originally told. So with men working on handicrafts around the courtyard, Graham taught about Creation and the Fall of Mankind, and then we skipped straight ahead to Jesus. My turn. As I taught, not knowing what deeds had caused each man to be trapped inside those four walls, I was struck by how similar I was to those men: I need a Savior… they need a Savior. Same same. Caught up in the desire of wanting the prisoners to really understand the gifts of grace, I spoke with conviction… but also due to the time crunch & the inability to bring some of our illustrations inside, I had to improvise. Feeling out-of-sorts, I ended up losing my train of thought while teaching, scrapping about half of it. I was disappointed in myself, but the Holy Spirit was clearly moving in the heart of some of the prisoners. God, always the hero at the end of the day, made himself known. Several of the men gave their lives to Jesus, some weeping, and my team got to pray with many men in the courtyard. I was humbled by God using my insufficiency in his own sufficient way.

Week 2 we spent with a church that we affectionately termed the “Modern-Day Corinthians”. Upon arriving we learned that the pastors were in jail, and soon after discovered other problems among the leaders left to run the church, including some immorality. Our team prayed hard, and felt God had brought us there for a specific purpose. So we turned down the request to do radio & TV promo’s for the church, and instead taught from the book of Titus on godly leadership. With the Holy Spirit bringing conviction, members of their leadership team spent time repenting to each other. We heard a couple weeks later that many of them had made changes in their lifestyles and leadership, and progress towards godly living was being made.
We had the opportunity to stay and teach in Palenque, an African/Colombian village which is historically recognized as the first town to revolt against slavery, and win, in all of the America’s.
The last month of our outreach we flew to the Amazon region where Colombia, Brazil and Peru come together. Wes pent a few days teaching at a pastor’s conference in the small city of Leticia, and also traveled by boat to 3 different villages. On the last night in the 2nd village one of our YWAM contact’s who came with us, Sophie, had an asthma attack unbeknownst to the team. Her fiancé, Lucas, had to actually resuscitate her while we were finishing up our final teaching. Walking back to our tents, we learned of the situation. We prayed and Sophie began to breathe deeper. We prayed again, and she took one deep breath and started asking, “qué pasó?”, as she didn’t remember what had happened. God not only spared her life that night (7 hrs by boat from the nearest hospital), but also healed her completely of asthma! She told us a week later that though she had used an inhaler multiple times a day for over 6 years, she hadn’t needed it since the night God healed her!
There are so many other stories I could tell, but limited space prevents their telling. This was the first outreach I’ve been on since my blood-clotting issues in 2009, and I feel so blessed to still be able to travel. Knowing that I can survive in physically difficult places for short periods of time is wonderful! Through being in Colombia, I feel like I came through some final stages emotional healing from everything that happened in 2009. God is so good!!!
God’s Faithful Provision: I was given a donation last year that covered the cost of Titus Project, so my outreach was completely paid for, praise God! I also needed to take some medical equipment with me to Colombia in order to keep up with checking my blood while in remote locations. I was praying all summer that God would provide the supplies I needed to take with me, and it turns out that my clinic lent me a machine (that would have cost me $2500+), and I was able to take it with me and use it for free!
Over the Christmas break I was able to move across the road from the YWAM campus into an apt building. I have spent a total of 9 years in dormitory housing, so I am very thankful to have a kitchen and space to entertain again!
Upcoming: I am going to be leading the DTS here in Lakeside that runs from April through August. I am very excited about this as it has been 3 years since the last one I led in St. Croix.
Finances: Circumstances have caused several of my monthly supporters to need to cut back or be unable to continue supporting me completely. If any of you are interested in supporting me, I will gladly send you more information.
“… to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” Jude v.25

Lori's Lollipops – Jan 2011

Click here for the January 2011 Newsletter in PDF format

Text Only:

Happy New Year! I started this past year off with staffing another DTS in Montana. We had 25 students who went to Thailand, Malaysia & Cambodia for their outreaches. While in Portland on our mini-outreach I got to speak with an older homeless woman who was very upset. She was afraid that her only good friend, who happened to be dealing with blood clots in her legs, would die. I was able to use my story about how God spared my life of the same thing to encourage her. It was a very divine appt, and we were both in tears as I got to pray for her and her friend. I was encouraged by the fact that God was using a painful part of my life for his glory in such a specific way, and I hope he continues to do so.
Speaking of… this spring, as the one-year-marks from my blood-clotting ordeal rolled by, I had hoped some simple testing would show that my veins were clear of clots and that I could be taken off of medication. Alas, the suggestion was to see a pathologist, and the process is much more complicated than I can afford, so I am on blood-thinning med’s until further notice. Physically, I can do most things like I used to, but my leg tires very quickly, so I have to take it easy when I am hiking or exercising.
Over the summer I staffed a DTS Equip (leadership training school) in Montana. We had 18 participants and 8 staff representing 7 YWAM locations worldwide. It was a great group who were eager to learn and apply.
Summer also brought a much anticipated family reunion, bringing my siblings home from around the world (Taiwan, New Zealand, USA). This is a special time in my family as it only happens every 4 years. We hosted a reunion for my dad’s side of the family and approx 70 people were here in Montana for 3 days.
The “dozen cousins” (my nephews and nieces) had fun being outside in the great weather while feeding rabbits, riding the four-wheeler, making lemonade stands, etc. We adults expended most of our energy running after them, trying to keep them safe! ☺
Quote of the summer:
~ “I can fly!” ~
… said Lucas, at 2 yrs old, about to leap off the top of Grandpa’s big tractor…
A Few 2010 Highlights:
~ I was able to take my first real vacation this year when I went to Florida to visit some friends whom I had been on staff with in St. Croix. I soaked in some vitamin D for 5 days, and had a blast while I was there.
~ Back in Montana, I got to ride through Glacier Park on the back of a motorcycle when a friend from PA biked through MT on his way to Panama with some buddies. There is nothing but air between yourself and God’s amazing creation… So much fun!!
Current/Future: In September I started a School of Studies (SBS). I chose to do a SBS this year because I felt I needed to re-ground myself with the truth of Biblical God’s character after the emotional roller-coaster I have been on in the last 2 years.
During this intense 9-month inductive study through the Bible, we read through each book 5+ times and study the historical background be- fore we begin to “chart”. Charting consists of observing what the text says, interpreting what it would mean to the original reader, and then discovering and applying the timeless truths to our own lives and culture. The days of study can be long and exhausting (12-14+ hrs x6 days per week), but the truth of God’s character and the goodness of grace are constantly staring me in the face as I study. This school normally costs a considerable amount, but I was given a large discount by YWAM Montana because of how many years I have served on staff, and my entire SBS has already been paid for! We finished our first quarter right before Christmas, and have two more quarters left, ending on June 27th.
Following the SBS, I hope to participate in “Titus Project”, a program that my oldest sister started in the 90’s which trains SBS graduates how to teach, and then takes them into remote areas of the world to teach the Bible to pastors who have no training in the Word. I would also like to continue being involved with DTS’s and staff training in some capacity.
The hope of eternity in heaven has become much more real to me on a daily basis this past year as I have continued to recover emotionally from the year before, and grace has become of even greater value.
I hope that 2010 was a great year for all of you, and I pray that you will feel God’s presence even more strongly in 2011

Lori's Lollipops – Jan 2010

PDF Version

text only:

Lori’s Lollipops – January 2010
Greetings from snowy Montana. I can confidently say that this has been the longest year of my life! I feel as though I’ve lived at least 3 years of life in the last 12 months. Two Thousand and Nine started out with me teaching a week in our DTS. We headed to Nicaragua mid-Jan. and I was with the team for 3 weeks. We were privileged to be part of the process of many people coming to know Christ. Early on I was injured playing soccer with some teens and limped around for a couple weeks. Two days following my return to St. Croix I noticed a sudden sharp pain and swelling near my lower calf in my right leg. Little did I know what the next few months would hold for me!
I think most of you were kept updated throughout the discovery, treatment and recovery of my blood clotting saga, so I will keep this to a Reader’s Digest version. It took two weeks of doctor’s visits and phone calls, 2 ultrasounds, 1 MRI, a trip to the E.R. and LOTS of question asking before finally confirming that my right leg had several blood clots. Then came the first hospitalization in STX.
Our DTS team arrived back from outreach while I was still in the hospital. Following their graduation week, which I was able to do on crutches, my swelling and pain worsened. Another ultrasound revealed the clotting had continued in spite of medication. I was readmitted to the hospital and my parents made arrangements to come down. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was in very serious condition. I was being prepared for emergency surgery when a CT scan revealed clotting from my ankle to above my kidneys—thus determining that I could not be operated on in St. Croix. It was stressful, to say the very least, finding a way to transfer to Miami.
People around the globe were praying! I was picked up at the airport in Miami by a firefighter rescue squad and taken to the hospital. There, I was monitored in the ER for 21 hours when an intern, upon studying my CT scan in depth, discovered that I do not have an inferior vena cava (IVC). This developmental abnormality saved my life, and officially made me “one in a million.” Without an IVC, I can never have pulmonary embolism! Released 3 days later, I flew to Montana with my parents under the impression that I would simply need lots of rest, leg elevation and time to recover.
The next morning, my new vascular surgeon advised a surgical procedure called thrombolysis to aid in limiting long-term vein damage. It was a high risk procedure and I was in the ICU in Spokane for 4days. Potent medications and tiny shockwaves flowed through my veins. In fact, one of the IV’s was literally called “coolant” so that my veins would not overheat and blow up from the microwaves! The final day of thrombolysis the doc’s put 3 stents in (4” each) to help prevent this whole journey from happening again in the future. Four days later I was released and returned to my brother’s house in Montana to recover—this time for real! ☺
I was slower than a turtle when I began to walk again in April after 11 weeks of immobility. A bad case of internal/external hives lasted for 3 weeks as my body protested to all the contrast and med’s I had put in it. As my journey back to health began, there were also decisions to be made about my future. In July, after a couple months of praying and seeking advice, I made the not-so-easy decision to leave staff in St. Croix and return to YWAM Montana. Having clearance from my doctor, I flew to STX and spent 6 weeks wrapping up my 4 years of life in the Caribbean. I sold my car on my LAST day there!
While there, the long awaited news concerning my application for charity from the Spokane hospital came. My entire bill of $115,000 was forgiven! The process of applying for charity from St. Croix was a bit more complicated, but again, in October I found out that I received 100% charity. I am still in the process of dealing with the hospital in Miami, I would appreciate prayer for favor.
Also while in St. Croix, we experienced 7 burglaries in 4 weeks. The first two times a couple laptops and digital cameras were stolen from various staff quarters on base. Then, my housemate had a guy slice through her window screen twice with a large knife in the middle of the night and she screamed as she ran for my room. I locked us both inside my room and called the staff guys and 911. It was fairly traumatizing, and unfortunately we never caught the guys.
I moved back to YWAM Montana mid-Sept and am working with DTS’s and DTS Equip here for at least one year. I was not expecting it to be an easy transition, but it was even harder than I originally was preparing myself for. The onslaught of emotions from the year of “unknowns” and transition caught up with me. With my upbringing and our culture telling us how much self-sufficiency is valued, it was a challenging year of relying on others for help. The rubber hits the road in terms of being the body of Christ when you are experiencing personal brokenness. Asking for help is very humbling! God provided a few individuals who helped me walk through some debriefing over the spring/summer. Returning to YWAM Montana after 4 years in the Caribbean is quite an adjustment & in a lot of ways it feels like starting over from square one. But, I know that I’m following God’s leading and He has good for me. As my 30th birthday approached in December, I found myself surprisingly excited given that the new decade seemed to coincide perfectly with a new season of my life. I was ready to put the last words in the chapter of my 20’s and start a new one!
I was blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas with half of my family this year, the first time in 8 years. 2010 will be a busy year for me. I will staff several schools back to back, having already started the first one a few weeks ago. It is a great group of 25 students. The next DTS starts in April. I will not be going on any of the outreaches this year. Even though my doctor has cleared me to fly, we want to figure out the cause of my blood clotting if we can, which will require some more tests this spring after finishing out a year of being on med’s.
This summer I will be staffing DTS Equip, a school to train DTS staff and leaders. I also have a family reunion coming up, and it will be so good to have all my siblings together again!
Over a year ago, I unexpectedly began to consider doing a School of Biblical Studies with YWAM, which is an intensive 9 month school.
At the time, my “near future” consisted of continuing to lead DTS’s in St. Croix…but then the near future changed! It is very possible that I will start this school in the fall and then continue on with an outreach program to teach the Bible in countries where they do not receive teaching.
Prayer Points:

  • Continued health and healing for my body.
  • Direction in the midst of some huge changes in life.
  • Wisdom about Miami bill.
  • Thank you all so much for praying throughout this past year for me! I am inexpressibly thankful for it.

For His Glory,
Fun Fact: In the past 4 years, I’ve switched between driving on the right and left side of the road 28 times!

Good News/Bad News

Good news: My hives are mostly gone, which is SO nice! The aching in my hands has also dissipated. I am definitely able to take care of myself better with both of those inexplicable issues out of the way.
Bad news: The nurses at the local clinic are having a difficult time regulating my “INR level” which has to do with the clotting factor and thinness of my blood. My blood has been too thick for a couple of weeks causing more swelling and pain. There is a possibility that I am creating a resistance to the coumadin, and so they are having to put me on a higher dose each week. In the mean time, it slows down my recovery…
I mailed off additional information for my financial assistance application last week to the Spokane hospital. Please pray with me that my application will be met with favor by the reviewing board, and that I will receive charity for my time in Spokane. Because the travel insurance I purchased for my outreach to Nicaragua will not cover medical care in the U.S, the hospital in Spokane took 30% off of my original bill of over $115,000 which took the bill down to nearly $81,000. I can also apply for charity in St. Croix for the two hospitalizations there (another $11,000), but I have already accrued around $33,000 of bills that I am ineligible to receive any help for. It now seems kind of funny to thinking back to how anxious I would get if I still needed $200 a couple days before going on an outreach over the past ten years! =0) Little did I know God was going to up the test to this level!!
Our DTS Equip starts in St. Croix today. It is really strange to not be there as it is starting after putting so many hours into the beginning stages of it’s vision for the Caribbean. They have 13 participants… not bad for a first school in the Caribbean!
A friend from our local YWAM base here in Montana has spent time doing some trauma de-briefing with me, and that has helped me be able to really rest more during this recovery time. I want to thank those of you that have continued to pray for me on a regular basis. I have definitely felt the effects of the prayers!!
For His Glory,

Message from Lori

Yes, you are finally hearing from ME this time!  It has been a number of weeks since I have written personally, although most of you were kept updated by my parents throughout our time in Miami, Spokane and Montana.
My mum wrote last week and mentioned that I had hives.  Well, 14 days later, I still have them!  Ten days ago they ventured to the inside of my body, causing quite a bit of chest pain and indigestion for a week.  I have been to Urgent Care twice and my vascular surgeon once with no further clarity as to what is causing the allergic reaction.  I went off of Plavix, one of my blood thinning medications, thinking that it was most likely the cause, but apparently it is something else that we have yet to discover.  Somehow, in all of this, my hands take turns aching which makes simple tasks hard to do.
As for my leg and the recovery process: it will take several months for the remaining clots to dissolve.  During the thrombolysis procedure in Spokane, they put 3 stents (about 12 inches long) from my groin upwards because the clotting had not dissolved as much as we had hoped for and there were some kinks in my vein. The clots below my knee will just take time to dissolve on their own. I am walking much better now… a bit slow, but making it, and it’s exciting to get out of the house every once in a while!
So many thoughts have been floating through my head over the past 9 weeks.  So many small and big decisions needed to be made without a lot of clear direction from day to day.  There have been times of total peace and times when I am filled with questions. Am I being punished? Is God just taking me on a detour to show me a different side of his character?  Is this just a lot of spiritual warfare?
To be honest, it has not always been easy for me to see what God is doing through all of this.  I wish I could say that I spend all day long just praising God for these trials in my life, but that is not the case.  Each time it seems as though I am finally on the mend, something else comes up that feels like a set-back.  A friend of mine encouraged me with the story of Lazarus in early March after my first hospitalization. Jesus lingered and did not immediately respond to the pleas of Mary, Martha and his disciples to heal Lazarus.  He waited so that greater glory could be brought out of the situation when he later raised Lazarus from the dead. I know I have a lot to learn, and Jesus chose not to heal Lazarus because he had a purpose in it. This keeps me hoping that although I haven’t always been the most willing participant in this journey, that God will get greater glory in the end through it all.
I have been seriously humbled to hear of how many people are praying around the globe for me. People have given up sleep in order to pray for my safety and health.  I have heard from many people I have never even met personally and been encouraged through emails. I always knew that news could travel fast within the body of Christ, but I never imagined it would be on my behalf.  So thank you!!!
Besides the physical recovery, I would appreciate your prayers for hope and perseverance… and that God would start to show me the ways he is working through all of this when I am ready to hear it.  I also need a lot of wisdom, favor with hospitals and a BIG miracle now that the bills have started rolling in.  It’s expensive to stay alive!
You can visit the website my brother-in-law created for me to view more pictures: www.lorietema.com/gallery
You can email me at: lori
With sincerity of heart,

Update on Lori

Dear Praying Family and Friends,
We are asking for continued prayer for Lori.  She has broken out in hives the past couple of days so she is apparently having an allergic reaction to something.  We have called the pharmacist and doctor on call here and they do not seem to think it is related to all the medications she is on.  She was advised to take Benedryl, but the hives are increasing and becoming more painful.  We will be calling her Spokane doctors first thing tomorrow morning to try to get to the bottom of all this.  She has never had hives or an allergic reaction to anything before in her life.  So it seems as though the “battle” is not over for her, and we covet your continued prayer support!  Please feel free to forward this on to your praying friends.  We will keep you posted as best we can.
Thank you!
Steve and Jo for Lori