Monday, January 27, 2014

YWAM LA: Week 3 Finding My Identity

Since I've come to LA I've really been struggling more than usual with my identity and who I really am. Every place you'll go will have some spiritual tie to it weather it's good or bad. From what I've been feeling, LA has a stronghold of materialism, lust and an obsession with appearance. Those of you that know me, know that I've struggled with depression for many, many years. I was a cutter for about 8 years and for those 8 years contemplated suicide on a weekly basis. I've always desired things or looks that others had and looked at people in magazines and runway shows who were thin and flawless. So all these things I've struggled with I am now living in the land of. I was so obsessed with buying clothes and products that would make me look better, and buying products that would make me "flawless". When I was younger I was fully emerged in self-hate and although I had boys tell me I was pretty growing up and never had a problem getting a boyfriend, I never felt good enough, I was never pretty enough. Even being married now, I still struggle with looking at my self in these negative ways. And it's taken me up to THIS season of my life to finally realize that I've made appearance and beauty my god all this time.
No matter what you fill yourself with to make you happy, relationships, money, clothes, entertainment, cars, drugs, alcohol, music, anything that consumes you that you look to for satisfaction (weather you recognize it or not), will wither away. You can use and consume all that you want; anything and everything that is not eternal will never last and will never fully gratify. Jesus is the only eternal.

While I've been here in California, I've learned a lot about God's character and love. God has shown me and told me in many different ways who I really am and how he sees me. I saw myself as ugly, weak, I hated my body, wished I had more money, felt like I had to earn love, looked for peace of mind in alcohol and drugs, sought approval of others, and I was depressed and felt worthless. But God, has told me I am a fighter, I'm hardworking, loving, patient, beautiful, worthy, that I will be healed from my brokenness, that I am wise and I am a leader, and that the angels in heaven are rejoicing because I am a daughter of the King and I don't have to earn love, but that Jesus loves me even when I don't love Him.

I've seen and heard all these things by just asking,"Lord what is it you think of me?" I challenge you to ask Him these things, He will tell you!

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:13

"For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." -Matthew 7:8

"Be free from your past and know I am your future."

Be blessed!
Gracie xo
(Photography by Kim Mitiska)

If you would like to help support our mission you can visit YWAM Donation or email for more information. If you would like to send a check or snail mail please address to
Gracie Penhale
11141 Osborne St.
Lake View Terrace, CA 91342  

Monday, January 20, 2014

YWAM LA: Week 2

Michael and I just finished our second week of missionary training. For the past year, days felt so short and now that I'm here at YWAM each day seems to go on for so much longer! I HAVE to get up early and for those of you that know me that is a foreign concept in my life. But I am learning self discipline and my days are now filled with prayer time, school, fitness, work, community and dates with Michael. I almost have no free time! Before I came to YWAM I never wanted to leave my room, well I wanted to I guess...but never could seem to pull myself out of bed. The only time I really left my bed was to get up and go to work. Yes, I know it was unhealthy! I now finally have the desire to leave my room and I now FINALLY understand the value of a day and all that can be accomplished in that time. I slept in last Saturday for the first time in weeks and felt like I wasted half my day! Now I know why when I was a child, my dad used to barge in my room every weekend to wake me up at a decent hour and tell me to do something with myself! Because he understands the value of a day! It's amazing what all you can do in just one day!

This week we learned about evangelism. Evangelism is the spreading of the gospel by preaching publicly or by personal witness. And from others I've seen and things I've experienced I've NEVER liked evangelism. It was so awkward and "weird" to me growing up. Through out the week though I've heard many testimonies about the power of evangelism and how it can quite literally can save someones life! So we as a team went out to Venice Beach, CA to evangelize. If you've ever been to Venice you'll know that the boardwalk is covered with drugs, the homeless, people of all sorts of religions, and people searching for hope and truth. You can really feel and see the dark oppression that's over this place. Before we went out I made signs for my team of four. Signs that affirmed how beautiful these people were, regardless of their past and present. These were messages to affirm how they are so loved by the creator of the universe! And I just felt God was telling me to share with these people something they probably don't hear all the time or haven't heard in a very long time. The second we walked on the boardwalk we had people immediately coming up to us with positive feedback and we got to pray for them. Some people just came up to us because they saw us praying and asked if we could pray for them as well! And for those who didn't come up to us they still got a message from Jesus. (For more pictures and stories about Venice visit my friend Sarah's Blog)


This week we also found out we are going to Kenya, Africa! I'm beyond excited, so much I started crying when our teams were announced. In April we will leave for Africa and we will be in the city of Nairobi and Mombassa. We will also be staying in villages in between and living in slums. I'm not quite sure what all our mission includes at this point, but I know for sure we will be building aquaponics (google aquaponics), building water tanks, helping churches, serving families, going to play with kids, preaching, healing, speaking life, and loving. And even though we are going to share Jesus with these people and love and serve them in any way we can, I have a feeling they will help me more than I helped them. I will keep you all up to date when I find out more about our mission to Kenya. 

 Man, so much has happened this week! It has been packed full of so much stuff! I ALSO joined the women/girls ministry Beauty Arise. Beauty Arise is an invitation for girls and women to rise up and follow Jesus. We seek to provide relevant Bible-based resources and special events that will both teach and encourage girls in the truth of their beauty, value, and identity in Christ. Our heart is to be a voice of encouragement in the midst of a world that is so often critical of who we are. Our desire is to see young women grasp the reality of God's personal love for them and to be a support for them as they live out His purpose for their lives.
"Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me." -Song of Solomon 2:10 

Thank you all for following Mike and I on our journey around the world! We really appreciate all your love, support and prayers!
Gracie xo

If you would like to help support our mission you can visit YWAM Donation or email for more information. If you would like to send a check or snail mail please address to
Gracie Penhale
11141 Osborne St.
Lake View Terrace, CA 91342  

Monday, January 13, 2014

YWAM LA: Week 1

So Michael and I have now been in Los Angeles for a week! For those of you who didn't know we are attending Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Los Angeles, California. We are now taking a discipleship training course which is basically a program to equip others to become missionaries and share the love of Jesus with the nations. For three months we will live in LA and then for another three months we will be over seas. Two weeks ago Michael and I left our jobs, apartment, friends and family, sold and donated our stuff, stored some of it and only packed a Pathfinder of things and drove straight threw to Cali for 14 hours. We now live in a little trailer, go to classes, work on the campus for free, evangelize to the city and in a couple months we will go over seas.

This week has definitely been emotionally, physically and spiritually draining as you can imagine. But I've been very encouraged by the others that I have met. And God has ALREADY taught me more about myself and who He is. He is slowly pulling out lots of nasty things that have built up in my heart over the years and is day by day healing me of my past. He has showed me how much He loves me and how much He loves this world. I've just seen a tiny part of what Jesus wants to reveal to me and I can't even imagine what's to come. I will keep all you posted!

Gracie xo

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." -Isaiah 61:1-3

Here are some photos from this past week!



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