Unforgettable

In the final blog from our intern Marieke, she reflects on her time with us and what God has done in her and through her.

“Unforgettable

That’s what you are

Unforgettable

Tho’ near or far”

I love looking back on the past few months. Bringing up memories, reflecting on my growth, giving thanks for all the great people I’ve met; it gives me so much joy. But on the other hand, realising this is coming to an end is quite sad too.

The other day, one of my friends and I were talking about what I will miss most. I came to the conclusion that I will miss having passionate Christians all around me the most. I’m going to miss the moments of worship that we shared as a community, simply being one in praising the Almighty God.

The past half a year I definitely discovered that God is a Great Giver, a God of abundance, a God who loves His children unimaginably much. I feel truly blessed, I received way more than I could ever hope or imagine. He gave me new friendships which I know will last forever. He taught me things about myself and because of that I now feel peaceful and confident about myself and who I am in Him. He worked on my heart for communications by showing His heart for it. He even gave me more love for Scotland. I think the best thing He gave me though, is new future perspectives. I chose that I want to live the adventurous life by partnering with God and I’m super excited to see what that would look like! As we like to say it here at Seamill: “Bring it on!”

God has given me so much more passion for life in general. He showed me what it is to walk with Him and how life can be full of awesome surprises when you dare to let go of control and trust Him in all things. That’s where the fun stuff happens; in complete surrender to God.

Before I wrap up my goodbye blog, I want to honour my Comms Team mates. They have been such a big part of my journey and God has definitely used them in making my time so unforgettable. They have shown what servant leadership looks like and I’ve been so inspired by them. Through their passion for communications I experienced communications in a different way. Thank you Comms Team for being awesome and such good friends to me! Thank you Seamill community for welcoming me into the family. You are all amazing radical world changers and I love you all radically much!

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Participants blog: Janaya’s reflections on week 1 of SWS

Janaya has joined YWAM Seamill for a 6-week course called the School of the Word and Spirit, an immersive Bible experience, where the Story and Spirit who inspired the Story, come alive in new and fresh ways. This is her first taste of any YWAM environment, never mind Seamill, so we asked her to write about her experience so far…

I didn’t know exactly what to expect for this 6-week seminar, yet I was desperately hoping that 6 weeks in the Bible and in the Spirit would be a transformational experience. I had been praying this past year for a way to grow deeper with God and He has lead me here to Seamill to be a part of School of the Word and Spirit. I am blown away by God’s answer to my prayer that has brought me to a place I couldn’t have imagined existed. 

I am a week and a half into the program and God has already revealed a tremendous amount to me of who He is and who I am because of Him. I am expectant that He will continue to amaze me in the upcoming weeks. Some of the revelation has been heavy, some convicting and some simply refreshing. I am being reminded of the immense power of God’s Word and the privilege it is to be able to read and know this living book.

I have received revelation that I am the righteousness of God. The righteousness OF GOD. Whoa. Because Christ died in my place, I am not only forgiven, but I am free of condemnation, I am righteous, I am purified, I am guiltless, I am shameless, I have a new identity, I am delighted in. I have heard this message a few times in various forms, yet last week when Spirit guided me into this truth, every part of this CAME ALIVE. This truth has overwhelmed me with God’s love and goodness.

I am deeply grateful that God heard my cry and provided this time for me to explore Him within a trusting community, gain fresh insights about His word, and practice stepping into my new identity through Jesus Christ.

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Characteristics of community living #5: It’s not weird, just different…

I used to say the word ‘weird’ a lot. In all kinds of situations. Here I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible because every time I used the word ‘weird’, people would say, semi-joking: ‘no, not weird; different!’ Being with YWAM means being surrounded by different cultures and that means being confronted with things that are not ‘normal’ to you. I love it!

We have people on our base from all over the world: from Japan to Australia, from Canada to Germany. And then there is me, the Dutch one. I have learned things about cultures I have never been connected with. It’s fascinating to see how there are differences in how people eat their food, how they celebrate birthdays, how they make jokes, what they value in conversations or what they think is rude or awkward. Being out of my own country for a longer time really opened my eyes. My worldview has broadened enormously and I’m way more culturally aware than ever before. It’s crazy that an only one and a half hour flight can take me here, into this place of multiple cultures, languages and habits. I can hardly imagine how much more of other cultures is still to be discovered!

I have come to this place where I’m not only more aware of other cultures, but also of my own. I notice things in my culture about which I now wonder: why is that, why do we do that? I loved hearing people say that they enjoy my Dutch directness. I also remember people’s confused faces when I said ‘congratulations!’ on their birthdays. Weirdly enough, that’s just how we say it. And that one time when we walked through the glen and I was hysterically enthusiastic about seeing a squirrel. No one, surprisingly, shared my joy. I discovered in North America squirrels are basically vermin. Well, now you know that it’s really special for a Dutch person to see a squirrel. We don’t have that many. I was really surprised though to hear that our Australian guy saw a hedgehog here for the first time in his life. And apparently in Japan everybody knows each other’s blood type! I don’t even know my own. It fascinates me. At least I wouldn’t say it’s weird anymore. Just really different.

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Revelations on Communication: Jesus Christ our Brand

Marieke de Klerk is working on a communication internship at Seamill, from her studies in Holland. Here she shares some thoughts and a major revelation she has had during her time with us.

About a year ago I decided I absolutely did not want to devote my future to communications. I just came out of a season in which I had a negative experience with communications. Now that I’ve been working in communications for YWAM Seamill for a while, I have received a totally refreshed vision.

One thing that caused my slightly negative vision on communications, was people’s opinions about my study. ‘Communications – that’s the study you pick when you have no clue what to do with your life.’ Or: ‘Communications – aren’t those the people who just make flyers and answer the phone all day?’ Not many times I felt taken seriously with the study I do. At some point I didn’t even take myself seriously anymore.

My time with YWAM so far has been a time of redemption of my negative association with communications. I learned a lot about the importance of communication, how it can actually contribute to the organisation’s mission and even inspire and encourage people. Of course I knew this already, but I now realise I never fully believed it.

I got the privilege of meeting people in YWAM with a great passion for communications. Their enthusiasm really gave my vision a good boost. During a recent course I followed in Branding, Marketing and Strategy, I had a huge revelation. Our communications job in YWAM is to represent Christ. We want people to associate YWAM with Jesus and vice versa. Jesus is the reason YWAM exists, He is the core of our identity. Our job is to show that to people, and communications is one way to do that. What an honour it is to be Jesus’ brand ambassadors!

I think it’s time for me to take my job more seriously and remember who I do it for. I need to focus on the heart of God and not let me stop by what the world says about my profession. With all the revelations God gave me and the new vision that has been developed in my heart, I’m ready to impact the world with the task I’ve been given.

#RadicalWorldChanger

Do you want to be part of our Communications Team and change the world with your creative skills? E-mail seamill@ywamscotland.org us for information, we’d love to tell you more!

YWAM Foundational Value 18. Communicate with integrity
YWAM affirms that everything exists because God communicates. Therefore, YWAM is committed to truthful, accurate, timely and relevant communication. We believe good communication is essential for strong relationships, healthy families and communities, and effective ministry.

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Staffing DTS: Alex’s testimony

 

So, what is that like, staffing a DTS?

“I totally believe in DTS and what is stands for, seeing the power of God working through the trainees. I would definitely staff one again, without a doubt!”

Alex is one of the Canadians at YWAM Seamill. He did his Discipleship Training School in 2014 with us and right after that he applied to join our community, and he is still with us! Since Alex is a part of the Seamill team, he has staffed two DTS’s. We asked him to share something about what it’s like to lead a group of trainees that are hungry for God.

“During the outreach of my own DTS I felt a calling to missions. I wanted to know more about it and I felt like Seamill would be a great place for me to do that. I wanted to be part of the staff to learn more, to disciple people and to help on base where ever I could.”

After he went home from DTS, Alex received an email from the base to ask him if he wanted to pray about considering staffing the next DTS. God gave him a ‘yes’ so that’s what he did! The DTS staff adventure began…

“When I came back the school started right away. It was really challenging. It’s one thing to be on a DTS but it’s a whole other world staffing one. It’s a really rewarding experience to see the major changes in the individuals that are participating in the school that you’re staffing. I can just stand back amazed, looking at these trainees being totally transformed, the same way as I look at mountains. I can see God’s beautiful creation in them.”

Staffing a DTS makes you grow in leadership a lot. You’re not only leading a DTS, you’re also leading yourself. In the lecture phase of a DTS, you’re pursuing knowing God and growing in your knowledge of Him. Then there is the outreach phase where you get to plan your own outreach.

“I planned an outreach to Central Asia. We started praying for our outreach location months ahead of time: what we would do, what it would look like and who we would connect with. It is so cool to finally see all of that happen, it’s like a dream coming true. However, outreach always looks different once you’re there. You simply cannot predict group dynamics, cultural dynamics and how it would be like to work with your host and different organisations. It’s an incredible experience.”

Both participating in and staffing a DTS gives you a new global and intercultural perspective. You become best friends with a person who is not from the same country as you are. There are speakers coming in with different cultural backgrounds, sharing from their hearts and perspective on a culture or nation. On outreach you see another new culture and you’re being shaped again.

“DTS really changed my life and my hope was for God to move with the same power and might as He did in my DTS in the lives of the trainees of the DTS I was staffing. The greatest thing I have seen God doing in the DTS I staffed, was giving the trainees a heart for the nations and maybe missions specifically even more.”

Over the years Alex has been working with different DTS’s and he learned a lot. Staffing a DTS is a lot of hard work and a lot of growth but also a lot of fun. When we asked Alex what he’d like to share with future DTS staff about his experiences, this is what he replied:

“Ask for Gods heart in terms of cultivating your relationship with Him and allow everything else to flow out of that. Allow that love that you get from the Father to flow into your relationships with the staff, your leaders, the trainees, the location of your outreach and the people you meet. Just pursue the heart of the Father as much as you can.”

Want to know more about doing a DTS or joining our team? Check our website!

 

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Characteristics of community living #4 – Good Bye

“It happens so often, but it’s hard every time” I heard someone saying when we said goodbye to one of our staff members. I noticed that saying goodbye is quite ‘normal’ in YWAM, as normal as welcoming new people into our base. Seeing people leave is not fun at all, but it’s also part of life here. Despite of all the tears and emotions that come with that, I’ve had some wonderful revelations about people coming and going which I’d like to share with you.

I was really amazed when the DTS returned from their short term outreach. Before I even really got to talk to them, I could already tell they had changed. They changed as a group but also as individuals, in their own unique ways. They had only been gone for three weeks but God used that period exceptionally fruitful! I noticed new joy in one of the trainees and with another trainee I felt like he surrendered to God and developed a way closer relationship with Him. I got to know them much better even though I hadn’t been around them for that time. That really surprised me. It now reminds me of a recognisable phenomenon of my childhood, whenever I visited my grandparents or uncle and aunt, they always told me that I had grown so much. Guess I didn’t visit them often enough. Living together with people helps with getting to know each other, but sometimes it’s separation and reunification that makes us know each other even better and definitely in different ways.

Now our DTS is already on their second outreach, the long one. For two months they won’t be here! During their short term outreach I really missed them sometimes. But now that I’ve seen what God can do during outreach, I’m only really excited for them. I cannot wait for them to come back, and this time it’s because I’m so curious about how they’d be like when they return. This is what brought me to my next conclusion: whenever people leave this place, it means God is taking them into a new season. And I wouldn’t want to be the person who is sad about people entering new seasons. Instead, we should celebrate it! So that’s what we do. Of course it can be hard when a person leaves our community but every time it happens, we try to encourage and support this person and honour them as much as we can. We want to stay around them with prayer and financial support, just to bless them as they enter their new season and discover the place God called them to.

There is actually so much excitement in people coming and going! It’s all about adventures and people taking steps without always knowing what’s next. YWAM is full of adventures with the Lord and meanwhile I know many people who can testify about that. It’s such an encouragement for my own life to be part of a community that fully trusts the Lord, willing to obey His voice and surrendering their own desires, plans and agenda’s. I think this is what God wants our lives to be like; full of adventures. Because in the midst of complete surrender and genuine trust, we get to know who God truly is. In case you didn’t know, that’s just YWAM’s first value.

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Characteristics of community living #3 – Fun Fire Facts

Living together means taking care of each other. We cook meals for each other, we try to keep the house clean together and when someone is sick, we bring the person a nice cup of tea. Apart from that, it’s important to make sure we’re safe. Therefore we need some simple rules like our fire tag system which tells us who’s in the building and who’s not. Although safety is a serious topic, it caused some funny situations as well.

Half an hour before my wake up alarm was supposed to go off, I suddenly woke up by a terrible but familiar sound. I was really annoyed when I realised it was the fire alarm. It was only a few weeks ago since we had a fire drill, so why another one? And why this early in the morning? My friend who was staying in my room as well immediately sat up straight in her bed asking ‘what’s going on?’ ‘Probably another fire drill’ I replied. I put on my bathrobe and opened my door. I was just about to go back to bed because I didn’t see anyone rushing out of their rooms, but then some other doors opened and people sleep walked to the emergency exit. ‘Okay we should go outside too then!’ It was really cold outside but I was thankful it didn’t rain that morning. As we walked to the parking area, we saw everyone waiting in the cold, wearing the most fun outfits. I really enjoyed seeing everybody covered in huge blankets, wearing pyjama trousers in all kinds of colours and patterns, and let’s not forget their bed heads and sleepy eyes. After all our names were mentioned from the fire tag board, we went back to our rooms again. Before we went inside, we of course wanted to know why the alarm went off. I was surprised to hear it wasn’t a fire drill. Apparently someone wanted to have toast for breakfast but forgot to get the bread out of the toaster. Luckily everybody plus the toaster survived, unfortunately the toast did not.

Another fire story. Every Wednesday at 11.00 am, we test our fire alarm. We don’t have to do anything, we can just continue our work and ignore the awful sound for a couple of seconds. I think it was in the third week or so that I was here, that the fire alarm went off and no one was around in the same room as I was, in contrast to the past few times. I thought: is this practise or is this real? In both situations I had to go outside anyway, so I only took my phone and walked outside. I saw someone else just walking through the door so I followed him. Outside I didn’t see anybody else so I asked him if we were the only ones. He looked at me all confused and told me he was just about to get something from his car. Then suddenly I remembered it was Wednesday. As I hurried back to my office I felt incredibly silly. I sat down at my desk, opened my Google calendar and typed down a warning for every Wednesday morning: ‘FIRE ALARM, DO NOT GO OUTSIDE!!!’ I never went out unnecessary ever since.

I was really irritated that time the fire alarm woke me up. And I don’t especially like hearing that whining noise every week either, but it’s all for a good cause. Safety is important for us in order to do the work God has given us. We should not underestimate that. The toaster showed us that small mistakes can have large consequences, but if we all apply the safety rules consistently, we can continue building Gods Kingdom for a long time!

 

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Daytrips from West Kilbride

I think Scotland is the prettiest country I’ve ever visited. It has so much to offer! Even in the area where we live there is a lot you can do. The weekends give us great opportunities to go out and explore this beautiful land, together or alone. I put down some lovely trips from West Kilbride I’ve done myself and which you can easily do in a day.

Mountain walking on Isle of Arran

Arran is basically all the good of Scotland put on one island, just across Firth of Clyde. It has dramatic mountain ridges, beautiful waterfalls, whiskey distilleries, wildlife and amazing surroundings: the perfect place for a good hike. Together with a friend I climbed Goat Fell, the highest mountain on Arran, which was great. It took us almost all day to walk from the ferry up to the summit and down to catch the last ferry back to Ardrossan. The next day my muscles were pretty sore, but I would totally recommend anyone to hike up Goat Fell! Another day I took one of our DTS trainees to the island. Instead of climbing the mountain, we walked through the glen. Sounds like it was an easy and flat walk. Most part of it indeed was quite easy, except for ascending the mountain ridge which is called ‘The Saddle’. The climb up was doable, but the side we went down was really steep. The scenery was definitely worth it though. On top of The Saddle we could look over Glen Rosa on the one side and Glen Sannox on the other side. Apart from this there is so much more you can do on Arran. You could hire a car for a nice tour around the whole island. Also it’s pretty easy and safe to hitchhike on the Island. The people that live there are used to hitchhikers and it probably won’t take you long to get a car stop for you and take you to the next jaw-dropping place.

Mouth-watering ice cream in Largs

A ten minutes train ride or a twenty minutes bus drive will take you up to Largs, a picturesque town on the west coast of Scotland. It has nice hills you can walk up, little shops you can visit and a beach that looks over Great Cumbrae, a small island you can to with the ferry. The first day I went to Largs with some people from the base, we had been told to go to Nardini’s for some tasty ice cream. So that’s what we did. We stared at the ice cream counter for a long time, asking for little scoops to try. There were so many flavours and the way they displayed it made our mouths water. It was a great time of fellowship and deliciousness.

Charity shopping in Saltcoats

One of our lovely community members took the girls out for a little workshop about colour types in Saltcoats. We went there in the morning, had breakfast, then sat down with a book and a bunch of scarves in all different kinds of colours, to see which type of colours work best with our skin tone, hair and eye colour. All equipped with a personal colour advice, we went to different charity shops to practice what we learned.

Image from https://www.instagram.com/ywammemes/

I was surprised about the amount of charity shops in one little street! We only got to see two of them but we found so many cool clothing items for such good prices. We felt like real YWAM’ers that day. It’s amazing to see that is doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to find good clothes. When you know what colours, shapes and patterns make you look great instead of good, you’ll get pretty far with only charity shops!

City trip to Glasgow

There is a direct train going from West Kilbride to this famous Scottish city which is well known for its architecture. Personally I loved to blend with this vibrant crowd of people for a day, just to see everything was going on in the streets. When I went to Glasgow I just walked around all day. It was a great sunny day and I wanted to see as much as I could. I really enjoyed visiting the big cathedral. I also walked to the Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery on a low but prominent hill in Glasgow. From there I had a wonderful view on the city. A walk alongside river Clyde brought me to the point from which I could see Clyde Arc, the bridge I saw in many Scotland travel guides. I was too tired to walk all the way up to the bridge, so instead I went to one of Glasgow’s coffee shops to enjoy a well-deserved cappuccino.

Bus drive to Greenock

Whenever I take the bus northbound, I take the one with Greenock as its final destination. I was so curious about what Greenock looked like so one day I decided to just go there. Again I was very lucky with the weather. The drive up there was amazingly beautiful. Greenock itself was okay but I found it a little bit too industrial for a nature admirer like myself. I decided to walk to the very north of Greenock to see across the water. There I walked the esplanade all the way to Gourock. It was a long walk but with the blue water, the bright sky and the sun warming my skin, I felt free like a bird. At the end of my walk I sat down for a Frappuccino with the most stunning panorama ever.

I love to go out and explore. I’ve never been a big fan of walking but Scotland changed it just like that. It’s all due to the scenery! On top of that, I’m a real fan of special coffees. A wee coffee break just adds a new dimension to my day out, especially when I get to share it with my precious YWAM friends. When I’m back at the base after a long day, all tired and satisfied, the welcoming atmosphere and the feeling of being home again is just the finishing touch to my day out, the cherry on top!

What are your favourite daytrips on the west coast of Scotland?

 

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Characteristics of community living #2: Rhythm and relations

It’s not always easy to describe what it’s like to live in a community. Actually you have to experience it yourself to understand it, and even then you’ll be surprised about things every day.

The Seamill Centre has its own weekly rhythm. That means we have specific moments we come together as a community. The repeated weekly gatherings are very significant for this community life. It’s good to meet each other, encounter God together and just hear what’s going on in everybody’s life.

Many people have problems with Mondays. They probably don’t like their work or something. Whatever the reason may be, no bad Mondays anymore when you live this community life. We start the day with a wonderful time of worship together. Every week another staff member shares about what God put on their hearts. Sometimes we end up in singing worship songs, sometimes we get encouraged by each other’s testimonies and sometimes we pray for each other. It’s different each Monday, but good every time. Halfway our week we come together again, this time is more about sharing. We share about what is going on in Seamill and what everybody is up to. We take time to celebrate a certain team or person and the way they serve with YWAM. This often goes along with a corporate prayer or sharing prophetic words, it’s a very festive and encouraging morning!

Thursdays make me really happy as well and I think I’m not the only one who enjoys them. At 11 in the morning it’s time for our Special Break. Someone prepares a few pots of good coffee and of course a wee treat. I love all the brownies and cupcakes that come by but maybe I like all those smiling faces even better. You don’t see everybody as often as the person one desk next to you, but during Special Break you get the chance to talk to everyone! At the end of the week we come together one more time in Community Prayer. On this Friday morning we pray for a certain nation. I noticed since I’m with YWAM, I’m getting more and more aware of the fact that there are more countries in the world than just The Netherlands. Nations prayer is a beautiful way of being involved with what is happening in the world and sharing God’s heart for those nations.

I realised all these moments of coming together are very conducive for an atmosphere of unity. In order to fruitfully work on YWAM’s mission, this unity is needed. Before Jesus went back to His Father, He prayed for us to be one, so that the world may believe that God has sent Him. He prayed that we will be in Him as He is in the Father and the Father in Him so that the world knows God loves them as much as He loves Jesus. It is Jesus’ desire for us to be one and the enemy will do everything to try to stop that because he knows what we are capable of when we are one. That is why it’s so important that we do not just do our own things and get our own jobs done, but also invest in relationships and coming together to listen to each other so that we will be one.

 

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Heart to heart

Another guest blog from our communications intern, Marieke. In this blog she reflects on what the Lord has been showing her through Creation and Communication.

One thing I was hoping to discover during my time here, is passion. Since I came here to do a communications internship, I expected that it would probably have something to do with communications. Although I like the things I’m doing here and the way I can be a support to YWAM Seamill, I’m still careful with calling communications my passion. But there definitely is something else I’m getting an increasing enthusiasm for.

The Highlands have fascinated me before and when I came here to do my internship, I was really longing for that feeling of fascination again. But Seamill is not really in the Highlands and it costs quite some money to rent a car and make a Highland-tour in the weekends. I was a bit sad that I couldn’t visit the Highlands as often as I wanted to. Because I was focusing on what I was missing all the time, I got blinded for the beauty I was already in the middle of. I just didn’t allow the hilly landscape to fascinate me, but something changed about that.

It was during a bus drive to one of the other YWAM Scotland bases. I sat at the window side and watched the green hills passing by. Every minute the view changed and I just didn’t get bored by it. I felt so small in the mighty landscape we were driving through. It was that feeling of totally being caught up by the landscape. Ever since that day in the bus I started to admire each part of this country more and more. God really opened my eyes and brought back that feeling of fascination which I thought I had lost.

 

 

 

 

 

Now I cannot put in words how I feel when I’m walking through the Scottish nature. I would describe it as a never ending warm embrace, even on cloudy days. Two words that come to mind when I’m in the midst of God’s creation is ‘majestic’ and ‘astonishing’. I can tell there is definitely some of Gods majesty visible here in Scotland. And when you have visited Scotland yourself, you would probably know what I mean by astonishing.

Every time I’m taking a walk up to the hills, a stroll on the beach or a trip to the highlands, the only thing I can do is keep thanking God. Thanking Him for bringing me to those places, for the creation He so perfectly made. Thanking Him for letting me witness a flawless sunset, for answering my wishes to see a deer, prancing through the woodlands. He is so merciful and so good to me that He reveals more of His majesty every day, if it was only to remember me I don’t need to search for passion, for it’s already there.

With everything I am I believe God shared His love for creation with me. In the midst of that creation, that reflects Gods glory and presence, I feel like I can communicate with God from heart to heart. In those moments I don’t feel any boundaries to connect with Him and to talk with Him. It makes it easier for me to open up myself to Him and to find Him and that brings me so much peace, freedom and joy!

So this passion for creation, which seemingly has nothing to do with communications, does teach me a lesson about communications after all. It’s all about finding shared heart pieces in order to communicate without being stopped by any obstacle. With that, I think I did not only discover what communications is all about or what it should be about, but also a heart piece of myself I had never seen before.

I’m starting to like the core essence of communications way better already! 

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