The lovely mom
I’m from Oakhurst, California. I attended my DTS at YWAM Montana-Lakeside in fall of 2003, and my outreach was to England and Northern Ireland. I now live in Lakeside with my husband, Andrew, and our two beautiful boys, Eoghan and Finnegan. I have been staffing and leading TESOL seminars at Lakeside since 2009. We recently returned from Thailand after...View profile
The boy with a burning heart
My name is very special, it means “fair” in Irish Gaelic, my parents knew I would be handsome. My middle names are “Emmaus Tabor”, which have two meanings. Emmaus, for when the disciples were walking after talking to Jesus and their “hearts burned within them” (LK 24:13-35) And Tabor, which is the name of the only dormant volcano within...View profile
The friendly irish lad
My name is very special, it comes from my Grandpa Scott. My middle names “Mac Eoghan” are Irish Gaelic for “Johnson”, which is my grandpa’s last name. And “Eoghan” can also be translated to “Ian” in Scots Gaelic, which is my uncle’s name. So I am named after two very special people. My mom and dad didn’t give me...View profile
The goofy dad
I’m originally from California and I currently reside here at YWAM Montana-Lakeside with my beautiful wife, Cortnie, and my two sons, Eoghan and Finn. I’ve been working with TESOL seminars in Lakeside, Montana since 2009. In fall 2012, I completed my DTS here at Lakeside along with my family, and our outreach was to Reykjavik, Iceland. I’ve got a...View profile
What others are saying about the Brookses
- Wow! Thank you for a wonderful School!DonTESOL student, East Asia
- Thanks for all the energy you poured into this program.AbbyTESOL student, Minnesota
- Thank you for being an integral part in the journey God brought me on...I know both of you really cared and you were so supportive. I loved the opportunity to get to know your sweet family.AndrealTESOL student, Idaho
- Andrew and Cortnie are very gifted teachers and administrators...I give them my highest recommendation and encourage you to make an investment in their lives and the Kingdom of God.JeffTESOL department head, YWAM Montana-Lakeside
- You guys are amazing teachers and such fun people! Thanks much for everything!AmandaTESOL student, Washington
- There are no words. I'm so proud of all you have both accomplished through your obedience to Him!LeeTESOL student, California
- Thank you so much for the card! It's a rare and awesome thing to get a letter nowadays!...I hope and will continue to pray that your family is being blessed as you have so consistently blessed others! Keep up the good work my special friends.Kennyfriend and sponser
- My prayer is truly that I see you both again. Love that English, people, and Jesus matter so much to you! Be blessed, you have blessed us all ― so much.MackenzieTESOL student, China
- You guys are the best. Thank you ― Thank you for all you've done for us.RebeccaTESOL student, Vietnam
- The two of you are AMAZING apart but literally indestructible together! Way to be a perfect example of a family, leaders & disciplers!AinsleyTESOL student, Nepal
This is our story.
We were both tired and hungry as we checked into the King Edward II Hotel in San Francisco on the last night of our honeymoon. It had been an adventurous week spent up and down Northern California, from the hilly wine country of Napa Valley to the seaside cliffs of Mendocino County. This was our last stop and we began to feel this new adventure slowing
and the all-too-familiar rhythm of our workplaces calling us back home. Looking outside to the dimly lit streets of the bay area, we saw the flashing sign. “Taste of the Himalayas” it read in bright gold; it would have been impossible to miss since the sign was hung directly across the street from our little hotel room window. “Hmm, how does Nepalese sound?”
Our server’s name was Deepak. He wore traditional clothing and a dhaka topi, a Nepali-style hat. He had a hearty laugh and undeniable exuberance as he tried to convince us to come to Nepal with him. “I am Nepal mania,” he said over and over in his simple English. “My brother is a travel agent in Sausalito, it would be very easy for you, give him a call.” I always wanted to go to Nepal.
“Wake up, Andy!” she said. It was 4:00 am, it had been half a week since the Nepalese restaurant in San Francisco. “We have to go to TESOL. We have to put in our two week notices.” Cortnie had just woken from a scary dream, she explained. After the dream, as she laid there sleepily, she felt God say to her “You need to go to TESOL. It’s the best I have for you.”
TESOL was a one month school in Montana that trained people to be English teachers. We don’t remember how we found out about the school, and neither of us remember applying, but months earlier we had been accepted to the school at the YWAM base in Lakeside, Montana. The school started in just over two weeks. We were all out of money and vacation days, thanks to the honeymoon.
In those early morning hours we prayed together and considered the idea. We both had seasonal summer jobs, and it would be a mild form of ‘career suicide’ to ask for any more says off at that point. But we asked anyway. We got the money too. A family member had just received a rather large and unexpected check from his work; he gave us $1000. We were on our way…
TESOL was amazing! It was extremely hard work. We fell asleep many nights while trying to finish our reading assignments. The days were busy too, but we loved everything about the school. All around us, every day, were people from other countries and cultures. There were also people going…Going to far and distant places. And more than anything we wanted to go too.
During YWAM’s “International Night” there was a table representing Nepal where ladies dressed in saris were serving authentic Chai. On the bed stand in my room there was a backpacking magazine about sherpas in Nepal’s. On our wall we hung a giant map of the world, and we would stay up late into the night, praying and asking God where he would have us go.
When the month was over we packed our things and headed back to California. We knew we were in for a life of missions—of intentionally living out the ways of Jesus in our communities. And right now, our community was back home. Our friends were starting a new church and they needed some help. We packed up our giant map, and hung it on a wall in our little cabin in California.
A few years later we were living in another cabin. The dream of traveling to Nepal and Asia was still alive within us, but the map had since been put away. Focus had shifted, hope had waned slightly. But once again—on another night—we had another dream. This time we decided we should return to Montana and try our hand at staffing the school we took four years earlier.
“Go to TESOL. It’s the best I have for you.” God’s word to Cortnie, just after our honeymoon. As we packed our car with our new baby, Eoghan, we felt the promise of something good ahead of us. We arrived in Montana to a new set of strangers, each on their own journey to and from somewhere. There were also a few old friends, some of which had since married each other, as often happens.
Throughout that summer in Montana, over and over again, people kept telling us “You guys should check out Portland…I think you’d like it there.” “You’d fit in really well in Portland.” And once again we spent late nights praying to God with the giant map on the wall, and we decided to take a trip west to Portland, Oregon on our way home. And what we found there excited us deeply…
As we walked down the sidewalk in Portland’s downtown park blocks, we both straightened our backs a little when we saw her. She was still a block away, but she was clearly walking straight for us. She had a funny look in her eye too, like that of a truly crazy person. As she got closer her pace didn’t falter or slow as she came right up to us, and stopped us.
“This place is dark. They have no relationship with God. They need people like you here.” And then she left. We were both stunned. “Was that an angel!?” we said, “because that was crazy…She was crazy!” That would have been enough for us, but we continued to have more experiences on that day that confirmed for us that Portland was where God was sending us for a season.
A few months later, without a single job or any friends or family, we moved to Portland. We quickly found an apartment to rent, putting down the deposit with our little bit of savings, and we soon found jobs too. It was the middle of the recession, and we had jobs and a home. Next, we set out to make friends and to make a life for ourselves. In this city many passions came alive in us.
Portland was perfect for us. And it was here that we learned the art of making real northwest-style coffee. Both Cortnie and I found jobs working in coffee shops, and eventually I was able to work my way up to Restaurant Manager, and was later able to help start a new chain of fast-casual restaurants with a my boss and a big chef from downtown Portland.
Portland became our new “base of operations,” if you like. We spent the beautiful fall and winter, and the drizzly spring in the city, and then we traveled back east to Montana during the summers to continue staffing with TESOL. As we did this, we formed stronger and stronger bonds with the Montana base and our vision continued to grow beyond the beautiful city life we so enjoyed.
In the summer of 2012, we packed our things once more and headed to Montana for TESOL—but this time it was for good. We stayed into the fall. As a family we did a DTS with YWAM, and we headed to Iceland on our outreach. And our hearts exploded for all that God wishes for the world. Our time in Iceland was short, but powerful, and our dreams expanded to include Asia and Europe.
And that is where we are now. We are living in Lakeside, Montana at the YWAM base there. Last year we took a team of young people to Northern and Southern Thailand, and right now we have our sights on the coffee shops of Asia, particularly Taiwan where they serve up delicious coffee downstairs and teach English classes upstairs.
We continue to work with TESOL in Montana, running at least one large course and many little workshops throughout the year. Our greatest privilege has been working with outreach teams before they go all over the world. We are now looking at adding coffee training to our equipping ministry, since we’ve realized that our experience in the coffee shops of Portland is in high-demand in a few locations at home and abroad.
It’s times like this when you realize that all the places and experiences God has brought us through are most certainly part of a greater plan. We may not see all the steps or know which of the moving pieces will come together in the future, but we catch glimpses now and then that show us just how much He is caring for us and leading us where we should go. Put simply…God is awesome!
This is our story.
Abubakar arrived in a large port city in southern Nigeria, a long distance from his home in northern Nigeria. He had traveled there for his Discipleship Training School at YWAM—not out of preference but necessity. He was a Muslim and he had barely made it out of northern Nigeria…
Loving God includes loving people. We’ve got to love both. On this day, which is all about love, here are a few thoughts about the kind of love the Bible tells us to have—even for those whom we might consider “hard to love.” So that, in an age when…
We long to have better conversations about what Jesus and the Bible say about refugees. However, we cannot have an appropriate understanding of how Jesus views refugees if we can’t first understand who Jesus was, and his own experiences as a refugee here on earth. #ifollowarefugee
See the same sights and hear the same sounds. Follow the Brooks Family during their four and a half month outreach through Asia this fall and winter. We will be posting new video episodes whenever we get the chance.
We travel with very little, sometimes with nothing more than the words we speak. And the more we become teachers, the more we must become learners. And we must go and teach. This is our Calling, our Trade, our Dream.
Passion. It is what keeps us going. It’s what drives us to work and to fight for what we love. Once we find it, we will live for it and we will die for it. // FIND YOUR PASSION.
We have a new opportunity for anyone interested in helping Syrian refugees still living in the Middle East! A few of our TESOL friends have just started a new English language program at a refugee camp in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The school is called “Hope.” Find out how you…
Stop. Let’s rewind. And take a moment to imagine what could be: An entire nation. Transformed. In one generation. // These are our prayers for Cambodia, and we believe they’re what God wants too.
In the last post we took a look at the “YDC,” or Youth Development Center, in Battambang. This is the big outreach in this part of Cambodia with many of its students becoming the missionary generation of the future and the greatest hope after the devastation of the Khmer…
One of the most exciting outreaches happening all around Cambodia are the so-called Youth Development Centers. And in Battambang, its affectionately called the “YDC.” Many of the YWAM leaders we’ve met from Cambodia became christians through attending English classes at the YDC or other similar ministries. This fall, we…
Garth Gustafson leads the YWA University of the Nations campus in Battambang, Cambodia where we will be teaching this fall. In this video he discusses how young the people of Cambodia are due to the devastation of the Khmer Rouge and the “Killing Fields.” However, much like the story…
This is a mesmerizingly beautiful video from one of our recent outreach teams to Nepal, in the heart of the Himalayas. I think you will enjoy it very much… (Includes some high-altitude English lessons too.)
This is a story of Christmas from around the world. It’s just one of the amazing stories we saw take place last year with the DTS team we led to northern Thailand. I pray that it strengthens your faith this holiday season, and encourages you to find a small…
Take a peek at one of our favorite ministry locations on the planet, and one we’re planning to visit later in 2015. The Rock Coffee Bar is a model that YWAM Taipei and YWAM Montana will be replicating in “The Surge” over the next three years as we try…
Five years ago, two paths began and separated in our lives, and as they diverged we never thought they would cross again. But this Fall, two passions of ours have reunited in an amazing and unexpected way…
Hear some of the stories from our recent trip to Thailand
TESOL: Equipping Teachers
Unlocking doors.There are two billion people all over the world right now learning the English language. It’s the most widely learned and sought after second language in the world. And that’s where you come in. It’s because of the demand for more and more English teachers that our TESOL program was created. This short course is designed to quickly and effectively train any English speaker as a fully certified English teacher. The certification given at Lakeside is also very unique to YWAM since our graduates are not only certified by YWAM’s University of the Nations but also receive a secular Certificate IV through a recognized training institute in Australia. It’s this second TESOL certification that unlocks many doors overseas, and many of our graduates have gone on to work in some of the hardest to reach nations on the planet.
Where do we go from here???
There are 6 simple ways to get involved.