I figured I’d share how I got involved in missions and heard about YWAM. (this probably should have been my first post… oh well.)
Ever since I was little I had always wanted to be involved in missions, I didn’t care where, I just knew I wanted to help people!
My mom was the children’s church pastor for several years when I was younger, during that time we took a group to a church in Tennessee one week to do a kids crusade. This was my first mission trip. I was still young, but I was able to help out in the setting up and tearing down, and was able to give input on what I thought the kids would enjoy more, being that I was their age. I enjoyed it so much!
As I got older we did more mission work in our community, I loved it and it always left me wanting more! Once we were able to visit a shelter for the victims of hurricane Katrina, we all dressed up like clowns and handed out teddy bears to the kids! It brought so much joy to them and that made me so happy! Every Christmas my family would pack boxes for operation Christmas child. I enjoyed so much being able to go out and buy toys for other children who had nothing! And every third Monday of the month, I would help out at the food distribution day at my church (giving food to people in our community) But, I still wanted more.
Then came the high school years, when everyone is deciding what they want to be and who they are. I struggled with this, who was I going to become? What was my goal in life? I didn’t really know. I had always thought about becoming a missionary and looked into mission schools. but, I knew I was supposed to get a good paying job, have a car and a house, get married… all the important things in life. But that’s not what I wanted! And that’s certainly not what God wanted!
My church took groups to Casa Hogar, an orphanage in Poza Rica, Veracruz, Mexico twice a year and every time they came back and talked about it, it always made me want to go that much more! In July 2010, my youth pastor decided to take a group from our youth down there. I was beyond excited and didn’t think twice before I was signing up to go, obtaining my passport, and raising the funds to get there. And that week is when my world began to turn upside down and God began molding me into who HE wanted me to be!
My week in Poza Rica was like nothing I had ever experienced. These kids, having such a terrible past of hurt, neglect , and abuse had SO MUCH love to give!! And more importantly they had so much love for Jesus! Having church services with these kids is one of the greatest things ever. They worship! They don’t care who is watching or what they look like, they praise God for everything they have! (which isn’t much) And that convicted me so bad! They have so little in earthly possessions, yet they have so much more in their relationship with God! We as American’s have so much stuff we don’t even know what to do with it, yet we debate on Sunday’s if we feel like getting up to go to church. I wanted what they had, I wanted more! More of God, more of his plan for me, more work for his glory! I hated that I had to come home but as soon as I did I was raising funds to go again summer 2011!
I had just graduated high school and started watching my new born niece. Every dollar I earned went towards my trip! I was so excited to get back to Poza Rica! I was greeted by those same smiling faces and embraced in the wonderful hugs children give. But this trip was slightly different. There was a girl volunteering at Casa hogar for the summer, who was with YWAM. My youth pastor encouraged me to talk to her about it and find out how to get involved, because he knew my growing passion for missions, but the still shy person I was back then didn’t want to! However when I got back to the states I sent her a friend request on FB and got the courage to send her a message. She gave me all the information I needed but I held onto it for a good year before doing anything with it.
I was scared, I mean I knew I wanted more. But did I really want more? Was I too young? Was I willing to go anywhere God wanted me to? I had excuses. I promised I would watch my niece until she turned one, then I would look into YWAM some more… So during that year I made another trip to Poza Rica, this time in January. On this trip, the trip coordinator gave me the book “Kisses from Katie” By Katie Davis, and told me I reminded him of her. After reading it, I decided I was not too young! I KNEW this was what God was calling me to do, I was going forward. So I thought…
I wanted to do a DTS in Mexico! Clearly. I loved Mexico. The culture, the people, the language, everything! I wanted to live there. But every. single. time. I would look up YWAM bases in Mexico I could either never find contact information or my internet would go out, or it wouldn’t load, something would always go wrong. I got very frustrated and just gave up for several months! I figured maybe God really doesn’t want me to be a missionary.
August of 2012 the 700 Club was on tv, I never generally watch it. But Katie Davis happened to be on that day, and I don’t recall the exact words she said, but I know whatever it was it clicked and, that was the day I began to finally move forward in God’s plan for my life! I started searching out YWAM again, but not in my mind set and where I wanted to go. But with Gods. I prayed and began my search. YWAM Louisville was the first school that popped up on google. I clicked on it and in no time, with no problems, I found myself applying to do a DTS September 2013 and I have been in constant contact with them for a year now, preparing to start my new journey! :)
So now three years later I am finally listening and going! And even though it took a long time in my eyes I know it was all in God’s timing. I’ve grown a lot these last few years. I’ve gotten to spend two whole years with my niece and build a relationship with her, I’ve gotten to teach her about Jesus, teach her the words to Jesus loves me, buy her very first Bible for her and read stories with her, all that I wouldn’t have gotten to do had I left right when she was born. I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to teach Sunday school to an amazing group of 3-5 year old’s for the last year and a half.<3
I’m excited to move forward, although I know I’m going to miss my life here, God’s got bigger plans for me and I can’t wait to see where he takes me!