Outreach is a crazy thing. No two are exactly the same.
It’s meant to be that way. God works in the places where we think we have the most control, but in reality, we don’t.
He sits back, patiently, and waits until we slowly loosen our grip on whatever aspect of our lives we haven’t fully given over to Him. He waits until our hands are fully open, and then He reveals to us new mercies.
DTS for me was summarized by one word: control. Or a lack thereof.
Life plans put on hold. Leaps of faith taken. Sitting, waiting, wondering.
My dreams and aspirations from home were never given up on, but I definitely put them aside to re-focus fully on my relationship with God.
Slowly but surely, He broke me. He tore down the hard outer layer I had built for myself emotionally, and many tears were shed over the course of the 12 weeks at DTS.
He re-kindled the heart of service that He gave to me as a child, but that over time, society had constantly suppressed and called “weird” and “unmanly.”
Finally, when I thought I had given up everything, He revealed to me other areas I hadn’t yet fully let go of, and opened doors for me at home when I was 5,000 miles away. Literally unable to do anything for myself in these areas of my life where I had dreamed – He made a way that was even better than I could have imagined.
So when outreach came around, and my leaders Josh and Katie named me as the Ministry Lead for our team, alongside my best friend Evan, I was overjoyed. Here is an opportunity for leadership that I can give back to God, so that He can lead me. I’ve learned my lesson!
Here is an opportunity to give up control, but still put in my 100% best effort.
My heart was FINALLY in the right place. I had JOY in giving the things God had given me, right back to Him.
Leave it to God.
Walk forward with open hands.
Peru, here we go.
Delayed flights bus rides boat rides missed buses
Flood relief prayer walks change in travel plans buses planes trains mototaxis lack of sleep more prayer walks encouragement notes Healing a man from his paralysation exercise getting dusty and dirty quiet time with God rebuilding houses painting a church Macchu Picchu team talks prostitution ministry childrens ministry drama teaching in schools Healing a woman of glaucoma in her eye eating lunch at local families houses painting more walls time with God cleaning churches leading youth ministry nights quiet time with God more prayer walks soccer ministry cleaning our hosting base team talks intercession worship
“What do you mean, ‘rest’? We head to the jungle towns, accessible only by a 2 hour boat ride, in 3 days! We’re going to minister to Amazonian tribal peoples! We’re going to share the gospel, just as You commissioned! You’ve asked me to be ministry lead – there’s so much to prepare!”
“Nap for 20 minutes? Spend an extra hour with you in silent meditation today? Okay no problem!”
“Okay, I’m feeling a bit sick– this is why you wanted me to rest. Just a quick sore throat and stuffy nose, nothing too crazy. I’ll be right back tomorrow, doing everything You want me to do to prepare for the jungle.”
A hospital trip later, a bunch of Peruvian doctors pouring over me, and long nights sitting waiting for test results – I’m still here today at YWAM Iquitos, resting.
Unfortunately, because I was still super sick on Sunday, my team had to go on without me to the next ministry location. Wisdom had to prevail – I’m close to a hospital, just in case anything changes rapidly in my health. I’m well-taken care of by our host families here at YWAM Iquitos. They’ve been a huge blessing and literally God’s hands and feet for me.
Now I’m not saying God caused me to be sick – that’s heretical. But I can say with certainty that when a fever hits you (bed rest), then a sore throat starts burning (less food), you have zero energy and sleep 8 hours a day and 10 hours at night (can’t do anything) and painful blisters start appearing on your hands and feet (hurts to walk anywhere, and I can’t even untwist a strawberry jam lid) – I’m pretty sure His message to me is clear:
When He allows all of the things you love to do to become painful, so that the ONLY thing you can do, literally – is type, write, and sit and listen to Him – the message is, you guessed it, pretty clear:
“I want to help paint and fix things and once I’m better I’ll do some children’s ministry, maybe run a soccer camp, help clean the base, shovel some dirt for a new home – there’s so many possibilities!”
Then the doctor said I have to stay in bed until Friday. I would be able to rejoin my team in the jungle on Sunday. A whole 10 days, out of commission. In the middle of outreach. What!?
Rest, beloved. Listen, beloved.
Here are the things He said to me during my endless hours of quiet time.
You need to be willing to be served by those around you. 1 Samuel 12:24
You can only give to others, what you know how to fully receive. John 12:26
You need to give up just one, more, thing. And you know what it is. Proverbs 3:5-6
My grace covers you, every single day. 2 Corinthians 12:9
You need to spend less time “doing”, and more time with Me. Mark 2:27
You need to continue to press forward towards the true prize, My prize for you. Philippians 3:14
Your plans are so much smaller than the plans I have for you. Get ready. It’s going to be W.I.L.D. Jeremiah 29:11
Continue to pour into love. Because your truth is strong – but truth without love is just the Law that I replaced with my Blood. 1 Corinthians 13:1
Be passionate. Be convicted. Stand firm. The time is now to wake up your generation. Isaiah 26:3
Rest in my arms. You are not sufficient, which is why I Am. I will take care of you, to the ends of your days. Philippians 4:6-7
I now know “why.” Because He needed to pull me aside for a few days and tell me “why.”
Why His grace is sufficient. Why we can’t do everything on our own. Why His mercy is enough to cover the areas we are constantly falling short in. Why He loves us so much – all He wants to do is spend time with us.
Why He sent His Son to die for us – so that we can find eternal rest for our souls, despite our separation from Him through sin.
He knows what you need. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. If He is that familiar with you, that intimate….. don’t you think it’s prudent to stop and rest occasionally, and just ponder that miracle?
If you’re feeling far away from God, He wants you to come back.
When you feel like you’re out of solutions……..Sometimes, all you need to do………
And rest, beloved.