I went to YWAM with the expectation that during the 12 week lecture phase I would learn all about God and who He is. It turns out I learned that and so much more! The set up during the lecture phase is we wake up every morning and jump into worship or intersession then move into about four hours of lectures. Each week we have a different speaker that allows God to use them as a vessel to pour out truths for us. It was amazing to watch each week be tailored to exactly what we needed to learn.
Community is the key. On base we get to eat, worship, pray, and play together. The staff created this beautiful atmosphere where anytime anyone needs something, there is someone there to help. As a class of 22, we started off as a bunch of strangers but as the weeks went, all of the awkwardness fell away. Because we got to go through every challenge and victory together, we grew to become an amazing family that I know I will always be a part of.
I believe one of the most crucial things that I had during that time was a small group leader. My small group leader, Brittney, helped me walk through many things that were incredibly difficult to face. We had one on one time each week to talk about how life was going and what I was struggling with. Of course it was strange at first to jump into a relationship with someone that wants to know everything about me. Luckily, it didn’t take me very long to learn that it wasn’t just about my problems, but that she wanted to help me celebrate the victories that I would have a long the way. She was there for me anytime I needed or wanted, even if it was just to hang out. She helped me see who God truly created me to be. I learned to be confident in who I am because my Father made me that way. She helped me see what it really looks like to have someone love on me well.
After some incredibly hard goodbyes, my team of 14 was off to Morocco for an 8 week outreach. While we were in Morocco we learned all about what it means to love people well, and just be ourselves. Morocco was a place where we couldn’t shout out how much we love Jesus, but we sure could love people like Jesus would. And that’s what we did!For us, loving like Jesus does involved a lot of time in prayer. And I mean a lot. While we were there, prayer looked a lot like just a normal conversation. We would walk about and pray out loud because we knew that Jesus was just walking with us. He gave us so many opportunities to just make people’s day. It looked all sorts of ways, anything from giving someone a flower, to gathering a group of friends for prayer
One of our biggest ministries was actually something formed internally in the group. We noticed right away that our family of 14 looked pretty strange. We had something about us that was just different. It was Jesus. We loved each other the way Jesus loves us, at least we tried as hard as we could to do so. Our love for each other was something that everyone we met noticed. We got asked why we love each other so much and how in the world could we live with 14 people. We got to invite people in to be a part of our family and take the opportunity to love them really well.
In the beginning of the outreach God put the phrase “close your eyes and choose to love Me” on my heart. I thought He was just telling me that every day I get the chance to love Him, and I should take advantage of that. Of course that is true, but it turned out that phrase was so much more. God had asked me from the very beginning to love people really well. I got the amazing opportunity to choose to love God everyday because I got to choose to love His people.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
I want to go back on staff to love people really well so they can feel His love. God’s love for us is truly all we need. It blows my mind and fills my heart when I see someone understand that, the moment when it clicks. I hope God will use me to help get His children there.
Taylor Fagan – January 2014 Leadership DTS and Morocco outreach