Last Thursday evening we arrived back onto the shores of YWAM Belize in a water taxi full of shouts of excitement and tears of joy. We were home! Back to a fuller family, humidity, and mosquitoes. These past few days have consisted of debriefing, team bonding, combating fears with truths, and preparations for the transitions we’re going to be facing going back home. For a while I thought, “Well, this is just us going back to reality.”
I now realize how wrong I was. God + Life = Reality. God is just as present in California as He is right here, in YWAM. But throughout this time there has been healing in my life that has enabled me to see that.
I used to think believing in God meant you read your bible, you go to church, you quote Christian Living Books, you go to bible studies, etc. Before my DTS I honestly thought I had it all together because I knew how to do those things…yet those actions now feel like they were hollow and missing the most important thing that gives those actions Life. I needed a reality check, I needed to be stripped of my pride, I needed to stop choosing to wear a crown of shame. I needed real relationship with Jesus. Throughout the Outreach Phase of DTS I asked God if He would teach me how to have humility. I’m laughing right now because it’s rare that we realize how powerful a prayer can be when it comes to saying something so nonchalantly. Turns out he answered that prayer with a whopping YES. It was difficult. Being in close quarters definitely puts a strain on relationships especially when your in a country that already pushes you out of your comfort zone. But He was faithful, He always is. Difficult times always make way for an attitude of gratitude for the times that don’t seem so. With the 3 months of Lecture Phase, we were learning the truths of REAL relationship with Jesus. Then came the Outreach Phase, where the truths were put into action through Love. It was hard and amazing all at the same time. Honestly, my words can’t do justice to the things I witnessed God do.
It’s coming to that time where I’m going to have to have an answer to, “How was Outreach/DTS?!” I think I’m okay with allowing every response to be as lengthy or as short as God prompts. Never the less, God’s kingdom was extended in Zambia through many of the mercy ministries we did in Lusaka and in the bush. Whether it was door-to-door evangelism, building a school roof, teaching in a public school, building relationships in orphanages, holding a public ministry event in town, or even starting a dance party in the middle of a grocery store parking lot. God was the Love that put Life into every one of those actions.
The first week of our DTS we were told to write a note to ourselves about what we were looking forward to for this season, and then after we’d get back from outreach we’d open them. Well…when I revisited my letter, I couldn’t help but start to weep silently to myself.
One of the first things I noticed was how much God had fulfilled in my life in these past 5 months. The second thing was that I was totally speaking ‘Christianese’. Especially with that quote: “Never hesitate to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
I know that before I came here I didn’t want to sacrifice anything that would make me uncomfortable. But after applying and getting accepted, I knew that if I wanted the real deal I needed to let go and let God take hold of my life. One of those things I needed to give up was my home. I had been living on my own and had been working at a job I really enjoyed before coming here. So when I applied and got accepted, by the second week of DTS, I was already asking people if they had a room I could rent out. Well as time went on, I felt convicted that I was talking more about trying to live somewhere rather than praying and asking God if he would give me a place to live. I knew this was something that no matter how hard I planned, if it wasn’t His will for me, it wouldn’t happen. Plus every other time I’ve tried to make things happen, I end up with a huge tangled-spaghetti-kinda mess.
So 5 days before we leave for Outreach, I’m messaging back and forth with a ministry called The Doves Foundation based in Bogota, Colombia trying to see if I could be apart of their ministry. During Lecture Phase, God revealed to me how big my heart is for missions and evangelism. I remember writing my dream on the Dream Board, ‘Speak to EVERY nation’, and from there on out I was going to do whatever I could to make that happen. So when Lina wrote back to me that they were going to do ministry in the neighboring countries I was in shock because right after she told me that she not only said she’d allow me to be apart of the missions trip, she offered me a place to live!!! I’M GOING TO LIVE IN COLOMBIA PEOPLE! GOD GAVE ME A HOME IN COLOMBIA!!!! I wish I could express the joy I felt when I ran out of the library screaming for joy running around like a crazy woman after I saw her message. But God gave me a home!
- Taylor Mann