So often we may think to ourselves ‘Where will I be a year from now?’ This was me a year ago.
There I was, sat in a rainy classroom studying for my A levels dreaming of where to go for my Gap Year. I dreamt of surfing in the sun, making new friends and planning the cool Instagram pictures I would take. Little did I know that God had MUCH bigger and better plans in store for me.
Fast forward 6 months and there I am dancing in the back of a truck in Hawaii, hair blowing through the wind, singing worship songs with my new friends at the top of our lungs; I remember in that moment feeling overwhelmed with the blessings God had given me. He heard my longing sighs through the times of waiting and saw the desire for adventure and godly friendships I so deeply wanted. I didn’t even ask Him for this, He simply provided an opportunity and blessed me with it anyway. Not only did He give me the experience of lifetime, He gave me a gift worth more than anything. He showed me his steadfast love and faithfulness.
The first three months of my DTS (Discipleship Training Scheme with YWAM) were spent on the Island of Kauai. It was a real time of healing, taking off all the junk and lies that the world had stuck on me and getting back to the core truth and original design of who He made me to be. I spent hours in the classroom learning about the Bible and what it means to live a true life of discipleship. He revealed gifts I never knew I had and as I went on an adventure in paradise, I learnt the freedom of being childlike again and how He wants us to enjoy this beautiful world He has given us.
Outreach in Papua New Guinea, was a whole other story. PNG is known as the ‘The Land of the Unexpected’ and I can safely say my time spent in this nation certainly lived up to its title.
This was ‘real life’. Now it was time to put into the practise all I had learnt about who God is, and says He is, and really put my whole trust in Him. Do I really believe that God can heal the blind? Deliver people from strongholds? Transform a whole village in a week? Provide peace during the storms, and bring joy in the darkest of nights? I can confidently say I DO BELIEVE as we experienced Him do all of this and so much more!
Our ministry consisted of sharing teachings on varying topics, sharing the Gospel to crowds and then praying for people afterward, doing representative skits, discipleship, praying in hospitals, and even some counselling.
One testimony I want to share of God’s faithfulness was during the first week in PNG. I was speaking on ‘Hearing God’s Voice’ at a youth camp of about 400 teenagers. During my preparation, I felt God keep telling me to stay attentive to His voice while speaking as there was someone He wanted to bring forward for healing. Throughout the week before I talked, I doubted this was God and thought it was me overthinking things. ‘What if no one comes forward? Or, what if God doesn’t heal them!?’ Just as I was finishing my talk I felt God say that there was a young boy there who had damaged his knee in a sporting accident. I hestitlently said this through the microphone and to my amazement a boy came forward. The whole camp reached out their hands and joined me in prayer; PRAISE THE LORD he was healed! God showed me when I step out in obedience He will always honour that.
During the last few weeks of Outreach I had a severe infection in my right leg which gave me a fever and prevented me from walking. This resulted in me not being able to join my team
for the last week and I was left alone at the YWAM base in the city. As this was towards the end of outreach I felt exhausted and empty. Initially I felt angry and confused at God for letting this happen to me. But, the week spent having to do nothing meant I had so much time to just spend with God and to hear what He wanted to say to me. God used this seemingly annoying situation to be such a blessing. He gave me peace about my illness and during those days of just Him and I, He spoke to me so much about the things I was struggling with and I was able to intercede and give encouragements for my team when they got back from their last ministry trip.
He is always Faithful.
Romans 8:28 ‘and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.’
I LOVE Romans 8:28 ‘and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.’ It reminds me that no matter how hard or hopeless the situation you’re going through feels, God will turn it for good even if we don’t see how right away. Looking back on the hard times of outreach this couldn’t prove more true. I felt like I would have a knock and then things would seem to be going ok and then the next thing would come along but now I see how God was using those times to strengthen and teach me about my dependence on him.
A year ago, if you had told me I would be in Papua New Guinea, talking to people about the Good News, I probably would’ve responded with a, “Yeah, maybe.” A year ago, if you had told me I would be in Papua New Guinea, putting the calling God placed in my life above my comforts, I probably would’ve not wanted this at all. Yet here I am, seeing how those times when I was uncomfortable were the times I grew the most. Yet here I am, praising God that He put me in a place where I was uncomfortable so I could be comfortable in Him. Here I am, happy to be rid of the old self so I can continue to pursue more & more of God and the comfort He gives… even when our day to day lives become too much. This 6 month journey has now ended and I’m entering into the next season of the unknown. As I have my old life back, I pray my new self will remain.
Will we rise above our comforts to grow? Will we allow Papa God to take us, teach us, and let Him glorify His goodness to the world through us? If we stand for love, do we not then stand for God? Are we bold enough to face discomfort because we believe the lamb is worthy, or will we remain unchanged, unchallenged, and non-moving? Let us never get so caught up in our comfort that we forget to continue to grow and move into the place Papa God is calling us.