I heard about YWAM Maui when I was fifteen, sitting on a couch at a youth group I didn’t usually attend. A girl was talking about a Discipleship Training School- how she would go to Maui for three months, and then somewhere in Asia for another three. And being another small town kid who had been nowhere and wanted to go everywhere, I remember being in awe. “She gets to travel- FOR JESUS?!?!” What a happy thought. I filed it away in the back of my mind as a dream for the future.
Fast forward three years, finished high school, working retail and avoiding questions from EVERY SINGLE ADULT about what I wanted to do next. I was at such a loss. And it was such a lightbulb (God) moment that reminded me of YWAM Maui.
At that point I just felt a need to leave home, to make steps towards starting my life- relatable, right?- and knowing I wanted God to be the base, I took what seemed to be a very big leap.
And from there the leap brought me here, sitting in one of my favorite God moments. We were on Outreach, sitting cross-legged on the floor of a square room, in a cluster of Bangladeshi women so tight we were practically on top of each other, as one of the members of my team finished up their devotion. “… So thank you for coming and for teaching us,” the women began to greet us goodbye. “And a special thanks,” a woman named Majada chimed in, “for spending time with us and for learning our names.”
I was so touched. The last four mornings I’d been with these women, and while they were hard at work sewing blankets, I sat in the middle of the room. I sang English songs, I learned what I could about them, I laughed along as they mocked my poor Bangla. And at the end of this time, I had the amazing opportunity to pray with each of them individually. I prayed the Lord would continue to reveal his love to them, as it had been revealed to me, and my heart was to exemplify this love.
I don’t know what I’d expected when my team and I stepped off the plane in Bangladesh. The traditional clothes were cool- I loved rice and daal so we were good on that front, not to mention that from now on I’d be able to sneak into conversation how I’d lived in Asia for 3 months.
And then being there, a small part of me was like, wow God you love THESE PEOPLE TOO that’s nuts you are good God. They need it.
It took me a while to realize how badly I needed it, too.
But with every waking day, the Lord impressed upon me a message of his love FOR ME. I didn’t understand it. It overwhelmed me completely, that the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE had brought me to Bangladesh, so far from everything I knew, to share the love that I was lucky enough to know. It changed how I thought of the people around me- the ones who were often dirty, who stood uncomfortably close, who offered food I REALLY didn’t want to eat- those who lived in a way that I could easily turn up my nose at. And instead, my heart began to break, burdened by the Father’s love for all those who didn’t know- there in Bangladesh and back home in Canada alike!
The new mornings kept coming- I woke sticky with sweat to a Muslim prayer call. It was just another day in Bangladesh, weaving through busy streets like ducklings in a single file. Hip-checking cows on the side of the road, bartering for fruit from sidewalk vendors, looking to catch any woman’s gaze to tell her she was beautiful. You know, the usual.
Each day held a new adventure. Whether it was preaching in a church, playing with the children at a local school, or going into a village and seeing who needed prayer. Everything seemed urgent, with the message of the Lord’s personal and intimate love stamped upon my heart. We walked sidewalks, dirt roads, rice fields, sometimes going house to house, sitting with the people, sharing snacks and laughter. And I basked in what an honor it was in such a simple act as this to share the gospel, seeing first hand what it was like to be a missionary, and so excited to practice it wherever I went.
It was a sense of constantly being blown away- “Whoa, God,” catch my breath, “you are good.” It’s a thought that will never again be commonplace because I have seen for myself that it is true.
I came to YWAM Maui because I wanted God to tell me what to do (preferably in a big booming voice, because you know, bad at listening), but instead, I learned how to live. With the transformational love of God in my heart, guiding my every step.
I feel as though I could go on and on about what a blessing this ministry has been in my life- the people, the teachings, the presence of the Lord! But I really think it’s something you should come out and discover for yourselves.
You won’t regret it.