Leading Me Closer to Jesus – Summer Seminar Testimony

One Month Isn’t Long Enough

I had zero expectations going to YWAM Maui. I was excited, but completely unsure of what to be prepared for, what the seminar would consist of, and generally what it would be like. All I knew was that I was ready for a change. The year before, I remember feeling absolutely stuck in a life of mediocrity, and was very much aware of my endless list of shortcomings, so I spent the rest of the year trying to do better and failing every single time. I was unable to fall out of bad habits, or better myself at all. In other words, I longed for my mind to be renewed and my life transformed, but I had no idea how to accomplish this vague and impossible task. By the start of 2019, I was able to summarize my goals, write them down, and…. well, that was about as far as I got (do any of us really pull through on our New Year’s Resolutions?).

To be honest, the first half of Ref Gen was hard. I felt like all my insecurities, all my problems, all my awkwardness and all my hurts were laid out in front of me, staring me in the face with flashing red lights surrounding them, and a giant sign reading “ATTENTION” in case I wanted to ignore them or push them back down. Not to mention, I felt like these things were on display, so that not only I had to deal with them, but so that everyone else could see me struggling as well. Someone explained to me that YWAM was kind of like open heart surgery, and I couldn’t agree more. It was like I was living with a disease that I had to have ripped out, and the process was painful.

But there was a turning point. Halfway through, I finally felt a peace that had been creeping up on me since the beginning of the month wash over me and knock me off my feet. It wasn’t a typical kind of peace where everything is calm, it was the kind of peace where – even though the world is spinning like crazy and the storm is raging – I could stand in the middle of it, feeling the warmth of acceptance and love and grace. My perspective changed completely, in a way that I can hardly describe. I thought I knew all of these things about the nature and character of God, what He did for us, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but all my life I had heard these things over and over to the point where it became watered down. It wasn’t until YWAM that I actually believed with all my heart and felt these things become real in a way I had never experienced before.In 2 Corinthians, Paul praises the “God of all comfort”, and I had never understood that more clearly than at YWAM. I am beginning to realize that even though I am a work in progress, fractured in many places, God is filling those cracks one by one, using my brokenness and meeting me every day exactly where I’m at.

Ref Gen taught me practicalities such as spiritual disciplines, apologetics and theology, which I am continuing to learn about and execute in my day to day, but being in a Christian environment 24/7 (where people don’t just believe in God – they’re on FIRE for Him!) and being encouraged every hour in my journey of faith had the ultimate impact of leading me closer to Jesus and reinforcing my desire to pursue Him with all of my heart. That one month was extraordinary and it gave me so many resources, but it definitely wasn’t long enough! I’m missing it every day, but it gave me the momentum I needed to further my relationship with the Lord.


By Manoah Smith


Learn More About

Ref Gen https://www.ywammaui.org/pages/reformation-generation

Missions DTS at https://ywammaui.org/pages/dts-standard

Surf DTS at https://ywammaui.org/pages/sfmi

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