Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
When I first looked at my school verse I was so focused on the, “and to the ends of the earth.” I told the Lord that I wanted to go to the ends of the earth during my Discipleship Training School. But He had different plans, He sent me back to my “Jerusalem,” my home town, and now six months later He has sent me to “Judea” Starkville, Mississippi. This is definitely not what I had thought I’d be doing when I signed up for YWAM, but He had so much more in store for me then I ever thought. We arrived in Mississippi on October 3rd to finish the outreach portion of my DTS (that was postponed due to COVID-19). I didn’t know what an in state outreach would look like compared to a overseas outreach like I had been preparing for. It has been amazing to work and do ministry in Western culture! I am learning how to share my faith more boldly since the feel is very similar to home. The Lord is showing me the importance of being bold in my faith, to make Him known!
Being in the Bible Belt most people have grown up in a Christian home, know of God, and have attended some sort of church service. But we know it’s more then just that, it’s to make Him your whole life. We get to share why our whole lives are about him and bringing glory to his name in everything we do. In the Bible Belt lukewarm Christianity is a common issue, and that is a dangerous place to sit in. In Revelation God talks about spitting out the lukewarm Christian (Revelation 3:16). Even though it’s very present in the culture of the Bible Belt, it has been so encouraging to see the church recognize that this is what their people are sitting in. I see them actively rising up against it, especially in the next generation of young believers here. We have attended two different young adult sessions, and joined a small group of college students who are sharing the gospel with international students on campus at Mississippi State University. I have LOVED coming alongside fellow young believers who are so on fire for the Lord. I am challenged by their boldness in serving God in their home towns, and it makes me reflect on if I am doing the same in my own home town, my “Jerusalem”.
These young adults are so on fire for God and are taking the steps to see revival here in Starkville. One of my favourite things we have done is fellowship with the young adults at the local church and the ones at MSU. I love getting to know each of them, hear their life stores and their passions for serving God. We get to encourage one another in our walks with Christ and speak wisdom into each others lives. I love seeing the community that they have here and I am grateful to be apart of it for this time.
The southern hospitality they talk about is no joke. Their hospitality alongside being brothers and sisters in Christ makes it feel like being apart of one big family – the body of Christ. To be honest, normally when I walk into a room full of people my age, there’s some anxiety and feelings of judgment that rise up within me. Since being here I have felt nothing but love from this community, and I feel like I’ve known these people my whole life. This is something the Lord has put on my heart to remember and carry back to my home town or wherever I go – the hospitality, openness and community they have shown me I want to bring to others.
Here at YWAM Starkville they are working on starting up their first every Discipleship Training School (DTS). It’s been amazing serving them and getting to walk alongside them in planning and preparations for their first school. We have been renovating an old church building that God has so faithfully provided them for their future schools. As I get the privilege on working in this building I can’t help but thank God for the good things I know He’s going to do here! I know that lives will be touched and changed forever! It’s been so good to help pioneer this base and get to know the staff that are so passionate and excited for the things to come from these future schools. I love being able to serve and bless these people in any way they need, knowing that it will lead to something bigger in the future. God is on the move here in Starkville and I love being apart of it!
We have also gotten the privilege to be apart of Hope Force, which is a disaster relief team that trains Christians to act when disaster strikes. We were able to do the training program and then got deployed days later to Louisiana to help repair the damage hurricane Delta left. We got the privilege of working alongside the Hope Force team and some others that gathered from across the states. We were able to meet multiple people every day that were in need of a tarp on their roof due to the hurricane winds. Along with fixing the roof damage, one of my favourite things was getting to know each home owner, hear their stories and what the storm was like for them, and then offering them prayer. They were so grateful for people who just wanted to care for them!
Overall, God has been teaching me so many new things during our time here. I am so thankful we are able to come together as a team and serve Starkville, Mississippi. It’s amazing to see God move while trusting that seeds are being planted and He is moving even if we don’t see it. Well as they say it down here in the south… sweet blessings y’all!