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Loneliness was a heavy weight I was bearing. I was grieving the loss of beloved friends. Never again would I see their smile or hear their laughter. I wouldn't be able to share life with them anymore, in times of rejoicing and times of sorrow, nor would I ever be able to hug them again.

Jay Paul and Esther reflected Jesus in everything they did.

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They were a mother and father to every young adult who crossed their path. They pursued our hearts, desires, passions, and heartaches in order to speak truth in place of lies. They were home, a safe place we could retreat to anytime we needed healing. They cared deeply for everyone. If someone needed a job, they would help you find one. If you were struggling, they would listen and point you to God, sharing their own testimonies of God's faithfulness.

All the boundaries we think will separate us from relationship: culture, age, gender, personality, faith, career, and even the protective walls we build in our heart didn’t stop them. They fully loved everyone God put in their path. I learned so much from their life. Never before have I met anyone who displayed the love of God so completely.

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Because they are gone, I don’t get to be a part of their life anymore. I’ve lost a friend to depend on, and it’s leaving me broken and torn, missing a piece of my heart. They had a beautiful baby on the way, and now their life has ceased to be an unfolding story.

The weight has caused the days to drag on and become overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like the hole they left is immeasurable, and memories are daggers to my heart because I’ll never have more with them. Yet, God, in His great wisdom, knew fellowship (with Him and with others) is the cure to grief.

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." ~ Psalms 34:18

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Knowing God is near fills my heart with gratitude. Jesus is my Savior, and when he died on the cross, He saved the “crushed in spirit." He saved me, and the hope I have in Him never fails. He always soothes my pain. The sweet peace of Jesus by my side is my greatest comfort.

 “We are a part of the body of Christ and it is through this body that he ministers to us in our darkest days.”

Dustin Shramek
 
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God knew I would be living at YWAM Tyler when tragedy struck. He knew that I would need passionate and merciful Jesus lovers to support me. When I cried, there were people to hold me, comfort me, pray for me, and even cry with me. Community was God’s gift during my mourning. When I needed someone to share my grief with, there was a listening ear. When I desired to remember my friends and reminisce over the legacy they left behind, I had someone to celebrate with. These small acts of love made my days a little brighter.

The discipleship I gained at YWAM Tyler during my DTS was life-changing. It broadened my perspective of God and expanded my dependence on Christ rather than the world. Therefore God's comfort soothed my soul during grief rather than empty lusts of the world. 

Without my transformation from DTS and the unforgettable community at the campus, I would have buckled under the weight of grief. This community is a safe space for me, and I am truly grateful.

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Communion with God and others is our greatest healing balm in the midst of grief! 

If you desire a safe place to meet God and be transformed, come do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at YWAM Tyler. By discovering God's heart for you, freedom will reign in your heart and allow you to love others with abandon.

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Emily Vogel

Author: Emily Vogel

Emily is a missionary with YWAM Tyler and serves in the Advancement Department. She is passionate about sharing the gospel with those who have never heard and loves to encourage others to share their story too! Her life at YWAM Tyler is grand adventure, where she gets to live her dream of traveling the world. She loves to spend her time exploring the ranch, where glimmers of God’s glory can be seen all around!