As a dairy farmer raised on a farm in a Mennonite home, I knew the Lord from an early age; my mother led me to Christ. I went to church and participated in youth groups. I even went to Bible school, a Mennonite college in Ohio. The truth was, in the journey of what I thought was trying to find God, I didn't really know Him.
I got a Bible degree. I could tell you about the minor prophets and where Paul went on his mission journeys, and I knew a lot about the Scripture. But when I was graduating as a senior, I remember having a moment with the Lord alone.
At that time, I did not know what was the voice of God, but I felt like there was something within me saying, "You know a lot about Me, but you don't really know Me, do you?" And I responded, "Yeah," for that was the truth!
I was back on the farm after graduating and that question haunted me. I had a friend named Bob that did a summer outreach to Guatemala with this group calling YWAM (Youth With a Mission). I had never heard of them before. When he came back from that outreach he said, "You know what? I had a great time with that group called YWAM. They're praying people. They really know God."
With all that was going on in my mind, that phrase caught me, so he gave me a brochure! I saw on the front the motto and read it to myself: To Know God, And To Make Him Known. When I read that I thought, I need to know God. It was time to try this 5 month discipleship program for myself.
Now, my dad had big plans for me on the farm. He let me go off to college for four years, but now that I was back he wanted to expand the dairy. His plans were for my brother and I to take over the farm. That's every farmer's dream when he has sons, right? I knew that, and I had been groomed for that. Yet, one day we sat down for dinner at the table, and I said, "Mom and Dad, I think I'd like to go to this place in Texas for only 5 months and do a Discipleship Training School (DTS)."
My dad very reluctantly said, "5 months, right?"
I said "Yep, right here it says 5 months."
After the school, it was hard to make the phone call to my dad when I came back from Haiti, which is where we went on outreach. Yet, I knew I had to tell him, "Dad, God is changing my life. I've never been impacted like this ever before; Dad, I want to be a Missionary." My dad choked on that and held it back. There was silence on the phone, and then he finally said to me "We dedicated you to the Lord when you were a young new born baby. It would make me no more proud then if you, son, want to be a missionary."
Basically he said, go get em' tiger! Telling this story causes the tears to come because to this day I knew my dad laid down his dreams to release me into God's dreams. May I be such a father with my own kids. So, I was blessed and ordained to the Lord to come be a missionary. I met a beautiful woman here in my Discipleship Training School (DTS). I noticed her. We talked over meals. My heart raced whenever I thought about her. We ended up doing the School of Evangelism (SOE) together; then we joined a mobile team and fell in love over the course of the mobile team, and we got married. This is my story, our story. With God, we all have a story ~ God's story played out in our own lives. 😃
Guest Author - A fellow Strategic Frontiers staff who has served the Lord as a missionary for the past 35 years.
If you are desiring to know God, then YWAM is a great place to discover who He is! YWAM Tyler has Discipleship Training Schools happening four times a year in January, April, July, and October. You too will be impacted and your life will be changed. Sign-up TODAY!