Is A Gap Year Worth Taking
5 a.m. on the dot, an eager anticipation for adventure abruptly woke me from my deep sleep. I vividly recall a joyous light-weight atmosphere all around a group of children and myself while we danced to piano keys and a foreign upbeat song. It must've been an African tribe I was standing in the midst of, with nothing but love in my heart for them.
At this time, I never would've imagine this dream would determine and direct the next 3 years of my life.
July 10, 2018, my dream was caught on film. This image was taken through the small church's wooden wall as we danced to the tribe's worship music.
This was February 11, 2018 and one week after I had surrendered my life to the Lord and was water baptized. I was a semester and a half into my first year in college, when I felt the tugging on my heart to do missions worldwide. I had saved all of my money from working as a barista and put it towards a missions trip to Uganda.
The trip was almost 2 weeks long with The Vine Uganda, a ministry that partnered with my home church. While overseas, God continued to lead me to scriptures including, "Ask in my name and it shall be given to you (Matthew 7:7-12)." He also highlighted Youth With A Mission (YWAM) to me through another missions team we met at the airport while heading home.
After my return to the states, I continuously thought of YWAM for days. Rather than searching for bases around the world, I found the closest one to my home and immediately called for a tour. As soon as I hung up the phone, I hopped in my car and drove 4 hours to meet Emily, a staff member at YWAM Tyler.
During the tour, she and I bonded over our previous trips to Africa, and I shared with her about how I felt the peace and love of God on the campus.
This peace had settled in my heart, and for weeks to follow, I wrestled with the idea of taking a gap year from college to go for a 5 month missions school.
First off, I had to acknowledge my fear of the "what-ifs" to delaying my schooling.
"What if I become forgetful of my current knowledge? What if I lose my financial aid? What if I can't get another scholarship?" But in my questioning, I recognized the "what-ifs" go two ways.
"What if the Lord is my shepherd and I lack nothing? What if He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake? (Psalm 23:1-4)" "What if God blesses me and provides my every need? (Psalms 67)"
Another obstacle was covering the cost of training and traveling. Without a job or financial aid, how would I pay for anything?
Once I decided I was definitely going to aim for "the impossible," I set out to fundraise. I made a GoFundMe donations page, posted on all social media and began calling my friends and family to share my big news!
Two years later, my Discipleship Training School (DTS) and School of Evangelism (SOE) are both completed, I have traveled to 11 or more countries, 12 or more states in America and am full time on staff with YWAM Tyler.
Even though I originally desired only a short break from my schooling, God has showed me that there will be a time to go back to finish college for the education. But for now, He has the bigger picture of my life and me being obedient to his voice and guidance, is above my degree.
"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Luke 12:7)."
A Gap Year IS worth doing and we have a variety of start dates throughout the year. Check out our training schools and the start your journey!
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