I came to YWAM Tyler primarily to study and improve my English. The thought of being in a Christian environment while learning English encouraged me. However, God had higher thoughts about my journey.
God led me to participate with the Multicultural Discipleship Training School (MDTS), which was the best and right thing I needed to do! In the first three months of the school, I felt I had encountered a piece of heaven right here on earth, where I could rest in God's hands. I talked to Him all the time, heard His voice, and cried and smiled in His presence! I was totally dedicated!
It was amazing because I could forget about the world outside: my job, my busy life, the crazy news on TV. While here, I could simply focus on having more deep fellowship with God. Through the teaching in the classroom, quiet time (which is having a personal devotional time every day), worship every morning, and Family Night every Sunday, I grew strong in my faith.
God stretched me in many areas of my life. He took me out of my comfort zone, and He's still working inside of me. Now, I feel I can help others better too. I only planned to stay at YWAM Tyler a short time, but God made a way for me to stay longer on this missionary journey I had started. As much as I tried, I couldn't deny God's calling.
At the end of the MDTS lecture phase, we started our two month mission trip. I traveled to Mexico for my outreach, and it was a great experience.
The first two weeks our team stayed in an indigenous community in “Zapote de Los Picachos.” It was a hard place for ministry. Our team spent a lot of time in spiritual warfare. We worked with a dentist, who blessed the people with teeth cleaning and extractions. While the people waited, we shared our testimonies with them, prayed for them, and played with the kids. We also visited the families at home and invited them to participate in our Bible studies every afternoon.
As we shared about the “Good News” each day, by the end of our trip many became Christians. One leader from the community, a woman who proclaimed to be a psychic, was really touched with God's love. She cried a lot, and on our last day, she and her husband were baptized for the first time, accepting Jesus as their Savior!
My team and I had a wonderful time on outreach with the people of Mexico. I came back to our campus at YWAM Tyler with many stories and experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I wouldn’t have obeyed God's calling. I thought my journey would end here; however, it didn’t.
After my MDTS, God led me to do the School of Evangelism (SOE).
At first, I wasn't sure about this step, but His voice in my heart was stronger and more powerful than my will. I thought this looked crazy because I didn't have enough money to pay any of the school fees. However, God said to me, “Go back and I'll provide.”
I came back to YWAM Tyler following His leading in my life. I was again being stretched in my faith.
I became a Christian early in life, and as a teenager I already had Africa on my heart. When I learned my SOE mission trip was going to be going to Guinea Bissau, I was overwhelmed! Finally, my dream as a teenager was becoming a reality. I never imagined this is how God would fulfill His will for me.
While in Guinea Bissau for six weeks of our mission trip, we experienced a spiritually heavy environment and much poverty. We saw the lack of value for women and children. I believe God allowed me to have this hard experience to understand how different the world is in other countries. I felt a passion to share Jesus' love and to proclaim hope in Christ!
Our team worked with YWAM Tyler’s AgTech department while on outreach as well and helped pioneer a project in the town of Bissorã to bless their community. We shared in churches in the villages; we prayed for the sick; we visited with the poor; we led a VBS with the kids and teenagers, and we worked with a medical project.
Even with all of these hard problems, like poverty and lack of education, the people in this area of Africa were so loving and wanted to be our friends. I got to share God’s love with simple actions like a smile, a kiss, a hug, playing with the kids, visiting neighbors, and giving little gifts. It was a dream come true, and I am so thankful I could go.
As I continue to pray about my future and possibly attending another YWAM Tyler school called the School of Strategic Missions (SOSM), I’m excited to see all that God has in store for me. No matter what it is, I know His higher thoughts will always be best!
~ Guest Author: Ci Neves, 2017 MDTS student from Brazil