We zigzagged up the dirt roads into the mountain jungles of Thailand to visit a small children's school for our Discipleship Training School outreach. Our team had prepared well, but not for what was about to happen to me.
It was a huge shock to everyone around me when I decided to become a missionary in 2016. Having come out of 6 years of deep addiction before entering 3 rehabs, I was the last person you’d expect to see joining Youth With A Mission, Tyler.
I was totally living for myself. I thought I was the center of the universe back in May of 2015 before I entered my last rehab. I finally came to a point of surrender about four weeks into that program, when I felt God’s love for me for the first time. It was game-over after that! I was hooked.
Prior to that encounter, I was so consumed with myself I did not ever really love, or allow myself to be loved. Everyone and everything around me was a resource to get whatever I was looking to gain in the moment.
My self-absorbed life stifled love from every crevice and corner of my life.
[Photo: I know right? A mug shot. That's how bad my life had spun out of control.]
However, there was a moment which changed everything for me. A true encounter with God can accomplish what one hundred counseling sessions could not. Something changed when I allowed myself to be stripped before God. No mask, no presuppositions, just a real, vulnerable openness to Jesus as my Savior.
After I graduated from Shiloh, I joined my first Discipleship Training School at YWAM Tyler. Youth With A Mission understands knowing God is paramount. Understanding I am His child is vital. Everything else hinges on this realization.
I believe, “you don’t really know yourself until you know Jesus.” Through my discipleship experience, I finally understood, “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) is a remarkably freeing statement.
While I was still self-centered, caring for no one, stealing, and lying–Jesus died for me! I love Jesus now and do my best to genuinely love the people around me, but Jesus died for the version of me who cared neither for myself, or the people around me.
Whether I am still roaming the streets with a pint of vodka in my belt strap, or I am preaching in front of thousands, Jesus’s love for me is the same! It never changes.
Knowing God, really knowing Him is what life is all about. “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and the one whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Each time I read this verse it chips away at the block of religion that has crusted up around me through years of never actually encountering and pursuing God for myself.
To know God, and to makeHim known. This is the motto of Youth With A Mission. I love the simplicity of this, because when you boil it all down, it is what life is really all about.
[Photo: Making God known took me to Greece with my Evangelism Training School.]
Now do we just spend our time alone in a room, with a Bible and a cup of coffee? Heavens no! James says, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works.”(James 2:18). Such a confident statement that my personality appreciates!
I love being active, pursuing, and creating alongside God for His name’s sake. Prior to coming to YWAM Tyler, I thought all missionaries were old, white, married couples. I thought a missionary wife wore a bonnet (no slight to bonnet wearers!) and the husband had spent years in seminary and pastoral training. The thought of becoming a missionary wasn’t in the solar system of my thought process, but boy did that change after coming to YWAM Tyler.
My understanding of being a missionary changed when I ran into a former X-Games athlete, met men and women who had struggled with addiction, eating disorders, vanity, homosexuality, been through a divorce, and the list could go on. These people were seasoned missionaries who had been around the world several times over, impacting lives every step of the way, yet had a life transformation with Jesus!
This was me too! I was just like these people!? “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
[Photo: Making God known took me to Korea with my Discipleship Training School.]
Out of an overflow of intimacy with a living God our life begins to move. A true faith—a living faith—has the natural outworking of good works. To Know God and Make Him Known. This really sums up how I became a missionary.
If you are ready to take the next step in your personal life of Knowing God and Making Him known, today is the day to sign up for the next training school at YWAM Tyler. We are here and ready to help you discover God's purpose for your life.
Ever wonder what your parents might say if you decide to become a missionary? Aimee interviewed her mom about her experience, and you might just find some encouragement to overcome your fear of stepping into what God's calling you to do.
In 2013, I attended a Season of Service and Training (SST), a summer camp for teens at YWAM Tyler. One afternoon, we teamed up with multiple staff members to help with their different roles on the campus.
Some of us helped in the kitchen, some in the Ag-Tech training area and some of us in the Hospitality department. 😳
As believers, we understand that part of the commission given to us by Jesus is to go into all nations. With the times we are living in today, it’s not always possible to do what's on our hearts in following Jesus' command.
Before I knew God, I drowned in dark depression, deceit, and lived in fear. Sin and suicidal thoughts controlled me, and I had no escape. I struggled to find so many things: purpose, love, peace, joy, zeal for life, and much more.
Meeting the Lord of all creation brought me out of the trap I was ensnared in and gave me life abundant. Not life without struggles, but life with hope.
After my Discipleship Training School (DTS) ended last spring, going home was difficult. It was hard to go from seeing friends everyday, worshipping and living in community to only seeing my immediate family.