MOVING. I couldn’t believe it when my parents told me we were moving. My family and I were living in a beautiful, mountainous valley in North Carolina at the time. The view of the Smoky Mountains from our house was breathtaking. Relocating to Texas with my parents did not sound like a good idea to a stubborn eleven-year-old like me - especially when I heard we were going to be missionaries and live in tight quarters for a season.
I don’t think any kid, or adult for that matter, likes everything they’ve known to be taken away from them. Being introduced to new places, people, and cultures isn't easy either. There’s a word for this ~ CHANGE, and who likes change? Not me! Yet, I’ve discovered through my own experiences: change can be good. As a result, I've learned 5 vital lessons during my journey here at YWAM Tyler.
- Be Trusting ~ I was mortified when my parents first told me we were going to move to YWAM Tyler. I loved my home and church. Why did we have to move? I was scared of what my future in Texas held. Honestly, I didn't think my parents knew what they were doing, and I thought God was being pretty cruel. I struggled with doubt a lot; however, now I see God's providence for us throughout this whole journey. He provided the funds to come to YWAM, a new house, a great school, awesome friends, supportive family, and the list goes on. At first glance, I would've never thought coming to YWAM would be what's best for me; yet now, looking at it with a deeper perspective, it's the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned God has my back, and trusting Him is key to growing in a relationship with Him.
- Be Courageous ~ Overcoming shyness was a large obstacle for me to conquer. I am an introvert, and I tend to stick to myself when I’m around other people. However, I've discovered if you want to have a good time and grow while you’re at YWAM, you’ll want some buddies along the way. In order to make friends, you have to be a friend. I learned how to be courageous by not letting shyness control my interaction with others.
- Be Flexible ~ Getting used to new foods was a challenge for me. Food in the cafeteria wasn’t like home cooking. While my parents did their school, I sure did miss my mom and dad’s delicious meals, but it's hard to be a picky eater at YWAM Tyler. My time here has been great for exercising flexibility in my diet. I even discovered a few new foods I like! 😉
- Be Thankful ~ At every YWAM campus, there are dormitories for families and individuals to live in. The rooms my family and I lived in were definitely smaller than our old house. Everybody in our dorm was required to share one kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and a large living room. Bedrooms between families were separate but right next to each other. Living in small quarters took awhile to get used to, and I didn't always like not having my own space. However, staying in a family dorm during the school was important because it was a good way to get to know others. I learned very quickly that instead of being critical, I needed to be thankful for how God was providing for us.
- Be Open ~ At YWAM Tyler, making friends with older people is inevitable. This base is multi-generational, with singles, married couples, and families everywhere. Whenever I sit down in the cafeteria to eat, there is always a wide variety of ages around the table. I learned it’s important to not shut down any opportunity of friendship with older people. In fact, it can be a good thing to have an older person in your life (who’s not a parent) to counsel and mentor you. I have made amazing relationships with people who are twice, and even three times, my age, and I value them so much. One of my closest friends at YWAM is in her twenties, and our relationship wouldn't be like it is now if I hadn't been open to older people like her.
I wish I had learned these five lessons before coming here; I might not have been so afraid and critical of my parent's decision. Through my own experiences, I hope to help other kids prepare for their time at YWAM Tyler. In order to thrive, it's good to be prepared. It’s not always going to be a smooth, easy road, but it’ll be one you won’t forget. God is going to show you and your family incredible things here. Don't be afraid. Instead, trust God. 😀
If your family wants to get to know God TOGETHER, this is a great place to come!
If you want to read more about families in missions, check out these posts:
Last summer our family of four embarked on a new chapter in our lives as we arrived with great anticipation at YWAM Tyler, ready to begin family missions training. We came with no expectations - just a willingness to learn and grow in our faith.
We were a family after all, not a group of individuals going through Discipleship Training School together, and Beth and I still wanted to be able to teach Lauren by our example. Our outreach provided abundant opportunities to do this!
After talking with our parents, pastor, and a few friends, we found more excitement than hesitation. We were so excited to announce, we were officially jumping overboard. Jesus, here we come!