YWAM was a full week mission trip, 4 days of retreat and 3 days of outreach. Each day was packed with different events that definitely changed my life. To be able to immensely grow in faith with the Lord in such a short week surprised me. At first I didn’t see the benefit of going to an ordinary local mission trip, but the impact it had on me made me want to go again. So why was it so meaningful?
Feeling the Presence of the Lord
When I got to YWAM, we had a inspiring youth pastor named Andrew. On the first night, he told us that we get saved when we believe in Jesus, but we get transformed when you realize Jesus believes in us. After he said that, I prayed constantly to God during worship and prayer throughout the week, hoping to feel God’s presence at least once during this trip so I would know he believes in me to spread his love when I went to outreach. I have to say it was definitely special to experience God. Throughout the mission trip, I was able to feel God in many circumstances in different ways. Sometimes, even though the room temperature was very cold with my body freezing, I could feel a buildup of warmth that flowed through my body. Other times, I could feel a tingling that was hard to describe, but it ran from my hand through my arms. The one special time I felt God was from praying for, I think Ian for God to gift him with tongues. While I was praying, there was a surge of energy that flowed from my body to my right hand that was sticking out, making my hand shake like never before. Surprisingly after the prayers, Ian was able to speak in tongues. Not sure if it was from me or from the others that were also praying for him, but I know that I played a part. After the 4 days at retreat, I can admit that Jesus believes in me which definitely encouraged me during the outreach portion of the trip.
Seeing How Prayer Could Unite a Community and the Importance to have a Community
When I first signed up to participate in the mission trip, I thought it was going to be awkward and boring. Besides one or two people that were also going from our church, I never really had a conversation with the others. After we arrived, the leaders announced that it was split between boys and girls. So, besides the boys from our youth group I was able to slowly build friendship with, all the other teenagers from our youth group and the other youth group were pretty much like strangers. However, one night after worship, Ian, Nathan, and Elias started going to each person to pray. At first, I thought they were just praying for our boy’s group, so after we prayed, I focused myself back to the continued worship. When I opened my eyes a while later, I was surprised because they were all gone besides a couple people in my row. I turned back and all the people were moving together to pray for people in the back of the room. At the end, everyone was unified and praying for each other which was an unforgettable experience. After that night, both youth groups bonded with one another, supported each other whenever we needed help, and prayed for the ones that were hurt or had any sort of problems.
From the whole mission trip, I’ve learned that to have a Christian community around you is very important in growing in faith with God. During the seven days, my devotional group, or the boys from our church, stayed up everyday at night to learn more about God, to connect with one another, to worship together, and to reflect on what we learned that day. It was from these times where we had a revival for the fire for God. In Proverbs 27, it states that as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Often times, when you are alone, you aren’t motivated to study the Bible or to continue building a relationship with the Lord. However, to have a community, you can have a group where you can share your problems and can receive encouragement to continue seeking God daily.
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone
I came to the trip thinking that I would not open up, but God really changed everything. Pastor Andrew told us that there is a holy table set before us, with as much spiritual food you could ask for, but the question is….how hungry are you? Because of this, I decided to try to give my all to God for just this week. I never really danced before, but the leaders were super energetic and made us dance a song known as “Monkey” which was super fun. One night, Pastor Andrew asked us to go to the front if you want to turn back to God. I never been to the front, but once again, my heart opened up. When he and a leader started praying for me, for approximately 10 seconds, I could only hear their voices with my head spinning, as if God is telling me that I have fully turned back to him. Lastly, I never would have thought to have the chance to pray for people in the streets. There were some people that rejected our group or even cussed us out, but others were so thankful we can help pray for them. The feeling that came back after someone accepted our prayers was so heartwarming and encouraged me to pray for others in need.
I really encourage all the parents to allow their kids to experience LA missions because it will definitely reveal the love of God and turn their lives toward him.