There are several things you learn to be true when you become a staff member for YWAM (also knowns as becoming a “YWAMer”). Here are some common themes I have found to be true in many YWAMer’s lives.
You End Up Eating Some Really Weird Food.
Whether you’re staffing with YWAM in Thailand or you’re leading a DTS outreach to Uganda, you’ll probably end up eating food that you aren’t use to. Try new things and be brave. By eating the food served to you, you’re honouring your new friends/host and respecting them. Those frog legs could actually be good. PLUS you’ll have a great story later, just ask any YWAMer what the strangest food they’ve eaten is. “I totally ate fried chicken feet in the Caribbean.” “Yeah? Well I ate Jing Leed in Thailand. Google it.”
You Make New Friends ALL The Time.
This is one my favourite things about staffing with YWAM. You meet new people and make new friends EVERYWHERE. You have the opportunity to meet people on your base, at airports, on trains, at missions conferences, in different countries you’re traveling to, even visiting other YWAM bases, etc! You’ll most likely meet people from many different countries and from many different backgrounds. Through this, you get a chance to learn about other cultures and see the World through other’s eyes.
You Learn New and Useful Skills.
Most likely, you’ll learn AT LEAST one of the following skills, simply by default of being a YWAMer: skateboarding, knitting or crocheting, playing the guitar, photography, repairing second hand clothes, and the skill of getting free stuff; these are the most popular skills you will find in a YWAMer. Probably due to these skill’s usefulness. Skateboarding equals get to the dining hall 10x faster. Knitting equals gifts for everyone. Playing guitar equals worship music on-the-go. Don’t get me wrong, YWAMers have MANY other talents and skills, from rock climbing to carpentry. But I feel, these are the most staple of skills seen on a YWAM base.
You Learn That Dishes Matter…A Lot.
I’ve noticed that dishes seem to be the root of many things. Are you mature and preferring of others? Clean your dishes. Do you want to have a servant heart? Offer to do the dishes for your outreach host. Do you really love your flat mate? Do your dishes AND their dishes. Community tea time? Dishes. Invited over for lunch? Dishes. Visiting a church potluck? Dishes. Outreach on mars? Maybe dishes. Ask any YWAMer what the epitome of a servant heart is and the answer will probably be “Dishes.” Doing the dishes is an excellent opportunity to be more Christ like; doing the mundane things with a joyful and servant heart. It’s a chance to show your love for others by doing something that isn’t always fun, just so they don’t have to. So, next time there are dishes to be done (probably in the next 24 hours), do the dishes. Somewhere in the world a YWAMer is doing the dishes right now…hopefully.
You Might End Up In a Country That You Only Learned About Last Week.
“Where are we going?” “Never heard of it. LETS GO!” It’s an occupational hazard. Unless you are completely informed about every culture of every country on earth, you will probably, eventually, end up in a country you JUST learned about. And that’s okay! The wonderful thing is, you get to GO and experience a place with little, to no preconceived notions. It’s amazing how God can work in those times and fill your heart up with His love for a country, that He has ALWAYS known, down to every last individual. It’s a true blessing to be able to see God’s love for people in moments likes these.
You’ll Do Amazing Things
You’ll probably end up in some pretty crazy situations with some great people. As a YWAMer you have opportunities to do so many things; from teaching English to bringing medical relief and aid to places in need. You are given the chance to work towards your dreams and passions. You might end up in a country that you could never have guessed you would fall in love with. You could end up in a foreign country, playing football with people you just met, drinking coffee on rooftop with new friends, scrubbing a kitchen floor, making dinner for 30+ children, crossing bridges (literally and figuratively) to befriend people; to show God’s love; to be like Jesus. You end up doing amazing things for God, then look back, and not know quite how you got there or why. Fortunately, God will be right there with you because that’s where He is – in the ordinary places with the ordinary people, helping you to do amazing things for Him.
Maybe this all sounds familiar to you or maybe this is all sounding way out of your comfort zone. YWAMer or not, I think it boils down to seeking God and saying “Yes” when He asks; even if it’s all uncertain and seems scary.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
Photos by: Bernine de Jong, Megan Rutkowski, Lauren Malpass, Penny Bird, and Woo Jin Hwang.