It’s been almost two weeks since I arrived in Costa Rica. After a slight scare in LA Airport being told that I would be deported if I got on the plane due to “insufficient documentation” (all sorted in the end though, don’t worry), I landed and settled into the YWAM San José base – home for the next three months. Ok, so what’s YWAM and what am I doing in the beautiful nation of CR? Let me fill you in…
Youth With A Mission (YWAM, or JUCUM in Spanish) is a global movement of Christians choosing to live a radical life sharing the beautiful gospel of Jesus. And what am I doing with these crazy folk? Well YWAM believe in young people, who know and love God, as a force to change their generation. YWAM have ‘bases’ all around the world giving young people the opportunity to dedicate time to get to know God more and grow in their gifts and callings. So that’s what I’m doing – spending five months of my gap year with some like-minded people, learning more about and falling in love with God. Perhaps you think that’s strange, or a little crazy, but I’ve met God in a personal way, discovered the kindness of His character and the overwhelming love He has for me (and for you). So the way I see it, there’s no better way to spend my days than getting to know Him more.
Doing a DTS has been on my heart for several years, so these next few months are the culmination of lots of anticipation, longing, and (a little bit of nerves, but) mainly excitement for me. For this reason, I think I had built up quite a few expectations and hopes of what my DTS would look like. Upon arrival, and within the first week, there were quite a few things that made me doubt if I was in the right place because they didn’t align with my expectations. The main thing was that only two of my team members speak good English, meaning communication is difficult (apart from using hand gestures and google translate conversation).
However, on one of our first days, the leader of our DTS shared his own experience with YWAM and how he too had done a DTS in a different culture. No one on the entire base spoke his language, nor he theirs. This brought me some encouragement, and helped me realise that in fact I am blessed to have some people with me who are able to translate, and others at the base who speak English. We also had a discussion about our expectations for DTS. I came to realise that if I hold on tightly to what I want and expect from this time, I’ll miss what God wants to do and is doing. Last week our team went to a local church and the talk was titled ‘Not what we hoped for’. The church leader spoke about how when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and the crowds welcomed Him with great enthusiasm, they did so with false expectations. The people living in Jerusalem at the time were looking for a mighty leader to rescue them from the oppressive rule of the Romans through force, and they thought Jesus was their guy. But He wasn’t a politically-driven warrior, He wasn’t what they hoped for. Instead He was what they needed – a Saviour who would reconcile them to their Father God. At the start of my DTS, perhaps it isn’t exactly what I hoped for, or imagined, but God knows me through and through, so I trust that this is exactly what I need.
I’m sending out emails to anyone who would be up for praying for me whilst I am away with little updates on what you can be praying for. If you’d be up for that, give me a shout and I can add you to the list of fabulous peeps who’ve spiritually got my back. Also, big thanks to Fraire for the beautiful photos from our bonfire sesh.