Ten years ago today I was leaving for my five month Disicipleship Training School at Ywam Honolulu. People would ask me if I was excited to go and I would say “yah sure”. My enthusiasm was lackluster, I had no clue what to expect, was a little unsure whether I was supposed to go, but was simply happy to have an answer whenever I was asked what my life plan was.
God used Ywam to change everything for me. Twenty year old Kimberly was so very different. I was happy, for sure, but my understanding of God was surface level. My faith in him, untested.
When I think about the places I’ve had the joy of going to all I can think of is how God knows me so much better than I know myself, and he planned the past ten years of my life out for me a thousand times better than I ever could have. In Bangladesh I learned that I absolutely love missions. In Indonesia I learned how to lead amidst spiritual warfare. In the Philippines I learned that no one is too far from God’s reach. In Thailand I learned to have a heavenly perspective. On Kauai I learned that Jesus is my only stability. In China I learned what it looked like to pay a cost for faith and to not take my freedoms for granted. In Cambodia I learned how one life surrendered to Jesus can impact a whole village. On Oahu I learned how to study the bible inductively. In Nepal I enjoyed the best butter chicken I have ever had. I am sure I learned something but the memories of food are overtaking my thoughts right now.
It has been 9 months of being home. Enjoying home. Getting on that final plane ride from LIH to YVR felt like sadness and relief all rolled into one. Bittersweet, as they say. Sad to leave what had been my life for most of my twenties. Sad to leave a community that constantly pushed me towards deeper relationship with Jesus. Sad to leave friends and co-leaders that understood me to the core of who I am. And yet relieved, relieved that I would no longer have to pack up and move every 3-6 months. Relieved to not have to rely on others to live month to month. Relieved to not be in a leadership position for a while.
I feel like the transition to being home and no longer being a “full time missionary” but to simply living missionally in my small town, and now the big city, has been about as smooth as they come. Mainly because God was so very kind in giving me plenty of notice about going home and exiting Ywam. It was a slow unveiling where He showed me what direction he was leading me in once my Religious workers visa was gonna expire. One, ok two, of the biggest anchors for me has been: a) having a life plan-aka going to college to get my education assistant certificate and b) getting back involved with Younglife. Having a goal and having an outlet for ministry has been such a blessing.
I’ve got no clever conclusion, but I was going through my journal earlier and found this entry from June last year where I was reflecting on my time in Ywam:
“but through the adventure of it all. in the nooks and crannies of cultures so vastly different from my own, the foods never before tasted, the music previously unheard, the languages not yet understood, the mannerisms, the otherness of it all…. past the surface level of adventure that you used to grasp my attention, the true prize was found. the gift of knowing you beyond Sunday school and youth group and summer camp. the gift of understanding that above all you are holy, you’re faithful, you are constant, and you are love. to understand this for myself. for every thought I think, every plan I make, every dream I hold, every worry I carry, to be filtered through the knowledge that Jesus you are not only true (as I had always believed) but you are also good. so very good. and this gift of eight years staffing in ywam wasn’t just a gift of adventure, it was the gift of you. simply you, Jesus.”