It’s difficult to sum up these past few months, since I last wrote here. I know that in saying that, I am entering into a cliche as common as Americans sipping Starbucks (yet I hear the outrage of my American barista friends as I type that!). But isn’t this what every YWAMer says? Isn’t this what every world traveller writes on their blog? I can’t even begin to describe what I’ve seen.
Yet as I plunge forward into this cliche, I discover how true it is, humbly I realise it is difficult to describe my experiences of DTS staffing with YWAM Bethlehem, New Zealand. However, since I am a writer and a blogger, I gladly take up the challenge- as we all do, trying to make sense of this glorious adventure we find ourselves waking up to. We rub our eyes and squint, wondering if it really is real. We wake up, and attempt to cram a novel’s worth of experiences into a Facebook status. World travellers, I salute you– and here I go.
I woke up to the New Year of 2016 in Sydney, Australia on the floor of a church after a worship night with YWAMers from around the world. If anything hinted to what this year had in store for me, that certainly would have been it. Since joining DTS staff in the end of June, I have slept in sixteen different beds- from the bunk of a Waihi Beach bach, to the woven mats of Fijian villages, to my current mattress on the floor of a marae in Ruatoria, New Zealand.
In the past five months, my laptop’s hard drive took a dive, I dropped and cracked my iPhone 4 twice. I lived off phone data and borrowed computers because the Wifi in rural Welcome Bay was too sketchy for $5 a week. Blogs became distant, update emails lost under evenings spent with DTS students or budgeting for outreach. Instagram and Snapchat, and finally even Facebook Messenger, became things of the past as my 8GB of storage disappeared. A once-avid photographer and blog-poster? It became a fight to post one status.
Yet with all these mediums of communication stripped down to bare minimum? I’ve never felt more present. I’ve laughed heartily, I’ve made faces at other people’s cameras, featured in other people’s blog posts. I’ve learned to be a leader and learned to simply be a friend, I’ve written songs on guitar, piano, and ukulele- and shared them with the people right in front of me. I’ve had my heart restored by the Healer of broken hearts and the Rebuilder of my ruins. I’ve come home.
I’ve been flung into the nations, too. And there’s something about teaching young Fijian girls to hear God for the first time. There’s something about handing a Bible to Hindi man at a village primary school. There’s something about sleeping on uncomfortable beds but knowing that if God told you to go, He would also fulfil His end of the promise- that He’d be with you.
With you. It’s difficult to explain these past few months as staff with YWAM Bethlehem, but I can say that: He has been with me. From the very first day in Matt and Cora’a paddock when I felt God ask me to staff in New Zealand even though my plan was Australia-as-soon-as-possible– to right now when I realise it’s past ten o’clock! and I haven’t followed my own lights-off guideline– yet the chatter of Germans trying to understand the American election results is just too entertaining to cut off.
If anything, that’s what I have learned to enjoy.
And though I posted on Instagram for the first time since May today, I finally have Wifi, and am typing this on my new iPhone 5C? I am not going to forget what God has given me in this ridiculously beautiful season.
Photos: Deborah Grund. Marine Reach Medical Outreach dental team and washing line. Viserau, Fiji. October 2016.