This year, YWAM Myrtle Beach invited university students to be apart of a week long outreach at Myrtle Beach over Spring Break! Here is a testimony from a student from Liberty University who joined us this week to see what the Lord would do through her!
I had no idea, not even an ounce of imagination that what my team and I experienced at the Youth With A Mission Myrtle Beach base during our Spring Break would be as glorious as it was. We walked in and saw the supernatural in our everyday living! Our Mighty King delivered every person on our team, and as a family we experienced the powerful presence of God through morning worship sessions at the base, afternoon worship sessions at the boardwalk, and through the people we led to Christ on the boardwalk. Truly, God released a His Holy Spirit onto every single person on our team. It was such an honor to serve alongside great men and women of God at the Myrtle Beach base. Their prayers, encouragement, and obedience to the Holy Spirit, I believe, had much to do with why we experienced glory after glory all in a matter of a week. Personally, it meant a lot to me to be able to use my gifting of Dance on the boardwalk, at the Coffeehouse Shop, and in the Nursing Home. God moved so wonderfully wherever I danced unto Him.
The greatest lesson I learned from the incredible week we had at the YWAM base is that if we walk everyday attentive to the Holy Spirit's leading, we can see fruit (whether that be someone coming to Christ, someone receiving encouragement, someone rededicating their life to Christ, etc.) every single day. One week at the YWAM Myrtle Beach base changed my life forever. Now, I am praying about doing a Discipleship Training School with them after I graduate Liberty University next year!
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar parts I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." - Isaiah 42:16
"Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'" - John 6:35
Electricity had just arrived two years earlier, there was no hot water in the hotel and not much of anything else either. I was setting up an opportunity for a couple to do church planting among the Burriat people in Siberia. You had to be down early for breakfast as things like coffee were in short supply. The menu consisted of a slice of Russian bread, no spreads, a hard boiled egg and a piece of cheese. Arriving late meant no coffee, thus getting down the dry food posed a challenge.
My mind began to wander back to my days as a young man in New Zealand doing a double shift job in the city. In the early hours of the morning, the city bakery would start up and the delightful smell of freshly baked bread would waft over the whole inner city. On occasion I'd go down and buy some. It was so light and fluffy, almost like candy-floss, one could eat a whole loaf!
But I wasn't in New Zealand, I was sitting in back blocks of Soviet Siberia with dry Russian bread, and thinking of the delicious bread back home, the vivid contrast was whirling around in my head.
I began to be aware that the Lord was speaking to me and getting my attention about fresh bread.
Lines are not uncommon at the hot bread shop, but by contrast, no one would be lining up at the supermarket.
The Lord was trying to show me that the Christian who has a vital love relationship with Jesus is like the "Hot Bread Shop". His habit is to eat fresh bread every morning so he has plenty to give to the hungry. The way he gets this "fresh bread" every morning is by his time alone with God, reading scripture and listening to God. When hungry people take all the bread you've got, the Holy Spirit just replenishes the shelves. Christians who live Spirit-filled lives often easily attract others because they're generally happy, positive sorts who enjoy life, and are willing to share. They have something worth giving because they've been in touch with Jesus; they've heard from heaven. He gives the daily bread, you just pass it on!
If the bread we've got is not fresh, then not too many people are going to be queuing up at our shop!
Want to learn more about hearing the voice of God?
Check out the "Hearing the Voice of God" Seminar this April happening in Myrtle Beach!
Who doesn't want a quick answer from God?
So often when devoting our lives to God through long-term missions, there are times when we feel we could be more productive doing something else than where God has placed us. Last year, several much anticipated YWAM Myrtle Beach training schools were canceled mainly due to the lack of students. As missionaries, it’s not always easy to say our mission is flourishing, there are times when we feel like our time has been wasted here when we could be more productive like when we were serving in Asia. There are times when we miss people and places where we have served in the past, and long to return again. My wife and I have been on staff at YWAM Myrtle Beach since 2014, and this upcoming summer, our two year commitment with them will be drawing to a close. Over the past several weeks, I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to set aside my time to fast and pray for my families future steps. Sure enough, I went to a Monastery that was nearby to seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance for our next direction. I wanted a peace of mind to know for certain if where we are at now is where God wants us to be, or if we should return to Asia to serve with YWAM there.
During my time in the Monastery, God began to speak to me. He started by gently convicting me and showing me that me seeking to “get away” was not about Him, but it was about me. I went there because I wanted something from Him. All of a sudden I realised that I became the focus, rather than God. This is often called “egocentric spirituality”: when everything revolves around "self" rather than God. Fasting and praying is a good spiritual discipline and should be practiced by Christians. However, when "self" become the focus, it is like expecting spiritual matters to work like fast food. You go to a fast food drive thru, place an order to receive your choice food, and receive it at the counter immediately. Often we unknowingly have that expectation on God when it comes to prayer. The problem is… God is not a fast food chain for a quick fix!
Another thing that God gently convicted me of was that I put Gileroh (our son) on a pedestal. Unconsciously, I’ve allowed myself to view him as the bargaining chip when it comes to our families decision making. While it is not wrong to have good intention for our children, when our children become the excuse for not loving God and not obeying Him, they can become our idol. Once the Lord showed this to me, I immediately repented of this and accepted His forgiveness.
Once I acknowledged that it was about God and not me, He began to speak clearly to me about how the issue is not a matter of going or staying. God's favor will be upon us regardless of the location as long as God is honored and glorified in all that we do! After discussing our dilemma with our base director, we strongly feel we should finish the commitments we have with YWAM MB until next summer.
But the lessons that I learned from my time of fasting and praying with the Lord is something I will carry with me and continue to apply to my life. Sometimes God needs to convict or discipline us, just as any loving father would discipline their child. I am forever grateful for God’s correction and guidance in my life, because I know He disciplines those He loves.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
— Hebrews 12:5-6
“What does it mean to trust in God when the storm hits? During times of struggle and suffering?” This is the question I asked myself 2 years ago. I don’t know the answer; I do not know if there is any ONE answer. But what I do know is that when times of struggle come, God is there. He is there in times of joy and peace, and in times of pain and struggles.
“I have spoken these things to you so that you shall have peace in me. You shall have suffering in the world, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) — John 16:33
September 2014 I found myself asking God to show me how to trust Him more than I already did. I had joined staff at a Youth With A Mission base in Australia and was staffing YWAM DTS’s back to back. Being on the mission field for the previous 2 years with YWAM, I would say I had a pretty good trusting relationship with God. He had been bringing me through a season of healing from past traumas and self-destructive habits from the past, and I was falling more in love with Him every day. I was walking into a new level of freedom in Jesus I had never known before. But as every person who is steadfastly seeking God, I wanted more. Living overseas in YWAM I was consistently hearing stories of others going through seasons of trials and tribulations that although were painful, ultimately brought them closer to the Lord. The Holy Spirit within me was beginning to stir in my heart the sense that a storm was coming, something that would require me leaning on Him more than I thought was possible...
When the storm hit while I was in Australia, I cried out to God, needing Him to help me through because without Him I could not continue on. I felt like I was drowning with no one to help me and pull me back up. I was afraid. But when I cried out to God, He was right there with me, His Spirit gave me comfort and protected me from those who would try to harm me, He gave me strength when I was weak, He gave me peace when I wanted to fall into anxiety and despair. I had asked God to show me how to trust Him more… and it was because He allowed me to go through the storm that I got what I had asked for. I finally was learning to rest my head on His shoulder and be kept safe by Him. I felt like a little girl who just needed to feel safe in the arms of her daddy. God kept me safe, He gave me comfort and strength to continue to journey onwards.
Going through times of suffering means something different to every person. It could mean the death of a loved one — a child, a spouse, a parent. It could mean a time of feeling lost and not knowing a way out. A time of trials in any given situation for a period of time. For me, a time of suffering is marked by fear, the loss of trust in someone I loved, feeling unsafe, a sense of depression mixed with desperation. There is one thing I know from my personal seasons of suffering, and that truth is that God is there. He promised us there there will be suffering in this world. There will be trials and tribulation, and this applies to those who are walking with the Lord and those who are not. Having a relationship with God and living for Him does not “solve all of our problems”. It does not guarantee us a lifetime of happiness or security. However it does guarantee us a life of finding peace in God through the hard times, and being secure in knowing that we belong to God. We are His children, His workmanship, His beloved. Just as He is our Father, our Saviour, our First Love and Beloved.
“One day He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, 'Let us go across to the other side of the lake.' So they out out, and as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke Him, saying 'Master, Master, we are perishing!' And He awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marvelled, saying to one another, 'Who then is this, that He commands even winds and water, and they obey Him?'"
(English Standard Version) — Luke 8:22-25
I was afraid Just like when Jesus and His disciples were crossing the lake and a great storm hit. The disciples were terrified! They woke Jesus and said “Master! Master! We are perishing!” They believed that they were going to die, and even more, they didn’t know if Jesus cared. When we go through storms, we often find ourselves crying out to God and asking, “Where are You!?” “Don’t You see I am suffering?” Fear gets ahold of us and makes it easy for us to take our eyes off of Him who has the power to calm the storm and see us through. But Jesus' response was simply, "Where is your faith?" Do you still not trust Me yet?
When trials and suffering hit there is one thing to do — trust in God. He holds the world in the palm of His hands, He sees us and He knows us. He will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5).
When we go through trials, the first thing we must do is look into the eyes of our Father. Choose to trust in Him and His enduring love. Trusting God is a choice, just like loving Him is a choice. Yes, by walking with Him over time we develop a loving, trusting relationship with Him. But the true love and trust come from consistently choosing to love and trust Him. His promises are true. We must turn to God and cast our burdens upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
I don’t know what storms are ahead in my life, and I don’t know what storms are ahead for you. But no matter what comes our way, God is with us and will never leave us! He is strong when we are weak! And He will give us the strength to journey on!