Written by: Heidi
The beauty of being part of YWAM (in my case at YWAM Seamill) is the freedom to follow God’s leading when He speaks within the simple but profound context of “To know God and make Him known”. This leads to being with a mission always.
We are two single women of very different backgrounds who met doing our DTS in Hawaii – and not even on the same DTS. Going to do a DTS when the “youth” bit no longer applied, was a step of faith. However, I was following God’s lead (though it did not necessarily making sense in my own logic). He gave me a new friend with whom I could start dreaming out loud on sunny Sunday afternoons at the Kona Pier. The deep desire to be able to go to other lands and peoples and share God’s love was a shared dream and desire. It was great to be able to share dreams with someone and in turn hear her dreams.
God had His own plans
So it began. In early 2018 we went on our first short-term (2 & ½ months) mission trip. In this blog post I would like to write about our second, and hopefully not last, mission trip to South East Asia at the end of 2019. We had 3 locations planned, 2 in Vietnam and 1 in Cambodia. However, according to Prov. 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”. God indeed changed our plans to 1 location in Vietnam and 2 in Cambodia.
This change of plan was not in God’s quiet voice, but by the cancellation of our second location in Vietnam at the end of our first week. We were in the midst of acclimatising to the tropical climate and catching up (we live in different countries). “What now?” we thought. Through a wonderful lady we met on our previous trip to Central America, we connected with a long-time missionary who “just happened” to be not just in the same city as us, but in exactly the same guesthouse! At a 7:30am breakfast appointment on the day we were leaving we met up and she connected us to a young man in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Locals rising up
The absolute beauty of what we experienced and saw in all 3 locations was that all these ministries are pioneered and run by people in their home towns and villages. We foreigners join in as encouragement and support. I was so thrilled to see this. Because when I was younger and first started dreaming of missionary work, all the ministries I knew about in South East Asia were pioneered and run by people from the West. Big thanks to all those who gave their time and put their faith and energy into loving strange and foreign cultures to make Jesus known! Now their fruit is multiplying and new ministries are springing up and spreading the love of Jesus.
Our first location was in Northern Vietnam. A young single lady started this location only 4 years ago. It has already grown to 3 houses, many national staff and multiple international teams a year. We were only to be there for a short time. So we clearly knew from God that we were to offer to do exactly what she needed us to do. We first had a very fun day of orientation. This included learning about the history, present and culture which of course includes food. After this they kept us very busy. We loved every single minute of it (exception might be crossing roads with a continual flow of scooters!). It was a real privilege to be able to help in this vibrant work.
The second location was the newly established connection in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Here we met a young man who was not YWAM, but had been part of another US based mission organisation. He was a youth on the streets before he was found and helped by Christians. After years of growing strong in his faith, God led him to go and live in a very poor community along a filthy subsidiary of the Mekong River. Two families live in container size homes built literally on top of each other. The community space and church he built only a few years ago is already too small. It cannot hold his Sunday and midweek meetings. We joined in where needed and played a lot with the roaming children, of which there are plenty.
Our third location was in Battambang, Cambodia. Here YWAM connected us to a man who is reaching his community by running an English Christian school. This is a school for children of all ages to attend when they are not at government school. The man is from this village and God used him to pioneer and run this ministry. And yet again, this school is expanding faster than the space available.
A blowing of God’s Spirit
Throughout our travels, I had the same impression and message while praying for the workers and their work. This is that God is blowing His Holy Spirit into these kindling, letting them erupt and shine forth.
I feel so privileged to be able to go, visit, and spend a short time with these amazing people who dare to step out and do what God is calling them to do.