It's hard to figure out where to even begin summing up such an incredible experience. Over the last month people have asked me often how my trip was. Every time I see a montage of images fly through my head, from Speaking at churches, to backpacking into villages in Papa New Guinea, to scrubbing rust off a ship, to making incredible friendships, to the sheer wisdom I gained. Not to mention the way the Lord seemed to gently and lovingly pull me close to His heart.
As Matt mentioned, if you haven't read his blog under mine, read it! I'll forever look back on the experience of my last six months, and smile knowing that it forever changed my life. I believe every person should take six months where they go and take time to grow in themselves!
I could go on and on about the stories and friendships I made. But I want to share the three areas that I grew in the most.
1. Restoration of a relationship with Jesus. It's hard to put to words how and when this happened. But I went to YWAM hungry for TRUTH, and feel like came home in more in love with Jesus. I know that sounds pretty hokie pokie, but it's the truth. I was reminded over and over again, by others, by reading the Bible, and through prayer, that I'm deeply loved. I needed this, I think we all need to know we are deeply loved, just the way we are.
2. Opened my eyes to the Beauty of the church. This was huge for me. I both know Christianity isn't perfect, and never will be. What I realized though, was the the church is made up of broken PEOPLE, it's not a building its people. People who believe in hope and love. People who are bound to mess up and make mistakes, but people who when operating the way God hopes, can be the most beautiful thing eyes will ever see. I spoke about this to a small gathering of believers, the church, in Sydney. I called out and said some of these words about the church:
It's the church who says, we can't sit back and let people in PNG, Africa, and elsewhere to die of preventable diseases. That's absurd.
It's you and I a church that rises up against child sex trafficking, racism, and poverty.
It's a people willing to mentor young teenagers struggling with depression and suicide, and they would do it for free, even if they were treated like crap the entire time.
It's a group of transformed individuals so in love with Christ that they would stand up on a platform and scream out at the top of their lungs to a room of young teenage girls that they are BEAUTIFUL and they do have to believe the lies of the media and world.
The church I'm talking about has the ability to take a criminal who is addicted to the craziest drugs, full of violence and hatred, and transform him into a humble, loving compassionate follower, willing to do anything for the sake of the gospel that saved his life.
(I've seen it with my own eyes.)
3. Believing in myself and the dreams within me! A few weeks into YWAM I discovered something in me. A dream. A life goal to run after with all my heart. That's to develop a youth movement, that helps young people discover who they are through creative strength-based leadership programs! Opening up Youth Centers where young people can go and have a safe place to be where they are invested in and valued, where relationships are restored, and kids walk away living a life with Passion and Purpose.
So that's what I'm running after. Life back home has been interesting, it's had its challenges. I'm so thankful and blessed by the people in my life. My friends, my family, those who continue to support me. The thing I feel like God is telling me more than ever is,
Be Free Jason, Be Confident, and Be Loved.
With that I will run into what life has for me. Thanks for supporting me and being a part of this adventure.
Like Matt I to have my my own blog. Check it out! Love you.