I found YWAM after I caught a heart for the least of these, for the lost, for the desperate. I wanted to enter into an environment that would give me the ability to help these kinds of people in a foreign land. I was unsure if God wanted me to be a missionary in Africa for the rest of my life or an incredibly successful businessman plugged into church - I was completely open to either. God supernaturally led me to Oxford, NZ using three incredible signs that He showed me to enter into what I thought would be 3 months of training and 3 months of missions from January to July. I arrived in late January of 2020 and by May 1st I was officially full time staff up at a new YWAM base in New Zealand, ready to help staff a new DTS theme we thought was coming soon. This unexpected turn in my life was due to COVID, my uncertainty about where I thought my life was going, and my incredibly passionate and spontaneous heart catching all of my family and friends off guard. My plans at this point in my life were truly to maybe never go back home, say yes to every opportunity, and follow the call of the Lord with all that I have.
I staffed at a YWAM base in New Zealand until coming back home to Fresno in January 2021, finishing one of the most radical, productive, stressful, freedom filled, gut wrenching, and clarity bearing years of my life! I think only one thing in my life was consistent the entire time and that was to follow God’s plan for my life by learning His heart for my life and getting to know and stepping into my giftings so that He alone might receive all the glory.
I learned thousands of things in my year with YWAM. About God, myself, the world… so many things. One of the major learning points for me was understanding the importance of family, where I come from, the land in which I was raised. I learned this through observing the people of New Zealand in the midst of revival. The people of New Zealand honor the culture that God initially gave them. They are aware and love those who came before them in their families, in their communities. In the NZ YWAM family, to give those who paved the way for this younger generation honor and thanks was all but written on the walls when we would gather. This revival came through the people of the land, the youth of the land, those who see their own nation how God does. I would often ask myself, “What about me?” God was showing me day after day as I journeyed with Him through His word and in conversation with friends and even family back home what it looks like to serve your own land. I was stunned.
Before I came to New Zealand I was a kid who grew up in the church with a sickness to try and do it all. Go everywhere and help everyone. I had a great childhood, but a below average appreciation for the meaning and significance of family, my land, those who have sowed so much love and grace into my life. I’d say I was blind to the truth. At some point around August of 2020, God started kindly bringing conviction, correction, repentance into our time together and removing this veil over my eyes. I was willing to do whatever for him, and everyone knew it. I kept thinking extreme, but God was thinking very simply. Growing up, I would selfishly say the only place I know I don’t want to end up is Fresno, CA - where it all began.
In August there was a commissioning in the spirit. This came in a very intense and tearful moment where God revealed that I would be rooted in Fresno, I would be working with family, and that I would be able to understand his heart for the land where I come from like I observed in NZ. I would learn to understand his heart for the native people of this land like I observed in NZ. There was a complete 180 degree turn in the desires of my heart but a complete peace. I had a knowing, the same I felt when I knew to come to Oxford, and the same I felt when I knew to stay through COVID. Much of my life story involves many moments of spontaneous decisions that have greatly affected the country or state my feet would tread on, not having to worry about who else it might affect. It has been fun. While I know this love for spontaneity is God’s gift to me, in moderation, I know that He has called me to these people, my people, and that my moments of spontaneity might be slightly less geographically straining going forward.
While being home I have remembered and embraced the fact that my dream job, of anything in the world, is to be a dad. To lead a family like the Lord has called me to. To invest into the family that the Lord has blessed me with, now and upcoming. To get behind and encourage those in my communities inside and outside of my church. To let that bright light shine in my job that I just started! It’s an ordinary life, but there is something so strong, powerful, and holy about ordinary. I feel grounded, planted, and content, most of all. Things I have not known before. God tells us to knock and to seek. Let me tell you, He is faithful to answer and show us what He wants us to find.