Ten years ago I received a phone call from my cousin, Brandon Fox, informing me that we were going to be flying into Kona, Hawaii on different jets instead of together as planned. He was fine. I wasn’t. I don’t know if I started freaking out on the phone or after I hung up, but I assure you, freak out I did (tears, snot, the works). I pretty much remained in this messy state all the way to LA, and continued to feel like I was jumping off a cliff for the next six hours until I landed on that beautiful island in the middle of the ocean. I was just shy of eighteen, I had never left home, and was completely thrilled yet wary of the new mission I had chosen for myself: learning what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus, and as such, to change the world.
I believed I was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. And for many of us, it was just that.
Ya, but that was a long time ago now. A lot has changed since then. But that season still shaped who I am today. Unconsciously I still live by the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) motto- knowing God and making Him known. And I am still trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Analyzing our Discipleship Training School (DTS) countless times, I have tried to pick apart how the heck did we became disciples of Jesus there. We were at least sorta disciples. And we at least kinda had a clue how to do that, with a team, in another place, in a radical way.
But no one told me how to be and make disciples after I left YWAM and re-entered the normal world. I was by myself, trapped in America, as a real adult. I think I’ve made some progress, but I am still far from figuring this out.
I don’t know if you were like me, but during my DTS I swore to God I would do anything He asked me to. I would be poor. I would live overseas. I’d climb mountains and move them while flying from the edge of their summits! But while I swore my undying fidelity, I simultaneously begged:
“Please, please, please, God, don’t let me just be a housewife! And PLEASE don’t let me get stuck in America! Especially not in the suburbs! But I guess I’ll do anything you want God… I guess I surrender to your will! (But you do remember what I asked, God, right? And since I’ll do the crazy things I’m pretty sure that won’t be a problem to keep me from having to live an average American life…).”
So, I bet you can guess where I am now! Living in the suburbs of the nation’s capital, the richest county in America, staying “home” with my children while I run around doing everything else. I’ve hated it, I’ve fought it, then surrendered to it, and sometimes I think I might have finally actually embraced it.
In the last ten years I’ve been transformed into a person who nurtures both my family, my church and my community. I’ve embraced my artistic nature, even while still fearing I am not good enough, but braving that fear to connect with God and others. I’ve found myself successfully attempting to love the poor and oppressed, strategically placed amongst the richest people in the world (who are unaware of their riches and unaware of the world). Somehow I became a leader, an advocate, and one who nurtures, creates. I still screw-up and I love God and others with frailty. But I am still a disciple and world changer, molded by my Kona DTS in August, 2002.
I mean, really. I keep making my kids look at me in the eyes while I tell them that no matter what, they can NEVER forget that God is both big enough and good enough. I could have only learned that from Matt Rawlins, right? They so have no clue what I am talking about. Yet.
A few of you have stories similar to mine. I know some of you are still in other countries, but some of you live in the States. Some of you have become beloved pastors while others of you might be consider black sheep. We have all changed since we last saw each other, shaped by both our own choices and circumstances we had no control over.
Some of us keep in touch. I’ve heard snippets of your stories. But I want to reunite.
It’s been 10 years since our DTS. It’s time for a reunion.
Please update us by contacting me here or writing in the comments below. I will post your update on a blog site I will dedicate to us. There are tips and ideas of what to send in to share you story on the link below:
Love you all!