So we live in a pretty difficult world hey? We live in a world that’s constantly changing and shouting at us on how to live our lives just as it ebbs and flows. We are expected to just go with the flow as they tell us. I remember the moment I stopped going with the flow. I was fifteen years old. Yep, the good ol’ teenage years. Being a youth is kinda hard you could say. Media bombards you with images and propaganda of what success is and how to obtain that. We’re told what to wear, what to eat, who to hang out with and what to do with our time. You could say that with 20/20 hindsight, we were all puppets going along for the ride as the consumer world being our puppeteer. But then you have people like your parents, your school teachers, youth group leaders who tell you otherwise. They say things that seem really nice. A part of me on the inside wanted to believe those things, but surely it was just an ideal utopian world and not reality. Surely these adults knew better and life was just the way it was, maybe I just had to accept that.
I was given the opportunity as a fifteen year old to join a YWAM Youth Adventures Team. Being a teenager from Melbourne – known for its “four seasons in a day”, sunny Queensland sure did seem like a good idea, especially when you began to think how bleak the winter holidays seemed to be. I mean, that wasn’t the only reason though. Our teachers told us that it would be a really cool chance to help other people, to grow in our faith, and leave an impact. The fact that the Year 10’s, who went last year, seemed to rave on about it really grasped my attention. So I thought why not? I let my teachers know and not soon after there was a group of twelve of us that were interested in going up to Townsville for a two week adventure.
It was February and in the months to follow we had begun to prepare for what lied ahead. We grew together as a team, memorised and practiced skits, messages and learnt a bit of Indigenous Australian culture. We were going to be on Palm Island which is a two hour ferry ride off the coast of Townsville. What I wasn’t prepared for though, was what the next few days of training at the campus would consist of. Over the duration of four days, I went from a teenager that just “fit in” to someone that realised what their purpose in life was. It was the “Commissioning Night” which was the last night in Townsville before we left for Palm Island. I vividly remember heading into the main warehouse that night. There were cushions lying around with scattered bean bags. There were dimly lit lamps in the background which created a nice soft atmosphere. There was peaceful worship music being played throughout the room. I opened up my journal and this question struck my heart, “What does God want you to do in your life? Take some time to wait and hear what He says.” I will never forget that night because that was the night that I chose to live for a reason. I realised that I am unique and I understood my purpose. There is no one else in the world like me, so why did the world have to tell me who to be when I could just be myself? It was then that I became confident in my identity.
I am so grateful because from that moment all of the things my teachers had told me throughout high school, what my parents had spoken to me and what the YWAM leaders exemplified became truth to me. Why would I ever need to be a puppet again when I could just be me? All I needed to do was figure out that my life had a purpose and that I was given an individual calling in which I could only complete. I am so grateful for the experience I was able to have during that time in my life. I’m honestly not too sure what my life would like if I hadn’t gone on that trip. Who says you are too young? You can make your life count. Here’s a little secret between you and me, the younger you realise the passions and strengths you have are there for a reason the more meaningful and fulfilling your life will be. You’ve just got to put the two together! Because of that Youth Adventures trip and the impact it had on my life, I knew I would do YWAM’s Discipleship Training School (DTS). So I went back to YWAM to complete a DTS during my gap year after graduating high school. And let me tell you, that is a whole other story to share another time! I get to work with God and I’m here for a reason. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Yohan is from Melbourne, Australia and has been on staff with us here since January 2016. He staffs the July DTS quarters, has a huge passion for worship, plays the keyboard and really enjoys ketchup and mangos. Yohan is very relational and loves getting to know others!