About this time ten years ago I was meeting with my boss sharing that I thought it was time for me to leave the company. I had worked for them for four years and they told me I was next in line for a promotion. I had really enjoyed working for the company and it had helped me get into a financially stable position for the first time in many years. This promotion would have seen me earn more, get more perks, more experience and leadership training, and bring more stability to my future. Some might say that the logical thing would have been to stay, to take the promotion and work there for a few more years, to earn more, save more. Yes, I could have said yes and seen my pay check increase. But, to be honest, in my experience the more you earn, the more you spend. A larger pay check doesn’t necessarily lead to a healthier bank balance. Despite how tempting this was, I just knew that I couldn’t take the job.
For a while I had been feeling the need to move into something that was more purposeful, that would be helping others and contributing to the world. I had been looking out for something and knew that I had found it in Youth With A Mission (YWAM). At first I thought it was only youth work that YWAM Townsville (Australia) engaged in, but after arriving I realised there was so much more. Just a few weeks into my Discipleship Training School (DTS) I saw how so many people needed to understand who God truly was and understand their value and purpose. I learnt about a nation close to us here called Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the health needs there. I learnt about how YWAM Townsville had been gifted a ship and was looking to take it up to PNG to provide much needed health care. I learnt about the youth of Australia and that many of them are affected by self harm or suicide. I learnt that there are so many needs in the communities around us, and that I could make a difference. By then I knew that it wasn’t about a healthy bank balance or large pay check, but about the good I could do in the lives of those around me. I knew that there was no way I could go back to a ‘normal’ job (whatever that is!) I was convinced that this was where I should be, helping however I could help.
That conviction also came with the harsh realisation that everyone who works at YWAM gives their time on a fully voluntary basis. From the founder to the newest staff member, we all have to raise our own support. Remember, I was in a financially stable position coming to Australia for the first time in a long time. And knowing that if I committed to stay here, I would not earn any money was challenging. It’s all well and good when there is money in the bank but what happens when that runs out? This is a question that I have never fully had to answer. There have been times over the past 9 years that I have had to go without and trust until the 11th hour that the money will come. But through church support, friends, family, strangers, there has always been enough. It doesn’t miraculously appear (well, not always but I have a few stories!) I have to do my part to communicate and fundraise but God has been so faithful to provide.
So, is it worth the cost?
Yes. Can I say with 100% certainty where my income is going to come from into the future?
Not really. Am I certain that I will always have what I need, when I need? Absolutely.
Helen joined us on staff in 2009. She is Australia born but grew up in Jersey, Channel Islands in the UK. Helen is passionate about seeing people understand who they are, discovering their gifts, and finding their purpose. Being active, heading outdoors and enjoying a good read in a hammock are just a few of her favourite things. She enjoys leading DTS’s and has been involved in leading ten so far!