I started my journey to Amsterdam with my mother by my side. We boarded the plane to find an overweight man (whom I named Allan, as I didn't manage to catch real his name). He was smack dab in the middle seat of the three seated rows. My mom and I made eyes at each other, this is not what we had hoped for. We kindly asked him to move to the window seat so my mom and I could sit together, he gladly moved. He quickly reached for his phone in his pocket and proceeded to text someone, I glanced over to read this text: I'm on the plane now, a mother and daughter wanted me to move to the window seat, can I get an amen. This isn't business class, but this totally works for me, I'm so happy this worked out so well, see you soon... And that was one of the many moments that God reminded me that we're all just people after all, and the thing was, was that I knew that already- but to witness, something as sweet and wholesome as the one I had, something just clicked in a way that it never had before. Jesus just made me take a step back and realize that no one is superior. We're all just people after all.
Fast forward to the first official day of YWAM.
My mom pulled up to this beautiful old building that is now my home. We settled me in, took a walk around the building and into the city. We both knew this would be our last walk together for a long long time. We both cried a lot and told each other that we would miss each other. We ended our walk at the doorstep of my home, we kissed goodbye. And that was it- as soon as I walked into the building I knew I was officially on my own, and that created a hard lump in my throat. The rest of the day was spent waiting for everyone to arrive at the base, and to tell you the truth I felt as though all the people I had met wouldn't be compatible friends to have. And that really discouraged me, like really discouraged me. I felt flat for the rest of the day, I tried really hard to stay positive, but we were all so out of the groove with one another that it was hard to find a place to sit. I spent that night in my squeaky bunkbed sobbing, questioning every decision I had ever made to lead me to this. I wanted to go home with all my heart. The YWAM culture shock had hit significantly harder than I had expected. And I wasn't taking it very well.
All of this changed the next day at around 9 pm.
The staff had created a slide show of all the different flags represented in our DTS program. They proceeded to go through each flag and called up the people who called that flag home. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in my whole life. Everyone cheered as people from every corner of the earth presented themselves at the front of the room with big beautiful smiles on their faces. They were proud to be where they came from. I had to fight tears as I went up for Canada. I had never felt a part of something so huge. So many beautiful nations represented it made me burst with joy. God then reminded me again that we are people after all. I mean, we may part our hair on different sides, and we may have different ways of saying hello. But when it comes down to the bones of us all, we're all just the same.
I've found that I've always struggled with seeing people how God sees them. Even when living in a dorm with 14 other women, there's a massive amount of cultural differences, and it can hard to relate to one another. And it's wonderful and weird. It's funny to see people from all over the world speaking in English but with the accent from their country laced in between. It reminds me a lot of heaven, and what that will be like; we'll all be able to talk to each other, and they'll be no more barriers to separate that.
I'm happy to say now that I'm much more adjusted. I am and continue to be a cocktail of excited and nervous about the things to come. I've made some wonderful friends, not typical friends, but in a way, those are the best kinds. Jesus has been slowly opening me up to see the power he has the comfort he can provide. Every day I am learning to trust him more and more. I can't wait to share more of my: God moments, day to day schedule, pieces of art I create, pictures, and occasionally some funny stories.