At YWAM Orlando we have five core values that we believe God has asked us to exemplify as a community. In this blog series, we’ll be unpacking each of those one-by-one. Starting with God Led ...
One day, my pastor gave me some information about a Christian organization called Youth With A Mission. All he told me was that he knew and respected the ministry and it would be good for me to go to their entry level course: Discipleship Training School (DTS). It is really hard to put into words what happened next. All I can say is that the moment my hands touched the YWAM brochure, I was between laughing and crying hysterically. I just knew in my Spirit that the Lord was saying I was to go and He continued to confirm it in many ways.
First, I filled out the application for my DTS. Next, I put my house up for sale, let my work know I would be quitting and cashed out my pension. Once I started putting my plans into action, I started getting all kinds of resistance. My family said I was crazy. My work wouldn’t let me quit; instead they made me take a leave of absence. My church friends said I was “being used by the Lord in my church so, why would He send me away?” On and on went the negative comments, but the Lord gave me so much peace that it would have been total disobedience if I didn’t continue to follow His leading – even if I didn’t understand it. I just knew I had to do this DTS. My house sold quickly and I was training my replacement at work when I got the call from YWAM saying that I wasn’t accepted because “everyone would be so much younger” and I would “need to live in a dorm with several other people” etc. I just remember saying that it didn’t matter; I knew that I knew I was to do this! Finally, they said “Okay, you can come but it may be difficult.” Once again,all the negative conversations started. People would ask “What are you going to do? How long will you be there? How will you support yourself?” and on and on. To each of their questions I would reply, “I don’t know. I just know that the Lord has made it abundantly clear that I am to do a DTS.” I am so thankful that I listened to the Lord’s leading and not to all the negative comments because my DTS changed me and the course of my life.
"I knew in my spirit the Lord was saying that I was to go and he continued to confirm it."
After my DTS, I went home for Christmas break and was shocked to see how the Lord had moved on my behalf. While I was gone, my company had been sold and everyone had lost their jobs - I was the only one that got my pension. My pastor fell and the church leadership changed. While I was home, I led my mother, my daughter, and two of my sisters to the Lord. If I had stayed and not followed the leading of the Lord, I would have lost my job, lost my pension, lost my church home and my pastor. Because my family saw the radical changes in me and how happy I was, they all said, “We want what you have!” After Christmas break, I joined staff with YWAM and was asked to work with the DTS.
"my family saw the radical changes in me...they all said 'we want what you have!'"
Some of the school staff responsibilities are to join the students in class, lead a weekly small group and have weekly one-on-one times with each of the girls in my small group. Before each small group and one-and-one time I would pray and ask the Lord to lead, guide and help me have His heart for each of my girls. At the end of the DTS, each of them came to me and said, "Thank you, Carol; what you said made such a difference in my life.” Before I could even think about patting myself on the back, they proceeded to tell me the "wonderful" words I said to them. Each time I said, "I never said that.” After the last person told me the "wonderful" words I had said to her, I had to go to the Lord and ask, "Why don't I remember something I said that made such an impact in each of their lives?” I sensed the Lord say, "All you need to do is to pray for each of them and listen, really listen, to them as they share. They are desperate to have someone just listen to them. They need to know they are being heard and accepted for who they are (the good, the bad and the ugly).” The Lord continued, "Once you have prayed for My heart for them and listened to their stories, then I can speak My words to them through you. They are not your words as they did not originate in your mind; therefore you do not remember them”.
"I would pray and ask the Lord to lead, guide and help me have His heart."
All I can say is that when you get that strong leading of the Lord, act on it and obey, even when you don’t understand everything and get lots of resistance. I can’t say that there weren’t some hard times,but honestly I wouldn’t change a thing and I am so thankful for how the Lord has used my life. Jesus is so faithful and patient to walk with each of us and guide us step by step. The journey can be wild but it is so very worth it!
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Carol | YWAM Orlando Staff