The July 2017 DTS here at YWAM Mazatlan, is deciding their outreach locations this week. Each student is encouraged to ask God where He wants to send them, not just where the student wants to go. It’s one of my favorite moments in a DTS because its a practical way to surrender your own desires to God.
I remember a year ago doing the same thing. Our leaders had announced our outreach locations by playing hangman with us: the indigenous jungles of Panama, and Mexico. Maybe you can already tell which location I was biased towards at the moment.
I had a burning desire to go to Panama. I wanted so bad to trek through the jungle. I wanted to meet indigenous people. I wanted to go somewhere exotic. I didn’t want to stay in the same country as my lecture phase of my DTS.
I wanted, I wanted, I wanted, I wanted, I wanted.
One of the last nights I had before I needed to make a decision, I climbed the local lighthouse with a few friends with the intention to ask God where he wanted me to go. I knew what I wanted, but I knew I should at least ask God what he thought about the situation.
After 25 minutes and a million stairs later, I arrived at the lighthouse lookout. My friends caught their breath while gazing out over the twinkling lights from Mazatlan down below. Turning, I headed for a more secluded location overlooking the sea. What followed was one of the most clear moments that I’ve ever heard him speak to me.
Out on the ocean, a half-mile away from me, a lone ship was sailing under the night sky. The lone white light atop the wheelhouse announced its presence; signaling its location to others.
“You are the lighthouse, Tex,” spoke the Lord. “Ships and sailboats need someone on land, they need someone to guide them. You are to be a guiding light, you are to stay here in this land to show people the way. I need you to guide them, to mentor them. I need you to stay. Others are destined to go to far-away and exotic lands. That’s not your destiny. Be the lighthouse to them.”
“Stay here with me Tex.”
And so I did. I trusted God.
I chose Mexico over Panama. And my outreach in Mexico grew me in ways I could never expect. God challenged me to be patient, gentle, kind, and surrendering. I grew more on outreach than I did during lecture, and my outreach marked me in a powerful way.
But that conversation at the lighthouse wasn’t just about my outreach location. It was about what he wanted me to do after DTS.
Everything since I’ve come back on staff has only confirmed my place to support ships, to guide others, to be a lighthouse.
I flew up to California to prepare the ship for its move to Mexico, spending a week doing maintenance and repair. I’ve been placed into Fleet Support; doing everything from recruiting Marine and Medical Personnel to setting up monitoring systems to safeguard the ship while at sail. I’ve overslept and missed out on my only chance to actually be on the ship while it sailed to the drydock. Instead, I met the ship as it pulled up to the shipyard. Other team members go to sailing school while I teach Ships students.
Everything God has spoken to me in the last year has only confirmed his plan for me. To be in a support role and to enable other people to be the pioneers. He never meant for me to be the person sailing away, hoisting the anchor, raising the sail.
He has placed me here within YWAM Ships Mazatlan for a specific role in his kingdom. He chose me to be here. To serve him.
I always wanted to go to Panama instead of Mexico because it was exciting and dangerous. It was something new. I wanted to be the exotic world traveler that found glory and accolades from my peers.
I wanted to be the first. The one that received praise and glory. Despite it being MY decision where to go, the glory never was intended for me.
But I still chose to give it up. And I chose Mexico.
I chose Mexico for outreach. I chose Mexico for after-DTS.
I chose God’s plan for me.