Australia is not what I suppose I had expected it to be.
The few expectations I did have were a vague understanding of friendly hospitality and the fear of unearthly large spiders. I knew the seasons were opposite of my own but I had no idea the rain would actually be cold – no conception that Australian rain would actually touch my own skin. Perspective is a funny thing. These are the conclusions of experience: the sky is closer, the rain is fatter, the roots of trees are prettier above the surface of the ground, and the people are lovelier. Perspective.
The first time our team gathered was in the backyard, awkwardly sitting on crates. Hand-picked people from all over the world called to the same place for a very intentional purpose. Danny our school leader very wisely and peacefully said, “the best advice I can give is to spend heaps of time with God”. This surprised me into reality.
It was then that I remembered Who had led me here. Since then, I’ve affirmed time and time again that God is the ultimate teacher – and not just when we acknowledge Him to be. Without His guiding voice, diving timing, and utter patience, YWAM simply would not be. It is through times alone with Him that I have acquired the Fear of the Lord; by looking up at the night sky, filled with innumerable stars, and instead seeing God’s face. Talking to Him, thinking with Him, imagining with Him. He taught me His elegance, grace, and perseverance in awaiting the darkness to wander away in order to appreciate the abundance of a sunrise.
It’s in conversations with Him that I sat on the porch at Lewis House through thunderstorms as the sky caught on fire over and over again. The rain that fell against my nose and lips and hair was fat and consuming, each drop splashing and multiplying. It is here I witnessed His immensity, strength, and joy; through pounding thunder, voltaic lightning, and fat, jovial rain drops.
It’s under the fig tree that I experienced the way leaves and figs and nuts and twigs come beaming off branches, so stoked to have been set free, that they whacked and scared the silence right out of me. God is hardly subtle and wholly cheeky. It’s the way the roots of trees grow above the surface of the ground, revealing their twists and turns. He is exposed, and wants us to be, too.
He has conveyed to me what a family was supposed to be. What a family should be. He is selfless, humble, and servant-hearted, and so is this family. Through spiritually and intellectually stimulating conversations with anyone that happened to walk by, He began to express to me the love He has for His sons and daughters – and the desperate yearning that they love one another as well. He provokes me each day to seek relationship with the people it is least natural to do so with. God loves unconditionally.
One morning during worship, God spoke to me about how life in Him has no ceiling. As I looked around He illustrated exactly what that meant. God’s presence had brought people to their knees, to tears, to absolute freedom. This is a place that trains young people how to submit to the highest possibly authority, and in turn, gain the freedom the world has convinced us is impossible. In obeying His command, accepting His boldness, and allowing His Spirit, I’ve been able to watch Him truly bring heaven to earth.