My name is Janelle and in January 2012 I moved with my family to Australia for one year.
It was the opportunity of a lifetime and one in which was a huge blessing regarding the circumstances my family was in. Upon arriving to a year full of new adventures we soon discovered that there was a YWAM base in Newcastle that held a youth program called Youth Street. Now, at this point in my life I was very skeptical about God’s existence. I had essentially ran away from Him and didn’t want anything to do with Him. So, to have me even be willing to go to a YWAM base was an amazement in itself. But, upon coming to the base it was amazing. I felt included there, everyone was super friendly, and I start to develop some amazing friendships that I still have to this day. Youth Street was the catalyst that started slowly breaking down the defensive wall around my heart that had resisted God. Through meeting countless DTS (Discipleship Training School) students and seeing their lives changed by Christ, worshipping, and talking about God with others, it began to have an impact on me.
Yet, I remember one specific moment where God encountered me like I’ve never experienced.
I remember worshipping with other youth and students when someone announced that the staff would be coming up and praying for people. Staff began to mingle around and when a staff came up to me, my initial reaction was no; I didn’t want to receive prayer. I remember fleeing from the room and running outside into the cool night air. Two staff members came out and found me, tears running down my face. They asked what was going on, but I was too stubborn and ashamed to say what was happening. I was ashamed to admit my past and that I had fled from God. I was ashamed to admit that my family was falling apart and that this had caused me tremendous pain. However, they still prayed for me regardless and that was the first time that I felt the Father come to me. I felt His comforting spirit flood my soul. It was amazing as I had always tried to resist Him…and now He had broken through. And was comforting me in the midst of my pain. It was a beautiful and momentous experience. Having this encounter led me onto the path of discovering who God really is for the rest of the year. I’ll never forget the way the staff and students at YWAM Newcastle helped me discover who God actually is. It was the moment that God finally broke through, came to me and got me to start thinking about Him more. It was the moment God began to reshape my heart. From so many years of resisting Him, our relationship was starting to emerge into something. It was the start of this journey that I am on today.
After that I had several DTS students encourage me to do a DTS. I smiled politely and told them that I was planning to go to University. Though since leaving Australia in 2012 I have gone on to do a DTS with YWAM in Lausanne, Switzerland in January 2013. It was an incredible, life-transforming experience and I now have a right and beautiful relationship with the Father. As for now, I am at YWAM Montana doing their School Of Biblical Studies course to build a stronger foundation in my relationship with Christ. Afterwards, I’m hoping to stay in YWAM Montana to do their Titus Project through teaching and preaching the Bible in Nepal, as well as staffing a DTS myself.
I want to thank the staff and students who I met during my time at YWAM Newcastle. Your part in Youth Street is making a difference in the lives of youth, it certainly did in mine. If I hadn’t been willing to go then I probably wouldn’t have discovered Jesus in such an impactful and beautiful way. Jesus has forever changed my life. He will forever be directing and leading me in His ways and I am so grateful for Him every day. It was such a blessing and joy to spend a year getting to experience Youth Street and not an experience that I will ever regret having.
It was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Written By, Janelle