In October of 2014, I embarked on a 6 week outreach to the Philippines and Sri Lanka. It was a part of my discipleship training school with YWAM Newcastle. Here are 5 things that I learnt on that outreach…
1. The world isn’t scary
One of the biggest obstacles I faced before leaving Australia was fear. I had a false idea of what going to a developing country would be like. I thought that these countries were full of life threatening diseases, gang violence and drug crime. Although these things are a reality in these nations, they’re also a reality in every other nation in the world including the one you live in. It shouldn’t stop you from stepping out of your comfort zone and embarking on the adventure
of a lifetime. Fear kills passion. Developing countries aren’t scary. They’re beautiful.
2. People are eager to listen. You just have to speak
Another lesson I learned on my DTS outreach was that people are hungry for truth. If you speak they will listen. In fact in almost every circumstance people are waiting for you to speak. When you go somewhere with the desire to bring truth and light. People can see that. They want that. Don’t be afraid to give it to them.
3. Embrace the unexpected
One of the best decisions I made on outreach was to just go with the flow because more often then not, unexpected opportunities will come up and you can either chose to embrace them or reject them.
One specific occasion my team was given the opportunity to go to a traditional Filipino ceremony, taking place at a local cemetery called ‘day of the dead’. We wanted to go and speak life to people who were mourning their loved ones, but after spending the day there it was clear that people weren’t too interested in what we had to say. So we went home a little disappointed. Our host then offered us the chance to go back that night and we agreed hesitantly with the expectation that it would be the same stuff we’d been doing that day which had left us disappointed and exhausted. This time when we went back we decided to bring our guitars and play some worship songs to the now substantially fuller cemetery. As soon as we started playing we drew a huge crowd of people who stood there mesmerised by our music. We must have played for around 2 hours. Some people stood their the entire time just listening to our songs. After we had finished we talked to countless people and share what we were doing there and why we were doing it.
We could never have expected such a radical response from people. We could have said no to going back that night, but because we embraced the unexpected opportunity we were able to reach so many more people with truth and show love to so many people who were hurting. That night turned out to be one of the best nights of our outreach.
4. Never underestimate the power of a single conversation.
A single conversation can change someone’s entire perspective. I met a young girl at the cemetery and we spoke for 5 minutes about Australia and then she left. That night she added me on Facebook and we have been in contact ever since. That conversation opened up so many opportunities for me to tell her about YWAM and what I was doing in the Philippines and since then she’s opened up to me a lot about her life and her struggles and I’ve been able to speak truth into those areas and show her so much love from the other side of the world. I could have just walked past her that night. I could have shrugged that conversation off like it was nothing. But I am so glad I didn’t because I now know just how important a single short conversation can be.
5. You’ll learn much more than you teach.
If I could change one thing about going into this outreach. It would be to humble myself and be teachable rather then assuming that I had to teach them everything. I learnt so much more then I ever imagined possible from the people that I met in slums and in market places. People have so many stories and experiences to share if you’re willing to learn from them. Take the time to stop and learn. It could just change you’re whole perspective.
Outreach was one of the most challenging and life changing experiences I’ve had. If you would like to learn more about a DTS outreach with YWAM Newcastle please fill out the contact form below or explore our web site.
By Kodie Rose
School of Communication & Digital Influence Student