It was in the early hours of a crisp, spring morning in South Africa that I discovered I wanted to be a missionary. Before doing my YWAM Discipleship Training School I hadn’t thought too hard about doing missions work long term. Sure, I wanted to travel, to get out and see the world, and I have a deep desire to see healing come to victims of injustice. However, I had never considered that missions could be a long-term option for me.
During the first 3 months of DTS I was totally ok with this being a one-off experience. Heck, I didn’t even want to go to Africa!
And yet here I was, just 10 weeks later, an emotional wreck as I said goodbye to the friends and country I had grown to love. I was a snotty mess as we threw our bags in the car and headed to the airport. Through my tears, I cried out to God, “I don’t just have to come back here one day, I need to come back. I feel like I’m leaving a piece of my heart behind.”
My outreach was quite simple: one location, one home for 10 weeks. We lived in a Xhosa township and as the only white people we stood out like a sore thumb. Within days of arriving I had made friends with several young women who regularly came over to our house after school. We shared stories, drank lots of tea, sang songs and studied the Bible together. It was in these moments that my love of discipleship was born.
In the weeks and months following my DTS, I began to pray about what my future would hold. I had tasted the Good News in action. I had seen the fruit of discipleship first hand. I had fallen in love with the Word of God.
I was, in the words of Joy Dawson, ruined for the ordinary.
For the next few years, I lived in my home town working part-time, serving my church and running a support group for young women in a local high-school. I loved the conversations with those around me that showed they were gaining a deeper understanding of their own identity, a confidence in God, and a love for themselves. Seeing young peoples lives transformed was what I lived for.
At the beginning of this year I made the decision to move to Newcastle, Australia and join YWAM full-time. Even now, 9 months in, I’m surprised at how many times I exclaim to myself, “Is this real life!?” I live in a community surrounded by radical lovers of Jesus, all with the common goal of getting to know God and make Him known. One day I will make it back to Cape Town, but for now this is where He has me, and I know that Newcastle is exactly where I need to be.
On that spring morning in South Africa, I never imagined the dreams and passions that would be unlocked during those next weeks in Cape Town and, looking back, I’m astounded to see how many have become a reality. As we delight ourselves in Him, He is faithful to give us the desires of our heart.
God is still planting and fulfilling many dreams and desires in me and I know if you ask, He will do the same for you!
by Kali Wratten
YWAM Newcastle Communications Staff