When I left for my Discipleship Training School with YWAM, for the first time in 19 years, I completely abandoned my comfort zone, felt utterly powerless, and yet became the most alive I’ve ever been. On the plane ride to Australia, I often worried over my decision to step out of my safe, normal life into an unknown adventure. Anxious about my travel details, my finances and even my future, I couldn’t even sleep on the 15 hour flight. My perspective was so tiny, so limited, and
I felt like the chance I was taking on God was about to implode around me.
I arrived in Newcastle, Australia after a three-hour train ride sweaty, exhausted and overwhelmed, but as I met the people of my new community and experienced a tour, I became giddy with excitement for what God would do. Within the first week of DTS, God began revealing hidden fear in my heart. He wasn’t disappointed in me, nor condemning of me, rather He invited me to depend on Him. I could set aside my habits of setting low expectations and trying to predict what could go wrong; instead of relying on my feeble human efforts, I could trust God. I hadn’t realized what a tight grip fear had on me, but as soon as God freed me, wow! I began doing things in God’s strength that I never could have imagined doing back home.
While I was on outreach in Mazatlan, Mexico, I was able to be part of crazy evangelism moments because of God’s power working in and through me. Annually the city hosts Carnaval, a giant festival with upwards of 600,000 people, and this year YWAM Mazatlan sent out six ministry teams into Carnaval from various YWAM locations and churches. After praying about which ministry team to be a part of, I felt God challenging me to do inside Carnaval evangelism.
I was terrified.
I hate being in crowds, doubt my ability to evangelise (especially in a Spanish-speaking country) and the majority of the team were strangers to me. But because this was God’s idea, I trusted Him to use me. The first two days of Carnaval, our group did a lot of one-on-one evangelism, which was awesome and totally out of my comfort zone. The hearts of the Mexican people we spoke with were so open to hearing about Jesus’ love, and as I talked with complete strangers through a translator, I felt Holy Spirit speaking through my mouth, felt the physical presence of God within me overcome my fear of evangelism. As amazing as it was to connect with individuals about God, our team felt God prompting us to act boldly in a larger expression. On the third night of Carnaval, I experienced God’s power in a huge way. Several people on the team made signs which said in Spanish “God rescued me.” Once we entered the festival, one of the team leaders told us “God wants us to get up on every stage of Carnaval,” and my heart dropped into my stomach. I couldn’t imagine a dozen young missionaries from all sorts of cultures being permitted onto a stage in Mexico to share the gospel, and I was scared we’d be kicked out of Carnaval. When we split off into groups of three to evangelize, I breathed in a huge sigh of relief, phew, but to my dismay, our group met up again halfway through the night. We prayed, asking Holy Spirit for guidance, and felt as a group that God wanted us to get on every stage.
Before I had a chance to panic, my group took off with the signs proclaiming God’s infallible love, so I asked the Lord for courage and ran with them to the nearest stage. Four of our male teammates jumped onto the stage with the banner, as the rest of us danced with folks in the crowd, telling them in Spanish that Jesus loves them. We continued this pattern at each stage we came to as we moved through Carnaval. At some of the stages, our evangelism team leader was even able to speak into the microphone about how Jesus loves Mazatlan and how He desires relationship with each of the people in the crowd. Overwhelming applause surprised me as the man spoke out this truth, and in my heart, I felt God’s love for the people of Mazatlan. I also felt their hunger for a Saviour, and I realized that us missionaries getting onto every stage of Carnaval was a platform for God to show His love for the city. Fear of what people would think of me, worry about getting in trouble melted in the furnace of God’s love. He proved He will go to impossible lengths to tell His kids “I love you.” And I had the privilege of being the medium for His message.
I’m so grateful God didn’t give up on me when I doubted Him on the plane, and I’m thrilled to continue being used by Him.
By Fiona Muha
YWAM DTS Alumni