Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
The heart of a DTSer. I’d say that could be the theme verse of YWAM Kona, but that wouldn’t be quite true. The motto of YWAM is, “To know God and to make Him known.” More even that the desire to serve and be sent, the emphasis is to know and love God. So even more than Isaiah 6:8, I John 4:16 might be a theme verse.
I John 4:16a (ESV)
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
It was this verse that our Fire and Fragrance DTS leader shared with us this morning as we met as a school for the first time. (“Fire and Fragrance” is the name of the mission school I’m here participating in.) One of the characteristics he emphasized about himself, our leaders, and us as students was hunger. We’re all here in one way or another because we’re hungry. Whether it’s those who have never really experienced the love of God through Christ and are desperate for it, or those, like me, who have enjoyed it for many years but hunger to see it COME ALIVE, bright and vivid, living and real. And one of the great ways that YWAM serves us as Christians is by placing us in an atmosphere of similarly hungry people. There are few truly hungry hearts in the world, and those who are out there are frequently (of course, not always) disguised by distractions, cares of the world, work, schedules, and all those other things that seem to get in the way of loving God the way we all want and intend to. It can be hard to recognize and therefore difficult to connect with them. So here we have this beautiful gift of being surrounded by other hungry people, being fed and nourished often by the Word of God, and being provided with that most precious of all commodities – time – to plant ourselves in this atmosphere of growth and blossom.
I am so so thankful right now, perhaps more than for anything else, for the fact that 100 percent of my time here – waking up to falling asleep – can be about seeking Him. I don’t have to show up at work at 6:30 and spend 9 hours in a worldly atmosphere, worrying about other problems. My brain won’t be numb at the end of the day so all I can muster the energy for is cooking and eating dinner in front of the TV. All those questions and problems and fears and secrets that have been sitting in the back of my mind but never let out because I just didn’t have the energy to deal with them can be dealt with, once and for all. All that prayer time I wish I had, those Christian friendships I didn’t know where to make, that time in the Word that always got put off, I have all the time in the world for it. 5 1/2 months, just me and God. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
On a more newsy note, I made it! I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now. Already I’m feeling that time excess! Yesterday was strictly for settling in. I arrived early and had most of the day to unpack, get to know campus, and meet other YWAMers. I’m blessed to have already met some of the staff when I visited campus last summer with some friends from church, which has made the transition so much easier and more joyful. It feels like a reunion rather than a scary completely new situation. Meeting plenty of new people too though 🙂 I have 6 roommates (yes, there are 7 of us, living barracks-style), 2 of whom are also named Allison (well, one is Alyson). Someone has a sense of humor. I like them so far and am looking forward to getting to know them better. Of course, everyone is on their best behavior day one. *wry smile* Our Fire and Fragrance school (abbreviating F&F from now on) has about 90 students and 18 staff. Can’t wait to meet everyone! My goal is to know everyone’s name by the time we leave for outreach. Pray for me haha.
This morning was kicked off with a procession by some local Hawaiians to welcome us to the island. They are big believers, here at YWAM, in honoring local culture and tradition. So we walked campus barefoot while they blew a conch and sang traditional Hawaiian (Christian) prayers. I only caught a little snippet at the end, but I think you’ll agree that it was beautiful!
We had a welcome and an orientation and lunch, and now here I sit, typing for you 🙂 There’s supposed to be a grand luau celebration tonight and the weekend will be filled with team building and worship times. But for now I have to head to Target (they’re thoughtfully providing shuttles today) to buy essentials. I am in desperate need of shampoo. And a fan. Stay hungry, my friends!