Student Update From Dominica
Quite the Endeavor...
Student Blog - Outreach in Dominica
Our winter DTS has been settled on the Pacific Hope for about two weeks now. God has been teaching them, stretching them, and using them on outreach. Here is an update from our DTS student, Jordan McGrath, on what God is teaching him on the Pacific Hope.
I remember the day we embarked for the ship - I didn’t know what to expect nor whom we would meet when we arrived. I kept wondering to myself, “how will life at sea compare to life on land?”
What is life like on the ship? There is a close proximity of living for those who live on a ship. Upon arrival, I learned quickly to get creative when finding places to hide for quiet time. At night, you must keep a keen eye out for flying fish, as I have actually found stranded fish on deck when the morning comes. Which makes me think how they caught enough wind to fly fifteen feet and land on the ship, and also if it’s a potential safety hazard to have torpedoing fish during the night. Of course I’m somewhat joking, but it’s possible! More than fish and crowded living situations, the consistent rain showers make trying to dry out our dirty beach towels quite the endeavor.
But with all of this, I think this is perfect imagery of what it looks like to climb onto a boat with Jesus; quite the endeavor.
Jesus called His disciples from the shore, asking them to “follow Him.” There is such an immense weight in the words “follow Me” spoken by Jesus, being led by Him. When Jesus called people to follow Him, Scripture shows that their yes is accompanied by leaving “everything” and following Jesus. In the book of Matthew, the disciples of Jesus, “immediately left their nets and followed Him.” I’m quite in awe of the fact that they left their nets, the very tool they needed in order to maintain their livelihood. Jesus came into their lives and called them to something far greater; the work of the Lord. Immediately, at the call of Jesus, they left not only their nets but also their former lives as Jesus called them from fishermen to fishers of men.
Jesus has called us to leave our nets and to follow Him...
There are twelve students and four leaders on our outreach team, each of us coming from different cultures and backgrounds, each of us pursuing our walk with Jesus. But through all of this, we have one thing in common, Jesus has called us to leave our nets and to follow Him. We were called by God several months prior to this moment to leave the comforts of home and to attend a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at YWAM Yosemite, which has led us to board this ship. We were called by God to this place so that we may pour out into the nation of Dominica the love and passion of God.
Several months ago, Dominica was severely impacted by hurricane Maria, leaving 90% of all homes without roofs and many without walls. Hurricane Maria was one of the worst hurricanes that this nation has ever faced, leaving this beautiful place still in shambles today. After this disastrous storm, many people felt forsaken by God because of the loss that incurred through this tragedy. Locals lost their homes, jobs, education, and even family and friends. And yet to my surprise, many of those I have encountered still walk joyously and thankful for what they still have.
The ministry that we have had the joy of working with, All Hands All Hearts, aims to help rebuild an elementary school that was left severely damaged by the storm. In the process of tearing down, moving rubble, scraping paint, and working long hard days (leaving us quite sore), it’s sometimes easy to forget why we came here.
But that’s when we remember as a team that just as Jesus called the disciples to not be fishermen but fishers of men, Jesus has called our team not to be merely builders, but builders of men.
We are missionaries and we are here for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. Yes, we are called to serve and to work hard, long days, to help tear down and rebuild, but above all we are called to the purpose of rebuilding people.
It is by no means easy to leave everything behind, to trust in God’s plan rather than our own, but the work that God has set before us will far surpass any work of our own. The nets that God has asked us to leave to follow Him pale in comparison to the nets that God will bestow upon us. The temptation of admiring Jesus rather to follow Him is honestly present, but we need to remember the importance of discipling our brothers and sisters.
We mustn’t solely focus on planting new seeds, but we have to mend what’s already been planted, to continue to pour out onto what’s already here, and to to help others who already believe in Christ. We must encourage our brothers and sisters in Dominica to take the next step of dropping their nets to follow Jesus, dying to sin, and giving their whole lives to God. In dropping our nets, we really are leaving behind our extra baggage and following Jesus with open arms.
What extra baggage do we carry? What do we hang onto that keeps us from chasing after Jesus? Even I have my own baggage, we all do to some degree, but we can always come closer to it. And so, I encourage us to ask ourselves, “When Jesus says, ‘Follow Me,’ what prevents or hinders me from saying, ‘yes’?”
Jordan is a student in our Summit to Sea DTS. He is from B.C. Canada and is passionate about photography, the arts, and the outdoors. Jordan's passion translates into every area of his life, being that he always has a camera in his hand and Canadian pride bursting at the seams.