My sixth week (October 31st – November 6th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School of Ministry Development) was another incredible week. Sheron Ohai was our speaker this week and she spoke on individual personalities, spiritual gifts, strength finders and also team building. I called this week’s blog a week of discovery and of surrender because God taught me a lot about discovering more of who He has created me to be this week and He also taught me a deeper meaning of surrender to Him as well.
I have done personality tests before and also finding out what my spiritual gifts are as well but this week was my first time to do the strengths finders test. I really enjoyed Sheron’s teaching this week a lot and in fact it was probably one of my favorite weeks of teaching as well. Some of the things that Sheron taught us that really stuck out to me were:
- We need to need to accept our weakness as part of our uniqueness of how God created us to be.
- God will often work in our weakness to get to us to our strengths but we actually need to focus on our strengths.
- When God says something, He does it.
- Do you believe more than a “I can God” or a “I can’t God”?
- Unity doesn’t mean sameness but it means unity in diversity.
- The tools for the assessment tests are not to box us in but they are to give us direction for who God created us to be.
- We need to find out what people’s gifts are and embrace them for who they are. This is also really important to this for ourselves as well.
- When you dialogue with God do you give Him time to speak to you too? For example when you praise Him for who He is, do you also ask Him to tell you who you are to Him too?
I really love the body of Christ and how God has so uniquely created us as individual people within His body. We are such an important part of the body of Christ and also a key piece to the puzzle as well. If one part were missing in the body or one piece was missing in a puzzle than it would not be complete. This week has been so great to not only learn more about myself but also more about the people in my class and my staff as well. I think it really helps us to understand ourselves better when we discover more about our individual personalities, gifts and strengths as well.
The different assessment tests that we did this past week and the results that I got were: 1) DISC test: top 2 – SC and the results: steadiness (43%), compliance (32%), dominance (13%) and influence (11%), 2) Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test (Myers Briggs): ISFJ and the results are: introvert (62%), sensing (25%), feeling (38%) and judging (19%), 3) Strength Finders test: my top 3 are – belief, empathy and developer, 4) Motivational and Spiritual Gifts test: my top 3 are – mercy, giver and serving and 5) I also did the 5 Love Language test on my own and my result is: quality time – 10, words of affirmation – physical touch – 6, acts of service – 3 and receiving gifts – 1.
I really liked how Sheron arranged her teaching week with us. First we did our assessment tests, then she taught on about each one so we can understand them better, then she asked us to find frequent words that we see from each of our assessment tests on different petals of the flower on the paper she gave us, then we needed to write the most frequency common words in the center of the flower which is our “power alley” and then we needed to make a poster with our flower on it (some people did other pictures as well) which we used to present to the class to share who we are. When we did our class presentations on Thursday and Friday I found it really encouraging afterwards that Sheron gave time for the people in our class to give words of affirmation to us.
On Friday after we finished all of our class presentations Sheron put us into groups according to our personalities and gifts which I thought was a really great way to end the week to do a team building group activity. When we did this group activity at the end of the week we were with three other people and we needed to answer five different questions besides writing down what our assessment test results were. The five different questions were: 1) What are your team strengths? 2) What’s lacking? 3) Who will likely be the most frustrated and why? 4) On a scale of 1-10, Where would you rate the effectiveness of your team overall? 5) What could be done to make it stronger and prefer one another in love?
I really learned a lot from this team building activity and then I loved that we were also able to do our Friday ministry outreach together in our groups when we went downtown LA as well. When we did our Friday outreach in the city of LA we first did an urban quiet time with God which was I think it was the first time I did that outside in a busy city but I actually really liked it because when I spent time journaling my prayers and I read my Bible God spoke to me a lot about the people and the city as well so it was really great.
For our outreach ministry time with our groups we had around an hour and a half to go around to talk to different people and to pray for them as well. I really enjoyed that we met some new people and prayed for them as well. I absolutely loved one of the questions one of the guys in my group asked one girl that we talked to which was “If you could ask God for any miracle today what would you ask Him for?” I thought it was a great question to be able to share the love of Jesus and the hope we have in Him and then to also offer to pray for people as well.
To be in a place of surrender to God and to completely yield your heart to Him is the most beautiful place to be in even if sometimes it is hard, painful and you don’t completely understand, it is still the most beautiful place to be in. This is something that I felt to write on my facebook wall on Tuesday evening before I went to bed but I really had no idea how God would teach me a deeper meaning of completely surrendering to Him this week.
Before I came to the YWAM LA base the leadership of my school sent us an e-mail that there would be a possible optional outreach which would be to do ministry to the refugees in Greece. I do not know why but I just felt closed off to the idea of going on the optional outreach and then the first week of the school we started to talk about it. I remember when Lisa my school leader asked us the first week of the school who would be interested in going on the optional outreach after the school would finish I didn’t even raise my hand but then the next week on the Thursday evening we had a worship night at the base and it was at that time that God began to challenge me to reconsider to go on the optional outreach. I don’t know why but then the next 3 weeks I ended up wrestling in my heart with the Lord regarding going on this optional outreach.
Last Friday Anna and Jessica who will be leading the outreach team announced to the class that the outreach will be 5 weeks in Greece and 3 weeks in Israel. The ministries would be mainly to reach out to the refugees, immigrants, women and the children in both of the locations. I don’t know why but when I heard the second location would be Israel my heart felt resisted to the idea of going there. This Monday we had an outreach interest meeting at lunch for anyone who would be interested in going. I felt like I was still on the fence of whether I should go or not so I decided to go to the lunch meeting and then it was at that time that we were told that we must make our final decision of either yes or no by Tuesday morning.
I honestly felt overwhelmed because I was not sure whether I was supposed to go or not especially because it would be over the Christmas holidays so Anna and Jessica encouraged me to go to the prayer chapel and to spend time with God. I ended up spending most of the day in the prayer chapel with the Lord which was really great and I must say that I absolutely love the prayer chapel here at the YWAM LA base especially that I can go there any time to spend time with God and it is quiet there and also there is worship music playing 24/7 as well. I ended up wrestling in my heart with the Lord most of the day regarding the decision to go on the outreach. I really sensed strongly in my heart when God spoke to me that He wants me to go and this is an opportunity He is giving to me to get further training as well.
Last week when I did my Bible reading for the school that I am doing now I really sensed in my heart God spoke to me a couple of different scripture verses regarding the outreach decision which was: 1) “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” (Obadiah 1:3a), 2) “But the Lord replied, Have you any right to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4) – from this scripture verse God also spoke to me have you any right to question me? And 3) “Should I not be concerned about that great city? (Jonah 4:11b). I honestly didn’t think about the scripture verses too much when I read them but when I reflect on them more God was definitely highlighting them to me regarding the decision to hear His voice to go or not to go on the outreach.
On Tuesday morning when I woke up my roommate asked me what I had decided to do regarding my decision to go on the outreach. I really felt it was a clear yes from the Lord when I waited on Him that He wanted me to go so I said it is a yes. At the beginning of class on Tuesday morning Lisa asked us to write our name on the white board if we decided to go on the outreach so I decided to step out in faith and write my name because it really is my deepest heart’s desire to be obedient to the Lord in what He is calling and leading me to do.
Then on Wednesday morning I had an unexpected meeting with Lisa my school leader and the two girls who would be leading the outreach during the time our class had intercession time. To be quite honest I felt very shocked, overwhelmed and speechless when Lisa shared with me that she prayed regarding my decision to go on the outreach and when she prayed about it she felt it was a no. She explained to me that the main reason why she decided to not approve for me to go on the outreach is because the ministry that we would be serving in especially to the refugees in Greece would be a very high stressed and anxiety environment and she doesn’t feel in her heart that it would be the right time and place for me to go there right now since I am still trying to overcome this area of anxiety in my own life.
Lisa also recommended to me to seriously pray about taking time off from ministry to do a minimum of a 6-month sabbatical time off from the “mission field” to take some time for rest and for a time of self-care so I can get to a much healthier me. Lisa told me that long-term career missionaries actually need to take a 6 – 12 month sabbatical every 7 years. I have served in Romania for the last 9 years and I have actually never took a sabbatical so she strongly recommended that I seriously do it after this school finishes because I am long overdue to have one. Lisa told me that if I don’t take a sabbatical time off before I go into the human trafficking ministry field I might not be emotionally and spiritually ready for it at all or even be able to continue to serve on the mission field especially at the pace that I have been going on otherwise my health will start to be effected and other things.
I really appreciate Lisa’s advice about prayerfully considering to take a sabbatical time off because I was actually thinking of doing it but I was still pretty hesitate to do it. It was also really helpful to hear Lisa’s advice as well to consider to work part-time during this time but not full-time hours, to consider getting some counseling, to take some time to rest and reestablish my relationships with people at home and she encouraged me that most of the time the people who are supporting missionaries who are on a sabbatical leave will usually continue to support them. I really liked all of Lisa’s ideas because they were really helpful and I am also thinking that it would be really great to go somewhere from one to two weeks to get proper missionary debriefing with people who are experienced at debriefing long-term missionaries as well.
Now when I think about this my future seems a bit more unknown now because I honestly don’t really know what people would think about me taking a sabbatical leave from the “mission field” but I do agree with my school leader that if I seriously don’t do it now than I really don’t know if I will be able to continue to serve on the mission field especially going into the human trafficking ministry field. I agree with my leadership that it is extremely important to take time, to rest and get some self-care like counseling and missionary debriefing but I also think it wouldn’t be a problem to find a part-time job as well. I really need to surrender all of my unknown of my future to God because He truly is holding us in His hands and He knows the beginning from the end so I really shouldn’t be afraid what my future holds because our Abba Father is watching over us and truly has an amazing future for us.
On Wednesday morning during the class time, our speaker Sheron asked us to make these
boxes out of card paper. I ended up picking a card that said daughter on it and there was a beautiful flower on it too. After we made our boxes, she asked us to take our box and the piece of paper that we wrote our dream that God gave us on Monday and then to take 10 minutes to spend time with the Lord to pray and ask God about the dream and the box we just made in the class.
When I spent this time with God in prayer I ended up crying and asking God about the outreach first. After a period of time I sensed in my heart that God spoke to me really clearly and He said to me that He just wanted my yes and obedience to go wherever He is calling me to go in the world because His heart is for the nations of the world and for every people group to know Him. Now I am beginning to slowly understand a new level of surrender to God than I did before because God really just wants to know if my heart is willing to yes to Him wherever He calls me to go because He ultimately wants my obedience and He has also called me to the nations as well.
Then I spent a bit of time praying and asking God about the dream that He has given me which is: “My dream and vision that God has given me is to minister to girls and women who are being trafficked and at risk, vulnerable and to be able to bring hope, God’s love and restoration to them. To continue to serve as a missionary with YWAM in the nations, to minister with the Justice focus DTS and to pioneer at least one Justice DTS at a YWAM base in the Central European region.”
After I realized that the Lord had wanted my complete surrender, obedience and yes to Him regarding the outreach I took a few minutes to pray about the dream that He has given me and to also surrender it to Him as well. I ended up crying a lot but at the same time, I sensed so much of God’s peace that His timing is perfect and much better than mine. I also felt in my heart God spoke to me to dream bigger, to not limit myself and to redefine and to expand what I wrote on that piece of paper as well.
When that prayer time that we had with God was finished and we all met again in the classroom we had a time of sharing about our time that we had with God. I felt in my heart to share the post that I wrote the previous day on my facebook wall which is about how surrendering to God is such a beautiful thing even if it is hard, painful and we don’t understand it at times. I shared with the class with tears in my eyes that I wouldn’t be going on the outreach, that God just wanted my yes and about my dream He has given to me that His timing is perfect and it is much better than mine.
I would like to end this blog post by thanking God that I was able to discover more of who God has created me to be, that He doesn’t want me to be like anyone else because there is only one Andrea and we are all important parts of the body of Christ.
My heart is also filled with so much gratitude to know that God is such a loving Father, He is so very faithful and incredibility patience with us as well. God is just so good and I love Him so very much! I would also like to say thank-you so much for taking the time to read my blog and thanks for all of your prayers as well. It really means a lot to me that you have expressed interest in hearing more about the journey that God has placed me on. Blessings to you!
If anyone would be interested in doing the online assessment tests here are the links:
- DISC: https://www.123test.com/disc-personality-test/
- Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test (Myers Briggs): http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
- Strength Finders:
- Motivational and Spiritual Gifts: http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult
- 5 Love Languages: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/?q=t2&utm_expid=26154458-1.japF3RTdSqezXLFXj39FSA.2