We are two months into pioneering on Vancouver Island. It’s often felt like our team has airdropped into the wilds armed with our Bible, faith and dependency on God. We’ve gone through extremes of ordinary to extraordinary throughout our days as God leads our team and simply says, “follow me.” Our team and our pioneering efforts of YWAM Nanaimo are far swept into God’s story of hope and life! In our time since arriving we have gone through three distinct periods that we would like to share in a series of reports that we will post. The first report will cover our time camping in Nanaimo, the second report is about our time in Esperanza, and the third report is moving into a home and a movement of prayer.
You may remember that we were camping and living in tents during our first three weeks after we arrived in Nanaimo. Each day we would prayerfully seek God’s direction as a team. Asking for basic steps of obedience that we could take as a team. Sometimes it would be to enjoy the campgrounds, or to communicate, or to continue praying, or to explore different parts of the island, or to research the city, or to exclusively focus on applying for houses and scheduling walk throughs. At times each day presented unique opportunities but some days just felt plain ordinary. Washing dishes in cold water wondering if the next meal won’t be as greasy. Or walking to the dumpster scratching your head at the many new ways to sort out garbage, recycling, and compost.
Along with he ordinary came challenging moments, like when we would receive a call or notification that the owner of a house we applied for chose someone else. We applied for over thirty homes. One of our teammates losing relatives. What really pulled at mine and Tessa’s heart strings was whenever Mateo asked when we would be getting a home or how long we would be living a tent. There was an unpleasant vulnerability and as all sorts of thoughts and emotions entered our minds bidding for attention. It wasn’t easy but in the end we constantly and staunchly kept giving those thoughts to God in prayer as we reminded ourselves of the calling God gave us. Our team realized that if we were going to get a house, it could only happen through a miracle. This was something we were quick to remind God of each time we prayed.
Our spirits were lifted by the flood of extraordinary encouragement that we received during our devotionals and the numerous emails, messages and calls from everyone! People we hadn’t even met had simply heard about us in passing were quick to contact us and bless us by helping us with our needs. Our friends at YWAM Ships were constantly praying for us and sending us key words that helped navigate us. Friends like Jim and Nico, shared that God was taking us through specific steps before we were to get a house and so every day we would ask God, what step do you want us to take today? God was specifically forming and shaping the faith of our whole team. We felt like God was setting our team apart as His people, like how the people of Israel had been formed into His children during their exodus from Egypt. Another key word for us came out of Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” and 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Just days before we were meant to join Esperanza Ministries for our first outreach, every natural part of me felt like it was terrible timing to leave Nanaimo, especially without having secured a house. We knew that going to Esperanza wasn’t just an idea or an event in our calendar, this was a word of direction given by God for us to walk out and obey. We committed to going to this camp months in advance and we were determined to go! Esperanza was a five hour drive and boat ride away. There was a sick feeling of anxiety threatening to creep in the closer the time for us to leave approached. We just kept praying. A frequent prayer we made was towards our future landlord, that God would speak directly to this person and cause our application to stand out amongst everyone else in a supernatural way. We also prayed that they would come to encounter God and radically follow Him, building His kingdom.
Four days before we left for the youth camp we enquired for a final house that had just been listed on Craigslist. The listing was online for an hour and there weren’t any photos. Thirty minutes later we received a phone call from the owner and he wanted to schedule a walk through with us and meet us. It was thrilling because we put it all out there with who we were and how many people we intended to have living with us, how we get our finances. The house is 3,200 sq ft with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a den, hardwood floor, a double car garage with heaps of storage and a workbench. The landlord is forthright with an incredibly generous and kind family that lives across the street from the house. Everything seemed too good to be true. What was truly remarkable and a direct answer to our prayer was that he kept repeating that amidst the thirty emails he received, for some reason our email stuck out to him. Two days before we left, we had been accepted as tenants and were signing papers for a two year lease! Just recently, while we were talking about utilities with our landlord during a break in our conversation he shared that a voice inside him was telling him that he needed to accept our team as his tenants. And no, he’s not a Christian. So now we continue the second half of our prayer as we celebrate how God provided our new team home for YWAM Nanaimo to be born from!
Talk about an incredible boost to our calling and faith before leaving for Esperanza! Stay tuned for our next report on this camp– you don’t want to miss it!