Characteristics of community living #4 – Good Bye

“It happens so often, but it’s hard every time” I heard someone saying when we said goodbye to one of our staff members. I noticed that saying goodbye is quite ‘normal’ in YWAM, as normal as welcoming new people into our base. Seeing people leave is not fun at all, but it’s also part of life here. Despite of all the tears and emotions that come with that, I’ve had some wonderful revelations about people coming and going which I’d like to share with you.

I was really amazed when the DTS returned from their short term outreach. Before I even really got to talk to them, I could already tell they had changed. They changed as a group but also as individuals, in their own unique ways. They had only been gone for three weeks but God used that period exceptionally fruitful! I noticed new joy in one of the trainees and with another trainee I felt like he surrendered to God and developed a way closer relationship with Him. I got to know them much better even though I hadn’t been around them for that time. That really surprised me. It now reminds me of a recognisable phenomenon of my childhood, whenever I visited my grandparents or uncle and aunt, they always told me that I had grown so much. Guess I didn’t visit them often enough. Living together with people helps with getting to know each other, but sometimes it’s separation and reunification that makes us know each other even better and definitely in different ways.

Now our DTS is already on their second outreach, the long one. For two months they won’t be here! During their short term outreach I really missed them sometimes. But now that I’ve seen what God can do during outreach, I’m only really excited for them. I cannot wait for them to come back, and this time it’s because I’m so curious about how they’d be like when they return. This is what brought me to my next conclusion: whenever people leave this place, it means God is taking them into a new season. And I wouldn’t want to be the person who is sad about people entering new seasons. Instead, we should celebrate it! So that’s what we do. Of course it can be hard when a person leaves our community but every time it happens, we try to encourage and support this person and honour them as much as we can. We want to stay around them with prayer and financial support, just to bless them as they enter their new season and discover the place God called them to.

There is actually so much excitement in people coming and going! It’s all about adventures and people taking steps without always knowing what’s next. YWAM is full of adventures with the Lord and meanwhile I know many people who can testify about that. It’s such an encouragement for my own life to be part of a community that fully trusts the Lord, willing to obey His voice and surrendering their own desires, plans and agenda’s. I think this is what God wants our lives to be like; full of adventures. Because in the midst of complete surrender and genuine trust, we get to know who God truly is. In case you didn’t know, that’s just YWAM’s first value.