Every time I got both feet back on the ground after any flight I’ve made I feel like it’s confirmed to me that I am created to have my two Dutch feet touching the soil and not to be floating in the air for hours. And so it was, believe it or not, 5 years ago, that I came to Schiphol Airport to check in instead of waving someone goodbye or the nice version of that, to pick someone up. Not to mention that during our preps for our trip I discovered my passport had been expired for over a year! :0 I hear you thinking, ‘how in the world is that possible being a YWAM’er?’ 🙂 Well, it seems like I stuck to my decision to hold the fort for the family for a while after having travelled in the previous years quite a bit. Anyways, passports got issued and april 4th we flew out for 2 weeks to South East Asia to put feet back on the ground in Myanmar, formerly know as Birma.
There have been so many people who supported us in so many different ways: financially, emotionally, prayerfully, so of course we would love to share with you about our time in Myanmar!
“I am so impressed with my 3 little troopers!”
Some people will think that traveling with young kids will make things way more complicated. Of course there are more piles of clothes to pack, more passports are risked to be lost, and more little mouths are to be fed with food they don’t know, but it is incredible to see how easily kids adapt to new situations. I kind of knew that already, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seriously considered even making this trip, but still… I am so impressed with my 3 little troopers! On a different note, traveling with kids is the best bridge builder you could possibly think of. Without even doing or saying anything you already communicated that you just want to be with the people, instead of potentially wanting to put something on them as a westerner. You literally come in peace.
South East Asia and specifically Myanmar have been a part of the world where in the last few years we have been looking for more opportunities and open doors to adopt this region as a focus location for our YWAM Amsterdam base. This trip made it very concrete to explore what that could look like for our base.
Our main purpose was to join a team that was formed for the occasion in response to an invitation to come and teach English at an English camp for 2 weeks. This invitation had been given to us after our last DTS outreach team had been working together with the same people. Which had been very successful, since they asked others to come back. We wanted to travel along to experience first hand what the needs are of this nation, how we could join in on the work that is already happening, to meet the local church, YWAM leaders and to meet with staff about how we could build together in this nation that has openend up to the Western world about 5 years ago.
2 weeks is relatively short for a trip to a country like Myanmar and also the tropical weather, almost 104F (39C), makes it that life happens in a very easy pace. Luckily 🙂 But still in those two weeks we were able to do what we had hoped for and what made this trip so amazing at many different levels.
We shared and we listened, we spoke and prayed with so many different people. We could go out into the small local communities with houses on poles to do crafts with the kids and share Bible stories with their parents. We got invited to a big stage downtown during a 5-day long national festival where the rest of our team performed ‘Amazing Grace’ in a place where the name of Jesus possibly never had been worshiped publicly like that. We could share with people who heard the name of Jesus for the very first time, as well as encourage the small house church of about 8 people that even though they’re small, they take an irreplaceable position in the Body of Christ. We could worship together, each one in their own language. We had opportunities to go to the leprosy hospital where we prayed for the sick and two people decided to give their lives to Jesus. We climbed the many steps of the Buddhist monasteries for prayer walks. Everything with our great translator on our side.
For the longterm we could invest in exciting relationships, but we were also definitely able to make new connections which are very valuable in looking more concretely into how we want to focus on this nation as a base here at YWAM Amsterdam.
If we take a look at how we as human beings measure our succes after what’s done we could easily say ‘Mission Accomplished’ and we are so grateful for that, but… over time when my mind wonders off to this trip, I feel deep down inside that something inside of me is temped to measure success by the amazing stories I got to share once being back home, the adventures that we’ve lived and the beautiful encounters we’ve had. I can’t deny that God is reminding of a lesson that he has been trying to make clear to me already a few times more this year. What if absolutely nothing would have happened during this trip? What if I had no great stories to tell and impressive pictures to show? What if no one got healed after we prayed… wait that indeed didn’t happen for as far as we can see… More and more I am convinced that God’s highest for us in our journey with him is our obedience to Him. Our heart! Not the works that we do for Him! He spoke to us to go on this trip and so we did. We went in obedience, we didn’t go to make ourselves feel good after all the good stories that we got to bring home.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 pretty much sums it up. One plants, one waters, but God… Yes, that’s what is all about in the end.
Click the picture for a slideshow or click here for the album.