I arrived in the beautiful city of Brisbane; drunk and full of second-thoughts. I knew I was going to have to give up so many of my comforts and I wasn’t ready to delve into this YWAM way of living. My first few weeks were frustrating, to say the least. I cried and felt ill everyday for about three weeks straight. I finally had to face my feelings while sober for the first time in about 8 years. I felt dis-attached and misunderstood by God and the people around me.
In a pretty quick period of time, I noticed that things were changing. I was really understanding the lecture topics and found that when I applied myself to daily journaling and in worship, I could really sense His presence. I began seeing God as the loving, gracious, just, merciful, almighty, and personal father that He is. I had some pretty simple but important breakthroughs- like, realizing that I was never going to get close to people or God if I wasn’t vulnerable or willing to release my burdens and open up to others. I also had some more interesting ones- like the first time I 110% heard the voice of God through a dream. It was so brazenly obvious, but I was still doubting. People on base were speaking so much truth into my life and knew a weird amount of my story without me even telling them because God was trying so hard to prove to my overly protected little mind that He was real. My warped view on what Christianity, or a relationship with God, looked like was beginning to transform. Looking back, I can clearly spot each and every moment in which He was reaching His hand out to me, waiting for acknowledgement.
After week 4, my friend/mentor and I went to do some prayer walking/hanging out in Fortitude Valley, which is where the party scene is, from about 11pm-5am. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but had heard stories of others who had gone to the Valley and experienced some really crazy encounters with God and I wanted to see it first-hand. I decided at this point that I was all-in and would do whatever it took to know God deeper.
Our time there was altogether pretty uneventful from anyone looking in from the outside… but what happened in my soul that night was something I will never forget. It took about 4 hours of battling with the demons of my mind, but I finally experienced a type of freedom that I never knew possible. I took authority over the insecurity and doubt that ruled my life and I walked into the light that God had been trying to reveal to me for years. That night, my confidence in who I was created to be skyrocketed.
Since then, my time here has been a real blur full of joy, breakthrough, hope, growth, and knowing. My heart has been softened, and I’m learning to overcome my depression and addictions in healthy ways. God has been unfolding my gifts of discernment and prophecy, as well as showing me how to use my passion for helping and serving others in a way that glorifies Him best. I’ve begun to dive deeper into His word by slowly gaining a better understanding of the culture and context of each book of the bible and then apply what He highlights to my everyday thoughts and actions. I’ve been able to meet so many beautiful people and work in churches, schools, and at events around Queensland and New South Wales. I’ve begun leading in ways I didn’t see coming and even wrote and comfortability preached a sermon. I’m probably the busiest I’ve ever been but God keeps filling me with the Holy Spirit and I know that in His strength, I’ll never grow tired. I don’t think a single week has gone by where God hasn’t spoken to me in a new way or shown me a new revelation. I am so glad to be be in this season of new beginnings.
LeAnn Yoder (Beach to Bush DTS Student)
An excerpt from LeAnn's blog