I absolutely love it when dreams become reality, don’t you? In October, a dream of mine became a reality…
In recent years, God has been stirring something up in YWAM Europe. “That’s nothing new,” you may say. “We’re YWAM! God is always stirring something up!” Yes, it’s part of our DNA to seek God. To know Him, and to make Him known. This is one of the strengths of YWAM. We are visionary, active, always moving forward and pressing on into the areas where God has called us. But in all our vision casting, program planning, and outreach launching it can be so easy to forget one thing…
The facts are staggering. Missionaries are leaving the field earlier than planned, often times running away as fast as they can. But why are they leaving? Many cite team conflict, failed expectations, and depression amongst other issues. These are hard realities, but God’s heart for us was never that we give all we have to the point of no return. In fact, that abundant life that we so easily share about with others is intended for us, as well! Yes, it’s true! And that doesn’t just mean eternal life. It’s about abundant, joyful living here on this earth. Walking with Jesus and experiencing the power of the cross for our own lives— letting him carry our sin, our pain, and renew our identities. Again, and again, and again… It’s not a one time thing.
So wait, weren’t we talking about dreams becoming reality? Yes, yes we were! My dream is to see missionaries being cared for well— caring for themselves, and us caring for each other through debriefing. During the first week of October, we held a Personal Debriefing Retreat in Durres, Albania. This was the first of many to come!
What is a Personal Debriefing Retreat? Debriefing is a guided process of looking back over a period of time to assess the impact that various situations and events have had on our lives. This sort of retreat is geared towards processing longer periods of time and is different from the type of debriefing you probably had at the end of your DTS outreach. With a trained debriefer, you have the opportunity to share your story, process the challenges you’ve been through, and invite Jesus in to renew and refresh you. The hope is that each participant is able to close doors that are ready to be closed on past circumstances, to gain new freedoms and to leave with a fresh perspective as they move into the future. Sometimes we must stop and sit at the feet of Jesus— pour out our hearts and receive from Him.
Here are some anonymous testimonies from long-term YWAMers who attended the retreat in Albania:
“I felt very depressed when we got here. I would have never thought that after 3 days I could feel so much better… It changed so much my understanding.”
“God met my expectations— joy and excitement fill my heart again. I fee light and have more understanding and freedom to move on/keep going.”
“It was good to talk to someone who understood. I would say I understand myself better and how to deal with grief.”
We want to remain on the field and in the center of God’s will for the long-run. Periodically participating in a personal debriefing is a great way to help yourself do that! Periodic debriefing is a great preventative measure to avoid burnout. Furthermore, if you have experienced transitions such as a cross-cultural move, change in position, change in life status (got married, became single, became a parent, etc), team conflict, or find yourself questioning your calling, we encourage you to reach out and inquire about how you can be debriefed.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org