LEAVING YWAM - Jake Klassen
Wow. I sit here now overwhelmed with how much I want to say and no idea where to start. I've spent the last 10 minutes staring out at the street traffic from our building's balcony filled with memories and reasons why this decision is so huge. This place has been my home. This place has been, for the most part, my entire Christian journey. It is where I found myself. Where I found purpose. Where I found my wife. I almost don't even remember what life is like outside of it. It's been 6.5 years since I first left Aylmer Ontario on a whim, barely having heard of YWAM at all and not having even considered doing it until 3 weeks before I left. I applied to the DTS (6 month Discipleship Training Program) at YWAM Gold Coast Australia desperate for purpose and truth. I wanted a fresh start. I wanted to learn how to live for Jesus fully committed. I'd reflect and share on everything I learned and went through during my time here, but I think it'll need a separate blog or two...or ten.
So Courtney and I have always made our decisions of how long we would be here through one or two-year commitments. The longer we stayed here, the more we realized we wanted to dream beyond the limits of "commitments". We by no means regret or doubt the commitments we made. But once we were married and began to dream of the life we felt God leading us into and we desired, we saw that we wanted to dream bigger than one or two years and see what we could actually build long-term one day. What careers we want to pursue. What community we want to settle in. Where we want to raise a family. What part of missions do we want to be a part of (because we believe "missions" is wherever we are, not just on the full-time "mission field" or in a missions organization). We always felt that one day our path would take us out of YWAM. Each time commitment we've made to YWAM was because we saw some of what God had in store for us here and how our time here was not finished. Nearing the end of 2018, we were about to step into leading a DTS that coming January. Our commitment to YWAM was until July 2019, right after that DTS would end. DTS is quite full on and we knew how much of our mental capacity would be focused on it and not so much on what's happening outside of DTS. And we had a trip to Canada planned already to be in a few weddings of close friends of ours. We knew we had to decide what we were doing before the school would start. To be honest, this decision was looming over us for most of late-2018 and we had been avoiding it. It was a sensitive topic. It came with incredibly hard decisions, differences of opinion and desires, and unknown. It was hard to talk about. We suppressed a lot of our feelings towards the decision for a long time. As 2019 approached we knew we had to face it. We decided to spend January 1, 2019 in prayer. We went out to the park and spent the whole day in the park praying and dreaming separately with God, and then sharing what we were sensing and thinking. We both felt like July 2019 was not the time to go to Canada and stay there. We needed to return to YWAM. We had more vision for what God wanted to do in our lives in YWAM. We both felt like God was saying the door was closing to our time in YWAM buy we didn't know exactly when or what that looked like. We felt like we would be here at least until 2020. Over the last year we have dreamed and prayed and built our confidence in this decision. It hasn't been easy. We've both been afraid. We've both been confident in the decision but not confident in the details. And we've struggled to know exactly what God was saying. Long story, but at some point we realized we needed to commit to our decision to move on and just make a decision on timing and next steps. So we did. We've decided to leave beginning of APRIL.
What's Next? (Dreams & Vision)
Courtney and I will be going first to Surrey, British Columbia to stay with her family, then to Colorado Springs for 6 weeks! We will be attending a secondary school with YWAM Colorado Spring there to study "Business and Missions". It's an originally 12-week, credited school shrunk into a 6-week intensive. It's focus is to learn to see "business" as a mission field and use it to advance missions wherever you go and with whatever business you run. Business has been something I've had in my heart for the last 2 years. God has spoken to me a lot about it and I've had some incredible stories of confirmation. Courtney and I have lead multiple 6-month DTSs, planned entire DTS programs including the outreaches. We've led many young adults in this time. We've budgeted and dealt with hundreds-of-thousands of dollars (crazy!). We gotten to experience what it looks like to lead together and combine our very different, but complimentary gifts and strengths. We really want to start something of our own to honour God,advance the kingdom, and help people. We really want to create a strong values-based business. We want to invite people into a culture that carries those values and vision. We're actually still dreaming what that looks like and feel like this school will help us in that process and teach us the important "ins and outs" of starting and running a business. Besides a business we start together, I am wanting to pursue a career in life-coaching as well. I'm very passionate about helping people find their gifts, strengths, passions, personality, etc and to help them dream from what they learn of themselves. I'm passionate about discipling young adults. I have a lot of dreams of what I'd like to do with life-coaching and would like to continue this as a possible career. We are very excited for this next step and what comes next. We have ideas, although not set in stone, of what comes after this school. We will keep everyone updated!
Thank you all so so much for your continued support of our time in YWAM. We could't have done this without your prayers, encouragement, emotional support, and financial support. It means more than you could ever know. We definitely could never repay you. (although hopefully our Canadian government repaid some of you a decent deductible haha). But I hope you all take heart in knowing that you have partnered in the Great Commission in making disciples and spreading the Gospel.
We will be fundraising for flights and for the "Business and Missions" school in the coming months. We will share more information soon!