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3 Things I Learned From Living on a YWAM Ship

November 13, 2019 at 12:32 PM

At the end of 2019, YWAM Mazatlan is scheduled to celebrate the maiden voyage of our medical mercy ship, the M/V Amazing Grace. After its initial launch, volunteer medical professionals and incoming Discipleship Training School (DTS) students will have the opportunity to partner with us in bringing free healthcare to isolated villages in the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Rim.

The vision of sailing to rural islands seems exciting and exotic, but what does day-to-day life on a ship actually look like? What are some of the less-than-glamorous challenges a prospective student or volunteer might face, and more importantly, what are the practical lessons he or she can learn from living in such a closed, tight-knit community? Here are three things I learned from living on a YWAM ship. Hopefully these lessons will inspire you to get out of your comfort zone and come explore missions with us, whether you decide to climb aboard a ship or opt to keep both feet on dry ground.

Boat in Water1

Sometimes It’s Okay Not Having Your Own Space

There were 45 students living on the YWAM ship Pacific Link during my DTS. Before this experience, I had never shared a room with anyone for longer than a few days, so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to sharing one with strangers for three months. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that living together gives you the opportunity to bond with your peers in a fast and powerful way. My roommates and I spent every day with each other, for better or for worse. As the days turned into weeks, we began to open up even more and share our fears, dreams, triumphs, and failures. I began to see that I had more in common with these strangers than I thought; before long, we had become a family.

You Can Find Silence in The Noise

Even after I became accustomed to living in a community, there were still times when I struggled with not having enough privacy. On weekends in particular, I felt that I desperately needed some time to myself to process all the things I had been seeing and learning about. No longer caught up in the excitement of being onboard a ship, I longed for silence. I went out of my room to look for a quiet place to think. My heart sank as I realized the mess hall was crowded, the lounge was full, and games were being played on the deck. I ran to the front of the ship, leaned against the railing, and cried out to God for even just a moment of silence. When I opened my eyes, I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen. I could not believe the vivid colors painting the sky over my head. I listened for the sound of the waves and felt the warmth of fading sunlight on my skin. The breeze seemed to blow away all the voices and noise around me. It was as if all of a sudden, everybody on the ship had disappeared, leaving only me and God.

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Flaws Create Faith

The first time I saw the Pacific Link, I had a rush of conflicting feelings. On one hand, I was excited to finally see it in person, on the other hand, I was disappointed by how rundown it seemed – the Pacific Link is an old ship constantly in need of repair. At first glance, nobody would believe it was capable of bringing hope to anyone. However, I have come to believe this is the beauty of the Pacific Link and many other YWAM ships. Even if they start out looking a little worse for wear, they succeed in delivering medicine, training, community development, and the love of God to some of the most remote places on the planet. The more I mulled this over, the more I realized that many of us see ourselves the same way I saw the Pacific Link. We often believe we aren’t good enough to engage in missions work or we’re not strong enough to do what it takes to reach others. This is the biggest lesson the Pacific Link taught me: God chooses to demonstrate His power and love through unassuming vessels, whether the vessel is a real ship or a person!

Did you know we run our Discipleship Training Schools with a Ships theme?

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