BLOG AT YWAM HARPENDEN
My name’s Danny, or Danae- I get a mix of both here at YWAM Harpenden. I’ve been a Discovery Intern for the past 6 weeks working primarily in the YWAM cafe, with a little bit of in-house maintenance thrown in there. I’ve made at least 3 friends, and have learned how to make a latte look Instagram- worthy. Beyond that, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I function, and a lot about how much I don’t know about myself, and how I function. The humans here have a way of helping you to think critically and outside the box, and are more than willing to share what they’ve learned in their years of life to help further you. I’ve also been told that ripped jeans aren’t as cool as I thought… I’ll still wear them though.
I haven’t done a YWAM-DTS anywhere (yet), but Discovery Interns (also known as Mission Builders), can work here without a YWAM-DTS history. When I initially came to England in September, working at YWAM was not even a possibility that I had considered, but through a string of events I found myself here at the beginning of October. Since then, I’ve been able to meet and connect with dozens and dozens of people. The actual YWAM-DTS school here is only about 10 students this term, but there is so much more that goes on here that I hadn’t realized, meaning that there’s about 100 people on base.
The environment is incredibly welcoming- in my first couple days I met more faces and names than I could remember, but have almost figured out everyone by now! Eating at the dining hall I tried to find a new table of people each evening for the first bit, and every single table that I joined was so welcoming and so open to conversation with me- they wanted to know where I was from, why I’m here, and a plethora of other questions.
Life at YWAM Harpenden – locally referred to as ‘The Oval’- is wild fun. Being able to see the same people at meals, work, and everything in- between really helps cultivate stronger relationships and encourages you to dig deeper into both yourself and those around you. Having so many different cultures and backgrounds and experiences throughout the YWAM community provides an infinite well of knowledge, and if you’re willing to ask the questions, then you can learn an incredible amount in a short time. We have people from Brazil, Africa, North America, and everywhere else, with history in Business, Film, Hospitality, and so much more, all applying their God-given gifts to further the base and the community around them. Being in such a strong christian environment sounds like it could be intimidating- like you’ll have to act and appear a certain way, but the acceptance that I immediately received for who I genuinely am was overwhelming- in the best way. People here love like Jesus did- without judgement or bias, and simply want just to be in relationship with you, all while encouraging you in your faith. On Tuesday evenings we have community meeting, which is pretty much church, except it’s not Sunday, and there’s always been incredible speakers and amazing worship. Intercession happens twice a week- we will pray over a specific subject in the morning and, while prayer in groups can be intimidating, people only want to encourage you, and that fear you might initially feel evaporates quickly. Being able to pray together and as a community is powerful- it’s important to experience prayer in different forms, and there is a real energy that develops when God’s church comes together and reaches out to him. Lastly, we’ve got Monday mornings. Morning mornings are legit. You get to start the week off with worship, and people will dance and sing and weep and shout and it’s absolutely exceptional to see and feel worship in it’s purest form- there’s a real presence in that room that you can physically and emotionally feel.
Overall… It’s been epic living at The Oval. I’ll definitely miss consistently growing closer to others and seeing Jesus through them, but I’ll most certainly be back, to visit here and there at the very least. If you’re thinking of being a Discovery Intern and getting a real taste of what YWAM life is like, I’d recommend it in a second. You don’t need a 2 year commitment- I was only here for 6 weeks, and it’s been unreal experiencing the ministry of YWAM firsthand, rather than through my friend’s stories. I’ve loved being able to grow in relationship with others, Jesus, the community outside of The Oval, and even myself- to learn more about what that all looks like and what that all means.
Be assertive, talk to as many people as you can, force yourself to grow in every facet that you can find; pour yourself into the experience, and it will exceed your expectations!
Till next time YWAM,
Danny (or Danae)
6 Highfield Oval, Harpenden, AL5 4BX, UK
ywamharpenden.org is the official website of Youth With A Mission Harpenden, a ministry of YWAM International and YWAM England.
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