"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19
During my years in the Cult, I often experienced chronic fatigue. For usually a week or more, my body felt tired, achy & weak & I would run a low fever. I now realize that this was a physical manifestation of the inward effects of the cult as I felt impotent to change my situation. Since I left, there have been fewer & fewer episodes of chronic fatigue, for which I praise God.
I have kept a daily journal since January 1, 1970. Because of this, I can go back and re-read my entries for every day that I was in YWAM Honolulu the twelve years I was there. This post is not just coming from twelve year old memories, but from a lot of those entries.
I had prayed for years and years for God to provide a way out for me from YWAM Honolulu, yet those prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears. I questioned God’s love in having me put up with so much abuse for so many years. Years can often go by while you are crying out to God, but when He decides to move showers of blessing will finally fall on the parched ground to produce fruit & freedom.
I was told by the base “Council” (Abusers) that I must attend a retreat in
I had no idea what to expect, I did not want to go at all, but like many things in YWAM, I had no choice or voice. At that time no one from the
When I arrived at the
One of the first things I shared with one of the ladies on staff was what I was told before I left, “that I must give permission for them to share all I say & do while at the retreat”. She assured me that they would NEVER divulge anything that happened there with me or anyone else. I asked what they would do if they called & asked how I was doing. She said, “We'd say something like, He’s working so hard and doing so well”.
There were about 20 there from various backgrounds from the around the world, all hurting & broken for various reasons. The lack of joy was evident on everyone’s face at the beginning of our week. It did not take long to realize I was in a safe place & was for the FIRST time in my life saw the body of Christ act in a way that was a reflection of the Saviour. There was no condemnation, no manipulation, no guilt trips, but instead, a true servant’s heart that I had never seen in YWAM leadership, as well as unconditional love.
One time I got to a gathering early & started to help set up the chairs with one of the founders of Rapha. He told me, “Don’t do that! That is what we are here for- to serve you”. One of the other staff heard me say I liked red licorice & Dr. Pepper. The next day, she brought me both. So much of the teaching there was what YWAM had drifted so far from. That was the preaching of the cross of Christ & its significance, as well as servanthood and unconditional love.
After my first night at Rapha, I woke up to a fresh blanket of snow. I was beginning to feel a small seed of hope. As I walked amongst the fresh-fallen snow & natural red dirt of the area, seeing the contrast, I felt the Lord remind me "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Isaiah. 1:18. I now knew that God had brought me to this place.
Later that day, I shared with one of those on staff what I was going through under my years of oppression at YWAM
We had name tags to wear, but I had lost mine in the wind. I decided to go for a hike by myself on the beautiful grounds. As I searched for my name tag in the long grass & gullies, I was reminded that Jesus looks for His lost sheep.
I then came upon a gate with wooden posts but no door. It reminded me as I was walking through the Gate, I was coming home in finding myself & my relationship with the Lord that had been so lost in those years at YWAM Honolulu.
There was a sign that there was a canyon lookout 1/3 mile from where I was. As I walked up hill, I got so tired and out of breath. I was reminded that it is okay to stop & rest along the way on our journey of life. I was thirsty & there was a bank of fresh, white snow to quench my thirst. I kept walking, sometimes on a slippery path, but when I reached the destination, there was a beautiful vista of the canyon. And yes, I found my name tag at the beginning of the hike.