By Salla Ylönen, Outreach Leader Fall DTS 2020
Our plan from the beginning was to go to Brazil for outreach. In many turns of events we ended up not being able to go there because some of our team members tested positive from the covid-test we took to be able to travel and we had to make a hard decision to cancel our tickets after postponing them already with two weeks. Our outreach leader who went ahead of us to Brazil was also now not gonna be able to be part of our outreach anymore. It was two staff now leading a group of eight students with a question in our minds: What now?
We ended up being challenged by finding ways to create a successful outreach in the middle of pandemic and all kinds of restrictions with only few opportunities to reach out and to serve others outside of our community. In the middle of disappointment, frustration and questioning we couldn’t do anything else but pray and put our heads, hearts and ideas together and create a schedule and a program to follow the next few weeks.
We spent a lot of time in worship and prayerwalks, we gave away gift baskets and cards to people who have been involved in pioneering and helping building YWAM Trentino, we spend time building the team and going out to meet others in the body of Christ outside our region, picked up trash and evangelized people on the streets and so on. We did the best we could with the time that we had and after four weeks, two of our students came up with an idea to travel inside of Italy, since we couldn’t travel outside.
After many contacts, phone calls and plans falling down the drain, a church from Naples, southern Italy contacted us and invited us to come, live and serve with them for the last three weeks we had left on our outreach. After all the waiting and laying things and plans down, God showed up in a way we could’ve not planned. It was like a table that had been set before us. Everything was ready and we just needed to pack our bags and show up. Once we got there, we were welcomed by real Italian culture, families, beautiful church community and of course, amazing food. We had plenty of opportunities to serve at the local church - which funny enough, was a Brazilian church. We were told that God had told them to buy extra sofas before they knew we were coming, that we were really gonna be a blessing for them and that the pastors could have the rest that they needed, while we got amazing opportunities to share our testimonies, serve, teach, preach, be involved in worship, make connections with the local body, learn from them and so much more.
We did prayerwalks, evangelism, prophetic acts through cleaning the streets and planting flowers, blessed our host families (allthough I have to say, we were really the ones who were blessed) and all kinds of small groups from homegroups to youth gatherings. We led a whole week at the church that was called ”Revival week” and we saw people including ourselves being transformed and receiving healing in lot of different areas - especially with ”church-hurt” and in intimacy with the Lord. One of our students prayed for a man and he got healed from his pain. Our time there was beyond beautiful and the local team that was so warm and fun that we ended up spending even our days off with them as a group.
We saw how after all of our trying, God came through and had indeed something better in His mind, not just for us - but also for this small church in southern Italy. Their sacrificial, hospitable and open attitudes and hearts truly gave us an opportunity to have a ”real” outreach, get a culture shock even inside the same country we had spent our whole DTS (yeah, it can be THAT different) and to look beyond ourselves and do what Jesus did by serving the people we were with and have fellowship with them. If we only knew what God had in mind all along.
And that is that He gave us His best instead of our good.