The Great Unknown
“There are certain moments in your life when you kind of realise, WOW, it’s not about you.”
I grew up in a Christian family, living on the coast of California my whole life and learned to surf when I was about 7 years old. So from a very young age I had a lot of exposure to that, and always made sure that I made “good choices” by basically treating everything I did as a check off list. I always went to the youth group nights to socialise but never really got into the whole “living for God” thing, so as you could imagine it got really boring really fast.
I thought that being a Christian was boring and it meant I had to follow a bunch of rules. By the summer of my 11th grade year of high school, I began to slowly stop going to church and began hanging out with people that didn’t have the best influence on me, partying, finding my value in guys, and would sneak around my parents to do the things I wanted. Eventually I started to feel guilt for lying to my parents, and my heart became resistant towards God, which was a place I never thought I’d be in.
After my senior year ended, I got caught by my parents. They took me completely out of my habitual environment and told me to go to church again. Of course I was very resistant at first, but as I started going to the college group at my church, I saw a community of people that loved the Lord and loved me too. I began to enjoy going to church and desire God more because He brought the people there so much genuine joy and happiness; and that was what I was trying to found out in other kind of relationships. I finally started experiencing a new kind of happiness and felt an overwhelming sense of His love.
Before coming to Youth With A Mission Australia to do the Discipleship Training School, I was seeking God and really just wanted to experience more of His love. I knew who God was and knew that He was calling me to do missions, but I wanted to grow deeper and find out what God’s purpose was for my life. As well, I’ve tried my best to get out in the water, when I had time. My brother has been my biggest encouragement in surfing and has really pushed me to be a better surfer, that’s why I chose this Christian Surfers 4-Wheel-Drive Discipleship Training School (4WD DTS).
During the first weeks of lectures, I learned that God is personal, and tangible, that He meets you where you’re at, that I don’t have to be a perfect person or some type of woman, He just takes me as who I am to have a relationship with me. God has continued to reveal His love for me in new ways and I’m falling more and more in love with Him everyday. He’s continued to bring freedom in areas of my life that I never knew I needed to be freed from and I’ve never been so overwhelmed with great joy.
Other topic of lectures that really change my view of His love, was “Repentance and Forgiveness” week. I can say that this particular week changed my life. It brought my sin into light, and really confronted me if there was anyone in my life that we hadn’t forgiven, even if it was from childhood.
The last day of lectures for the week, was the application day. We sat together and prayed and repented from anything and everything that God was revealing to us and forgave those we needed to forgive. We each had an opportunity to sit in front of the class, as we prayed out our prayers of repentance to God, asking for forgiveness, and wow, there were so many emotions going on. But for real, after that night I felt so free. He broke my heart to rebuild it and remould it. I understood that when I sin, I’m not trusting in God to give me the desires of my heart and I don’t want God’s limitations on me. Everyone felt like so much weight had lifted from their shoulders and we all felt so much closer to each other. I had never thought about sin in that way before.
It’s been awesome how God has talked to me through these first weeks. During this time I asked God where He wanted me after DTS. He reminded me that I am called for missions and said that the mission field is everywhere; I don’t have to be travelling to tons of countries to glorify God. So I learn more of how to effectively serve, He said that my mission field is my hometown and the youth at my church. I’m so excited for what is coming and I’m open to what He has for my life and trusting Him of whatever He wants me to do.
This story is from Michelle Terrel, who was born in 1996 and raised in Oceanside, California, U.S.A. She’s a student of the Christian Surfers 4WD DTS.