We went to Amsterdam!!
The base in Amsterdam hosted a DTS workshop, designed for DTS staff to come and learn more about what the essence of at DTS is and also to learn from each other. There were around 40 YWAMers, representing around 10 different bases across Europe. We all came together for one week full of lectures, discussions, and even practicing some of the elements of a DTS together. It blew me away that 40 complete strangers could come together at one even and still feel so close and like a family. And it was amazing to have all of that wisdom to pull from! Some of the people there had been involved with YWAM for longer than I’ve been alive. It was so good to hear their insights and also see that even after all of those years, the fire was still there. They still loved what they were doing and were walking in the calling God had placed on their lives so many years ago when they first did their own DTS. It just got me to thinking about where I’ll be in 20 years. Truly, I have no idea whatsoever, but it made me excited. Excited to be in their shoes and look back in 5, 10, 20 years and see where God has taken me. I can’t wait to see where God ends up taking this adventure. Judging by the fact that I’m living in Switzerland right now (and never would have dreamed of that… ever), I have no idea where it’ll end up going. But that’s part of the excitement, right?!
Ok, so that’s why we were in Amsterdam and even amidst all of the crazy business of the workshop, it was still a great week. We learned a lot, but I felt like we also got to bond a lot as a team. Eight of the ten of us were able to go, and it was so good. I don’t know about you, but I love getting to hang out in places out of the ordinary. Maybe this is just me, but I feel like it helps you to bond more and just connect even deeper than normal – depending on where you are, I guess. But that’s what I felt like this week was for us as a YWAM Davos team. It could have also been the 16 hour bus rides we took there and back. (I do not recommend that method of travel for any one else. Ever. Having said that, it was worth it. So worth it.) Or it could have been that one night when we found a room away from the rest of the people at the workshop and just hung out and let all of our pent up energy loose. Being a part of the shred culture, we tend to have just a little more energy and excitement than most “normal” people. So when we were a part of the group, we tried to hold most of that in – just so we didn’t scare people, really. But one night, we just all needed to let it go. So we found a room where we could be our normal crazy selves and let loose. It was loud. It was pretty crazy. We laughed a lot. But we also got to get a little serious with each other and pray for each other. I don’t know what everyone else felt, but for myself, that was the biggest highlight of the week. It just made my heart happy to be able to connect with these guys that I get to serve with for the next year in a setting where we could just be ourselves and let things like praying for one another happen naturally.
I’m excited to spend the year with these people. Like really excited.
YWAM Amsterdam is set up with a main base in one part of the city – a huge building called Du Port which was built years and years ago by some Christian organization as a hostel for the sailors that would come to port in Amsterdam. I think everyone knows that Amsterdam is one of the sketchier cities in the world. So Du Port was built as an alternative for sailors to come stay in, instead of all of the other hostels in the city, which were located close to if not directly in the Red Light District. So that’s the main base. Right next to a beautiful canal and not too far from the train station. But from that, they also have a few different buildings not too far from the base, still associated with YWAM. Aleah, Jordie, Joy and I got to stay in one of those buildings, called The Lighthouse, which was a 20 minute walk from the base.
This is a picture taken out of the living room window of the apartment we spent the week in. On the left is a cathedral or something of that sort. And then just to the right of that building is a brothel. It broke our hearts the first night we stayed there. The foot traffic on the streets is insane until about 5 in the morning, and the amount of people we saw walk in and out of that building brought us all to tears. I don’t think any of us had ever witnessed anything like this before. And it broke our hearts. We sat and cried for about an hour and prayed the biggest prayers our hearts could muster for the women and men caught up in this way of life… caught up in thinking that this is ok. That it’s normal. I sat there, tears in my eyes blurring all of the red neon lights together, and felt helpless. What can I do? I kept thinking. What could I do that would possibly put a damper on an industry that has been thriving for hundreds of years? It seems like a hopeless situation.
But I know that our God is the God of Hope.
Amen for that!
Even if there’s nothing I think I can do, He can do more. He sees the big picture. He’s bigger than human trafficking. And He loves those people more than I ever could.
In that truth, I take hope. He invites us to partner with Him to fight the injustice in the world, even if that’s just through praying. And prayers are powerful, this I know for sure.
I don’t really want to rant about this too much, because there are plenty of other blog posts out there that have done that much better than I ever could. But I want to encourage you to join me in praying for those women and those men caught up in living in that way of life. It breaks the heart of the Father, and we have the privilege of asking Him to change things. So let’s do that! Let’s ask Him to change the things that break His heart.