When I had to choose my outreach location for my DTS (Discipleship Training School), I stared at my options and began to pray. I desperately wanted to join my friends that were wanting to go to Papua New Guinea or Mexico, because I knew them really well. As I wrote down my choice, it felt like God interrupted my thoughts and the word “Africa” kept being repeated in my head. I began to question why this word kept coming back to me and why God wanted me to go there. After much personal debate, I picked Africa and went on with my day.
The next night, the outreach teams and leaders were revealed. I’d prayed that I would be accepted on my team and I’d hoped that I knew my leaders well.
I was placed on the Africa team. It was a team of 5; 4 ladies and myself and I didn’t know them that well. As I looked around at the other teams, I wanted to switch right away. I had convinced myself that I was on the wrong one and that this outreach was not my calling.
That night, I laid on my bed and asked, “Why am I going to Africa and why am I the only guy on my team?” My answer didn’t come in that moment but it would be revealed later on outreach.
Throughout the next ten weeks I fought with God and His reasoning for me going to Africa. I talked to my roommates and my one on one about this. They didn’t have a clear answer.
I was mad because I thought my outreach was going to be boring, that it wasn’t my purpose to go to Africa and I wasn’t going to love it. I continued to feel like I was put on the wrong team.
About two weeks before we left for outreach, I noticed that the girls on my team began treating me as if I were their brother and we began to get closer. In one of our meetings, we shared about ourselves and because of that night, I saw my team in another light. I realized the reason for outreach was for God’s purposes, not my own.
When we were driving to the airport, I began to get nervous even to the point of feeling sick. I had so many thoughts roaming around in my head about what was to come. After being dropped off, we prayed and walked through the airport. Suddenly, a peace came over me and I heard a voice in my head telling me not to worry.
After three days of travel, we arrived on the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire), the south coast of West Africa and I was hit with a bit of culture shock.
During this time, my anxiety had become the center of my life and it was holding me back from everything that God had to offer. The first 3 weeks were really challenging; with seeing and experiencing so many new things.
When I was going through the lecture phase of my DTS, I was challenged with giving my anxiety to God. Now being on outreach, I found myself dealing with the the same issue. My team, however, continued to reassure me and help me with my anxiety.
Cote d’Ivoire ended up being amazing and as we flew to Cameroon, something in me changed. I saw the sunset and, somehow, everything that I was worried about slipped away.
After being in Cameroon for only a week, it felt like home to me and I never wanted to leave. God used my love of getting to know people, languages, cultures, and traveling to give me a huge heart for Africa.
I was so blessed to be the only guy on my team because I became a protector, a leader and a little brother. We were like a family and I’m truly grateful for them. Outreach wouldn’t have been the same without them.Brandon GrayPort YWAM Kona Communications Staff