How do you respond when things don’t go the way you expected?

2018 in all honesty has been a whirlwind for our family. There has been the normal flow of teams coming to build homes, Carnaval outreach, Discipleship Training Schools, etc. And to add to that we've had a bit of travel and our third kiddo Bella is now mobile trying to keep up with her big brothers. Really, when you look at it, it doesn’t seem all that different to last year but it has been. So what has made this year so different to the last few years?

Really it comes down to two things... the base expansion project and the refit of the M/V Amazing Grace.

The base is under construction and has been since about the end of 2016. Although these changes are good and the base is expanding, the construction has made life on the base a little bit messier and noisier. When we took on this expansion project, we never expected it would go so long or have such a profound effect on our community. In spite of those things it has been such a good process and there are so many lessons that we have learned along the way.

The M/V Amazing Grace has been in the shipyard since June of last year. The initial project was supposed to take 5-6 months and we were going to be operational by the end of 2017. That was not the case and because of the amount of work that needed to be done to the ship, we’re still in the shipyard. A year of moving finish dates and additional work on the ship has made it hard to keep the morale of our team up and for everyone to stay engaged during this long drawn out process.

Today is August 19th, a date that we as a base have been pushing and believing for the base construction and the ship to be finished. As it stands, we have a minimum of a couple months for both to finish. For the last 19 days, we have been rallying the staff and students and pushing for the completion of these projects, but we’re here now on August 19th and we didn't accomplish what we had set out to do. Or didn’t we?

We have found over the years that God is often more interested in the journey than the destination. It’s not just about where we are going but the manner in which we get there. Over the last year and more recently over the last 19 days, God has taken our base through an incredible process. Sometimes we can get so focused on our goal that we forget to consider the process that God wants to take us through. At times maybe we started to focus too much on ourselves, how inconvenient the construction is or how long we’ve had to wait to see the ship finish. Rather than asking God what He might want to do in us. That’s when we began to ask ourselves some “why” questions.

Why are we expanding the base and living with the mess and the noise? It’s not so that we can have a nice building that will always be clean and quiet. We’re expanding because we believe God wants to train and send more missionaries through the DTS and impact the people of Mazatlan even more through short term volunteers in our outreach programs like Homes of Hope.

Why are we fitting out a training and medical ship? It’s not because it is a good idea. We’re fitting out this ship so that we can go and minister to the most isolated and the least reached people that we could not access any other way. And at the same time, mobilize a maritime and medical professionals into missions.

The last 19 days have been about remembering our why. Our why is not, buildings and ships, our why is people and that is the perspective that we need to have. We can set timeline’s and push to get the building and ship done, but the real sense of urgency that we have is not our ability to check these projects off our to do list. Our sense of urgency is about the future missionary trainees, the family who’s cardboard house floods every time it rains and the community without access to medical care.

The question we started off with was, “How do we respond when things don’t go the way we expected?”. The answer for us lies within a quote from the co-founder of YWAM, Darlene Cunningham. She says, perseverance is the “I will not quit spirit”. That is how we have chosen to live. So today, on August 19th, we will not drop our heads in defeat, we will not doubt God’s faithfulness, what we will do is continue to persevere for the people that God wants to impact through the expansion of our base and the refit of our ship.

Tomorrow morning our base will gather and celebrate with grateful hearts, all that God has done over the last two years. Because even though we didn’t meet our August 19th goal...