BY EMILY BRIDGE
I have always wanted to experience more cultures, more of the world, and more of who God is. Coming to the Tenderloin, I found all three.
I graduated high school in 2016, hungry to have a strong and vibrant relationship with Jesus as my driving force. I heard about Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) from friends and relatives and eventually found the website for YWAM San Francisco. I had so much peace and excitement about the season God was leading me towards, and I knew that it was good.
Fast forward into the midst of school, where God was molding me into a new creation. He started to teach me the truth about His character, the kind of truth that could only come from a loving Father. I was surrounded by a community that constantly saw in me what I couldn’t, believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and helped me have faith when I was fearful. I found freedom at the foot of the Cross and was shown so much grace and patience in learning to continually pursue Jesus.
At the end of my, DTS God told me that I needed to return to one of our outreach locations to serve in a refugee camp on Lesvos, Greece. I had thought about joining staff with the DTS department in San Francisco, but overall I dismissed it because I didn’t believe I was capable of being a leader. I traveled to Greece and in my two months working in the camp, I was very quickly given responsibility and leadership, which I grew to enjoy. It’s funny how God used those two months to prepare me for what I would do next, even if I couldn’t see it.
I then realized that with God, I can do it. In Zechariah 4:6, it says “not by force, nor by strength, but by My Spirit.” It’s amazing what we’re capable of when we carry the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit empowers regular people to perform miracles in the name of Jesus, can He not do the same with me in a leadership role?
After being accepted on staff, and beginning my commitment here in San Francisco, I felt so much peace. I anticipated being a mess. A doubting, frustrated, anxious mess. But God has constantly provided for me in ways of encouragement, strength, and an amazing team besides me to champion me and help me grow. I know that as a leader, I will fail. I will not be perfect, or even come close. I will make mistakes and I will let people down, but I trust God to redeem. I’m so thankful that mistakes, hard work, and Jesus are all a part of my journey here.
And through it all, God gets the glory.