By Matt Kumar
This Fall YWAM San Francisco hosted its' first ever Calling All Skaters Discipleship Training School (DTS), bringing in over 20 skaters from all over the world.
We spent the past three months discussing who God is, who they are and how He wishes to do life with them. And so as we send them off on their three month outreach, with teams heading to serve in Southeast Asia, Central America and South America, we thought what better time than now to look back on their journey thus far. We've seen tremendous life change and the emergence of beautiful stories only made possible by God. One of those stories belongs to Aaron Bachiu, and we were blessed to have him share this season of life with us.
At 29 years old, Saskatoon native Aaron Bachiu was a bit older than most students who attend a YWAM DTS. Thankfully he didn't let his age phase him in deciding to come out for the six month school. Knowing he had a need for change, a change of scenery but also heart, Aaron took a step.
For years Aaron had been living in quite a dark place. Between struggling with drugs, depression and the uncertainty of the future, he was trapped and couldn’t save himself.
Like you, I and all who've come before us, Aaron was in need of a savior, one who could change his life.
And so as God often is, He was working behind the scenes to nudge Aaron step by step towards San Francisco.
Having hit what felt like rock bottom, Aaron found himself crossing paths with Sarah Kelly. Sarah, also a Saskatoon native, had attended a Calling All Skaters DTS in Los Angeles and was home on a break. While he didn’t think too seriously about the possibility of attending a DTS at first, Aaron would go on to become rather intrigued by what the school could mean for his life. And if talking to Sarah hadn’t been enough for him to totally buy into the thought of doing a DTS, Aaron was continually pushed to pursue God by a friend named Dan. He made it simple and Aaron can remember hearing him say,
"All God wants is a relationship with you,"
and it clicked. If this wasn’t reason enough to commit to doing a DTS, Aaron received money unexpectedly that made the trip completely feasible. And so he found himself heading for San Francisco.
On arrival, he knew he needed change, and with a mentality that he had nothing to lose, Aaron decided he wanted to give God an opportunity to change his life. Inspired by Dan’s words and encouraged by his school leader Elisha , from day one Aaron found himself in a daily rhythm. Day by day he was reading scripture, journaling, praying and seeking to spend time with this God he had come so far to get to know. As it goes, with time he saw change.
Change came in feeling peace and learning to enjoy skating again, something he hadn't been able to do in years. It came in being free from cigarettes for 8 weeks, and free from drugs for the 12 weeks since he had gotten here.
Change looked like no longer comparing himself to others and coming up short, but rather feeling blessed to be where he was.
Aaron found himself hopeful for the future, and though he was once afraid of the unknown he was now stoked for it. Happier than he could ever remember being as an adult, Aaron had begun to experience first hand what God can do with a willing and open heart. He knows God’s work isn’t finished yet, that there are still areas for growth, that there is still healing to be done. But he knows that he’s not who he was and he’s incredibly hopeful for the work God will continue to do in and through him on outreach.
When asked to reflect on the past few months, here’s what Aaron shared,
"Coming out to YWAM you're giving 6 months to God...I'm only halfway through and I feel like I'm not the same person I was 3 months ago when I got here. And now, I'm flying out to Panama tonight, who knows who I'm going to be when I come back. But, if I keep going on the path I've been going on with God, big things are possible. Anything is possible, and I am stoked. I am so stoked."
This, and the many stories like it are why we do what we do. This is why we are where we are, and we hope to continue joining God as he changes the lives of those who come through these doors.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the work we do here at YWAM San Francisco, opportunities to serve, give, or about attending an Urban Ministries DTS, you can go to: http://www.ywamsanfrancisco.org/
If you would like to found out more about Calling All Skaters and the work they’re doing in some of skating’s biggest cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco or Barcelona), or more about their schools and opportunities check out: http://www.CallingAllSkaters.org/
And if you’d like to give God an opportunity to change your life through a DTS at one of Youth With A Mission’s many bases, you can check out the Discipleship Training School page which features opportunities all over the world: http://www.ywam.org/dts/