So I just got back from three weeks of camping in southern WA (Western Australia). It was a very very good three weeks and a lot happened. The first part of this post will just be like fact about what happened. Where we went, what we did, what day to day life looked like, new things that I did, etc. the second part of the post will be a much deeper conversation about what happened on an emotional and spiritual level, and a lot about the new revelations I have had about God. I personally am much more excited about the second half.
Okay so yeah we went camping in d'entrecasteaux national park at a campsite called Banksia camp. The nearest town was Walpole WA you can find the town and the camp on Google images and Google maps/earth. Google Earth actually has a very good picture of the camp. It was about a 5 hour drive from Perth.
The camp its self was very nice. There was a building thing, we just called it the hut. It was a quite big covered area, kind of like a really big covered porch, and then there were also 4 bedroom type things, each one had a hanging cloth door and then a bunk bed inside. We would have classes, and meals, and other things in the open area of the hut, then we used one of the rooms for food storage, one of the rooms was for the guest speaker then the other two rooms were just for storage for whatever we didn't want in our tents. The school provided us with some decent tents they had enough that it would be about three people per tent but the tents claimed to be 9 person tents so we actually had quite a bit of room. Also a bunch of people brought their own hammocks and would sleep in those instead of the tents so my tent actually only had me and one other person in it for most of the trip. The school also had generators and lights that we hung up in the hut. So we had power and light, we also had a white board and a projector. The school also had a lot of cooking stuff, they had a nice thing for water, two big grills, two camp stoves that each had 2 burners, all sorts of pots and pans and whatever utensils we might need. The hut also had a rain water tank, and there was an out house (or “long drop” as they call them here). So it was “camping” but we had power and lights and running water and stuff so it wasn't that rough of camping. We didn't have a shower or anything like that, but the beach and the ocean were only like a 2 minute walk away.
Each week day was pretty similar. We would have morning workouts on the beach from 6:00 am to 6:30 am. Then breakfast was at 8:00 or so, then on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we would have worship at around 9 or 9:30 depending on when breakfast cleanup was done. Then we would have classes after worship. On Tuesday and Thursday we would just go straight into classes after breakfast.
Then we would try and have lunch around 12:30 or 1 but we would just have lunch right after class. So if the class went late we would eat later. Then after lunch there was usually some sort of activity, on Tuesdays and Thursdays we would have intercessory prayer sessions, on the other days there was usually something fun after lunch. Sometimes there were driving lessons, sometimes there were games or etc. then we would have a few hours of free time before dinner. Then we would have dinner around 6:00 then after dinner we would sometimes have free time and sometimes have stuff planned. Like we had a few movie nights, every Wednesday we would have a Bible study. On Tuesdays we had small group nights. We had a few night classes as well, we also played a few games at night.
For cooking and cleaning each day it would just be one small group. There are four small groups in our school, 2 guy groups and 2 girl groups. A small group would take a whole day, so for that whole day they would cook and clean for every meal, but then they would have the next three days off. If you had to cook and clean you would probably work for around 3 to 5 hours depending on what the meals were and how fast you were. If you weren't working that day you got quite a bit of free time because they had to have a free spot in the schedule for cooking and cleaning. So you would have three days in a row with a lot of free time and then one day with a little less time but even when you worked you still usually had a good bit of time.
For the most part I really liked the schedule. I also just really like not being in the city. It was a pretty busy camp site so there were still other people around (I think we only had the campsite to ourselves just one night out of the whole three weeks) but for someone like me who is very unused to the city it was a nice break from Perth. The weather was bad for part of the time we were there. It was cloudy and rained several days. So usually whenever it was sunny people would all do laundry because they could finally dry it, and all go swimming because it was finally warm enough that it was more fun. You could still go swimming on the cloudy days but some days it just didn't seem worth it. Pretty much we would just hang out at the camp site in our free time. People could going spear fishing or rod fishing, we also had a bunch of card and board games, people would also just go hangout on the beach, look for shells, crabs and etc. There was quite a bit to do around the campsite. We also did a few shorter off road trips. We drove on sand tracks to a few different spots. They were just cool like land arms that stretch out a ways so you could get really cool views of the coast, we also drove to a different beach, and part of the group went for a hike and we drove to go pick them up. They thought the hike was going to be two hours but it ended up being 4 and most of them were very tired after it. We would go into Walpole on the weekends and we could but snacks and use the internet. There was also a place where you could pay 3 dollars for a shower, several people would take showers in town, I never did so I don't know how nice they were or anything.
I did also do and see several new things or the first time. Things I did for the first time include: driving a right hand drive vehicle, shifting with my left hand, driving on sand, working out on a beach, body boarding, fishing in the ocean, playing soccer on the beach.
So thats pretty much all we did, hangout at camp, driving lessons, games, and a few short trips. But it was still really fun, for all of us from other countries, there was so much to see around the campsite. I saw a kangaroo for the first time in my life on this trip. I saw dolphins for the first time, seals for the first time. I didn't see any but some people saw emu's. There were also tons of plant life and stuff that I had never seen before, there were these parrot like birds and birds they called black cockatoos and other cool birds that I didn't know were in Australia. So for me at least it was still really fun. But you can see my vlog as well or ask my questions if you want to know more about what we did. But for now I am going to go onto the second part of this post.
Ok so I will try and keep things organized and to the point, but I don't know how well I will do. Also several things I will say here some people knew about me, but many others did not because I was embarrassed about them and would try to hide some aspects of my personality from some people. So I will get pretty open about things in this part of the post, so please don't judge me for who I am. But also, as I am going to get into, I am a lot more comfortable with who I am so if you judge me thats ok as well. But this is my first time being this open with this large of an audience about somethings, so do be nice.
So the first week of classes the class was the fear of the Lord. It was taught by someone with a quite hard name to spell but her name starts with an M so I will just call the teacher M. The class was good, but it wasn't really anything that new to me. As most of you know I had been to Bible college before and this was a topic that I think the college did a pretty good job of covering. Anyway on Wednesday the teacher started talking about insecurities. I don't really know how it fit into the rest of the week or anything it was just something she included in that week. She talked for about an hour or so about insecurities and things.
I should stop now and explain that I actually had a lot of insecurities. Some of you who read this who know me well probably knew, but for those who didn't know I had a lot of insecurities. Basically I was really insecure about myself, my image, how I talked, etc. but also I had what I would call an insecurity that no one loved me. This was something I didn't talk about much partly because I thought it embarrassing, I mean I think a lot of people are a little insecure about being loved, but for me it was really really bad. I thought it was, and still think it is embarrassing to talk about. But I literally had this thought that no one loved me. So I mean obviously like anyone would I wanted to be loved, but I was unable to see that anyone did, now I can look back and see how pretty much my whole life I have had people doing really loving things for me. However, because of this insecurity about myself I just couldn't or wouldn't except that anyone loved me. Even when someone would do something loving to/for me I would just come up with some sort of excuse as to why they did it. I would write it off as oh they don't actually love me they just felt bad for me, or any other number of reasons I had why no one loved me. This insecurity even though I never talked about it was a huge part of my life. I lived all day everyday desperately wanting to feel loved but at the same time refusing to believe anyone loved me. It was actually a much bigger issue then I realized before. But also this extended not only to people but to God. I was unable to except that people loved or accepted me and this continued on to God, I was unable to except that God loved me. I mean I knew that God loved people, and I was a person so that would mean God loves me right. But I was unable to accept this as a personal thing, I couldn't or wouldn't accept that God loves me specifically. My thought was sure God loves me and billions and billions of other people. I just fall into the category of people that God loves, but so does everyone else who ever lived, so it was not like an actually thing, it was more of just something people said.
So I had this huge insecurity that people didn't love me and that God didn't love me, and this actually played a huge role in how I acted, how I thought, how I lived. Along with that I also had a ton of other insecurities, I speak funny, I can't pronounce certain words, I was insecure about that and it would change how I would interact with certain people. I was insecure about my weight, I was insecure about my appearance aside just from weight. There were many others as well. All of these added up to be a huge struggle in my life. But I would still almost never talk about them with people because I was embarrassed about them and I didn't believe anyone loved me so why would I tell people embarrassing things about me. I also wouldn't really talk to God about them either because I believed God didn't really personally love me so why bother talking to Him about something that only effects me.
Anyway I can see now that all of these insecurities are a very wrong way of thinking, and that they are very much not true. But up until this week of my life I couldn't see it. So without really even realizing it these insecurities and others were really controlling my entire life.
So anyway M was talking about insecurities and I was sitting there realizing just how many I had and how huge of a role they had in my life, then M finally gets to the part of how to overcome insecurities. What she said is the way to overcome insecurities is to declare and really believe Gods truths, and what God says about you. In her words to “agree with Gods truth about you”. Gods truths would be that you are personally loved by God, that you are good enough, that God created you they way He wanted you and that you are good enough, and you are loved. (now for those of you who are more Calvinistic. Don't worry I am not saying that humans are all good. We are all still sinners and we live in a fallen world. And without God we are not good at all, but with God we can live a holy life, and God does still love us) So again this was not really anything that was new to me. I had heard this stuff before, but I still could never get over these insecurities before. But anyway like YWAM tends to do M said that we were going to have an application time now. She wanted each of us to one at a time pray out loud and declare that we agree with and believe Gods truth about us. Several people went, they all had good sincere prayers but they were all going pretty quick. Then after I few people went I decided I'd better go. So I prayed just a quick stereotypical prayer, something about how I knew I hadn't always done it in the past but that I would believe Gods truth about me and etc. It was a good prayer but it alone I don't think it alone would have done anything. Then after I prayed M stopped the class and said that she thought God was telling her that I had some major insecurities in my life, she said she thought God was saying He wanted to use me but that I had to get over these issue, that I needed to get over these insecurities. She said she thought God was saying these were such a big part of my life. She said some other stuff to but not stuff I want to share here, but basically things along the same lines, that God knew I had big insecurities and that I needed to get over them. I am not going to say everything that she said because some of it is personal enough I don't want to share it here, but one thing she said is that she thought God was saying one of my insecurities is that I was the forgotten child, the overlooked child. I mean this is not just forgotten child, but forgotten person. I had this thought that I was the person who everyone would forget to invite to things. The person who everyone just forgets about in general. Like maybe if I am right next to the person they would remember me, but then I get forgotten about. So again this also continued on to God. I had this thought that I was the forgotten child of God. That maybe occasionally God would remember about me, but that most of the time I was just a forgotten child of God. Now after this camping trip I realize that I am definitely not the forgotten child in Gods eyes, God does not forget about me. And I am not literally a forgotten child, my parents didn't/don't forget about me. (though there was occasionally times I felt that way, but that was due to me and these insecurities, not my parents fault) and I have occasionally been the forgotten about or overlooked friend but there have also been a lot of times where I was not that way. But the most important point was that I was not forgotten about or overlooked by God.
Anyway, before YWAM I might have believed that on rare occasions God would tell someone something about someone else. But even if God did tell you something you would want to be super super careful about saying that it was from God. I mean I probably would have mostly said I don't believe things like God speak directly to people about other people. But M said some specific things about me that there were no way she should have known. I mean even knowing I had major insecurities would be super hard. I met her two days before and all she had seen me do is sit in class. And knowing to use the exact phrase forgotten or overlooked child, is something that she should have had no way whatsoever of knowing. Also that exact phrase is important because earlier in YWAM during the repentance and forgiveness week the teacher said the exact same thing to me after application. During that week the teacher hugged everyone after they did the application, when she hugged me that week that teacher whispered in my ear that God was saying that to Him I am not the forgotten or overlooked child. Now weeks later a different teacher suddenly knew things about me that she should have no way of knowing, like that I have all these insecurities, but she also knew to use that exact phrase.
This and a couple other smaller things that happened have bought me to the point were I will fully say that God speaks directly to people, and that He will tell you certain things to say to certain people sometimes.
Anyway M knew all these things about me, then she said that she thought I needed to pray again, and pray more specifically and pray more honestly. I did, then M prayed for me. While M prayed for me she put one hand on my shoulder, a students who for the sake of their privacy I will just call 2 was sitting next to me and 2 put her hand on my other shoulder, then there was a third hand on my back. (all these hands are important, I will come back to them later) Then M prayed for me. While she prayed for me it was like three things happened all at once. The first thing that happened was I could like suddenly see how I was loved and how obvious it was, and how stupid it was to think that I wasn't. I could just all of a sudden see how both people and God really did love me. Another thing that happened at the same time is there was like a pain that was lifted. A sort of emotional type pain that I didn't even realize was there, but it was suddenly gone, after it was gone I could suddenly see how it was there and how bad it was. Another thing that happened at the same time was God just like overwhelmed me with who He really is. He showed me how truly loving He really is, how great He really is. Like all of these things about God all at once just came flooding over me.
Then after that the rest of the class who hadn't gone yet prayed as well. I was the only one who was singled out though. So after we were done with class we had a break then we had another hour or so of class before lunch. I was feeling amazing but also very overwhelmed about what had just happened, I also felt a bit embarrassed/awkward because I was the only one who was singled out. Anyway as some of you know, and others of you will probably be surprised by, I am a somewhat (and by that I actually mean extremely) emotional person, particularly compared to most guys. So anyway at this point I was trying not to cry or anything because that would be awkward (or at least I thought it would be) there was a ten minute break through which several people tried to talk to me, and even though I normally really like talking to people and would have enjoyed being talked to I was just trying not to cry and talking would make that difficult so I was just trying to avoid conversation sort of. Also during this time I noticed I started shaking, I wasn't sure why, but everything seemed so different to me now anyway that I wasn't really that concerned about it, I was just trying not to draw attention to myself so I was trying not to shake either.
Anyway then class started again. I was trying to take notes and stuff but I was shaking so much that I couldn't write so I just gave up with it. I started pretty much just ignoring the lecture and praying and trying to process some stuff. I also started crying a little bit at this point. I was actually super glad to have 2 (remember the student I said was sitting next to me I would just call 2 ) sitting next to me. I new even if she saw me crying or shaking she wouldn't be judgmental about it or anything. And I knew she probably wouldn't try to get me to talk about it or anything until later when I was ready. So I was really glad it was 2 sitting there. Anyway after I prayed for a few minutes I thought God was telling me stuff so I began trying to write down what He was saying. When I was writing what I heard God say I would not shake at all and I could easily and quickly write it. So I pretty much just ignored the rest of class and wrote down several pages of what I thought God was telling me. Then straight after class I went to my tent and kept writing. Also in my tent I prayed a lot and ended up crying a lot (being emotional and the amount I cry is one of those things I was embarrassed about but I was also sort of okay with, but anyway I might as well say it now. I am very emotional, so there was a lot of crying) Anyway I was in my tent for quite a while doing this quite time. Because I was in my tent for so long I missed lunch. Now I think it is important to stop and talk about this for a minute. Before this day I don't think I would ever have missed lunch. Now yes I love food, but that's not the reason I am talking about why I would never miss lunch, I could easily miss a meal if I had to. The reason why I would never miss lunch is because without really even fully realizing it I was so dependent on people and trying to feel loved by people that I would never miss an opportunity to be around people, and talk to people, so I would never have missed lunch for that reason.
One of the things I realized in my time of prayer and listening and writing was just how bad I really was about this. I was hugely dependent on people. Now I am still social and I still think its very good to be social and have friends and I still think friendship is very important. However, I realized for me that it was actually a big problem. One of the things that I was unable to do before was say no, if I were invited somewhere or had any opportunity to spend time with any people it was nearly impossible for me to say no. Because of my insecurities I just simply couldn't not spend time with people. I still pretty much never want to be alone, I always want to be around other people, but I realized that I now have a much much much easier time being alone to do things like spend time with God. I realized that before this day I had spent years trying to get in the habit of having a daily quite time, but I couldn't because if I was having I quite time I would be alone and that's something that I couldn't do because I was so desperate to be around people and to try and feel loved by people, but I also never accepted peoples love which just made me more and more desperate for love. It was really a very bad and destructive cycle that I was stuck in, but for some reason I couldn't even seen any of these things, but then after M prayed for me I could suddenly see these things. And I could suddenly see how bad this was in my life.
One more thing that I am realizing just as I write this is when I was at home I would watch movies all the time, and then whenever I left I had no problem at all not watching movies I was totally fine with that. I realize now that the reason I would watch so many movies at home is because I didn't have any friends that I could be around at home so I would use movies and TV as an escape. So where I am other places I could just spend some time with people and then manage to get things done and not just waste my day away watching TV, but at home the only thing I could find that could distract me from my non-stop desire to be around people was watching hours and hours of TV every day. Now as I said I am still very social and never really want to be alone, if you ever see me alone its not because I want to be, its just because I couldn't find anyone to hangout with, but I am able now to spend enough time alone to do things like spend quality time with God. I also now have a good enough relationship with God that I think I will not even be drawn back into distractions like TV and stuff when I return home because I know I am loved by God and that removed a huge dependance on people. Anyway that was just I side thought I had of how I can already see major change in my life. I am not sure if other people can see it or not, but to me I see a huge change in myself.
So anyway when I was writing down a ton of stuff in my tent that I thought God was saying to me. One thing I wrote down was that God said He knew I needed to see His love so He had M single me out, He wanted to show me that He does single me out, He doesn't just love me like the rest of the world but that He specifically loves me, so He singled me out. Then He also wanted to show me His love for me so He touched me. (I also have realized more and more on this trip that I really like physical touch) anyway I thought I heard God tell me He touched me but what I thought it must have been is that He touched me through M putting her hand on me while she prayed for me. Then I also thought He was saying He wanted to show me that the world loved me which is why He had 2 touch me. (by putting her hand on my shoulder while M prayed) So that is what I thought God said. Anyway at this point I just assumed the third hand was unimportant and was someone else in the group. So I kept on writing other stuff. The other stuff I wrote is not really important to anyone but me. The stuff that I wrote and the stuff that I worked out with myself and God that day our hugely important and life changing to me. But its not really that big of a deal to anyone else, so I won't share it here. But anyway later, I wanted to know who the third hand was so I asked 2 if she saw who else touched me. Her response was no one else did. She said she had her eyes open while she was praying and was looking at me and no one else touched me. I asked if it was M's second hand, 2 said no, M had her second hand up in the air for most of the time when she prayed. So at this point I began questioning what I wrote. Remember I thought God told me to write that He touched me but I just assumed that meant that He touched me through M. So at this point I started thinking what some of you might be thinking now. I started thinking did God touch me? I also immediately started thinking about is this something that I think God does, is that something I could ever say God did to me. How proud would I have to be to make a claim like “oh God touched me” to me that would be insane. It would be so prideful to think I was so special that God came and touched me personally.
I should clarify at this point that this is something I never would have believed happened before. I mean I heard of miracle and things before and I sort of thought that maybe they were real. I wasn't really positive if I actually believed God did miracles or not, and so many of them seemed so easy to explain away. So I wasn't really sure. However I am now very sure that God does still do miracles, and God does still do these things. So just know that in the last few weeks largely due to this happening my view of God has radically changed, and I definitely believe He still does miracles on earth. But since I know a lot of people reading this, I know that a lot of people who read this won't believe that God still does things like this. So for those people I am going to say something that my school leader said one of the first weeks of classes, which is: there are two typical responses that people have when they hear stories like these, the first is unbelief, doubt, thoughts that I am not telling the truth. Which if you have that thought, that is ok, but just know that I am not benefiting in anyway by telling you this. I am not getting paid to make the blog, I am not getting paid to lie to you about what happened. I am gaining nothing by telling you this, I am just trying to be honest and open about what happened in my life. (which it is really hard for me to be this open about things this personal to me so I am actually almost loosing something to tell you this) So that is one response, you can believe that I am lying to you, but know that I am not, and that I have no reason to. The other common response (and the response that I hope most of you have) is what the school leader called “God jealous” its when you think “oh wow thats so awesome that happened to you. I am so glad you got to experience it, I wish God would do things like that in my life as well.” (and He will by the way) So anyway those are the two common responses.
So anyway at that point I started to believe that something supernatural happened. I personally think it was God himself somehow, because of what I was told to write. But it could have been an angel or something as well, I am not too sure about that. But anyway this was not something I was going to take lightly and this was not something that I was just going to assume happened to me without at least investigating it more. Also because I know I have friends out there who wouldn't believe that this happened I was going to get as much proof as I could. So over the next few days I asked every single other person who was there if it was them. There were plenty of people who I knew there was no way it could be them, but I still asked every single one of them. Every single person said it was not them. Also as I said 2 told me that she had her eyes open and that it wasn't her or M and that there was no one else. Also when asking around I found a few other people who said they had their eyes open and that no one else was over there. I also found one person in particular who said they were watching me very closely because they wanted to see the emotion on my face and see if this was having an effect on me. That person said they were watching very intently and that no one else ever put their hand on me, and that nether M or 2 ever put a second hand on me. So I fully believe that it was something super natural the only question now is whether or not I am lying about having a third hand or about how sure I was I felt it. I am absolutely certain I felt I third hand. I will confidently say that that is one of the things I am most sure about in my entire life. I am totally confidant that I felt I third hand, it was in the middle of my back. So then the only remaining question is do you believe me. But as I said I have no reason at all to tell you this if it wasn't true, but I do have reasons not to tell you it. So why would I be telling it to you if it wasn't true.
Anyway that was the main big event I can write about. But it effected me so much, it changed the way I think so much, I think it changed the way I act so much as well. Personally for the way I think about things and etc. I would say it was like I am a new person now, the person I was died when I was prayed for and I am a new person now. I am a new person now and I am trying to learn the correct way to live again. I think that sounds super cheesy to say, but that is how different I feel. And hopefully that is how different I act. There was a ton of other life changing events on the camping trip to write about as well, and other things that totally changed how I think. But I think that was the biggest. So in order to make this blog not go on for another 20 pages I will just say that I was changed a ton on this trip. I think they change will manifest itself in actually actions as well as just thoughts, but at the very least I am very sure this camping trip majorly changed the way I think.
I have “freed” (to use another cheesy phrase) of my insecurities. They are still something I have to work though and get over, but I can see them now, and I can see how false they are now, and I am working on getting over them. I feel really stupid now for having those insecurities because I can see now how I was actually super blessed to have a lot of very loving people in my life, but for some reason I just couldn't see it. But I can now, which changes everything. Also there were several other areas of my life that I had major revelation in but I will hopefully write more about those later.
If you have any questions feel free to ask, also comments are always appreciated. I will end with just saying one last time, I am so changed. I tried to put into words how changed I am but I don't think I can actually do it, or at least not do it without writing so much more about it, I feel so different. So even if I totally failed at describing/explaining that change, know that I am very very different now then I was.
Thank you to those in my life who have been loving to me even though I didn't/couldn't see it all the time, especially thanks to Emily, Alicia, Brooke, Nate, and my family. Also if you wish to pray for me I would much appreciate prayer. Specifically prayer for more life change and more revelation in this area. But also just prayer for whatever you feel led to pray about.
Thank you all so much for reading, as I said before I really do appreciate it when people take time to read what I wrote.