On an OE with a mission
I was a young, single 22-year-old in 1997 in my first job as a medical receptionist, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
But I felt there was more to life than working an eight-hour day, so I decided to join Youth with a Mission (YWAM). Some say it should really be called Young Women After Men, which was my intention, yet my seven-month OE did far more for my confidence.
While I didn't meet the man of my dreams in the USA, I returned to New Zealand a changed person with my life horizons colourful and full of hope.
I flew to Colorado Springs and lived on the YWAM base for five months. It was beautiful. I visited the famous Focus on the Family headquarters.
I made lifelong friends in my group from all over the world including Norway, USA, Canada, Holland, Colombia and Australia. Midway through my Discipleship Training course we split into two groups to do mission work in third world countries.
Our group flew to Kathmandu, Nepal. We had two Tibetan translators who trekked with us in the Himalayas for 10 days. We stayed in people's homes and old temples, ate the local food, and experienced wading through leech-infested rivers. We had no showers or regular beds for three weeks, so we used buckets to wash instead.
After a month, our group traveled to Yavatmal, India, where we stayed for three weeks. We stayed in a cottage near Umri hospital. We visited Umri hospital every day, praying for the sick and sharing the gospel. Our team joined a Christian ministry called Din Bhandu, which is a child and youth ministry. We enjoyed being part of a local church in Yavatmal. We wore traditional saris and enjoyed eating real Indian food.
When we returned to the USA I graduated from my discipleship training course with a certificate, and more importantly, renewed confidence in myself and a deep appreciation of how much wealth we have in New Zealand, when compared to remote places such as Yavatmal.
I still keep in contact with the majority of my overseas friends and a couple of them have since come to New Zealand to visit.
In 1999, I once again got itchy feet"and did another working OE in Edinburgh, Scotland, but that is another story...