If someone had told me five years ago that I would be where I am today, I would have told them they were crazy. Who would have thought that the opportunity would arise for me to volunteer in Hawaii with YWAM and ultimately begin the adventure of a lifetime with a limitless God? My story is one that I did not see coming, but it has been fueled and shaped by a decision to continuously say “yes” to new opportunities sparked by God’s overarching purposes for my life. That all being said, this is my story – the story of an ordinary, average, everyday me and, most importantly, the story of an extraordinary, creative, adventurous God. 

It all began during the first semester of my third year of university. As I glanced at the required courses for my final year and a half of school, I realized I could take an entire semester off of school and still graduate on time. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that it was the perfect opportunity to go on some sort of an adventure. Should I travel? I could, but quite frankly I did not have the means to finance some exotic vacation to a distant land. Should I work? That would have been the “reasonable” way to spend my time off, but alas I knew that I had the unique opportunity to do something different and that was not something I wanted to miss. Should I volunteer somewhere? That sounded like something a bit more up my alley… But where? 

It was then that a close friend of mine suggested that I look into “Mission Building” with YWAM. As I researched the Mission Builders program a bit more extensively, I realized that it was an incredible opportunity. I could volunteer at the base located in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii for a three-month-long commitment, have both room and board provided for me during my stay and get to explore the island on the weekends. What could be better than that? Long story short, I applied to volunteer and was accepted shortly thereafter. I packed my bags and soon found myself on a plane to Kona. 

At first, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. What did I just sign myself up for? I knew no one, was completely unfamiliar with YWAM as an organization, and I had never before lived so far away from home for an extended period of time. But it was that relatively simple decision to say “yes” to the opportunity I believed God was presenting me that would ultimately change the course of my entire life. Before my time as a Mission Builder, I believed in God and knew He had a purpose for me. However, it was in Kona that it all became real. I learned about who God is and discovered both how to be loved by Him and how to love Him. It was there that I was surrounded by a community of friends and leaders who could walk with me through tough questions and ultimately ascertain the rich flavor of living a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. For the first time, I was able to be completely me and feel comfortable in my own skin as a daughter of the King. The unique combination of cultures, denominations, traditions, and backgrounds all found at YWAM Kona, opened my eyes to the broad spectrum of Christ- followers around the world and helped me to find my place among the nations, not just my own little “world” of Southern California. 

The work itself is sometimes difficult. Housekeeping, working in the kitchen, maintaining the campus grounds… All of it requires a teachable spirit, a flexible attitude, and a mindset of working as unto the Lord. But the sacrifice of humbly working for three months in not-so- glamourous positions is entirely worth every second. Nations are changed when you offer an encouraging word to someone while serving them their lunch in the cafeteria. The Lord can actually speak while we trim palm trees or wake up early for a morning devotional. And lifetime friendships are made when peeling potatoes or cleaning toilets together. In fact, my husband and I met while washing dishes in the kitchen! It seems impossible until it is done and we take the time to notice those unexpected, yet beautiful moments throughout otherwise mundane activities. 

So if you are sitting there at this moment wondering if this could be an opportunity for you to consider, I would encourage you to take a risk and say “yes” to adventuring with God for three months as a Mission Builder. It will put you out of your comfort zone, but more than that it will change your life. You will make friends you would not have otherwise made. You will share in experiences that you would not have otherwise had. And you will get to know God and His adventures for your life in a much grander way than anything you would have expected if you say just say “yes”. 

Laura Giesbrecht

Laura is originally from Southern California, calls Northern Manitoba, Canada her home and is currently serving alongside her husband, Andy, with the Mission Builder/Kokua Crew, here in Kailua-Kona. She loves to travel, tell stories, discover beauty, and be creative-these are just a few of the things she believes can be used by the Lord to add flavor and adventure to life.