I have to be honest, my least favorite part of any trip is sitting down to write a summary of our trip. How do you take a thousand interactions with people, a million “God-sightings”, a feeling of utter dependence on Jesus and an eager anticipation of how it is going to impact the future. I would rather sit down with each of you and drink coffee and chat about it. But here I am drinking coffee and trying to write it out…
Five years ago Heidi Wiley was living in Netherlands with her husband for work. After her first visit to Amsterdam and seeing the Red Light District she wrote, ” I know, without a doubt, I want to do something. Something big for women trapped in the sex industry…” She started volunteering with YWAM Amsterdam each week while living in the Netherlands. They then moved back to Madison and shared her experience. The same thing that stirred Heidi stirred within me. I had never considered Europe as a Yada trip. Heidi made some connections for us last year and this year 10 of us embarked on a faith filled journey to Europe.
We spent the week working together to show the love and grace of Jesus to all we encountered (even each other!).
As we prepared for the tea in Amsterdam, we met often with the team working there. They shared stories of the relationships they have built with women working the windows; the complicated stories of women trying to get out of prostitution; the dynamics of their work with women; etc. Their team of 7 spans age, countries, backgrounds…it is quite diverse. We enjoyed the time we spent with them and quickly saw “our team” and “their team” as “the team”. Daily we would pray together and the feeling that heaven was touching earth was tangible. Our prayer for their team continued to be “unity”.
As we prayed for unity for their team, God allowed us to facilitate unity for their team as we served them “High Tea”. Their casual conversations, laughter, and love for each other came easily as the night went on. Delicious food, hot tea, foot scrubs, hand massages were on the agenda.
We went with the expectation that women working the Red Light District would drop in and we would host an event that the Amsterdam team could connect in a different setting with the women. That night, 1 woman from the Red Light District came. As she left, she was gifted with the box of Yada Lovely Things and a Bible in her own language. She was thrilled…almost as much as we were!
As we stood there marveling at the night and how AMAZING it was (although totally different than we expected!) I was reminded by Jody that the first goal of The Yada Project is to minister to missionaries. Bringing them on-the-ground support, showing interest in their work, and sharing their story with others. BAM! Sometimes God reveals the simplest plans in profound ways.
Unanimously, we said we would have gone to host High Tea for the Amsterdam team if they were the only ones. Words cannot express the joy, friendship, and love felt in that room that night. God certainly answered our prayers for unity and beyond!