Project-Sixty One was born out of my passion for short-term missions. I truly believe that if it wasn't for God directing my steps in those early years of outreaches and summer trips, that I wouldn't be the same person I am today.
I can remember the summer of my senior year of high school where I spent a month in Chiang Mai, Thailand. One hot Sunday afternoon we headed for church on the outskirts of the city and came upon a large church spilling over with people. The service was in Thai and so it gave me a long time to think and pray about what God had been speaking to me over that month long time period.
After service we headed upstairs to a small classroom, I can remember the paint color and the smell even to this day of that room. I think it's so vivid because it was in that moment I felt like God spoke direction into my steps and purpose into my future.
Our leader had a large puzzle lying on a table that was the map of the world. It was all put together and as we sat there she asked us to take a piece of the puzzle. I happened to grab a country in Africa. She told us to separate from each other and spend time asking God what the Great Commission really meant. What does it mean to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations? That was a lot for my 16 year old brain to process, but I felt like God spoke straight to my heart and told me that He wanted me going into all the world. Up until that point, I couldn't possibly imagine spending more than a month overseas doing missions, but at that moment I began to see pictures of all the things I was passionate about flash in my mind. I saw how those things fit together and how they could be used in missions.
I sat stunned and in unbelief, but as most 16 year olds do, I quickly wrote off what I had heard from God and forgot all about that day in that classroom. Fast forward three years and I am sitting in my Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Pismo Beach, CA. I don't remember who was speaking that week, but all of a sudden this same vivid memory began to play out in my mind as if I was sitting in Thailand again. God was reminding me of what He was calling me into.
And so I came on staff with a passion to facilitate a place where people could come, have all of their comforts stripped away, be in a position to give all of themselves for the sake of others, and hear from God the plans and purpose He has for their lives.
And so Project Sixty-One was born. Named for the verses in Isaiah 61:1-3 where we are called to, "preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, free the captives, and release prisoners from darkness. We are to be a planting for the display of the Lord's splendor." I feel like this is the mission statement of Project Sixty-One. Not only are we called to go and do these things, but God is calling us to be set free from our own brokenness. He wants to make our ashes beautiful and quite frankly is the only one who can.
Although this ministry is still in its infancy, I have big vision for it. It is truly an outlet to mobilize the church into missions and see hearts change for the nations, for God, and for ourselves. I want people to walk away knowing they are loved deeply by their Creator and all of their hopes, dreams, and identity comes straight from Him.
I have had the privilege of leading teams to San Francisco, Haiti, and be a part of a team that went to Guatemala. As this ministry grows, I have full expectation that God will continue to fling open big doors for people's lives to be changed.
So, if you are feeling that stirring to get out there, outside of your comfort zone, and outside of the norms of day-to-day life, this may just be the perfect opportunity for you. Check out our website at www.ywampismobeach.org/project61
Many people have asked me how long I plan on being a part of this ministry and living life as a missionary. My answer would have to be that I feel God has called me into missions and ministry for life. I believe that missions and ministry can look like a lot of different things, so I may not be doing Project Sixty-One forever. But I do know that I will continue to pursue the things that God is putting on my heart to do.
The great thing is that I know He speaks to me. And just like His voice was so clear to me in that Thai classroom, I know that His voice will be there to guide and direct my life.