TW: Spiritual abuse, Gaslighting, Evangelicals thinking they are the shit, Trump talk, Stockholm Syndrome, Pian, lied too, patriarchy talk, leadership not caring about basic human right, toxic thinking from evangelicals, over spiritualization, and a wholt LOT of BULL SHIT…
Holy shit, first of all, if I make it through this post I’m pretty sure I have a resilience like no other. I have sat down several times and started with a few thoughts then had to stop because this post is so heavy. The last few years of being in Ywam where hell and I am still trying to heal from the trauma.
Have you ever been a part of something that you loved so much like you genuinely loved it then out of nowhere a bomb is thrown in your face and it explodes? I ended “Ywam Pt. 3” with my School of worship and the interesting outcome that came out of that. That was a very hard season and being told I could feel pain since I wasn’t the one who lost the baby crushed me along with gave me some of the most intense anger.
Anyway, Pt. 4…
After “School of worship” I became head of the grounds maintenance department. This department takes care of the 560 acres of land that this Ywam campus sits on and is responsible for the upkeep of the grounds. Mowing, weed-eating, tree removal, pond care, housing care (sometimes), and being the main hands for special events. I worked in this department for 6 years as the “head” of the department which meant I organized the tasks that needed to be done each day. On average I had 2-5 people working with me to take care of all the things that needed to be taken care of. This was never enough having 560 acres we needed upwards of 10 people to stay ahead. That never happened.
I had a leader who believed in duct tape and haywire to fix $5000 pieces of equipment and wouldn’t allow us to purchase the essential need to keep moving. The accounting department is very shady and does not put the money where they say they are going to put it. I put on this huge grounds fundraiser expressing the need for a new weed eater, pressure washer, and a few important parts for one of the zero turn mowers (we had 3 at the time.) By the end of the fundraiser, we had raised $1300 and that was exactly what we needed to get the things we needed. A few days later the money was gone thrown in the main pot and probably used for the electric bill. So we struggled. The struggle on that campus in regards to funds is very real. Funds just tend to disappear or get added to accounts just because of favoritism. Fucking shady.
The funds, the fundraiser, 560 acres, broken equipment, low support, spiritual abuse, spiritual manipulation, and endless amounts of patriarchy is what my 6 years of being head of grounds maintenance looked like. I had two leaders that at the beginning I adored. I thought they were genuine, I thought I could trust them but I was wrong. The more I opened up about different things in my life they used that against me all the time. I don’t think I have explained the vision I had (thought I had) of starting an orphanage in India. But, these leaders would somehow always manipulate me into sticking around and focusing on putting more tools in my tool belt.
I would go to them and be so ready to go to India but there was ALWAYS something they felt the Lord was saying no about. I watched people come and go who had only been there a year or 2 and get to go live out their “calling” while I slaved away in the East Texas sun hoping someday soon I would be able to pack the family up and move to India. That never happened, by the way, we never made it to India.
A few conversations with my leaders were as followed,
Her: You know deadname you are doing ok but there are still things we can work on to get you to India.
Me: Like what?
Her: Making the bus barn clean and making sure all the people in the bus barn are unified.
I had a boss who loved to micromanage and would tell me stuff like this than take the leadership out from under me very strategically and delicately. So well I couldn’t even realize I was being played for a fool the whole time. I was given the leadership title but never any leadership responsibility and walked all over like a human that was good at the job and would stick around because I was being gaslighted the whole time. The would create Stockholm syndrome and I was scared of leaving since my family and I didn’t have funds to leave. I was stuck in a cycle of being fucked mentally the whole time I was head of the grounds department. The number of times I wish we would have just left based on our financial instability is countless because I honestly have no fucking clue how we were able to stick around that whole time not paying bills. Another reason the accounting department is so fucked I believe.
Another conversation went like this:
Them: You are doing great are you sure India is for you?
Them: But, you are in a financial bind and maybe you are still on grounds is because you don’t have the money to get to India?
Me: Oh ok.
Them: We aren’t trying to scare you into thinking you don’t have what it take we just don’t know if moving to India with a family is a good plan.
Me: (shrugs shoulders) ok.
They Just wanted me to stick around because I was good at the job and there had never been someone who could take care of their land so well for when bigwigs like Ted Cruz shows up. They just wanted me to stick around so THEY would look good and They would get all the credit. All I got where pats on the back and barely ever a fucking good job.
That was one of my leaders… My other leader was a misogynistic, racist, anti-LGBTQIA+ individual who was only good at one thing and that was making you feel like you where insane. I would come to this person with personal struggles all the time and would be told to go get right with the lord. Go have a worship time. So I did EVERY TIME. but, every time it never worked out I always felt lost and insecure all I needed was helo in figuring out a practical situation. These people are all about the spiritual and never about the practical so peoples lives get screwed up because life is just supposed to be one giant spiritual journey where you die to your wants and needs and let the “holy spirit” guild you. These people are dangerous.
I went on an outreach to Mexico the last year I was in YWAM. YWAM says tobacco, alcohol, drugs, all of it is a sin and that people need to repent do they get healed. But, they don’t realize folks need these things in order to function, breath, be somewhat normal, and keep anxiety levels to a tolerable level. Anyway, I brought 25 cans of dip with me on this outreach to Mexico because tobacco/nicotine keeps me somewhat in a sane state of mind. So I had to sneak these cans into my 2 suitcases and around the end of the trip one of the leaders found out. Asked why and just gave me really blank stares the rest of the trip. I was looked at as an awful human because I needed to cope with the stress in a practical way and didn’t take the spiritual rout. Can you imagine what these folks are going to do the moment I am completely out of the closet? They are just going to turn away and say I have no hope like they do with every person who doesn’t follow their cultish behavior.
My very last thought and my very last encounter at YWAM are a big reason I have no remorse for throwing them on blast. No remorse for calling their bull shit out. No remorse at all. It happened like this… I had one on ones every week with my main leader the misogynist, racist, bigot and here is the conversation that unfolded here is the conversation that turned me away from this faith, here is the fucking conversation that led me to atheism. This conversation is still very burned into my memory because I genuinely respected this person and cared about what they said than got this fucking bomb thrown in my face. Anyway:
Them: How’s it going the weather has been great hasn’t it?
Me: It sure has not having to mow as much has been amazing!
Them: How is everything else going? How’s the family?
Me: Stressful as always not knowing where our support is going to come from this month is always stressful.
Them: I get that but have you prayed it in yet?
Me: I always pray it in but I just dont know how effective that is?
Them: Well, its been pretty effective with this election.
Them: Yea Trump being elected was because we have all been praying him in and now the nation is going to be great again.
Me: Did you see him in the debates? How is that going to better for the nation?
Them: You don’t see how great he is? He is going to take care of the folks that need to be taken care of.
Me: What the hell does that mean?
Them: It means the nation is coming back to its biblical roots and its about time too.
Me: How can you say that? Trump is awful he is a game show host a bigot, a womanizer, a racist.
Them: David was like that was he not? Who did you vote for?
Them: Maybe you should go have a quiet time and see if God changes your mind about Trump. You clearly don’t see how good he will be for this nation and for us as a ministry. Go have a quiet time. Hopefully, you get on board because if you don’t life is going to be rough.
I left that conversation hurt, bitter, stung, and full of uncertainty. As I had a family and had no clue what to do my wife and I had a conversation that led to a unanimous vote to LEAVE. Get the fuck out of there as fast as we could. For the next month, we busted ass to find a house a job and figure out our escape plan. All the while people at YWAM would give us nasty stares, talk about us, and slowly forget who we are. When we finally left February 1st, 2017 it was like a breath of fresh air. But, the communication with friends we thought we had faded away. The friendships we thought were in good standing faded away. It’s like as long as you hold the same ideas and are behind that white fence you have these “friends” but the moment you show any difference in opinion or belief you are instantly outcasted as a sinner.
Do not send your families to YWAM.
Do not step foot on a YWAM campus.
Do not expect to be treated like Jesus supposedly treats people.
Do not watch YWAM videos.
Do not associate with YWAM at all if your life matters to you at all. They suck you in, dry you out, and if you are unsure they forget about you. They aren’t Christ-like by their context. They are just folks living on the wrong side of history that give the marginalized false hope. Their god is supposedly the most hopeful yet they bring despair and turn out to be the villain of the Bible. Not everyone there is evil I see that but those who are genuine need to start stepping the fuck up against the patriarchy system these old-timer YWAMers have set up. Sometimes YOU (and you know who you are) are a bigger problem for keeping your damn mouths shut than the people who do it because they genuinely believe what they do is justified.
OPEN YOUR MOUTHS!
PEOPLE ARE WATCHING YOU! YOU!!
They know there is no hope for these leaders but YOU have to open your mouths in opposition to take down this patriarchal system and allow all humans to be looked at and treated as equal. I shouldn’t have to wonder why someone who was dear to my heart, someone who held me as a baby, someone who fucking loved my family as much as they said they did doesn’t contact me after I get harassed by YWAM alumni. That is so fucked! If you are reading this I still have my facebook messager. You can send me a message anytime.
YWAM is for no one. For your sake and your loved ones sake never tap into that system. It will fuck you over some way and somehow. If anyone from YWAM reads this PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST MESSAGE ME!!! I know its hard but don’t talk about me behind my back. I don’t use names as respect to you all. Now dig deep for that same respect and show that respect to me please. Thank you and I’ll be watching those three dots moving…