Yohan is one of the staff here at YWAM Townsville and he’s a pretty rad guy as well. Get to know him!
Where are you from?
Melbourne, Australia but my heritage is Sri Lankan.
How long have you been a Christian for?
I’ve been a Christian my whole life but I first actually knew God was real when I was about 15/16. But honestly I wouldn’t say I was living in what it meant to follow Christ until my DTS in July 2014.
What is your favourite verse and why?
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
It’s my favourite verse because of the way David manages to capture (to me) the essence of walking with God and what he desires for His creation. I love to hear that passage read out and to close my eyes, realise what it means and applying it to my modern context. Knowing that as heartfelt as it was for David, it can be for me too.
Why did you initially do YWAM?
When I was 15 I did my first missions trip and it was actually with YWAM Townsville to Palm Island (It was Youth Adventures which lasted 1 week). I had no idea what YWAM was and had never heard of it before but other people said it was really good. So I did it and it was the first moment I had felt God for myself and knew His Holy Spirit and connected with Him. Actually seeing my leaders who were DTS students on outreach amazed me because they were only 5 or 6 years older than me but had such an unashamed passion, love and desire for God that wasn’t stagnant, forced or fake. They were free to express their love and adoration for God and I hadn’t seen that in young people before so that was when I decided I wanted to do a DTS.
What are your roles here?
I have a huge heart for DTS as it’s a really unique program and an amazing journey of what it does. I spend 6 months in our communications office helping our incoming students and getting them ready physically and spiritually for the DTS and ready what God wants to do in their lives. I also spend 6 months staffing DTS’s and leading them on outreach. I’m also on the worship team most weeks playing keys and singing which is what I love doing. It’s nice to develop other giftings while I’m here and I’ve grown a lot in my admin skills and practical things I never thought I’d do but now I have a pretty cool resume!
What are 3 words explaining why someone should do a DTS?
- Thought provoking
How long have you been staffing and why did you stay on?
I started staffing in January 2016, so just over a year. I actually never wanted to do anything more with YWAM and I was 100% confident that DTS was it and that I would go and become a teacher and teach at my old school leading missions trips and be a counsellor. God took me to a place of getting over my own insecurities of letting go of my life and having to see everything in front of me. When I laid everything down it was the thing in my heart that I couldn’t avoid and had no doubts about it. My 2 main reasons were:
- To understand what it means to be intimate with God and to trust him with everything.
- My heart for discipleship and seeing people completely released and equipped.
What is your favourite part about being here:
Seeing the spirit of God move when there is Unity; one common desire and people coming in with one accord, whether it’s though worship or ministry time on a DTS or an outreach team walking in unity. Also seeing people from all different cultures and background in churches getting over their issues and bickering to see God move is amazing.
What is the biggest challenge about being here?
Definitely finances! Having to completely trust God every month for those finances to come in when I don’t actually know if it’s going to happen is the most rewarding and challenging thing I do here. It required me daily to say “I’m not in charge here.”
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
I love watching TV shows and movies like The Office or Disney Films (any excuse to go back to the classics like The Lion King or Tarzan!). I love cards and games because I’m so competitive and I also love tennis!
What is something embarrassing about yourself?
I once wrote a personalised email to Taylor Swift asking her to invite myself and my sister on stage for her concert in Melbourne (Red)… She never replied.
I also impersonated Taylor Swift in a lip sync battle and completely smashing it at my church. It was pretty fun dressing up and getting to touch a pastors face looking like Taylor Swift. #LightofmyLife
Anything else you’d like to add?
I love drinking tomato sauce if I can and I also really, REALLY love butter. I think it goes well with any meal and should be a staple of life. It’s amazing to cook with or add in for flavour or great as a spread. I also think mangos are heavenly and absolutely to die for.