Meet Me: Ashley

Ashley is so on fire for God and her poetic heart gives glory to God in everything she says. Meet Ashley!

Name?
Ashley Elise

Age?
19

Where are you from?
Franklin, Tennessee, USA

How long have you been a Christian for?
I gave my life to Christ when I was 13 years old. I kind of grew up in the church but nothing really heavy. My faith journey has been my own, like seeking out youth groups, but I live in a place that’s totally saturated. I live in the “Bible Belt” of the south. There’s a church on almost every corner so there’s a lot of resources available if you want to know about the Lord on a deeper level. I would say I really started walking in my faith when I went to college about 2 years ago. Right now is where I dreamed for my faith to be 2 years ago so it’s really cool to see how faithful God has been leading me and making me brave to do things like fly across the world with a months notice.

What is your favourite verse?
So I’ve really been asking God to keep my thoughts captive and in class I’ll write a verse on my hand and when I notice myself stressing out or picking up things that are in the future. So here’s a couple of them.

Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

And that is just such a promise that following God is an adventure, he makes the impossible happen and that is just so much hope for when we start to worry.

Philippians 4:4-7

and I love Proverbs 31 about the woman how “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

They’re kind of just my theme verses about being bold and gentle yet embracing the beauty that God has bestowed in the heart of a woman.

Why did you sign up for YWAM?
I have always wanted to be a missionary and I felt the passion inside of me was too big to be my own. My first mission trip was in high school and ever since then I said “alright God, I know you’re going to lead me to do it somewhere, somehow.” When I was in college I was wrestling with “I don’t know what the crap I’m doing!” but I thought I had to do missions after college because that’s what you did. Then God was like “Hey! Who said you had to do that?! You should come follow me now! You should go adventure now!” So once God started stirring that pot and the more I started thinking about it, the more he was bringing people to confirm it. October I started looking into YWAM, got accepted in November, fundraised then left in January. I wanted to get deeper with God, sell everything and just Go!

Why did feel called to Townsville over one in America?
There was no way if I were to do something like this (unless the Lord spoke to stay in America) that I would stay because I always knew I was going to do something abroad. God entices me to dream and go out to explore places and shape my character through that journey. I’ve always had an obsession with Australia (you’re from here so you’re probably  like “what are you talking about?”) and I’ve always wondered why I had this fascination to go so God has revealed to me in his wisdom that he has planted that seed there since I was younger. Also, when people would talk about YWAM, they would recommend this school and God kept confirming it left and right.

Why would you recommend doing the youth adventures elective?
I would recommend it if you have a passion for children and a passion just to champion young people which is one of YWAM’s core values. I think in my journey in just youth in general, that was the most vital part of my life to have mentors and having seeds planted in me at a younger age and even still now at 19. I was at church camp when I gave my life to Christ, so always being in youth was why I stayed a Christian and I don’t know where I’d be today if I didn’t have people pouring into me from the youth group and girls that I aspired to be like. I would encourage anyone that had the desire to just love on kids of all ages and see the younger generation rise up. So I would recommend Youth Adventures because the youth of Australia are really struggling and the enemy is wanting to get in their minds and feed them lies but they are a child of God and worthy of living their dreams.

What is your favourite thing about being here?
I would say how much growth that has come from stepping out and trusting God so I am forever changed. It has brought so much fullness and wholeness being around all of these people who are just amazing brothers and sisters. But seriously, everything is amazing especially being in an environment where you can just be crazy lovesick over Christ.

What has been the most difficult part of being here?
Stay in the present is probably my most difficult thing because I feel like God’s saying I have brought you here to have the time of your life, so don’t miss it. I haven’t really been homesick because I love adventure but I have gotten closer to my family.

What is something you enjoy doing?
I love hearing about people’s lives, exploring and making awesome memories. I also love singing and worshiping the Lord.

What is a guilty pleasure?
Oh, Chocolate, Tim Tams and iced coffee! *heart eyes emoji* Which is terrible when you’re trying to fast from them!

What is something embarrassing that has happened here?
So I sleep in a nightgown that was my grandma’s and I will walk out in that and try to dart to the bathroom and everyone always sees me in my nightgown. I also have to wear a mouth guard and everyone makes fun of me because it gives me a lisp! Haha!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re not doing something that is preparing you for your dreams, get up, get out, be bold, be brave and do it. Or if your dreams aren’t motivating you to be doing something crazy, then you need to dream more and expect more because God should be blowing you away!

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