Transforming Tanzania

To find something that you are extremely passionate about is such a beautiful thing. It’s rare that you find what you love right out of high school. For most people, it takes them a few semesters in college to finally get on the right path to their future. For Argyle local, Amaris McCasland, finding her passion came much earlier in life and her passion led her to transforming a broken Tanzania into a Tanzania made whole by Christ.

Amaris has always had a heart to serve and a love for missions. So it came as no surprise that upon her recent graduation from high school a semester early that she began searching for a way to serve. This search led her to finding YWAM, or Youth With A Mission. “2.2 billion people in our world will never hear the word of Jesus,” Amaris noted. “I’m so passionate about spreading the good news of the gospel.” 

With the YWAM program, even though it stands for YOUTH With A Mission, there truly is no age limit. “There were some people who were older and it was so cool to get to see them following the Lord’s call later on in life,” Amaris commented. 

YWAM is a program that is designed to support missionaries by providing them training and sending them around the world to share the love of Jesus. “I love the Lord and I love being able to lead others to loving Him, as well,” Amaris said. 

Amaris’ first step was to attend DTS which stands for Discipleship Training School. Here she spent three months training for her mission trip in Orlando, Florida. In bigger classes, many students got separated on their assignments, however, Amaris’ class was much smaller and they were fortunate enough to get to all travel to Tanzania to share the gospel together. 

“This was unlike anything that I have ever been a part of,” Amaris said. “Everyone in Tanzania had such a servant’s heart. They were all so hospitable. You’d walk in the door and they would immediately make you a tea or run to the neighbor’s to get extra chairs. The generosity was unlike anything I’ve seen in the States.”

The reception to Amaris and the purpose of their trip was absolutely incredible. “These people soaked up the word of God like a sponge. They know that there’s a God and they know that there’s an enemy. They see it every day. They just don’t know the answers to who they are,” Amaris explained. “It was so different from here where people are set in what they know because these people were eager to learn.”

It was rare that Amaris and her group of 18 students and 3 leaders traveled to a village that wasn’t receptive to their teachings. However, it did certainly occur. Amaris recalled the time that she was in a certain village that wasn’t really interested in what they had to say. “They weren’t rude or hateful. They just didn’t care,” Amaris added. “ One morning, I was talking to one of my friends in our tent about ministry and how this village was so hard to minister to. We were wondering how we reach them when they have no desire to learn.”

Amaris and her group ended up going to the market later that day. It was truly a special thing that they were in that village when the market was there because it only happened twice a month. The group began playing music and as the music played, the people gathered. There were more than one hundred people circling the group when they realized they forgot to pick a preacher to travel with them. “The Holy Spirit spoke to me. It was my turn to speak and share my testimony,” Amaris said. 

In this moment, Amaris was able to change the lives of 53 people by sharing God’s love through what he had done in her life. “The thing about it is that we all come from different backgrounds with different stories. However, we’re all equally broken until we allow Jesus to redeem us. The only reason I could do this was because of Jesus.”

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