Kelsey Verrill, YWAM San Francisco
Kelsey was born in Norman, Oklahoma, where she learned the art of belly laughing and brewing coffee. Shortly after encountering Jesus for the first time in 2012, Kelsey’s love for the nations and God’s people were stirred.
She moved to San Francisco in October 2016, where she serves as a missionary with YWAM San Francisco in the Discipleship Training School, a 6-month missions training program involving weekly lectures, mentorship, and both local and overseas outreach. Kelsey is also the Food Pantry Coordinator and oversees a weekly program that provides food for over 300 households in the Tenderloin.
We asked Kelsey some questions about her ministry, and here’s how she responded:
Briefly share about what you do in your current ministry.
“I work in the Discipleship Training School (DTS) and am part of our Communications Department here at YWAM San Francisco in the Tenderloin. I also run a weekly food pantry serving over 300 patrons in the area every Thursday. My role in DTS looks like walking with students through spiritual growth during our 6-month program. I facilitate lectures, host a small group, and I mentor 3-4 girls weekly. We serve alongside our students in YWAM’s drop-in center, the women’s ministry (Because Justice Matters), and are part of other local ministries and outreaches in the area. We also get the opportunity to lead teams overseas to places like Lesvos, Greece, to serve the refugee crisis, and we take teams to Southeast Asia to teach English and partner with local churches. In the YWAM Communications Department, I run social media, shoot short videos and photos of what’s happening in all of our different ministries, and also help with our capital campaign to pay off our nonprofit’s building fund.”
What do you love about this work?
“I love so many things about being a missionary. I definitely feel more humble and messy. I feel very aware of my brokenness, and sometimes that really scares me. But all in all, I feel like I am constantly put in positions where I have to trust God. I also really love serving in so many different facets. I have learned that ministry isn’t just the face-to-face interactions or physical needs being met. It’s also the administrative side of things. It’s also marketing and advertising. It’s finances and building maintenance, and it even allows me to tap into my creative side, giving me opportunities to shoot photos and promote videos of stories and people who I love. It’s really cool to see God’s heart for the city through so many different perspectives. Being a missionary just means being willing to serve.”
Describe something God has shown you during your time serving as a missionary.
“God has shown me that being a leader doesn’t mean that you have it all together. He’s shown me that just because I’ve learned something once doesn’t mean that I can’t learn it again more deeply. He has shown me that He cares about ALL people. Not just the people that I “have a heart for” but the people that no one else sees. God has shown me the power of prayer and that I can’t do anything before I kneel and get His perspective. He’s taught me that I am incapable to love perfectly, but that He’ll help me get better. I feel more loved. I feel more broken… but I also feel more whole.”
What has been your most memorable experience serving as a missionary?
“My most memorable experience serving as a missionary was my opportunity to spend a few months in Lesvos, Greece, serving in a refugee camp. There were things that I saw and people who I met that broke my heart immeasurably more than I could even write. It was one of those “I can’t ever unsee this” moments. It opened my heart to seeing, serving, knowing, and loving immigrants and refugees in a whole new way. It taught me about advocacy and fighting for people beyond my own strength. We served the basic needs that people fleeing from other countries need (blankets, dry clothing, food, etc.) and I learned about culture beyond myself and how beautiful the Middle East is — despite what we read on the news. It really rocked me and shook me and woke my heart up to pray and petition. I’ve had a lot of memorable experiences as a missionary, but it was then that I really got to start seeing things from God’s perspective. Greece did that for me. The refugee camp did that for me. I am definitely ruined for a normal, comfortable life now. But that’s a really good thing.”
You can connect with Kelsey by emailing her. And if you’d like to financially support her ministry, visit ywamsanfrancisco.org/give, select your payment method, and denote “Kelsey Verrill” for the donation.
Meet Our Missionaries
Learn about some of our other Local Missionaries serving in the Bay Area.
Gabby & Mateo Alzate, YWAM San Francisco
Mateo and Gabby Alzate have been with YWAM since 2010, working to help prevent cycles of violence and challenges many children and youth face while growing up in urban communities.Read their story
Sylvia Kamande, Because Justice Matters
Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Sylvia Kamande serves with Because Justice Matters in the Tenderloin to help break the cycle of fear, violence, and hopelessness which many women and girls experience in San Francisco.Read their story
Alexandria Cole, FOCUS
Alexandria Cole serves as the San Francisco Area Director for Fellowship of Christians in Universities & Schools (abbreviated FOCUS), and it is her great joy to share the Gospel and the hope of Jesus with private and independent school students in our city.Read their story