The Winter Garden resident expects to work with young women who have been victims of sex trafficking.
Kaitlyn Fleming has applied twice in recent years to go out and share the gospel through Youth with a Mission, but neither time seemed right.
This time, however, Fleming felt called to complete the acceptance process, and she currently is in training for an eight-week mission experience in Thailand and Cambodia.
“The staff has prayed about where in the world the Lord wants us to go to,” Fleming said. “They give us the locations. I prayed, and I feel like the Lord chose Thailand and Cambodia for me to go to.”
The 23-year-old Winter Garden resident is halfway through a three-month Disciple Training School program through YWAM, a Christian missions organization that equips committed messengers with the tools necessary for effectively sharing God’s love around the world. She is taking classes to prepare her for her mission and going into the community on outreach assignments, which include visiting residents at Health Central Park, in Winter Garden, and conversing with the Friday-night crowd at Lake Eola, in Orlando.
In two weeks, Fleming will leave the United States and embark on an incredible journey that will take her halfway around the world to share the gospel. The outreach itinerary and costs still are being finalized for her and her team, but they know they are going to Cambodia for four weeks and then to Bangkok for another four, where they will stay at a YWAM base.
Fleming said she expects to show love to women who have been exposed to sex trafficking.
“You definitely have to be strong and just trust the Lord that he will give you the right things to say,” she said. “We’re letting them know that there’s someone who loves them. It’s going to be tough but good.”
In addition, her work could involve helping with local Vacation Bible School programs and walking through communities speaking to citizens about Christianity.
“We’re always in groups, and we have translators as well,” Fleming said. “We have locals to help us with what’s going on around us. We have a good mixture of men and women on our team. We’re being led by a family, mom and dad and kids — they’ve been to Thailand before.”
Fleming is $2,400 shy of the $9,000 necessary for her trip, but she has faith she will raise the difference.
“I did a lot of fundraising,” she said. “I asked the Lord how he wanted me to fundraise, and I felt like he was telling me to do it in a way that would help people locally.”
She started a small meal-prep business, making and selling overnight oats in a jar through Instagram and a blog and at several local gyms. The owners of The Farmacy, where Fleming works, allowed her to sell the oat jars there, as well, and keep all the profits.
She created T-shirts and is selling those, too, in hopes of reaching her goal.
“I had applied to go to YWAM three times; I applied three years ago but then removed myself because I didn’t think I would have the finances,” she said. “Then I applied the next year … but it just wasn’t the time to go. So three years later, I felt it on my heart to go. I got accepted again and told myself I wasn’t going to back out. Through this, God has taught me a lot of about commitment and trusting Him.”
Fleming has taken two mission trips to Haiti and has been on numerous stateside missions in the Southern states — spreading God’s word and God’s love.
“Love is such a universal language,” she said. “It’s like a smile or a gesture or a hello; just seeing a stranger and telling them, ‘Do you know how much you’re loved?’ and making their day. … I want to learn how to disciple in a way that’s everyday life.”