DTS

Stories from Central America

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This winter we sent our DTS on outreach to serve first in Nicaragua and then in Belize! It was led by our staff members Aaron, Sarah, and Andy. The following is their experience through the eyes of Sarah. Our first two weeks in Nicaragua flew by! We spent the first 10 days in a little town called Masatepe. We had many wonderful opportunities to work alongside ministries in the area including sharing in local churches, serving food and passing out toys and clothes at a Christmas celebration for children, working at a farm that also operates as a rehabilitation center, hosting a worship night, and helping with a youth outreach. We quickly connected and made relationship with many of the locals and our neighbors!

On week three, we traveled up to the capitol Managua and spent our time partnering with a local church. We helped run children’s programs every morning, a VBS, and other local outreach in the city.

After our time in Managua we returned to Masatepe for our final two weeks in Nicaragua where we played with kids and served food at the local dump, helped wire a house for electricity for a local family, cleared land for a sustainable garden at an elementary school, taught English lessons, painted a building that will serve as a community and education center, and everything in between. I can't help but be amazed at all that God did in this country during our stay! I am thankful to Him, and so proud of our team and their hard work, dedication and love. We left the country with full hearts and with the same expectation to see God to great things in the second half of our outreach.

Our first ten days in Belize were spent at the capitol, Belmopan. Within one day of arriving we were graciously offered a van and a cell phone to use during our time by some YWAMers that we had just happened to meet. This proved to be a huge blessing to us and was a great help to get around the city. God’s provision is amazing!
One of our favorite ministries that we got to partner with was a girl's home. This is a safe place for girls who have been removed from difficult and abusive environments. Here they provide nurturing care, counseling, education and empowerment for all victim of abuse and neglect. We loved spending time at the home, whether it was helping during homework hour, doing devotions with the girls, or playing games outside.
We then drove to the south of Belize and arrived in Punta Gorda where we spent our last weeks of outreach. We stayed at an inn that is run by a local ministry. We shared at a women’s group, a youth group, and a church service- all which take place here at the hotel. It is really cool to see the students training and equipping people in things that they have learned in their DTS. One evening they taught on creative intercession and how to use art and creativity as we pray for others and seek God’s heart for them.

There were some amazing chances to serve the city and work with local ministries! One day we all met at 6:30am to do a prayer walk around the city and afterwards we went to town hall to share with the town officials and mayor to pray together with them. We asked them how we could serve Punta Gorda so that afternoon we filled up 11 trash bags at a local park!

Our days have been so full and we had many opportunities to serve and pour out. Our final days in Punta Gorda were nothing short of amazing and our team has really finished strong.

This week we also had the chance to work with a ministry that provides nutritious lunches to school age children. We all ate together and got to play and teach some Bible stories. We also had an opportunity to encourage and pray over the staff and workers, they have such a beautiful heart for these kids.

The last two days have been especially awesome for our team. On Wednesday and Thursday we got to work in villages tucked in the very south of Belize. Both were about 90 minutes away on a very bumpy dirt road. On Wednesday we visited Barranco, a Garifuna village and on Thursday we went to Sunday Wood, a Q’eqchi’ village. In both places we visited homes, prayed for families, played with children and shared at evening services. It was incredible to meet the families of these communities and get to know them.

Our time in Punta Gorda couldn’t have ended in a better way. It will be hard to leave this town and especially the good friends we have made here. I am so grateful for all that happened here and the privilege it was to be a part of it.

What a good God we serve! We will be welcoming our outreach team back to the states next week and can't wait to have them home! Stay tuned for information on a missions night we will be hosting full of testimonies and to hear first hand some of the things God is doing in Nicaragua!

Cultivate / / W O N D E R

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I remember how I felt driving up to it. It was the most beautiful wooden bridge I had ever seen. And we were there at the perfect moment, just as the sun was turning everything vibrant. The river ran full and blue, littered with rocks to jump on. The wood was a deep brown with a sturdy frame.We left our sleeping baby in his car seat and practically ran around exploring, capturing it with photos, laughing at how crazy of a discovery this was, and tucking the moment into our hearts.  

won·der

/wəndər/

noun

      1. a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. synonyms: awe, admiration, wonderment, fascination.

Wonder is such an essential feeling to have; one we should never grow too old to feel. It is good for us. It reminds us to be grateful, and comforts us with the knowledge that there is something out there bigger than ourselves and the worries we carry around. Wonder reminds us of our dreams, and gives us the feeling that anything is possible! And ultimately, it compels us to praise our God - the one who created it and led us to this spot at just the right time. Which is why our wonder is good for God too.

The same feeling I got watching my husband hopping along the rocks in the river is the exact feeling God gets when we stand in wonderment at something he created. The joy we get when someone dear to us experiences something they love is an unbelievable feeling! And I believe that's why God places those places and experiences in our path - because He wants us to experience joy, beauty, and ultimately be drawn closer to Him, where we belong.

Wonder is not only a feeling that happens unexpectedly, but one we should cultivate, one we can almost plan. Yes, sometimes wonderment is something that hits you out of nowhere like the first time you catch a glimpse of Half Dome, or staring down at the Grand Canyon, or the ocean at golden hour. But I believe wonder can (and should) be a lifestyle. When we are grateful and take time to focus on something beautiful and or new, awe can come as a natural overflow of the heart. Dreaming big and praising God like we were meant to.

That is why my family will always seek adventure. Whether from a wooden bridge at golden hour, or the way our son smiles when he wakes up. Wonder can be found in the home or in the big wide world. Go seek it!

Joshua 3:5

Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."

Job 37:5

"God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend.

Isaiah 25:1

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

 

By Olivia Gallagher

 

Interested in doing a DTS at our base? Apply now for our fall 2018 Cultivate DTS!

Why do a Discipleship Training School?

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By Sam Gallagher

Why Do a Discipleship Training School?

A Discipleship Training School (DTS) is arguably the bread and butter of who we are as Youth With A Mission. That is to say, it’s what we do best. Before I tell you why you should do a DTS let me first tell you what it is. To put it plainly, DTS is six months of living out of the ordinary.  You leave your friends, family, your normal everyday life, and you put all that aside to learn what being a Christian is really all about. Some people have said that DTS is like a pressure cooker for Jesus, you go in the oven, and then six months later you come out completely changed. Let me explain why. First you come to Pismo Beach, a beautiful sleepy beach town on the Central Coast of California for what is called “Lecture Phase”. Lecture phase is 3 months long and it is where we fly speakers from all over the world to come and teach you about the love and goodness of Jesus Christ. We cover topics like spiritual disciplines, grace, the nature and character of God, and many more. But that is only the tip of the iceberg.

After lecture phase you will go overseas for 2-3 months with your fellow students to put into action the love and grace that has been displayed to you by our heavenly Father. I won’t lie to you, this experience can be really challenging. You will be working with your hands, your voice, and your heart. The goal is to experience all kinds of missionary work, from preaching and evangelism, all the way to digging irrigation ditches. Although difficult, outreach is life changing and inspiring.

So now that you know the general idea of what a DTS looks like let me try to explain why you should come and do one. First I must admit that I cannot really do it justice to tell of the friends you will make, the lives you will impact, and the life changing love of Jesus you will experience. So instead of telling you about all the amazing reasons to come and do a DTS let me explain to you that life doesn’t stop with a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission. The whole goal of a DTS is not to take you out of normal life and show you how great six months with Jesus can be, but instead it is to reinvent what normal life looks like for you. At YWAM Pismo we believe that your best chance of living life to the full is alongside of Jesus Christ. That’s why we want you to come do a DTS, but also go home and make an impact in your community, your family, your own “normal”. We want you to do a DTS because we want you to tell your town about the love of Jesus, and maybe coming to our base will help show you how.

How DTS still impacts me, a year later.

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Hi, my name is Joel, I am from Switzerland and I was a student in the Fall DTS 2016. I heard about YWAM through my older brother who did his DTS first. I originally had no interest in discipleship training and I already had the next years of my life planned out. However I guess Proverbs 16:1 was written for a reason and somehow I found myself in Pismo Beach. It ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. Oftentimes I think back to what I learned in DTS, not only about God and the Bible, but also about life in general. I get into situations daily where I can use the knowledge I gained from lectures or an advice I got from a leader on a one on one.

Growing up in a wealthy family, I was used to privacy and having a room of my own. DTS taught me to live differently. Sharing a room, or sometimes not even having one, was surely challenging but an important lesson for life. It taught me to interact with people no matter how I feel and to figure out ways to live well with them. That might sound like I didn't enjoy the community at all but there are many upsides of always having someone around, i.e. the possibility to pray together or worship God with songs. All of this brought us closer and I look at these people as family now.

Living with young people of different ages and from 9 Nations all around the world was surely an eye opening living situation that awoke in me an interest in the world and how people live differently in different places.

Through that and through outreach to Greece and Italy I caught a glimpse of the beauty of stepping out, talking to people and socializing with strangers. I had to learn that without stepping out there is no growth in my life. Even though my steps are small, it was in DTS where I started to challenge myself to come out of my comfort zone.

Although it was important to grow as a person, the spiritual growth I experienced in DTS was more important. Of course I'm not some kind of holy person now and sadly I'm not a daily bible reader either. But I’ve become a better friend to Jesus and the Holy Spirit found a home in me. I understand a little more of who God is and what it means to be His child, what it means to be a disciple. I knew how to talk to God, but now I know how to listen to Him.

It is hard for me to see how DTS changed me and how it affects me today because it was such a radical change of lifestyle that I forgot how I used to be before. What I learnt is now a part of me and so are the people that I got to know. I am writing this from halfway around the world from where I live and I am here because of a friendship I made in DTS. God is so much bigger than anything I could ever imagine or plan myself, and fortunately that is something you and I can always depend on.

God bless !