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 !