I never wanted to do a YWAM Discipleship Training School. I’d tagged along as a fourteen-year-old when my parents completed theirs and obstinately decided I would never do one myself, but God had other plans.
I was first told about a photography themed Discipleship Training School in the April of 2012, however, after doing some ‘googling’ I discovered the school had started the weekend before! Never-the-less, I was still excited about the idea and decided I would work for a year before joining YWAM. As the weeks turned into months, my desire to do a DTS waned. Along with my new job came less motivation to spend time with Jesus, less opportunity to worship in ‘the great outdoors’ and more fear about leaving all that I knew behind for 6 whole months. Finally, I decided I wouldn’t go, decided that ‘the timing wasn’t right’. I blamed my choice on good things. My church looked into acquiring a new building from which I could run a women’s ministry, just like I’ve always wanted. I had a good job and felt like I was making a difference in my workplace. The list went on. However, my lack of faith made it harder to find joy in everyday life.
On the outside, I was the epitome of the perfect ‘Pastor’s Kid’, I did and said all the right things, but on the inside, my inner fire was growing cold.
Towards the end of the year, I finally decided I needed to get my life back on track. Jesus encountered my heart once more with his love and I decided I wanted to be baptised. It was at that point when I once again made the choice to do a YWAM DTS. I began the application process and was accepted in January; but, those few months between January and April were some of the toughest of my life. I still wasn’t really sure that I wanted to go, but I bought my plane ticket so I would have no excuse to back out again. And I waited. My attitude was, “DTS will make everything better.”
I’m not proud of my attitude at all but, at the time, I was just done trying. I didn’t want to make the effort to choose joy. God didn’t seem to be saying anything. I didn’t ‘feel’ anything when I worshipped and I really didn’t want to fly across the world to a place where I’d never been and live with people I’d never met.
But, I did. And my life hasn’t been the same since.
I made friends with people from all over the world. I grew in my understanding of God’s character. I found healing from past hurts and freedom from those attitudes and mindsets that were weighing me down. I will never forget the moment when, at the end of those six months, I stopped and reflected on what God had done.
My eyes welled with tears as I compared who I was when I arrived, to who I was in that moment, and I spoke two simple words, “I’m happy!”
DTS didn’t make everything better; Jesus did. It wasn’t the program that gave me back my joy; it was Jesus. I’m so thankful for the vehicle of DTS and the principles I was taught in order to live life to the full with The Creator by my side.
Are you feeling a similar way? Maybe you’re at a point in your life where you feel like you’re drifting into the next thing in front of you. Perhaps your thinking about joining DTS, but the effort to organise a trip around the world seems overwhelming. It may be that you like the sound of DTS, but are struggling with worry or fear. Let me encourage you – God transformed my life during DTS. I’m confident that if you will step out and trust God, He will change yours too!
I never wanted to do a DTS, I had my reservations, but I’m so thankful I chose to go despite all this. So, what are you waiting for?
by Kali Wratten
YWAM Newcastle Communications Staff