I came across YWAM when I was in year 7. I attended their youth program with my friends, and told people that when I finished school, I wanted to do a Discipleship Training School. In year 9, I did a mission trip to India, which grew my passion for missions even more. I knew I wanted to be involved in missions when I completed school. However, the end of school quickly crept up and although I was still very much drawn to missions, I decided to study teaching, with the purpose of taking it to 3rd world countries. A year and a half into my degree, I felt God calling me out of it.
I was terrified to quit without knowing the next step, but I knew God had a plan, so I left university and moved back to Newcastle.
Immediately after leaving uni, God reminded me of YWAM. I began researching it, talking to people who had done a DTS and I prayed for confirmation. It was daunting to think about living out of home for six months, with people I had never met. And I certainly didn’t have the finances for it! As the months went by, God placed so many people across my path who had done a DTS or who were on staff with YWAM. One day in July, I sent an email to YWAM Newcastle, enquiring about their October Compassion DTS. The next day, I attended my church worship night, and someone shared that God had put the verse Joshua 1:9 on their heart to encourage someone in the congregation. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
It was as if God was speaking directly to me.
The next day, I received a response from a YWAM Newcastle staff member. She told me she had asked God if there was anything He wanted her to share with me and He gave her the verse Joshua 1:9. Wow! God was so faithful even in my doubts. I continued to pray and ask God how I would finance myself, since I hadn’t yet found a job. God kept telling me that if I stepped out and trusted Him, He would come through. Despite my doubts and hesitations, I submitted my application. That very afternoon, I was informed that I had work and that I would begin the next day! October couldn’t come around quick enough.
Although I looked at doing my DTS internationally, I saw real value in doing it not just in my home country, but also in my hometown.
One thing that I loved about doing my school in Australia was the fact that it equipped me to share my faith at home. Learning how to evangelise and share the Gospel in Newcastle meant that it felt doable when I finished DTS. For me, it was so important that the growth I experienced on DTS wasn’t separated from my normal life.
Doing my DTS in my hometown meant that I was able to make connections between my normal life and my YWAM life. I was able to bring my DTS friends to my church, which really bridged the gap between the two groups, and allowed my DTS friends to feel at home in a church so far from their own. I also loved being able to show DTS friends around Newcastle and teach them Aussie lingo.
When comparing Australia to some third world countries, I thought we were much more closed off to Jesus and much less approachable with the Gospel. But on my local outreach to Byron Bay, God blew me away with how receptive people were. It’s not about which nation is the most open to Jesus, instead, it’s about the individual and what God is doing in their heart.
DTS was the most incredible experience of my life.
I grew so much in my faith, and learnt what it looks like to be sold out for Jesus. I experienced people’s lives get changed by the Gospel! Throughout my DTS, I made the most incredible friends and really began to see myself and the people around me through God’s eyes. I was hesitant to go on a Discipleship Training School because six months seemed like a long time and I was so worried about my finances. But six months flew by, and I saw God provide in crazy, miraculous ways for myself and so many others.
I would highly recommend looking into doing a DTS with YWAM. It’s an invaluable journey where you discover who God really is and have the opportunity to share the freedom and hope that is found in knowing Him!
YWAM Newcastle Alum