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3 Things I Learned in My First 2 Weeks of DTS

Jan 30, 2024 11:00:00 AM

A YWAM Salem discipleship training school (DTS) is your chance to deepen your faith and become a powerful disciple of Christ. A DTS is all about learning.

It starts with the 3-month-long YWAM lecture phase, designed to combine your unique passions with immersive training to prepare you for the mission trip in the outreach phase, and a lifelong future in missions.

However, there are 3 extremely important lessons I encountered early on at my YWAM discipleship training school in Salem, Oregon, that are part of the experience of DTS, not an aspect of the structured missions training or classroom learning.

1. God Speaks to Everyone Differently

During week one of my Discipleship Training School (DTS) lecture phase, the topic was hearing God’s voice. I grew up in a Christian home, but I approached communication with God very timidly. Some students in my DTS heard from God clearly through Scripture, dreams, visions, or even an audible voice. 

Many of the other DTS students and I compared our experiences discerning God’s voice, wondering why He seemed to speak so much more often to certain people. However, our guest speakers and school leaders encouraged us that actively listening to God is also much simpler than we make it out to be.

One of our speakers, Luba Iliyn, reminded us, “There are eight billion people in the world, which means God can speak in at least 8 billion different ways.”

I’ve also found that God often communicates to us through our passions. For example, I love to write, and I usually walk away from my journal with a clear mind and a word from God. 

I was encouraged by the story of Samuel hearing God’s voice for the first time as a child in 1 Samuel 3:2-10. Young Samuel was unfamiliar with how God speaks, and he needed Eli, an older mentor and priest, to empower him and encourage confidence in listening as God speaks. Like Samuel, we all need reminders that God speaks to us in ways that make sense to us individually, and you'll receive that guidance as a DTS student.

2. You Have Time

Before I came to DTS, I felt like the hours of the day were always slipping away from me. I was distracted by social media, friend and family dynamics, and even relationships.

During my first couple of days on base in Salem, though, I realized that the days felt longer and fuller, and I even felt more rested. This inner peace and calmness saturated my mind. I felt more aware of and accountable for my time because I chose to set aside six months of my life to pursue God. 

It would be easy to waste these newfound hours with Netflix and TikTok, but there is something so special about being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals who are all giving their time and resources right back to God. Everyone participating in DTS programs, a secondary school, volunteering, or working on staff is at YWAM Salem because they’ve made a conscious decision to trust God with everything.

It is a beautiful thing to acknowledge that my days in DTS are a gift, and in these six months, I completely expect God to radicalize my perspective and future because I’ve given Him room to move. 

3. Letting Go of Comfort and Convenience Paves the Way for Adventures

Most people who come to YWAM are searching for their purpose or direction in life. But that doesn’t mean the journey is going to be comfortable.

When you join a DTS, you’re sharing a living space with new people, establishing rhythms and routines in an unfamiliar place, and most likely operating out of a smaller budget. You aren’t necessarily going to be surrounded by the conveniences you were used to in your hometown; it’s possible you may not even bring your car to DTS. 

I personally believe that God longs to send us on adventures in His name. I’ve heard testimonies of people who left their home countries and cultures to pursue a deeper calling for the Kingdom, and while it was scary in the beginning, their lives were never the same again.

In fact, every single one of my DTS classmates has a story like that to share, and if you asked any of them if the leap of faith was worth it, they would all answer enthusiastically, “YES!”

Although you’ve left behind a lot to pursue God through a DTS course, you can be sure that in place of those things, God will match your sacrifice with abundance – it just may not look the way you envisioned it. You could have a perfectly good life waiting for you when you get back home–a cushy career, college plans, or even a potential spouse. But what if God deepened your purpose and led you to more?

What if He could take your just okay and turn it into His very best?

Do a DTS - Apply Today

Ready to discover what the answers to these questions mean to your life and receive practical training to prepare you for whatever sphere of society you set your sights on? Apply for a YWAM DTS today and start your journey to learn to effectively serve God and spread His story to the nations.

Have additional questions about the DTS cost, what DTS programs incorporate, what the outreach phase focuses on, or what particular geographic region you'll travel to? Check out our DTS FAQ for all the details you need to know while your application is being reviewed.

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