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A Change of Plans: Journeying Toward God's Will

Oct 7, 2022 12:20:37 PM

Hear from one of our students as she shares how God led her on a journey to apply to our 2022 Fall DTS!

Last summer, I flew from Nashville, Tennessee to Seattle, Washington to visit a friend from college. Little did I know that ten-day trek through the Pacific Northwest would spark an interest in missions and a leap of faith with YWAM Salem a year later. 

As my friend introduced me to the culture of the Pacific Northwest, she explained that Washington and Oregon are some of the most unreached areas of the United States. Growing up in East Tennessee–also known as the Bible Belt–I am accustomed to interacting with people who have either grown up in church, been baptized, or had some kind of introduction to Christianity as a young adult. 

I had been familiar with YWAM since high school, but I personally never considered taking a gap year because I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to study in college. However, as graduation from my university rapidly approached, I struggled to grasp a concrete picture of my purpose post-graduation. My plan was to apply to graduate school and pursue a masters’ degree, but as I spent my last two summers in college working with a local nonprofit in my college town, God began directing my heart toward missions. 

During my time with this nonprofit organization, I was able to interact with homeowners who expressed a real desire for community and a sense of belonging. I heard stories of people who spent their whole lives either running from God or running toward Him, people who grew up in wealthy homes and people who were born into extreme poverty. I found myself drawing near to people I probably would have sidestepped on the street before I knew their stories. It was a true heart transformation for me; God expanded my perspective and deepened my pool of empathy. 

This experience made room in my heart for a Discipleship Training School with YWAM. I realized my need for discipleship in my relationship with God and my desire to disciple others in His way. I even met people in Tennessee who had random connections to Oregon and YWAM, and it was becoming increasingly clear to me that God had a purpose for me in the Pacific Northwest. 

The idea of doing my DTS in another country was appealing, of course–what adventurer wouldn’t want to go to England, Norway, Thailand, or one of the hundred other international YWAM bases for six months? 

However, I soon realized that God was gently guiding me to the understanding that I could have a cross-cultural mission experience within the United States as well. Despite being a born-and-raised American, there was still so much of the United States I had yet to explore. I knew that God would stretch my faith in Oregon just as much, if not more so, than He would in Europe. 

Pursuing a Discipleship Training School has already exposed me to many different worldviews and perspectives, both inside and outside the United States. In my school of 12 students, there are participants from Montana, Illinois, Germany, Washington, Brazil, Oregon, Missouri, California, and Hawaii. Despite most of us being from the United States, we carry a variety of denominational and cultural experiences. 

My time in DTS is likely one of the only seasons in which I will devote all my attention and time to God. Many people encouraged me that if I dedicated six months of my life solely to the Lord, He would completely change the trajectory of my life. I can already see ways in which God is growing me in refreshing ways as He beckons me out of my comfort zone. 

So, I ask you–what do you have to lose? 

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