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My Faith-Based Gap Year - A DTS Testimony

Sep 16, 2022 12:30:00 PM

At its core, YWAM Salem is a Christian community. We wouldn't be who we are or get to do what we do without our dedicated DTS students and leaders. So, we thought it best that you hear about our flagship experience, Discipleship Training School (DTS), from one of our volunteers.

Below is a testimony that demonstrates why we do what we do and how DTS benefits everyone who comes in contact with the program or a current or former YWAMer turned disciple. If you want to spread the love of Jesus Christ to the nations or are searching for a Christian gap year program or gap year team to join, YWAM is the place for you.

Read on and be sure to apply for a DTS to start your own faith journey or Christian college credit program today.

The First Step to Spiritual and Personal Development

I left my home in West Virginia at 18 years old with one goal: to find the people who knew no love and to introduce my Jesus and the Holy Spirit into their everyday lives.

My friends told me I was crazy, but my brother was willing to make the 42-hour drive across the country to drop me off outside an old rehab building that had been converted into a YWAM campus for YWAM Salem. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I was hopeful I could be about to experience true Christian community.

As I explored the base, cheerful faces and genuine welcomes greeted me. I spent the next three months growing closer to God than I had ever been before. I built a family-like relationship with my team and before I knew it, we were preparing to leave for a two-month outreach in South Africa!

A Deeper Understanding of the Unexpected

I remember the day we boarded our flight. I had never been on a plane before, and as I fumbled to get my ticket out I realized that our team wasn't continuing as one group. Some of us had the COVID-19 vaccine, and others who hadn't were still waiting for their test results to be delivered. They couldn't board the plane without a negative result.

We waited and waited, but eventually, time ran out and they still had no results in hand. With no other choice, my group boarded the plane with no leadership team and limited knowledge of what we were doing.

A couple of the girls were crying and we all remembered the countless times we had been warned about splitting up in an airport. After sleeping on airport floors and waiting in security lines for about 52 hours, I arrived in South Africa, ready to go.

God Created. Jesus Taught. We Discipled.

Things were still a little chaotic when we arrived, but we safely made it to our final destination. We took a couple of days to pull ourselves together and then got to work.

We worked a lot with the children in townships, teaching English in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. We spent the weekends attending church and even took turns speaking during service and helping to build a stronger Biblical foundation in the community.

I dreaded my turn to speak. I hoped with everything in me that when it came, I would be speaking in a small Zulu church with a translator standing beside me.

Going Beyond Fear & Community Service to Minister to the Nations

When my turn to speak in a local church finally arrived, my worst fears came true. I was led to the center of a large stage at a giant, American-style church. A long, emotional night of worship had just come to an end, and I had to follow it up.

I leaned on the sprawling pulpit and began to speak in a low and personal tone. I was almost in tears as I told them that God had asked me to leave my home in rural America to travel across the globe and speak to one specific person in that crowd.

I told them that God wanted me to deliver this one simple message. He knows them inside and out and He still wants them with everything in Him.

Discipleship Skills Transferred into Personal Connections

By the end of the night, almost the entire crowd was sobbing. However, I couldn’t help but lock eyes with one specific girl in the third row.

She was in her late twenties and had white dyed hair. She wore a small, torn, black dress that would probably get her shamed out of any good old Southern church back home. She looked like she had been living outside for quite some time.

After everyone else got up and either pressed to the altar for prayer or filed out the door to go home, she was still there. I could see the pain in her eyes as she stood by her seat in the middle of the room. Tears rolled slowly down her face as I approached.

When I stood before her, I asked if I could pray for her. She nodded and whispered that her name was Rachel. I took her hands in mine and prayed that she would be able to see just how much the Father had done for her and how He would stop at nothing to show His love for her.

After we finished, she turned her wrists towards the ceiling revealing fresh scars. She told me how she had been abused by men all of her life and she was blown away by how different Jesus was. Her father and her former husband had both abused her, beaten her, and then left.

She didn’t think she was worthy of anyone’s love and told me that she had tried to take her life the week before. Tonight though, she finally understood; God had sent me just in time.

I now have one piece of advice for you: Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Do a DTS today!

Whether you want to pursue a Christian gap year program, spiritual growth within your career of choice, hope to earn college credit with a YWAM program, or are searching for a community of faith-based partners, YWAM Salem's DTS is the first step.

Apply now! We look forward to meeting you!

Do a DTS Today!

Looking for a faith-based gap year? Tired of unfulfilling Christian gap year programs? Want to deepen your relationship with God, take control of your future, and step boldly into your life in global missions? Do a DTS with YWAM Salem.

Our campus, just outside Salem, Oregon, has welcomed thousands of young adults for missions training, our Christian gap year program, and mission trips since our inception. Our discipleship training school is open to recent high school graduates or anyone over the age of 18 years old.

Are you ready to answer God's call? Apply for a DTS today and experience transformational spiritual growth.

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