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A letter to supports.

  |   Alumni, DTS   |   No comment

This is a letter written to an alumni’s support team after her DTS was complete.

Dear friends, family, and everyone who supported me through my 5 month journey with YWAM,

I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am for all of y’all. From the prayers to financial support, to encouragements when I needed them, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your obedience to God which enabled me to grow as a daughter in Christ like never before. These last 5 months changed me, because you all supported me through it. Without the financial support, prayers, and encouragement, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it. I would not have been able to learn about God’s loving father heart towards me, that changed everything. I would not have been able to have been poured into and gain freedom with Christ from all past bondage that held me back from walking confidently in Him. I would not have been able to scuba dive and bask in our God’s beautiful creation. I would not have been able to build relationships with some of the best people i have ever met. I would not have been able to go and serve children, orphans, missionaries, and others, in Bolivia. I would not have been able to eat cow heart, or see the tallest altitude lake in the world (Lake Titicaca). I would not have been able to lead worship for a church full of village people who traveled hours and hours, just to hear more about God. I would not have been able to learn what it looks like to truly serve, and rely on God for all comfort and joy. I would not have been able to feel more of God’s love, by how each and every one of you have loved me through this experience. I am forever grateful, and overwhelmed by how your generosity, has changed my life forever. How God changed my life forever. Thank you for all of your love, kindness, and friendship. I am blessed to know all of you,and blessed by God through your prayers, giving, and encouragement. Thank you!!!!!

Here’s a video I made of my experiences in Bolivia. Please watch it to see how your love, generosity, and prayers, enabled me to serve there.

Bolivia outreach video

Shea Salisbury – 2014 DTS Alumni

FINDING THE PATH

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“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”  –Matthew 7:13-14

10891858_10205732359611962_8045026448632121539_nI love how the word “find” is used in the second part of this verse in contrast to the word “enter”. The path of pursuing Christ is something that we all must find but we can’t do it without His help.

Over the past five months I have learned a lot more about what it looks like to be a follower of Christ. I have learned what it looks like to walk with God along the hard narrow path. Before I joined Youth with a Mission (YWAM), I had a very different idea of what the path was supposed to look like. I thought that God was just waiting for me to spend enough time with Him so that He could download His plan and I could see exactly what I was supposed to do for the rest of my life.

I am so thankful that I was wrong.

Let me put it this way. Have you ever received directions to someone’s house all at once? “Drive four blocks down this road then take a right. Then go seven blocks until you pass the green house with the brown roof and turn left…” I don’t know about you but when people give me all the directions at once I get overwhelmed. I end up saying something like “just let me know when I am getting close to the next turn, then tell me what to do.” Why do you think that GPS or Siri (for all us iPhone people out there) tells us the directions one step at a time? They know that if they gave it to us all at once it would be too much so they give us just enough information to make the next turn then they give us new information so that we don’t get overwhelmed.13060_10206170061554237_2915423060406082681_n

When we want to assemble a bookshelf or drive to a location or learn to draw we expect there to be step by step instructions. If the instructions go to fast we say “Wait, how did they do that? How do I get to that part? Why is the person who wrote these such an idiot?” because we expect them to go slow and to not show us everything at once. Why would we expect God to do anything different? If an Ikea employee in charge of assembly instructions loves us enough to not give us too much at once so we don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed, then why would we expect the God of the universe, who loves us unfathomably more than that employee ever could, give us more than we can handle?

I have heard a lot of people say that they are trying to find God’s plan for their life which is awesome and something we should all do but they are going about it the entirely wrong way. They expect the whole picture, or at least to see twenty years from now all at once but don’t realize what they are asking for. God wants us to walk WITH Him, he doesn’t want us to meet him at twenty years from now.

10446647_902422239809168_1753206571061415444_nA lot of people say, and I completely agree, that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Don’t you think God knows this? God doesn’t call us to a destination, He calls us to a path. If the purpose of life was to reach the end then don’t you think there would be something a little more glamorous waiting for us than old age and poor health? I believe that God wants to go on a journey with us. He calls us to walk on a path because that is where life happens. That is where the adventure is.

1965075_10205795014018283_3614310884445875201_nIt takes a lot of faith to walk out this adventure, to take life step by step. But it also takes a lot of faith to live life anyway. Every time you use any kind of directions you are putting your faith into the person that made the directions to get you to that location or to get that bookshelf built in a better way than you could have done it on your own. Yes it takes faith to walk with God but if we give Him the directions and let Him guide us step by step He can give us so much more life than we could have ever lived by trying to do it on our own.

Joshua Lake – 2014 DTS Alumni

Home is wherever He is!

  |   DTS, Lecture Phase   |   No comment

Well, we all went to the main land for an awesome day of adventure! We woke up at 5 am and after a long and fun day of zip lining, cave tubing, and seeing the Mayan ruins, we had a 2 hour car ride back plus an hour and half boat ride back to the YWAM base…so we got home at 8 pm. 10854396_10203593644024940_1963647624303798347_oWe were wet and cold from the cave tubing and swimming in the water. It was stormy outside, so the boat was so rocky and water was spraying in…we were all tired from a long day and a lot of traveling. We started to sing silly songs like Kumbia and other silly songs, but than we started to sing praise and worship songs the whole way home; an hour and a half of praise to God. I personally forgot how cold I was, I forgot the bumpy boat and the water spraying in. I also forgot about the awesome day we just had. It was so awesome to hear the whole team come together despite feeling sea sick and tired, we got to sing to God. 10960251_10203593597743783_4215106994522248162_oIt brought me back to the true heart of worship. Not the sound, not the music, not the voices, or how good the guitarist is and how the worship leader did. It was simply an out of tune, whole heartily praise to our King and our Father. We sang songs like: You Raise Me Up, Come thou Fount, Shout to The Lord, and many many more. We also sang “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” but then we started to substitute in things like “He’s got YWAM students in his hands,” “He’s got our outreach trips in his hands,” “He’s got YWAM staff in his hands,” “He’s got Sam and Carlos in his hands.” (They were the captains of the boat, we got to know them really well over the last few months). Sometimes you got to declare to God what belongs to Him and let Him know I put my fears and my life in your hands!!

For me this taught me a valid lesson of HOME. I realized home isn’t my bed here at YWAM, home isn’t my parents house back in New York. Home isn’t with my family, home isn’t Christmas time around the tree, home isn’t in my room. Home is wherever He is. Home is being in the presence of the Lord. The more I realize that, the more I worship Him because I can feel at home no matter where I am; whether in the most uncomfortable place or the most cozy place, I can be at home. And I truly haven’t felt more at home in the last year than singing praises on that boat for an hour, simply being in my home: in the presence of God.

I love my home.

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-Psalm 23-

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie dow in the green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Kristine Pask – January 2015 DTS

The Adventures of YWAM

  |   Alumni, DTS   |   No comment

ywam2You may have heard of an organization called Youth With A Mission (also known as YWAM – pronounced “why-wham”). YWAM was founded by a man named Loren Cunningham in 1960 and has been mobilizing young people to spread the love of God to almost every country of the world ever since. YWAM’s mission and passion is to know God and make Him known.

10994066_10200182201194582_2714656468344451309_nIn September of 2014 I was able to take part in a DTS (Discipleship Training School) down in San Pedro, Belize. Going to the DTS I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect; I was nervous, I wanted to know if the whole God thing was real, and desired to have the relationship with God that I had heard so much about. While there I realized that my knowledge of God was so small and there was so much more to learn and grow than I had ever imagined. I learned what it looks like to have a real relationship with God, how to hear His voice, and how to love others with the same love that God has given to each and every one of us, even though we don’t deserve it. During my three months in Belize I experienced God in a way that I never knew was even possible, I gained freedom from past struggles, saw healing after healing, and I committed to the wild, crazy, adventure that living life with God brings.

10991286_10205955749643655_6251141848108741041_nThe adventure was definitely a huge part of my experience in Belize, and on my outreach to Papua New Guinea. We always had kayaks, sailboats, snorkels, spears for spearfishing, volleyball, swimming, and so much more available the whole time in Belize. On my visit to Papua New Guinea the adventure included playing sports, jumping off bridges and trees into the river, swimming in the ocean, and going spearfishing at night with the locals. All of the adventure aspects were expected since I signed up for a DTS that was adventure focused, little did I know it also had a leadership focus as well. The funny thing is God knew, He knew that it was a leadership school and that was exactly where I belonged. So throughout the school we had a lot of opportunities to step up and lead, we learned what it looks like to be a real leader, and looked a lot at how Jesus led in the bible through servant leadership. I would say throughout the DTS I became much more confident in my leadership and it was awesome being able to serve in so many ways throughout the DTS as well, including serving the girls in our DTS and being able to bless them in many ways. In the end, I realized that this DTS was exactly where I was supposed to be, because learning all that leadership has led to what the next chapter of my life is going to look like!10669302_10203060789100275_2608865553464220522_o

Some of you may already know about my passion for missions, traveling, and a new passion I have discovered about myself, leading others and helping them to discover the overwhelming love that God has for them and the plans he has for each of our lives. I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue all of these passions at the same time by returning to Belize to be on DTS staff with my YWAM family. I have committed to two years thus far and we will see where God will take me from there. While on staff I would be leading a small group of young men, leading outreaches to countries all around the world, and continuing to pursue my relationship with my Savior and King, Jesus Christ.

Thank you so much and many blessings to you!

Joshua T Mason – 2014 DTS Alumni

What would it look like it we gave if we had nothing?

  |   DTS, Outreach   |   No comment

imageProcessed with VSCOcam with p5 presetHi, from Bolivia! Still enjoying warm weather and eating great food. Though some of our days were long, we were able to serve alongside different ministries while making tons of memories and building relationships.

 

We got the opportunity to transform “The Cave” which is the local church youth room. By cleaning and painting we took a room made from old horse stables with crumbling walls and running rats and turned it into a welcoming place for them to meet.image 3

In a nearby village they are starting a church called St. Miguel. The church is almost complete but they are still in the process of building. We were able to come alongside them and help build needed walls. They struggled for their own food yet were willing to put their needs behind and provide us each day with breakfast and lunch. This is a good example of how hospitable people are here in Bolivia.P1140081
Looking back on these few weeks God has shown us that all our work has been foundational. Like having a foundation in Christ, it is unseen but is what everything is built upon. Our work may go unnoticed by most but never forgotten by God.

 

Katariina Kangasluoma and Linzy DioGuardi – DTS September 2014