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Transcending Cultural Barriers

  |   DTS, Outreach, Reportback   |   No comment

DTS is almost finished; only 4 days until I am back home in Canada.

First off, thank you to everyone who supported our outreach team and myself over the past few months with prayer. There were multiple situations during DTS when major complications were reached and then avoided by the grace of God alone. These past 5 months have not simply been and isolated experience for me, but are a piece of my life which I hope to build off of. DTS has been life changing, as I have found freedom, confidence, truth, knowledge, and a passion to grow in relationship with God.

Truth has been one of the central themes in my life during DTS. Freedom comes from knowing and believing truth. I have overcome lies I believed about myself, the world, and God; lies like I don’t have a voice, I cannot speak in front of people, and that God does not speak to me. There is also great importance in memorizing truth in the bible, for by what other way can you believe than the promises of God? By having a strong knowledge of truth in the bible, memorizing, studying, and meditating on it, the lies and evil in the world cannot take hold and hinder you. By living in truth and constantly being filled with it, I have watched it transform the lives of people in DTS and the surrounding community outside of YWAM. Next to our base is a dive shop, and YWAM has been friends with two of the men working there for a few years. As time went by both gave their lives to Christ, and during our school one of the men was baptized.

IMG_0412 (800x600)Outreach was full of new concepts and changed my perspective on God and how He moves. Going to Zambia, sleeping bags and headphones were lost only to be returned by strangers, flights were almost missed, and half our team had not received their visas to get into Zambia. Our outreach leader and I were included in the half without visas, but we went forward praying to be let into the country.At the immigration desk in the Zambian airport, people with the same problem were denied entry and put on return flights. We were let through. Again we had visa issues when having to renew them after one month. Due to fluctuating policies, our team should have been ordered to leave. Instead we were given a conditional extension. There have been man
y other times where our team could have run into significant problems with ATM’s, attempted theft, and vehicle issues. In many situations not only was the problem averted, but also used for the benefit of our team. From this I have learned to live with open hands, giving every situation to God whether positive or negative, and allowing Him to work through everything.

20160420_095215 (800x450)God transcends cultural barriers and works in amazing ways which are unique to each culture. It was amazing to see how different, yet beautiful church is in Zambia. Worship is often without instruments, and even young children know a multitude of songs, which astounded me. Our team was welcomed with open arms, and the people were just as eager to learn from us as we were from them. During an outdoor ministry event, our team was given the opportunity to speak and perform a story from the bible. After the event finished we were swarmed by children, who often wanted hugs or prayer.
It was incredible to be able to love and pray for so many kids despite the language barrier at times. Being in Zambia also opened my eyes to the true material wealth of North America. The families in Zambia were stewards with the money they had, however much it may be. Most people in Zambia eat the same food three meals a day, while our team had a rotation of dinners. By our standard, our food was simple. By their standard it was extravagant. I can now comprehend
the richness I have been born into. Yes, relationship with God is far more valuable than money, but the belief that people with less money are closer to God is not always true. Prosperity gospel was often preached in Zambia, and rather being gripped by apathy like North American culture, they struggled with animism (worshiping creation over the creator). Every culture has its own problems, and the only lasting and transforming solution is relationship with the Creator.20160429_135645 (800x450)

I will forever hold this time spent with YWAM as precious. It has been amazing to live and learn with my DTS family whom I love dearly. My plans for the future are still uncertain. So far I have been accepted to work at Camp Caroline as a ropes leader. I have faith in God’s plan for my life, and I will continue to pray and trust in it. There are far more stories I could tell, both funny and serious. This however, is the end.

-Sydney Gabbey

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Relinquishing the Box

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I came to my DTS with questions concerning my identity. Why do I live? Why did God create humans? What is his desire for me? During my first week the lessons were, “Foundation in God”. Out of selfishness I thought, I have a good and deep foundation in God. God showed me the opposite. His character is wider, deeper and higher than I imagined. This was at the beginning of my journey with God. At the end of my first week God told me; “For relationship I created you. For relationship I created the world. Out of His overflowing love for us, He creates us. Without you and me His love would be incomplete.” This was overwhelming for me and at certain points, challenging to fully understand. I began realizing that I can not compromise in my walk with God. Am I all in? I have had to give up my old thoughts and concepts of God, by not putting him into a box, any longer.

Did I struggle? Is doing a DTS sunshine, and make for a happy, easy life?

20160425_233238619_iOSIn my first weeks I was definitely struggling to continue, but I made a decision in Germany to do a DTS. I learned to ask God daily for strength, to change my mind and to accept that I am in Belize for a purpose. Today I can look back and see that I am in the best place, and He desired me to be here.

During the fourth week of lectures our speaker preached about the “Father Heart of God”. I had an undersized opinion of love, acceptance and self worth. Therefore, I was super excited about the week and God’s plans for me.

Bricks were holding me back from God. Lies, unbelief, brokenness and selfishness were bricks that separated me from God’s passion and intimacy. Hurts and wounds cracked me from the inside. I was walking alone and was not willing to give up my control. God desired to be with me and to renew me. Each day God spoke through the speaker: “I have passion for you. You are worthy.” I asked for forgiveness and he received me with welcoming arms because His character is that of mercy and grace. His love is enough for me – even if I fail. Through Him I am secure, I am worthy and I get value that no one can take from me.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-04-20 um 00.02.00Our DTS team consists of 12 lovely students. People from different nations, backgrounds and habits. For many years I had lived together with friends and international roommates. But this community is different, this community cares, sees and lives with an extreme love for each other. God has showed me how to deal with conflicts and to seek after people. Seeing the students through His eyes, and with His value. It doesn’t matter how small the issue is, whether a different opinion or attitude exists, everything is noticeable in our community. God pushed me to make decisions – to step out of my comfort zone and to be vulnerable. Making a choice to live for God, for others and to keep out selfishness. I am learning that this is only possible through prayer and spending time with people. It takes time, effort and patience, but I am thankful to be part of this amazing team.

Gesa Woschetzky



Exiting the Sidelines

  |   Lecture Phase, Staff   |   No comment

“Forgive me for picking up what I’ve already laid down at your feet.”

77b19c95-0920-48d1-b4c3-75ef9fc753e2“I surrender”. Why does saying that seem so hard? Why does it seem like such a struggle to agree to let go of something, and totally hand it over to God? I mean, you would think that we would be able to trust the one who gave us this life in the first place; the one who had a plan for us from the beginning, the one who knows us better than we even know ourselves. You would think that we would be able to trust that He has His best intentions with everything He guides us to. After all, our dreams and desires came from Him anyway. When we look at it like this, and understand the truths we already know, we should be able to stand before Him open handed and feel at peace with where He is leading us, with the trials we are currently facing and the trials we know we are yet to face.

You might be reading this thinking about surrendering something yourself, you might be battling with something right now that you just can’t seem to let go of, or maybe you’re reading this and can’t relate to a word I am saying; maybe to you, surrendering is something you have already battled with and are now content with doing.

As for me, I personally have been challenged beyond what I had imagined since being here on staff and one of the biggest things that has challenged me is with surrendering; surrendering my selfish desires to God, my dreams, my plans, and my personal “needs” to Him; surrendering what I would like to happen, to what actually is. Surrendering to the now.

_A0A8164In battling with this I have learnt that in order to surrender, I need to agree to stop fighting, hiding and resisting, because I know that I will not win or succeed in doing so. In fact, I am only making the challenge even harder on myself by not just taking a deep breath, letting go and letting God. I’m learning that, as we are told in 2 Chronicles 20:15, “the battle is not ours, but God’s”. So then why do I/ we allow ourselves to believe it is? Why do we try to fight so hard?

I recently had a great conversation about God putting us through trials recently and that every challenge we face is actually just another step, to something greater, to growing higher and stronger in whatever life throws at us. I find that we stand on that step, in that trial and often think that this is the worst thing that could be happening, we look at the worst of every situation, every struggle, every burden. I find that very rarely, someone will go through pain and say, “Thank you God for this challenge. Thank you for this fight.” But in the long run, if we go through trials with faith that we can get through it, we will be strong to fight the next, and the next, and be able to run up the staircase of challenges. We just need to believe that it is not in our control.

Similarly, surrendering something to God is a challenge, it isn’t easy. And in this, I’m learning to not just linger around on the same step, ignoring the fact I need to surrender, but to hold on to the hope that God has promised me, the hope that he has a plan and a purpose for me and that he knows my heart’s desires and dreams.

And so I want to finish with this question, a quote from a book I have recently read, “it’s a war. Are you going to sit on the sidelines or get up and fight in this?”. Are you going to wait for the “right time” to surrender, for the “sign” to be given, or are you going to rise up, raise your arms, and lay it down? Because why stress about something that isn’t in your hands?

-Mandy Griffin



All the details matter to God

  |   DTS, Reportback   |   No comment

IMG_0336Reportback has been great so far. Although I am ready to go back to my family, I realize that this week is very important. I have had time to relax and have quiet times with God. I have also had time to plan out what I am going to do next in life. The staff have planned out sessions for us that have been very helpful to make us aware of what it will be like when we get home and how to deal with that.

IMG_0438This has also been a time to meet new people and reunite with our school. It was so fun the first few days, sleeping on the dock, having pool parties, and getting ready for graduation with a nail painting party. It´s been great to be able to the April school and share some wisdom that we received during our DTS, also to hear the amazing things God is doing in their lives.

  • Tonya Martin

Tonya Martin, Alberta Canada, 06/29/1997, 18 yrs


I don´t change, you do

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12400916_10208275572758154_8299365458880537254_nAs I was going to bed the other night God spoke this little sentence to me. These 5 words opened up my eyes. I was convinced that God would change his ways for me, that I can get my way and just pick and choose how I want my life to look. I caught myself thinking that I know what is best. I want to decide things for myself; I want to be independent yet I still say I want God in my life. I want God but I don’t always want to make the sacrifice that follows the choice. I want the fairytale story without any bumps I want a happy ending.

13055325_946825202097351_1251749021167974721_nGod is steadfast. He has given us promises that will never change, he is the same on our good days and our bad days, his love never changes for us, he is our cornerstone on whom we build. God never changes. 

This is a very comforting fact about God because it gives us the ability to trust in him, we can count on him. When he promises to give us hope and a future, he does. When he tells us he loves us, he does and nothing we do or don’t do changes that. He is unchangeable! He is the same today as he was decades ago. God does not change.

12687982_10208501656490106_188347837439094333_nTherefore we are the ones who must change. As we grow in our relationship with Christ we change, not because we get brainwashed or forced to. The reason we seek God is because we want to be like him. I know that God is way better than me yet I still find myself wanting to decide. As I seek God and my desire is to follow him, his desires become my desires mine does not become His. As we grow in our relationship to Him we will not be able to avoid change, change is the very reason we seek God.

As I recognize these things to be true I am filled with humility and my fear of change dwindles. The fact that I am changing is evidence that I have relationship with Christ and I am becoming more like him. How cool is that! Our God is so big, we will never understand him fully and we will never win a battle against him. So stop fighting and embrace the change, it might feel uncomfortable but it is a good thing.

  • Siemona Kongsgaard