Change of attitude – Change of heart

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DP3Satisfaction through God has been an area of growth for me over the past six weeks. The first evening I arrived here, my brain was numb. It was dark, hot, and a brief walk through town confirmed that this place was not anything like my home land. When our water taxi left town and headed for my future residence, I was mentally calculating how far from home I was getting. There was no going back.

For the next few weeks I battled various cravings from home and looked for similarities to cling to. I made a two page list in my journal of food I wanted to eat at home. It was constantly hot and humid outside, which clung to me like a second skin.  Showers were cold, and the fountain sounds kept me awake at night. Paradise.

My internal attitude was not great at the beginning; I was comparing and criticizing many facets of the base. Then, after speaking with one of our leaders, my attitude began to change. They told me when some familiarities are taken away, God will replace them with new things that are unique to the area. We can finddpscenery_635840780886082673_Afterlight_Edit contentment through Him. Armed with this knowledge, the process of attitude adjustment was gradual. I began to look for things unique to our base and the town of San Pedro. The stars are magnificent here, and the sunrises spectacular. Beans and rice is a meal I quite enjoy. The pineapple and bananas are delicious. Cold showers are still cold showers – but hey, at least we have them. By opening my eyes to the wonderful things God has provided in this place, my cravings for things at home have waned. There are still challenges  presented – don’t get me wrong, but I know contentment is possible.

Now with this knowledge I hope to go to my outreach in Zambia with an open mind. Again the culture, climate, and cuisine will be foreign. But instead of comparing or criticizing it for not fitting into my box of familiarities, Zambia can be a whole new experience.


  • Sydney Gabbey

Sydney Gabbey, Alberta Canada, 11/01/1997, 18 yrs

An Ode to Ecuador 

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Thank you, God, for Quito.
For displaying Your glory through the mountains
For providing such a welcome home. For a fantastic New Years Eve
For introducing us to Jose Luis, our Man of Peace
And Quito’s oregano tea. The hills that leave us breathless walking up
The new believers. Your growing church. For our godchildren
For unifying the team.


Thank you, God, for Atecames.
For the beautiful ocean. The delicious seafood.
For the school that brought us so much joy and radiated Jesus
And leading us in Your direction. For the need to fight for our team.
Thank you, God, for Manta.
For the huge crashing waves and the natural flavored ice cream.
For inspiring children who want to share your love
For teaching us a million different ways to share the Gospel.
For always being there, even when we can’t see it
For challenging us to always want more of You
For teaching us patience.

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Thank you, God, for Pajan.
For the beautiful first look into the jungle.
For a welcoming community. Strangers turned family.
Sharing your love through skits, testimonies, songs.
For long hikes through the jungle to spread your love.
For a group of youths involved in Your church and so in love with You
For deep relationships even with a language barrier.
Thank you, God, for Puyo.
For it’s wonder. For the zoo and zip lining over cliffs and the jungle.
For excellent mora juice
For welcoming house parents who want to bless us
For a church community thriving, showing us it’s possible
For jungle ministry and baptisms
For spontaneous multi-language worship sessions.

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Thank you, God, for Quito.
For more (literally) breathtaking views. For a safe haven home.
For dump ministry and soup kitchens
For giving us boldness to speak
For long workdays and midnight homeless ministry
For the mountains and alpaca blankets.
For a bittersweet goodbye to our Ecuadorian family, Andrea and Jose.
Thank you, God, for Ecuador.
For it’s beauty- both land and people
For making it the perfect place to stretch us, to mold us, to grow us
For letting us show love
For it’s welcoming spirit, always asking us to return
For a phenomenal time.

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Thank you, God, for my team.
For the fantastic leaders who stretched us.
For Jose and Andrea, our joined team members. Not only translators, but family.
For our unity and love for each other
For a family I’ll never forget and never want to leave.
Thank you, God, for your faithfulness and undying love.
Maddy Ackermann

God has chosen you

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John 15,16: „You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.“


Choosing to do a DTS with YWAM definitely wasn’t one of the easiest decision I have taken in my life. Other friends I know already knew they would do a DTS a year in advance, but I was held back by something. On one side I was comfortable in my workplace, with my friends, with my money and I did not want to give it up for a DTS. On the other hand, I wanted a deeper relationship with God. I like to travel and wanted to experience Gods glory in a new way. I asked God about what to do next.

He answered me promptly. I remember I asked him at the end of July, and I got a clear reply by the beginning of August. After I told my family and my friends about my plans to do a DTS, God suddenly revealed Himself to me as a provider. He supplied all the finances I needed for my DTS. So I asked myself: what you are doing Denis? What is holding you back from doing a this school?

It is not that easy. Back home I worked for my fathers company. I had the position as a sales manager and was responsible for sales and businesses in new markets. Right after I had received the support from God for a DTS my dad offered me a new position in the company. The company was looking for a new product manager. During my 4 years of university and working experience I learned a lot about technical requirements, marketing, and retail of products. I assumed that this oppurtinity was perfect for me, and I should take it. If I would have accepted the new position I would not have been able to quit my job for a longer period of time, that would mean: NO DTS!


There was my obstacle again. I started praying over the situation and asked God for wisdom and guidance. I did not get a clearer reply than I received before when he provided everything for the DTS. Sadly my reasonable way of thinking was still holding me back. I asked myself questions like: Why should I spend all the money on a DTS? Why should I reject this great opportunity to get a job as a product manager? What about my future career? What will others think about me if I spend 5 months of my life to build a deeper relationship with God? What is more important, a good income, a safe job and a good car, or living 5 months with people you do not know somewhere in another country and probably sleeping in the dirt? I had reasonable answers for those questions in my mind, but they were all arguments against the DTS.

Nevertheless, I had a deep desire and passion to learn more about Jesus and serving him, even more than before, but I waited to make my decision. At the end of November, I finally decided to do a DTS in 2016. I looked up different bases around the world. YWAM Belize came to my mind, because a friend in the USA told me about it. After I searched the website of YWAM in Belize, I was surprised by the name of their website: YWAMDP.ORG. My initials are DP for Denis Pätz. God is funny. I decided immediately that this was the place where I wanted to go.


As a result, I wrote my application and received my acceptance from them. It was already the beginning of December 2015. After the last preparations and an awesome Christmas time with my family, I started traveling to Belize in the beginning of January, and after a long travel, and overnight stay at an airport, I arrived in San Pedro.

I remember that awesome feeling of excitement and thankfulness when I arrived at the YWAM campus and saw the other DTS students for the first time. Somehow God created an atmosphere in the first week where we felt like a family. Each of us were so open and desired to build a community that was outstanding. All of us came to YWAM DP with open hearts, ready to receive Gods gifts and fruits. A family that is chasing Jesus with all their heart and soul is a huge gift for every single person here. God completely rocked our lifes in the first few weeks.

For me it was so worth it, to leave my comfort zone. I am sure my journey with God is just starting. He is an awesome and great God, whose acts are unpredictable, but glorious.


If you read this blog and you are thinking about doing a DTS, let me encourage you that Jesus will guard you and provide for what you need, because He will never let his disciples down. Even if the DTS, or any other bible school, is unreasonable and unattractive in the worldy view, do it for yourself and not your friends, collegues, or classmates. It will change your life and you will grow like a tree next to a river.

God already chose you. Now choose Him.


Dennis Paetz

Denis Pätz, Saxony Germany,  04/07/1992, 23 yrs

A community of love

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Here’s a week with Team Ecuador
Things we did, food we ate, and more
God’s moving a lot
Just like we thought
He’s the victor of spiritual war

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Tuesday began with a frown
The fast pace and high altitude bringing us down
We ate comfort grilled cheese
Fruit for vitamin C
Then encouraged each person to turn the mood ‘round

On Wednesday we shoveled some rocks
For the new church addition, we broke concrete wall blocks
We also served lunch
Compassion feeds kids a bunch
Then we topped it all off with Fantastic Mr. Fox

British Jack’s birthday was fun
More meal distribution, labour under the sun
Mad and Sofie, they baked
Double chocolate cake
Filled with dulche de leche! Yum.

We packed for our move the same night
Left big bags as collateral, for a change travelled light
Peaced from the hostel at dawn
Post scrambled eggs and a yawn
Journeying to Puyo jungle delight

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Upon arrival we drank mora juice, had chicken and rice
A dish that’s repeated a few times more than twice
Next came children’s ministry
With song and dance creating sweat-city
Working alongside local programs was refreshing, ’twas nice

A favorite of our team meals so far
Was dinner on Friday: taco salad bar
No morsel went to waste
Though we ate in haste
As the girls left the church with their homestays via car

The boys went for ice cream and crashed in the chapel quite late
So waking up for the 5 am prayer meeting was great
All prayed up a storm
With the atmosphere warm
Then we went on to Saint’s house, learned of missionary Nate

A somber tale of 5 men washing ashore
And wives left behind, hearts sunk to kitchen floor

It’s not just life or death, He is more

Onto the army base with wildlife sanctuary
We walked to cheetahs and pumas devouring meat
Toucans and macaws yelled
Old turtles were held
And only a handful of us were sprinkled by monkey pee


To an indigenous tribe we drove
Expected to just visit but no
Get on your feet!
Two hour children’s program, lead!
Then booked it to baptisms at the pastor’s home

Eat empanadas that make your lips smack
Exhausted from the day, hope to nap
Spontaneous worship session
Deep Bible lesson
Hangout with youth group, play hacky sack

Finish Sunday 18 hours later
With fries, burgers so still smiling at our Saviour
Chicas rise early
Swing on ropes from trees burly
Living on the edge with no fear of haters

Traverse onwards to Banos post church
Cross waterfall-ful valleys on zip lines, stomach lurch
Swan dive off of bridges
Check boxes of wishes
Successful fulfillment of adrenaline search

Today closes the week
Back in Quito with breakfast pastries
We spent hours planning
For ministry spanning
The remainder of this South America streak

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The highlight for me
Was being blessed to see
A community of love
Influenced from above
Demonstrated by immeasurable hospitality

Michelle Chan

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The Big Picture

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Since leaving Belize and arriving in Costa Rica, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the words, “so there’s been a change of plans.” Travel here was filled with many ups and downs causing us to quickly swtich from Plan A to Plan H. In preparation for this outreach, our team was greatly encouraged to “hold things with open hands,” and let me tell you, that got out into practice faster than any of us expected. The first day of ministry began with a one mile walk to a coffee tree farm. There we spend 7 hours daily, clearly the land by cutting down and digging up the tree roots. This property is owned by an organization called Strong Ministries. They are immersed and well involved in the community around it. The farm, once no longer covered in trees, will be used as extra space for Strong Ministries to host missionary groups and events.


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During the past couple weeks, it’s been difficult to see the big picture in clearing that tree farm. Being there in the moment I was struggling with God. Telling Him that I was wanting to be touching people’s lives first hand, sharing with them the love He has shown me and not digging up stumps. As I was chopping down a rotten tree with Shahnee, God responded to me by telling me that if I was off somewhere else sharing with people, than the people that are going to find God through the development of that land would not find Him. I am apart of the stepping stones for God’s kingdom to come in Costa Rica. If I decide I don’t want to develop that land, than how will those coming here, ever come. My expectations were different than what God had planned for our ministry, but that’s the beauty of Plan H. God’s kingdom will come to Costa Rica and if I want to be apart of that than all I have to do is say “okay God, use me.” Even if God using me means spending 3 hours hitting one tree with a machete. The irony in all of this is that Audrey (a.k.a. Mom) was wearing a t-shirt that reads, “The Big Picture.” God sees the big picture and I get to be in it, all I have to say is “okay God.”


Stephanie Braaksma

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