What did I learn during DTS?
To answer that I will go back to the beginning with the most popular question: why do a DTS? I used to think coming to do this was because God wanted to uproot me from the life I was living for myself and plant me in soil rich in His blessing, surrounded by His noticeable love every day – the perfect greenhouse – to produce better fruit in my life. I still believe that is true, but now that I have a whole new understanding of myself I believe He placed something special within me that maybe I was only getting further away from discovering in the life I used to live.
DTS challenged me in so many ways.
Beginning straight to my core, the security blanket of lies I once held so dear were ripped up before me and I was fully dependent on God to carry my vulnerable soul, trusting every day that I would remember who my identity is in Him. It challenged me in my favourite way of dealing with issues or life changes by not allowing me to run away anymore.
Who I am as a nurse was challenged during outreach in Papua New Guinea onboard the YWAM Medical Ship. Then, just when I thought I had enough, the world around me crumbled when I found out my granny had passed away while I was on outreach. “That’s enough,” I thought “I have reached my breaking point. I have learned enough. I don’t want to go through anymore. I am done.”
It was at this moment that God began highlighting the world around me, a world that actually did not crumble. He blessed me with new eyes to see and ears to hear from Him. He reminded me the common theme that each challenge had: not only had I been able to overcome them, but I was able to do so with joy. The love of my leaders, the staff on the YWAM Medical Ship and my outreach team were all there for me, their belief in me kept moving me forward. With each challenge, I learned about the nearness of God by never having to look far for a hand to hold, shoulder to cry on, or person to laugh with.
The journey of my identity culminated while on our last week of outreach in Papua New Guinea.
I stood before a village of youth in Vabukori and was able to share my journey from thinking I was a lonely, invisible girl to having the confidence and boldness to stand before them and share my story.
DTS did not give me a new identity, it just created the environment: a safe, loving, free space for my guards to be let down.
Each staff member on campus, each speaker, my leaders, and my fellow students were all there to walk this journey with me and to lift me up.
DTS did not give me a new pair of glasses, but it has refreshed my lenses and showed me a whole new perspective of seeing the world that has always been around me. During DTS I was never given a list of what is right and what is wrong and how to live “correctly.” I was given the freedom to express myself and enter into my very own personal relationship with God all while being supported, encouraged, and prayed for by DTS leaders, staff, and fellow students. It gave me the freedom to find my own truth.
When I was considering what to say about what DTS means to me I got the word: discovery. This has been a rich time of self-discovery; discovering my potential, and discovering new ways of life with so many different people being thrown into many different circumstances. We even discovered a whole new area of Papua New Guinea with the YWAM Medical Ship on outreach. I believe what has started here in all of us can only propel us further into the future and deeper into the plans God has for us. So, let us not forget what He has done and what this means for our lives. I believe our impact is not something the world will ever forget.