To be honest I didn’t really know what I was in for or what to expect, all I knew is that I had quit my full time high profile job to do a discipleship training school (dts) for the next 5 ½ months in a city I had briefly visited once…
I had chosen the Pacific DTS as I love the people and the culture of the South Pacific, I saw this school as an opportunity to get know more about their culture, their beliefs, way of life and yes, more of Jesus.
Little did I know that I wasn’t just going to be learning about the South Pacific culture, songs and dance, but I had a lot of learning, stretching, and growing to go through myself.
God was quick and very clear to highlight key area’s that I needed to really work on. There was plenty of shedding of the old self to do. There was plenty of learning to let go and let God, which meant lots of tears, but so much sweet JOY that was gained from finally letting go.
There were two main areas I felt were highlighted to me.
1. Removing the lies I had believed most of my life about myself
2. Fixing my skewed view of my identity in Christ.
You see, when I was in high school I had felt like I never measured up to the rest of the girls. I spent decades feeling over looked, which transferred into my 20’s and 30’s.
In the beginning of DTS I had an opportunity to work through those deep feelings and insecurities. Yes, it was hard and there were a lot of tears, a lot of emotion and frustration at times too, but the process was a bit easier with the support of my fellow dts students and staff. I knew I was in a safe place with like-minded people and for once in my life I felt loved by strangers who quickly became new friends and who became extended family to me.
The second phase of DTS is outreach! I went to Papua New Guinea and I was blown away by the people, their generosity, love and kindness towards me.
When visiting villages, I found it incredibly hard to receive gifts from the beautiful people. I saw how little they had, yet how much they wanted to bless me and my fellow team through hospitality and gifts. I really wrestled with accepting this generosity. Part of me just wanted to say ‘no, you keep it, you and your family need this rice more than I do.” I felt so overwhelmed and humbled, God really wanted to bless me through using His people. It was like He was saying to me “Let me show you what I can do through all my people.” And that is exactly what He did.
I was incredibly blessed to have had incredible people on my team to journey through this lesson with me. They were like my family to me and still are two years later. Our team encountered many trials, but united we stood as we trusted God and He answered prayers first hand. I loved seeing God work in each situation we faced.
I am incredibly thankful for the experience I had on my DTS. The growth I received during my time in Townsville and on outreach was amazing. I can say my relationship with Christ grew so much deeper. Two years later and my relationship with God has only gone from strength to strength! God is SO good.
Erin Ford is from Toowoomba, Aus, QLD. She graduated her DTS in December of 2014.