I was a Senior in High School and 17 when I decided I would not be doing a YWAM DTS.
Never mind that I’d been considering it since I was about 10. Never mind that every time I thought of an adventure in a foreign country my heart pounded with excitement. Never mind that inkling that I had that maybe this was something important for me to do. I was worried about falling behind in my studies, in my career. Starting college late? Missing out on making money? Doing a YWAM DTS could set me seriously behind in life. Who has time for that? As some sort of last chance compromise I rang a YWAM campus and told them that I would like to do a DTS – but only the outreach phase – as I had been accepted to University WITH a scholarship thankyouverymuch and only had time for the outreach. I had been a Christian all my life so I didn’t really need the lectures anyway. Really. Trust me. I’m a super nice person. They didn’t love that idea. In fact, it was a very adamant no. And so, slightly offended, I enrolled in Uni classes and found myself driving across the country with my dad that August where I’d become an official college student.
I was the oldest child and neither of my parents had been to University.
Self-employed, hard working and visionary people, truth be told, they didn’t need it. But it still held a sense of excitement to be the first in the family to take this step. It was everything I dreamed and more. Living with good friends, having more freedom than ever before, studying late at night at cafes. It was exciting! But even as I was thriving in so many ways, something inside me was beginning to wither. I was at a Christian university, surrounded by Christian friends, Christian teachers, Christian coworkers. And yet, I had never felt so dead in my faith. There was a girl living a few doors down who had just finished her YWAM DTS. She couldn’t stop talking about how great it was. And my goodness I wished she would just. stop. talking. Spending six months learning about God sounded draining, to be totally honest. My desire to do a YWAM DTS had well and truly died, right along with my dying insides.
It was at the end of my first year that I met someone who helped give me a perspective to what I was going through and challenged me in how I was defining my faith.
It was like he watered a seed inside of my heart that had been dead for a long, long time. Coming alive felt so good. I finally started to feel myself again. That summer, I went on an outreach with a team of fellow students and wouldn’t you know we ended up staying on a YWAM campus. I started to see that a YWAM DTS wasn’t just checking off a list on my Christianity, or something that would hold me back in my career.
Instead, I started to wonder – could this be essential to my future?
Could this be a chance to broaden my perspective, force me to learn to stand on my own, help me to understand my purpose in life and what I’m living for; a unique opportunity to grow in skills that I would never learn at University. I decided that I would finish my degree. I had invested so much already. But as soon as I finished, I was on an airplane to Australia where I (finally) started a YWAM DTS. It did not disappoint. No, it wasn’t too much “God time.” I loved every moment of it. My experience shaped me as a person in ways that summer camp, missions trips, and even University never had. I truly am a better person for my YWAM DTS experience and I’m so grateful I changed my mind.
Rebekah has been on staff here since 2005. In addition to being a mother of four, she is on the leadership team for YWAM Townsville and speaks on our training schools. She enjoys adventuring North Queensland with her family and is passionate about seeing people and nations filled with joy and life!