I’ve been involved in missions since I was an early teenager. I was familiar with the way things worked, and even if I was by myself or doing something incredibly new, I never had any fear in my heart. I would feel excitement over new adventures, or some adrenaline when I stepped off the plane, and this was all normal to me.
I arrived for my Discipleship Training School (DTS) last July. I had flown from my hometown in Texas to Kona, Hawaii for the very first time and I really had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t heard of YWAM before the summer of 2015, and then it was only a brief knowledge of their programs and one or two of their bases. I didn’t know anyone at the YWAM Ships base and as I grabbed my suitcases and loaded up into the van to take us to the base, I started feeling a little strange.
A Discipleship Training School is a 5-6 month season of time where you spend time learning all about ministry, about God, about His plan for you, and many other things. You then go on outreach to a different country usually and walk out what you’ve learned practically through ministry opportunities. I was eager to get a glimpse of what full-time ministry looked like as that was what I wanted to pursue in life.
I didn’t know much about YWAM in general even after I was accepted to my DTS. I knew the basic layout of what we would be doing, and what everything was about, but I still had very limited experience in the culture or lifestyle of YWAM and I wasn’t sure what the next few months of my life were going to look like.
My future classmates and I all got registered and were given a tour of the base, it was a much smaller quarter that summer so it wasn’t overrun by people – which, for an introvert like me, is great news. We had some free time that night to get settled in and rest up for the big orientation day tomorrow.
I went to my room and suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of regret and panic wash over me. I had never before regretted anything I’d done in this way. The thought of “I’m in the wrong place, I’ve done the wrong thing,” circled endlessly in my head. I was feeling out of place, alone, and terrified about the next five months of my life.
I was incredibly close to calling my travel agent and my mom and booking a flight back to my home state and simply forgetting I had ever tried to do this. I had no desire to stay for my DTS, no desire to meet the people on my team, and no desire to spend one more second in Hawaii. Eventually, I calmed myself down and spent some time with Jesus and convinced myself to stay for the weekend and reevaluate on Monday.
The next few days kept me quite busy. We were welcomed and oriented to life on base, had a base-wide beach day on Saturday, and spent some time with our fellow students on Sunday night. Monday morning rolled around and while I was feeling better, I still wasn’t completely sold on staying. I forget exactly who announced it, but a night of intercession was being held on Tuesday night in our prayer room. My ears perked up at this because I had been involved in the prayer team at my home church and it was something incredibly near and dear to my heart. I figured I would go and see if I could find some comfort in spending intentional time in prayer.
That Tuesday night intercession was what changed my mind.
It wasn’t because of anything huge or crazy, all in all it was probably a pretty normal night of prayer. But someone received a word from the Lord specifically for me and it changed everything. They said that this was a time of healing for me, that this would be where I would make life-long friendships and meet people who would change my life, that God was reviving the creativity in my heart that had grown dormant.
Every single thing that was said was spot on. Everything that I had prayed over the weekend since I had arrived was mentioned, every fear I had brought with me from my past was pushed out by love, and it felt like the Creator of the Universe was whispering directly in my ear.
I left that night with a vulnerable heart that had a glimmer of hope in it. My fears about being alone or in the wrong place were gone. The huge feeling of regret had slipped away. I looked at our weekly schedule that night and felt a little bit of hopeful anticipation instead of the dread I had been feeling.
I’m so glad I stayed. My DTS changed my life. I did meet wonderful people who became family to me. I did things that I never thought I would before. My heart was stretched and healed and it began to dream and wonder about things for the future. Opportunities that I thought were just a fairy tale became reality and I found a newness in life that hadn’t been in my heart before.
Doing a DTS can be terrifying to some people. It might even catch you by surprise like it did me. But don’t let those fears and worries and thoughts make you quit. Don’t buy into the lie that you aren’t supposed to be there, that you aren’t the right person for this season of time.
Draw in close to your leaders, to the people that have been placed around you. Step out and share about what’s been going on in your head, ask for prayer. Spend time with Jesus and let Him speak to you and relieve your fears even more. You’ll never know what’s going to happen in your heart and in your life through this time, you might find a new home, family, and path for your future.
By Brooke Everheart
Port YWAM Kona Communications Staff