As the time for my Medical DTS got closer, I assumed that I would be arriving in Kona and jumping straight into medical seminars and trainings about how to be a medical missionary. I was SO wrong.
DTS was so full of love, joy, and excitement about life when you walk with God. It taught me how to heal my heart and how to see the world from a Christian Biblical worldview, something I didn’t even know existed before. I am so grateful that my assumptions of what a DTS consisted of were wrong.
My DTS prepared me so well for encountering God and walking with Him on a daily basis. This was exactly what I needed when it came to participating on an outreach to Papua New Guinea. So many things happened in my two months abroad. The highlight for me was seeing God move in my daily life.
Seeing Him love, support, and provide for me as well as those around me in ways I didn’t even know were possible. He is a REAL God who wants a REAL relationship with me and seeing that come to fruition is something I will never forget.
While both lecture phase and outreach were amazing, they both came with their own set of difficulties. Each were taxing, both emotionally and physically, and they pushed me farther than I ever thought I could go. I had emotional hurts from my past brought up. At the time it felt terrible and unnecessary, but after being able to deal with them and work through them, I now realize just how necessary it was.
That’s what the lecture phase did for me. It healed parts of my heart and soul that I didn’t realize were broken. If that was all I got out of the last 5 months, then it was absolutely worth it.
As for the outreach phase, well, that was WAY harder than I anticipated. The work we did and the ministries we carried out were tough, but the toughest thing for me was feeling like I had nothing. Feeling alone and so disconnected made me feel sad and depressed quite regularly. During those times and during those struggles, God really showed me that when I feel alone, or worthless, and like I have nothing, that I’m wrong.
I’ll ALWAYS have Him. Outreach taught me that as long as I have God, then I have all I need. Let me expand a bit and share a story of how God provided for me in a CRAZY way.
My first month in PNG was the hardest. This was when I felt isolated and alone. I loved what we were doing, but all I wanted was to go home. I battled with these feelings daily; sometimes I was able to overcome them, and sometimes they took over completely.
During my second month, my team and I moved onboard the medical ship m/v Pacific Link. I still felt awful, alone and miserable but after those first few days, I met a woman named Ellie. She’s my age and is the medical coordinator on the ship.
The first day I met her, she was talking during orientation and made a few jokes that I thought were quite hilarious. Over the course of the next few days Ellie and I grew closer and the more we hung out, the more we felt like God had ordained our friendship from the start.
However, it wasn’t until we sat and talked one day that I realized just how much God’s hand was on our friendship. Ellie and I realized that when I was supposed to come to the ship, she was actually supposed to go home on vacation. We weren’t supposed to have met at all, but her replacement cancelled, which meant her vacation was canceled as a result.
Ellie is now one of my best friend and despite the short time I’ve known her, it feels as though I’ve known her my entire life. It really is incredible and it was like meeting her was God’s way of saying “I know what you went through. I know it was hard, but you trusted Me, and I had this person, this BEST friend, waiting for you all along.”
Since arriving home, I know that I’m the same me I always was, but the difference is I know who I am now. Not just who I am, rather who I am in Christ. I know who He has made me to be and I stand tall in my knowledge of that. I walk with Him daily and He is my strength; and while this does make me see my life in a different way, it is absolutely all for the better.
DTS didn’t just affect me though; it has affected those around me as well. They see a difference in me that they can’t quite explain, and that difference is God.
My God isn’t some all powerful, all knowing being in Heaven who watches to make sure we do and say the right things; a God who doesn’t intervene here on Earth. Rather, my God is my father and my friend. He wants a relationship with me. He wants to walk with me, lead me, and help me. He wants to rejoice with me in times of happiness and comfort me in times of sadness. My God meets me where I’m at, accepts me for who I am, and loves me no matter what.
Now that I’m home, one of the big questions I get asked is, “Was it worth it? Are you glad you went?” The answer is yes. Absolutely, 100%. Undeniably, YES. It wasn’t what I expected; it wasn’t what I thought, but it was better. DTS and YWAM has helped heal me, strengthen me, guide me, and learn who I really am. For that, I will be forever grateful.
So after all of that, my parting words for you would be this…
I don’t care who you are.
I don’t care about your age.
I don’t care where you live.
I don’t care what you do.
None of it matters.
God is good ALL the time and doing a DTS, joining YWAM, it’s one of the most difficult, amazing, trying, and rewarding times you’ll ever experience.
So take a leap of faith and do it.
You won’t be sorry.
Port YWAM Kona Medical DTS Alumna