Every year a few million people turn 18 years old, and from my experience, most of them feel very uncertain about what to do once they hit that milestone and become an adult. For most, society has already dictated their future for them based on their school grades, family situation, and social class.
This January, an 18-year old from Quebec, Canada, chose to embark on the 6-month journey of the Groundbreakers DTS (along with eleven other students ranging from 18-49 years old), in search of God. Last weekend, he graduated from the DTS as a completely changed person, and today we have the pleasure of sharing his transformation story with you.
Before DTS, Fred lived a life without joy, and he felt like he was going nowhere with his life, “Nothing had flavor. Just go to school because you have to. It felt worthless. I was addicted to certain things and didn’t know how to get out of them. Back then it didn’t even feel like addiction because it was such a normal part of my life. I was trying to find God in the midst of everything but didn’t know how to do it.”
He didn’t know much about DTS before coming, but his mom suggested it to him and he applied a couple months before the start date. When asked why he came, he responded, “I was sick of college and felt like everything I was studying was of no interest to me. So I told my mom, and she told me about this program called DTS. It seemed like the right moment, to get out of that hole [I was living in], and be forced to rely on God. Back home it was so easy because I had a job, I had money, I had friends, and I didn’t need God. So I came here to rely on Him. I didn’t know anything about Costa Rica, I didn’t know much about God or living in community. It was a last call to God.”
When Fred arrived for DTS, God truly answered that cry for help. He experienced God like he never had before, “Before I came here, I don’t think I really believed that God speaks to us. I believed the Bible, but not that it was really still accurate – like God doing miracles and speaking to us. Then I came, and I experienced how God is real. I know now that God is reaching out to us. He wants to be with me, He wants to speak with me. On the first night, Giacomo (the campus director) spoke about simple obedience. That’s something that stuck with me during the whole DTS. Every time I felt God was asking something of me that seemed too big, I would think about simple obedience. I’m taking that home with me, the feeling that I want to be obedient. It’s a decision I make every morning.”
Because of his decision to live a life of obedience to God, Fred completely transformed. His face changed, and he became so joyful all the time, “I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t even feel like it’s me anymore. I hear conversations I have with people and it doesn’t even sound like me. I think God just put a huge amount of joy in me, and a desire to know Him. It’s like God looked at every aspect of my life, every part of my personality, and He puts part of Himself in each part of me, so I feel like I’m changing every day a little bit more.”
One of the best parts about DTS is that you have a safe place to talk about, process, and begin living out your dreams and goals. The teachings and the community environment help you grow and challenge you to think about what you really want in life, “A huge dream that was put in my heart is to become super intimate with God – to feel like I’m in a constant, never-ending conversation [with God]. I no longer want to please only myself – have a little house, a wife and kids, and a dog. I feel like my goals have changed and that whatever God asks of me, I want to do that. It’s funny because my biggest dream now is to have a role to play, in which God asks me to sacrifice things, [to receive something greater that He has for me.]”
When Fred came, he was coming from a life without joy, far from God. At the end of DTS, this is what he’s taking with him, “…a huge thirst for God’s Word, a feeling that I want to dig in more, to understand everything that’s between the lines. I’m taking home a new love for my parents and my friends, a new perspective of work, and my relationships with my colleagues and bosses. I feel like I’m not alone when I go back home, but God is with me and I’m bringing Him along. I hope to be a light in my family and my group of friends.”
As Fred returns to Quebec, he goes home a changed man, with greater joy, new dreams and goals, and direction in his life, “One of the reasons college was so tiring for me was because I felt like I had no purpose. I was studying something that gave me no joy. Coming here, it made me realize it makes sense that I don’t want to just do one thing for my whole life. I want to be a missionary. I’m going back to study carpentry, and I believe God will use it for the advancement of the Kingdom.”
As YWAM San José, our vision is to raise up relevant leaders who will transform society, and we couldn’t be more grateful with how God has transformed so many lives like that of Fred, through our DTS program. If you’re looking for greater purpose in life, we invite you to apply for one of our Discipleship Training Schools. You can learn more about DTS here.