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How Outreach Changed My Life

 

Outreach In a Nutshell:

My outreach was in Lebanon – in Beirut and in a smaller village called Damour. The first part of outreach, we were trained in how to share the gospel with people from a Muslim background. In Damour, we helped with children’s ministries, we prayed for people on the streets, visited the homes of the refugees and mainly worked in a school for Syrian refugee children. While working in the school, we learned about the background of the children and really grew to understand their hearts. We were teaching them in English and Math, and also leading chapel times where we got to share the gospel with the kids each day. At first, I was really intimidated by this. But then I started getting more comfortable and learned to use fun activities and visuals to teach them Bible stories and truths about Jesus. Through that, I myself really grew and became more confident. This transformed me because as I prepared to teach the kids, I grew in my understanding of Scripture, and it changed the way I lived and read the Bible. I wasn’t just reading the Bible anymore, I was taking it in in a new way that became more alive and gave me a deeper understanding.

[Places we have sent outreaches as YWAM San Jose: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Poland, England, Hungary, Romania, Uganda, Mozambique, Turkey, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Belgium, China, Thailand, and Hong Kong.]

Personal Growth on Outreach:

Since going on outreach, I’m more confident speaking with people who don’t speak the same language as me. My views of people from the Middle East, especially refugees, has totally changed. Before outreach, my perspective of the Middle East was just war and constant conflict. I thought that all the people were mean, and I thought they hated Americans or anyone that wasn’t part of their culture. As far as refugees, I thought they were people who left their countries just for a better life. I didn’t realize that they were being forced to leave, or that they would lose their life if they didn’t. Now that I’ve spent time with them, I see that they are such a warm and welcoming people. They want to know you, and they want to share their story, their culture, and their background with you. They’re so hungry for truth and for real hope. They’re ready to hear about Jesus and give their lives to Him.

My Goals Now Compared to Before:

Before DTS, my only goals were to get high, make money and look good.  That was it. I was a very lost, unsatisfied person. I was angry and emotionless. But DTS and outreach completely changed my life. My dreams and goals now are to learn and grow more in the Word and to learn more about the culture of Lebanon, because one day I want to go back, I want to be part of what God is doing there. I want to see people coming alive for Jesus in Lebanon, and see a fire start there, an explosion of Jesus and His truth.

Outreach Challenges:

The most challenging part of outreach for me was disciplining myself to make time to spend alone with God every day. This was a challenge because we worked really hard in ministry, and we were preparing chapels and worksheets for our school teachings every day, and at the end of each school day we were pretty tired. The other challenge was just living in close quarters with everyone. You couldn’t hide from conflict or confrontation, so I was challenged to confront people and work things out in my relationships with my outreach team members. I’ve learned how to work better with people, to be a team player, to forgive, and not hold offenses. I’ve truly learned to become slow to anger.

The Best Part of Outreach:

My favorite part of outreach was all of us as a team living together, being a family. Every week just being able to talk with each other about what we were going through, praying for each other, and walking through everything together. We were all so real with each other. Even though we didn’t all have the same struggles, we all had different things we were dealing with, and we were there for each other. That was something that I never really had in my life. To feel comfortable talking about what I was going through with others, and to feel like I was accepted and not judged.

To anyone who is thinking about doing a DTS, I would say go and get out of your comfort zone. Even if you’re scared, you should do it. It’s so much better than you can even imagine.

 

Email us at dts@ywamsj.org for more info, or check out the DTS page on our website here: https://ywamsj.org/en/dts/

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Life at YWAM San José

This week we had a Q & A with one of our full-time volunteer staff members to give you a glimpse of what it’s like as part of the community here at YWAM San José in Costa Rica.

Emma is 20 years old, hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She’s charming, unpredictable, and one of the most dedicated, servant-hearted humans you’ll ever meet. She brings a contagious joy to our community and this is what she has to say about living life here at YWAM San José…

Q: Why did you join staff at YWAM San José?

A: I was a wee little 18 year old when I came to do my DTS. I was straight out of high school, crazy and ready for adventure, but I wasn’t quite sure of what I wanted to do with my life. When I was towards the end of my DTS, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do when I got home and I remember the option being open to come back on and join the staff here at the base. I thought of how awesome of an opportunity it would be for me. I was really close to a lot of the staff who were already working here and I didn’t think I was ready to to go home yet. While on my DTS outreach, I was juggling two options. I could go home, work, be with my family and my friends, make money, do what I want when I want… you know, those kind of things (I’m an independent woman ya know). Then I had a second option of coming back on staff and staying in Costa Rica – not having an income necessarily, but being in a place where I knew that I would grow in my relationship and dependency on God. So yeah, there were these two, very different options I had and I was really really split down the middle of which I should choose. I spent time making that decision in a lot of prayer and seeking God for what He wanted me to do, and also thinking, if I go home or if I stay, which place am I going to grow more in this time? For some people at that time, it was going home, but for me I just knew that I needed to stay longer. I needed to be pushed more outside my comfort zone than just being in my culture that I was used to. Overall, the reason I came back on staff was because I believe God told me to be here and love the people here. I love Costa Rica and I want to grow more.

Q: What is life like at YWAM San José?

A: I would say that life in San Jose is far from ordinary… you get all these different cultures and all these people from all over the world and different ages thrown into one little mix of a family. It creates for a very interesting context.

Q: What’s something unique here?

A: I think the first thing that I noticed when I came to do my DTS was that there is just so many people that were surrounding me and they were willing and wanting to help me grow you know? You could just kind of feel in the atmosphere at the base that there is something different, right.. and it’s the way that people handled each other and talked with one another and accepted one another. Overall, it’s how they interact with each other which is different than anything I’ve seen before and people are just so loving and accepting here.

Q: What’s it like with so many cultures living together?

A: There’s so many different cultures, different people, different age groups… these can get a little crazy around here. Many of the different cultures here didn’t understand my sense of humor at first. I had to learn how to word my jokes in a way that was more receiving to others.
I couldn’t go around and as sarcastic as I was used to being. Another cultural difference was time. You got the North Americans and Europeans that are here who like things in order and on time and then you got all the Latinos who, well time isn’t necessarily as important to them as it is to us as far as being on time. You just have different values in each culture and different understandings between what different things mean, so it’s interesting to see all these different cultures come together and learn to love one another and learn to organize and learn to work together. It’s this really fun thing, I would say the best place to be is where it’s interesting and fun… it could be hard, it could be frustrating at times or whatever, but I think if you look at it from my point of view where it’s really interesting and fun trying to learn how to work together with these different cultures it puts a better, lighter mood on it.

Q: What’s your favorite part about YWAM San José?

A: We eat rice and beans with every meal and thats super cool… No but really my favorite thing is the people. The community and family that I have here. People always want to help me grow and they care about how I’m doing. I just have such a great support system here and friends that I wouldn’t find in any other place. People are also so supportive of my gifts and passions and encourage me to pursue my dreams.

Q: What do you love most about Costa Rica?

A: I shouldn’t say people again… but, I really love how nice and welcoming the people are here. I also really like the beautiful mountains they have here and the best breakfast dish, Gallo pinto… look it up… its delicious. But my favorite thing about anywhere is the people. I really like the culture, and the way people are easy-going and forgiving… “pura vida!”

Q: What’s the most challenging part about being here?

A: I miss Chicago deep dish pizza. I like the food here, but it is definitely different than home. Probably the biggest challenge though is that sometimes people back home don’t fully understand why I’m here, and it’s a challenge to live in a culture not my own. To be in a place where I can’t go out whenever I want or be with my friends back home. When I go on social media and see all the fun things my friends are doing back home it can be hard. I see that they are all hanging out and are all together and I’m missing from the group. It’s easy to feel lonely or left out, but then I have to remind myself that I’m living in Costa Rica serving God and have friends here who have become like family to me.

YWAM San José is a multi-cultural place where you can grow, create friendships, eat lots of rice and beans, and experience love and acceptance. If you want to experience this crazy, awesome place for yourself, you can come and join.
Click “HERE” for more info!

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How DTS gave me purpose.

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.