What is a Discipleship Training School with YWAM?
At the dedication ceremony of a Homes of Hope house, the families are encouraged to find ways to bless others with what they’ve been given. David and Daisy Ortiz received their home in 2016. Since then, they’ve done just that.
Three mornings a week, the Ortiz family opens the front door of their home, transforming it into a feeding center for neighborhood children. Around 50 children receive meals in their home each week. Local vendors partner with the Ortiz Family to provide supplies and food.
As David and Daisy began to interact with these children each week, they realized that there was more to the equation. The parents of these young ones needed help, too. So they partnered with another Homes of Hope recipient, named Felipe, to run a six-week marriage enrichment course. Felipe hosted the classes in his home and David and Daisy developed the curriculum and taught each week.
The graduation celebration was recently held at the YWAM San Antonio del Mar campus for the families who completed the marriage course. Claudia, one of the participants, came forward to share her story. No one was prepared for what happened next.
“Pablo and I were discussing separation,” she began. “We didn’t want to live together any longer. We knew it would be difficult for the children but we couldn’t continue on. When David and Daisy came to our house to invite us to the marriage study, we reluctantly went.” She shared how the course transformed their relationship, and how their hearts turned towards each other once again.
“And I want to surprise Pablo with something here at this graduation. Something that Pablo has always wanted but I have refused.” Claudia paused, emotion filling her voice.
"Pablo, will you marry me?"
Gasps of surprise and joy were heard around the room. While common-law marriages are a prevailing custom in many developing nations, Claudia knew that she and Pablo needed to take the next step.
She didn’t have to wait long for an answer. Pablo responded with “YES!” and the room erupted in celebration! Then, once the excitement died down, two more couples declared their commitment to marriage by getting engaged, too.
The influence of Homes of Hope goes far beyond boundaries of four walls and a roof. When families like the Ortizes open their doors to those around them, the impact can reach to the next generation and beyond.
Are you interested in bringing a team to do a Home of Hope build? Click HERE for more info!
Although I have a better understanding than I did 8 months ago, I now know more than ever that I am just scratching the surface. The fullness of His Glory simply cannot be revealed within a limited time or circumstance. So, I suppose I have learned that I just need to learn more, that in this life there will never be a “final day” of learning about God through his word. I will always be sitting at the desk with Jesus teaching me, and that excites me!
We have faith. With God, the impossible is possible. We got this. We got this... and then the storm hits and we are back at it again with all the feels, our fears and our scrambling for control.
In reality, there is a fine line between faith and doubt and I’ve faltered between the two more than I care to admit.
When we fix our eyes on Jesus- We can conquer anything. But when our eyes are diverted, we sink. It is a pretty simple formula. One minute confidently walking on water, the next- a terror filled, spiral out of control. It’s funny how life is like that.
When will we learn to remember?
When will we learn, that we were never the ones in control?
We will, when we learn to look again.
Peter confidently cried out to Jesus to call him out on the water. At this point, the storm and the depth of the sea were inconsequential, they were nothing compared to the glory of looking Jesus in the face. He was on a faith high, ready to face anything, until the wind and the waves, began to beckon, picking up speed and dragging his attention away from the gaze of Jesus and onto the danger. He immediately begins to sink.
Did you catch that? When we focus on the circumstances, we sink. When we look at the storm instead of Jesus, we sink. When we look anywhere but Jesus, you guessed it- we sink.
It only takes a split second, but it has dire consequences.
Praise Jesus, we aren’t doomed to our sinking. Praise Jesus, we aren’t doomed to our circumstances or our sadness or even our unraveling. For even though we are a fickle people and we look away- we can look again. The minute we do, that storm doesn’t seem so intense any more. It’s about focus. It's about perspective. It's about our gaze.
Where are you looking to- your circumstances, or your Savior?
My life is drastically different today than it was one year ago, or even six months ago. It all started by me saying “yes” to what the Lord was telling me to do. One year ago, almost to the day, the Lord told me to “remain in a place of learning.” I had been praying about what my next step of life would be, either doing a C-SBS with YWAM or joining full time staff.
Today, in the middle of my C-SBS, the Lord showed me just how silly my thoughts and preconceived ideas were. How I had already decided what this place of learning would look like in my life, but He had different ideas in mind. At the time I was praying, I assumed the C-SBS was what the fulfillment God was speaking, and it was definitely part of it. But today, as I go deeper in the Word, I am not only thankful for the amount of learning I have embarked on so far in this C-SBS, but I’m blown away by how much bigger God’s plans for me to remain in a place of learning. HIs plans are bigger than I ever expected.
I’ve now realized what God meant by this: I should never stop learning, and I need to continually position myself to be a lifelong learner. There are so many more schools in YWAM I would love to do and so many things that I would love to learn, but one thing I do know is that I will never be done learning. Yes, there will be a time in my life where I won’t be in the traditional classroom setting I am in now, but as I step out into leadership roles in the future, it will be just as important for me to remain in a place of learning, as it is during my time in the C-SBS.
In this season I’m building my foundation on the Word of God and I now realize it is not Biblical wisdom to ever think that there is a time where I will stop learning. So today, I am laying down my expectations for my life. I will choose to remain in a place of learning and allow the Lord to take total control of leading my life, because His purposes and ideas for me are way better than I could ever even dream.
Art has such a powerful way of breaking through its’ medium of communication to speak to the heart + the soul in meaningful ways. Being an artist is not some frivolous distraction from the so called spiritual things- such as being a pastor or a missionary in the traditional sense. It is a calling. God anoints us to create, not only for his glory but for the simple sake of beauty. There’s no secular vs. sacred here, it is God breathing life and creativity into our voice and our art. Art is in essence deeply spiritual, yet we tend to compartmentalize. We separate what we feel as “serving God” on one side and on the other we cling tightly to our passions, our dreams, our desires not wanting to give up control. When God so deeply wants to co-create with us in those things as well, to anoint us to be a voice of truth and beauty in this world.
Have you ever noticed: the very first person who is mentioned as being filled with the spirit of God in scripture was Bezalel, an artist! Not only was he filled with the Spirit of God, the word says God fills him with “ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” Woah. As an artist myself, this blows me away. God not only wants to partner with me in my creativity, He wants to anoint me with skill, with craftsmanship. More than ever this makes me open up to God, and allow Him to play deeper role in my creative process. To give Him the space to breath life, breath creativity, and to give anointing to what I am crafting so that it leaves a deeper impact.
My prayer for you, for me is that God would anoint us, take us deeper and fill us with His spirit as artists. That we would be God honoring in not only what we create, but in our character, in how we make people feel, and in the beauty that we craft.
Take courage my friend, for you are anointed for art.
YOUR GIFT AS AN ARTIST IS NOT SEPARATE FROM YOUR CALLING;
THEY CAN BE ONE IN THE SAME!
During the past five months of DTS, God taught me more than I could ever possibly imagine: He taught me new things about Himself, showing His love to me in ways I had never experienced. He also revealed to me new things about myself, and helped me to see myself the way that He sees me, reminding me that my worth is found only in Him. I held a lot of false beliefs for a very long time, lies that I needed to slowly unlearn.
One of those things, which He revealed to me very early into lecture phase, is that I really struggle with trusting Him. Specifically, I struggle to trust Him with my future and my dreams. I had actually gotten to a point in my life where I had stopped allowing myself to dream: because if you don’t dream, God can’t say “no,” right? Somehow, that seemed less painful to me.
Through DTS God started peeling those fears back, layer by layer.
A month or so into the lecture phase, our entire DTS went on a camping trip. We were given 4 hours to spend alone with God, in silence and solitude. I found a spot on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ocean, sat down, and asked God, “How do you see me?”
He responded by giving me an impression of a picture: it was me, sitting on that same cliff. I was nice and safe up there. But the fullness of God’s love, the fullness of His plans for me, were down in the ocean below. He beckoned for me to dive in, but I was too scared.
Then I felt like God asked me, “Do you trust me?”
I responded, “I want to. Yes.”
He gently answered, “Come down to the sea.”
So, I did something that probably wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done: I started climbing down the cliff. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone else ever do it, because it was one of the most frightening experiences of my life… but I did it.
And the entire time I climbed down, two thoughts were alternating back and forth in my mind:
“You’re an idiot. You might actually die.”
“God, I really hope you’re the one who told me to do this.”
Needless to say, I did actually make it down safely! I made my way to the edge of the ocean, sat down, and waited for God to show up. I think I was expecting something spectacular to happen. I mean, He did just bring me all the way down a cliff… but instead, God said, “Let’s dream together.”
So, we did. It wasn’t anything fancy, but we started making a list together: a list of dreams that I wanted God to be a part of. I think it was honestly the first time I’d ever allowed myself to do that; at least, it was the first time I’d done it with God.
I’m still learning, little by little, how to trust Him. Thankfully, He’s a patient teacher. And He’s been revealing, little by little, to me that He actually gets excited about my dreams: that He created me with the specific passions and desires I have.
He's teaching me, slowly but surely, that He's actually the one who made me a dreamer.
Interested in doing a DTS with YWAM San Diego/Baja?
Click HERE for more info!
WORDS + PHOTOS by Lauren Pinner.
Lauren recently graduated from the Photo-Storytelling DTS.
“What now?” is all I could think. I had just finished my DTS and I had so much passion to see nations changed and communities transformed. I felt like a kid with a sugar high, and no idea where to put all this energy. After my DTS I had so many more questions about missions then I have ever had in my life. I had a passion for working in the local girls’ ministry, for working with youth and empowering them to follow their dreams. I wanted to start something but what? How? Where? When? The questions just kept overwhelming me. How do I get involved? How do I find the right connections? How long do I stay in a location? How do I bring a lasting change? What kind of change is really needed? The list could go on and on. At the time someone told me about the Community Development School happening at YWAM San Diego/Baja. The school was starting in three weeks and all I had in my account was $0. I started to pray: “Ok God… if I’m meant to do this, you’re gonna come through... right?” I could feel the grin of God as He spoke over me, “I come through every time, don't I?”
And He did, like always.
When I arrived to the Community Development School, I came in with zero expectations other than the obvious- I was going to learn how to develop communities. I had no idea the layers that come with that. Throughout the school they shared this same quote over and over until it was the first thing I would think of when I woke up, “Transformation starts with you.” You cannot begin to transform that community you are passionate about, let alone the people around you, until you start with yourself. Everything you learn in the CDS, is applicable to you and your personal growth. How can you teach something that you don’t believe in, or explain something that you don't even understand for yourself?
To the core, what we are passionate about as missionaries is to share God’s intentions and love to everyone we meet. During this school, I was able to clearly understand God’s intentions for me. No matter what I do, His plan for me never changes, His love for me never changes. The way I saw myself and my world view began to shift. This was the start of what I’d like to call the cocoon season. My DTS I felt like I was a caterpillar, feeding on hearing God, and who He is to me. The CDS became a season of deep transformation in the cocoon. Through growing pains and pushing past my comfortable way of thinking, I was now able to see who I am to God.
When I was able to understand this, I was finally able to see God’s intentions for every sphere of society. I better understood the roles of family, church, and government. In this political climate, I wanted to make sure that I am standing on a firm foundation of Biblical truth, and to understand God’s heart for government and what role it truly has in my life. Learning from business people, who took their business to help transform widows lives, or slums in India that have been transformed through business ideas, made me so excited to use my gifts and passions! It was life changing to hear about how God wants to use our creativity to bring transformation. The inspirations for future ministries became endless.
During the school I found myself not being able to stop talking about how amazing the school was. Even now, I encourage anyone who is wanting to continue a ministry lifestyle to do the CDS. The perspective of God’s intentions is crucial to understand when working in any type of community. Whether it’s a tribe in the Amazon jungle, an inner-city block in the US, a refugee camp in Europe, or a youth group in your hometown. Transformation and development are possible. In order to achieve the goal you have set out to transforms lives, you must first transform yourself.
Are you ready?
WANT MORE INFORMATION ON THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SCHOOL? CLICK HERE
WORDS BY KESSIE MICHELL.
KESSIE IS NOW STAFF WITH YWAM SAN DIEGO/BAJA IN THE AREA OF WORSHIP AND HOSPITALITY.
I've had some things rattling around in my mind lately. I've had desires to know God on a deeper level and to be known on a deeper level- yet something is holding me back, I feel paralyzed in some ways. I know my desires, I see them within my grasp- yet they are, or feel anyways, unattainable.
Here's the deal: I've become comfortable, paralyzed. With the advent of social media things have changed. I'm not necessarily living in an obvious sin. I'm doing full time ministry, I serve God, I pray, I live by faith for my ministry & finances- but the last few months I've felt like something was missing. I've felt dry. I've felt disconnected, numb. The truth is, I've been reduced to bones.
Sometimes we, or at least myself over here, have this picture of the enemy- that he uses these out of the box ways to hinder us, in our callings and in our life & honestly this is, in many ways, true. Something I have realized however, is that we often times do his job for him. We disqualify ourselves, we take ourselves out of the race. We allow ourselves to be silently paralyzed, without recognizing the connection. I am being honest here friends, I am preaching to myself as well.
I have felt this conviction so strongly lately. When I have a couple of free minutes- I end up on social media. When I wake up, & right before I go to bed- I inevitably end up on social media. Throughout my day I end up there, even when i don't mean to be. I do recognize the irony that this post is being shared on social media & I'm not here to villainize it- but I am here to recognize its dangers.
I am a firm believer that social media is a tool that we can use to bring awareness, to highlight testimony of our God: who he is and how he works. It can be used to build relationships, to share prayer requests, to communicate life happenings, to share joy and sorrows & those are all good things! Social media is not evil, but there is a catch, there is a downfall, when it takes the highest place in our lives. When it eliminates us from feeling anything real, from being able to hold an intentional conversation in person. When it eliminates us from really living a life outside of cyber space. When it does these things, it can be detrimental. Social Media can be like a silent poison, slowly suffocating us, while disengaging us from reality, separating us from who God is or why we are even here on this earth in the first place. As i began to process all of these things, and recognize this in my own life God pointed me to Ezekiel 37.
I've read these verses many times, they are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. I love the idea that the Lord wants to partner with us to bring life, even when he has all the power to do it on his own. I've always associated these verses with calling forth life into those who are dry because they don't know the Lord, but this time God showed me a different side of this. Just because I know the Lord does not mean that I am immune to becoming dry bones. He spoke to me that these verses reference his church as well, his people becoming dry and desolate. When his earnest desire is for them to be lively, vibrant beings.
As christians, we live in the tension between heaven and earth. We live in the tension of being saved + living for the hope of eternity and feeling weary + feeling overwhelmed with the sin and destruction that seemingly reigns in this world. But rather than accepting the way things are, rather than going into dry bones mode- I feel God calling us to a different option. I feel God calling us to wake up. The state of things should fuel us into intercession and the standing in the gap for the state of our community, our city, our nation, our world.
We allow ourselves to be paralyzed and numbed by social media, living like the walking dead. All the while, God is calling us into deeper relationship, into a partnership with him in breathing life into dry bones. This starts with individuals, with the church coming alive, aligning themselves with God, stepping into their identity and destiny and calling others to do the same. When non-believers see someone sold out for Jesus, walking in freedom and their calling it is often irresistible- why then are so many people turned off of Christianity, by the church? Because oftentimes we are walking in religion, not the true life that Jesus Christ brings.
God created us to live in constant, living and vibrant relationship with him. Please church, here me out. Come alive again. Prophecy life and breath into your own lives and then extend that to others. Come alive again and bring jesus into your workplace, your relationships, friendships, assignments, hobbies, days and nights and things will be dramatically different. There is so much more available to us than comfortable christianity, there is so much more for us than dry bones.
WORDS + PHOTOS BY TIFFANY LAMBERT. TIFFANY WORKS WITH YWAM SAN DIEGO/BAJA IN THE AREAS OF DISCIPLESHIP & COMMUNICATIONS.
I came to the School of Worship wanting to learn how to be a worship leader and hoping to deepen my relationship with God along the way. Little did I know, I would gain so much more than that.