God is Not Afraid of Our Questions: How the BCC Transformed My Life

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God is Not Afraid of Our Questions: How the BCC Transformed My Life

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God is not afraid of our questions.

My season of studying the Bible in the Chronological Biblical Core Course was incredibly challenging and life transformational all at the same time. I went into this school terrified that I was going to get overwhelmed with the amount of work it was going to require of me, but while it was challenging it was absolutely worth it. I walked out of the school overwhelmed, not with the workload but with the incredible love of God. I grew to know Him so much deeper throughout those three months studying the Bible.

Prior to my BCC-C my knowledge of the Bible was surface level. I have been a believer all my life, following Jesus since way back, when I was a kid growing up on a YWAM base. But through those 20 years of following Christ I never found the time or motivation to dive deep into the Bible until I did my BCC-C. During the school I read through the whole Bible for the first time. My mind was opened to so much I had never understood before.

I like to explain it like this… Imagine you meet a new friend and never hear about their past life experiences or life story. All you do know of them is the information you learn about them from then on and the experiences you share with this person. Your relationship would be so shallow and not built on any kind of foundation. But the moment you share with each other your history, the way you grew up, what high school was like for you, or the incredible ways God has worked in your life, that is when depth is brought into your relationship. This is what it would be like having a relationship with Jesus without knowing the scripture. It would lack depth and foundation. Your relationship would be shallow, but once you choose to open that door to learning and wrestling with what the Bible has to say about who Jesus is, you can see this massive shift in the way you know Jesus. Throughout the process of the BCC-C, my relationship with Christ was finally built on a foundation of truth.

One of the biggest lessons I learned while studying the Bible was the importance of questioning and discovering truth for myself. I had been so afraid to question things I learned or beliefs that I had. God is God why would I dare to question who He is? I felt that it wasn’t my place. I was also scared of not liking the answers to questions, but the truth is He wants us to wrestle and question, that way we know why we believe what we believe. God met me in all of my questions and I got to know Him so much more through these discoveries.

I encourage you to dive in deep and discover what the Bible has to offer. The BCC-C was only the kickstarter for my continual study of the Bible, a foundation for a future of growing and discovering more of who God is. Allow yourself to question, don’t be afraid of finding new ways of thinking. God is not afraid of our questions, he meets us there and brings transformation.

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For more information about the Chronological Biblical Core Course and the link to apply- click HERE.

The author Mikah is an alumni of our BCC-C and is currently on staff at our Ensenada campus.



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God is Not Afraid of Our Questions: How the BCC Transformed My Life
How The Photo-Storytelling DTS Helped Me Discover My Roots

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How The Photo-Storytelling DTS Helped Me Discover My Roots

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My name is Kennedy and I am first generation American. My mom grew up in Ensenada, Mexico and after moving to the states, she worked really hard to learn english. My parents did everything they could to give my siblings and I more opportunities than they had as kids. I grew up in Massachusetts, so I wasn’t exposed much to Mexican culture.  Growing up I didn't really have a desire to know my culture. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old, that I felt like something was missing and that I didn't know who I was. Looking back I now see I wasn't just my roots I was missing, it was God.

Now at 23, during my time in Mexico doing the Photo-Storytelling DTS, I’ve done so many things I never imagined, like hiking three hours and 10 minutes down a mountain to a village in the middle of the Mexican jungle, cooking with Indigenous women, or giving out photos to people who have never had one of themselves. I took a huge leap of blind faith to come here, leaving my job and everything I knew. What I didn't expect was that I would not only find my roots, but discover God's heart for Mexico.

In the Photo-Storytelling DTS, we learned how to tell someone's story with a photo, while giving them value. A goal that we focused on is allowing God to show us who people are through His eyes and to then communicate that in a photo. The photography focus is what drew me to this DTS and I am so happy that I took that step to be here.

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During my outreach I was able to show the indigenous people of Mexico their value by photographing them and showing them just a fraction of their beauty. The women in Southern Mexico were shocked that we wanted to spend time with them, cooking with them and photographing them. In Chiapas, myself and one of my teammates, Savannah, were sitting in a kitchen with three women while they cooked breakfast. We asked to help cook and they told us they didn't need help, so we decided to keep them company and asked them if we could photograph them. It was so much fun because as we took their photos we showed them and waited for their reactions, which were priceless. Seeing how touched they were by their own photos was such a blessing.

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We had photography teams out all over the world, and God was truly using all of the teams to impact the people around them. In many of the countries that our teams where located in, women are not valued as much as men are, so our teams focused on showing these women their value. One technique we studied is to angle your camera from below allowing the subject to appear stronger and more powerful, rather than weak and vulnerable. It was a learning experience for us to work with these women from all over the world and a privilege to share with them how God values them.

    To be honest, I never thought I would be in Mexico seeking God like this. I never imagined that God would be using my life to change the lives of people I meet. I did not think I would fall so in love with Mexico that my soul aches to come back and I haven't even left yet. I never thought DTS would change me this much and I am so thankful for everything that has happened in the last five months. I learned how to photograph people with a purpose that is bigger than me. I grew as a photographer and as an individual. I’m so thankful to God for bringing me back to my roots, for making this all possible, and for showing me more of His heart.


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The author, Kennedy, is a recent graduate of our Photo-Storytelling DTS.

To learn more about this specific school or our other DTS focuses, click HERE.

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How The Photo-Storytelling DTS Helped Me Discover My Roots
Beautiful Creation: Revelation in the Himalayas

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Beautiful Creation: Revelation in the Himalayas

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On my DTS outreach, a friend and I  hiked up one of the mountains with the hope of seeing the snow covered peaks of the Himalayas (to the locals it was a hill but definitely a mountain for us). As we climbed higher with our guide the clouds kept coming and eventually all the peaks we covered. As we hiked I started praying "God please remove the clouds so we can see Your grand and beautiful creation." I prayed, but the clouds never moved...

All of a sudden these kids came running out of their houses, screaming at us. They were so excited to see us! We gave them some snacks, asked their names and played and laughed with them. As we were there God powerfully spoke to me on that mountain.

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The peaks of the Himalayas aren't God's perfect creation. It's not the hills or the valleys or even the rivers. His grandeur doesn't reflect in the waters of lakes or oceans. In reality it’s in His people. These children. His precious and beautiful creation. We didn't hike up there to see a giant ice covered rock. It was to see the ones He gave up His life for. The beauty of the Himalayas is but a shadow to it's people. They are so loving and kind, humble and generous. They are crazy hard workers and maybe have the strongest necks of any people I've ever met. They always put others first. They would never eat until we had our fill. They are beautifully created in God’s very image. As God created each piece of the universe, He called it good. It wasn't until he made mankind in His image that that He called it very good. We are His beautiful creation.

Words and Photos by Daniel Swickward. Daniel is a recent graduate from our Compassion in Action Discipleship Training School.




Are you interested in doing a Discipleship Training School with us? Check out options and more information HERE.


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Beautiful Creation: Revelation in the Himalayas
Comfort Zones are Overrated

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Comfort Zones are Overrated

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When God calls you out of your comfort zone, do you follow Him? Would you surrender everything you know, everything that makes you feel secure, and obey Him when He says “go”? Are you willing to take that leap of faith believing that He will catch you? 

It’s scary, living that kind of trust. That blindly, following the voice of the Lord even if you don’t know exactly what He is doing or where He is leading you, kind of trust. But so often it’s following that still small voice in the hardest moments that leads to the most growth. When we leave behind everything we know, surrender all that is comfortable to us, and step into His will, He meets us there. 


God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. In fact, He calls us to be the exact opposite. From the beginning of time until now He has asked His children to live out our faith. To follow Him blindly into the unknown. To press forward and keep walking hand in hand with him through tribulation. To stop holding on to what is comfortable and to start holding on to Him. To be faithful to Him even when we don’t see where He is taking us next. 

But the question is, are we really willing to allow Him to take us to those places? Is our heart condition in a state of surrender to what God’s will is for our lives, rather than our own will?

If we are honest, thinking about discomfort creates an anxiety that kind dwells in our gut. We don’t like pain. We don’t like struggle. We don’t like difficulty. It’s easier to avoid these things, or to not step out at the risk of being hit in the face with any of these. Sometimes even at the cost of disobedience to God, we stay put. Denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following Jesus just feels all too uncomfortable — so in many cases, it’s just easier to not do it. To instead follow God in a lukewarm manner. 

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But what about the blessing we receive from stepping out in obedience to God? We focus so much on the difficulty or discomfort that it could potentially bring us, and completely miss the fact that, in following God’s call, we will be experiencing more of who He is as we submit to His leading. Every time God calls us to do something scary, something out of our comfort zone, He promises us something incredible: that He will be there with us. Whether it’s something as simple as opening your Bible every morning, sacrificing that little bit of sleep to spend more time in His word, or uprooting your entire life to follow Him to the other side of the world. God promises to manifest Himself to us as we obey. 


God is a good Father. He doesn’t call us to situations that cause us discomfort simply because He wants to make our lives hard. He calls us toward uncomfortable obedience so that we can experience His power, comfort, and joy. He calls us to this so we can experience His faithfulness and be conformed to the likeness of Jesus as we do.  When God calls us out of our comfort zone, He is inviting us into deep and vibrant joy. A life of faith and obedience isn’t a comfortable life, but it is a rich and vibrant life saturated with the presence of God. 

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What is God calling you to? Will you allow obedience to God to take you into unknown places, to open your eyes to things you could never imagine doing on your own?

No matter which way He is tugging you, keep your eyes away from the cost of leaving your comfort zone and instead set your eyes on God. Take that first step of faith in the direction He is leading you. 


Because whatever, or wherever, it is, it’s worth the cost. 



Are you interested in getting out of your comfort zone and doing a Discipleship Training School with YWAM San Diego/ Baja? Click HERE to check out our different options for DTS.

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Words by Kristy Lagarto.

Kristy staffs at our Ensenada campus and works in the areas of Discipleship Training Schools and Communications.






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Photos by Tiffany Lambert.

Tiffany staffs at our Tijuana campus and works with Communications and leads a Photography Discipleship Training School.

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Comfort Zones are Overrated
Come Up To Me On This Mountain

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Come Up To Me On This Mountain

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Over the last year, I’ve written “I trust you” in my journal more times than I can count. It’s funny how I need to write it over and over again. Somehow the act of writing it etches it into my soul. It takes it deeper. “Jesus, I trust you.” There’s so many things I don’t understand yet I feel this inexplicable peace that beckons me, “be still, you can trust Jesus”.

It’s so easy to make our relationship with God less of a relationship and more of a transaction. I find myself wanting to have the what, when, where + why before I’ll settle into God’s presence. There’s too much to do, too much to understand, yet God is ever patient with me in my messiness. He waits there for me on the mountain. Waiting for me to put down my list and just rest in Him. Waiting for me to receive His love and His relationship that He gave everything to have. He waits there for me to simply be with Him.

You see, God is faithful and worthy of my trust. He is ever working for me, going before me and staying so near, intentionally pursuing my heart. We were never meant to be robots, mindlessly following a God shouting out instructions to us. From the very beginning of creation, it was always about relationship. We cannot miss this part!

Being able to trust God with my everything, my hopes, my dreams, my futures, my days and my finances, doesn’t happen on accident, it all comes out of relationship. We can’t spend so much time searching for the will of God for our lives, for our calling, that we miss out on knowing Him. While I press in to knowing Him, to being with Him- there comes the breakthrough of my trust beyond circumstance.

So I will spend my days, waking up and pursuing the heart of God. I will learn to trust slowly but surely, as I discover more about Him and His character. The greatest adventure we have at our fingertips is walking in intimacy with God. He’s asking us to come up on the mountain to meet with him. So I’m embracing this adventure with everything I have. I will meet with you there my God.

JESUS, I TRUST YOU.

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“COME UP TO ME ON THIS MOUNTAIN…”

EXODUS 24:1

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WORDS + PHOTOS BY TIFFANY LAMBERT.

TIFFANY IS FULL TIME WITH YWAM SAN DIEGO/BAJA AND LEADS THE PHOTO-STORYTELLING DTS

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Come Up To Me On This Mountain
In the Waiting

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In the Waiting

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Does a delayed response or fulfillment of a promise from the Lord signify a closed door? The well meaning and often used expression rings loudly “If God closes a door, he will open a window.” This can be true, but not all the time. God truly does know best, and sometimes His best for us looks different then the door we attempt to go through at first. Other times this is not the case. Often, God will wait until circumstances look impossible to do the impossible and prove His sovereignty. He works for His glory and our good. He doesn’t speak things in advance to mess with us or discourage us. He speaks in advance to build up our faith, to refine our trust and to prove to us that He really is who He says He is and His word does not come back void. He does not delay and He is not impatient, but rather He is so specific when he implements things, not just in the scriptures but also in the lives of all those who believe in him in faith.  Just because things look unlikely or unrealistic, does not mean that God is not going to move. Out of intimacy and knowing God, we can navigate when a door closed means move on or when it means keep knocking.  That is the nature of walking with God. He is the Good Shepherd, gently guiding us even when we fear or don’t understand. He is cultivating our faith and our trust. 


25 years after God promised Abraham descendants as many as the stars, Isaac, the child of promise, was born. It had seemed impossible. Sarah’s womb was dry + barren. There was no hope for an heir, yet God had a miracle in mind. Sarah and Abraham were able to rejoice in the fulfillment of the promise and God working in their lives in miraculous ways. God had done as he promised and in her old age, Sarah nursed her very own son. Abraham’s faith had grown  as he discovered more of who God was in the waiting. At the perfect time, as Abraham’s character had developed and he had come to have fear of the Lord, the promise was fulfilled. Years later, when the testing came and God asked for Abraham to sacrifice his only heir, the fulfillment of his promise and the source of great joy and redemption, he did not hesitate to sacrifice. He trusted in His God, because He had gotten to know him in the mean time.

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The question is not so much about when the fulfillment of things will come but what are God’s purposes in the waiting. God’s timing is different than ours and His ways are above our ways. He is not casual or unconcerned with timing, rather He moves in intentionality and sovereignty over His people. We may not always understand but we have the beautiful opportunity to have a response of faith in the waiting. 

What are the things God is asking you to believe for? What will you do in the waiting? 


“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 

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Words + Photos by TIFFANY LAMBERT.

TIFFANY IS FULL TIME WITH YWAM SAN DIEGO/BAJA AND LEADS THE PHOTO-STORYTELLING DTS

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In the Waiting
With God All Things Are Possible- Even 9 Months of Intensive Bible Study

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With God All Things Are Possible- Even 9 Months of Intensive Bible Study

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Throughout the process of my Discipleship Training School with YWAM God gave me hope for a life with purpose.  During that time the Lord had been clear in calling me to go deeper and build a foundation of faith in Him, and for me that meant doing a Chronological School of Biblical Studies.

After the first day of introduction to the Inductive Method, the technique we would be using to study the Scriptures, the fear of failing overcame me. Would I ever be able to understand this? Was I smart enough? I was convinced that God had been mistaken to call me to do this school because there would be no way that I could shoulder that amount of work for nine months straight. I was just about to purchase a flight home when Mark my school leader came to talk and pray with me. I had been running away from challenges that seemed insurmountable all my life, and instinct to leave was no different. I tended to focus on what I can do, not what is possible with God. After some debate, I decided to stay and give it a shot.

 “Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 18:26

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I can truly say that I didn’t finish this school by my own strength and capability- God was faithful to sustain me and fill me up over and over again. 

During the school, He spoke to me “that I would find a calling in life that sustains the yearning in my heart for purpose if I stuck with the school.” Now I am about to step into the next season, doing the Titus Project, beginning to teach the word and educate others about what has given me life. 

 CSBS showed me how much I need and want to depend on the Lord for all the trials ahead in life. He never broke his promise to take care of me and lead me faithfully, and He never will. I have only scratched the surface of the Living Word and I can’t wait to continue studying and applying it to my life daily and teaching others to do so as well. 

 

The Bible is not some ancient book full of outdated stories, it has the power to be applied to every situation we find ourselves in today.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4: 12 

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The author Karl, completed the Chronological School of Biblical Studies here at YWAM San Diego/ Baja and is about to start the Titus Project here.

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With God All Things Are Possible- Even 9 Months of Intensive Bible Study
Fear Not.

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Fear Not.

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Fear, for each of us, it has a different face, a different name. It is a darkness, that creeps up on us. It ties us up with ropes and before we know it, it starts to dictate our decisions. It laughs in the face of our dreams. It dims the light of our future.

Fear is real and how much power it has in our lives is determined by how much power we give it. We are not meant to live captive to this fear and there is hope. You see, we have already been set free. We are adopted as sons & daughters, washed & purified by the blood of Jesus. We have an authority over fear and a God who moves beyond it. God intended us to live fully in freedom, but if we are not careful- captives are exactly what we become. We simply cannot afford to allow fear to cripple us, to keep us sitting, to keep us stationary, to keep us out of the game. All God is wanting is for us to run to Him & fear hinders that.                                                                      

IN ORDER TO OVERCOME FEAR: WE MUST RISK.

Lately more & more, I feel God beckoning me: to stand in the face of my fears, to face them head on, to run towards Him with all I have and all I am, risking it all and holding nothing back. When we face our fears there will be uncertainty, but I can promise you, you can be certain about this one thing: God is faithful.             

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FAITHFUL:

LOYAL, CONSTANT, STEADFAST.

That is who God is. God's perspective is bigger than ours. He sees you, He knows your heart. Outside of time & unhindered by circumstances-He works for your good. To have fear in itself is not wrong, but letting it constrain you, letting it chain & contain you-that is wrong. In the end it is really not about the fear itself-it is about who you are facing the fear with. 

 

 

Are you willing to face fear and risk for more or are you content with staying captive? Dear one, do not fear, for God has overcome the world. 

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WORDS + PHOTOS by Tiffany Lambert. 

Tiffany is full time staff with YWAM San Diego/Baja and leads the Photo-Storytelling DTS.

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Fear Not.
The Art of Packing for YWAM DTS

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The Art of Packing for YWAM DTS

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Packing for a weekend away is hard enough, add on 5 months and packing becomes a foreign art. It is common to wait to explore it until the very last minute before leaving, I call this pack-crastinating, a thing of which I too am guilty of doing. Pack-crastinating leads us to overpacking, leaving no space for those fun international gifts you so long to bring back to your family and friends. Not taking time to pack, or not knowing what to pack also leads us into a “just incase” mindset. We end up attempting to bring our whole worlds to our small 6-8 person dorm rooms. We squeeze our stuff into our allotted space, a space that consists of only a 1 1/2 foot wide closet with two drawers and bit of hanging space per person, maybe even a shared drawer under you and your bunkmates bunk bed as well. 

My point is not that our dorms should have more storage space, it’s actually so nice to have your own little nook, but that coming to a DTS means that you need to be mindful that the other 6 people in your room that are also embarking on this journey with you, probably brought some luggage of their own. I promise, you don’t need to bring everything you own, you can learn to live with less- it is actually freeing. There is a strategy of how to pack for DTS- so get ready to take some notes!

PACK YOUR BAGS: As far as what to pack in- you can pack in a either a suitcase or hiking backpack, bring what you have, but usually a hiking backpack will be better for you depending on outreach location. It also encourages you to pack less, which is a plus. 

PACKING FOR LECTURE PHASE:

The lecture phase, here in sunny Mexico, is 3 months long and is the first phase of the Discipleship Training School. During this time you will mostly be walking around base, to and from classes, going to meals, serving the campus, having downtime in your room, and doing local ministry.

You are welcome to bring that unique splash of your own style, believe it or no you don’t have to invest in Chacos right away. We want you to be you. When I say this, it does come with a couple restrictions. Because being you does not mean showing us all of you. You probably have that in mind already, but the fact that we are in Mexico and it can be warm at times, isn't an excuses for the shortest shots partnered with the smallest shirts. Be the modest-styling you that I know you are.  With both of our campuses being right on the ocean, a cool breeze is common.

With that, it may come as a shock that it can be a bit colder at night, especially in the spring quarter. If you are planning on doing a fall quarter DTS with us, late November-December is when sweater weather kicks in, so don’t only pack your summer wardrobe.

so, what should you actually pack?

  • Passport- make sure it is valid for more than 6 months from the end of DTS so you do not have any issues while traveling. 
  • toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo + conditioner, deodorant etc. 
  • 6 shirts: 4 for out and about and two for sleeping.
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 light sweater/flannel/cardigan
  • 1 heavier sweater 
  • 1 modest swimsuit & sunscreen
  • all the undergarments 
  • 1 set of sandals
  • 1 set of running shoes/close toed shoes
  • baseball hat
  • a set of clothes you wouldn't mind getting painted or dirty (maybe two if you're in the Building Hope DTS).
  • your Bible + journal
  • 1 good book other than your Bible
  • computer/camera if you have one (especially for the Photo-Storytelling DTS)
  • guitar, instrument or your art supplies if you are doing the Music + Arts Collective DTS
  • surfboard or skateboard if you are doing the Surf + Skate DTS
  • backpack for day trips
  • water bottle 
  • twin size bedding or a sleeping bag for your bunk bed

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTES FOR THE LECTURE PHASE:

  • There is a Walmart nearby if you need something. 
  • Our local Oxxo (think 7/11 is walking distance from the base) has snacks and you can also find some toiletry essentials there.
  • You can order things from your amazon to our SD offices and receive them later in the mailroom on campus.
  • You will have access to a washer + dryer. Our recommendation is that you go in on laundry soap with your new roommates once you get here. Oh and be sure to bring some quarters for the laundry machines! 
  • We do have a storage unit where you will be able to leave some stuff when you go on outreach, so you don’t need to plan on bringing everything with you into the outreach phase!
  • You can use US dollars as well as Mexican Pesos here at both our Ensenada and San Antonio Del Mar campuses and there are ATMs in town for you to be able to get cash out. 

Packing for Outreach.

Outreach, this one's a bit harder to pin down until you know exactly where you will be going. Outreach teams are decided a couple of weeks into your lecture phase, so do not panic, you will have time to prepare. Again, that’s when Amazon will come in handy, for anything location specific you may need. 

Here are some musts for the outreach phase: 

  • Passport! 
  • bug repellent
  • shoes to walk and potentially hike in
  • 3 shirts
  • 2 athletic pants, ones you wont mind hiking in
  • 1 set of nice clothes for  church services (guys: button up shirt and pants - girls: modest  dress or maxi skirt)
  • All the undergarments
  • 1 pair of modest shorts 
  • toiletries bag / baby wipes are great when you don’t have access to a proper shower.
  • flashlight/headlamp 
  • Bible + journal
  • 1 set of sleepwear
  • sleeping bag (You could wait to order one to make sure you if you need to have a thicker or cooler one depending on the temperature of where you’re going.)
  • space for cool little gifts you’ll want to bring back. Also, you’ll probably be able to replenish essentials somewhere along the way at a local market. 
  • your camera/computer if you feel comfortable (Again especially the Photo-Storytelling DTS will need to bring this one). 
  • light rain jacket or windbreaker 

THE TRUTH:

Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
— LUKE 10:4

This verse seems extreme. None of that Jesus? but she just said something about Chacos and a hiking backpack… What Jesus is saying here is not that you sitting at home packing right now should stop and bring no material items or be unfriendly not greeting anyone on your journey here. No, what he is doing is asking you to trust Him. He is asking you to let Him be your source of provision. So, whether you're getting overwhelmed and stressing over each item or you're a pack-crastinator, stuff is just stuff and Jesus is bigger than stuff. Here’s there good news- you will survive even if you forget your flashlight. Here at YWAM less is more. People are always giving and sharing, participating in the generous provision of God. It’s a new journey and just like you’ve trusted God so far, you can continue to trust while participating in the art of packing. 

Interested in doing a DTS? Click below to to learn more about the different Discipleship Training Schools that are offered at YWAM San Diego/ Baja!



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The author, Olivia Meers is full time staff with YWAM SDB- staffing the Photo-Storytelling DTS and in the Communications department. 

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The Art of Packing for YWAM DTS