“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?
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