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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