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10  Reasons We Love Ensenada And Why We Know You Will Too


10 Reasons We Love Ensenada And Why We Know You Will Too


#1. Hands down, the food.

From tacos to sushi to ramen to falafel,  to basically any food you can think of, it’s here. And it is so good. All over Ensenada and within walking distance of our base, there are an abundance of little restaurants and food stands with unbelievably delicious and cheap food. If you ask any of our staff or students, what they like to do in their free time, you will probably hear a majority of them say that they love to go out to eat with their friends. It’s basically our biggest hobby and we are so proud of it.

My personal favorites are “La Gran Tierra” a juice bar, “Nigori” a sushi place, and really any taco stand that’s near me.

#2. The Coffee shops.

From amazing aesthetics, to cheap prices of specialty coffee and amazing chai, there are so many different coffee shops to enjoy in Ensenada. There is one to match whatever type of mood you are in and the majority of them have really great coffee! One-on-Ones, small groups, friend outings, devos, reading and studying are all the perfect excuse to pick your favorite cafe, get comfy, and enjoy your time. Coffee shops are my love language so you join us, you can find me in one here multiple times throughout the week.

My faves are “Black Coffee” (I go there so often they even opened up a tab for me), “Alameda” (They are Christian!) and “Cafe con leche” (they have super comfy couches and delicious brownies).

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#3. The Ocean.

The most popular beach in Ensenada is a whopping 30 second walk from the base. It is fittingly named, Playa Hermosa, or Beautiful Beach. It is perfect for walks, surfing, sports, swimming, hanging out, runs, introspection, or whatever you like really. It also isn’t the only beach here! There are tons of other beaches open to the public in Ensenada. My favorite thing about the ocean here is that no matter what beach you are at, you are guaranteed to catch an incredible view at sunset. There have been countless nights when all of our staff will stop what they are doing and walk down to the beach just to watch and document the sunset. We have all traveled to multiple places and seen tons of different sunsets around the world, but I am pretty sure most of the staff here would agree with me when I say that there ain’t nothin’ else like an Ensenada sunset!

#4. The Mountains:

Along with the ocean, we have a beautiful background of mountains surrounding  Ensenada. They make for great views of the city and really fun hikes. Us YWAMers have also taken it upon ourselves to put a cross at the top of a hike, that we venture on often, as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. The mountains compliment the ocean so beautifully and Ensenada would not be the same without them.

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#5. The Fish Tacos.

Ensenada is the birthplace of fish tacos...and they are amazing.

‘Nuff said.

#6. My Church!

A lot of us staff here attend a church in Ensenada called “Horizonte” and we love it. A bilingual service with amazing worship, preaching, hipster vibes, and a coffee shop? What else could a traveling millennial want or need? But for real, we all love getting out of our little bubble to take part in another community, and many of our staff here also help serve in this church! My YWAM San Diego/ Baja experience definitely would not be the same without Horizonte, and I think a lot of other staff here would definitely say the same!

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#7. The Chill Vibes.

The skate and surf culture, the ocean air,  the beautiful views and the relaxed Mexican culture, all combine to create the best atmosphe. Ensenada is such a laid back city. I am all about vibes and so the relaxed, go with the flow culture here really helps me feel comfortable.

#8. The People

Obviously, a huge part of a city is the people. I absolutely love meeting the locals here. From the modernized and hipster “Ensenadans” in the coffee shops to the indigenous people in the mountains, they all bring such a beautiful aspect of Mexican culture to the city. They show the diversity between urban and rural, modernized and conservative that this city encompasses so well.

#9. We can walk everywhere!

One thing I love about Ensenada is that there are a lot of places that are close to each other! I love that I can walk to a grocery store, the beach, the base, a coffee shop, an OXXO (a Mexican convenience store), or any of my friends’ houses from my house. Most of the time, the weather is amazing for a walk, which is so good for the soul. Let’s also not forget the physical and mental health benefits of walking, and the environmental benefits as well. Hello healthy body, clear mind, and a cleaner earth.

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#10. The YWAM Base (obvi)

This is obviously the biggest part of our experience in Ensenada! Here lies the majority of our intimate friendships and community. This is where we do life together. This is where we encourage one another and keep each other accountable. One of the biggest reasons Ensenada has a huge hold on my heart are the people on the base. No matter where I am in the world, I know I have a close knit community that loves me, supports me, and are always there for me.

Want to experience Ensenada in all its glory? Join us at our Ensenada campus for a Discipleship Training School or one of our Secondary Courses with the University of the Nations!


10 Reasons We Love Ensenada And Why We Know You Will Too
Beautiful Creation: Revelation in the Himalayas


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.


Beautiful Creation: Revelation in the Himalayas
Comfort Zones are Overrated


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.


Words by Kristy Lagarto.

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


Photos by Tiffany Lambert.

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


Comfort Zones are Overrated
Come Up To Me On This Mountain


Come Up To Me On This Mountain


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.


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Come Up To Me On This Mountain
The Art of Packing for YWAM DTS


The Art of Packing for YWAM DTS


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. 


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


  • 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 


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. 


The Art of Packing for YWAM DTS
Look Again.


Look Again.

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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. 

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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? 


Are you interested in taking a season to go deeper in your faith? Check out the DTS and Secondary Course options offered at YWAM San Diego/ Baja. 



words + photos by Tiffany Lambert.
Tiffany is full time staff with YWAM SDB and leads our Photo-Storytelling DTS.


Look Again.
Hurry Up & Wait


Hurry Up & Wait

"The enemy will often try to snatch up our seasons of waiting, injecting the poison of doubt into our deepest insecurities. So we rush, we strive, we flail around trying to make things happen. We hurry up & wait. Yet, being in a hurry doesn’t bring the fulfillment of God’s promises any faster, it just brings heartache."


Hurry Up & Wait
Taste & See.


Taste & See.

"All of my life I had allowed other people to dictate who God was and what Christianity meant and I knew as a full time missionary, that I needed to equip myself with the word. Using the inductive study method, was a way for me to forget any preconceived ideas that I had about Christianity, allowing me to form my own perspective and beliefs."


Taste & See.