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10 Reasons We Love Tijuana and Why You Will Too:


10 Reasons We Love Tijuana and Why You Will Too:

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Just south of the busiest border crossing in the world lies one of Mexico’s largest cities, Tijuana, Baja California!

This is the city where we get to do life and ministry in. We love it so much and we know you will too! In the past years, this city has seen an incredible growth in local businesses and attractions! From the stretches of beaches, to some of the most creative art, to killer coffee, and of course incredible tacos, Tijuana is an epic destination to spend a few months, or more!

We’ve come up with a list of 10 Must- Do’s in Tijuana, for you to use as a bucket list when you are with us!


1. Telefonica Gastro Park

Telefónica is Tijuana’s favorite Gastro Park! Think of anything you’d want to eat, chances are, it’s here! You’ll find ceviche, pulled pork sandwiches, vegan tacos, ramen, kombucha, even sushi burritos! You’ll definitely want to try more than one thing!


2. Nativo Coffee Community

This cafe is incredible!

There’s two Nativo Cafes here in TJ, the Estacion Federal location is just a block from the walking border crossing, and another on Calle Sexta! Nativo serves excellent coffee, and beautiful space for reading, meeting, or hanging out with friends! Our favorite is the Spicy Orange Latte.


3. The Cultural Center

In the Zona Río district of Tijuana, you’ll find the Tijuana Cultural Center! This center opens its doors to over a million tourists per year. Why? Besides the several art and cultural programs for the public, this center has the only IMAX theater in all of Mexico! This cinema has a 360* projector, literally surrounding its viewers with the ultimate movie experience.

4. The Coffee Shops

One of Mexico’s many gifts to the world is its coffee! We hit on Nativo earlier, but Tijuana is a city full of awesome coffee shops!

Be sure to check out:


Das Cortez

Grulla Cafe 

Electric Coffee Roasters


5. The Tacos

What more can we say?! Tacos are everywhere here and they are delicious! You can sit down in a restaurant or pick some up from a street cart, both are awesome! Here are the places we recommend:

Tacos El Franc

Taco Nazo 

Tacos Manuel 

Tacos El Yaqui

 6. Caesar’s

Did you know that the Caesar Salad was actually invented in Tijuana? Who knew! Caesar Cardini invented the salad in 1924 right here in Tijuana in the Hotel Caesar restaurant! The story is that during a July 4th rush, Cardini had to make do with what was left and there was born what we now know and love as the caesar salad.

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7. The Nature!

Believe it or not, this city is surrounded with many majestic scenes! La Jolla, pictured above is right outside the city and is the perfect place for a sunset viewing party! 

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8. La Playa 

Take a moment (or many) to stroll down the boardwalk here in Tijuana! It starts right at the border wall where you can see, and touch, the actual border wall between Mexico and the US! As you walk down you can enjoy the view of the beach as well as many souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants! We also have a beautiful beach a couple of minutes walk from our YWAM San Diego/ Baja campus.

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9. The views from the campus can’t be beat.

We have an epic view of the ocean and the Coronado islands from our campus. Imagine going out on your balcony and seeing the ocean every day? It never gets old!

10. The Markets

In the heart of downtown Tijuana lies one of the most famous markets, Mercado El Popo! Here you can explore and buy Mexican fruits, cheeses, herbs, spices, ceramics, souvenirs and even piñatas! Bring a little cash and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds as you walk through! There is also another great market in Tijuana called Mercado Hidalgo and if you head a couple of minutes south of the campus to Rosarito, a popular beach destination, you can explore the markets there as well! You’ll find rugs, blankets, ceramics, and beautiful jewelry!


Have you thought about doing a school with us but haven’t applied yet? What are you waiting for? We run various Discipleship Training Schools and Secondary Courses with the University of the Nations at our San Antonio Del Mar campus located just south of Tijuana.


10 Reasons We Love Tijuana and Why You Will Too:
The FIVE Biggest Questions I had before my DTS:


The FIVE Biggest Questions I had before my DTS:


So, you’re thinking about doing a DTS! This is awesome, God is about to take you on a beautiful journey full of sweet times, learning more about God, and who He made you to be!

Maybe you’re excited, maybe nervous? To help calm the nerves and give you some helpful information, here are the five biggest questions I had before my DTS!



A DTS, or Discipleship Training School, is a five-month program through Youth With A Mission (YWAM). The school is two parts, a 12 week lecture phase, and 8 week cross-cultural outreach phase!

We spend lecture phase on one of our campuses here in Mexico, either in San Antonio del Mar, or Ensenada! For 12 weeks of the lecture phase we are in a classroom setting, learning from speakers from all around the world about different themes like Hearing the Voice of God, the Nature and Character of God, Fear of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit! Then, after we’ve learned more about God and we’ve pursued knowing Him more, we move out to make Him known!

On the outreach phase, we spend 8 weeks travelling with a team to another culture for an evangelistic outreach! You and your team will travel and do a variety of things, depending on where you go, but in any case, get excited! God could take you anywhere, from sharing the love of God by building homes in Nepal, evangelizing in Hungary, hosting children’s programs in Brazil and everything in between!



In our DTS’s we have students from many different backgrounds, nations, and ages!

Students come from all over the world! I remember one night at dinner, we soon realized that each person sitting at the table was from a different nation! You will have classmates and make long lasting friendships with people from all over the world. This is a super fun part of the DTS, maybe next year you’ll visit a friend for Christmas in New Zealand or a summer trip to Colombia!


If you are thinking this, you are not the only one, trust me!

Jesus calls us to Him, exactly as we are, with no requirements except being open to learn from Him! Don’t worry about what you do or don’t know, you’re here to learn. So come hungry to learn and you will be ready! Along with being in class, you will get to spend time being involved in and learning about local ministries, intercession, worship, evangelism, and many other activities! You will learn and grow alongside the staff and the campus community. It is amazing season to grow in the Lord.

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Our base, YWAM San Diego/Baja, is one base with three locations! We have offices in San Diego, and two campuses with schools and ministries in two different cities here in Baja California, Mexico!

If you’re doing your DTS at our San Antonio Del Mar campus, you’ll be about 30 minutes from the US border between Rosarito and Tijuana. If you’re going to our Ensenada campus you will be about an hour and a half drive south of the U.S. border! Both Campuses are located near the beach.


What do I wear?

This was a HUGE question for me, and honestly, I didn’t do it right! To avoid the regret, here’s my best packing advice:

Don’t get too ahead of yourself like I did! Outreach was definitely on my mind while packing and boy, was I shocked being the only one wearing Chaco’s in the classroom! While these are awesome for hiking, they are not so comfortable to wear in the classroom. Pack for the lecture phase as well as the outreach phase. For the first 12 weeks, you will be in a classroom setting, so whatever you would wear to class, bring that. Also remember that space is limited, so limit what you bring, but bring things to layer and mix, it can get chilly near the coast.

Depending on when you come and do your DTS, the weather changes! Bring a light jacket, but leave the boots at home! (Pro tip: Bring a bathing suit, the beach is nearby for study breaks at both campuses!)

Toiletries? There is a Walmart nearby both campuses, so don’t worry about packing so many bottles of your favorite shampoo, you can get it all here! Save the room in your bag for something better!

How about for Outreach? If you have a hiking backpack, bring it! You’ll have time before outreach to prepare and finalize what you will bring. There is a storage unit where you can leave a bag throughout the outreach phase.

Don’t forget to bring a Bible and a notebook, but remember, anything you forget you can buy here- except your Passport! Whatever you do, remember to bring your Passport! It should have validity for more than 6 months from the time of your return home date.

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Ask yourself these questions before your DTS, write them down, and re-answer them afterwards! Be as honest as you can, and keep them to read later!

  1. Why am I doing this?

  2. Who is God to me right now?

  3. Do I have any dreams? What are they?

  4. What do I want God to show me?

  5. What do I want out of this school? What do I want to learn or gain?

We’re so excited you are looking into doing a DTS with us! If you want more information about the different DTS focuses we offer or still need to apply click HERE!


The FIVE Biggest Questions I had before my DTS:
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
God is Not Afraid of Our Questions: How the BCC Transformed My Life


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


How The Photo-Storytelling DTS Helped Me Discover My Roots
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
With God All Things Are Possible- Even 9 Months of Intensive Bible Study


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


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


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 


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.


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