Many of us have experienced the same feelings--we're ready to click the 'submit' button for our DTS application or we're surfing through online travel agencies trying to book our flights--when that mini panic attack comes followed by the question, what the heck am I doing?!
If that's you, don't worry, you are not alone in those thoughts! However, sadly, a lot of people choose to listen to their doubts instead of actually listening to what God has said and where He's calling them. Don't let that be you! Here are some of the all-too-common obstacles that prevent people from stepping on that flight to the journey of a lifetime.
Funds--or rather the lack of them--is almost always the biggest roadblock. I’ve lost track of how many people send me an email along the lines of, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but I’ve decided not to attend the DTS. I just can’t seem to get the money…”. It’s so true that raising the money can be incredibly daunting, especially if you’re already working two jobs and you still don’t have enough to pay your lecture fees. But in our stressing out about the finances, we forget just how big our God is, and how He says in His Word to not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6). So don’t let the dollar signs hold you back, instead, remind yourself that He who has called you is always faithful to provide. Wherever you are, God will never leave you hanging.
2. Friends and Family Aren't Supportive
Whether you’re 18 years old and fresh out of high school or 26 with a stable job and a nice apartment--leaving can still be scary. Especially if you’re leaving behind family and friends that just don't fully understand what you're going to do. “But shouldn’t you be going to college instead of running off to do missionary work?” It’s a very common question and they might think that it’s all a waste of time and money. But it comes down to one simple thing: who do you ultimately choose to obey--God or your friends and family? It's true that the Bible says to honor our mother and father and our friends, but if you are certain that a DTS is where God's calling you next--and their opinions are interfering with you going--then it might be time to take a step back and see who you're choosing to listen to. And in most cases, they do come around eventually and you may be surprised--they might even turn into some of your biggest supporters!
3. But, is this really God's will for me?
So many people fret over this question. The reality is, as Christians, some of us are often terrified that if we make a wrong move or do something that's not in God's will, He will depart from us just as quickly as He came. But let's be real here--do you really think that God is going to abandon you because you are choosing to set aside five months to get to know Him more intimately? Do you think that it's not in God's will for you to travel to Thailand and work with young girls who are enslaved by sex trafficking? Or cook a huge pot of rice and beans to feed starving children on the streets of Brazil? I don't think so. Remember the Great Commission--“therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
This is our mandate as Christians, as YWAMers, as missionaries--to go into all the world and make disciples. God will not forsake you as you begin to fulfill that calling.
If you’re someone who’s interested in doing a YWAM DTS, don’t let these things hold you back from some of the most incredible, life-changing six months of your life. Rather, let this season leading up to your school be a time of growing your faith, of trusting God on an even greater level, of throwing aside all fear. You won’t regret a DTS, I promise.