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If you’ve made the decision to take a gap year, you might be weighing the pros and cons of signing up with a missions organization versus a travel or work program. Although you will gain valuable experiences no matter what you decide, we here at YWAM Mazatlan believe that the best thing you can do before making a major life decision is to ensure you have a firm foundation.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." (Matt 7:24-27)
Someone who doesn't know God and isn't confident in their identity is like a man who builds his house on the sand. When the inevitable storms of life come and the waters rise, his house is quickly swept away. As you go out into the world to forge your own path, you might be asking yourself: is my foundation real? Am I stable all the way down, at the root of my being? Or is my faith just a façade?
There are many stories of young people who went off to college and walked away from their faith, or friends who moved away from home only to question why life was not as black-and-white as their upbringing made it out to be. You could say that a person must have a deep understanding of their faith before going out into the world, but what if the best way to develop faith is by going into the world? We’re here to tell you that it is, and you can do it through a YWAM DTS.
If you have a desire to make God your foundation and develop a deep relationship with Him, one of the best ways to start is by enrolling in one of our Discipleship Training Schools (DTS). Our DTS program is a 6-month, live-in missionary training school made up of two different phases. The first 3 months, called the lecture phase, are designed to structure your beliefs about God and see what it looks like to walk with Him in every aspect of your life. You will be equipped to share your faith in many different contexts, receiving teaching and training from missionaries who have been on the field for years. The second half is a 3-month outreach: a chance to put what you have learned into practice by going out into the world to feed the hungry, pray for the sick, take care of orphans, and share the hope of Jesus with the nations.
Through weekly lectures on topics such as "The Character and Nature of God," "The Holy Spirit," and "World Missions", you will gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus is, who you are, and what role you have to fulfill in the kingdom of God. By the end of this adventure, you will be prepared to spend the rest of your life following Jesus and doing His will, whether that means going to college, starting a career, or continuing on in the missions field.
One of our DTS graduates shares her gap year experience:
"Going into my senior year, my heart was in two different places. I wanted to go to college, but I also had a passion for missions. When I learned that I could do a DTS first and still have the same opportunities at college a year later, I knew a DTS was the right thing for me. DTS changed my life forever. It grounded me so deep in my faith that I have no fear of falling away or faltering in my walk when I attend college in the fall. Also, it gave me a reason to go to college! God gave me a passion for medicine and missions, and that passion is what makes me want to study! I can now say that I am going to college for a specific purpose, not because college seems like the typical thing to do." (Grace Mihalyov)
Maybe you're going to be graduating soon and find yourself in a similar position to Grace. Perhaps you feel uncertain of what you should do after you've walked the stage and "real life" begins. Whatever place you find yourself in, remember that the most important thing is to ensure that you have a solid foundation on which to build upon. But how, you ask? Come do your DTS with us at YWAM Mazatlan! Join a community of young, passionate Jesus-lovers ready to say yes to anything God calls us to. We're sure you won't regret it.