To know God and make Him known, that is our mission, that is what we do. DTS is the starting gate of YWAM. You step into your first role as a missionary the first week of your DTS through local outreach. Right away, students get the chance to go out into the city and make God known. Throughout the first few months of DTS you are continually getting poured into and loved so that when you go out into the world you can do the same for the complete strangers you will meet. As a student, you learn so much more about your relationship with God as well as about yourself. Then you get the amazing opportunity to take that new knowledge and passion for the Lord, to the Nations. You get to share the love of the Father you’ve experienced, during lecture phase, to the people you will encounter during outreach. YWAM LA creates a safe place for students to be able to dive deeper into their relationship with God and equips them to be sent out around the globe. Outreach is beautiful. It’s messy, it’s raw and it’s real. It could seriously change your life. It changed mine, I experienced the love of God on a whole other level and it’s an experience I will highly recommend for the rest of my life. This is what we as Christians are called to do, to go out and spread the love of God to everyone we meet.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
A few things come to mind when I think of outreach- adventure, spiritual growth, a beautiful challenge, and life-changing experiences; these are just a few. My outreach experience was all of these things. Ever since I was a little girl I have been intrigued by the idea of being a missionary, I grew up watching my grandparents live out this lifestyle, so it caught my attention early in life. Attending a YWAM DTS had been on my heart for as long as I can remember, so when the timing was finally right for me to go I was thrilled. Right from the start of DTS there was so much excitement and anticipation in waiting for the big outreach reveal. It’s something we all got to experience together; the waiting. I was so blessed with the outreach team I got to be a part of. During DTS, the people you’re around instantly become your family, this is the case even more so during outreach. You experience so much with this group of people, you can’t help but bond so much and so quickly with them. I am incredibly grateful that I got to travel the globe with my outreach family, I couldn’t have done it without them. Kenya and the Philippines were the two countries I got to go to. If you were to ask me what my favorite thing about outreach was, I still don’t think I could give you an answer. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because so much had happened that I couldn’t choose which experience was highlighted over another. As difficult or how amazing of a situation we experienced ever was, we endured it together. God broke our hearts for so many people and situations during those two and a half months. But what I learned was that He was in each of those situations, no person we encountered was forgotten by God and each of them is unconditionally loved. Outreach was a wake up call for me, it truly changed my life, I was able to fully depend on God and trust that He was always with us and continuously working, even if we couldn’t see it. We were in Kenya first, and a portion of our time there was spent fixing up and re-painting a children’s oncology ward at a hospital. That is a situation that is understandably difficult to see, and at the time was very heartbreaking for me to walk into every day. There were many days where I just wanted to turn around and walk right out of the hospital or beg God to let me take those kids’ place during chemotherapy. But what I couldn’t see was how God was there with us and with those kids everyday or how He began to work through us.
One of my teammates connected quickly with a little boy at the hospital. The boy was, of course, shy the first few times we were there. But my teammate didn’t give up on him, he knew that boy was special. For two weeks my teammate spent time with that little boy poured life into him and encouraged him every day. That boy started asking questions like, “Jesus loves me, right? Can God heal me? Will I be able to run again?” Yes. The answer is yes. At the end of our time in Kenya we could see a little bit of improvement in his spirit and attitude. He laughed and smiled and played despite his cancer. Leaving those kids in the hospital definitely broke many hearts. But just because we had to leave didn’t mean that God left them. We went on to the Philippines and started our adventure there, while still thinking and praying for the children in Kenya. Six weeks later we were about to fly back to America, and my teammate got a very special message from the hospital in Kenya. That beautiful little boy was healed; he was running again! He never stopped believing and praying, he knew God was with him, and that changed his life. That changed our lives. We as a team needed the reminder that God was with every person we encountered. A small seed of hope and faith was planted into the heart of a child and even though we were not there to witness its fruit we still got to experience the joy it brought from across the world. God reminded us that day that the one child we were able to reach, mattered. It’s not always about getting to multitudes of people, sometimes all that matters is one. Everyday we get the opportunity to reach the one, and it is so worth it.
YWAM Los Angeles Staff