It feels like just yesterday that I was standing in Denver International Airport in Colorado, USA giving long hugs and tearful goodbyes to my precious family. I had been nervously anticipating these goodbyes since back in the fall of 2015 when I decided I was going to quit my job as a teacher to do a discipleship training school in Norway through Youth With a Mission (YWAM).
As a twenty-six year old woman, I knew that I was doing things a bit out of order from most DTS students. Many young adults just out of high school or university do a DTS the year after graduation before heading on to the next phase of life. For me, I had my degree and had a wonderful career when I made the decision to go.
There are multiple reasons I made this decision, but one is that as a teacher, I was encouraging my students to dream bold dreams and do the hard work to pursue them, but I myself had not boldly pursued my own dream, which was missionary work.
The months after making my decision involved a lot of prayer, planning, and fundraising. And truthfully, there was a lot of worrying as well. I had so many questions... Am I making a mistake? Is there another path I should be pursuing? Will I be able to raise the necessary funds? Will being one of the oldest make things difficult? Should I at least stay on the same continent as my family?
After only a week here at YWAM Rogaland, the questions grew quiet, and I am certain that this is exactly where I am meant to be.
Soon after the initial introductions and adjustments to base life, teaching commenced, and it began with a meek, white-haired, Norwegian woman named Tove. Tove taught on the topic of "Knowing God", and she taught in a way unlike any other teacher I've heard. Tove chose long ago to live fully committed to Christ, and thus she chooses daily to spend her time studying God's word, praying in the Spirit, and passionately seeking to be with God and know His heart.
I praise God for Tove and the timing of her teaching, because it was exactly what I needed in order to open my heart to this journey and to begin a long hoped for intimacy with God.
Another important aspect of that first week was learning to live in community with my brothers and sisters here on base, and the staff was wonderful in offering support and providing a great example of what that looks like. It is not always easy, and it requires a daily choice to put others before myself and to show grace, just as I am hoping to be shown grace.
Thankfully, the Lord has brought so many wonderful, young people to the base for this season, and we have settled into a comfortable routine of working together and supporting one another. Close friendships have quickly developed, and we respect in one another a mutual desire to seek God and love His people.
On one of the first days, the staff encouraged us that while many think it will be, YWAM is not meant to be the time of your life. The purpose is to grow closer to Christ so that we may share Him with others, and in the process, we will have extraordinary experiences, meet wonderful people, and make so many memories. But we each have so much life ahead of us, and this is just a launching pad, so we must be more focused on Christ than on the experience.
My favorite part of my DTS so far has been learning about God from people who are passionately pursuing His heart, and I look forward with joy to more weeks of learning and growing by listening to the testimonies and teachings of people who have committed their lives to knowing God and sharing the Gospel with the nations.
The best is yet to come, and that is very exciting based upon how incredible the beginning of this journey has already been. I'm so grateful to be here, and I can't wait to see what God has in store!