I think about my DTS all the time. I think about my leaders who seemed to have all the answers I was looking for, I think about my roommates who I truly struggled to love, I think about the tears that were shed and the friendships that grew out of necessity. More than anything I think about the person that I was, and the person that I became during those six months. Something special happened in that time, a hope was garnered and learned that I had never before considered. DTS, for me, was a time where I recognized that I was not alone, and I was not in the world for myself. I had never considered loving others the way I learned to in those six months. DTS absolutely changed my life. So what is it about these six months that does that? That takes people and totally transforms their lives? A word I associate with DTS is pivotal: absolutely, incredibly pivotal.

smallforblogThis week I sat down with Hannah M, a fellow staff member who has just returned from staffing her first DTS, and we talked about some of these things. “Oh, DANG is it pivotal!” is what she said when I asked her about the importance of DTS. Hannah is one of those people whose passion makes you want to be passionate about pretty much anything and everything. Her voice echoes excitement and her eyes are vibrant colours that scream about the things she loves, and what Hannah loves more than anything is Jesus, and almost directly out of that, DTS.

“I think my passion for DTS is for people to know who God is and to know who they are in God; and that’s something that sounds really simple and it sounds really easy, and it sounds like people should know that, but nobody knows that.”

Hannah did her own DTS September 2012, here at YWAM Harpenden fresh out of high school, without an understanding of missions, or even what DTS really was. A year later she returned as staff with a deep heart of love for the process of DTS and what it does for the individual in their relationship with God, but also what it offers to the world of missions.

Hannah, on her DTS outreach in Sierra Leone, teaching at an orphanage. 2013.

Hannah, on her DTS outreach in Sierra Leone, teaching at an orphanage. 2013.

“I think it’s just incredibly pivotal to missions because it’s a place where you develop your relationship with God…and that is a direct link to you taking it out and telling people about that… People are very good at figuring out what’s authentic and what’s not and if you don’t truly, truly know who God is, and you don’t know His heart, people are going to see that and they’re not going to respond to that. And we won’t be moving the kingdom anywhere, it’s just going to be sitting there.”

Hannah co-lead an outreach team from the September DTS 2014 to Asia and they just graduated last week. I asked her about the change she saw in her trainees lives over this time. As she shared with me about them and their outreach, one could only describe the look on her face as one of a mother, truly proud of her children.

Hannah and a DTS trainee, on their recent outreach to Asia, with members of a team they ministered with. 2015.

Hannah and a DTS trainee, on their recent outreach to Asia, with members of a team they ministered with. 2015.

“It was so inspiring for me to watch them interacting with people,” She said to me. “I was like, these are not the same people who I encountered three months ago, these are not the same people that I met. These people that came were broken and were sad and were confused about who God was, and didn’t know who they were, but these people that I was with in Asia, they knew the power of the Lord and they knew the privilege it was to know Jesus, and they knew the importance of the people they were interacting with… it was like night and day, it was incredibly different.”

In the words of Hannah, DTS is the physical movement that teaches the beautiful truth that: “missions is a daily choice, missions is a daily act of pursuing God’s heart for the people around you.” DTS forces people to consider what they believe and why they believe it, it forces action. It takes a person and turns them into a missionary, not by way of a degree but by way of the heart. When people leave DTS they are no longer the same, and often times they don’t even have the words to explain to their family and friends from home why that is. In my opinion, it’s that they have begun down the path that Jesus set out for us, the path of loving deeply, so deep it alters who we thought we were and what we thought we lived for. DTS is important, and dare I say, pivotal, because it creates a space where the eyes to looking at the world through a magnifying glass called “missions”, or even as God intended, happens.

Often when you think of missions certain imagines come to mind. I know for myself, images of building wells and orphanages under the African sun pop up immediately. Also skirts, very long, heavy skirts. As it turns out this is missions, but the interesting thing is that it’s only one form of missions. If missions truly is “to go out into all the world and preach the gospel,” then we have to actually go out into all the world; all the world: such as orphanages, but also hospitals, café’s, businesses, media, the list could go on forever. Yet, very rarely do we hear stories of people taking the love of Jesus into their everyday lives as “missions.” And that’s what this blog series is about, bringing a new perspective to this idea of missions, and what it truly means to live missionally focused lives.

Photos: Lauren Malpass, Miriam Daughtery, N/A

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