We can only share with people what God has done with us and showed to us, but why wouldn’t we do it? If we found even an inch of freedom in an area, why wouldn’t we want to help others that we see struggling in that same area? – Lauren Jackson
Lauren Jackson has been working in YWAM for 14 years; she began in 2001 with her DTS in Denver, Colorado, and has since travelled to the Middle East, and now resides at YWAM Harpenden, and has for the last two years. Lauren cares deeply for the people she met while living in the Middle East and is now co-leading the July DTS, with plans to take outreach teams there.
“I’m really passionate about seeing teams come to the Middle East and seeing stereotypes fall. The media paints a picture of the Middle East like they’re all dangerous, but actually they are the most amazing people; they’re open, they’re hospitable, they want to talk about God.”
The July DTS is a unique course, as the first seven weeks of the lecture phase will be held in Harpenden, after which they move to the Next Wave, a YWAM sailing vessel for the remainder of the lecture phase. Once the lecture phase concludes they will split into two teams and head out to different locations in the Middle East, where they will build relationships with locals, learn the language, and share their stories.
The thing that most grabs Lauren’s attention about the great commission is the push to GO to other nations, loving others as Jesus loves. Through the DTS, she is excited about the opportunity to pass on the ability to truly commit to people and places. “Even if we don’t have all the answers, I think a missional life is seeing God do things in your own life, [and] therefore helping others receive the hope [and] the love that you’ve received.”
Her hope is that: “at the end of the school [the DTS trainees] can walk away more confident in the fact that they are loved and chosen by God, that they have a specific purpose and destiny; and they’re willing to allow God to take them beyond their own capacity to see that happen in other people’s lives.”
Lauren reminds me that the great commission is simple, really. The great commission is about people, not numbers; it is about stories, not goals; it is about hope: reminding ourselves of the hope that we have, and showing others that hope, too. She has chosen to live the great commission away from home, but she reminds us that the gospel is for everyone. It is for university students, the elderly, fishing villages in Thailand, the African jungles, the communities the church does not always welcome, and metropolises across Europe. The gospel is for all. For those of us who staff DTS’s and lead teams to the Middle East, and those of us, whose daily life looks different than this, we must remember the call to love, to champion, and to share.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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