Category Archives: DTS

Bosnia & Herzegovina – What is Jesus doing?

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach | No Comments

The only way to do anything significant would be to ask what Jesus is already up to here. Because Jesus has been here for a long time already! He’s in all the places that we are not, and we don’t need to be present for Him to do anything! What a waste of time it would be to do something that He isn’t involved in. As we looked, we found Him playing games with children, sitting drinking tea by the river with the thirsty beggars on the street, and with some unexpected people coming to English classes or cultural evenings.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the people in Bosnia & Herzegovina have gone through a lot over the recent years. So, what do they need most? We were praying one day, and God showed me something
Some of the people in the city are hiding away. Through that they feel safety, but in the end, it means that all the pain stays locked inside. Some are reaching out their hands, realising there must be another way. We can invite them into true safety. God is our fortress, our hiding place. God said through Psalm 91:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in who I trust.”

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been to children’s home a few times – spending time, playing games, and making crafts with them, and generally trying to give them a fun time. They’re all completely chaotic, but all so wonderful. One morning, we were asking God what we could make with them, and we felt He was saying ‘boats.’ It’s recorded in Luke 8 that the disciples and Jesus were in a boat, in a big storm. The disciples were scared, and woke Jesus up who was sleeping. I can hardly imagine the reality of what happened – He spoke to the waves and the wind, and told them to stop, and they did. I don’t understand the extent of the storms that a huge majority of these children have gone through, but we found out that morning that Jesus is in the boat with them; they can call on Him and He’ll always be with them. He’s safety and security in an uncertain world.

God captured our hearts for Bosnia & Herzegovina. He spoke to us, and showed us our part in the big story of a place He’s always been.”

Love,
Anne, Becky, Christian, Daniel, Elsa, Janina, Kajsa, Robyn, Suzan.

Kalispera Athina! (Hello Athens!)

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | 2 Comments

We are in Athens! And though Cyprus and Greece speak the same language, the two countries are very different from each other. The economic crisis is much more evident here than it was in Cyprus; the streets are packed with people who have lost their jobs and homes and have nowhere else to go. 80% of immigration into Europe comes through Greece, so in addition to all the Greek people without jobs, there are loads of other immigrants joining them in their desperation. The church we’re staying in is right in the center of the red-light district; we’re surrounded by drugs, graffiti, and prostitution. Despite all these things, God is really showing us the beauty of Athens and helping us to love the city as much as He does.

We teach English and German to refugees. Most of the people who come to our lessons are from Afghanistan and Iran. We teach all ages and levels, from the most basic, to more advance conversationalists.

Three times a week we serve food to Greek, Iranian, and Afghani people. This takes place in the same building where we’re staying. Between 70-150 people come for food and fellowship. Before serving the food, there is some time for us to present a drama or give a talk. During eating, the aim for us is to build relationships. It can be challenging because of language barriers, but we try.

In addition to these things, we also get to be a part of some other fun things in the city. Here’s a cool story Miguel had from one of our days out:

One  afternoon we met up with another YWAM team that’s also here on outreach to worship together in a popular square called Plaka. It was really great; both teams were working together as if they had known each other for a long time. People around came closer to find out what we were doing. After a little while some of us got up and started to speak with the people around us. Dortje and I spotted a guy we wanted to talk to, but he got up from where he was sitting and left before we could even speak to him. We were disappointed that we had missed him, but that disappointment was short-lived because we spotted the man again sitting near to our group who was worshipping. We approached him and had a good conversation. He was feeling anxious and upset about something that had happened to him earlier that day. It seemed that he really needed someone to speak to, and we were there at the perfect time. He told us that he had wanted to go into the church that is at the square, but it was shut. So, he considered taking the tram home, but felt to sit down, drink his coke, have a smoke and then go home. That’s when we approached him. We mainly just listened to him. He was going through a bit of a rough time in his life, and all we really could do was to listen. At the end, we prayered for him and gave him some scriptures. He was really encouraged. He kept telling us for minutes how encouraged he was, how different he know felt after talking to us and that we should keep doing what we’re doing. Sometimes all that people need is someone who is willing to really listen to them.

It’s so rewarding to see how God touches the lives of the people we meet!

We have many more stories and we can’t wait to share them with you when we return home. Until then, keep praying for us and our last three weeks in Greece!

Love,

Alex, Dortje, Edel, Jake, Janik, Josien, Kevin, Lisanne, Miguel, Samantha & Susie.

Outreach in Macedonia!

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | One Comment

Our team made it to the first outreach location of our 2 month outreach phase: Macedonia!

We had some travel adventures; Our Megabus broke down in the middle of the M1 in London on the way to the airport which caused us to grab our bags, jump the fence and hike to the nearest Underground.  We nearly missed our flight but thankfully we all made it to Macedonia on May 3rd.

In Macedonia things like the culture, the food, the people, the weather, the atmosphere, etc. are very different than we’re used to; but in very cool ways!  Our contact here has definitely been a big help in getting us plugged into the culture and community and we’ve been able to meet a lot of locals.

One of the words that was given for our team before we left was that we were meant to “be” a lot more than we were meant to “do”,  and we’ve noticed how spot on that has been from the beginning.  We spend a lot of time getting to know people and talking about life together. Through these friendships we are able to inspire people to ask questions, seek further and help them open up their hearts and minds to God. Because God loves them more than they could ever imagine!

Sports ministry in particular has been a great opportunity for us to get better involved with the community here.  We have spent a lot of afternoons at the park,  taking a basketball and football and starting up a game with local youth, the students,  and even the older generations of the community.  It’s also been really cool to be able to spend time with people here that don’t even speak English and we’ve made a lot of new friends that we’ve been able to re-connect and have coffee and conversations with.

 

One of our favorite stories  from the past month is about our time spent with a people group here called the Roma gypsies.  They live in a very run-down part of the city,  and most of them are beggars during the day throughout the streets.  The first time we visited them we brought strawberries to share and a football to play games with them.  We had a great time playing with all the kids,  about 30-40 of them all together. We felt like God wanted us to bring them clothes,  nail polish  and some bread. We spent a long time just hanging out with them;  painting nails,  playing games,  singing songs about Jesus and His love,  giving gifts and sharing bread with them. It was a great experience!

It’s crazy to think that our time in Macedonia is already coming to a close. Outreach here this far has been great,  and we have had the most incredible opportunities to be a part of what God is doing here.  We’ve seen some cool things happen,  seen God moving in others and have experienced His love for them at the same time,  and that is such a great privilege to have over our short time here.  We are so grateful,  and so in awe; God is good!

Love,
Anne, Becky, Christian, Daniel, Elsa, Janina, Kajsa, Robyn, Suzan.

DTS outreach in Cyprus!

By | DTS, Europe, Outreach, Sept/Jan 2012/2013 DTS | 3 Comments

The first thing you notice in Cyprus is the glorious sunshine and sweltering heat. It’s absolutely fantastic . The island itself is gorgeous with mountains, bright flowers, and beaches all around. Not a bad place to spread the love of Jesus! Time is a relative concept here. When someone tells you they’ll see you at 10:00, 10:45 is perfectly acceptable. People are much more relaxed about things. Relationships are the important thing, not schedules or tasks.

Before we arrived in Cyprus, we knew the country was divided into a “Greek side” and a “Turkish side,” but I don’t think any of us realized that there was an actual, passport controlled border; and that by crossing that border, it feels you’re stepping into a completely different country. It definitely adds an interesting dynamic to the country and to our outreach!

We do things like spending time with God, listen to & give devotionals, we worship and we intercede; During those hours we ask God what to pray for and what to share, and then we pray those things for Cyprus. We also go into the town and talk to people about life and God.  On Sunday we split the team up to go to different churches (of varying nationalities) and we preach, share testimonies, lead worship, perform dramas, and share in community. We have also been working with the youth. One youth group is at the International church on Sunday mornings; the other is a Monday night young adult group. We also meet several times per week with some Sri Lankan university students who go to school on the Turkish side of Cyprus. We go over there a few times a week to hang out with them and help them practice their English. We’ve had some really encouraging experiences with them!

Our main contact here in Cyprus is a wonderful man called George. George is a church planter and the pastor of the Sri Lankan church we’ve been working with. He used to be involved with YWAM here in Cyprus. Because of his many different contacts, we’ve been able to be involved in many different activities here in Cyprus. It has been a real challenge for us to step out of our comfort zones, but also a huge blessing!  Besides the Sri Lankan church we are also involved in a Filipino church, a Bulgarian church, a small, Sri Lankan village church and an international church.

We also worked with Anastasia, a 23 year old woman with a huge heart for God. With her family, she founded the country’s only Christian radio station, which has recently been recognized by the government and approved to reach the whole of Cyprus. We visited the station and as a team, we helped clean the station, we recorded a song that we had written as a team and we also did a radio interview. It’s really exciting to think that all of Cyprus will be hearing the song God’s given us, and the story behind it. That’s what you call an outreach!

It seems like we just stumble into situations that God has planned for us. We’re really able to see how badly God wants to reach His people. So for now we’ve selected one of the many stories to share with you all.

It was 2:30pm. Miguel and I (Josien) wanted to encourage shopkeepers with prayer for their businesses. We found out that not all Cypriots speak English but the ones that did were really open to talk and we were able to pray for a few business, which was very exciting. We came to a leather shop and the guy working there was about our age. When we asked to pray for him, he said, ‘”Well, I’m an atheist, but please tell me everything about your faith.” Then he gave us chairs to sit on to make the conversation comfortable. He had loads of questions and interesting thoughts for us. He was really searching for God and for truth. After talking with him for about an hour, he allowed us to pray for him. He was really impressed. “Wow!” he shouted, “You guys really prayed with your soul. You are great Christians!” He had never seen anything like that. We exchanged phone numbers to meet again. He also wanted us to meet his friends because he wanted them to hear what we believe, as well. What a great outreach experience!


Love,

Alex, Dortje, Edel, Jake, Janik, Josien, Kevin, Lisanne, Miguel, Samantha & Susie.

 

Willem’s staff experience

By | Base, DTS | No Comments

It’s hard to put one and a half year in such a small space. I joined the staff in September 2010, only a few weeks after my Discipleship Training School (DTS) had finished. I did not really know what to expect, even though I had just finished my DTS. DTS was the most amazing experience in my life, and it did literally change my life. I wanted to learn more, and I also wanted others to experience what I had experienced.
But, looking back, I can say it was better than I could have imagined. It has been awesome to invest time and effort in others, and see them experience God. As staff, the biggest challenge is to stay connected to God, throughout the whole DTS, and to always know what He wants to do. And, then, seeing God at work in others, changing them with his love, is the most rewarding thing! To see the difference between those young people coming in the door for the first time, and seeing them leave six months later, the growth and transformation is amazing.

And, the cool thing is, through being on staff and investing in others, God has given me so much more back. He has continued to work in my life, and He has shown me even more of who He is. Of course there are tough times, with big challenges and difficult situations, but through it all God is so incredibly faithful. Knowing that, and experiencing his goodness, makes it so worth it. I would not have wanted to miss out on it and I would recommend it to anyone!

Willem

Looking back on outreach

By | DTS | No Comments

DTS outreach is over. It’s been nine busy but incredible weeks. We’ve led small groups, dance classes, hosted dinners and given testimonies. Also, we talked to people on the streets, buses, trains and in restaurants. One of the most rewarding things to see during outreach was the change in people; God has been working in our lives and in the lives of the people we’ve reached out to. Many of us were afraid to go out and talk to people at first but through many given opportunities to step out we realized it’s not scary at all. God is bigger than our fears of talking to people we don’t know. We were not always sure if what we had to say to people would have any impact, or if it would make any sense. But it’s truly rewarding to talk about God and to help others to have a better understanding of who God really is! People realizing that God really does care; the change that brought was incredibly powerful. Now the outreach is over, everyone goes their own way again. But we all have taken away something amazing; we won’t ever be the same!

Jacob

Goodbye Berlin!

By | DTS | One Comment

We are finding ourselves at the end of our time in Berlin. It has been an adventure, a different culture and the wonders that God does every day. Each experience here has been unique and full of opportunities to watch God work. God has been doing some wonderful things in and through our team.

This past week we have had the opportunity to work with the local church as they reach out to the kids through kids programs. In the dance workshop we watched kids come from a rougher neighbourhood. In this dance class we saw that the kids find friendship and mentorship with the teachers, find identity in their dancing and share a goal of figuring out life together. Some of the teachers used to be kids who came to this class; this project is definitely showing his results! We also went back to the YMCA to spend some time with a young adult group. Lots of our team members had some great conversations with the people there. We were able to encourage each other. That was really great!

Last week I lost my passport. Thankfully, we were able to solve that issue with very little trouble. We went down to the consulate, where they issued me an emergency passport. God has been there in the good and the hard times. Even though I was worried and stressed about what would happen, God reached out His hand and walked with me.

As we leave, I am sad because I know I will miss this place. Yet I am so excited to see what God does next! Keep us in your prayers,

Beth

Expectations, testimony from Berlin!

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I’ve wanted to be a missionary for so long that I suppose I romanticized it. I expected it to be easy and inspiring. The truth is that not every part of life is only great. There will be the nights where you feel lonely and you have lots of questions.  That sort of thing happens in life, so why wouldn’t it happen in missions too?  I guess I just didn’t think it would.

But even though sometimes things are hard, keep dreaming! It’s worth it to see small German children smile and squeal with glee as you play with them and beautiful teenage girls laugh and feel loved and appreciated for a while.  It’s worth it to get to encourage and pray with young people who long for more of Jesus and to pray for Germany along the remnants of the Berlin wall.  Some people will respond as they don’t care, others will open up their hearts for you. This afternoon I was able to let God speak through my talents, was incredible.  It reminded me why I do this, why I love missions and why it is so much fun! It’s because of the time I get with God, the time I get with so many other people and cultures, and especially the time I get showing people that they are not alone—that there is a God who loves them and desires them intensely!  Those times are so special.  And when I think about it, they happen a lot more frequently than I thought.  I think God’s given them to me every day.  I suppose the hard stuff really isn’t so big in comparison after all.

Laura

Hallo From Berlin!

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Hallo from Berlin!

The team arrived on Friday December 30th coming back from Christmas break. It was great to see everyone again! Berlin welcomed us with a chilly, crisp air. We are staying at the YWAM Berlin base, which to my great delight has a big, beautiful dance studio complete with mirrors & wooden floors.

Some of the things we did during our first week in Berlin include:

– – Tobias Otto (a member of staff in Germany) led us on a prayer/sight-seeing tour of Berlin. It is a city full of historical buildings, but also lots of art and modern monuments.

– – We did a prayer walk around the city. Laura, a girl from our team talked to one of the German ladies. She prayed about God’s love in that area and the German lady told her that she and some others had prayed for people to know God’s love in that area before and that people were really open to God.

– – On the S-Bahn, a railway within the city, we sang some worship songs. This led to good conversations with people. They were truly interested. Then we were asked politely by security to leave because it wasn’t something they want to encourage.

– – We also did some painting which was a chance to work with a local YMCA (Very different than YMCA in other countries) It was a Christian environment with a focus of being a safe place for kids & youth. We were able to paint some walls for them which involved some creativity & design. Those who are creative on the team seized this chance & ended up with a beautiful finished product.

Please Continue praying for us as a team for a strong, united team and that there will be lots of opportunities to share our testimonies and build some friendships.

The South East Asia team – Cambodia

By | DTS, January 2011 DTS | No Comments
Most of the SE Asia team before leaving Carlisle

Most of the SE Asia team before leaving Carlisle

The first part of the DTS outreach in South East Asia took place in Cambodia. Here’s a testimony by Aubrey:

‘God did a lot of things while we were in Cambodia, but my favourite experience was working at the drug rehab centre.  Our second week we went to the centre on Thursday and Friday morning to work with young men ages 17 to 30 who were recovering from severe drug addictions.  Our contact was pastor Noel and he gave us the schedule of what the days would be like beforehand so that we could prepare.  Thursday was interesting because the schedule we were given for the program did not end up being followed, so we only did about two things out of the five or six we had prepared.  However, despite the miscommunication it was a very rewarding time with the drug rehab patients.  I taught English with the help of Ben and Eva, which went fairly well considering I had no idea how advanced the students were.  It turned out they were more advanced than I thought, but it worked out ok and they responded very well.

The team spent some time sharing Jesus at a drug rehab in Cambodia

The team spent some time sharing Jesus at a drug rehab in Cambodia

It was really encouraging for me to see that the work being done there was really having an impact on the people.  I wasn’t sure at first if what we were doing was really meaning anything to them, but as we were driving home on Friday we all agreed that these men’s lives were impacted by God.  When we first arrived I was a bit intimidated by the high cement walls, armed guards, and barred windows throughout the complex.  I wasn’t sure what to expect; I didn’t know if the men we would be working with were responsive, respectful, or even totally present mentally.  However, as soon as we entered the “classroom”, all of my fears disappeared.  I can’t explain it exactly, but I felt completely safe there and somehow I knew that they were responding to us and the pastor who works with them on a regular basis.  They had a level of joy and peace that one would not expect in a place like that.  It was a real joy to work with them, and I am a bit disappointed that we didn’t do any more work there, but I’m grateful for what we were able to do.’

Pray for our DTS outreach team in South East Asia!