Have you ever seen something so incredible that as a result, you set a goal that could transform your life? For instance, maybe you were watching the Olympics, and after seeing the success of all the athletes, you decided to run a marathon. As time goes on, however, something often happens that saps away all of your motivation. Some may call it "reality." Their goals seem too big and too much work. The task of setting aside time to train for a marathon gets smothered by work, family, school, media, and whatever else that could eat up your time. Eventually, your goals are forgotten, and you are stuck in the very place you started.
The time between the birth of an idea and the accomplishment of an idea is fundamental in reshaping a life. For me, the big idea came when I saw what an authentic Christian life could look like in today's world. My vision of a Christian was that of someone who gave up all the enjoyable things in life to do good for everyone else. Little did I know that I was completely missing the point of being a follower of Jesus. When I got a small taste of what it truly looked like, I became hungry for so much more. I wanted to worship freely and love, not because I "had to," but because I wanted to. So, I decided to do a Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission-Charlotte (YWAM).
After this decision, I began my time of preparation: I was fresh out of high school, living on my own, in a state far from my parents, and away from the comfort of their choices for me. For the first time in my life, I was on my own to get everything together, within two months, to accomplish my goal of doing a DTS. This task seemed so daunting and stressful to me.
As time passed, my determination toward learning this new way of life got smaller and smaller. I kept telling myself it would be so much easier to forget about trying to make a change and just stick to what I knew. My comfort zone would never allow me to do something so unfamiliar. But despite the conflict, warring for my attention, I persevered! I knew if I only quit because things got too hard, I would miss one of the biggest opportunities of my life.
It took a while for me to set aside the time needed to fill out my application, but once I started, I didn't let myself quit. I began informing my friends and family, making the preparations to go. Raising the money needed was my biggest hurdle, but through it all, God was so faithful to provide.
Since then, I've learned that a lot things in life are "hard," and the only way to grow stronger is to keep going. I kept going, and I went to YWAM-Charlotte, where my life completely changed. I've learned skills and gained knowledge from experiences that are irreplaceable. Had I made another choice, I would have never experienced Cambodia in the way that I did, learning to love a people so dear to God’s heart! Had I stayed in the same environment, I would have never grown to appreciate different cultures, even in my own country. Had I stuck to what I knew, I would have never changed.
I am grateful that I persevered. I am grateful for the hard times and I am grateful for how God has used all of it to shape me into someone who can reflect His glory as I journey with Him.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.I Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)
Natasha has been on staff at YWAM Charlotte since 2016. When she is not busy writing she loves to climb trees, drink coffee, and the occasional game of volleyball.
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Usually when you think of “Missionary Training,” you may think it's only for those who finished Bible School or have a specific calling to missions, but it's for many other people too. Here are 6 reasons to take our Missionary Training (Discipleship Training School/DTS) at Youth With A Mission Charlotte:
1- To Know God More
Do you want to develop your relationship with God? Has your relationship with God grown stale? This training will help you understand God in a more genuine way than you ever have before.
2- To Make God Known
Have you ever struggled sharing your faith with someone? Do you know what to say? This training will help you reach the world with the love of Christ.
3- To Learn To Hear God’s Voice
Yes, God does speak and He wants to speak to you (John10:27). Learning to hear His voice will help your relationship with God to grow in substantial ways. You will learn about the many ways God speaks and how to listen for His direction, for your life.
4- Find Out What Your Specific Calling Is
There is a specific call on your life that God has designed just for you. This training will help you understand what that is, and how to move forward in God's timing.
5- Grow In Your Relationships With Others
We can all grow in the ways we relate to others. In DTS, you will experience relationships with people from different backgrounds, cultures and personalities. This experience will help you in your relationships with all individuals.
6- Experience God’s Heart For Missions
DTS will change the way you see the world and you will get firsthand experience working cross-culturally through our two-month overseas field assignment.
If this spoke to you, fill out the form below so you can learn more about a Discipleship Training School at Youth With A Mission Charlotte:
My time in Charlotte was such a redeeming experience for me. In 2015, I graduated from college with a degree in Religion. Every class in school taught me fact after fact but never focused on the spiritual and what God was doing in my life. Coming to Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Charlotte was like a breath of fresh air! This is where I learned why all these “facts” mattered, where I fit in the story, and more importantly who God was. Hearing lectures on identity, hearing the voice of God, and the Father Heart of God, just to name a few, were eye-opening and allowed me to begin to step out and want to know more about God. Lecture phase was transformable and life-changing, by allowing me to ask questions, helped me seek out answers, and more importantly take things to God. My entire Discipleship Training School experience is centered on Jeremiah 29:13, where it says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
For me, the main aspect of lecture phase was the understanding that this is more than just head knowledge. It is the understanding that God can transform our lives if we let Him. Week by week, I was learning about who God is and Who is sovereign over my life - ripping out areas in my life that didn’t reflect who God called me to be, and replacing them with solid truths concerning my identity. Lecture phase was full of soul searching, tough questions were answered…no matter how hard it was, and I made it! And the knowledge gained has changed my life for good.
A Discipleship Training School is a five-month adventure with God that will completely transform and renew the way you live and view your life. Here in YWAM Charlotte is where Rachel experienced not just a head knowledge of God, but encountered Him!
In your Discipleship Training School in YWAM Charlotte you can encounter God too! Fill out the form below for more information.
In the picture above Rachel with kids she met in Cambodia during her DTS Outreach.
Identity: the fact of being who or what a person is.
So the question then becomes, “Who am I?” I am Liz, but what is it that I will do with my life?
Before DTS, I struggled with self image. I believed, and in turn lived, according to what others said about me. I was walking in the belief that "I am what I do". I also believed that my value came from how well I performed. I struggled just to look in the mirror, I had anxiety over any school grade less than an A, and had a fear of failure. Too much time was spent dwelling over the words and thoughts others had about me. I would even stress over how things would look on my resume!
I knew the truth about what Jesus said about me, but I realized that there is a difference between knowing it and living it. In Luke 10:38-42 there is a story of Martha and Mary. Martha worked and worked, while Mary placed herself at the feet of Jesus spending time in His presence. I was busy being like Martha, when the Lord was asking me to be like Mary. I was staying busy because I thought that is where I would find my identity and value. I was mistaken.
I realized that as I was speaking lies to myself, I was devaluing what Jesus did for me, through His life, death and resurrection. I am a wonderful masterpiece, not because of who I am, but because of who created me. My identity in Christ will never change. I am always His daughter. I am made in His image. I was made just the way He wanted me. Not only did He die for me, but He also lived so I would know how to walk the earth, reflecting His glory!
In November, I got baptized to make the public expression of this inward victory. With it, I proclaimed that I was moving from head knowledge and into who the Lord created me to be. My relationship with God was no longer based on how many Bible facts I knew, how many places I volunteered at, how well I deemed I was doing in life, or what I believed my calling was. My identity is in Him, not in the world or in my flesh. I am His daughter.
Are you also struggling in answering the question "Who am I?" Tackle that question and grow deeper in your relationship with God in your Discipleship Training School (DTS) at YWAM Charlotte!
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"I came on staff (with Youth With A Mission Charlotte) in August 2016, not knowing exactly what I was doing except that I was going where God asked me to. I didn't realize all He had in store to teach me and areas of growth for me during this time!
I have grown so much in leadership and learning how to disciple. God has also been teaching me about having a healthy life both mentally and spiritually, which overflows into my physical health. What I'm excited about the most though, is the things God has shown me about myself...the talents, style and personality that have been hidden inside of me! I am constantly amazed at the faithfulness of my God!"
Discover your gifts, talents, and deepen your relationship with the Lord in your Discipleship Training School (DTS) at YWAM Charlotte! Fill out the form below for more information.
Last week I had to be on the road early to get to my destination on time. On this beautiful day, I hit the road...a few minutes later than planned...putting me in my car, on the road, at 7:08. I was sailing right along, and then...bumper to bumper. No worries. I had time, I'm just not sure this is how I wanted to spend my time. I relax, take in the scenery, memorize the license plate ahead of me, sing at the top of my lungs, stuff like that.
Then, a business van pulls in front of me. On the rear doors, he has two magnetic posters of children stuck on the door, asking, "Have you seen me?" I look closely, no. I haven't seen either one of these two kids, Angel or Savanna. I start to wonder where are they? Who has seen them? Are they still around to be seen? My heart aches and I start to pray. I pray for their families, their safety, God's protection and mercy to be upon them. I pray for them to be safe. When I can't pray anymore, I jet into the other lane and pass that van.
Soon, I come up on a cute little sports car to my left. The guy in it is trying to burn up the road, in a traffic jam. I smile to myself. Then, he pulls in front of me. (Dude! Careful!) Then I notice his bumper stickers, I actually start to get physically sick. They are absolutely disgusting! Seriously, I can take a few things. These were absolutely vulgar...I can NEVER repeat to anyone what I read.
My first thought was, "I can't believe his mother allows him to have these on his car!" Then I think, "maybe he doesn't have a mother."...like the lost boys of Neverland. Again, my heart is heavy. I start to pray for this guy. I pray for the Lord to reveal Himself. I pray that the Lord sends someone into his life to show him love and grace. That the Lord, Himself would be merciful to this man.
I was still in traffic, but traveling forward. From here my thoughts were filled with a few questions...
What are people seeing as they follow me? They may not always "choose" to be behind me, but traffic, aka "circumstances" have them following behind me. My prayer is that they see something that inspires them, a light that would encourage them to keep on in the journey, a joy like none they have ever seen. I want them to see an accurate reflection of Jesus.
I am so thankful for the time that I had in my Discipleship Training School, growing deeper in my relationship with the Lord as well as seeing the world from HIS perspective. It was a game changer for me and I am eternally grateful.
By Vickie photo cred: Tim Gouw
Your opportunity to discover your relationship with the Lord and where that is leading you begins in your Discipleship Training School at YWAM Charlotte! Fill out the form below to learn more:
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a gadget I’m especially thankful for due to my lack of general directional skills. Gratefully, I’ve had the GPS my whole driving life, but long before the GPS was around lived the map, and before that, the compass.
Earlier this week a thought came to me seemingly out of nowhere, that the difference between a map and a compass is that while the first gives you in depth instructions on how to get to your destination, a compass gives you only the correct direction to arrive there. These last few months have been what I can explain as a “compass season” in my life.
You see, sometimes I want to know the whole plan. I strive to know the details and force fit all the pieces in my head together to try to figure out the end game. However, this only leads to worry, confusion, and sometimes sadness or me feeling overwhelmed when I can’t seem to find the right answer or formula. The problem is, you don’t ask the quarterback to explain to you what play he’ll call in the 3rd quarter or why when you’re seven minutes into the game. You just trust that he’ll make the right call. This is the heart I’m growing into having with my Jesus.
What I do know is that “Jesus is my strength and shield and He will never fail me”, and that He knows and has all the answers when all I have is questions. That He has my best interest in mind. That His dreams for me are better than my own and that He is more than all I could ask or imagine. I do not have to figure out for myself what’s next and why and who and where and how it all fits together. I actually can’t. And I also don’t need to expect Him to show me all those details right now. I simply need to lock eyes with Him and abide in Him. HE is all I need. Not His plan, not His answers. HE is ALL I NEED. While worry (ultimately unbelief) only breeds anxiety, unrest, despair, and desperation, trust and belief in the One True King brings PEACE, REST, and LIFE ABUNDANT. My Compass has shown me True North and calibrated me to it, as He has set my heart on Him. I know what I am called to right now, and that’s got to be enough for me. He’s never given me any reason not to trust Him. HE HAS NEVER ONCE FAILED ME. I can’t speak for God, and why He chooses not to show me the whole game plan and the times when I need to merge in 690 miles I can’t say for sure, but I have come to think it’s because it wouldn’t be best for me and He knows that. Knowing every part of my future right now would scare my hair straight. It would terrify me more than likely. I’m not ready to know all that. God PREPARES me for my future through my present. It would be unhealthy for me to know the plan before I have the trust, the courage, the faith, and the tools to handle it yet. He creates steps and seasons and lets us learn lessons in our lives for a reason. Some of those reasons, I believe, are to prepare us for the next step or season.
God is good, all the time. In all His ways. In the timing He choose reveals things to me. In the times He leads me as a compass and the times He guides me as my map. Who am I to question the map writer? There is a perfect peace that transcends all understanding in simply trusting the One who knows. I trust You Lord, “help me in my unbelief.”
By Bri photo cred: Pablo Garcia Saldana
Find your direction, next steps and where the Lord is leading you through a Discipleship Training School at YWAM Charlotte fill out the form below for more information.