A few months ago, DTS was three letters on a page for me. It was an acronym, standing for Discipleship Training School. I was heading towards this at a rate of knots. It was a dream, but also an idea that planted seeds in my heart. So was Switzerland. It’s literally the land of dreams. Honestly – between the mountains, chocolate and flowers… it is like a perfect picture book scene all the time. I had no clue how much this DTS would change my life, my understanding of God, and my perspective of how I live this life that I have been given.

We started this Discipleship Training School here in July – the summer quarter (otherwise known as Q3). Right from the start, the joy of everyone on this base was something that stood out to me. There is this abundance of joy and love everywhere you go, and it’s so precious – it makes a difference to the whole atmosphere of the schedule, and how we operate as a community. I think that quite possibly my favourite part of this process are the friends that I have made – that have quickly become associated with the word family. There are 13 of us students in our school, and 5 staff. Spending everyday with them is literally the best. I’m thankful for the journey that we have walked together over the past few short months, and I’m most definitely looking forward to continuing these friendships for the rest of ever.

We fell into routine with classes pretty quickly. Each week there’s a new speaker, and sometimes more than one. Each week brings with it a huge amount of revelation – a lot of learning and a lot of processing. There hasn’t been a week that I haven’t enjoyed – some have stood out for different reasons, but they are all so jam packed of goodness that it’s hard to pick a favourite. Each week has had points that have hit me pretty hard – revealing more of who God is for me, more of how He loves us, and more about how He longs for us with the heart of a father. My heart has been on a continual journey since the day I entered the world, but these two months feel like a super fast paced intensive. I love the fact that our purpose here is to know God, and to make him known. There are no distractions of work, or of being busy – but instead the continual drive to know more of our creator. Full immersion is the best. It was a bit of a shock to start off with, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to pursue coming here. It has changed how I see God, how I know God – and that has affected how I now act towards God, towards others, and towards myself.

I caught myself saying earlier that it’s kind of normal to hear from God now, and it’s one of the most encouraging things. Hearing God’s voice is something that I’ve always known about – listening and obeying carefully has always been something that I’ve been taught. But in the same way that we need to learn to recognize friend’s voices, we need to learn to recognize the voice of God. It isn’t something that naturally just happens, and neither is it something that only some people can learn. It’s for all of us, and it takes time spent in his presence. It takes time listening intentionally, and time actually investing in relationship – not just coming to him, telling him everything and leaving. It takes you being available to have a conversation – where you leave space to listen – where sometimes you go simply to listen, where sometimes you both talk and both listen. Talking to Him is not just an event a couple of times a day – we’re designed to be in constant communion with him, constantly dwelling with his presence. I’m learning slowly, and I suspect that I’ll spend the rest of my life learning, but that’s okay, right? As long as we’re consciously, intentionally striving to seek Him more, to know Him more – never stopping learning, because realistically, when will we ever have learnt enough?

We’re moving into outreach phase in a matter of weeks, our crew is split between the Middle East and Central Asia. We’re all excited and nervous, but most of all we’re looking forward to seeing what we will learn, how we can serve best, and what God is going to continue to reveal to us and speak to us. It’s been the best two months, and we’ve been told multiple times that our DTS starts the moment we get home again – if this is only the prep, I’m excited for the real deal. I’m excited to see us use what we’ve learned, to continue to learn, and continue to lead and grow.

 

Ella (New Zealand), is currently a student on our Q3DTS here at YWAM Lausanne.

 

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