I glanced at the calendar with a curious and excited look on my face. Two and a half months!? That seemed like an age! I sighed and closed my laptop, glancing once more at the calendar hanging on the wall before me. "Lord, if this is you, make a way and provide for it all. I'm going to need finances!" That was April 17th, 2017.Surprisingly, the two and a half months did the opposite of take an age; they flew by quickly, as I photographed several weddings, renovated and moved houses, and continued to work at my retail job. It was a jumble of days so full of things to do -- I didn't even journal once during that time, and that in itself tells me I was running around like a madwoman.
When the first of July rolled around, I drove with a packed car to East Texas -- in the pouring rain no less. Doubts troubled me, but I knew this was where I was supposed to be. This was where the Lord had led me, and I was going to push through and do this in spite of the enemy constantly hitting me in the face with hurdles and obstacles. The next few weeks were spent learning countless new things. Living in a dorm was new, although sharing a bedroom was natural to me as I am the second oldest of five, and it's just part of life to share space. I started growing. Not in size, haha! I am tall enough just as I am people say. No, I grew in heart, soul, and spirit. I grew in ways I never thought possible.
Over the next ten weeks, I grew alongside my fellow classmates, a group that became friends and have now become family. It's a group I am so grateful for -- there are no words honestly. We learned together. We prayed together. We ministered together. We served together.
I didn't have all of my finances for the first part of this adventure, and I saw for the first time the Lord provide for my very own personal need. He is so faithful! Over those three months, I learned what love really means. I realized and learned that every word you say and every action you do affects someone or something somewhere -- no exceptions. Even if you don't know it, it's happening. Daily. Hourly. Every minute. Every conversation.
During this time, I also received the Lord's healing and comfort on some things in my life. He is so faithful to guide us to the next step of intimacy with Him. Every morning His mercies are brand new. He holds no grudge. He receives you with open arms every second of your life, and He never ever says you're not worthy. The death of His Son made you righteous. His Son redeemed you so that you could be His child -- you could be His, on a deep and intimate level of relationship. This school changed my life, and I'm so glad I did it.
A DTS has two parts. The first half, which last three months, is called lecture phase. During this time my life was healed, stretched, and challenged to receive all that the Father had for me. I grew in His promises & learned to delight in spending time with Him. I grew in understanding of what it is to live a lifestyle following & walking with Christ. The second half, which last two months, is called outreach phase. This is a time of turning what we learned in the classroom into practical application in an intense time of ministry. Every DTS goes to different nations. My school did a two week outreach in Lubbock, Texas & then split into two groups. My team went to Ecuador for six weeks, & the other team went to Spain & North Africa.
The Lord put it in my heart about a year ago to do a DTS, and when I finally made the decision, I knew my life would be transformed. And it was! I had never done any kind of mission work before. I'm thankful for the countless of ways the Lord grew me throughout the school.
~ Christy Gerlach (2017 YWAM Tyler DTS Student)
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