Lessons From a YWAM Mom
–by Debi Byington
After watching my daughter and my son both go through Discipleship Training Schools, and after joining them on short-term outreaches and now watching them serve overseas, I have learned a few lessons about how to parent a child who wants to join YWAM.
Is your son or daughter trying to decide which DTS to join? I would encourage you to pray with them first, before going any further.
Next, there are several ways to approach this.
Is there a particular area of the world that they have been drawn to? They could look into that part of the world and see if there is a YWAM ministry there. Does that location run a DTS? Or do other locations send students to that part of the world on the outreach portion of their DTS?
Is there a particular area of interest your child is drawn to? Do they have a passion for art? Dance? Ships? Photography? Orphans? Healthcare? Most likely there is a DTS somewhere in the world with that emphasis! Encourage them to follow their heart because those desires are so often God-given.
It is always a good idea to send them out of their comfort zone. Encourage them not to select an “easy” location. Part of the joys and memories of a DTS is experiencing a different culture and meeting new friends from all over the world.
The whole family should be on board with trusting God for the finances. It may seem overwhelming initially, but every day in YWAM there are stories of God’s miraculous provisions just at the perfect time. Don’t let the fear of finances stop your son or daughter from fulfilling God’s calling on their life.
Get behind them! If you want the best experience for your son or daughter, start with a positive attitude and be their best cheerleader. Remember that every experience of growth requires stretching and sometimes that can be a little painful. They may even call from their DTS and be homesick. That is when you need to pray with them and encourage them to stick it out.
I like to say the DTS or the Discipleship Training School really stands for “Die To Self.” Your son or daughter will return from YWAM changed, with a closer relationship to God. Many young people return home with a new outlook and gratitude for their family and home. Once they have spent a couple of months in the middle of a poverty-stricken area, they realize how important it is to show compassion toward others.