YWAM (which stands for Youth With a Mission) is a worldwide Christian missions organization. Its purpose is to serve Jesus throughout the world, know God, and make Him known. It was founded by Loren Cunningham in 1960 and is focused on young people demonstrating the love of Jesus to the whole world. YWAM has more than 1000 locations in over 180 countries.
The base where I’ll be going is called University of Nations Kona and it is YWAM’s largest base. The campus is gorgeous and you can see the beach from it. Most of the classrooms are just shaded open air courtyards, and everyone goes around in flip-flops and bare feet all the time (which I’m pretty excited for.) I’ll be staying in a dorm with 5-10 girls. There will be students from all over the world participating in several different schools, for a total of 200-450 people on the base.
|The UofN campus has flags from all the countries its students are from |
Because the DTS I’m doing is performing arts-focused, our outreach phase will be sort of a performance tour. There is a show called Coming Home: a Prodigal Son Story that they do every year that includes several styles of dance, acting, multimedia, singing, music and martial arts. I’ve been able to watch a lot of videos on YouTube of previous outreaches, and it looks like a really cool show. But it goes beyond performing. From what I’ve seen, we will spend a lot of time talking and praying with people after the shows and do things like dance workshops and activities for teens. I’ve been told that this year’s outreach is tentatively planned to be in Japan and South Korea. Since I took karate for nine years, I’m a little bit familiar with Japanese culture, but it will be really interesting to learn more about both countries.
I’ve been thinking about going to YWAM for a long time. My parents actually met at a DTS in California when they were 18, so I guess you could say it’s in my blood. My mom even spent a few months in Hawaii (though not in Kona) before they were married. I began looking into DTS a year or two ago as a good, short-term commitment to do after high school. Performing Arts, specifically dance and acting, is something I believe I’ve been gifted in and I’m passionate about. I love to perform, I love to help backstage with costumes and makeup, I love every element of it. So when I saw that there was a Performing Arts-focused DTS, it seemed like a natural choice.
Of course I’m excited to spend three months in Hawaii, but I’m also excited for all the friends I’ll make there. YWAM is really unique because people come to it from all over the world. The leader of the performing arts DTS, Maria Jackson, is originally from South Korea and the school will be bi-lingual in English and Korean. In the stuff I’ve been looking at online I’ve seen students from Germany, Canada, the US, Switzerland, and South Africa, just to name a few. It will be a really interesting blend of cultures. Apparently they try to represent some of the differences in the food they serve, but there’s always peanut butter and bread around just in case!
I’m looking forward to the lecture phase, which will be a really good opportunity to grow in my faith. I will be focused on getting to know God better, learning how serve Him with my talents and my life. I’m also looking forward to learning more about using performing arts as a ministry. From what I’ve seen, YWAM works really hard to create relevant, professional quality art. Performing can get a message through in such a powerful way, sometimes without even using words. Music, movement, even lighting and costuming can really speak to someone’s heart.
As far as I’m concerned, it can’t get much better than learning more about God and serving Him with performing arts while making friends and being in Hawaii, and then doing a three-month performing tour.
I’d to ask like you to participate in my growth and in sharing the gospel by praying for me as I embark on this life-changing experience. In addition to your prayers, I’d appreciate it if you would consider helping with the financial aspect. I’ve saved about $7,000 so far, enough to cover my school fees, living expenses, and part of my outreach fee, and I’m working. Even with what I expect to earn by April, I will need at least another $2500 to pay for the mission to Asia. I will be selling knitted items, (check out my facebook photo album called “My Knitting” or my Etsy) and doing some other fundraising as well. If you feel you can donate or have any fundraising ideas for me, please let me know!
If you are interesting in learning more about the program or YWAM in general, please contact me (I would love to tell you more about it) or check out these websites: