After graduating from High School, I knew that I did not want to take time off, but neither did I have a clear direction. I decided to attend my local Community College until I could decide on a direction. After beginning my second year there, and still no new life decisions, I knew it was the perfect time to experience something new. Something outside my comfort zone, and outside the United States, but something that would help me grow. The answer came like a revelation, and from the moment I heard about it, I knew it was perfect.
The organization I was looking into is called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). It is a Christian organization that is spread all over the world. They have bases in almost every country of the world, and they offer many different opportunites. The program I did is called Discipleship Training School (DTS), and it is broken into two segments. The first three month segment taught us about the Word of God, and the second two month segment was an outreach trip to teach us how to apply what we had learned.
There were so many choices of where to do my DTS, but once again I knew that Romania was where I was to go. In August 2008, I boarded the plane and began the adventure which has shaped who I am today. The YWAM base in Cluj, Romania became my home, and the eleven other students and the handful of staff became my family. We cooked, cleaned, and learned together. Everyday we had classes with a different teacher each week. We learned about a variety of topics in these classes, but the most important lesson I learned by living it out.
This was possible during the last two months of my DTS, when I was in Cairo, Egypt. For our outreach we worked with the Sudanese refugees who are trying to make a living in Cairo, Egypt. The struggles that they face daily are harder than anything I have had to ever endure here in the United States. I came to love the people I was there to serve, and found that they blessed me more than I was ever able to help them. I was able to help out with some of the programs that reach out to the Sudanese, and to visit some in there homes and churches. It was so encouraging to see the joy that they find in the most common place circumstances, and it will forever shape how I view my life.
Coming home was bitter sweet. Life is much more simple here, but I found it hard to adjust to a society who had so much, yet appreciated it so little. I look forward to the next time I will be able to travel, and I encourage everyone to travel outside their home country at least once. It is an amazing experience that will shape how you look at your life.
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