Last Friday night, the July 2010 Discipleship Training School here at YWAM El Salvador graduated! It was a great night to gather together and catch up. The majority of students and staff from the base have spent the last two months on field assignment travelling around Central America to complete the outreach portion of the DTS.
The rest of us stayed in country, and I was part of that group. If you recall, I was part of the July 2010 DTS. I know some of you may be reading this who are considering doing a DTS sometime in the future, maybe even here in El Salvador. I just want to share with you a little bit of what I experienced.
I grew a lot in my cultural understanding, as well as in my relationship with God. Taking time to consciously focus on where I am when it concerns living out God’s calling on my life is definitely worthwhile. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the logistics, work, and family stuff that we have going on. It’s easy to forget why we are here. God really reminded me of that during this time.
I have new respect for the Latin culture and my Spanish skills have definitely improved. I also feel more sure in my purpose for being in El Salvador. I think as a missionary, it’s easy to feel like we constantly have to be “doing” something that we can write home about, and the truth is we do need to be working our hardest. There is money and time invested in this ministry and we need to be putting our all into it. But sometimes, it’s much simpler than that.
The DTS reminded me that I am here in El Salvador because that’s what God has asked me to do. And He wants me to love people without an agenda, and simply because He loves them. Sometimes the only people I’ll ever impact are my husband and children. And that’s okay too. The DTS reminded me of that…to be a cheerleader for my family, and to encourage them to continue to pursue God above all other things.
I also heard from many different speakers with many viewpoints. I agreed with some, and I disagreed with others but mostly I thought alot about the culture in Central America and the why and how behind the thought processes I encounter everyday.
And I turned a corner with my own acceptance of life in El Salvador. Living in another culture is so amazing somedays, but other days it’s just plan difficult and adjusting is a process that takes a lot longer than I ever expected. I know I will never totally arrive at a full understanding of the culture, but I respect and love it now. And I don’t say that because it’s the “missionary” answer, but I say it because I mean it.
Americans don’t have a handle on everything…even if we think we do. And sometimes being “efficient” and “saving time” can damage others. I’m beginning to learn how to step back from my “gringaness” and to see things from someone else’s point of view. And this trait I am developing of tuning into someone else’s way of thinking has helped my marriage, and my relationship with my children. It’s humbling to realize my way isn’t the only way, and my way isn’t the best way every time. Thank you to all of my Latino friends for (gently) guiding me to this truth!
So in wrapping up the last five months I can say I am grateful to God for showing me more of Himself, and in that process showing me more of myself…maybe more than I ever wanted to see! I can also say I am profoundly appreciate of this new land that is now my home, and especially of the rich friendships that I have made.
Here I am with some of the other students as we get ready to spend the day working at CIPI, which is a government run orphanage for babies, young children, special needs children, and teenage girls.
Judy, one of our directors smiles with one of the students while working with an indigenous people group in the country of Panama.
Congratulations July 2010 Discipleship Training School!