*** Note: this was begun before the tragic events of September 11th in the USA, and completed, literally as they were unfolding. The impact is, obviously, incredible on all of us. While immediately, the activities of our daily lives pale in comparison to this unbelievable tragedy, in the long term, each of our pursuits of the individual calls of God on our lives is of the utmost importance and is, I believe, underlined even more significantly by these events. ***
September 9, 2001
First report from the 2001 YWAM Family DTS in Paisley, Scotland.
…no, you’ve not gotten the wrong newsletter. Yes, this is the Leigh Family Update…but…about the only thing that our activities are focused on these days are the Family DTS.
It’s been a while since we’ve last written one of these and much has transpired., but virtually all of it has had to do with preparations for the Family DTS. About the only deviation and diversion in the last 2 months or so, has been the 2 week visit of my (David’s) parents. This was SO valuable to have them come and see what we’re about here. Hopefully, for those of you who have direct contact with them, it will be helpful for you to talk with them and gain some understanding of our focus here.
In talking with my mother, she was able to help me see that our activities here may be anything but obvious to all of you on the other end! So, with her as my inspiration, I’ll try and cover some more of that each month so that, hopefully you all will feel more of a partnership with us.
This month’s installment…”What is a Family DTS anyway?!”
Well, first of all, one must back up a bit. Angela and I are part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) as two of about 12,000 full-time missions workers world-wide. YWAM has three primary emphases:
Evangelism – the process of process of helping people become and grow as disciples of Jesus…Christians Mercy Ministries – being the “hands and feet” of Jesus to meet the physical needs of people Training – training Christians further in what it means to live out the call of God on their lives It’s this last area where we as a family are concentrating for this “season” in our lives, and it is this area into which a “Family DTS” falls.
DTS stands for “Discipleship Training School” and is the foundational training school in YWAM. It also serves as the entry process through which one must go to be on “staff” with YWAM.
A DTS is a 5-6 month school divided up into “lecture” and “outreach” phases. These could also be termed “theory” and “practice” phases respectively. The goal of a DTS for YWAM as a ministry organization is to ensure that everyone in YWAM has a relatively common foundation theologically and experientially before moving on in YWAM (if someone so chooses). The goal of a DTS for a student can be summed up in the short “motto” of YWAM….”To Know God and Make Him Known”. If you think about that statement, there’s literally an endless depth that can be explored in the process of “knowing God” and “making Him known”. Certainly more than a 6 month time period could possibly accomplish. The DTS, therefore is really a launching pad (certainly not THE ONLY launching pad) for those who want embrace the pursuit of God and His service with their whole lives…especially if they believe that their service will be in the context of YWAM organizationally.
YWAM probably conducts 100-200 DTS’s a year around the world. The bulk of these are targeted towards singles in the 18-25 range (it IS after all: YOUTH With A Mission…not BALDING-40-YEAR-OLD-GUYS With A Mission!). Thankfully, YWAM has been exploring how to embrace families and others outside of that 18-25 target range who feel a call to missions as well….enter the FAMILY DTS!
We recognize that God calls ALL people to follow Him wholeheartedly…from ALL walks of life and periods of life. His plans for all of us are exciting and ultimately fulfilling…no matter who we are or our circumstances!
But…the family? Isn’t that hard to take a family from “everyday life” and send them to the mission field? Certainly the odds seem stacked against families because of their increased commitments and responsibilities. Our desire, with a Family DTS, is to target the release of the WHOLE family into ministry…not only Mom and/or Dad. While we do make efforts to cater to the unique needs of families, we want to make sure that all involved realize that the MOST important aspects of responding to the call of God on one’s life are the issues of the heart. In this respect, a Family DTS is no different from a DTS populated by single 18-25 year olds.
So what does a Family DTS look like?
Well, it is a group of families (of all shapes and sizes) coming together, living “in community” (i.e. exceedingly close proximity!), and attending a YWAM DTS together…a DTS that seeks specifically to cater to the whole family. We don’t just tolerate children…we want to include and focus on them as well during this time.
So what does THIS Family DTS look like?
As of September 1, 2001, we had 8 families here at Stanely House, ready to spend the next 6 months pursuing God and more fully trying to grasp what it means to love Him and serve Him as a family…and they’re STILL here (thank God)! Here’s a break down of the very precious souls here:
A family of 5 from Atlanta, Georgia A single mother and her 2 kids from Somerset, England A young, childless couple from Bradford, England A family of 4 from South Korea A single mother and her daughter from Medford, Oregon A family of 6 from Mississippi A family of 4 from Leeds, England A family of 8 from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada These are all living IN Stanely House. Additionally, we have 5 staff families and several single staff members living near Stanely House. Things are REALLY buzzing around here!
We as staff families have the privilege of providing a structured program of discovery of who God made them to be and what He made them to do. The discovery happens between the individual and God as they are challenged by a lecture topic or even just how to deal with their neighbors’ children or their laundry or work duties, etc. Our job is just to facilitate this process. It’s not big in terms of the responsibility of the growth of each student but it is in terms of the amount of effort required to keep the school moving and provide that structure week in and week out until February 23, 2002.
What is the Leigh family doing as part of this Family DTS?
There are many responsibilities in this DTS and thankfully we don’t have them all! God has and is putting together the team necessary to accomplish all of the things necessary to keep the school going. Here are some of the ways that we’re involved:
David co-ordinates and leads most of the worship (music) times Angela directs the children’s program David is responsible for tracking the finances We will be leading one of the long outreaches in January Angela created the student and staff handbooks for this DTS David will be teaching two short subjects during the lecture time We are running a marriage class during the DTS with DTS student couples in it We are responsible for having 1-on-1 meetings with 5 of the students to be a sounding board and help monitor and guide their DTS experience…basically a friend who has “been there”. David is responsible for updating the YWAM Scotland Family Ministries web site David is co-ordinating contacting NEXT year’s Family DTS students David is developing an on-line/downloadable/e-mailable version of the FDTS application Angela is homeschooling our children Ok…that’s enough information for now…it can be almost as exhausting to write about it! Please let us know if this is helpful in your understanding or if you have other questions. We can go from here and let you know more about different areas. Finally…
How can we pray for the Leigh family in Scotland?
Unity and strong relationships among the students and staff of the Family DTS Wisdom to accept God’s grace for this day only and not for all that comes tomorrow Physical and emotional strength for each day Closeness as a family Our laptop computer had a major software crash…pray that we are able to recover key files *** Literally, as I’ve been writing, I’ve just been alerted to the horrific, unbelievable events in New York and Washington DC and Pittsburgh…and who knows where else…, and have been viewing some televised live reports. Our own daily needs seem puny by comparison, but it also underscores to me that our time is tenuous and short. There IS an enemy to our souls who desires to “take us out”. As such, it makes me more aware that we must be about God’s business, and releasing these families into missions is so vital. As you pray for the victims and survivors in New York and Washington and Pittsburgh, pray also for those who would take the Good News of Jesus around the world. ***
We love you all,
David, Angela, Rachel, Noah, Olivia