The Winter DTS & COVID-19: A Student’s Perspective

Looking back on my DTS I can’t help but feel like it was a dream.
It was such a beautiful experience that I am so thankful to have had, even though it ended sooner than I had ever anticipated.
DTS was a season of “refining” for me. I use the word refining because there were many times that the Lord met me with a gentle whisper to my heart saying “I love you and I want to help you grow. Let me help you and show you who I’ve made you to be”. The process of refining wasn’t always pleasant, and in fact sometimes felt very messy, but I knew that He was separating the “gold” from the impurities in my heart and that this would be a process throughout my whole life.
The Lord was so good and constantly reminded me of His goodness throughout my time in Maui. I loved life on the island, living in community (something that I was initially a little unsure of), serving in the local church, building friendships with my classmates and staff, and hearing the word of God spoken daily.
As the weeks began to fly by we started hearing more about the Coronavirus.
I remember students telling me that their parents were becoming concerned, but I couldn’t imagine it getting to the point of effecting us directly. personally I was not keeping up with the news much at the time — I like to think I was living in a sort of bubble. Well, it didn’t take long for that bubble to pop.
After weeks of announcements being made and plans changing regarding our outreach, the decision was announced for our school to be sent home to our families due to COVID-19.
All it took was a moment.
But what about outreach? What about the rest of lecture phase? What do I tell my family? What about all the things I was still supposed to experience? The questions flooding my mind were beyond overwhelming. I remember going to help serve in the kitchen that day and crying my eyes out because I really couldn’t believe I was going home. It felt so sudden.
Soon enough my flights were booked and my bags packed, I was going home.
Just like that, I was back to normal life. Except it wasn’t normal. It was two weeks of self- isolation at my mom’s house, not being able to hug my family or walk freely about the house.
I was thankful to have a friend from my DTS with me for those initial two weeks, before she went home to her family who lived just outside of my city.
I knew that it was incredibly important that I let myself feel whatever emotions I needed to during this time, but overall I just felt a sense of loss and being lost.
I knew that spending quiet time with Jesus in this time was vitally important, but I’ll be honest, it was sometimes hard. Not always, but some days for sure. The sweet thing is that every time I spent that quiet time with the Lord it was just what I needed. Just being with Him was rewarding. During our time together He would remind me of all that he Had taught me and the truths He spoke over me during my DTS. I was also reminded that He hadn’t broken any promises. The things I felt Him speak to me before were still true, even though circumstances had changed.
I’ve been home for seven weeks now, and still have a lot to process. There have been moments where I have felt the weight of what I’ve lost, and others that I have been full of gratitude for what I’ve gained. Each day brings a new opportunity to choose Jesus. To let Him care for me. To bring every disappointment and frustration to His feet. To walk in His freedom. To give back what He’s given me.
He’s been reminding me of the importance of coming back to Him, again and again, resting in His sweet presence. Knowing that He is good, and that “He’s got the whole world in His hands…”
He gives hope in the uncertainty, because He alone is our hope.
My encouragement is this :
If you feel the weight of the world right now, or you feel lost, anxious or afraid – bring it to Jesus. He alone can take what’s broken and make it new. If you feel like your plans have fallen apart, rest and be still in His presence knowing that His plans are GOOD. He still has good plans for my future and for yours.And if you feel that you just don’t have it all together in this season, know that He does. We were never meant to have it all together. Have grace for yourself and those around you, and seek the one who gives grace abundantly.
May His peace be over you in this season, Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. [ Joshua 1:9 ]
– Mackenna Robertson, a student of Winter DTS 2020

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