Here at DNA we are passionate about Jesus’ calling that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
DNA:Overseas is a carefully constructed year consisting of two terms of deep, intense discipleship preparing you for 3 months overseas on mission to then return for a debrief. This option is great for those feeling called by God into long term mission to really test the water in a safe environment to really see if this is what God has for you!!
It is also a fantastic option for those that want to be stretched and experience a different culture. Maybe you want to have your eyes opened before University or perhaps you have always felt quite safe and fortunate and want to see what poverty can look like and how you can make a difference?
Check out Will Little’s article below on his year on DNA:Oversea’s
I spent the first 6 months of my DNA year in Folkestone. My time there was split between Urban Saints where I worked as an intern on their Global Team, and Harbour church where I was involved with the youth and kids ministry. I loved this first part of my year and it ended on a particular high note for me as I had life-changing week at the February residential followed by a 2 week trip to Gambia to help run a couple of youth worker training courses.
Within 2 weeks of returning from Gambia, I was off again. For the next 5 months I split my time between Tijuana, in northern Mexico and San Diego. I was there to serve with Amor, a ministry set-up around 40 years ago by an amazing couple who had worked out that many of the children living in Tijuana’s orphanages at the time were not orphans, but were there because their families were unable to support them. They worked out that providing housing for people in the area through a board of local church leaders, would be an effective way to start helping families stay together, so they started building them. They have expanded and broadened what they do in so many incredible ways ever since, but this purpose and heart still lies at the core of all that they do.
I spent my first few weeks there with the Urban Saints ReBuild group from the UK. I had quite a severe bout of sinusitis though so I was largely out of action during that time, but there were still plenty of incredible moments. We had some amazing times of worship and ministry during the evening meetings, I got to witness a load of young people from the UK connect with Jesus on a whole new level as they practically actioned out His mandate to preach good news to the poor. But even more significantly, I got to witness 4 families receive houses. All of these moments were incredible but one still sticks out for me to this day. During one of the “key handover ceremonies” that mark the end of a build, I got to look on as a woman in her 80’s was given the keys to the first house she had ever owned open the door of her new home and immediately drop to her knees in tears, praising the God who had brought these crazy foreigners into her life and thanking Him for his provision.
Moments like these speak for themselves, and you never forget them. They became a weekly experience for me and in all honestly it was quite hard to process. I often wrestled with the joy of these moments as it mixed in with the pain of the fact that they are even necessary in a world where so many of us have much more than we could ever need, and yet still want more. They also put the “hardships” of having to use long-drop toilets, sleep in a tent and having nothing more than a bucket to shower with; firmly into their place of insignificance.
After the ReBuild group left, I spent the next 2 months doing a variety of things, I spent time out on build sites with Amor’s field staff, I spent time helping out in the Amor Store (a shop on camp where Amor sell locally produced goods and gifts), I spent time helping out in La Cocina (a catering service provided by local people who cook local foods for the groups who visit, it’s delicious!), I also got to spend time staying with a local pastors family and spent a couple of weeks helping in the Amor office in San Diego. It was a time where I got to meet and get to know so many different people, not only from Mexico but also from all over the US and Canada (along with one very funny Scot!). I also got to see behind the scenes of this amazing ministry and all the hard work and hours that go into ensuring that every group that comes from the US, UK or Canada can come straight in, walk onto a build site and start building homes. What they do is no mean feat, considering all that can and regularly does go wrong in cross cultural ministry.
It was such a rich and huge learning experience for me, but I also found that time really tough. So much had changed in me since I had started my DNA year and it had been such a whirlwind that I hadn’t really taken stock. I think factoring that in with all of the “culture shock” of living in a different culture and country was quite a challenge. It was quite a tough time for me but with hindsight I can see that God was doing some quite deep foundational pruning in me during this time. It was good, but it wasn’t fun!
Next up was Project Transform, Amor’s internship programmes for 18-25 years olds. The programme ran for 10 weeks and involved most of the things I had already been involved with in my time out there. But is also involved a whole lot more. We had cross-cultural training, communication training, conflict resolution training, tour of the old Tijuana dump (where the ministry first began), days off where we got to explore the local area, daily devotionals and prayer time and an opportunity to run a kids club in a local church.
All of this, coupled with 10 weeks of camping with other like-minded people who were also chasing the call of Jesus on their lives made up the most incredible experience, one that profoundly changed me and where Jesus became more real in my perception of everyday life than He had ever been.
Of course, it all had to end, at the start of August it was time to leave. I didn’t really want to go home, I wanted to stay and carry on. I was exhausted though! I headed back to the UK for the last month of my DNA year, thoroughly grateful for an incredible few months I’d had and all of the people I’d been able to share it with.
If this is you we would love to explore what a year with DNA could look like!! Drop us an email or give us a phone. Your adventure could be right around the corner!!