Dani did her DTS in Kona, Hawaii and now is working refugee resettlement. She is also working toward her PhD
What was it like returning to “normal life” after your DTS? What were struggles? How did you overcome them?
I struggled on feeling pressured to return to staff a DTS, and it was a struggle to hear or discern God’s voice over the pressure of ywam staff that this was absolutely God’s will for my life, and that He would make a way financially.
In a way I felt guilty for returning to ‘normal’ life. There was no real strategy for overcoming, this was and is just part of maturing as a Christian— being open to God speaking to you through others but remaining confident that He will always speak with you. And that you will feel stretched beyond your own ability but any sense of manipulation is just that, manipulation. We are all human and capable of accidentally or deliberating manipulating people with our words.
Learning God’s voice and a sense of the Holy Spirit will help people’s words for you just be confirming things you already felt in your spirit.
What do you wish you know now that you didn’t know upon returning home after your time with YWAM?
In my opinion, short-term missions trip are often more harmful than good, and that while our outreach seemed a bit unique as several people stayed on and it became a long-term/life missions for them, ultimately the money spent on outreach could have much better applied for communities in a sustainable way that truely met their needs & not our self-serving needs.
Of those you ran with in your YWAM time, what are they up to and how are they doing?
I keep in touch regularly with probably 1 and social contact with others. Some have had some seriously tough journeys, losing partners way to soon, battling cancer. Only a few are still involved with ywam, but from the outside looking in a lot seem to still have faith.
What did you get at your DTS that has followed you and informed your day-to-day life?
God will always speak directly to me, that he keeps you humble, and a deep sense of social justice that I have always had, which was enriched by the cultural experiences I had with YWAM on outreach.
What things are bringing you the most joy in your friendship with Jesus?
Learning to forgive the church and music that brings the holy spirit to you.
In what ways have you been able to make God known there in your own sphere?
Quietly by living my life, being open on my flaws & my faith, not being judgemental and knowing that Jesus will usually sort it out. It’s just my calling to love people, tangibly.
What are you passionate about? What things have you been stirred to engage in? What are you praying into right now?
The plight of refugees and people seeking asylum around the world.
After YWAM, I studied International Development, then proceeded to write a thesis on the impact of immigration detention of asylum seeking children. I have now worked in refugee resettlement and asylum seeker support space for 5 years, and started my PhD looking at vernacular trauma and how refugee families use vernacular trauma strategies in managing trauma for children 4 and under.
I work with local churches to engage in their countries community refugee sponsorship programs. This is my heart’s passion. And my prayers are always with those journeying to safety.
Can you tell us about your involvement with your home Church?
I didn’t go to church for about 10 years in any kind of consistency because I had been deeply bruised by people in the church (acknowledging that I am part of ‘the church’) and I was embarrassed and mortified by the hurtful and harmful things said and done in the name of ‘God’.
But I have slowly started to go when we were living overseas in London until recently, and this was largely motivated by their active response to refugee response.
Can you suggest any awesome music, ministries, resources that have helped you after leaving base life?
Rob Bell – but I loved him before ‘base life’.
Konbit Haiti – They legit know how to do ‘missions’ right—empowering and sustainable.
The common hymnal for music.
Anything else you want to add that would encourage/equip/empower fellow YWAMers beyond the base?
Your time at the base is a time of cocooning, turning inward, reflecting on you and your relationship with God. It’s a time for questioning, abandoning fear, and living a pretty joyful awesome version of life.
But it is for a season, so it should be treasured and enjoyed. But you can’t stay there forever. (most of us anyway)
YWAM Beyond or YWAM does not necessarily endorse the opinions or resources stated in these interviews. They are solely the thoughts and experiences of the individual being interviewed.