My time away from home at DTS was probably the most influential and transforming season of my life thus far. To give a little background, I grew up in the church as a pastor's kid. So as a result of being a pastor’s kid I was expected to believe in God and to be Christian. I can never remember, when I was young or even during my teen years, anyone asking me if I believed in God or not. People had this false expectation that I already knew who God was. But in fact, that was one of the biggest factors to my heart progressively becoming more closed off from God and Christianity. As I grew into my late teens, I slowly came to the conclusion that my belief in God wasn’t mine, but it was a result of being expected to believe in God. Very quickly church became a place I just went to and Jesus was just some guy in this old book I didn’t really believe in. I had just finished my freshman year of college in 2018 and decided to take a break from school. I had zero motivation for something I was not passionate about. I started working at a restaurant, spent money buying stuff for myself and doing whatever I wanted to do when I wanted to do. I was just lonely and empty inside because I didn't have any direction in my life. I was being expected to make decisions on my own post High School and I didn’t have any idea what I was supposed to do. As this went on for almost 7-8 months my parents brought up DTS and initially this sounded like the biggest waste of time in my life. Giving up 6 months of my life for something Christians do seemed far off for me, especially for a God that I didn’t really care to know. But I had heard about a YWAM base in Hawaii and I was progressively getting deeper into a hole of emptiness, so I thought why not? Hawaii sounded like a great place to relax and to see if this mission’s thing can transform me.
I was bringing with me all my insecurities and baggage. I had zero expectations that God would change my heart. I said, “if I could fake Christianity for this long, six months isn’t hard”. God had different plans for me and I wasn’t even ready for them. As the second week came around, I was starting to realize that I wanted the freedom and joy that my peers and staff had around me. I could not understand why those around me just radiated happiness and could not contain it -so much they had to love on others. Looking back now, I had been getting rid of the shame and guilt attached to my past, being a proclaiming Christian but in my mind hardly believing that Jesus was my savior. The slow process of transformation bit by bit came about. Now I know there is no shame for God's children, and I believe this for myself. Once I believed that I was God's son and I knew my identity in the Father then I was able to take action and have conviction in my heart to act upon this belief. My mind was changed from constantly trying to have verbal affirmation from my peers to being content with knowing who I am and being fulfilled by my Father in heaven. Ultimately being filled up with Jesus’s love, it overflowed so that I am able to love others. I began to realize and apply the gospel to my own life trying to walk in the steps Jesus walked in his life.
My life has been marked by God through this season of my life and I have decided to return back to Kona,Hawaii to staff the next January DTS. I will be leaving at the end of September and having leadership training for three months, then start staffing in January. My work will consist of discipleship of the incoming new students and just being available to walk with them through whatever they are bringing with them to DTS. I want to be able to lead those who are expecting nothing from DTS and bring the reality of what Christianity looks like in the bible with my fellow staff. Logistically I will be having training starting in September to December, Lecture phase January to March, then lead a mission’s team from April to July. I am currently raising support because I will have no form of income and this missions work will be my full time job for a year. From September to March I am in need of $600 a month for rent and food expenses. Then going out on outreach I am in need of $3500 for missions expenses. Please support me through prayer and if you feel led to please let me know if you want to support me financially.
Blessings, Paul Ahn