My name is Emily Riggs. I'm an 18-year-old homeschool graduate from Nashville, Tennessee. In January 2017, I participated in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Me and my team spent three months in Ukraine learning about God and ourselves, and worked in orphanages. Then, we toured Poland and Paris for two months as an extended mission trip, leading worship and speaking at churches, ministering to kids, and evangelizing. Now, I attend Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville pursuing a degree in Special Education. My dream is to one day permanantly work in Eastern European orphanages to help better the lives of orphans who have special needs. This blog will be my way to stay connected to everyone back home throughout my adventures.
YWAM was founded in 1960 by Loren Cunningham, who had a vision of sending wave upon wave of young people as missionaries into the world. Today, YWAM is a global non-profit organization with more than a thousand bases all over the world. Each one is run differently and has a unique focus, but they generally follow the same structure and basic principles. There are several levels of training at YWAM, the most common being a DTS, or Disciple Training School. The DTS has two phases: Lecture and Outreach. The Lecture Phase involves seminars from the staff and guest speakers from around the world, mostly focusing on hearing God's voice and evangelizing. In the Outreach Phase, you are sent to a different YWAM base (usually in another country) and work solely on mission work. Each phase usually lasts 3 months, so six months in total.
My DTS was called Compassion, and it focuses on helping orphans. The Vinnytsia base actually primarily focuses on orphans and does the DTS on the side. During the Lecture Phase, we served in orphanages and rehab centers, and I got to visit the baby hospital. On the school side of things, we learned about Biblical worldview, God's character, our identity in Christ, missions and cross-cultural communication, leadership, evangelization, and more. Then, we took off to Poland and Paris, France for our Outreach Phase, serving, worshipping, and speaking in local churches, hosting kids' ministries, and evangelizing.