The last month and a half have been full of heavy discussion in the Martinez household. There has been a big change in our ministry that has affected us greatly. The Contrast House has implemented the rule that any long-term staff must complete a DTS (Discipleship Training School, YWAM’s 5-6 month program training up missionaries) in order to serve with the ministry. This is a rule that is typically enforced across YWAM ministries; however, our leader was willing to make Shawn an exception to this rule in order to take him on as his right-hand artist. Over the past 10 months, we have all slowly realized the importance of having this foundation in place for long-term missions. There is a common bond, a strength, unity, and understanding amongst YWAMers that proves to be beneficial in serving together long-term. We’ve had to learn the hard way that we could really benefit from Shawn doing a DTS. However, it has really pushed us stronger in our desire to do missions long-term, whether with The Contrast House, in Thailand, or otherwise. We know that we want to be in this for the long haul, and it is in our best interest to lay the proper foundation.
With that said, we have been in contact with the YWAM in San Francisco and we have expressed our interest in Shawn doing their DTS in September. (I, Stephanie, have already done a DTS over three years ago in Bangkok, Thailand. So, now it’s Shawn’s turn.) The beauty of this option is that they do their outreach in Southeast Asia, including Thailand. We believe that we are not finished here in Thailand, that God will call us back here at some point after the San Francisco DTS, but our next step in our calling is to get properly equipped. We are so excited for all that God has in store for us. It’s incredible to watch the pieces get put together as we pursue Him first. His calling on our lives is so big, much bigger than just us. For starters, we have had a heart for the city of San Francisco for a long time, so it will be a blessing and an honor to get to partner with the Body there. The YWAM there is in the Tenderloin District and reaches out to the people that live there, including the poor, the addicted and the women who sell themselves. We look forward to getting to invest into some of the lives of the people there, even if only for a short time.
Our vision for our future, for God’s calling on our lives is to use the gifts that He has given us for His glory. The passions and talents that He has blessed us with are meant to be used for His Kingdom. So, Shawn’s art paired with his prophetic gifting- we want to use to bless people and ministries. We plan to pursue and live out the desires and passions that God has put on our hearts individually and as a family.
The first step in this plan is to head back to the States in May. We will live temporarily in Santa Rosa and, Lord willing, be able to visit a few other places in California to spread the word of what we are doing and raise support. Then, in September, if we are accepted into the DTS, we will be in San Francisco for the next 6 months getting equipped to pursue God’s call on our lives. From there, we hope to head back to Thailand, but we want to leave it open for whatever God may do. We are willing for any of these plans to change (as we are experiencing our original plan changing) because we know that we make the plans but He directs our steps!
Please pray with us as we move our little family back to the States in May. Pray for continued clarity in the direction that God is leading us. Pray for open doors with the DTS. Pray for God’s provision for plane tickets, the DTS fees, and the day-to-day expenses.
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As always, we encourage each one of you, whatever your dreams, passions, desires- pursue them! God put them in your heart for a reason. God gave you your talents for a reason. All to be used for His kingdom, for His glory, to speak His name!