A Day in the Life of a DTS Student
You may be wondering, "What would my life look like as a DTS student in Kona?" Most of us here wondered the same thing before starting out on our journey through Discipleship Training School. Truth is, nothing we can tell you will adequately prepare you for the incredible experience that is DTS, but we can try to give you some kind of idea of what you will be doing throughout your days and weeks. The schedules vary depending on which DTS you choose to do, special activities, etc., but this should give you a good general picture.
6:00 AM - It's a Monday morning after a beautiful and restful weekend spent at the beach. I wake up, to the lovely sound of birds chirping joyfully outside our dorm room window, and the yellow sunlight begins to fill our room. I climb down from the top bunk, hop in the shower and get dressed, trying to stay out of the way of the six other girls vying for space in front of the mirror to do their makeup. Things get crowded in the mornings with everyone scrambling to get a shower in before breakfast, but we love each other and we make it work. I grab my bag with my journal and Bible and my ID card and head to breakfast.
6:30AM - Breakfast - I wait in the breakfast line chatting to some friends I have made around campus.
One of the great things about living on the base here in Kona is that you get to meet so many different people, especially during meal times when staff and students from all of the different DTS classes and second-level schools enjoy eating together. Breakfast is the same most mornings, with a selection of cereals, yogurt, granola, hard boiled eggs and fresh fruit to choose from. I grab a cup of coffee and find a table. Sitting with me this morning are my friends from South Korea, one Nigerian brother, my roommate from Connecticut, and a couple of very entertaining Germans. We definitely aren't lacking in variety here in Kona.
7:30AM - After breakfast I head to a quiet table outside of the cafe underneath the shade of a beautiful banyan tree and pull out my Bible and journal.
These quiet times spent alone with Jesus each morning have become increasingly important to me during my DTS. Amidst the busy schedule, these times are necessary for processing the things I learn during lecture and furthering my intimate relationship with my Savior.
8:00AM - After my quiet time I head to community-wide worship in the Ohana Court. Everyone on base gets together for worship every Monday morning, and it is one of the highlights of my week. People do more than sing here. They really worship, and the presence of the Holy Spirit is so evident during these times. Not to mention the fact that we have some incredibly gifted musicians on campus.
9:00AM-12:00noon - Off to lecture. You may or may not be looking forward to these times, but I promise you it's nothing like you may remember high school or college. The things you learn in these classrooms on your DTS are eternal. They are relevant to you. The truths taught during these lectures will make you think; they will penetrate to your very core and rock your world. Your perspectives will shift as you hear of the men and women that have gone before you and the incredible miracles God has done in their lives. These times will make you hunger and thirst for more. They will purify you, refine you, and empower you to take the gospel to every corner of the earth. Topics include: Hearing and Obeying the Voice of God, Understanding the Character of God, Freedom in Christ and many more.
12:00-1:00PM - Lunch is usually the best meal of the day. The food served for lunch really varies. Since so many cultures are represented on this campus, we aim to serve foods that reflect this diversity. Some days you will love it (so far the spaghetti has been my favorite) and some days you will skip it altogether. In their great wisdom the kitchen staff always provides bread, peanut butter, and jelly just in case.
1:00-3:00PM - Off to another lecture. This time really varies dependent upon which DTS you are doing. If you are a part of PhotogenX, this time may be used for skill development of photo evaluation. If you are doing Call2All, this may be a time spent on a particular study. Times of intercession, further lecture, or hands-on type activities may also take place during this time. Trust me, you will learn to be flexible.
3:00-5:00PM - I head off to my work duty. Work duty is another part of the daily life of a DTS student. The typical work schedule is from Monday through Friday from 3-5PM. This may be different if you are in some sort of specialized work duty (for example, if you are working in the A/V department for worship, if you are working in security, etc.) On registration day a staff member will prayerfully assign you a work duty based on the skills you list in your application and the needs on campus. Work duties range from construction to dish duty to groundskeeping to working with web design. Whatever your job is, however, it is important. Relationships will be made during this time, and character will be formed. Whatever you are doing, do it as if you were serving your Savior, and I assure you blessings will come. My particular work duty is working for Crown Media, the media department here on campus, posting videos and other various content on the U of N website. I love it!
5:00PM - Dinner time. I wait in line with my wonderful roommate and grab some dinner (tonight it is salmon and steamed vegetables). We sit down and chat about our days. She has grown to be one of my very best friends and I love these talks we have. We hurry and finish our dinner so we can get back to the room to do our homework.
5:30PM - Some nights we have community outreach, times of intercession, or special lectures, but this particular night we have off. My roommate and I take advantage of this extra time and finish reading the book we have been assigned this week, "Making Jesus Lord" by Loren Cunningham. I loved it so much it literally took only a few hours total to read. We write our book reports and post them to our blogs. This is a fantastic way to communicate to our friends and family back home about the things we have been learning here, and my parents love reading my posts.
6:45PM - A few friends from my DTS class, my roommate, and I head downtown (only a 5 minute walk away) to grab a frozen yogurt and walk around for a bit. The salty ocean air feels lovely as we walk along, enjoying the perfect weather. We stop in one of the local shops to say hello to our friend Dave. We prayed for him on one of our recent prayer walks. It's awesome to get to cultivate lasting relationships with some of the locals. Our light really does make a difference in this place.
8:45PM - We walk back up the hill and up the stairs to campus. This walk has really done a great job of strengthening my leg muscles. As we are heading back up to campus the familiar sound of the acoustic guitar fills the air. Some of our friends are sitting on the grass singing worship songs and we join in. The community here is amazing.
9:15PM - I Skype my parents on my laptop. This is an amazing way to stay connected and a great idea if you feel homesick. I share with them some of the wonderful things happening out here (one of my roommates accepted Christ last night!) and my mom catches me up on what is going on back home. Thanks to modern technology, home is never really that far away.
10:00PM - I curl into bed and read a few chapters of the Bible before spending a bit more time communicating with my Savior. He is finally so real to me. I talk to Him now like I would my best friend. I say "amen" and slip off to sleep. Another great day gone, and another one to look forward to tomorrow.
Not all of your days here in Kona will be easy or perfect. Some days your roommates will annoy you. Some days you will be especially tired and the temptation to ditch your morning lecture will be overwhelming. Cultural differences may get so strong at times that you fear you will never be able to relate. Some days your relationships with people back home will be tested or you will dread going to your work duty. You might get homesick or just sick in general. Your perfect day at the beach may leave you with a sunburn or finances may get especially tight. Living in Kona is such a blessing, but it isn't heaven, and while the people are all striving to be like Jesus, not one of us has reached perfection yet. DTS is a challenge, but if you take it and run with it, it will be the most rewarding challenge of your life.