Darcie Nolan: It started with a phone call. News that there had been an accident involving a beloved friend in the country he had committed his life to serving. We didn’t know how serious it was at first, but the information was getting worse as it trickled in. It was just three days before I was due to leave and lead a team of college students to Asia.
As my team and I boarded the plane, I had to figure out how to live – logistics and finances and team safety – while wrestling questions and falling apart. It was our contact in this other country that mentioned DTS to me, but I shrugged it off, unable to process it among all the other thoughts.
Half way through the trip, and far from where I wished I could be, I got word that
my friend had been killed in that accident – in a country not far from where I was
standing. His family had spread his ashes there to honor his commitment, and a
memorial service was being planned for when we got home.
At the memorial service some of those closest to him stood up. They invited anyone
who would to leave, in just a few months time, to go and commit a year. They would
be returning, picking up where he left off, and continuing what was started.
My roommate and my best friend were among those who packed their bags for that
year in a far off Asian town. And I wrestled.
For six weeks straight I wrestled the little nugget in my core that was pointing me
to DTS. If I was going anywhere I wanted to honor my friend. I wanted to be part of
the team going back to the land he loved, but I couldn’t shake this tiny inclination.
Either option meant leaving a job that was tailor-made for me, my dream house, my
dog, my community that had brought out the best in me and believed in me . . .
Eventually I stopped wrestling and two months after seeing off the people I wanted
to badly be with, I left on the other side of the fork in the road to DTS.
AK: What was the most significant lesson that you learned during your time in the school?
DN: “IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE THIS WAY!”
Life as we know it is broken. It is not what God intended, we are not living the
dream He had for us. And, somewhere along the lines, we have to admit that and
commit to change it – to attempt to find the dream.
AK: When you look back, how do you place or view your DTS in the context of your life?
DN: Why was it significant? What expectations did it meet or fall short of?
Honestly, DTS feels like a long time ago. It has been less than 5 years, but so
much about it seems foreign and unfamiliar to me now – like a bubble of time
reserved. Specific principles remain and unimaginable stories still highlight
my memories. DTS was a precursor of my return to writing after I had given
it up because others didn’t believe it was a hallowed enough passion. It was a
prerequisite of the school that taught me what I loved was worthy and worth
pursuit. Overtime, DTS led to the countries I long for and the people of my
heart. It was the spearhead. That is far more than I expected out of it.
AK: Did you do any further training or work with YWAM or complete any other post-secondary education?
DN: During outreach I received my TESOL certificate and taught English in Central
Asia for a bit. I completed a School of Intercessory Prayer and the Children at
Risk Workshop following that. I was introduced to the Women and Children’s
Advocacy Centre, then in Switzerland, where I ended up volunteering for six
weeks. From there I went to the School of Field Journalism in Cape Town and
interned in South Africa for six months.
I have recently gone back to university at the University of Colorado at Boulder
for studies in Journalism, International Media and Social Enterprise – a result of
coming face to face with how much I don’t know about communicating with the
world around me.
AK: What do you do now?
DN: I co-founded and co-run Eye See Media. Our goal is to make change more
accessible to everyone and open the door for individuals to find their passion in
affecting today’s critical social justice issues.
AK: What specific vision or purpose do you have in your life? How did you discover it and how do you mean to achieve it?
DN: A friend of mine said she saw me once with one toe on a high cliff, reaching down
into the darkness, grabbing people and tossing them up to safety. Discovery of
what that looks like is a fluid process; action always morphing and changing
with knowledge and experience. Today it means advocating for change, bringing
awareness and attempting to get people on board with simple, daily actions
that become a magnified voice for justice. Sometimes it just means listening.
Sometimes laughing. Sometimes it has meant snot and slobbery tears. However
it looks, I hope to be paying attention.
AK: What do you hope your personal legacy will be?
DN: I would love generations after me for someone to hold my story in their hands
and feel like they could pursue their dreams.
AK: What, at this point in your life, is your view of God?
DN: Not what we expect. Indefinable. Rather Marvelous.
AK: What inspires you?
Illustrated brainstorming on big white pieces of paper, ideas interconnected and
falling off the sides.
My best friends’ vegan/carob/spelt baking shenanigans.
AK: What most challenges you?
DN: Friends, gladly.
Doubt-laden questions that come from voices of “reason”.
As YWAM celebrates its 50th year, Andrew wanted to catch up with people who’ve experienced the global organization’s flagship training program, the Discipleship Training School, and see what life and faith has been like since.