First DTS in India

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Discipleship Training School

Could we have ever imagined that night in Uluberia what God would have done over the next 20 years?

By Steve Cocrehin

When we think of the very first DTS in all of South Asia which started in January 1983 in Kolkata, it is easy to think that it was started in a glorious, powerful, awesome way!! Think again! At that time there was no DTSs in YWAM all the way from Singapore over to Cyprus in the Middle East. One of our first goals in seeing YWAM start in India was to see a DTS begin so that we could see Indians joining the mission and working together with other nations to see God glorified and made known in India, South Asia and the world.

With just two days to go before the school was to start, we lost our proposed place. It is hard to run a DTS with no place! Then God provided a property in Uluberia, about one hour out of Howrah train station on the SE line.

As we went to Howrah station to go down to Uluberia to start the school and get setup, we only had four students and we did not know if anyone else would be arriving! We got to the station and as usual, the train compartments were packed nose-to-nose. The train was leaving so we jumped in one of the compartments, only to find out that it was the fresh fish one! Everywhere around us was fish, staring at us with their frozen, dead eyeballs. I remember thinking, what a way to start the first DTS! I do love fish (especially in West Bengal) but I did not want them all looking at me. It was as if they were all saying with their fish mouths, "What do you think you are doing, starting a DTS here?" By the time, we got to Uluberia we all smelled like fish (of course) and that was how we walked on to the mission compound in Uluberia.

That night we had our first ever DTS meeting in the chapel. It sounded very bad and I remember thinking, "What are we doing-maybe we should just cancel this school and start again in a few months." Then one of the staff, a little Singaporean brother, said that the Lord was giving him a scripture from Zechariah 4:10, "Who despises the day of small things (or beginnings)?”. That really hit me, as I know I was despising the day of small beginnings! We began to thank God for this small but wonderful start.

Could we have ever imagined that night in Uluberia what God would have done over the next 20 years? We did not cancel that DTS but we carried on, and in the next, few days we had another 14 students arrive and ended up with 18 students, 17 men and 1 woman! Some of those students are still in YWAM today. God truly is faithful!

So no matter what kind of start you have, never give up and you will see God's dreams (and yours) realized!