Similar questions are often asked by different people, at varied times.
We thought a compilation of those would serve you well, and also save us from a ton of copy-paste! 😅
Here are some of them, along with the answers usually given
Staff & Volunteers
Are volunteers welcome?
We will always have room for more God-sent hands.
Shall there be food and shelter?
When on this Base as staff or as a volunteer in any of the endeavors, you will be provided housing and feeding.
Staff and volunteers on the Base make monthly contributions in the form of staff and volunteer fees.
(You can take a look at those here)
These monthly contributions cover housing and feeding (3 meals a day).
What they do not cover is personal transportation and medication.
*It is not compulsory for volunteers and staff to live on the Base
For how long can I serve with YWAM Athi River?
We do not put a cap on one’s intended length of service and life with us here. That duration should rest entirely on God’s direction to you as an individual.
However, YWAM has the worldwide policy (to which we abide) of having volunteers serve for a maximum of 6 months.
Staff can serve indefinitely at any YWAM location.
The main difference between volunteers and staff (except the varied length of service with the YWAM Base) is that staff have done and successfully completed a Discipleship Training School (DTS).
Staff & Volunteer. What's the difference?
The main difference lies in the length and extent of one’s commitment.
Volunteers are short term, and owing to that do not get too deep into the operation of the Base.
The maximum amount of time that one can volunteer with YWAM is 6 months.
Staff are long-term (1yr+), committed members of the community who come to corporately pursue what they believe God has laid on their hearts.
As a result, staff get much more into the thick of the action than anyone else. They are the ones that hold the Base up and keep it operational and effective.
And then, yes…
To be staff, you have to have successfully completed a DTS.
A volunteer doesn’t have to have done one.
What activities would I be involved in daily?
You probably will come with a desired focus area during your service. For instance, you could have expressed a desire to work mainly at the preschool.
When off from there, you would engage in the other duties and activities on the Base in fields like landscaping, kitchen duties, hospitality, outreach, etc.
Breakfast: 7-7:30am | Lunch: 1pm | Dinner: 6pm
Work Duty: 10am-1pm, 2pm-4pm
Breakfast: 7:30-8am | Packed Lunch: 1pm | Dinner: 6pm
How long till I get feedback on my application?
There isn’t a standard timeline with which we work.
However, once your complete application has been received, we will give you notice of it being forward for review by the Base Leadership Team.
(This is usually done during their weekly/fortnightly meetings)
Once feedback is received from them, you will immediately be notified.
You will be notified whether accepted or not, so please do not grow weary in waiting – you will hear back from us, by all means.
When is the next one?
Please check the DTS page 😛
What requirements should I have before I apply?
A heart truly seeking after God, discipline to go the whole length of the school, and a commitment to meet all the financial obligations.
Is it like a Bible School? Like a seminary?
No, the general nature of the DTS course has it aimed at inspiring and cultivating growth in one’s relationship with God resulting in Christ-like character, which is based on a solid Biblical Foundation, the work of the Holy Spirit and the personal application of Biblical truth, especially concerning God’s Character, the Cross and empowering Grace.
Opportunity for this is afforded not just through the classroom, but through the multiplicity of activity and experience in daily life on the YWAM Base, and during outreach.
The school is not in the classroom, but can be in every moment of the day.
What's a typical day like, in the lecture phase?
Breakfast, personal devotion, corporate worship & intercession, lectures, short break, lectures, lunch!
Then work duty, free time (for games and stuff), supper, evening class (sometimes), then rest.
What individuals do with their free time will always differ, but this is an idea of the ordinary day.
And on outreach?
Wait till you get there… you’ll know! 😜
Do I need a work permit?
If your intended service with us exceeds 3 months, yes you do.
This is due to recent immigration policy changes in East Africa.
Unlike before, it is now near impossible to stay 6 months in the country while on a tourist visa.
What class of work permit is necessary?
You would apply for a Class I work permit – the kind relevant to missionaries and volunteers with YWAM.
What is the process like?
YWAM Athi River will make the application on your behalf, keeping you updated every step of the way till the issuance of your permit. You will also reimburse the different payments made along the way.
Your application will be submitted online, the processing fee paid, and then hard copies of your app taken to the Immigration Office in Nairobi.
Once your app has been reviewed and approved, we will be notified to take the next step – security bond payments. This may reach up to about 15000KES.
After this payment, receipts are submitted to the Immigration Office and final word awaited on the issuance of your permit.
This whole process from start to finish may last between 4-6 weeks.
How much does it cost?
The initial processing fee is 1000KES. Security bonds could reach about 15000KES.
Then, giving allowance for transportation and printing and all that, it is safe to estimate 20000KES for the whole process.
Can I get a Student's Pass for the DTS?
No, you cannot get one.
The length of the DTS does not meet the yardstick set by the Ministry of Education, so that it may be categorised as a religious course for which a student’s pass can be issued.
So, what happens for DTS students who need visas?
It was not long ago that one could be guaranteed a 3 month visa on entry, then another 3 months extension. More than enough time to complete their 5-month DTS.
Recent immigration reforms by the East African governments now have it that one has to renew their tourist visa monthly. You will most probably get 1 month on entry. We cannot guarantee that your visa will be unquestionably extended each of the 4 times you will seek extension. That uncertainty is why we would say you should proceed to apply, but with extra caution. In the event that you are not able to stay the entire course of the school (both lecture & outreach) due to an expired visa, your whole DTS will go down the drain. You will have to start it all over again, whether you return to our Base or go to any other YWAM Base in the other nations.
The UofN has recently been categorically clear to us, that the DTS is a single unit, and cannot be split into lecture phase and outreach phase, to be done separately.
When is the school in session?
It has 3 terms a year:
What are the class times?
Class runs from 8am to lunchtime (1pm), then there’s a couple of hours of nap time, till 3pm.
What would I be involved in on the daily?
When volunteering at the preschool, duties will include cooking (porridge [for break time], lunch), doing the dishes, cleaning classrooms, playing with the kids and keeping a watchful eye over them.
Together with the teacher and any other volunteers present, plus the Base staff, these are the duties that you’d typically be engaged in at the preschool.
The ideal is to help the teacher as much as possible with the practical duties, so that she can focus much more on the teaching.
Then, when off duty from the preschool, like on weekends and during the holidays, you can then join-in with the other duties around the Base.
What are the main ministry opportunities you have?
We have outreach to regular schools (primary and secondary), and schools for those with disability (the deaf, the blind, the physically handicapped).
Evangelism efforts are engaged in within the locality, together with nearby local churches.
There’s also occassional prison ministry that is organised.
We also run annual kids camps; one here at the Base and another in the Pokot area.
And, we also get invitations to join hands in teaching and facilitating camps, seminars and events organised by churches and co-labouring ministries in different parts of the country.
What are the finances you ask for teams?
This is dependent on the team’s nation of origin and which category it falls under.
(You can see which category your nation belongs to here)
In the doc below, you will find charges for YWAM Outreach Teams and Non-YWAM Outreach Teams
*This amount covers accommodation, food and utilities (except WiFi)
**Most ideally, your fee should be paid on arrival
What should we prep for regarding transportation for ministry?
It will depend on what ministry engagements your team will have.
Since the Base does not presently have a vehicle, we hire PSV minivans whenever teams need to get from one point to another that is not a walking distance.
(A definition of “walking distance” is best experienced than explained 😅)
Those within walking distance from the Base will definitely come at no cost.
Those that would be in the nearby town – Machakos – a return journey would cost approx $1USD per head.
That is, if the passenger van is gotten at the stage.
If it has to come and pick the team from the Base, the price doubles.
*The stage is about 20-30 minute’s walk from the Base
What's life like on your Base?
It is basic.
Meals are prepared in the kitchen and mostly had in the dining hall.
Meal times are 7am, 1pm & 6pm for breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively.
On weekends, breakfast is at 7:30am. (We have packed lunch on weekends)
We continue to use firewood as fuel, seeing that the bio-gas setup is not yet functional.
Dorm rooms are not self-contained, so the bathrooms and toilets are outside.
The bathrooms do not have running water, so we use buckets. Hot water can be gotten from the kitchen in the morning & evening.
The toilets are not flush. That is too mainstream. We use long-drops.
*Long-drop is a fancy name for a pit latrine.
The Base is also surrounded by an expanse of “bush-bush”, which if you explore at the right times, you will be able to see giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala and whatever else may be roaming the grassy plains.
If you see lions, please let us know.
What about meals?
What's the nearest airport to the Base?
The closest airport to the Base is the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi.
An airport pickup to bring you to the Base would cost between $50-$80USD.
*The Base does not presently have a vehicle, so we would hire one.
How do I get to the Base by matatu?
You can get a Machakos-bound matatu from outside the Easy Coach terminal (Makos, Kinatwa, Maptra, Wamassa), or at the OiLibya petrol station.
Alight at Makutano (Kyumvi) – right at the Machakos junction turn-off from Mombasa Road.
It should cost from 200-400KES depending on the time.
Once at the junction, any bodaboda should be able to bring you to YWAM (pronounced “why-wam”).
That should cost 50-100KES, depending on your luggage and bargaining power.
Can friends/family visit me while I'm here?
Their coming should be arranged prior and the hospitality team given the full details of those coming.
Any general guidelines on dressing?
Everyone is expected to dress modestly (in non-revealing clothing) when going for ministry, and when just around the Base.
Be sure to carry clothes & shoes suitable for church & special functions; work clothes for work times, travel & walking.
And cultural guidelines...
If there is one thing that could be mentioned now, it would be interpersonal relationships.
It isn’t acceptable for unmarried persons (of opposite sex) to spend time together, in isolation from the others.
This also applies to public displays of affection, including those lingering hugs and that hand-holding that’s typical of couples.
The general perception, built over time and experience, would not take kindly to this display – seeing it as possibly sexually immoral.
While nothing immoral may actually be taking place behind the scenes, one’s testimony is put in question by their observers.
For that reason, Athi River Base has in its policy the guideline to avoid those scenarios, so that our testimony and purity, when we go out to minister (and even while living with one another), are not doubted by our hearers.
Do you have WiFi?
Thought you’d never ask!
Yes we do, but no, it’s not lightning fast. It is functional though, and is able to support video calls, YouTube and those general browsing activities.
It’s charged according to ones status i.e. staff, volunteer, student, or visitor.
You can see those details in the doc below.
Still got an unanswered question?
Go for it - we're all ears
+254 799 380183