DTS has been one whirlwind of an adventure that I don't even know where to begin!
Now that we've settled into a more regular routine, we have a relatively stable schedule now. It can be a bit dry to read, so I'll try to outline the overall schedule:
Breakfast is from 7:30-8:00 everyday, however, I am on breakfast work duty, so I'm in the kitchen by 7:00! We have a bit of free time after breakfast until 9:00. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we meet in the chapel at 9:00 for a time of worship with other members from the YWAM community here. Some days we focus more on prayer and times of intercession for our Harpenden community and other things that need prayer. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we meet in the classroom at 9:00 for a time of intercession.
Everyday from Monday to Friday we meet in the classroom for our weekly lectures from 10:00 to 1:00, with a 15-20 min tea break at 11.
Lunch is at 1:00, then most people have their work duties (cleaning the clock building, Number 9 or lunch clean-up), however, I don't (since I'm on breakfast!), so I usually review my notes, nap, or explore the base and Harpenden. Work Duties are 2 hours from Monday-Thursday, but just an hour-ish on Fridays.
On Fridays, we will be doing our local outreach in the community in the afternoon (2:30-6:00) or after dinner (7:00-?). On Mondays, we have some time to prepare for our outreaches after our work duties (4:15-6:00). Tuesdays to Thursdays we have free time after work duties.
Dinner is at 6:00. On Mondays at 7:45, we have a Freedom class with other members of the YWAM community. I'm still a bit vague about what this entails entirely, but in general terms, it's about becoming more like Jesus and reflecting His love and power to everyone around us. Tuesday evenings at 7:30, we have a time of Community Worship and Teaching. This is essentially a "church service" for the entire YWAM community - this is when I see most of the base together at one moment. Wednesday evenings are free, and at 7:45ish on Thursdays, we have a time of short accounts, affirmation and worship with my DTS group.
Weekends are pretty flexible, breakfast is at 8:30, and we make a packed lunch then (if you don't come to breakfast, you don't get lunch!). On Sundays, we attend a local church in Harpenden. We have been split into groups, and each group attends a different church. The hope is that in our short time there, we will able to bless the local churches with our gifts and whatever we can bring with us. Dinner is at 6:00. The rest of the time is free, however, we're always busy doing something! We rotate with another school that's here for Weekend Watch - basically work duties for breakfast and dinner prep and cleanup. These are different for each person each weekend.
Pew.. Now that that's all said and done, I have some exciting news!
Dun dun dunnnnnn......
We're going to Albania for our overseas outreach!
We got the announcement Thursday evening, and after our "WOOT!" moment, I realized I literally know nothing about Albania.
Oh well - that's what Outreach Prep is for, we'll be well-versed in the ways of Albanian people by the time we head out!
And on a side note, we will likely be going to Cambridge for our local outreach component (although not 100% confirmed) - we'll find out more in the coming weeks.
Our speaker this week was Carl Tinnion - he is one of YWAM Harpenden's base leaders, and was teaching about The Abrahamic Covenant and the Call to Missions. It was a really interesting week. Basically, God made a promise to Abraham:
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3
We looked at "and you will be a blessing" and "all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you". It's very easy for us to focus on ourselves as Christians, and we forget to ask ourselves how we are being a blessing to the people around us. We can receive blessings from God in many forms, from forms of provision to our spiritual gifts, however, we shouldn't be asking "what's in it for us", but rather, "how can I use these blessings to show God's love to other people".
One thing that has really stood out from Carl's teachings this week is that my idea of evangelism is quite wrong. When we share the Good News with other people, we shouldn't be starting with Jesus and the cross. Yes, this is a key point in "the story", but we miss out on the plan that God has for each of us - we completely skip the whole Old Testament, and try to shove too much information into people. This has been quite the eye-opener...
In other news - it snowed here last week! I must have accidentally brought winter with me... Don't worry - it all had melted by the end of the day, but it did make for a nice walk to church.
On our way to church in the snow - this is my "church group" - Myself, Kayla and Nathan
Friday afternoon, we broke off into pairs to walk around Harpenden and pray for the residents, schools, health centres and businesses we passed. This was a unique experience, as I have never really done this before!
Friday evening I was invited to a Columbian party by one of the trainees in the ECO school (English Cultural Orientation - these students come here to learn English) - it was great fun, full of Salsa dancing, Columbian music and Columbian food!
For lunch on Saturday, we went to a local pub, "The Old Bell" - the menu was pretty overwhelming, but the food was awesome, and the company was pretty sweet!
Going into The Old Bell for lunch
At our table in The Old Bell - Photo Cred - Ashley Muth
Today at church was something different, a pet service! It was strange to be in church with who knows how many dogs (10+), 2 cats, 3 rabbits, a fish, a hamster and a guinea pig. Not even kidding! One of the elders of the church even blessed them all... very unique... I have a video of the whole thing! (Although, I can't post it because British law prohibits people posting photos and videos online that have other people's children in it - I can show people in person though!)
The hamster was right in front of me!
Until next time friends!
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."John 14:27