Ok, that was a bit dramatic - yes, it rained a bit; yes, it was windy, but hey - that's England for you! We do get to experience sunshine every now and then!
We do get some pretty sweet sunsets here!
On Sunday, after my last blog post, our final trainee arrived from Norway! We are now a complete DTS - 5 guys and 5 girls, ages 18-24, from Canada (Ontario and BC), the US (California and Hawaii), England, Norway, the Dominican Republic, Ghana and the Netherlands. It's been sweet getting to know each other and build deeper relationships with them.
This week was a very interesting week lecture-wise. The topic for the week was the Nature and Character of God, led by Rob Westwood from a YWAM base in Scotland. He very much adjusted the flow of the week to meet us where we were at, which was greatly appreciated! We learned MANY important things over the week, but the one topic that really stood out to me was the concept of "train - don't try". We can't grow deeper in our relationship with Christ if we don't "train" ourselves, similarly to an athlete can't get better at their sport unless they train themselves.
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."We were especially challenged on the fact that most of us own many copies of the Bible, however, only a small portion of us have read the Bible cover-to-cover... SO, we decided to do something that is hard for all of us - have a Bible study at 6:30 in the morning! Yes, you read that right - 6:30 - in the morning... None of us are morning people, but we've committed to "train" ourselves by reading the Bible in chronological order to better understand "the story". This means I have taken to waking up around 5 to 5:30 - early! I'm very grateful for my naps in the afternoon, otherwise I wouldn't be functioning!
For our Outreach Prep on Monday, we played a bunch of team-building activities to better get to know each other, and how we can work together as a team - working together as a team will be crucial when we go on outreach!
One of our team-building activities required us passing through a cube, but each of us had to take a different route.
When we tried to do the Cube activity, we came to the conclusion afterwards that, while it was fun, there wasn't any sort of plan, and everyone kind of did their own thing. The man who was leading the activities (Stu) then asked my school leader (Andrew) who the best listener was, and he named me - Stu thought on this for a moment, and asked me if it would work for me to be blindfolded! Well, that was something.. I use an FM system (a microphone of sorts that my teachers have always worn), so I was blindfolded and led into another room. The trainees had already gone ahead to plan what they were going to do, and I was instructed prior that I would be blindfolded and have to listen to my classmates' instructions to walk around the room and pick up some orange pilons from the ground, and if I didn't listen carefully, there would be consequences. Here I am thinking these consequences are just walking into chairs or something.... I get into the room, and someone starts describing the room "there are 5 orange pilons around the room on a carpet, and they are surrounded by mousetraps..." MOUSETRAPS.. man - I was thinking to myself "Oh man, what did I get myself into?!?"..
That turned out to be a really good team-building exercise - none of my fellow trainees wanted me to step on the mousetraps, so they took it very seriously!
Friday night was our first Gig in the Factory. Let me explain. Every Friday night, some of the YWAM staff hold OvalSkate in the Factory. The Factory is an old, old building with tons of space. Part of the interior has been converted into an indoor skate park, another part into a stage area, and the rest into assorted rooms. OvalSkate is a time where local kids and teens can come and just hang out and skate in a safe environment. The Gig is held on the last Friday of almost every month. For the Gig, local teen bands can come in and play a set. The venue is a dry venue, and drug-free - we do check the kids at the door, but they come in drunk and high sometimes. It's a place for them to be safe, and be who they want to be. We saw a lot of broken kids come through - about 180 people passed through the doors throughout the night, either to skate in the skate park, or to listen to the music. Our job was just to make sure they stayed safe, didn't do anything dangerous, or anything they shouldn't do, and to talk to them if the opportunity came up. We weren't there to "force Jesus on them", rather, we were there to show our love for them by spending time with them, and taking the time to listen to them.
The area where the Gig is held - the skate park is in the area to the left
It was a very long event - we started at 6:30 pm, and finished cleaning up around 11 - nothing crazy happened, and the numbers were a bit on the lower side than usual, so we were very thankful for that, this being our first time helping out!
Our DTS and staff on our trip to St. Alban's a few weeks back