Today marks the one month anniversary of me being here in Australia, and what an eventful month it has been. I want to spend some time updating you on what has been going on in my life this past month, and then let you know how you can continue to be praying for me.
In the class room we spend 12 hours every week receiving teaching from a variety of different guest speakers. So far we have had a local pastor, an YWAM national leader, and a former YWAM base leader speak to us on the topics of: Hearing God’s voice, Repentance and Forgiveness, and The Father Heart of God. Many of the class sessions that we have had have left my head spinning. Although I say my head, it is really more a stirring of my heart that causes me to think. The topics that we have covered have been very challenging to many of my former ways of thinking and it takes quite some time to process all the information. It seems I am never done processing the information before we receive teaching on another topic which has a similar effect.
Most of the teaching has been excellent and beneficial, though it is far different than the teaching that I have received from the Greek style of education in the states. So far none of the teachers have used bullet points, graphs, power points, or fill in the blanks as I am used to. The instructors tell a lot of stories, do hands on exercises, and are willing to go down “rabbit wholes,” as one speaker put it, if there are questions on a topic that is not necessarily being addressed.
I have struggled somewhat to fully grasp what each speaker is trying get across, due to my preferred analytical style of learning, but there has been at least one thing in each class period which I could think and study for days, even without structured teaching.
One of the best things about the lecture portion is that those who are teaching stay on base with the rest of us. This means they eat with us, hang out with us, travel with us, and “do life with us,” as is the popular saying here. This allows us to really get to know the instructor and to ask questions that we didn’t have time for in class. This is something that I desired while being at my University that was lacking; closeness with those who are imparting information which has the potential to change your life.
Continually in Scripture we are warned against the danger of false teachers (eg. Colossians 2:8, 2 Peter 2:1-3) and as Paul says we are to “Test everything. Hold to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 21). I have found living in the same community with those teaching me has allowed me to do just that; it has allowed me to see if the speakers practice what they teach. Not seeing pastors or teachings out side of a professional environment has hindered me from doing so in the past.
Outside of class
We don’t have near as much free time as I had expected, except for the weekend on which generally we are able to do what we want with our time. During the week when we are not in class our time is filled with intercessory prayer, worship, evangelism, one on one mentoring, small groups, and work duties. Evenings are also generally free, but always seem to go very quickly. We also have a community night every Thursday when members of local churches, or others that we have met in the community, are invited to the base for a time of worship and teaching, along with a tea and social time.
Thursdays are my highlight day of the week because of the opportunity to do evangelism. The past two weeks I have gone to spend time feeding and talking with the homeless in Wollongong, which has been a moving experience. I’m now beginning to build relationships with them and I look forward to going there every week. I also enjoy community night because it is always good to see new faces on base and have the opportunity to meet some none believers in the area.
Other highlights out side of the class room have been: Taking an adventurous trip to Sydney, seeing dolphins in the ocean, going to the beach on a daily basis (when the weather is nice), going to see a local water fall, and doing a DTS amazing race.
Laura and I
Being in an environment with such close community has been a real change for Laura and I. It is hard to find a place to go where we are able to have a private conversation, and we haven’t been able to have the one on one time near as much as we were able to at home. However, the staff here has been very generous to us, allowing us to go on a few dates, and have even encouraged us to spend more time together. As some of you might not know, YWAM has a no dating policy during the DTS, but Laura and I have been allowed to be the exception. Although we haven’t had as many date opportunities as at home, it has been such a blessing to be able to see Laura, and spend time with her everyday. We have learned a tremendous amount about each other, but at the same time learning and growing closer with our personal relationships with Jesus.
We are still uncertain where we are headed for the outreach portion of the DTS. As I found out soon after I got here, there is not a pre-planed location for out reach. In order to determine where to go on out reach, we simply spend a week praying asking God to reveal to us where to go. Because of YWAM’s globalized organization, there are seemingly endless locations we could go. The one thing we do know for sure about the location is that we will be going somewhere in the 10/40 window.
-Please pray for wisdom and guidance for an out reach location
-Please pray for the health of everyone on the base. (There seems to always been someone sick, and sickness spreads like wildfire here)
-My relationship with Laura,that we would continue to learn out to serve one another, but that we would stay focused on the reason for us being here, which is growing in and serving Jesus
Thank you for your time, I miss you all and am praying for you all. I really would enjoy to hear an update from you on what is going on in your life and how I can be praying for you. It would mean a lot to me if you would take a few minutes to update me on your lives.