Here at YWAM Harpenden, we love our trainees. We love that people come to us for short periods of time to be deeply impacted by God. The training schools we run can be life changing. Because of this, we are ecstatic when our trainees go out and continue on with the vision that God has given them. We are just happy we could be a part of the equipping process for their missions and visions.
Having said all of this, life after a Discipleship Training School can be hard. During a DTS you live in a tight knit community and constantly have input from leaders and fellow trainees. There are continuous opportunities to leave your comfort zone and do things you could only imagine. Sometimes you lose that when you go home. You have to learn how to naturally create those groups and opportunities, which can be hard.
We offered a chance for former trainees to come back to Harpenden for a 2 week outreach, called the Alumni Outreach. The outreach would be a time of refreshment. A time to step back and take a clear look where they have been since finishing DTS and what the next steps might be.
Three weeks ago, the Alumni Outreach team assembled here in Harpenden. We had three days of input. The input time was filled with praise/worship, time of deep prayer, and learning about abiding in Christ. This time allowed us to grow closer as a team and become united for the outreach to come.
All too quickly, the input time was over. We were off to Aberdeen, Scotland, for 10 days to partner with a church to put on their Holiday Club!
The church we partnered with, Gerrard Street Baptist,
were some of the best hosts we could have had. We stayed in host homes, and were welcomed into their families completely. During the prep for the Holiday Club, and throughout the rest of the outreach, they constantly fed us, prayed for us, and encouraged us. We might have been there to serve the church, but we all felt like the church served us while we were there.
The Holiday Club was fantastic. The theme was ‘Fit for the King’, based on the Commonwealth Games that were happening in Glasgow at the time. We helped by doing the drama, assisting with small groups, leading worship and prayer times and just being there for the children. There was also a lunch program and afternoon club for the older children after Holiday Club. During those times we lead different activities for the children. One group practiced and filmed a short drama, another group learned how to play/sing ‘Great Big God’ and performed it during the Sunday morning sermon.
There was also a street party at the end of the Holiday Club. The church invited the entire surrounding neighborhood. Of course, the entire week forecast for Friday night was pouring rain. Beginning on Monday, we spent time praying that Friday night would be sunny, that the weather would not hinder what the church was trying to do in the community. We made it clear to the children that we were praying because we believe the God we serve has power over nature (Matthew 8:23-27). It was slightly rainy on Friday morning, but come 6:30pm, the sun was out and
shining. People flooded in from the surrounding area and had a wonderful evening together. It was exciting to see the beginning of a neighborhood becoming a community, to see the start of friendships and relationships.
Saying goodbye to Aberdeen was difficult. In the short time we were there, we made deep friendships and had amazing experiences. However, this outreach’s purpose was to equip the participants to return home, refreshed and ready for what God has next. So we said our goodbyes and boarded the flight back to Harpenden.
We spent 2 more days in Harpenden, debriefing our time in Aberdeen, spending time with friends, and giving all of the praise back to God. Then the participants headed their separate ways. We look forward to see what the participants do next, because we believe that God wants to use them to transform the areas they live and work in.
We are praying about having the Alumni Outreach next year, watch our website or social medias to be informed about upcoming decisions!
If you are interested in doing a DTS, then check out our DTS page: http://beta.ywamharpenden.orgdts/