This last week our January DTS returned from their two-month outreach in the Middle East and the Himalayan Region, and then graduated. They returned full of crazy stories, immense joy, and untold growth. During their lecture phase I interviewed Rares, from Romania, who was a member of the Himalayan Region team, and we discussed what God had done in his life on the DTS thus far, and what he hoped to get out of the outreach. So this last week, I sat down with him again and we chatted about the outreach, and reflections on his growth through the whole process of the DTS.
I asked him to describe the outreach in one word, to which he said, ”amazing.” They travelled up and down the Himalayan region and he personally fell in love with the people and the culture there. “They were really open to speak about their faith, giving their perspective and speaking with us about their beliefs. I think going into a culture with an attitude of learning is about embracing their perspective too. And when we had this attitude they accepted us really quickly, and it was something I was really thankful for.” He commented that the people truly taught him what hospitality means, and just how important it is.
During the lecture phase Rares’ hopes for the outreach were to see more of God’s perspective for his life and to grow in a deeper understanding of God. Through the outreach Rares said that he learned how to give his life and actions to God. He has discovered a passion for reading the Bible, praying, and meditating on the truths of God’s character. He also gained even more experience in worship leading. Music has always been something important to Rares, and on the lecture phase he began to step out by singing in worship. On the outreach he taught himself how to play guitar, and began leading worship for his team. He even led worship at the January DTS Graduation.
One of his favourite experiences was when the team was ministering in a village church simply by putting on a children’s program for thirteen kids. They began by teaching them songs and dancing with them, but before they knew it a crowd of 150 people had gathered in the area. They came to stand on the roofs of surrounding homes, and the traffic in the street even stopped to hear what the team had to say. One of the team members asked “who wants to give their life to God?” This turned out to be a question that fifty people responded to. After the program the pastor of the church had people coming up to him saying, “we want to join your church, we want to accept Christ.” They saw that the people truly desired to know God.
Like many other missions teams, Rares and his team were present for the earthquakes that wreaked havoc on Nepal and throughout the Himalayan Region. They felt the fourth and fifth quakes the strongest, with about ten seconds of continuous shaking, but thankfully there weren’t any major damages in the area they were in. Through the earthquakes the team reflected on a Bible passage from 1 Kings 19:12: After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. Rares came to the understanding that the earthquake came and God was not in it, but that in the silence they found God.
Looking in the face of destruction gave Rares a whole new perspective on where God actually is in these situations. He discovered that God is in fact present in the aftermath of silence. It gave the team an opportunity to sit with the people and talk about these very real questions. They discovered that God can and does shine a light even on the most horrible situations.
Although Rares was sad to say goodbye to his DTS he very much looks forward to his future. About this he said, “I’m happily closing this chapter and opening a new one expecting that God will continue to move in my life.” Rares reflected that he truly valued the time that DTS gave to pursuing the importance of building a relationship with God, and recommends DTS very highly. He has now returned home where he is planning to pray about what to do next.
Photos: Lauren Malpass, N/A