“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your fathers family, and go to a land that I will show you.'” (Genesis 12:1). And so that’s what we did. We left our townhouses and cities, we left our pet goldfish and our boyfriends, we left our grandchildren and our mothers, we left our favourite shampoos sitting in the shower. Some of us are here to figure out the next step of our lives, being 18 and feeling lost in a world with a whole future ahead of us; While others are here to reflect on the fullness Jesus brought to their lives over the past decades and recognize the necessity to keep reaching and learning and striving to live a life for Jesus. This is a job that can never be checked off the list. A job that is never quite finished. And so we are here: here to learn; here to to grow; here to be blessed so we can go out and be the blessing to others. We are the trainees of the September 2015 DTS. We are All Nations and All Generations. We are YWAM Harpenden.
Orientation week was a warm welcome and an exciting peek into what we had signed away the next half year of our lives to. We introduced ourselves to new roommates. We occupied the couches with giggles and inklings of new friendships until lights out. We passed the pepper and the mashed potatoes to our neighbour at the dinner table. We sat like sponges in the classroom, soaking up biblical teachings and the inspiring testimonies of those serving as staff for our school. We bonded almost unintentionally, undoubtedly the result of sharing our hurts and hopes, bumps and bruises. We laughed out loud and tears fell. We volunteered our personal timelines of doors slammed shut and windows opened. All things that led us to sitting in a circle, in a classroom built off of a literal paved Oval, in Harpenden, England, with a group of strangers who are to be our housemates, friends and inevitably family.
Week one has been assigned the topic of The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3). We were asked to articulate the “purpose” of church and were asked why we went and realised that maybe we didn’t have quite as firm of an understanding as we thought we did. “How do I reflect God today?” was another question raised, with our words, actions and thoughts. Carl Tinnion, this weeks speaker, told a story of a woman who came to Christianity from Hinduism. He spoke about how she, essentially a refugee, was adopted into a Christian community without the prerequisite of necessarily being a Christian herself. She was accepted and loved for who she was, religion aside, and after two years time she was “compelled to love Jesus by the way these people loved (her)”. A reoccurring theme and topic of discussion this week has been His intention in blessing us in that we will go out and be a blessing to others. When we bless others with the skill sets and capabilities God gives us as individuals, we bring His kingdom down to earth. The Lords Prayer reads “Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” His will is for us to bring His kingdom. It’s about much more than just reading your bible or attending church on Sunday mornings, it’s about bringing the Kingdom in the everyday aspects of our life. This week has been both thought-provoking and challenging but you cannot grow without being stretched. Two lines from ‘The Desert Song’ by Hillsong rang true again and again in my head over the course of the week. They read:
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve received I will sow