A Discipleship Training School consists of a lecture phase (3 months) and an outreach phase (2+ months). It is truly is a school of the heart, rather than the mind, and by now most students have gained a lot of insight in who they are: that they are valuable, loved and belong. From that flows purpose, and not the other way around.
We are human beings and not human doings.
Determining ‘your’ outreach location is an interesting process: students are encouraged to try to listen to God’s guidance for them. The leadership of the medical DTS had decided that the outreach locations were: Fiji, Cambodia and Peru (and for leadership, their own process is also a mix of contacts, practicalities and prayer).
For Maria and I, who are staffing the school, our process is similar: we try to discern what God’s guidance is for us – mixed with practical possibilities and faith. So when leadership asked us to pray about leading a team to Cambodia, we prayed. And it’s not often that we understand God’s prompting this clear: He told me to “Go, just go,” and Maria: your family will be OK. As we worked this out further and talked to Krister and Bente about this, they were not happy at all. We therefore decided that I should go and Maria come visit me sometime half way. While I knew I was to go, I wasn’t too happy about it, but did come to terms with it after a while. It’s a beautiful country and we know we are called to it, but we had not planned on going on outreach.
So. Outreach to Cambodia…
How do you go from a vision to a plan? How do we know where we go? Not just generally but very specific: the where, when, what? Before answering that, we have to know the why. If know our “why” and work from that, it will give authority to our “what”.
The outreach is of course framed within practical parameters, such as the start and end dates of our outreach (very practical), but our outreach is, we believe, also part of Gods plan. So we ask further guidance. Which can come in the form of people contacting you, random contacts popping up on Facebook, bible verses, points on the map, existing contacts, images. When you ask God about guidance in a group setting, it is wonderful to see how many people see parts of the puzzle – only through working together does the final itinerary get together. I believe there is likely always some uncertainty – which is where faith plays a role.
And even if we plan things wrong, we do so with conviction and from a position where we submit this to our authorities: school leadership, local contacts, and ultimately the leading of the Holy Spirit (e.g. Proverbs 16:9).
The outreach team consists of Anna, Janelle, Janina, Meredith, Olivia, Kya, Ruth, Jess, Anastasia and Tomas who is married to Rieko, who together with Elyssa and Herbert staff the outreach team. The team’s core values (which we prayed for): worship, prayer, unity, spiritual warfare. From that, our actions can flow: teaching, medical clinic, … we’ll see what is possible in the given settings.
The itinerary we landed on (yes, pun indeed): arrive in Phnom Penh, travel to Pursat to work with children for a few weeks, then on to Battambang to celebrate the new year and assist the YWAM base with medical outreaches to villages around Battambang, then move on to Stung Treng and travel eastward (that’s towards Vietnam) – then back to Siem Reap and fly out to Hawaii.
Then the corona virus outbreak happened.
Uofn Kona base leadership decided to not send teams to south east Asia, because of possible difficulties with airports shutting down and people ending up in quarantine, which would be extremely unfortunate. So with that in mind, the team was rerouted. With Cambodia, South East Asia, Africa, Italy and a number of other locations out of the picture, we again prayed over locations, and landed on Brazil.
As we had only prayed about going to Cambodia for ourselves, both Maria and I felt we needed to pray again – which was when we asked for your prayers as well. While Krister got confirmation about Brazil as a location itself, we could not get peace about us going, so the team is going without us, and we will all go back to Norway as originally planned.
That is an important decision (e.g. one with consequences) so that was the reason we asked for prayer – thank you.
We’re currently in week .. well I really don’t know. Week 9 I suppose. Time is going really fast – we know most of the students very well and hope to see them sometime in Norway. But if not, we hope to see them tomorrow (haha): there are still many days until we leave. But those days certainly go by quickly.