Thursday, May 28, 2015

Training Week

I truly intended to update everyone throughout the trip, but it became apparent early on that I needed a break.  I needed to take a rest from social media and any obligation other than serving and growing.  However, my trip is officially over and I am ready to share my awesome experience to anyone who will listen.  Although I went on a two week mission trip, I really had three weeks of growth because of training week.  I have honestly never taken as huge of a step towards hearing the voice of the Lord as I did in my week spent training with my team.

On the first day of training, my team maneuvered itself through what we call low ropes which was a series of various team building challenges.  It proved to be a mix of victories and frustration but served its purpose of bringing my team closer together and forcing us to trust each other beyond what is comfortable.  From simple trust falls to maneuvering each other through tied up string like a sack of potatoes, my team learned how to literally carry each other through rough spots.
                Highlight:  This day was when I learned how to pray constantly.  The facilitator had us pray while doing things like carrying one of our team members from one course to another.  During my trip, this day rang as a reminder that while doing the most mundane tasks like picking up trash I could be praying for the people of Israel or even the specific people who discarded the trash.

Tuesday, my team received evangelism training in the morning and then had athletic challenges in the afternoon.  The evangelism training was unlike any other training that I have ever received and it truly did its job of showing how to make presenting the gospel less nerve racking.  Athletics was an incredible physical challenging in its mental and physical pushing.  I loved that the training pushed every single member but it was not individually driven.  Each goal was set as a team and we either reached or failed those goals together.
                Highlight:  The Lord pretty clearly told me that I was going to have to be vulnerable and share a piece of myself at evangelism training.  When the time came, I thought He’d want me to somehow weave my story into a sermon, but it turned out that all I had to do was openly share.  It was incredible to see how others were able to relate to my story and how a simple moment of vulnerability could be used to bless others and myself.

On Wednesday we had the privilege of doing what we call towers which is basically high ropes.  We did a rock wall, this crazy contraption called the Wobbly Woozy, and then the group climbing wall where the only way over the wall was pure teamwork.
Highlight:  My absolute favorite was the Wobbly Woozy where we all paired up and had to walk across a line that became continually more and more distant.  The interesting thing about the Wobbly Woozy is that there really is no way to “win” because eventually you and your partner are simply too far apart to not fall off, but it is an awesome challenge to try to make it to that point.  I was absolutely terrified and felt like I was going t fall immediately, but my team leader Adam and I somehow managed to make it very far on the line simply by trusting each other. 

Thursday was an amazing break because our day started at 10 AM instead of the usual 8 AM.  This was our day of Bible and Ministry prep, so we got to dissect a chapter from Matthew and work on our skits and other ministry tools.  The team definitely needed this moment of rest.  I did my best to take the extra time we were given to invest in my personal growth.
                Highlight:  My team and I broke down Matthew 13 as individuals but then came together and shared little pieces we pulled out.  This training set me up for a time during my trip of truly divulging God’s word and loving every second of it.

The final day of training we had our most practical day which we call scenarios.  We went through various situations as a team that are like the ones that we are likely to face on the field.  The most hilarious one for me was where they fed us disgusting food for us to practice being culturally sensitive.  The harshest scenario was when we went to a home with an abusive Muslim man and then to top that off there was a call to prayer.  That one really got my team and made us think.  That afternoon we practiced outdoor ministry and running a church service.
Highlight:  At the practice church service, we did a couple skits and then ended with a testimony from one of our girls.  Even though it was just practice, our team as well as our practice audience was absolutely moved and this led to a time of prayer where we started to share the things that weigh heavily on our hearts.

Every evening of training week we finished off with a service.  They were started off with amazing worship from various teams which was followed by a sermon and then some fun skits from us.  The last night was a bit different because we heard testimonies, took time to thank our staff, and then broke into our teams to prophecy and pray over each member.  That night was by far my favorite.

Training week was just the beginning.  I promise that more stories are coming over the next few weeks!  Please keep me accountable in my sharing.

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