Well, here we are at the end of week 4 of this DTS. Time is flying by!
The last 4 weeks have been a whirlwind of lectures, learning, travelling, praying, worshipping, eating, sleeping, playing, listening, sharing, meetings, laughing, planning, and a whole variety of other things!
The first week of the DTS was a week of orientation for the students. The week was spent finding out what life will look like for them over the next 5 months. They got to take part in an official Maori welcoming ceremony, spend time getting to know each other, and we had the privilege and honour of listening to each of them share their life stories, both the good and the hard parts. There were plenty of tears, but also laughs, over the two days it took to hear everyone share where they were at.
The next week was the first full week of lectures and the topic for the week was worship and intercession. This was a great week of teaching, but also of experiencing practically what intercession, especially, can look like, and was a first taste of this for some of the students. As a Justice school it was so important to start the DTS on building a foundation of prayer and worship, as God needs to be the focus and the one we rely on to bring justice to the oppressed and we want to partner with Him in what He is doing around the world. At the end of this week we had organised a poverty simulation weekend for the students on the justice DTS. With the justice focus, we are keen for them to really have their eyes opened to the injustices going on around the world, and to step into someone else’s shoes in a very small way for a short time. Such a great learning tool in this whole time. This is the same thing we had on our DTS but a fairly different experience being on this end! So straight after lunch on Friday we told them they had 5 minutes to pack a bag with some specified basics, such as change of clothes, but not a lot else, and they were a now a displaced people group in Indonesia that had been forced from their homes due to a resort being built. We took them down to the valley of our YWAM base. We left them there with a few things to use to build a shelter and a few tools for cooking rice and beans on a fire. They were put in families and had different ages/responsibilities to play out for the weekend. During the course of the weekend we went down and acted out various situations to them. For them to get a taste of some of the difficult decisions/choices/situations that are forced on people. This was a big learning experience for them, some great insight and learning came out of the weekend such as…
“What does it take/how much has to be taken from you for you to become someone you don’t want to be? To make decisions that you would previously consider below you.”
We often judge people that make ‘bad’ decisions, but when you’re thrown into difficult situations you can make all sorts of decisions you wouldn’t have normally made.
From Nai’s point of view it was a different experience being on the other end this time and having students that she’s close to struggling. Seeing that made her realise how when it’s people we know and love struggling in situations our level of compassion and desire to do something can be so much greater than with those we don’t know. We can so often distance ourselves from the suffering of others, because we’re not with them and we don’t know them.
The challenge for us when we hear about situations around the world, is not to switch off because it doesn’t effect us or anyone we know or love, but still to have compassion, to respond, to pray, to act.
This is what God asks of us.