Staffing DTS: Alex’s testimony

 

So, what is that like, staffing a DTS?

“I totally believe in DTS and what is stands for, seeing the power of God working through the trainees. I would definitely staff one again, without a doubt!”

Alex is one of the Canadians at YWAM Seamill. He did his Discipleship Training School in 2014 with us and right after that he applied to join our community, and he is still with us! Since Alex is a part of the Seamill team, he has staffed two DTS’s. We asked him to share something about what it’s like to lead a group of trainees that are hungry for God.

“During the outreach of my own DTS I felt a calling to missions. I wanted to know more about it and I felt like Seamill would be a great place for me to do that. I wanted to be part of the staff to learn more, to disciple people and to help on base where ever I could.”

After he went home from DTS, Alex received an email from the base to ask him if he wanted to pray about considering staffing the next DTS. God gave him a ‘yes’ so that’s what he did! The DTS staff adventure began…

“When I came back the school started right away. It was really challenging. It’s one thing to be on a DTS but it’s a whole other world staffing one. It’s a really rewarding experience to see the major changes in the individuals that are participating in the school that you’re staffing. I can just stand back amazed, looking at these trainees being totally transformed, the same way as I look at mountains. I can see God’s beautiful creation in them.”

Staffing a DTS makes you grow in leadership a lot. You’re not only leading a DTS, you’re also leading yourself. In the lecture phase of a DTS, you’re pursuing knowing God and growing in your knowledge of Him. Then there is the outreach phase where you get to plan your own outreach.

“I planned an outreach to Central Asia. We started praying for our outreach location months ahead of time: what we would do, what it would look like and who we would connect with. It is so cool to finally see all of that happen, it’s like a dream coming true. However, outreach always looks different once you’re there. You simply cannot predict group dynamics, cultural dynamics and how it would be like to work with your host and different organisations. It’s an incredible experience.”

Both participating in and staffing a DTS gives you a new global and intercultural perspective. You become best friends with a person who is not from the same country as you are. There are speakers coming in with different cultural backgrounds, sharing from their hearts and perspective on a culture or nation. On outreach you see another new culture and you’re being shaped again.

“DTS really changed my life and my hope was for God to move with the same power and might as He did in my DTS in the lives of the trainees of the DTS I was staffing. The greatest thing I have seen God doing in the DTS I staffed, was giving the trainees a heart for the nations and maybe missions specifically even more.”

Over the years Alex has been working with different DTS’s and he learned a lot. Staffing a DTS is a lot of hard work and a lot of growth but also a lot of fun. When we asked Alex what he’d like to share with future DTS staff about his experiences, this is what he replied:

“Ask for Gods heart in terms of cultivating your relationship with Him and allow everything else to flow out of that. Allow that love that you get from the Father to flow into your relationships with the staff, your leaders, the trainees, the location of your outreach and the people you meet. Just pursue the heart of the Father as much as you can.”

Want to know more about doing a DTS or joining our team? Check our website!

 

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Characteristics of community living #4 – Good Bye

“It happens so often, but it’s hard every time” I heard someone saying when we said goodbye to one of our staff members. I noticed that saying goodbye is quite ‘normal’ in YWAM, as normal as welcoming new people into our base. Seeing people leave is not fun at all, but it’s also part of life here. Despite of all the tears and emotions that come with that, I’ve had some wonderful revelations about people coming and going which I’d like to share with you.

I was really amazed when the DTS returned from their short term outreach. Before I even really got to talk to them, I could already tell they had changed. They changed as a group but also as individuals, in their own unique ways. They had only been gone for three weeks but God used that period exceptionally fruitful! I noticed new joy in one of the trainees and with another trainee I felt like he surrendered to God and developed a way closer relationship with Him. I got to know them much better even though I hadn’t been around them for that time. That really surprised me. It now reminds me of a recognisable phenomenon of my childhood, whenever I visited my grandparents or uncle and aunt, they always told me that I had grown so much. Guess I didn’t visit them often enough. Living together with people helps with getting to know each other, but sometimes it’s separation and reunification that makes us know each other even better and definitely in different ways.

Now our DTS is already on their second outreach, the long one. For two months they won’t be here! During their short term outreach I really missed them sometimes. But now that I’ve seen what God can do during outreach, I’m only really excited for them. I cannot wait for them to come back, and this time it’s because I’m so curious about how they’d be like when they return. This is what brought me to my next conclusion: whenever people leave this place, it means God is taking them into a new season. And I wouldn’t want to be the person who is sad about people entering new seasons. Instead, we should celebrate it! So that’s what we do. Of course it can be hard when a person leaves our community but every time it happens, we try to encourage and support this person and honour them as much as we can. We want to stay around them with prayer and financial support, just to bless them as they enter their new season and discover the place God called them to.

There is actually so much excitement in people coming and going! It’s all about adventures and people taking steps without always knowing what’s next. YWAM is full of adventures with the Lord and meanwhile I know many people who can testify about that. It’s such an encouragement for my own life to be part of a community that fully trusts the Lord, willing to obey His voice and surrendering their own desires, plans and agenda’s. I think this is what God wants our lives to be like; full of adventures. Because in the midst of complete surrender and genuine trust, we get to know who God truly is. In case you didn’t know, that’s just YWAM’s first value.

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Characteristics of community living #3 – Fun Fire Facts

Living together means taking care of each other. We cook meals for each other, we try to keep the house clean together and when someone is sick, we bring the person a nice cup of tea. Apart from that, it’s important to make sure we’re safe. Therefore we need some simple rules like our fire tag system which tells us who’s in the building and who’s not. Although safety is a serious topic, it caused some funny situations as well.

Half an hour before my wake up alarm was supposed to go off, I suddenly woke up by a terrible but familiar sound. I was really annoyed when I realised it was the fire alarm. It was only a few weeks ago since we had a fire drill, so why another one? And why this early in the morning? My friend who was staying in my room as well immediately sat up straight in her bed asking ‘what’s going on?’ ‘Probably another fire drill’ I replied. I put on my bathrobe and opened my door. I was just about to go back to bed because I didn’t see anyone rushing out of their rooms, but then some other doors opened and people sleep walked to the emergency exit. ‘Okay we should go outside too then!’ It was really cold outside but I was thankful it didn’t rain that morning. As we walked to the parking area, we saw everyone waiting in the cold, wearing the most fun outfits. I really enjoyed seeing everybody covered in huge blankets, wearing pyjama trousers in all kinds of colours and patterns, and let’s not forget their bed heads and sleepy eyes. After all our names were mentioned from the fire tag board, we went back to our rooms again. Before we went inside, we of course wanted to know why the alarm went off. I was surprised to hear it wasn’t a fire drill. Apparently someone wanted to have toast for breakfast but forgot to get the bread out of the toaster. Luckily everybody plus the toaster survived, unfortunately the toast did not.

Another fire story. Every Wednesday at 11.00 am, we test our fire alarm. We don’t have to do anything, we can just continue our work and ignore the awful sound for a couple of seconds. I think it was in the third week or so that I was here, that the fire alarm went off and no one was around in the same room as I was, in contrast to the past few times. I thought: is this practise or is this real? In both situations I had to go outside anyway, so I only took my phone and walked outside. I saw someone else just walking through the door so I followed him. Outside I didn’t see anybody else so I asked him if we were the only ones. He looked at me all confused and told me he was just about to get something from his car. Then suddenly I remembered it was Wednesday. As I hurried back to my office I felt incredibly silly. I sat down at my desk, opened my Google calendar and typed down a warning for every Wednesday morning: ‘FIRE ALARM, DO NOT GO OUTSIDE!!!’ I never went out unnecessary ever since.

I was really irritated that time the fire alarm woke me up. And I don’t especially like hearing that whining noise every week either, but it’s all for a good cause. Safety is important for us in order to do the work God has given us. We should not underestimate that. The toaster showed us that small mistakes can have large consequences, but if we all apply the safety rules consistently, we can continue building Gods Kingdom for a long time!

 

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Daytrips from West Kilbride

I think Scotland is the prettiest country I’ve ever visited. It has so much to offer! Even in the area where we live there is a lot you can do. The weekends give us great opportunities to go out and explore this beautiful land, together or alone. I put down some lovely trips from West Kilbride I’ve done myself and which you can easily do in a day.

Mountain walking on Isle of Arran

Arran is basically all the good of Scotland put on one island, just across Firth of Clyde. It has dramatic mountain ridges, beautiful waterfalls, whiskey distilleries, wildlife and amazing surroundings: the perfect place for a good hike. Together with a friend I climbed Goat Fell, the highest mountain on Arran, which was great. It took us almost all day to walk from the ferry up to the summit and down to catch the last ferry back to Ardrossan. The next day my muscles were pretty sore, but I would totally recommend anyone to hike up Goat Fell! Another day I took one of our DTS trainees to the island. Instead of climbing the mountain, we walked through the glen. Sounds like it was an easy and flat walk. Most part of it indeed was quite easy, except for ascending the mountain ridge which is called ‘The Saddle’. The climb up was doable, but the side we went down was really steep. The scenery was definitely worth it though. On top of The Saddle we could look over Glen Rosa on the one side and Glen Sannox on the other side. Apart from this there is so much more you can do on Arran. You could hire a car for a nice tour around the whole island. Also it’s pretty easy and safe to hitchhike on the Island. The people that live there are used to hitchhikers and it probably won’t take you long to get a car stop for you and take you to the next jaw-dropping place.

Mouth-watering ice cream in Largs

A ten minutes train ride or a twenty minutes bus drive will take you up to Largs, a picturesque town on the west coast of Scotland. It has nice hills you can walk up, little shops you can visit and a beach that looks over Great Cumbrae, a small island you can to with the ferry. The first day I went to Largs with some people from the base, we had been told to go to Nardini’s for some tasty ice cream. So that’s what we did. We stared at the ice cream counter for a long time, asking for little scoops to try. There were so many flavours and the way they displayed it made our mouths water. It was a great time of fellowship and deliciousness.

Charity shopping in Saltcoats

One of our lovely community members took the girls out for a little workshop about colour types in Saltcoats. We went there in the morning, had breakfast, then sat down with a book and a bunch of scarves in all different kinds of colours, to see which type of colours work best with our skin tone, hair and eye colour. All equipped with a personal colour advice, we went to different charity shops to practice what we learned.

Image from https://www.instagram.com/ywammemes/

I was surprised about the amount of charity shops in one little street! We only got to see two of them but we found so many cool clothing items for such good prices. We felt like real YWAM’ers that day. It’s amazing to see that is doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to find good clothes. When you know what colours, shapes and patterns make you look great instead of good, you’ll get pretty far with only charity shops!

City trip to Glasgow

There is a direct train going from West Kilbride to this famous Scottish city which is well known for its architecture. Personally I loved to blend with this vibrant crowd of people for a day, just to see everything was going on in the streets. When I went to Glasgow I just walked around all day. It was a great sunny day and I wanted to see as much as I could. I really enjoyed visiting the big cathedral. I also walked to the Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery on a low but prominent hill in Glasgow. From there I had a wonderful view on the city. A walk alongside river Clyde brought me to the point from which I could see Clyde Arc, the bridge I saw in many Scotland travel guides. I was too tired to walk all the way up to the bridge, so instead I went to one of Glasgow’s coffee shops to enjoy a well-deserved cappuccino.

Bus drive to Greenock

Whenever I take the bus northbound, I take the one with Greenock as its final destination. I was so curious about what Greenock looked like so one day I decided to just go there. Again I was very lucky with the weather. The drive up there was amazingly beautiful. Greenock itself was okay but I found it a little bit too industrial for a nature admirer like myself. I decided to walk to the very north of Greenock to see across the water. There I walked the esplanade all the way to Gourock. It was a long walk but with the blue water, the bright sky and the sun warming my skin, I felt free like a bird. At the end of my walk I sat down for a Frappuccino with the most stunning panorama ever.

I love to go out and explore. I’ve never been a big fan of walking but Scotland changed it just like that. It’s all due to the scenery! On top of that, I’m a real fan of special coffees. A wee coffee break just adds a new dimension to my day out, especially when I get to share it with my precious YWAM friends. When I’m back at the base after a long day, all tired and satisfied, the welcoming atmosphere and the feeling of being home again is just the finishing touch to my day out, the cherry on top!

What are your favourite daytrips on the west coast of Scotland?

 

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Characteristics of community living #2: Rhythm and relations

It’s not always easy to describe what it’s like to live in a community. Actually you have to experience it yourself to understand it, and even then you’ll be surprised about things every day.

The Seamill Centre has its own weekly rhythm. That means we have specific moments we come together as a community. The repeated weekly gatherings are very significant for this community life. It’s good to meet each other, encounter God together and just hear what’s going on in everybody’s life.

Many people have problems with Mondays. They probably don’t like their work or something. Whatever the reason may be, no bad Mondays anymore when you live this community life. We start the day with a wonderful time of worship together. Every week another staff member shares about what God put on their hearts. Sometimes we end up in singing worship songs, sometimes we get encouraged by each other’s testimonies and sometimes we pray for each other. It’s different each Monday, but good every time. Halfway our week we come together again, this time is more about sharing. We share about what is going on in Seamill and what everybody is up to. We take time to celebrate a certain team or person and the way they serve with YWAM. This often goes along with a corporate prayer or sharing prophetic words, it’s a very festive and encouraging morning!

Thursdays make me really happy as well and I think I’m not the only one who enjoys them. At 11 in the morning it’s time for our Special Break. Someone prepares a few pots of good coffee and of course a wee treat. I love all the brownies and cupcakes that come by but maybe I like all those smiling faces even better. You don’t see everybody as often as the person one desk next to you, but during Special Break you get the chance to talk to everyone! At the end of the week we come together one more time in Community Prayer. On this Friday morning we pray for a certain nation. I noticed since I’m with YWAM, I’m getting more and more aware of the fact that there are more countries in the world than just The Netherlands. Nations prayer is a beautiful way of being involved with what is happening in the world and sharing God’s heart for those nations.

I realised all these moments of coming together are very conducive for an atmosphere of unity. In order to fruitfully work on YWAM’s mission, this unity is needed. Before Jesus went back to His Father, He prayed for us to be one, so that the world may believe that God has sent Him. He prayed that we will be in Him as He is in the Father and the Father in Him so that the world knows God loves them as much as He loves Jesus. It is Jesus’ desire for us to be one and the enemy will do everything to try to stop that because he knows what we are capable of when we are one. That is why it’s so important that we do not just do our own things and get our own jobs done, but also invest in relationships and coming together to listen to each other so that we will be one.

 

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Heart to heart

Another guest blog from our communications intern, Marieke. In this blog she reflects on what the Lord has been showing her through Creation and Communication.

One thing I was hoping to discover during my time here, is passion. Since I came here to do a communications internship, I expected that it would probably have something to do with communications. Although I like the things I’m doing here and the way I can be a support to YWAM Seamill, I’m still careful with calling communications my passion. But there definitely is something else I’m getting an increasing enthusiasm for.

The Highlands have fascinated me before and when I came here to do my internship, I was really longing for that feeling of fascination again. But Seamill is not really in the Highlands and it costs quite some money to rent a car and make a Highland-tour in the weekends. I was a bit sad that I couldn’t visit the Highlands as often as I wanted to. Because I was focusing on what I was missing all the time, I got blinded for the beauty I was already in the middle of. I just didn’t allow the hilly landscape to fascinate me, but something changed about that.

It was during a bus drive to one of the other YWAM Scotland bases. I sat at the window side and watched the green hills passing by. Every minute the view changed and I just didn’t get bored by it. I felt so small in the mighty landscape we were driving through. It was that feeling of totally being caught up by the landscape. Ever since that day in the bus I started to admire each part of this country more and more. God really opened my eyes and brought back that feeling of fascination which I thought I had lost.

 

 

 

 

 

Now I cannot put in words how I feel when I’m walking through the Scottish nature. I would describe it as a never ending warm embrace, even on cloudy days. Two words that come to mind when I’m in the midst of God’s creation is ‘majestic’ and ‘astonishing’. I can tell there is definitely some of Gods majesty visible here in Scotland. And when you have visited Scotland yourself, you would probably know what I mean by astonishing.

Every time I’m taking a walk up to the hills, a stroll on the beach or a trip to the highlands, the only thing I can do is keep thanking God. Thanking Him for bringing me to those places, for the creation He so perfectly made. Thanking Him for letting me witness a flawless sunset, for answering my wishes to see a deer, prancing through the woodlands. He is so merciful and so good to me that He reveals more of His majesty every day, if it was only to remember me I don’t need to search for passion, for it’s already there.

With everything I am I believe God shared His love for creation with me. In the midst of that creation, that reflects Gods glory and presence, I feel like I can communicate with God from heart to heart. In those moments I don’t feel any boundaries to connect with Him and to talk with Him. It makes it easier for me to open up myself to Him and to find Him and that brings me so much peace, freedom and joy!

So this passion for creation, which seemingly has nothing to do with communications, does teach me a lesson about communications after all. It’s all about finding shared heart pieces in order to communicate without being stopped by any obstacle. With that, I think I did not only discover what communications is all about or what it should be about, but also a heart piece of myself I had never seen before.

I’m starting to like the core essence of communications way better already! 

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Characteristics of community living #1: Fine lines

Another blog series, this time from Marieke de Klerk who is mission building with us in our communications team! This starts a mini-series of looking at community life, a vital and vibrant part of being a YWAMer

It’s not always easy to describe what it’s like to live in a community. Actually you have to experience it yourself to understand it, and even then you’ll be surprised about things every day. Community living in Seamill means working, living, eating and sleeping in the same building. The people you live with are all from different countries and cultures, with different languages and habits. Put that all together in one building and you have a lot going on and a lot to get used to. But one thing’s for sure: it’s never boring! I’d like to give you a little insight in the vivacious life I’m living now.

Since I live in a community, there is not really a clear line between my work life and private life. As I step out of my office, I enter my home. Although that is sometimes confusing, I can think of only one downside: I often forget to go outside. But truly, there are many advantages of having work so close to my bed. I don’t have to wear shoes every day. I don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting my keys. People are totally fine when I feel like wearing a large comfy sweater. I don’t have to prepare my lunch the evening before. I can sleep longer. I can easily find another place to work when I’m running out of inspiration in my office. But best of all, I feel home at my workplace, for it is my home!

In a community you don’t only work and live in the same place, but you also work and live with the same people. That sometimes makes it hard to understand or explain how you’re related to them. The first day I was here in The Seamill Centre, I considered the people I lived with as housemates, which made perfect sense. But both God’s presence and the homey ambience here were so obvious that people almost automatically felt like family as well.
When I started working in the office, another shift happened. During work hours, the same people that first were housemates and then family, suddenly became my colleagues. That was interesting. Not that long after this, the moment came when I asked myself: are they my friends now? To make it even more complicated, there is this group of DTS trainees, they are also part of the Seamill family. Meanwhile I call them my friends but whenever I Skype with my friends or family back home, I would talk about them as the DTS trainees. Just to make sure they know who I’m talking about. Sometimes I still don’t really know what to call people but I certainly like all the people here. So I’ll just call them that: the very nice people I work and live with!

I think it’s fun to think about this kind of stuff and it’s very interesting to see group dynamics and things like that. But if you’re not that big of a fan of social philosophizing, or if you just like to keep things simple, than the best option would be to just call people by their names.

 

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These are a few of my favourite things

Five of the things I like most about West Kilbride: by Marieke De Klerk

Our base is located in West Kilbride, a small coastal village in the West of Scotland. Before I came here, I Googled this place to see what I could expect. I wasn’t expecting much before I arrived, but the opposite is proven: it actually is a cool village with a lot in this place that can cause daily amazement! I’d love to share some of the things I appreciate most about West Kilbride.

1. Sheep!
I’m from Holland, a country with many sheep, nothing special. But Scotland gave me a whole new perspective on sheep. Here, fences around sheep meadows are actually made to keep the sheep in, rather than to keep people out! I love to just walk by the green hilly pastures and see how the sheep are grazing, sleeping or running away from me. And in spring it’s even better. Apart from grazing sheep, there are also happy little lambs, jumping around or cuddling with each other. It’s the most adorable thing! And I love adorable things.

2. Fancy restaurants
Want to go out for a drink or a bite? It’s only a three-minute walk to the nearest restaurant. It’s practically on the beach, so you will be provided with a nice view as well. The first time I went there, I had no clue that it was quite a posh place. So I walked in with my jeans and big walking shoes which had a lot of mud on them. Embarrassment fell upon me when I realised a wedding was going on and many fancy-looking people stared at me as I hurried to the bar. However, when I dress up and enjoy the restaurant it helps me to realise even more that i’m from royal origin, and that I’m a princess in the Kingdom of The Most High King!

3. The Glen
More about those muddy shoes. Whenever I need to go to the train station, the supermarket or the post office, I get to walk through The Glen. It’s beautiful! Every time I walk there, I can let go of everything I’m busy with. In those moments I just have time to admire Gods Creation. But I also learned another lesson: after rain comes mud. So, wearing proper shoes is quite important. You’re mistaken if you think you can go into The Glen and get out with clean shoes. But the surroundings are definitely worth it. You just have to enjoy the trees and the burn, and take the mud for granted!

4. Time travelling
I’ve had a friend coming over to West Kilbride to visit me. When she got off the train, she said: “Wow it really feels like I’ve been traveling back in time!” This village just seems so picturesque and it really has this historical look. It probably depends on what you’re used to though.

Two weeks later, another friend came over, and she noticed the same thing: “When I arrived here, it really felt like I’ve been going back in time!” So I guess it’s true: this village takes you back into different times. Good times, for sure.

5. Ocean and island view
I wonder if there is a person on this planet who wouldn’t appreciate ocean view. I’ve been blessed with a beautiful view from my office. You can have this view from many places in West Kilbride, unless a house is blocking your sight. And on clear days, I can see Isle of Arran, rising from the horizon. Ever since I climbed Goatfell, the biggest mountain on Arran, I’m even more amazed by this view. It makes me realise that seemingly impossible things can actually be possible.  

 

What are your favourite hotspots in West Kilbride? Let me know! Maybe I can add them to my list as well 😉

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DTS Reflection Part 5: Three things last forever

The final instalment of our DTS reflections series for now, Mark Carson looks at Faith, Hope and Love.

I am back In Cyprus. As well as working with an organisation called Oasis which supports refugees on the island, we have been doing evangelism on the streets of Larnaca, the town we are based. I lived here so it’s been great to reconnect and build on relationships. I will write more about Oasis in my next update but first I want to give you a feel for the place I have stepped into.

Three things will last forever – Faith, Hope and Love – and the greatest of these is Love. 1 Corinthians 13 v 13

Arriving in Cyprus there is the atmosphere of a divided nation and a religious presence that keeps people safe but not free. It reminds me of home.

The division here is Turkish in the north and Greek in the south. I try and understand the conflict as best I can but I realise being raised in Belfast it’s hard for someone looking in trying to figure it out.

I got talking to a young Greek man who just finished serving in the army nd was flying back to Greece. He was delighted and showed me a video of himself singing and leaving his post for the last time. He seemed free and happy and said he was here to protect the freedom of the Greek people here on the island because it was a Greek island.

The next day I was in Nicosia the city on the border between north and south. I walked across into the north and met a Kurdish Turk who was also serving in the army. His name was Anderson and he looked like he hadn’t slept in days. His English was limited but I gathered that he missed his home in Turkey where he had worked as a teacher. I offered him prayer but he didn’t understand and just kept saying mosque.

When I was in KFC I felt led to talk to this delivery driver named Doros who looked really sad, then he turned and started talking to me. We quickly got onto the hot topic of the moment – the divide between north and south. I said that in Ireland all we could do was pray and that was the answer as God was bigger than all of this. He agreed and I asked if he needed prayer for anything. He had severe anxiety and depression. I wanted to pray then and there but he was working for the colonel and had to go deliver. He had a big smile now though as he put his helmet on.

I’ve found myself hanging around fast food joints. It’s cheaper and people tend to be more liberal with the oulde chat. The 75 cent ice cream at McDonald’s is a missionary favourite. Sam and I got talking to a guy called Marco and we arranged to meet him for a more upmarket Hagan Das. He told us about his Greek orthodox background and how he had to flee to the south after the Turkish invasion. We talked about unconditional Agape love, God’s love (I thought that would be right up his street because he is Greek) He didn’t seem too angry at the Turkish for what they did. He was at peace. But as I was finishing off my giant waffle I knew this man had a good heart, a soft heart but he was missing that relationship with the God he believed in. Marco is excited to meet again and we are praying he encounters Jesus.

Through my encounters on the streets I have learned of a real commitment from the people of Turkey and Greece to lay claim to this Island. Looking back in history it was the Assyrians, Romans, Ottomans and the British but I know how it ends. It doesn’t say that power will last forever, it’s faith hope and love and the greatest of these is Love.

So I have really been holding onto those foundational things: Faith, Hope and Love in times where the worlds foundations seem to be shaking those are foundations of a Kingdom that will last.

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DTS Reflection Part 4: Altars

The fourth of our series of DTS reflections from Mark Carson, this centres on God’s leading and stopping with Him.

A lot has happened since my very important journey to the shores of North Ayrshire. I will try and distil this as much as possible, it has been difficult for me to take it all in. I even wrote on a thank you card to one of my visiting lecturers that she had caused my head to fall off!

A good place to start is to let you know that God is taking me back to school. During a class, we were encouraged to read through the story of Abraham and focus on all the times he stopped to build an altar. Altar items included livestock and his son Isaac (he didn’t end up burning his son).

Anyway, we were sent off on a wander to collect some items to put on our very own altar on the beach. The hope was that on our travels we would find an item that God would speak to us through about an area of our lives or a physical thing we need to lay down.

Before I set off I slipped to the toilet and asked God where he wanted me to go. He told me School, so I ran to the local school filled with anticipation of finding a revelation of what I need to lay down on the altar or at the very least a serviceable item for the fire (praying against any Isaac school children)

I got there and waited and waited until it was fire time. I wasn’t picking up anything from God or the ground. On my disappointed walk to the altar God started talking to me about how he was taking me back to school in this season. He reminded me about how I had hated school but this time it would be different. My school years had been all about performance and not learning. I learned later that a key role of Holy Spirit was teacher and that’s the best teacher a boy can have.

What stood out to me in the story of Abraham was not what he was putting on the altars or what that represented but the action itself of stopping to do so. As important and wonderful all of Gods plans were for the father of nations – stopping for God, the relationship, the friendship was what it was all about.

So, I laid down this six months, as crazy as they will be as an altar time.

But thinking ahead how do I regularly stop for God when I step out of this school?

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