I touched down in Switzerland for a Discipleship Training School in January this year (2019).
I had with me; enough clothes to last five months, my Bible, my laptop, my phone and a lot of questions about God.
I had a great deal of growing to do.
Entering into DTS I would say that I my relationship with God was shaky – I was very sceptical of the goodness of God.
Did God really love the world?
Did He really care about me?
As a result my quiet times were fairly inconsistent and my Bible reading even more so.
Lecture phase of DTS helped me to begin mending the holes in my heart and understanding. The more deeply I knew God the more I began to trust Him.
My perception of God began to radically change.
But, still, it had only been three months.
With the first phase of DTS over, it was time again to join the skies at 35,000 feet and cross the globe.
We were headed to North Africa, I was so excited!
The ministries that we were involved in on outreach were incredibly impacting. Whether we were working with orphans, impoverished youth, refugees or the local churches, my team and I found ourselves wide eyed and amazed by what God was doing!
How incredible that He wanted to use us in His plan!
For me though, outreach was as challenging as it was exciting. The realisation of the reality of what daily life looked like for the people we were ministering to was a lot to swallow.
Familiar questions began to appear; is God really good? Can He really be loving if this is the reality of the people around me?
The Holy Spirit empowered me not to let my questions drive me away from God. Instead they drove me to Him.
Every morning our team started our day with quiet time. In our little apartment we would scurry out of our rooms in the early morning to find the perfect spot to spend time with the Lord. Weaving past my peers, who, with Bible in hand, sat cross legged on cushions splayed about the living room, I would head straight to the balcony. A cup of tea, the Word and a banged up guitar by my side, I sat in the early morning sun gazing out onto a dusty grey street.
It was there, amidst the wave of beeping cars and the shouts of hopeful salesmen coming from the neighbourhood below, that I brought my questions to God.
He met me there.
On that balcony the Lord highlighted His faithfulness in the Biblical narrative over and over again. I read of people like Joseph and Moses and saw the goodness of God in what seemed to be impossible situations. There more I read, the more God started to speak, answering the questions I was bringing before Him.
But, I wasn’t only reading about the goodness of God – I was seeing it as well. We saw God release favour and provision as we ministered to refugees. We watched tears stream down faces as Holy Spirit touched hearts. We encountered individuals choosing relationship with a God who has been after them their whole life.
The truth of the goodness of God plunged deep into my heart. As it did, a fiery hunger to share God with others was sparked.
It has been five months now since I completed DTS and thinking over the experience I confidently testify that my experience, especially my outreach experience, has had a lasting impact on me.
Creating a foundation of trusting God in DTS gave me a platform to continue pursuing Him. My relationship with God has continued to grow even deeper and more consistent than it was in my Discipleship Training School.
Encountering God speak to me through the Bible on outreach gave me a love for the Word. Remaining in the Word has been a grounding factor in my life. It has been in reading the Word that I have been ‘transformed by the renewing of my mind’ (Romans 12:2).
The hunger to share God with the lost that formed within me on outreach has only continued to grow. Whether evangelising on the streets in the city or just sharing about God’s love with my friends, I am desperate for people to meet God.
Looking back over my own life and seeing the pain of what it feels like to not live in constant communion with God, my heart hurts for others who are still in that place.
I know that God is faithful.
I know that He loves our world.