Monday, 29 June 2009

Gateway Training Week One...

Wow, I can hardly believe it has already been a full week of Gateway! The time has flown by, and yet it seems as if last Saturday was an age ago. The lectures have been really solid teaching, on Principles to Live By: Navigating The Seas of Life (which encompasses personality, potential, who you are, vision, behaviour and many other interesting facts on how to realise your full potential in Christ) and The God We Serve (God's character), as well as Hearing The Voice of God (on how God speaks today). Like I said, it's been really interesting, and let me just briefly give you a summary of some of the really meaningful points that I have gleaned from this week. This is by no means exhaustive - there has been a lot to take in and digest and I am sure that as time goes by God will remind me of much more.

I would say that my biggest discovery is in this statement: The number one reason that missionaries (or any Christian worker) leave the field are... wait for it... our fellow co-workers. This really hit home for me. Although I loved my time with Mercy Ships last year, it was towards the end of my time back in 2008 that I was getting rather frustrated and tired. I would be cranky towards my co-workers. It was tiny things that would get to me - things which five months earlier wouldn't have bothered me were now these huge problems (in my eyes). And yet Jesus tells me to first take the log out of my own eye. I can be quite judgmental and blame other people, but this is not God's way. He wants me to evaluate my heart and mind first. It may seem quite obvious, but for me it was an eye-opener!

I was also particularly challenged about the whole issue of potential. There is a lot more hidden potential in me than I give myself credit for. And linked to this, I need to start living by design. Stop reacting to life's circumstances and go out and shape my own course. This means taking risks and stepping out and trusting God. This was made abundantly clear to me yesterday. We all went to the Tyler State Park for a silent retreat. We took our journals and Bibles and headed out, each going to his or her space just to patiently wait for God. It was great because God really did meet us there. There were many things that were impressed on my heart at this time, but one of the most meaningful was the image of two eagles, soaring high above the earth. I was lying there on the grass, looking up, and suddenly these two specks came into view. I was reminded of the passage in Isaiah 40: 31 (NIV):
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run
and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

God wants me to be like that eagle - to reach the heights of my potential. He is the wind beneath my wings and will catch me if I fall.

And what else have we been up to here on Gateway? Well, we've also been kept pretty active here on campus, whether it is wallyball (indoor volleyball played on a racquetball court) or indoor soccer or basketball, it has certainly been a time of intense physical workouts in the evenings, followed by times of chilling in the pool! On Friday night our class went to a traditional Texan braai (barbecue) and that was loads of fun, and then last night we headed out to a country dance. It was great to get away and to see some of the culture and soak up the atmosphere of East Texas! Most of the photos here are from these events. It gives you a good idea that already we are like a big happy family here!

So that is what the first week of Gateway has been like. This week we look at Conflict Resolution, Kingdom Principles, and Living and Working in Harmony. It's going to be a good one! And so with that being said, from the Mercy Ships International Operations Centre in Garden Valley, Texas, I bid you all a very good night and God bless!

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