Sunday, 5 July 2009

Gateway Training Week Two...

The second week here at the Mercy Ships International Operations Centre has come and gone, and what an intense week it was! We started out on Monday with a session on Conflict Resolution with Mercy Ships chaplain Wade Cox. Tuesday to Thursday we had renowned YWAM speaker Dean Sherman talking on Kingdom Principles and Spiritual Warfare. I have never looked so intently at this topic before. Friday we had Gateway team leader Alicia Robbins share on Living and Working In Harmony, which was also interesting and I could relate to a lot of what was said, having lived in community on the ship back in 2008.

It seems that God is really drumming into my heart the whole idea of Being Still and Knowing that He is God. This verse came up again in the "Who God is" section of the Conflict Resolution session. A Hillsong United song, Still, was also played and hit home:

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father You are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

And that's it really. It's so simple. Wade also mentioned Psalm 37 and the Delight Yourself in the Lord passage. God wants me to have these verses imprinted on my heart and in my mind!

There were many nuggets of wisdom in Dean Sherman's lectures that it is difficult to single out a few. However, the ones which I gleaned out of my notes that have the most impact are the following:

1) I enjoyed the illustration of a seed being planted down in order to go up. So for me, in order to reach the heights of my potential I must be humble - I must do everything in humility! I've always known Jesus's life was all about serving, but the image of a seed actually dying in order to reach the heavens (in the form of a tree) was an eye-opener.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.

(1 Peter 5: 6 NIV)

This also reminded me to keep an eye on my pride and be humble in all I do. That's what I desire. Coming back to Mercy Ships I've got a lot of attention that I didn't necessarily want - so I've got to make sure this doesn't go to my head. It's not about Murray: It's all about God.

2) Dean's point on fatalism was also so applicable. I see this in so many aspects of my home society - even in Christian circles! And it is certainly in my own life. Fatalism is the belief that if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be, will be. It has been entrenched in my worldview for quite some time now. I've always been told that it'll happen when it's meant to happen. And I believe it. Sure, things will happen in God's perfect timing, but this doesn't mean I sit and wait for things to happen. I've got to root out this fatalism and chart my own course. I do have the power and ability to make choices that will shape my future. God has given me a free will, after all. I mustn't just sit back and wait for things to happen. I can't overemphasise this point enough. Get out there, take risks, trust God - and sometimes you fall before you fly!

Those were the most important points from this week. Obviously the entire section on Spiritual Warfare was really intense and we all learned a lot, but there is really too much to say in one entry here. Friday's session on living in community was also really interesting and I found myself sharing a lot from my past experience with Mercy Ships. It also made me think about those conflicts and misunderstandings I had back in Liberia, and how easily the could have been solved. It was really enlightening!

For those of you in Cape Town, when I'm back in August I'll tell you all about this amazing programme and the wonderful, diverse people here! I am so blessed to be surrounded by this kaleidoscope of God's creation. And one of these wonderful people, Elliot, on Wednesday had his 25th birthday and so we went out to Mineola, a quaint little town a fair distance away from the IOC, to celebrate. Here we went to the East Texas Burger Company and had really good hamburgers for supper. We then went and did (10-pin) bowling and that was really fun. I was pretty dreadful but it made for some good memories nonetheless! Photos on this blog entry are from our time in Mineola.

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