Hello everybody! I’ve finally been able to get my ministry update finished! I’ll be trying to post far more frequently in the future!
The end of this previous semester went very well. Our first two trainees are in the field doing ministry work with our partners both in Southeast Asia and in Chattanooga. Our first two students were great guinea pigs for the program. They were patient and understanding of the fact that, as a new program, there would be kinks that would need ironing out. Everybody learned a lot, including myself! I think we have a better idea how best to go about training for the next semester. The main thing that God taught me this past semester was a better understanding for engaging in a church planting movement. I haven’t had much experience in this area of our training, so I was excited to be able to spend a good bit of time devoted to learning about the early church, in Acts, and how we can go about planting churches in any context throughout the world! Luigi, our other AOT trainer, is our resident church planting expert. He is a Filipino who has been working with our Philippine Nehemiah Team franchise for 7 years. He married an American girl who worked with Nehemiah Teams and then went back to teach at a local school in the Philippines. Now they live at the Nehemiah Teams training center and Luigi and I are the trainers for the AOT discipleship program. We alternate training sessions and he covers more of the practical side of training and I cover more of the theological side of training based on our strengths and we help each in areas we are not as confident in. I loved the community aspect of the semester’s training as well. I am more of an introvert but I’m an extroverted introvert, so I enjoy being in a close-knit community. It reminded me a little about the aspects of my time in the Marine Corps that I missed except everyone here loves the Lord, is dedicated to pursuing Him and sharing the Gospel, and don’t ridicule me for my faith! It’s very refreshing!
We also had a very effective orientation for all of our students serving with Nehemiah Teams and Project 52. This year’s training was the best since I have been a part of Nehemiah Teams. Everything just seemed go smoother than it has in the past. I’m very excited to see how God uses them this summer and I look forward to hearing their reports after debrief. Many of the team leaders this year were very solid and hungry for a deeper relationship with the Lord and broken for the lost.
At the training center, we have been able to get started on building the Laundry facility for staff and trainees and soon we will start construction on the RV site. These RV pads will provide a place for visiting volunteers to park their RV’s while they build trail shelters for the training center. We will be using these trail shelters to house students during orientation when we move orientation to the training center. We hope to have enough shelters to house a maximum of 400 people. However, we can move the training here with at least 26 shelters.
I did, however, have a wrinkle in my summer plans. Initially, I was planning on visiting our supervisors and teams in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. God had different plans, haha! I was rear-ended on my way to the airport and I was fine and my car ended up being just fine, minus a scratch on the bumper. However, I wanted to get a police report and exchange insurance information just in case my trunk decided to no longer work and I needed to get it fixed. The fender bender was on the edge of Atlanta during traffic so it took about an hour and a half for the officer to get there and by the time I was able to drop my car off and get to the airport, every step seemed to take frustratingly longer than necessary, I missed the check-in time by 10 mins and even though my plane was 3 gates away and I have TSA pre-check, like an airport fast pass, they wouldn’t let me in. I tried rescheduling my flights, but the only tickets left were business class tickets the whole way so it would cost from $6,000 to $3,000 to reschedule from the next day to any other day this summer, so I had to cancel my trip… Thankfully, I was able to get a travel voucher so I can still visit the supervisors at a later date. In the meantime, I am preparing to speak in different churches in our association about Nehemiah Teams and AOT and preparing to start construction on a tiny house on wheels for Wallis and I to live in after we get married. The training center does not have a cabin for us to live in.