If our DTS was a space shuttle blasting off, then the last time we emailed you it was still at the blast-off stage. There’s the countdown, then the display of fiery power as the shuttle streaks upwards, its progress seeming surprisingly slow when watched from afar. It leaves a vertical blaze of glory across the sky and everyone holds their breath hoping it won’t spontaneously explode in midair – and it doesn’t, the shuttle is off! That was the first term of DTS.
The second term was a bit like trying to leave Earth’s atmosphere – we began to feel the resistance. The first thing that happened was that, over the Christmas break, one of our trainees felt the Lord leading her to leave the DTS. She decided to return home to the States and set some things right with her family, as well as settle some financial debts. She did not leave because she was unhappy with the DTS, but her sudden and unexpected departure certainly affected the dynamics of the group. Suddenly, this question was highlighted as a valid one: “Is God calling me to continue with the DTS, and to go on outreach?” A lot of time and energy was spent wrestling through this question with almost every one of the trainees, and contending for the unity of what would eventually become the outreach team. We are not unaware of the Enemy’s schemes (2 Cor 2:11). And there was also definitely spiritual warfare over what the Lord was leading the outreach team to do: go to Greece and work with refugees.
We saw, in the midst of this tension, a beautiful willingness in both staff and trainees to humble themselves and seek unity and reconciliation, and the outreach team left for Greece on the 4th of April intact and full of courage. They have been working at a refugee camp on the Greek Island of Lesvos, helping distribute clothing and food and running a children’s programme at a local hotel where vulnerable families are housed. Although outright evangelism is disallowed, they have been able to share testimonies with their translators and, excitingly, got to connect with one man who has been having dreams about a ‘shining white man on a white horse’. One of our staff members even got to baptise a young man in the ocean! There wasn’t a place shallow enough for a conventional ‘dunking’, so they decided to dive off of a dock into the ocean together, as a picture of being immersed in the death and resurrection of Jesus! They are now settling into their second outreach location, in Athens.
The plan had always been for Peter and I to blast the space shuttle of the outreach team off into outer space, and then fall back, like booster rockets. We are now finding ourselves in a time of transition as a family. We are helping a bit with the new Discipleship Training School, which started as soon as the September DTS left! I (Taryn), am transitioning into a season of full-time mothering, with my baby bump making its presence felt, and Isaac having fully metamorphosed from portable baby to very active almost-two-year-old. Peter has felt the Lord speaking to him about this next year being a sort of Sabbatical year, it being our seventh year of full-time ministry after we got married and ‘dived straight in’ in 2010.
There was one very significant prayer meeting where the other YWAM Cambridge staff were praying for Peter and felt the Lord give him two guiding words. One was Psalm 40:6, ‘In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but my ear you have pierced’ – this seemed to be a picture of the slave who chooses to stay with a good master though he might go free, and binds himself to him by piercing his ear to the door with an awl (Exodus 21:6, Deut. 15:17). The other was a prophetic image of Peter being ‘like a horse lapping up water in preparation for a long journey’. The combination of these two words seemed to suggest the Lord was leading us, and Peter specifically, into a time of being filled up and re-committing himself to the Lord in preparation for many years of future ministry. At the same meeting, a friend mentioned having enrolled herself in YWAM’s online SBS, a rigorous Bible study programme that inductively goes through every book of the Bible.
So over the course of the next year and a half, Peter will be carving out some space in his schedule to do this course part-time. He’s already started charting out the book of Galatians! He’ll continue to be involved with YWAM Cambridge ministry: discipleship, evangelism, prayer, worship. But we are passing leadership of next September’s 9-month DTS on to one of our staff team, and Peter will be stepping back somewhat from some of the management responsibilities that he has carried.
Grace, peace, and love,
Peter, Taryn, Isaac and the Littlest One