Hey guys! I hope you all are well upon receiving this. I myself am well at the time of writing it, just doing my best to stay focused and not get distracted and side tracked from the task at hand, writing this update, which can sometimes be quite a mission (the writing as well as the not getting distracted). Well, it’s been brought to my attention that while most you know what I’m doing (staffing on a DTS), you don’t really know what I’m doing or am part of, so I thought I might take a moment to explain to you guys just what it is that I’m actually doing these days as a member of the staff team on this year’s school and just what kind of school I am part of.
For starters, the school is a YWAM DTS. Youth With a Mission, YWAM, is an international and interdenominational Christian organization that runs Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) all over the world. A DTS is a 6-month course split up into 2 phases, the lecture phase and the outreach phase, each being roughly 3 months. During the lecture phase, we have different national and international speakers come in for a week and teach on different subjects, all of which relate to the Christian walk of faith. For example, there might be a week on worldviews, another on healthy relationships, another on the character and nature of God, and so on and so forth. Then, for the outreach phase, we split up into teams and go out and try to apply practically what we learned during the lecture phase. The outreach portion may be done either nationally or internationally. For instance, both of my previous outreaches have been international (my first one, as a student in 07, being to India, and my second, as staff last year, to Indonesia) while some of my friends’ have been national (here within New Zealand). The goal of it all is to inspire and challenge the students to have a deeper and more personal faith.
The school I’m on staff for right now is a Snowboarders DTS, which is really cool for everyone who is involved with it because it means that we have all been brought together by our shared passions of snowboarding and God. We have 29 students and 10 staff and 7 different nations represented on this school. A typical weekday consists of lectures in the morning and either work duties or outreach prep or other community activities in the afternoons. We have a weekly trip to town on Fridays into Christchurch, where, after having done some shopping for the week, we split up into teams for local outreach (I’m one of two leaders who lead a skate-park outreach). Also, being a snowboarding school and all, we go up riding twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
I have found my DTS experience as a member of staff to be quite different from my experience as a student. For myself, I would say that my experience as a leader has been far more stretching, and growing, and beneficial, and enjoyable even (because of all those thing), than my experience as a student. My experience as a student was good but my staffing experience has been better, which I would attribute to having been given responsibilities and having to step up to see them accomplished.
My responsibilities this year abound. In addition to the regular responsibilities of staffing, which would include mentoring a small group of guys (4 of ‘em), having weekly one-on-ones with them (which is a set aside time where I check in with them, to see how they’re going, to offer help or advice, or to help them process stuff), driving to and from wherever, and putting together an outreach, I have several job roles on the staff team specific to me, such as coordinating all multimedia stuff and taking care of transport. It feels like I’m quite often very busy, which I’m trying to learn how to handle gracefully, by trying to improve on my time management skills. I know the old saying that says 'it’s not about working harder but rather working better' to be true, but the application of it I feel still evades me. However, busyness and all, I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing right now for anything. I am very passionate about what I’m doing and find it to be very satisfying. It’s so cool to see and be part of what has the potential to be such a transformational season in these students’ lives.
One of the other really exciting things about this school is our involvement with the local snowboarding culture and community. For example, last week we co-hosted a rail jam (a backyard snowboarding contest) with the Christchurch SFC crew. SFC, Snowboarders For Christ, is an international community of snowboarders, and it’s been really cool to be able to team up with them this year, to ride with, and support, and co-host events with one another. One of the events we co-host with SFC is Dinner On The House. Dinner On The House is basically a free feed. Every Saturday night, after a good day of riding, we offer a free meal to anyone who wants one. It’s held at a local church located at the base of one of the mountains at which we ride. While on the chairlift, or during lunch inside the lodge, we’ll hand out flyers advertising the event. At the event, in addition to the food, we have a projector set up showing some sweet as snowboarding films, a couple of ping pong tables, some foosball action, and pool table. It’s been awesome to see the interest in it grow and to have more and more people show up each week.
My outreach this year will be to China. I will co-lead a team of five with my good friend Sam, who is a fellow Colorado lad, and while there we will focus on doing youth and skateboard ministry. I’m pretty excited about it I must say. But it takes a fair bit of planning these outreaches, making sure you get all of your visas sorted, developing a budget, and etc., so if you could be praying for me for all of that, that would be brilliant. My other prayer requests would be for provision, unity within the team, and protection (for my team as well as our contacts who we will be working with) as China is still a closed country.
Well, thanks heaps to everyone who has been reading these updates and have been following along with what I’ve been doing while out here. And thanks to everyone who has given me little words of encouragement or have written quick little responses, I’ve really appreciated them. I’m not opposed to receiving snail mail either if anyone wanted to send me anything, and thanks to those who have taken the time to mail me the old fashioned way. My address here is:
P.O. Box 47
Oxford, North Canterbury
Just letters though please - I wouldn’t know what to do with a present, unless it were a care package with some hot sauces, as their selection of hot sauces out here is limited to say the least - I could really go for a bottle of Chipotle Tobasco or of Dave’s Insanity Sauce.
Also, be sure check this out: http://www.ywamoxford.org/ski-and-snowboard-staff/, it’s my staff profile for this year’s school on the Oxford base’s website.
Take care everyone,
the bachelor pad