Hey guys! I’m sitting at the JFK airport on an eleven hour layover so I thought I’d share about my experience at Training Camp, and oh goodness it was an amazing one.
So I rolled up into the Atlanta airport about four hours before the shuttle would arrive to take everyone who heads out on the race in June to Adventures in Missions. After walking around like a chicken with my head cut off I finally found the meeting spot and sat down. Throughout that time, I met a girl named Bailey who is on her way to Haiti right now and I got to tell her all about my time there and it really encouraged her. I then met my team and we headed to training camp!
Training camp looked a lot like Bootcamp at Hill Country Bible Church: days filled with sessions, worship, and team building activities. From the start I was stretched with my food options, being given meatloaf as my first meal. Each of the following days had a theme of a certain country for the meals, and it surprisingly went a lot better than I thought. I ate things I would never choose to eat because I was SO HUNGRY but I am thankful for being pushed into stepping out of my comfort zone and encouraged that I am becoming less of a picky eater! The other part of training camp that stretched me was the bucket showed in little stalls in the woods, boy was that a cold adventure! But again, I am thankful for them because they give me much more appreciation for the little things I am blessed with back home.
As far as my team goes, they are INCREDIBLE. We meshed so perfectly from the get go, and I think it’s because we are all so unique that we just love every single other person for who they are and what they bring to the table. We can talk about the most random things or be completely vulnerable with one another, and it is so beautiful. I am so excited to work together with them out in the field and I am so confident that the Lord is going to use us in mighty ways.
After one of the sessions, we were given time to listen to the Lord which has always been hard for me. I was still trying to figure out what the Lord wanted me to hear specifically going into Nepal, but I committed to be expectant without expectations. After that time, we got into a circle with our team and all closed our eyes as someone was secretly tapped. Then everyone would spend time asking the Lord to show them truths to share with the person who was tapped even though they didn’t know who it was. It was such an eye-opening and freeing experience because although I had struggled to hear from the Lord about myself, I found it so easy to hear from him about a random person because there was no pressure to say what I thought was the most perfect thing for that person but rather let God take control completely. During one specific round one person got an image of a pogo stick and someone else saw a faded photograph. After it was revealed who was tapped, that person shared that they had been bouncing from identity to identity to fit in with all his crowds and how they were tired of it and wanted to stop; the pogo stick represented his previous self and the photograph represented that previous self disappearing as he was being renewed from the inside out. Later we did this again as a team by giving everyone a card with their name on one side and blank on the other. We kept the blank side up and passed the cards around the table, asking God to give us a word, phrase, scripture, or anything He wanted that person to hear. It was freeing to see my card after we finished, both because people had heard from God for me when I couldn’t earlier and because I had written on my card too, which showed I was capable as well. I had never thought that I was qualified to ask god for prophetic words or pictures or truths and it was amazing to realize that and experience it as training camp continued.
Throughout the rest of our days there, people were going up to other random people, praying over them and sharing words that God had given to them for those other people, and going up on stage in the middle of worship to share was God had revealed to them. One person got up and said that they were seeing a piano being pressed really hard, and that there was someone in the room who felt a lot of pressure but needs to know that the harder the keys are pressed the louder the piano is and the more beautiful it is. Then they said that they were convinced the person in the room was not wearing shoes and he wanted to pray for that person, and put comes someone crying without any shoes on and it was breathtaking to witness.
During the last night of worship I was so wrapped up and anxious that I still felt like I didn’t have a specific purpose for myself going into Nepal. Other people had heard specific words from the Lord to focus on and I hadn’t. I finally realized that I was barely worshipping so I prayed that God would take all of the distractions away and let me focus on him because he is way more deserving of all my attention and praise. And the Lord answered my prayer by helping me focus on him and then proceeded to do me one even better: a girl named Izzy came up to me and said that she heard the song that was playing (reckless love, which is one of my absolute favorites) and thought of me and had been given the word RISK by God to share with me. She said that she sensed that I let the fear of not being the best at things stop me from doing things (which could not be more true) and that God really just wanted me to pursue the things I’m passionate about random recklessly risk myself for the Lord without the fear of acceptance or the need to prove myself. Wow. It was so perfect. The second I let go and let the Lord take control, he really showed up. Now I know my focus for Nepal and forever after that and I could not be more excited.
Now I am leaving training camp with a beautiful and risky list of things I have realized about myself and need to press into:
- If I love the Lord and believe in him, I need to recklessly risk myself for him
- I need to humble myself
- I am worthy to forgive myself; I have no right to not forgive myself when the God who created the universe forgives me
- Guilt is not from the Lord, I need to welcome conviction but reject condemnation
- I have let defensiveness create a mask as I have always tried to prove my worth in the past, but there is no need to
- Living in the Kingdom of God on earth (being in constant communication with the Lord) is stinking fun
- I need to trade my selfishness for selflessness
- I need to fully release control into God’s hands so that he can make beautiful things through me