How time has flown by! At the end of this DTS I look back with great gratitude on a great half year, with wise lessons that I was able to learn, wonderful adventures I had and wonderful people I could meet and hang out with.
I learned a lot during the lecture phase, but also during outreach! I realized that you don't have to go through a spectacular conversion story to be able to testify about God's greatness. By giving countless testimonies of what God has done in my life, I found it to be very uplifting, not only for the audience, but for myself as well, as I was reminded how faithful God is and what an adventure it is to live in personal relationship with God! At home I would prefer to prepare what I will share a week in advance, but at outreach you prepare the program at most 1 day in advance (sometimes the day itself). Great to see how as we prayed in the preparations, we always got a clear picture of what we were allowed to talk about and sometimes you testify to hundreds of people and just notice the Holy Spirit is giving the words to say!
I also learned how valuable it is to connect with people, to invest in them and to lure them out of their comfort zone. It's a great privilege to see both teammates and locals with whom we hang out, grow and become increasingly confident. The locals in PNG really appreciated it when we introduced / greeted ourselves in their own language; because we often pronounced things very wrong / with accent, so this often led to hilarious moments. I also noticed how easy it was to adapt to the local living conditions. No running water and electricity and sleeping on the floor or in a hammock is no less than a comfortable bed. And the food was also enjoyable; local fruits and vegetables (coconuts, watermelon, sweet potato, (fried) banana, etc.) are so much better than the sugar-saturated diet in the western world! In addition, I am more aware of the authority we have in Jesus' name, we saw God's healing (including a blind man whose eyes were opened and a deaf woman who could hear again!) And also from the other teams we have heard great stories of God's healing power! I have also grown in my hairdressing skills; in addition to countless (mini) braids (cornrows) that I've made, I am also gaining more experience with cutting hair!
The past two weeks have been all about processing, evaluation, etc. It is great to hear all the stories from different teams and to think together about how we can implement the valuable lessons we have learned into our everyday life.
Unfortunately, many plans have been changed because of the coronavirus. A number of students left last minute this past week (before borders would close). Sometimes it is difficult to say goodbye to each other (abruptly) after such long and intensive contact (sometimes in the middle of the night). I planned to go back to the ship in Papua and then volunteer in Indonesia for a month, but unfortunately that was canceled. Many decisions to make and uncertainty, but God gives so much supernatural peace! My visa is valid until April 20, so at least until then I will stay here to work as a volunteer.
Apart from the chaos due to countless canceled flights, last-minute departure of many people, etc., many things still go on. Restaurants, shops, schools, etc. are all still open. Although meetings with more than 100 people are no longer allowed, this does not apply to the campus (because it is an official training institute). Wednesday we had celebration with the whole base (pizza, desserts, speeches, music and dance). Friday we have the official 'graduation' with the DTS, where we'll receive our certificate. Most people are going home on Saturday or Sunday. I'm not really stressed about the corona situation. Although it is frustrating that I've had to cancel my flights and the plans are uncertain, I look forward to what God is going to do through this!