October 20, 2019, the day I left the Netherlands, my rent and job in Rotterdam canceled, my stuff in my backpack, ready for the Medical DTS! After an intensive 34-hour journey, I landed in Townsville in the middle of the night, arriving at the YWAM Campus a little earlier than planned after a futile attempt to find a hostel. A great half year full of life experience and wise lessons, living in community with more than 25 nationalities, outreach in Papua New Guinea, new medical bush skills, awesome!
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, my plan to return to the medical ship in PNG after DTS fell through. Although I was disappointed at first, now that I look back I am very grateful for how it turned out! I took the opportunity to do the 'Discipleship Bible School' (DBS), which allowed me to read the entire Bible in three months, with intense Bible study, homework assignments, small groups, etc. This brought me so much more then I expected! I gained more insight about how God keeps searching for relationships with people and how He gives so many opportunities to restore it! What a wonderfully loving Father God, He never gives up, even when people screw it up again and again.
Last week we had a great graduation party to round off the DBS! Initially I would start the Birth Attendant School (BAS) in Perth on July 5, but because the Australian borders are still closed, it has been postponed until January 2021 at the earliest. I have thought a lot and prayed about the following step and I decided to leave Townsville behind on Sunday (July 5), to go to YWAM Newcastle (2 hours away from Sydney) to work there as a volunteer ('mission builder ') on the base (after 1.5 weeks in Brisbane and the Gold Coast). Mission building is a nice opportunity to stay relatively cheap in exchange for 8 hours of work a day, eg in the kitchen or helping with current projects. A new season, a new base, new people, I'm excited!
I also realized that in the past 9 months I have amassed a lot of stuff and clothes here in Townsville (many students who leave leave clothes behind, which has led to a nice extension of my wardrobe). As I move on, I realize again that everything I own must fit in my backpack, therefore it's good not to place too much value on materialistic things. Moreover, it is a lot colder in Newcastle (between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius instead of 25+ here in Townsville) so I don't need more than half of it.
Although Townsville feels like home so it's sad to say goodbye, also to a lot of friends, most of all I'm just really grateful for this amazing time! I don't know yet how long I'll stay in Newcastle, but that will become clear on the right time. It's a bit sad that the BAS has been postponed, but I just wait patiently and I look forward to the adventures I will experience in the meantime!