Friday, November 18, 2016

Leadership Training School Module 1

The organisation I work with, Youth with a Mission, usually runs schools on a 3-month modular basis, but for many leaders taking even 3 months out of their usual places is too much, so they decided to try something new here in Europe: a 10-month long, online school with 5 intensive week-long "modules" every other month in different places in Europe. The aim is to not only train leaders, but also give them opportunity to network together and be mentored by other leaders, and put into practice what they are learning while on the school through practical assignments. It sounded like a wonderful opportunity as I am more and more involved in leadership, and so I signed up!

The first module was in Norway, about an hour north of Oslo. And Norway greeted us with a lovely covering of snow... this was the pic from the plane as we landed:
It may have been cold outside, but with 120 participants, and wonderful teachers, the atmosphere inside was very warm! We were joined from Hawaii via skype by Darlene Cunningham, one of our co-founders. She wasn't able to join us in person because of health problems, but we still enjoyed our time with her (and pray for her recovery!):
Her husband, Loren, was with us for the week in person and he told us stories of YWAM's pioneering days and shared with us many of the lessons he has learned along the way:
One night his phone rang while he was teaching and he actually took the call to everyone's amazement... it was his little sister, Janice, and at first we were all a bit shocked that he had taken the call from her... until it turned out that she was involved in much of the pioneering of YWAM in Europe and shared stories of how things started here (and we quickly realised the phone call had been planned!!) It was great to hear them banter back and forth and when he reminded her about the time she was arrested in Afghanistan, quipped about how glad that wasn't him, saying "Here I am, Lord, send my sister"! Love it!
We had other guest speakers, including Alv Magnus and Andreas Nordli, who shared about their work in the nation of Norway. Alv was the pioneer and Andreas is the current leader.
 We had great times of worship and also prayer over nations of Europe (using a BIG map!)
 Most afternoons were spent with our "processing groups": As you can see, our group is pretty fun! We are from 6 different nations, including the Cook Islands, and it was great getting to know them.
Despite the busy schedule (breakfast started at 6.45 and our program went to 9pm, and I helped with breakfast prep so my days started at 6.15!), we did have time for some fun activities (aimed at building community!)... A bonfire in -10degs, with hot chocolate, marshmallows and sausages :)
And going to an ice-hockey game for the local club "Storhamar". The club gave us free tickets and organised their buses to bring us and take us back... so we of course cheered for them and I think we helped them onto victory! The game was in the CC Amfi which was built for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics and used for figure skating. We had a lot of fun and I am so glad that I got to experience it! I even came back with a hoarse throat from screaming :)
I didn't get any pics of the hanging out over mealtimes (of which there were 4 a day!) and just getting to know awesome people from all across Europe. I look forward to continuing this 10-month journey of learning and discovery as we now work online and meet with our processing groups on Skype until the next module...

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