NEW ZEALAND TRIP OVERVIEW

Three weeks of training blew by so quickly, it’s hard to believe it’s over. Here is a brief review of some of the highlights.

  • Everyone arrived safely in Auckland and was able to make their way by bus to our training site in Hamilton.
  • Next Steps participants jumped into their new time zone relatively quickly, which is not so easy to do when your clock is suddenly moved up 16-19 hours..
  • Week one’s focus, “Who I Am” in Christ helped to remind all of us of our position in Christ and resulting authority to walk in our calling. Probably one of the most memorable sessions had to do with walking in our callings as a means of bringing glory to God; making everything we do about bringing Him glory.
  • We got a lot of exercise during training week 1…lots of steps on our fit bits and digital watches!! Made us glad to discover Uber as a reasonable alternative to walking everywhere.
  • Week one ended with a “bonfire” at a local saint’s home where we enjoyed hanging out with the youth group and sang out hearts out. Followed by much prayer trying to get one of the vans back down a slippery hill after being pulled out of the mud. We made a trip to Hobbiton the next morning, enjoying the scenery along the way.
  • For week two, “Where I Am,” we moved our training to Auckland where we were joined by Allan Shalm who inspired us to step up, apply core principles of spiritual warfare, and walk in renewed power through the Holy Spirit.
  • During this weekend, we went up the Sky tower, took a ferry over to a lovely lunch spot, then finished off with a trip to the zoo; oh, and we discovered one of the larger shopping malls by bus.
  • The Next Steps group got together to sing a special song, Psalm 23, in the host church for the weekend and were challenged and moved by the anointed preaching of Brother Shalm.
  • Week three, back to Hamilton for a focus on, “What I Am,” as Next Steppers really began putting the pieces together concerning what areas of ministry are available for them to pursue as either a “Global Christian,” or a “Next Gen” missionary. Additional material was covered to help them know some of the ins and outs of the Associates In Missions program. We even had time to dream together of what the future of Short-Term missions might look like. Stay tuned for those dreams to become a reality.
  • The final weekend before apprenticeship began, we all piled into a couple of vans one last time together to visit the famous glow worm caves located about an hour away from the training site.
  • Ministry schedules kicked in during week 4 for such things as church cleaning, missionary kid home schooling, church follow-up ride alongs, children’s ministry, music ministry, and various other responsibilities that will help lighten the load of the missionary.

Angie Clark
Next Steps New Zealand: Training Coordinator

Please check out #nsnewzealand19 on Social Media for all the photos and stories from participants.

PUERTO RICO ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

It’s late, not only for me but mostly for my two year old daughter. We are beginning our descent from 30,000 feet and in no uncertain way is she letting every passenger on the plane know that she would much rather be in her bed. As the cheeky pilot said over the intercom before take off, “for those of you traveling with small children…why?” There I sat with my tray table up and my seat in the upright position thinking the exact same thing: “why?”

Though the concept has been made popular by modern educators the truth of scripture has always taught that we must never lose sight of why we do what we do. Jesus was always clear with His why: “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “For the joy that was set before” Jesus endured the cross. Not that a screaming toddler is close to that but at the time it didn’t seem too far either.

It never ceases to surprise me that you can take a group of people, most of whom have never met throw them in a classroom, in another country and instantly our shared faith and desire to see the whole gospel to the whole world unites us. Our arrival is more that an event it is an answer to the command of our savior when he said, “Go.”

We arrive, get settled and get moving. The first week of class begins and each year it is both familiar and yet completely different. What is familiar is the passion, the camaraderie and flow of events. We organize students to lead us in worship, devotions and prayer. We make introductions, hear the stories of the missionaries and those of our fellow students. This happens every year but what surprises me is the uniqueness of each group.

Days before they were strangers but soon they take on a personality of their own. Maybe it was the smaller size of the group, maybe it was the structure of this trip or the blend of personalities whatever it was I have never seen a group get so close so fast. In the classroom they used the opportunity to speak with the missionaries about the lessons they had learned not from a book but from years of serving God in the country of their calling. In service they worked together teaching, preaching, translating, singing, praying and letting God use them.

I consider it a blessing to be part of the greatest missions training program available, to have the privilege of facilitating the process of working with people as they pursue the call and to place within their grasp the reality of missions. I do all of this for this simple reason: my Savior asked me to “go.”

Well, you have made it to the end of this, you have heard a bit about this program and my why so before you move on I’d like to ask you to honestly consider what your response to the Savior’s command to “go” looks like for you. If you feel that missions may be that response I invite you join us and make missions a reality.

Blessings,Jeremy Durand
Next Steps Puerto Rico Training Coordinator

Please check out #nspuertorico on Social Media for all the photos and stories from participants.