As the M/V Pacific Link prepares to set sail at the beginning of next month, training school leader, Helen Middleton, shares her vision for the 2013 Ship Discipleship Training School (DTS). Helen sees the upcoming school as a chance to ‘break into new things’. With the opportunity to visit new locations in Papua New Guinea, Helen and the rest of the Ship DTS staff are excited about the adventures in store over the coming months!
Helen first developed her sea legs working onboard Disney Cruise Line in the Caribbean. After waving goodbye to Mickey Mouse, Helen moved to Townsville, Australia to complete her DTS in 2008. It was at this time when Helen started hearing whispers of something new and exciting stirring in Townsville which would prove groundbreaking in the way which YWAM Australia would operate: ‘I remember hearing about the dream of having our own medical ship on my DTS and after living on a ship for four years and being a trained physiotherapist, it seemed only natural to want to be involved’, she says enthusiastically.
Now in an established position of leadership, Helen has grown increasingly passionate about the holistic approach which the school embraces as it partners with the ship in its outreaches along remote regions of the Papuan coast. Students spend three months of their DTS in Papua New Guinea and some of this time is spent working alongside medical professionals where they are given opportunities to assist in treating and educating patients. Students are able to build relationships and share messages of hope with those that they stay with in the villages. Out of this place of relationship, there is opportunity for education which is an integral part of the work which YWAM Medical Ships provides. Helen relishes the opportunity to use her background in physiotherapy to educate local women in how to look after their backs and joints properly. “There are some things that seem natural in our own culture that people in PNG are not taught about”, Helen explained, “once people are educated they are empowered to help each other.”
Helen, is eagerly anticipating, along with other members of staff, the new wave of students who will be arriving for what will be the fourth Ship DTS at the beginning of May. So far, there are 20 students representing seven different countries confirmed for the training school. Helen has great anticipation of more students signing up in the last few weeks before the school starts – those who are unable to resist the tug of adventure!