It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been living here at YWAM Townsville for ONE month. This place feels like home, and more importantly, these people feel like my family. The last three weeks have been so packed full with learning, challenges, adventures, fun, friendship and so much more. I thought I’d take the time to share my top 5 highlights!
We have many spontaneous sing-alongs. Among our DTS we have a large number of musically gifted individuals and it’s so fun to gather together and make a joyful noise. Sometimes we sit on the floor in a bedroom or hallway, other times we’re in the courtyard or classroom, and sometimes we gather in the dining room for all to hear! There’s a large group of islanders that live here on campus, from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga (I think)…and they all have amazing voices! Some of my extra favourite moments have been when we have joined with these guys and had an awesome time singing to our God together! So fun!
Yes, believe it or not this is becoming one of my favourite things! I get up around 5 or 5:30am to get some exercise in. Living in far north Queensland, this is the only time of day I’ve found it bearable to exercise… even at this hour its already hot and humid. The sun rises around 5:45am and often comes as a spectacular array of colours across the sky – it’s pretty sweet. Some days I exercise by myself, other days with a friend or ten! The team on the ‘trekking’ elective train a few times a week in order to prepare them for the hikes they’ll be doing in Papua New Guinea, and sometimes I join them. Other times its usually just a small group of girls from my room. My favourite things to do are walk/run along The Strand (the beach front) and climb Castle Hill.
We get most of the weekend free to ourselves which is good. Things are pretty full on during the week, so it’s a good chance to get some rest in on the weekends as well as getting our homework done. Although, it’s very important to make time for fun too! I enjoy getting off campus, whether it’s to the beach or to a nearby retreat. A few weeks ago I took a carload of girls to a place called Alligator Creek – there’s actually no crocodiles/alligators there…but it’s a beautiful place to walk and swim! I loved it. Last weekend my small group leader invited a group of about ten of us around to her place for dinner. We had a good ol’ aussie BBQ, and it was really nice to share food and fellowship!
Every Wednesday night we have what we call ‘Family Night’. This is where all the staff and students and families on campus come together and share dinner. We usually do this outside in the courtyard which is fun and sometimes there’s a theme. During my second week here we had a bush dance…this was probably my favourite so far! We had a band come in and teach us a whole lot of classic bush dance dances and the whole campus got involved and had a great time! We had a Valentines Day theme one week which was good fun. At family night each week we also celebrate all birthdays for that week, which I really like. It must be so hard for some people to be so far away from their home/country/family for their birthday, so it’s nice we can do something special for them!
So, even though we have a lot of fun here we are here to learn, so class time is important. In the mornings we have lectures. We have covered themes from Hearing God’s Voice, The Nature and Character of God, Identity, and Clear Conscience. Big topics. Intense class times. Intense ministry times. But so much powerful breakthrough in peoples lives and so many incredible opportunities to pray for each other. I love it! Once a week we also have a specific class for our Medical Elective. So far we’ve spent this time doing some learning about PNG and the Medical Ship, as well as a lot of cultural awareness helping us prepare how to act culturally appropriate while serving in Papua New Guinea. It won’t be too much longer until we leave for outreach with just over 3 weeks left! Woo!
There have been challenges but I absolutely love it. I had to wrestle the first few weeks with how much I was missing work but now there’s honestly no place I’d rather be. It’s a privilege walking this chapter of life with such an amazing group of people. I’m learning so much about God, reading the Bible more than ever before, and loving seeing how God is moving not just in my life, but the lives of those around me. Good things are happening and it’s so exciting to be a part of!
Rachel is a current January Discipleship Training School student and is loving it! she enjoys hanging out with friends, singing, and drinking good coffee. A fun fact about her is that her dad and grandparents actually spent time living and working in Papua New Guinea, and she says that could have something to do with her love for the nation.