A few months ago I was sitting in our church’s missions group listening to our friend Giaconda teach the students about Community Development. As we sat there she challenged us and said “how can you grow spiritually, physically, mentally, and socially?” As I thought about the different categories, the one that stuck out the most to me was the social category. How could I challenge myself socially. Well I’ve always enjoyed speaking in front of people, if it’s a preaching or some short talk on human trafficking at a school. To me it didn’t seem like there was much challenge in just saying I wanted to do those things more. So I thought of other things that I could challenge myself in socially. Nothing came to mind… and then this thought popped into my head “I should try teaching.” Now to be clear here, I have taught in small amounts, sometimes it’s been in a church service or whatever but I’ve never taught for multiple hours, or let alone a whole week in a Discipleship Training School. So on my little piece of paper, as a challenge to myself I wrote “I will teach the next time someone asks me to.”
For me the idea of talking in front of people for 20 or 30 minutes and trying to inspire them sounds awesome. But when it comes to teaching for hours on end about a certain subject, I start to get cold sweats. Like seriously, how is someone just supposed to talk for hours on end, “wouldn’t I run out of stuff to say, what if I was boring, what if I say things that actually aren’t true?” blahblahblah. Simply, I was scared.
With all these things running through my head as I sat there listening to Giaconda speak, I knew that God was challenging me to dive into my fears and be bold to do something I find uncomfortable.
But then this brings another question, who would ask me to teach in their DTS? Teaching in Discipleship Training Schools is by invitation and is not something that you generally try to force your way into. So I guess all I would have to do is wait.
Well I didn’t have to wait long, because when I got home that night there was a message on my Facebook from the director of the YWAM base in Nicoya (another town here in Costa Rica) asking me if Nicole and I were interested in teaching on “How to Study the Bible” in their DTS for October 27th-31st. He said that one of the leaders at the San Jose base had recommended us to teach. After reading this I could not believe it! Only hours before I had written on a piece of paper that I would teach if someone asked me and then here it was, straight in my face. It is sort of hard to say that was coincidence and knew clearly that God had given me a confirmation. We wrote back and told them we could teach that week, and then began to prepare.
A few days before we were going to teach Nicole and I felt God put it on our hearts to go and visit Nicole’s brother Sean. His daughter is fighting cancer, and is going through a rough time and we just wanted to be able to show him we loved him. So Nicole flew out 5 days before our teaching to be with him for a week while I stayed back to teach in the DTS.
The week of the DTS came, and I had to travel by bus 4 hours to go out to their location. Their YWAM base is out in the countryside, in a more remote part of Costa Rica. I had spent hours upon hours preparing for my teaching that week. I had 17 hours of teaching to fill for the week, and I had never taught more than 1 or 2 hours before! This was a huge leap of faith for me, and I did everything I could to make sure that I was going to be well prepared for the week.
The DTS had 7 students, and my first day I came in a bit worried that I would go through my material and not have enough to say. But when the lunch bell rang 3 hours later, I had barely gotten through what I had planned. I was so ecstatic! Teaching was so much fun and incredibly relaxing! So for the next 4 days, every morning for 3 or 4 hours we got into the Word and learned about how to inductively study the Bible. Then on the last day we applied everything we learned and inductively studied the book of Philemon. The students were really impacted and blown away at how much you can get out of a book that’s only 25 verses long.
Being apart from Nicole for those 8 days was tough; we haven’t been apart that long ever since we’ve been married. But it was a good learning opportunity and God really gave us a lot of peace.
Last week, Nicole was asked at the last minute to teach in the current DTS here at the our YWAM base for 2 days. The topic that week was on “Relationships”. Nicole naturally said yes, because this is a topic she is very passionate about and well studied in. This past May she finished her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and was very excited to be able to share some of that material with the DTS. She went over topics like “Active Listening,” “Having an Unoffendable Heart,” “Interpersonal Communication” and “Forgiveness.” After her 2 days of teaching were over, almost every single student came up to me telling me what an incredible teacher my wife is, and it’s so true! Don’t let her try and tell you she doesn’t teach, because she is flippin amazing!
It has been so cool these past two weeks to have overcome these new challenges, and allow God to be strong where we are weak. He takes the most unexpected and unlikely people to do His work, and we are some of them! Only by His grace have we been able to share in the blessing of teaching others.
Thank you again to all our supporters and people who have been praying for us. We love receiving your encouraging emails and notes, it truly give us the strength to keep on going and persevere for bigger and greater things. May God richly bless your investments and seeds that are being sown into our lives and those of the people in Central America. We love you all!