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Friday, February 8, 2013

The Great Commission Course

Evangel, our firstborn, was away for about 3 weeks in January, taking The Great Commission Course. I've asked her to share some pictures and tell some of the highlights of her wonderful weeks.

GCC Participants at the Castle of Good Hope with Table Mountain in the background

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Atop Table Mountain at the end of the GCC

(Evangel Writing) Every day but Sunday started out at 6:15 with Mike bellowing that there were 15 minutes left till PT (Physical Training) at which point we spring (which looks more like crawling at this stage in awakeness) out of bed and scramble to get ready, rubbing sleep out of our eyes. 15 minutes goes by shockingly fast at that hour of the morning as you are desperately searching for that elusive other shoe and trying to remember what happened to your socks after you got back from the night hike last, it was early this morning... anyway, you finally find them drying off outside (because of the stream you waded through last night) and before you know it you're either out by the flagpole warming up....or late and strapped with approximately 5.5 kgs of Arabic tracts securely tucked in your backpack for tardiness. I was late once, and only once for PT. Timmy says everything is funnier in the morning, which just goes to show you that he is a morning person. (he was also the one that accidentally read his watch 5:30 instead of 4:30 at camp one morning and then patiently waited till what he thought was 6:12 before rolling out of bed and awakening 2 friends and the unfortunate guy by the door so they would be early to the field for PT....and they were early - it was 5:12. :))
Singing King Alred's Battle Song, "For the Lord is Our Defense"
with gusto and the customary battle cry at the end.  Love that song.

Dad joined us for one of our outreaches in Dark City
Anyway, PT was fun, looking back, (though I confess not every single minute living through it :)) but a challenge is good, and this was a growing experience. After PT was showers, personal devotions, and at some point grab breakfast before group Devotions and then into morning lectures, with everything from the history of missions and great missionary pioneers (like David Livingstone, C.T. Studd, William Carey, Hudson Taylor) to "What Can go Wrong on a Mission," to public speaking and debating, to Evangelism and prayer, to "Coping with Capture" and "Preparing for the Field" and "Evidence for Skeptics" and...well, the list goes on, but it was great course and I learned a ton! At the end of the course they gave us each a data disc with lectures, visual aids, and pictures from the course so we could go over it again and re-listen to certain lectures. We also watched 8 Way of the Master programs (with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron) about witnessing/reaching out to the lost and those were really good, especially seeing them actually practicing what they preached as they went out soul-winning!

Girls took tire off as part of Vehicle Maintenence Workshop...Guys watched.
(but they did put it back on, and it hasn't fallen off!!!...yet :))

My friend, Michelle, at target practise...this was fun! 
And, yes, those are computers we got to aim at...idol smashing went well!
This was a rifle, but I also got to use a shotgun, which was a 1st!
In the afternoons we got to put actions to words and practice the stuff we'd learned on outreaches at hospitals, Pollsmoor Prison, outside an abortion clinic, an adult world, and in towns, townships and suburbs all over Cape Town, train stations, taxi ranks, sometimes even late at night outside bars and such and to all kinds of people. The outreaches were my favourite part of the GCC, I think, and where I got the most stories from the course. It really helped me be bolder with witnessing and talking to people about Jesus. I don't really know if it could be called a "highlight," but I had 2 marriage proposals inside of a half-hour on one outreach. They estimated we distributed over 7 thousand tracts throughout the whole course. On Sundays we broke up into teams and went to 9 different churches altogether where one of the team would preach and we got to meet and worship with different congregations all over.


Group picture after Outreach with Straatwerk at 12-something P.M.

The firing of the canon for 11 o'clock at the Castle of Good Hope...very cool.
I didn't get a chance (or at least take the chance) to give the guy shooting the canon a tract
so I left one on his box...  I don't know if you can read that, but it's a THIS WAS YOUR LIFE tract
and then somebody took a picture and anyway...humour. :)
As to other highlights, laughter is always one, and there was much this course. Among other things, cortisone cream grabbed and used accidentally instead of toothpaste (don't try that at home; it's disgusting, but please note that the tubes can look remarkably similar at certain stages of sleep-deprivation :)), a certain alarm clock going off @ 4:30 A.M. and waking everyone in the immediate vicinity but the intended, at the abortion clinic all of us very serious and soberly holding signs against of which was upside-down and made quite a funny picture :), memory tricks for how to remember African countries for the map test and get it to stick in your head. The Table Mountain Hike at the end of the course was also a highlight for me, though the end of it was hazardous going down in the dark, our Arabic tracts firmly attached to our backs (5.5 kgs for girls, 11 kgs for guys). I slipped a few times, but got off with just scrapes. I may be feeling those falls in my 80's, though.

Top of Table Mountain!  We ate supper by Maclear's Beacon. 

All set for a night hike!

Other activities during the course included self-defense (that was REALLY fun!) where we practiced stabbing each other on the front lawn.....well, actually what to do if someone tries to stab you, but since we were broken up into teams of 2 somebody had to do the stabbing, so we took turns being the victim. :) We learned some great techniques and I, for one, was much more confident about what to do if molested on the streets and was almost disappointed when I wasn't and didn't get to try that piece of training. :( The guys were good about protecting us and making sure we were safe (in spite of ourselves :)), though, and God was watching over us, so that was good. While on the course we also got to help out at the KwaSisabantu Mission in Malmesbury with digging holes (or at least the guys did, and us girls washed windows, organized PACE's, and/or swept the floor), go see the Andrew Murray Centre and the church Andrew Murray ministered in and the Africa Institute at Wellington (hundreds of missionaries were sent from there following the Revival in 1860), a tour of the Castle of Good Hope & the Military Museum there, and as a sort of field-trip we got to go to Eagle Encounter and Cheetah Outreach. There were also exams and assignments, some challenging, others fun, some both. :)
At the end of this course I find myself revitalized, challenged, encouraged and re-vision-ized in the work of the Lord, to take heart and fight the good fight of faith. I learned a lot on the course about missions, of course, but aside from everything we were learning in lectures, prayer, humility, and...well, fighting. We're in a battle, and we forget or get discouraged sometimes. The Devil would prefer us stagnate, contentedly oblivious of a lost world, glued into our tiny comfort zone by fear (the unknown, failure, what people might think), and doing virtually nothing for the kingdom. When we rebel, step out, begin running the race, He isn't going to sit still and let us win without a fight. I had my struggles, mostly internal, perhaps the roughest of my life, and just when you've won in one area, he attacks another front. Clearer than ever, we're in a fight, but I've also learned that through Christ we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37-39). We have a Great Calling - don't back down, fight. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Picture I took of my friend, Michelle, on Table Mountain at sunset

In His Service and Loving it,