Training. You could say we found it… interesting.
Upon arrival at the IMC, we found that one member of the team was AWOL. For those of you who are familiar with the team, you may have already guessed that it was Amy. So, while the rest of the team was slaving away, Amy was enjoying a wee gander around Birmingham, with her “seventeen-million-kilogram suitcase”. Or so she likes to keep reminding us. Once the team was finally together, we got down to the nitty gritty of training. In the first week all the Action Teams went to the BMS offices in Didcot, where team Delhi were absolutely, positively robbed of the photo challenge.
We then, over the weekend, went to our amazing training church (shout out to Bromsgrove Baptist Church). They told us that if Bromsgrove can do one thing well its feeding people. They weren’t wrong. Jean buttons had to be undone. Over the weekend we had the opportunity to go to their youth groups, which mostly resulted in Cody getting the micky taken out of her for being Scottish. You will come to know that this was a reoccurring theme throughout training. It was really encouraging for us to speak to people at the church, and to tell them what we’re going out to do. It was a great experience (not just saying that because I must), and we were super excited to go back in two weeks’ time.
The pleasant weekend at Bromsgrove could never have prepared us for the misery we were about to endure.
Min-y-Don is famed among Action Teams. Mostly because we had no idea what we were getting into to. Upon arriving, we dumped our bags and were thrown into our first activity. Puzzles. We drove our leader, Andrew, to near insanity doing said puzzles. It was at this point he knew he was in for an interesting week. That very night we thought we were being offered a nice cup of tea. I never got my cup of tea. I cannot go into detail about Min-y-Don in case any future action teamer happens to be reading this blog, but I will say this; the “cup of tea” involved a late night and only one torch. Not as dodgy as it sounds I promise. The next day team Delhi traversed through the Welsh countryside with not much more than a map and a compass. A recipe for disaster. Many hours later we found our way back to Min-y-Don and were sat in the dining room, eagerly awaiting dinner. Sweet relief… or so we thought. We never got dinner that night. Or rather Orla cooked us stodgy, grainy pasta. It is the thought that counts ladies and gentlemen. We were in for a long night. A common theme for our time at Min-y-Don. The days that followed we have wiped from our memory as it was just too painful. Now time for a Q & A with the lovely, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled Andrew (he wishes):
- What was your favourite moment? Amy sacrificing herself inadvertently drinking paint water to help the team.
- What was your least favourite moment? Being around a stroppy Orla, sleep deprived Cody, quiet Amy and a frustrated Hannah (during the “cup of tea” night
- What was the funniest moment? When Cody fell in jobbies. (For all non-Scots reading, I would like to inform you that “jobby” means poo. I fell in poo. Which resulted in my nickname “Jobby”. Fun times.)
- What is the best memory of the team? When you all walked through the water together. (For a little background knowledge Cody does not do water.)
- What was your proudest moment? When I had the proud father moment when you guys had the option to back out of a challenge but decided to stick it out and complete it.
After the emotionally draining week at Min-y-Don, we had our only day off in the month! All the teams (mostly) decided to go for a trip to Frankie and Benny’s. A small fortune was spent on food, which led to our intern Mim saying that she had never been prouder.
The following week is a little hazy as we spent most of the time bawling at the mere mention of the outdoors (thanks Min-y-Don). After a time of recovery, half the team went to a first aid course whilst the other half learned how to make country specific food. Amy and Orla learned how to deal with wounds, breaks and burns. Or so they like to have me and Hannah believe. Team Delhi may be in trouble. Cody and Hannah cooked up a mean tarka daal, complete with 8 green chilies. Apologies for that guys. That may have been one or two chilies too many.
However, we had another visit to our training church to look forward too! We hit the streets to do a bit of street pastors. This was the first time that we had all done this, so we were incredibly excited. It’s fair to say that we encountered a different side of Bromsgrove that night. I would also like to state for the record that we went to bed at a reasonable hour. On the Sunday morning we got to share more with the church about what Action Teams is, about what we’ll be doing in Delhi, and a little more about us. We also got to do a school assembly for years 7 & 8. I still have no idea what that means, but it was so incredible for us to encourage these young people into maybe beginning to think about whether a gap year is for them.
Our final week at training as a blur. Team Welhi (Wales and Delhi) won Mim’s photo challenge despite Mim being adamant that we would lose. Thanks for the vote of confidence Mim. The teams headed into Birmingham looking like numpties, carrying dinner trays to do some street pastoring. This was an amazing experience which took us all out of comfort zones. Free hugs were given out, worries were shared, and God’s love was spread. The trays served a purpose and it was worth looking like a numpty a hundred times over. Some of us took part in treasure hunting, which for those unfamiliar, this is when you ask God to show you a person who needs prayer so that you may then get talking to them and pray with them. Others took a button and attempted to trade it up for something bigger that could then used to help someone in need. The Saturday was the commissioning service where we got to thank and praise God for all that He has done in our lives, and for choosing us to go and show Jesus to people across the world.
Training was an emotional roller-coaster. Many new friendships were formed, tears were shed, fears were overcome and God was praised. If we all take one thing from training it is that God has called each of us to be there according to His plan for us, and He will never leave nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). We all left training eager to see what the next six months had in store for us.
Thank you for reading our blog! We hope to be posting more regularly now and our next post will be about out first two weeks in Delhi, so keep your eyes peeled!