Welcome to this September 2011 DTS school! There is no comparison to what happens when you put fourteen young aspiring students together in a learning environment where every lecture, every day, is centered around the God of this universe. Learning together and worshiping together, we are quickly becoming a family. We are meshing together in a way that is new and fascinating to us. We are learning that living in a community requires compromise, sacrifice, and selflessness. But through this selflessness, this mindset, we are becoming altogether something different; a unique set of Family.
From the first day, we have clicked faster than any of us could have imagined. It is entirely too apparent that God destined for each of us to be here at this exact moment. We have, in these short three weeks since arriving in Belize and settling down at the DP base, become a family. We are learning that family is everything when you live in community. Through becoming family we are learning that it is only natural to laugh together, to lie on the dock and stare at the stars and the moon, to revel in the glory of our God together. We are learning to work well in team-building situations, and to play team sports such as volleyball. We are learning to hold each other accountable, and to also come to each other to talk out our differences when we disagree. But most importantly, we are learning to cry together. This family is hurting. None of us are perfect, our lives our messy. Our hearts are confused and in pain, they are scared. The beauty of this is that God has given us a community to live in which holds us up. His strength pours into us, and we as one have the opportunity and the strength to hold each other up as we pour out our hurts and learn to trust again. This is one of the challenges of community living; trust. It is a difficult thing to put your trust into thirteen other people whom you had never met before arriving at your destination, not to mention a staff of eight whom you have only had limited contact with. We aren’t there yet; we don’t have a complete trust of each other, that takes so much more time than we have had. But again, there is beauty in this. The advantage of this is that we have time to open up and become completely ourselves. We are no longer holding the cloak that covered us in our hometowns. We are in the process of discarding the guilt and the deception that have shrouded our faces and are taking off our masks. And from this is being built a beautiful relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with Christ Himself. Through this casting off He is strengthening, and will continue to strengthen our Team until we are unstoppable in His kingdom.
We have been learning these past few weeks about the challenges of living together. One of these challenges is the lack of privacy at the Base. There are moments when one is solitary, when one is sitting on the end of the dock, or on a walk, or just sitting and reading in their room or at the Palapa (the outside soft drink bar), but one is never really alone. Everyone knows what is happening with one another, and because our lives are so open, we know to a degree what each other are struggling with. This can become frustrating. However, the fact that we live so close together is forcing us to become selfless. It’s forcing us to seek God out for a quiet time. It’s pushing us to be more pointed, more intentional about our relationship with Him, and with each other. It is urging us to grow.
On the flipside, there is an incredible amount of benefits to living together. As was mentioned earlier, we are growing as family. Our friendships are fastened together by the joining of our hearts and our minds. Our goals are headed in the same direction. We are forming relationships that will last a lifetime, creating an intimacy with each other that glorifies God in its purity, that bring us closer as brothers and sisters. God is putting into our hearts a tenderness (and sometimes tolerance) for each other, and He is completely beginning to transform us into a Team. And the laughter. Oh the laughter! We never stop laughing. Even in the hard times, when we are sharing what is grieving us, when we are going through hard times, we always find a joy in the fact that God is setting a fire in our soul and somehow healing us through these experiences. The joy in this community is contagious. We are a work in progress, something that is being molded and reshaped, sometimes starting from scratch. And then there is our Maker, the Potter.
His Holiness has been made evident in this community. This paradise reflects His beauty, His perfect love and His perfect grace. The water, the rain, the wind, they all reflect His raw, enduring power. Our God is truly indescribable. There is no way to contain Him. There is no way to express His majesty. And there is no way to deny that He, and He alone, has orchestrated this school into a flawed, strong, beautiful family. We will grow together as a community, as a family, as brothers and sisters. This is a God-centered home, and we as a family are striving to be closer and closer to Him every day. He truly is pursuing us, and we are preparing our hearts to run to His arms, into His pure, intentional grace. And honestly, there is no place we would rather be.