Saturday, February 19, 2011

It Is Finished

Debrief week:

We arrived safely back in New Zealand on Saturday, February 12th, just before supper time. All of our travels went smoothly. We even made it through VERY thorough New Zealand customs with all of our souvenirs. Thank you for your prayers.
We had Sunday to recover and readjust to the time zone before getting right back to work on Monday morning. We had a very full "re-entry" week. We generally refer to this time as "debrief" week but actually that was mostly taken care of at the end of our outreaches and this week has been much more focused on looking forward to what is ahead and creating a healthy atmosphere for everyone to begin transitioning into whatever God has for them next. It looked much like our lecture phase time, with daily work duties, worship, intercession and jostling for seconds on Courtney's cooking. We had few lectures and many small group discussions. A lot of room was left for resolving conflict and bringing restoration to any relationships that have been damaged over the course of the school. It was a good week.

Grad celebration:

Friday was our graduation celebration. We began with a final time of corporate worship and dancing before the Lord together. Then we spent most of the morning having an affirmation time for the students. Each outreach leader began by speaking some sort of blessing or encouragement to their students and then everyone else was given a chance to add something as well. It was a really special time and I was glad for one more chance to give an "official" blessing to each of my students and brag about them publicly. (Kind of like how Jesus brags about us before the angels... but slightly less awesome.) After lunch we staff spent most of the afternoon doing grad preparations. It's a real joy to see how well we can all work together when we're all serving the Lord and not ourselves. (It's so efficient!) The staff of the next school, that's starting in a few weeks, kindly volunteered to serve the banquet for us so we had most of the evening off to relax and enjoy the program which was FULL of many thank yous, encouragements and exhortations. We ended off the night with some rowdy square dancing and then most people stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to say goodbye to Becky as she left for the airport.
It was a great wrap-up to our time here and I'm so proud of all the students for the growth we have seen in them and for persevering until the end.

Future plans:

It's Sunday afternoon now and this weekend has been filled with many goodbyes and there are still more to come over the next few days. Our staff team has a final few days of debrief (and cleaning) before we go our separate ways. I will be hanging around New Zealand for about ten days afterward (for some much needed rest and quiet) and then after a couple nights in Sydney I will be heading... well, I don't know yet... as far as LA at least.
This is a difficult transition time for me. I have been pouring myself out into this DTS for the last six months. I believe that I have really given it everything that I have and I gave thought to very little else along the way. Now suddenly it's over and the rest of life has come rushing upon me all at once. I'm not the sort of fellow to get stressed out easily but there are a lot of important decisions that I need to be making over the next days, weeks and months. Your prayers are appreciated.


  1. Thank you again Ben! Proverbs 16 comes to mind and I hope it will have meaning for you!
    May God continue to bless you and use you for His Glory!
    Mrs. Becky's mom :>)

  2. Ben, God bless you as you move on to Father's next assignment for you. May His Holy Spirit guide you and keep you right in the center of His will, with your feet in a broad place. For freedom He has set you Him be the glory.