missionary-life

BREEEEEEEH

That moment during RA checkin when you yell at one of your students parents in Japanese because you are sooooo out of it from being up since 7 am moving people in and still trying to simultaneously adjust to American culture from spending a good chunk of your summer overseas as a missionary…

Honest question here. Someone please explain to me the difference between a POC and a white person serving others. Whether it’s in their own town, another state, or another country. Why am I labeled as having “white savior complex” and a POC doing the same thing, with the same motives, is praised for their humanity?

I’m not denying that white savior complex exists. I’ve seen it and I’ve worked with people who have it. Since then I’ve searched my motives and it’s not a “these poor starving dark skin kids, they need Americans to come and show them the correct way to live,” it’s not that at all! (We’re often part of the problem in underdeveloped countries…)

This also is not a jealousy thing. I’m not jealous that POC are praised, that’s great! I’m honestly wondering what the big difference is.

I’m in school to be a nurse. I want to bring healthcare to those who don’t have it. One of the areas I want to work in is poor, rural, towns (similar and within close proximity to where I grew up), I also want to work Honduras, maybe Uganda, and really anywhere that doesn’t have good access to quality healthcare. For me, it’s empathy driven. Not sympathy.
The second I mention what I want to do, people label me as having white savior complex.
Let’s say my classmate and former roommate is Haitian, and wants to use her medical knowledge in similar situations. Everyone thinks that’s great! (And it is!)

I get that there are some differences but for the most part we’re the same. Our motives are the same (except she has blood ties to the country and looks like them…) but is that it? Is that what the controversy is?

Let’s leave religion out of it, I’m not talking about trying to win someone’s soul (and I get the controversy of “mission trips”). I’m about people having (clean) water, food, an education, access to quality healthcare and a voice (nurses are great advocates). That’s it. Any village, city, state, country, continent.

Why is helping people such a bad thing just because I’m white and sometimes the people I’m helping aren’t?

Is it because it tends to be something that is bragged about or used to make oneself sound better? That’s probably part of it. Sometimes I have used the fact that I’ve been on mission trips or sponsor a child’s education (school isn’t free everywhere) for my own good. I admit it. But it’s such a passion of mine I can’t help but talk about it and it unintentionally sounds like bragging? (My) tiny town struggling to keep their hospital so people don’t have to drive outside the county for an ER, trying to get specialists to come to this hospital? Lemme at it. I’m about that life.

So why other countries? I’ve been obsessed with traveling and other cultures since I was very little. I learn about the culture of the people and I’m not hell bent on trying to change it or ‘westernize’ it except in the terms of medicine (there are often things Americans can learn from the people of other countries though). I also get that just because someone’s living conditions aren’t just like mine doesn’t mean they are wrong or need to be fixed. I have special bonds with a family right outside my college town (white, American) and with a family in Honduras (non white) from service. I love them so much and the feeling is mutual. We can talk about anything. I like learning about different cultures, attempting their language, and talking with people of all different backgrounds and stories. I honestly try not to appropriate culture.

It’s as simple as this: I want to travel to as many places as I can. I also like helping people and that whole charity work thing.

Sometimes people just don’t like/believe the “those kind” of people. But what is it the deems me as having white savior complex? Is it that it’s often bragged about? Is it racist? Is it actually harmful?

Or is it just outsiders judging the whole by a stereotype set by a few?

*bunkers down in preparation to responses*

Please be nice(ish)?

Week 3 through 6 Update! (Breakthroughs, Spiritual Victories and other cool...amazing...rad...stuff.)

Konnichiwa, Y'all! 

Welp. It’s literally been 3 weeks since I’ve updated everyone through my blog newsletter. And THINGS have been going down, let me tell you…

*(Although I’ve contacted several of my family members and friends via Skype in these past 3 weeks…if you’re reading this and I haven’t contacted you…please don’t feel bad. Message me anytime while I’m here and we can set up a time to talk about what the Lord is doing here…or we can just meet up when I get back to Miami or Lynchburg.)* 

 Ministry has been REALLY keeping me moving! Like nobodys business. A typical week lately has consisted of me doing many of the several things listed, such as,  teaching English and Bible Studies, spending time with my college friends at their English Club, making fancy caffeinated beverages,  teaching babies-and trying to keep my fantastic (and I mean fantastic) toddlers, and their 3 second attention span entertained, and riding 3 PACKED trains back and forth from work and [almost getting into a brawl with mean crotchety old men who purposely bump into me as I run to the next train so they can cuss me out in Japanese as I yell in response to their rudeness, “BRING IT ON, OLD MAN! I’LL TAKE YOU DOWN!!!!!"  ]  trying to respecting my elders…

But when I finally get a RARE chance to "slow down” from ministry… I’m either, catching up on (or avoiding) homework for my internship, in the word (and getting wrecked by the Grace of the Gospel), eating really amazing Japanese food, passed out, watching anime, or taking my dorky loveable freshman roommate around town to help him film Tokyo for his missions project. Basically. Or on some rare (common) occasions I find myself in some random part of Tokyo sharing the Gospel and getting into deep existential conversations on top of a mountain, (which totally happened by the way.), helping drunk college kids my age off the street, and making sure they get home safe… To getting invited to sit at the dinner table with elder missionaries and Japanese Christians on the field here who have more wisdom in their pinky finger than I have in my whole body.

In the midst of living in this absolutely crazy metropolis that is Tokyo, Japan…God, Yahweh, Our Father in Heaven, has blessed and granted me a multitude of opportunities to share the Gospel tremendously in these past 3 and a half weeks, while also being personally wrecked and blessed by the truth of the Gospel myself, and the future glory of Jesus Christ. 

Not saying it hasn’t been hard, to be transparent for a minute, getting to places on time and trying to be “super-pro active” in ministry has been hard…especially because of “missionary burnout”-but in that whole process, (Just as I talked about finding our strength in the Joy that we have in Christ a couple weeks back…), I’ve been receiving GOOD constructive criticism and and pep talks from my supervisor and other elder missionaries to remember your purpose so you won’t get caught in a works based mentality (especially here in Tokyo…which is exactly what we are fighting against as beacons of the Gospel here in Japan), we can easily end trying to “do the most”-and get so burned out that we can’t achieve anything to the fullest extent of our being….so with realizing this in this last week coming up…even when I know I’m doing “good” so to speak…If I’m not doing my best unto Christ..I ain’t doing much at all. So pray for me as this final week and a half in Tokyo begins, that I continue (but even more so…), to be led by the Holy Spirit and seek out discernment and wisdom in HIM fully as share these final moments with my Japanese friends who hearts are maybe seeking Christ, as well as my relationship with my Japan Missionary family here in Tokyo.

Thanks everyone. 

Now here are some Praises/ Prayer Points/Cool Stuff Jesus is doing here

Praises!

  • Jun-Ojisan (the friend of ours who is struggling with chronic depression and other illness-) is finally breaking through! Lately he’s been coming to the cafe, and the Lord now on several occasions has led the staff together to pray over him every time he’s come…and not like one of those, “oh let me pray for you, bud…”-sympathy prayers, but some laying of hands, deep intercessions and prayers of healing and deliverance. It was beautiful to see one of the days that he came in, one of our Japanese managers at the cafe praying over him in Japanese, and she had tears running down her face as she began to pray….it probably was one of the most beautiful moments in ministry here that I’ve seen…honestly. It also reminded me of this verse…[Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.-Romans 8:26]
  • My babies are coming to church now!: Well, not my actual children…but the fact is, the Lord has been using my kids class where I teach 3 year olds on saturday to build a bridge for the Gospel in the lives of their parents…and now these little chicken nuggets that I teach, and their parents have been coming  to SonRise Church…(recently one of the families haven’t due to an uncle being sick, but I’m praying they will come through again soon.)…and one of the couples (TK who I mentioned way back who heard the Gospel about 4 weeks ago), he and his wife are now attending a weekly Bible study at the Cafe.God is good, y'all.
  • Meeting random Japanese Ex-Pats and sharing the Gospel with them too: On several occasions in these past few weeks I’ve met Japanese guys who speak fluent English, and who have told me stories about how they fled the land of the rising sun in order to find themselves and experience life from a new perspective (basically go to America or Australia to study abroad or live there…) but, that’s been cool, because God being God, gave my team and I a moment on our day off hiking the mountains of Tokyo…and getting absolutely lost, to meet this random Japanese-American dude name Taku, and get into a REALLY intense Gospel conversation on the top of this glorious mountain peak that YAHWEH-the true and living God created. 

           Prayer Requests

  • For Jun: That the Lord would continue to break down those strongholds of depression and the lies that are keeping him in bondage…and that we as a team would be proactive in continuing to be obedient to the Lord and continue ministering to him, and other customers potentially struggling with depression 
  • For TK, his family and the other families now fully attending SonRise Church and our weekly bible studies now.…Just pray for consistency as well as for their hearts to be more open to the fullness of the Gospel, and that soon, that both those families will all accept Christ as savior. 
  • For Taku (the Japanese American guy I met on Mt. Takao), that the conversation that the Lord ordained in His sovereignty would begin to stir up the desire for him to want to know more about the faith in Jesus Christ…and that the Lord would just begin to put people in his path to water the seed of the Gospel that was planted in his life. 
  • For my college friends (and myself): Since this is my final full week of ministry coming up…the Lord is opening up some doors to be able to really reach out this last week and openly share the truth of Jesus Christ with my friends…from being able to teach and basically share the Gospel at Meiji University (one of the big-prestigious Universities in Tokyo where they are training up future lawyers and politicians), to getting to hang out with some of my close Japanese friends this weekend in Odaiba, as well as getting to host a end of the year/see you later party this coming saturday of 7/26/14 at SonRise Cafe, and getting to share my testimony at church the following sunday (I might end up sharing on both days…who knows?) But, in general I am excited for those hearts that have heard the Gospel, or are open to it…to be able to experience it and hear it potentially this weekend…so please be praying for my team and I in these last events during the summer…

And thanks everyone for being supportive and praying and interceding for me back home…so thankful for the support of the body of Christ both here and overseas. 

God is awesome, y'all 

Ken Hayashi (Gerald Darling) 

(The Peak of Mt. Takao overlooking the entire Metropolitan area of Tokyo…May your spirit move in this city Father, in Jesus name, Amen…) 

Lol @ how often I think I have it figured out. I need so much more humility because my life has been flipped completely upside down at least 3 times this week. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to wreck my life, but I wasn’t ready when the ride started and now I might barf. God is so good and funny and He is answering prayers and life is very very hard right now but beautiful. #Endurance2015 is in full swing, babayyy.

As awesome as “Sprang Break 2k15!” was...

I’m tired af. Doing Missions work on the other side of the country (Los Angeles, California), for a whole entire week was so spiritually revitalizing, seeing God move miraculously as He does…but to be VERY honest…I AM DRAINED. And having Two Mid-Terms, hosting SLC interviews for next year as a Res. Assistant, and getting ready to have a Para-Church Job internship in NYC to prep for with the North American Mission Board doesn’t help the fact that my energy lvls are in the negative. But I know the Lord Jesus is my strength in all of this for sure. So, PLEASE consider this my generic Spring semester “gotta make it through these last 8 weeks” prayer request that I feel like I make every year around this time…(It seems like Clockwork now…) 

Appreciate all that actually took the time to read this and pray in Jesus name on my behalf. 

This has been a post-teenage young adult emotional outburst via soical media by yours truly, 

Prayer Request about the future things to come...

Okay…

So I know this isn’t a full update about what the Lord has been doing since I left Japan for the second time around….

But I know I’ve been praying and thinking about the future things to come pertaining to God’s calling and will over my life with Missions work and Humanitarian aid and all of that since coming back from the life changing summer that was Tokyo Japan 2014…and right now I’ve been thinking ‘bout potentially applying for Global Studies Seminary here at LU while getting cognate certificates in Policy and Leadership. Basically I would have my own Grad school integrative study or something fancy like dat. 

This is also a cathartic release for me sharing this with y'all being that: I’M A DAG-GONE SENIOR AND EVERY DAY IS LIKE A WALKING EXISTENTIAL CRISIS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT  WHAT THE HECK I’M FENNA DO WITH MY LIFE AFTER GRADUATION!!!!!

 honestly… I’m chill about it though. 

But for real, like, FOR REAL…I’m sharing this with y'all to be praying with me to seek the Lord in His plan for my life in the realm of  Missions and Humanitarian Aid that I’ve felt the call to since I was 14-so that His plans would be mine…

You see y'all…I’m finding myself at the point of my life where I am trying daily to seek the Lord and to ask Him daily to do as He pleases with my life. Complete Surrender… You know? It’s harder than it sounds but I’ve learned lately that being in God’s will and plan is a lot more simple than how our overhype man made anthropocentric “conventional” pseudo-Christ centered theology makes it…

It’s simply abiding in His spirit and trusting in Him to break us and remold us as to how He sees us in His Divine plan. It’s walking in the truth of who He is, and abiding in the truth of His word and principles. It’s knowing that the things that seem unconventional to us is completely conventional to Him since He is the God of the Universe. Because He’s that POWERFUL…but I find myself questioning Him as to why my Government degree doesn’t “work” because, there’s no need for policy and humanitarian reform in a place like Japan? RIGHT?! But there is a need for the Gospel…and even though I might not understand the reason why He gave me this passion to serve in this realm of the world, with the degree that I have, (and this may be you too if you are reading this and are saying to God, “Why do you have me doing X,Y,Z-when I should be doing A,B,C?!”, Lord?!)…I trust and know through the Gospel that, He has called me and the rest of His children in His word, HIS GOD BREATHED WORD, to be a light and salt, and share the truth of Jesus-wherever we may be, and wherever He may send us…as it says in Matthew: 

“Go therefore and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded to you..” Matthew 28:19-20a

 But in that, also realizing that Christ says in His word that in all of this, in all of our endeavors as prophets, priests and kings (queens) in living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through whatever medium He’s called us to share it through, whether we understand it or not…He says

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We can trust in the FACT AND TRUTH that, THE LORD GOD OF THE UNIVERSE WHO CONQUERED DEATH is with us in these endeavors of the faith that He has called each and every believer to. That’s pretty dag-gone awesome…And that’s what I am trusting in during this phase in my life, and will do my best through allowing His Spirit working through me to continue to do so as long as He gives me breath… (And as you read this, I’m praying in Jesus name that you would do so also for the sake of the Gospel and to the Glory of our Father in Heaven) 

So…that’s where I’m at y’all.

And if you could be praying for ya boii…that would be dope.

Stay blessed fam.
(1 Corinthians 2:9)

G a.k.a Ken Hayashi

A Chance to Die

“A young woman in the United States was considering becoming a missionary so she wrote the well-known missionary Amy Carmichael. The young woman’s question was very simple: “What is it like to be a missionary?” Amy Carmichael’s response was classic, powerful, biblical, and right: “Missionary life is simply a chance to die.”

A chance to die.  Think about that with me.  Think about how radical that view of life really is. Following Jesus doesn’t mean you have to die.  It means you get to. Following Jesus is simply a chance to die – every day and in so many ways.  So as we consider a focus on missions for the next two weeks, I would like to call you today to consider in what ways does Jesus bid you to come and die. God is glorified in the self-sacrificing, daily death of his servants.

-Mark Vroegop from College Park Church

Really Quick Week 6 Pseudo-Update/ Prayer Request!

Hey everyone! 

So I’ve been slacking hardcore  busy with ministry so much that I’ve haven’t really gotten a chance to fully update everyone of what’s been going down lately…but that will change as of tomorrow being that I finally have another day off…(THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!), BUT! At 4 pm (JST) which will 3 am on the East Coast, if yall could be interceding and praying for a brother,  

 I have a really phenomenal opportunity to share the Gospel in one of my Japanese sensei’s classes at Meiji University in Tokyo. This is my second time getting to share the truth of Jesus Christ in my sensei’s class, and I’ll be speaking to college kids who are a little bit older than I am about the role of government and how it ties into the Gospel (being that I’m  a Intl. Relations in Govt major, she felt that it was appropriate), but I am excited in general to see how the Lord uses this to plant seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hearts of the students I get to speak to. Again,the presentation is at 4pm Japan time, so that’s like 3 am in the states (East Coast). So if y'all could be praying with me (or even would like to be up with me to pray, but I ain’t asking you to be all extra either)…that would be awesome. 

God Bless.

G (Ken Hayashi)

A bit about the time I was in a cult.

I won’t go into huge depth here because this story could be a long one if I did. So I’m just going to relay a few of my experiences while I was involved with Youth With A Mission (referred to as YWAM from now on) in a tiny little town called Oxford just outside of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Now I should start off by giving a little background about YWAM. It’s not technically a cult. It can’t be. YWAM is a huge organisation with over 1100 schools (known as “bases”) in 180 countries. It’s very, very broad and not only do the people who are involved come from a wide range of backgrounds and (christian) denominations, but the bases will change leadership and students every 3-6 months, with only a few who have dedicated years to one place left behind. Some of these schools have been wonderful experiences for those who have attended. But a quick Google search will reveal hundreds upon hundreds of tales of spiritual abuse*. Of which mine is just a drop in the pond.

Although these bases come under the unifying flag of YWAM, they are largely autonomous, very rarely will leaders be asked to step down. The one I was involved in had been overseen by a middle aged couple for about 20 years. There is a couple of reasons I will refer to this one as a cult and I will expand on that soon.

I joined YWAM after meeting some of the previous schools students (each one lasts for 6 months, 3 of those months spent in Oxford, referred to as The Lecture Phase and 3 overseas, which is called The Outreach Phase). Each school, of which there are 4 each year have a different demographic. The one I did was geared towards snowboarders so everyone was around 18-21 and the majority were middle class and Canadian or American. I wasn’t a christian at the time I first met them but felt lost for a cause at the time. Lonely. I don’t know. I was just very vulnerable to this stuff. They were incredibly loving, accepting, generous, warm, kind. I didn’t realize that this was a part of the culture rather than them really liking me. I am still to this day naturally naive to things like that. They weren’t liars or sneaky people. Just hopped up on this incredibly weird culture that they themselves had been living in, very intensely, for the last few weeks. That’s one thing about this. Everything becomes so important, so life and death, so strongly emotional. It doesn’t last though. You feel so fucking alive for a while and then the YWAM bubble pops (we totally called it this), and you are faced with re-entry depression, anxiety, hopelessness, not feeling connected to normal folk etc. Also they were hot and charming. I fell for it all so hard. I don’t think I regret it though. It was hard and crazy and messy, but I believe I turned it all into self-development.

Here are some of the indicators largely agreed upon for defining something as a cult and ones that I believe YWAM as a whole is susceptible to and that the base I lived at definitely engaged in.

‪ 1.Questioning leaders/ideas, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.


2. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess.

3.The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (rules around dating, clothing etc)

4.The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

5.The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

6.Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.


7.The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.


8.The group is preoccupied with making money.


9. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.


10. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.


11. The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.


1a: OK so first on the list. When I was involved there was a boy of 17 who admitted that his family had sent him from LA to Oxford to “straighten him out”, he didn’t really believe in God and being a missionary wasn’t something that he really wanted to do with his life. Being a minor, he had little choice. He wasn’t savvy enough to “shut-up, keep up”, so he outed himself as an unbeliever during one of our “lectures”. For two hours we were kept there praying for this poor boy. A room full of essentially strangers begging and pleading with him to come over to their side. I’m having trouble trying to express the oppressive feel in that room that day. Imagine not knowing anyone, being thousands of miles from home and everything you know. Being stuck in a room with strange acting people who are crying over your lost soul. He took two hours to crack and then he was like putty for the next few months. I used to sneak off to smoke with him though. He hadn’t had a massive change of ideas, he just learned that he didn’t want to be back in that room again.

2a: This filled up a lot of our time so I’m just going to give a few examples that stand out in my mind the most. On my first week there all of the women (just remember, we hardly knew each other) were asked to stand up on the stage and all of the men got down on their knees and asked our forgiveness for the things the men in our lives had done to us. It was incredibly forced and awkward. The head leader of my school, an intense young English guy looked into my eyes the whole time. I wanted to run so far away, but you can’t in those situations. Just give in and wait till it’s over. Thing like this cause a simultaneously fragile and intimate bond between people due to the shared humiliation. It’s a relatively common tactic in cults. About two weeks later we were in the lecture room again and a wooden cross was up the front. We were instructed to write the things we were ashamed of and then one by one we were told to walk up to the cross and nail that piece of paper to it. The sound of the hammer nailing our shame to that fucking piece of wood rang out through the high ceiling-ed room. I know it sounds silly, but there was sad music playing, we were all very tired and hungry, embarrassed and ashamed. When you also add believing Jesus was there watching and experiencing this it became too much. I believed my shame was responsible for his death and I felt as though I was physically harming a loved one with each blow of that hammer. Afterwards I felt elated, but it wasn’t because I felt forgiven or had forgiven myself, but because I felt I had suffered a bit for my sins. Another time in a similar situation we were asked to put our “idols” into a bin in the center of the room. These could be anything, some people put in passports, cigarettes, a fake baggie, some just wrote it on paper. Except after this exercise we all took turns saying what we had put in and why. We weren’t told this was going to happen at the start. I think the lecturer had decided that we weren’t pushing ourselves enough. He was the type of person who loved to push others psychologically. There were poor young guys who with red faces admitted to watching porn and masturbating. Then everyone would hover over them and pray for the persons sins. I had struggled with self-harm due to side effects from some medication I had been on and tearfully admitted this to the people around me. I was already so ashamed, then this lecturer looked at me with disgust and announced to the room that I was infected by a spirit of self-pity. I was humiliated. I cried and wished a hole would swallow me. 

3a: I didn’t experience a lot of this really. Except for being treated like a child I would do mostly as I pleased. Which I “paid for” later. But no one was allowed to date while on the school. Many people broke up with people back home to “focus on Gods plan”. I have known people who have had much more control placed on their lives, but I won’t try and tell their stories. This happens a lot though.

4a: YWAM is autonomous. Although they can be held to account by others, no one can really do anything. Bases are left to their own devices. No accountability = absolute authority. Not all bases are like this but Oxford was isolated from other bases mostly. We also discussed in length, how to evade authorities in countries where evangelizing is illegal. Things like,“pray while walking with someone else, it looks like talking”. Many students were placed in extreme danger because of this evasion of law.

5a: See 2a.

6a: A lot of the people on my school, including myself were constantly hearing this message of leaving our old lives, dying to ourselves and taking up Gods will. What that will was, none of us knew. We made massive life plans based of “words from god” that others had received or over interpreting situations or things we’d read as clues of what we were destined for. There was a lot of pressure to try and figure out what our personal mission was. 

7a: Every friday night we were sent out in van loads to “outreach” in the city and try to get people to come to know our “joy”. It was hard and humbling. I ended up doing to others what those guys I had met a year ago did to me. Without really realising for years. This would go on for several hours and we would usually get back to the base around 1 or 2am in winter, then have to be up at 7 or miss breakfast. (food was only supplied at certain times and most of us had little money left after paying for the school)

8a: The cost of my school for 6 months was $10000, which sounds like a fair deal for living expenses for 6 months. But I know, from later revelations that it only cost about 75% of that, sometimes less. Unless parents had aid for it, most of us were constantly trying to get funds and financial support from people back home. Hundred of emails and calls were sent out. Special emotional videos were sent to churches. I got kicked out because I didn’t have enough money in time. I had it, just not in enough time so they kept $6000. 

9a: before 8:30am we were expected to dress, wash, eat, spend at least 30 min in prayer and do any chores we had (most of those could take at least an hour. Most people were up by 6. I couldn’t be fucked with that so I got up at 8, quickly dressed and grabbed coffee then walked down to the church for lectures. These would go for 5-6 hours a day with lunch in between. Mon-Thursday. Friday we would finish at lunch and have work duties for a few hours before heading into Christchurch for outreach that lasted anywhere from 6 to 9 hours. We had 2 hours free time after lectures and before dinner. After dinner we would have some sort of service for 4-6 hours and then fell into bed. Saturday was generally a free day. Sunday we spent going to several church services.

10a: Communication was rationed. There was one phone and limited internet access. Communication with friends and family was not discouraged per-se. I would often go and see friends on Friday nights and felt as though I was doing something wrong. A lot of questions would be asked and no one seemed too happy about it.

11a: I actually know a few people who stopped living ordinary lives after our DTS. They became career missionaries. None of them seem very happy, and they are constantly putting themselves down. Not only that but their peers change every three months so they have these intensive, weird relationships with others. Most of us ended up being pretty fucked up for a year or so. Trying really hard to try and live life after our minds had been washed. It was pretty hard to reconcile what I had been taught with real life. I ended up having a breakdown about 9 months later, dropping out of tertiary education and living inside my room all day every day for 3 months. I started going to a new church and met some really supportive, healthy people who dragged me out of that headspace lovingly and patiently. I still dearly love these people and see then when I can. I consider them real friends, even though we no longer share a faith. One of my friends had almost been forced into a marriage by another YWAM base and may have been had not his parents become involved. It was a huge learning cerb. Some of it is still embarrassing, lot of it I can’t really talk about. But eventually you get on with it. You just don’t think that at the start,

Thank you for reading this really long post.

I’m going to end by saying not all of it was bad. This thing:

This thing was awesome. We called it the Free Box and each school would leave things in it that they couldn’t take home, or didn’t want anymore and each new school would raid the shit out of it when they first arrived. Once we had a Letter “P” costume party on base and we mostly found those costumes here. My bunk mate found a green sleeping bag and went as a pickle and I found a brown one….

*http://www.micsem.org/pubs/counselor/frames/spiritabuse.htm