The nervous excitement was tangible in the air; you could almost reach out and grab it. Greetings as if we were long lost relatives and chatter breaming with dreams and promise. The anticipation of the week before us was almost unbearable. It could only be THE FEBRUARY RESIDENTIAL!!
The week was full of tears, laughter, joy and despair; a rollercoaster of emotions and reactions but what a week it was! We were initially welcomed to Dalesdown by a down to earth German called Frank. He started the week the way we wished to go on; full of fun and big truths. The first couple of days saw the trainees make some fantastic choices for themselves and for God. They were fragile but had started to understand that nothing had authority over them but God; not man, not the world and certainly not the enemy.
On Wednesday afternoon after an intense day of training the DNA 2’s and the Team prayed for freedom for the DNA trainees. By the end of the day not only did the trainees feel freer they looked it. You could visibly see and hear the ground God had conquered and that they had started to explore for themselves. We are so excited to continue to see what that new ground will look like for each individual trainee. We ended the day with a fantastic and VERY funny cabaret; full of skits, songs and song skits (who knew that was a thing!!). Guy reflected that evening that he had walked in on a number of occasions DNA 2 trainees in one to one conversations with DNA 1 trainees and how proud he felt to see the relationships flourishing and them getting the importance and privilege of discipleship. Seeing it in action is a truly beautiful thing and a glimpse into the Kingdom of God.Thursday, we spent most of the day on the adventure course. The trainees went around in the small groups; cheering each other on, supporting each other when it got tough and celebrating when they conquered their fears or anxieties. For some the adventure playground is just a bit of fun but for others it is another space where they conquer their fears and find further freedom in their lives. All the trainees did incredibly well; the area was filled with cheers, encouragement and celebration. However, there was one moment of sheer beauty and grace. One of the activities is a trust fall and as a trainee stood and struggled with falling the atmosphere shifted with undoubtable Holy Spirit influence. The area was a bustling playground atmosphere full of noise and laughter but the Spirit descended and all at once you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone froze and silently prayed, cheered, encouraged and willed from afar. All that could be heard was bird song and Jess singing over the trainee. We all stood with them in that moment for what felt like an age but at the same time felt like seconds. It was the closest I have ever felt heaven on earth. Tears fell all around, hearts beating as one, the trainee stepped down, a roar erupted with such celebration, joy, encouragement and pride. They never fell but they conquered perfectionism in one choice and it was celebrated with huge enthusiasm!!
The end of the week came before anyone was ready. Each and every trainee left feeling freer and more equipped to do battle then they had in a long time if ever. We as a team are so proud of the choices each of them had made over the week and the privilege of them letting us into their lives. We are so excited to see what the next 5 months has in store for them and wait expectantly to hear the stories of good news and celebration! It could have only been THE FEBRUARY RESIDENTIAL!!