We’ve finished our course – and got the certificates to prove it! Along with the 10 other Mission Trainees (MTs), we were commissioned at a service in the IMC chapel – a service with singing, praying, making promises and a challenging address from David Kerrigan (General Director, BMS World Mission).
Only 14 weeks ago we arrived here – excited but nervous – and glad to see the welcoming faces of Mark and Claire Ord (co-directors of IMC). We also met the catering and household staff, who have all taken amazing care of us throughout our stay. The thoughtfulness and the generosity of IMC and of BMS have continually surprised us right from the start. The teaching staff – Mark, Claire, Phil, Nicky and Arthur – all have different teaching styles, methods and personalities and we have greatly enjoyed their classes, both listening and getting a chance to discuss a wide range of topics, many of these completely new to me. These wonderful people have all invested so much in our lives – going way beyond any 9-5 mindset – and we really appreciate what they have done in helping us prepare for our future roles with BMS World Mission.
The 12 MTs vary widely in terms of age, background, nationality, interests, sense of humour, gifts and skills. We have differing preferences in terms of food, music, worship styles, tendency towards leadership or followership and many other aspects of life. However, we have blended together in an amazing way – perhaps because, despite our differences, we are all here to learn together in preparation for our mission tasks in various contexts and locations. God has used us all to build each other up for his service. We have had many enjoyable coffee breaks and have often had to be encouraged to get back into class! Living together in community is one of the strengths of the IMC experience. Rotas for dishes, security, prayers and room servicing (and even gardening) are all an essential part of that community life and many valuable conversations have been held as we made beds or washed dishes. The truth is that we simply enjoy each other’s company and will miss each other when we leave. Firm friendships have been formed in only 14 weeks.
So – IMC has been a wonderful experience, even though it was not all easy – for example, I was expected to lead prayers (not something I had often done before) and was encouraged to get involved in a student café placement that stretched me in new ways. But then, just imagine – I might simply have retired last summer and started knitting and doing patchwork and I might have missed this fantastic experience! Thank God, that didn’t happen…
We are off to Bicester this week to spend Christmas with the family and we look forward to that very much. After that, it will be time to pack and get ready to travel to Amsterdam. We wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Dorothy (& David)