The crisp air brushes my face as I swiftly walk to the white house on the other side of the base. Grimerud is a YWAM base tucked away in the beautiful farm land of Southeastern Norway. It is here that God led me to move across the world and do my DTS. My boots crunch across the snow while wisps of snowflakes sweep across my eye lashes. Grimerud's picturesque landscape never gets old. I hurry into the building, and begin the exaggerated act of removing my outer winter clothes. Gloves first, beanie, scarf unraveled from my neck, and coat- all hung up along the row of hooks lining the entrance hall. Lastly, off with the boots. With a creak of the door, I walk into the Dining Hall and an array of Norway's delectable breads and spreads rest upon the large serving table inside. Catching up with my new friends from different cultures, I eat my breakfast at a table with them and then pack my lunch. Next, it's away to the quaint café across the hall to do my scheduled quiet time. This isn't mandatory, but our DTS leaders highly encouraged us to use this slot of time to spend with God before we continue on with our day. After several days of the routine, I couldn't agree more. And so, sitting on the small couch nestled in the café corner, I talk with God and dive into the Word. Time flies by in His presence. Now I must quickly pack up my stuff and rush over to our DTS classroom in the red barn on the edge of campus.
Upon entering the huge refurbished barn, I walk into my classroom and am greeted by all. The DTS staff and other students have become a second family to me. After many warm smiles and hugs, I go again with removing all of my winter wear and find a seat. We spend time together in worship and praying out Psalms. One of the staff, Lennart, comes up and shares announcements for the week. He tells us that on Wednesday we will drive to the neighboring village for outreach after our class time. I haven't evangelized much before so I tend to be a bit nervous. Our staff encourages us that God is before us, opening doors for us to be a light. The pressure is off.
Lennart then introduces our new speaker for the week. We have had incredible speakers coming in from all over the world. Each week has a new topic in which we jump into and grow closer with God in. We have many faith topics such as the character and nature of God, the Holy Spirit, and Biblical worldview; this week is all about freedom. The speaker tells us his testimony and shares his heart on what it means to walk in the freedom of Christ. The message is life-changing. We have our beloved coffee break with snacks, and then get back to our freedom session. The presence of God fills this place, and many of us achieve new levels of freedom as we encounter the Lord through the speaker's message. Someone mentions that it's time for lunch, and we all slowly file out of the room. Some, teary-eyed and most, full of joy. Moving over the icy gravel, I walk with peers up the small hill to enter the dining hall within the white house for lunch break. We unpack our lunches and exchange personal highlights from our morning session. Soon lunch is over and we travel back to the classroom with full bellies, ready, for the second half of our day. Who knew the class session could get any better? I am blown away by the depth of biblical revelation the speaker ushers our hearts into. I can't wait to journal all that I have experienced in class today. As far as journals go, our school leaders gave each of us a new journal at the beginning of our DTS. We were then assigned to write in them each week to help process everything that we learn and experience with God over the course of the six month school. At first I wasn't sure if I could maintain my journal, but so far it actually has supported my growth throughout DTS. A while later, all of us students head out to do our various daily work duties scattered throughout the base. Some work with the kitchen crew, helping cook dinner for the base. Others, like me, work with the hospitality team to maintain the cleanliness of all the rooms within the base. Let's be honest, not many students are exactly thrilled to do their work duties at first glance. But I've noticed in myself that it facilitates a sacred space for me to lean into God after some intense heart surgery during the class days. Something special takes place in our personal transformation once we are willing to serve others with simple acts of love- which sometimes looks like cleaning a toilet.
Following my work duty, I return to the white house for dinner. We pray together, eat together, and laugh together. I love this community life. It feels like home. I finish putting away my dinner plate and my one-on-one asks me if I'm ready to go meet in the café to chat. All of us students receive one of the DTS staff as a point person to process life with during the school. Our one-on-ones follow alongside our DTS journey by meeting with us weekly and reading our journal entries. We spend about an hour sharing stories, laughing and praying together. I leave feeling refreshed from our conversation as I head back to my bedroom in the red building behind the Grimerud preschool. Here in Norway it gets dark a bit early in the winter. So I take in the breathtaking view of the base lampposts casting beams of light on the sheets of glittering snow. I dust off my boots, leave them in the entrance, and spend a few hours reading in my cozy room before the weekly worship night at the Honningdal's house later this evening. Our first assigned DTS reading "Is that Really You, God?" is written by YWAM founder, Loren Cunningham. This is one of several faith-based books we will be reading during the course of the school, meant to accompany our DTS process. There is no burden placed on us to read the books for the sake of receiving a grade or exam. Even still, the books are amazing tools for us students to refer to as we press into our growing relationship with God. "Is that Really You, God?" guides the reader specifically in learning to hear God's voice in every day life. I find myself so stirred and empowered in reading all of Loren's wild testimonies of faith within the pages.
Once I finish a few chapters, I wander across the parking lot to the Honningdal's yellow house near the front entrance of the base. A fire is crackling away incessantly at wood in the corner iron fireplace. People sit atop large pillows on the ground. A few musicians play various acoustic instruments as the everyone in the intimate setting all sing out to God with one accord. It is hard to tell who is actually leading the worship session because the entire room is so engaged together. I love this place, Grimerud. Though I'm not from Norway, I feel as though I am home. I love this season of my life. Everything about a DTS is intentional for encountering God. Many have said that a DTS is like a greenhouse for plants to flourish in. Bringing freedom for the inner heart and radically propelling us in our growth processes. Sitting here during worship, side by side this diverse and international group of people, I can attest that I am thriving unlike ever before. And tomorrow, going a little deeper, we will do it all again.
Learn more about doing a Discipleship Training School in Norway.