Everything happened so fast in the past few weeks and in some ways it feels like months ago that we started realising that some of the speakers weren't going to be able to come join us here in Italy anymore. At the same time the doors to outreach in Mongolia were closing, and after we changed plans to go to Turkey that no longer was an option either. If we were still going to do Outreach it had to be somewhere outside of the Schengen-Area, but also we felt that it was wisdom to not have the team go too far away from us. We prayed and felt the key was in the fact that we had been able to buy a van with the help of some large donations.
One Sunday morning God woke one of us up with a deep sense of conviction that it was time to send the team off the following Sunday, which was 2 weeks earlier than planned. We all prayed and received confirmations in different ways. The team got ready and that same Sunday we heard that the 11 provinces around us were all closed to travel. It was quite some effort to navigate through those travel-restricted areas on their way to the Slovenian border! 2 Days later Italy went on full lockdown and the team would not even have been able to leave.
When the team arrived in Croatia we soon realised that also Croatia was headed where Italy had already arrived. As a result the team had to go into self-isolation for 2 weeks before they could do anything else. They have been doing amazing and we used a part of that time to do more lectures remotely, all set up through video calls. We’re so thankful for the technology to enable us to do this.
After the 2 weeks in self-isolation we realised the options in Croatia were very limited for the team to continue to do outreach there and to make a long story short, we had to start making plans for everyone to return to their homes.
Because this is a global crisis the international leadership of Discipleship Training Schools worldwide made a decision that even without completing the outreach phase the students that started in Quarter 1 of 2020 will still be able to graduate their DTS.
It is with sadness in our hearts that we realised we weren't all going to be in the same place again. The students have returned to their home countries, the staff are spread across different continents, but we trust God in the process.
The next few weeks we will be doing more online learning together, assignments, book reading, prayer and worship and we’re still anticipating to graduate our very first DTS in May of this year.