The Story Behind Phase 1

4/10/2014 11:23:00 AM sendtheroths 1 Comments

There once was a rebellious teenage girl who really believed that God was real. She felt His touch in Mexico and again when she went to a church camp in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.

Marcellin is the main instructor for the course in Congo. He is
reviewing the attendance and course materials at the GOF-C
main office.
She entered into a discipleship program at her church. A youth pastor and and high school English teacher  who worked at a local church created the program. This English teacher happened to be the same person who invited her to the church in the first place.

The English teacher spoke about God in a way that she remembered hearing years before, during a time when her family seemed more serious about God. It seemed that somewhere in that Book, he had found every answer to life’s question. Between the pages of every literary art, the screen write for every movie, he was able to draw out the heart of all of mankind and God’s redemptive message. This teacher couldn’t separate God from history, world politics, economics, and social issues. To him, it all was intricately intertwined and he captivated the minds and attention of the nearly all of his students. He took English beyond a book… it was a bit bone-chilling.

On the left is "the English school teacher"
and on the right is the youth pastor.
When the rebellious teenager went to her first youth service in the hall of the humble church, she saw the English school teacher was the preacher. There was a fire in his eyes. And in the most appropriate way possible, he cried out ‘my beloved’ and it seemed as if every word that left his mouth was specifically for her.

Months later she was finally ready to commit…

She walked into an orientation that was meant to discourage her away from taking the course. “The cost of discipleship,” is what they talked about. They said that she should count the cost and then stop counting… because if she continued to count all the things that she would give up, she’d eventually grow faint and quit.

And so after counting the cost, she entered a course that would become four of the most formative years of her life. The course would take her deep into the Amazon rainforest, where she swam in the vast river only meters away from pink dolphins. It would take her across the Atlantic into the African wilderness, where elephants caused traffic jams and babies cried at the site of white skin.

The course forced her to reconcile the reality of being as shrewd as a serpent while also keeping the gentility of a dove. She would have to figure out who she really was and be confident enough to stand alone on that truth.
 The discipleship training course was called the Climb. I started in this
program about ten years ago. This is part of the original group that I
studied the course with.

When she finished the course and said goodbye to her mentors, she took what she learned across the state and later on across the world where she would teach it with as much fervor and passion as when she was first taught it.

She would recreate the course with her new husband, adding elements of his church planting degree, his college campus ministry curriculum and eventually her principles of development and justice from her graduate school.

Together they would gather a team of committed friends and disciples from across the globe who would teach and reteach this curriculum to leaders across one of the most desolate nations in the world. The team would spend hours translating the course to French and then Swahili.

We 150 Congolese enrolled in three different Phase 1
classes at this time. One in French and the other two in
Swahili. The course is completely led and
initiated by local leaders.
They would see people whose families were slaughtered, whose wives, sisters and daughters were raped, bend there knees in reverence after counting the cost of forgiveness and saying, “I choose to forgive.” 

Phase 1 is not a topical study of biblical principles; it is a foundation and gateway for finding faithful, available and teachable individuals throughout the communities that we work in. It spans three spiritual generations. It crosses cultural barriers. It builds community and encourages transparency and vulnerability. The course is not just about a curriculum; it is about impartation, intensity and above else love and pursuit. When we brought Phase 1 to Goma our intention wasn’t to make another Bible institute. Our goal was to pursue the Congolese.

The rebellious teenaged girl was me. The course was called the Climb and it was an intensive discipleship program that was created by seemingly simple people whose faithfulness has reached far beyond their limits. Special thanks to those men and women who created the course.

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