For the next three months I will be living in beautiful Burtigny, Switzerland doing a School of Worship at the local YWAM base. Here I will explain a little bit about where I am and what I am doing! They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will be mainly sharing pictures throughout this introduction. I will also be posting weekly updates in order to share more about each speaker, the topic they cover, and what I am learning.
The Burtigny YWAM base is actually located on a farm! There are cows, gardens, recreational forests, and miles of rolling green hills surrounding us. 1000 years ago missionaries were first sent out to Burtigny from Geneva, and 100 years ago the base was built; but it started out as an orphanage. There are no stores close by us, but there is a pub, and about 300 local, friendly people to greet with a hearty ‘Bonjour!’ Yes, I have been re-enacting the song from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ every time I walk around the village. Burtigny is located on the slopes of the Jura Mountains overlooking the beautiful Lake Leman. It is 15 minutes away from the nearest lakeside city, Nyon, just 35 km/22 mi NE from Geneva, and 40 km/25mi away from Lausanne. In this area people predominately speak French.
I already absolutely adore this base and all the people who serve here! While there currently are not that many people living on the base itself, there are plenty of people who work here and live in the surrounding village. There are many families with children and also many different nationalities represented! It is always encouraging having families around and seeing how God provides and cares for missionaries, no matter what stage of life they may be in! Just within my SOW we have people from France, USA, Switzerland, Japan, Chad, New Zealand, and Ivory Coast. Most people are bilingual, however a few only speak French, so I really need to pray that God would gift me with the ability to quickly learn a new language! I share a room with one other girl who is from Japan. On a clear day, you can see Mont Blanc from our classroom window. I can’t think of too many things I’d rather do on this earth than sing songs to Jesus while looking up at stunning scenery, so I am very aware of how spoilt I am living and studying here for three months!
Simply put, the purpose of SOW is to teach students to understand what God says about worship within His Word, and then train them to lead worship in a number of different settings through song. However, what we learn should be applied to, and help us grow to be leaders in every area of life; even in our basic work duties such as cooking or cleaning. During our orientation the base leader talked about what it means to disciple the nations, and how this isn’t some sort of mystic term, but can be seen through how well we are willing to love others even in the most mundane tasks. By taking the extra time to ensure a dish is well scrubbed, we are discipling others through displaying Christ like character. The base leader encouraged us to consider how the world needs worship leaders who can both lead people to a ‘higher, closer to heaven’ time with God through song, and also be ‘down to earth’ and show what is means to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the routine. Here are some pages from the school syllabus that share more specifically what each day will look like and what we will be studying each week:
All the glory to God for yet another amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and serve! May He bless each one of you on each of your own journeys too! To end this post I will share the verse the staff here selected for me after spending time in prayer. I am so excited to see how God applies it to my time here:
“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.” – Zephaniah 3:14