Now that I’ve experienced a full “typical week” here at Holmsted Manor, I can knowledgably explain what a “day in the life” looks like here:
7:15 a.m.: My alarm goes off. My alarm clock isn’t in arm’s reach, so I hop out of bed and turn it off as quickly as I can to keep from waking up any roommates who are still asleep.
7:45: I make my way down to the dining room for a breakfast of cereal and/or toast. Corn Flakes are a great way to start the day.
8:00-8:45: This is the time set aside for us to spend time alone with God, though I usually don’t start until 8:05 or 8:10. The last two weeks has been a quest to find the perfect quiet place to do my devotions, and after a couple false starts, I think I’ve found that place. I would post a picture of it, but part of the reason it’s so perfect is because it’s a secret. 🙂
8:45-10:00: During this time, either the DTS students and staff meet together in the coach house (adjacent to the manor) for worship and/or intercession, or the entire base meets together for worship and/or intercession, depending on the day. Two days a week, one of us students shares a 5-10 minute devotional before worship starts. If I’m calculating correctly, my turn will be sometime in March.
10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: After worship/intercession, we put down the chairs and the room is transformed into our classroom. This is our morning session, where we listen to teaching from that week’s speaker. It isn’t always straight-up lectures, though; sometimes it’s more interactive. We have a 15-20-minute break around 11:15, which is always characterized by tea and sometimes by donuts and other goodies. Then, we have announcements before turning the floor back over to the speaker.
1:00: Lunchtime! The kitchen staff ring a bell when lunch is ready, and we gather in the main area outside the dining room to pray for the food. And then we go in. One day a week, I will be meeting with my one-on-one (one of the staff members) at one of the individual tables in the back of the dining room to talk about life together.
2:00-3:00: We do something different during this hour every day.
- Mondays: We meet in small groups to practice intercession (hearing God’s voice – see my last blog for more on this)
- Tuesdays: The schedule says “sports and exercise,” but we can use this hour as free time instead if we want.
- Wednesdays: Free time
- Thursdays: We meet in our coed small groups to process the lectures, memorize Bible verses, and do our book reports.
- Fridays: We start work duties early. What are work duties? Well…
3:15-5:00ish: Each DTS student is assigned a daily work duty, or chore. Some work alone, others are in groups. Some examples of work duties are as follows: vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, waxing the floor, cleaning specific rooms, and helping in the kitchen. I work in the wash-up room with four others, and in addition to cleaning the breakfast and lunch dishes, we clean the dining room and set the table for dinner. Even though there are only about 40 people at each meal, the pots and plastic dishes that we have to wash by hand take time. However, we’ve settled into a good routine, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know better the others on wash-up crew.
5:30: Dinner/Tea (yes, here in England, dinner is often called “tea”). We go through the same routine for dinner as we did with lunch. Everyone takes turns washing the dinner dishes, so on Wednesdays I do wash-up twice. Whew! On Fridays, however, the schedule is slightly different. Instead of having a meal served to us, we make packed dinners and do various local outreaches (except for those whose local outreach is on Saturday). Mine is helping out at a church that serves meals to the poor in the community. We serve tea, coffee and plates of food; interact with the people; play with the kids; and wash dishes.
7:30: Just like the 2 o’clock hour, our evening schedule depends on the day:
- Mondays: We have a China-focused night (this past week, we learned about Chinese New Year, learned a few Chinese characters, and did an activity).
- Tuesdays: We meet in our all-girls or all-guys small groups. My small group will be studying women of the Bible (starting with Ruth), and just talking about life and connecting with each other. This will most likely be my favorite evening of the week; it’s great to have such a low-key interpersonal time in a very scheduled week.
- Wednesdays: Free time
- Thursdays: Flexible schedule (either free nights, an evening session with that week’s speaker, or something else)
- Fridays: Local outreach (though typically we’re back by this time).
11:15: In order to get eight hours of sleep, I need to fall asleep by 11:15. I’ve generally been successful at getting enough sleep.
Free Time/Weekends: There’s nothing mandatory on Saturday or Sunday, though we’re encouraged to go to church (there a couple local churches that provide transportation), and sometimes various students organize trips to nearby towns … or not-so-nearby cities (London). I spend quite a bit of my free time on the computer, though I also enjoy hanging out with people here at Holmsted, or walking to the pub and having a soda, or playing piano.