One aspect of the Emanate training is Afternoon Work Program. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Emanate students spend their afternoon doing physical, hands-on labour on campus. In some ways, it is fun to work with your classmates doing physical labour. On the other hand, work does not always feel fun and it can be challenging to work with other people whose opinions vary from yours.

Each afternoon is different, and the jobs vary in many different ways. Building in Jungle Camp, cutting marsh grass, raking leaves, taking the garbage to the dump, cleaning bathrooms, cutting rags – each job is different and has its its own perks and challenges. However, it may seem out of place to spend so much time working on the Ethnos campus. Are the staff just taking advantage of the free labour?

Practically speaking, AWP helps keep the tuition rates lower for students as the mission then does not need to hire extra staff in order to keep the campus running smoothly. However, even knowing that you are lowering the cost of school may not seem worth the effort of working three afternoons a week. The jobs can be disgusting. Muscles grow tired. Hands get sore. Isn’t Emanate about training to be a missionary overseas?

Yet getting the job accomplished is not the point. Free help is not the motivation behind putting students to work. The main goal is for the students to learn and grow through working together. The staff even go so far as to have individual interviews with the students to see what God is teaching them through AWP, how they are implementing classroom knowledge into practical serving and what things they would like to learn in the future. Emanate is training students to serve God on the field and AWP is another aspect of that vital training.

My favorite part of AWP is to see how much our leaders, Eric and Mike, desire for our afternoons to be a time of learning and growth. They are passionate about their job on maintenance because they know that by serving in this way, they are helping reach the unreached people with the gospel. Their goal is to have us learn different skills and abilities through AWP and they are willing to help us do that as much as possible. But beyond that, they want us to grow in our walk with the Lord, learn how to work together and figure out how to problem solve when the stakes are a little lower than they might be on the field. The reality is that something as simple as work is an opportunity to grow in maturity.

Eric Esau, maintenance manager and Afternoon Work Program leader, is passionate about serving the Lord through taking care of the campus that God has blessed Ethnos with. Here is what he says regarding AWP:

This is a great time to ask the Lord to teach you. When you get to the field you may have to lead when you think you are not a leader. You may have to follow when you think you are a leader. You may have to work with people that you don’t like. You may not agree with leadership on an issue. All of these things are learning opportunities. It is better to learn how to deal with those things here at Emanate, than to leave the field unable to resolve of a simple issue or disagreement.

These are all lessons that Work Program can teach you, but you have to have to be willing to learn, just like any of your other classes. You can take in the practical information and even use it, but what is the Lord teaching you at a heart level? It is the stuff that you learn at a heart level that is going to sustain you on the field.

Our desire for those going through our Afternoon Work Program is for the students to learn new practical skills, but also deepen their relationship with the Lord.”

-Eric Esau

AWP is about learning through the challenges that we face while working together—whether the job is fun, tiring or disgusting. Work is a reality. Serving with people is a reality. However, we have a choice to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow or to grumble and complain. From my own life, I can testify that what at first seems fun soon loses its pleasure or becomes more challenging. My hope is that in each situation we find ourselves in, we will choose to see it as an opportunity to grow in our relationship with the Lord and with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.