MDT: A springboard into missions

OM International | South Africa

Originally from the UK, Anne Davidson felt the call to join OM and move to Africa. Before heading out onto the mission field she completed Missions Discipleship Training (MDT) in South Africa, an intensive training programme aimed at equipping people for a missional life wherever God calls them. In 2017 MDT celebrated its 30th anniversary of impacting those who are willing to go. 

The base was nice, basic but nice. I had swapped my two-bedroom house in Scotland for a room with a bed, desk and wardrobe that I shared with three other girls. The daily schedule seemed a bit strict—especially for a free-spirited lassie like me who was used to doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Each day was full: up at 6:00 in the morning for devotions and cleaning duties, breakfast, then on to lectures, sports and practicals until dinner, after which there was free time to study, socialize or sleep. 

It was a fantastic experience learning to live with so many cultures different than my own. I even had to change my accent a bit as people could not always understand my Scottish brogue. In the evenings we had free time to get to know one another: chatting about lectures, complaining about the practical work we had done or playing card games. I found myself adapting well to this new lifestyle, and as an older student I became a safe shoulder to cry on for those who needed it. 

Back in Scotland there was a time when I used to lie awake at night worrying about giving up my life and starting a new one learning to be a missionary in South Africa, but nearing the end of the training I told Jesus I was more worried about returning to my old life. I had seen and learnt so much and wanted to go and serve wherever God called me. 

As time went on, I found myself growing into the woman God called me to be and learning who a missionary actually was. When still in my own country, I had so many expectations and ideas of what a missionary did and misconceptions of what it was like interacting with other cultures. 

MDT taught me the realities of poverty when we visited Lesotho and the township of Mamelodi. It taught me what it means to work with people; we stayed in tents and had to fetch water and cook over an open fire. If we failed to work as a team, we would have been left hungry and cold with no wood for fire. During Missions Mobilizing Training (MMT) I received a real eye-opener, hearing how Christians all around the world are persecuted because of their love for Christ. I was inspired by the lecturers’ experiences and couldn’t wait for God to tell me where to go after MDT. Though eager to go into the world and be a light in the darkness, I had a problem: I didn’t know where to go. 

One day, an English lady serving in Zambia visited and told us about her work with street children in Africa and her desire to start a programme to equip people to help the children on the streets. I heard God clearly say, “Go with her and she will teach you all you need to learn.”

I spoke with her, and she agreed to look into getting me to Zambia to help her pioneer this new ministry. As I could not join her until January, and this was July, I joined the OM AIDSHope team in South Africa for a few months to gain experience working with underprivileged children. 

I was sad for my time at the MDT base to end; I made friends I will never forget and had many unique experiences. If I’m honest, MDT was just the start of my training—I had a lot more to learn in Zambia! But MDT was the springboard that launched me into missions. I really benefitted from my six months of waiting, listening and looking for where God wanted me. 

Today, I’m leading a project in one of the biggest shanty towns in southern Africa. Mercy House is a day-care centre that looks after 64 orphaned and vulnerable children. Our vision is to see these children fed at least one meal a day and enrolled in a local school; most importantly we want them to know Jesus’ love for them. 

I love my job, but know I couldn’t have jumped on a plane and dived into this work without drowning; I would have freaked out and gone home. Living at MDT in a missions environment helped me see what I was getting into. In my advice, MDT is not a wasted six months; it’s a springboard into your calling. Preparing and equipping you for the real deal.

Interested in MDT? Visit for more details. 

Published: Friday, 03 March 2017
Credit: OM International
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