The Journey- Iris Relief Leaders School- 2018


August 22, 2018

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The inaugural Iris Relief School – RS-1 – has just completed its nine-week training of its class of 20 students from around the world (Norway, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Africa and all throughout the United States). Each week was filled with key trainings – deep dives learning about Kingdom Ways, restoring His foundation of truth in everyone’s life and getting to serve and go on amazing outreaches while enjoying the beauty of Puerto Rico and Belize. Some of the adventures included: painting a home of a Maria Hurricane widow survivor in the Mountains of Puerto Rico, building relationships with a pastor who needed us as much as we needed him, sharing Watts of Love to those living without electricity and other basic life amenities in Puerto Rico and Belize. Our journey was capped with a visit by Papa Mel Tari who came for our class graduation and send-off, however, we took advantage of his visit by sharing him with the nation of Belize. His revival anointing was timely for the vision and purposes of the nation of Belize and for our RS-1 school. He called this team forth as a special ops team and, with his blessing, our training ends and we are each opening new doors into our life destinies. God’s dreams are becoming our dreams!

Students came from almost every continent beginning June 10, 2018. The initial group of 20 pioneers along with Iris Leaders came from New Zealand, South Africa, Norway, Puerto Rico, and from coast to coast throughout the United States. Only God could have set-up the unique skills, backgrounds, experience and gifts that this group of 20 would bring to the table. Each individual layed down their lives in many ways – setting aside the known -- education, family, friends, corporate jobs – and placed this season of their lives in the hands of the Father. They set their hearts to learn what relief looks like thru his eyes and learn what he is feeling and seeing for the nations.

Executive Directors Norm and Angel Poorman felt led to move this first school from Texas to a land where relief was needed: Puerto Rico. God asked her to lay down her baby in Abilene and pick up a crying baby, Puerto Rico. After counsel with the Iris Relief Board and Iris Global Boards, all felt confirmation that RS-1 should be moved. Puerto Rico is still in recovery mode since Hurricane Maria in 2017. And, in doing so, it opened doors for enhanced ministry, growth and learning. Puerto Ricans were able to be a part of the school and we learned much from them and they helped provide direct in-roads to be able to identify families without electricity in key areas in the central part of the island.
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Each of the nine weeks of training was created and intentionally coordinated to help create a solid foundation and prepare the students for future waves of learning. RS-1 Director, Dr. Linda Tånevik and Administrative Leader, Lauran Hassell showed their leadership skills in amazing ways and helped the school adapt the learning and application opportunities with grace. With each wave, the leadership facilitated cultures of trust, learning and love. The students would need each of the nine weeks to allow the process to fully work. It opened hearts and created increased capacity to love in each one.

The school included curriculum and sessions that included: more than 15 unique teachings on Kingdom Ways by Rodney Hogue and Shelli Presley, Kendall Life Languages and Restoring the Foundation (RTF) Issue-Focused Training by Dr. Edna Riley and Dot and Chris Hall. By the end of these first two weeks, most everyone was feeling like they had signed up for boot camp for the heart. The sessions flowed from one into the other smoothly and, simultaneously, the students were also learning how to live and flow in community. The relationships built were life-changing and life-giving for a season, and, some for life.

While the students came for one thing (relief training), everyone walked away with much, much more. The FEMA Community Emergency Response Training Level 1 (led by FEMA-Certified Trainer Paul Cull with clearance at the highest level at the UN) and CPR Certification Training (led by Dr. Linda Tånevik and Dr. Brenda Jones) fulfilled a foundational part of the answer for relief training. Together with FEMA CERT, the RTF training allowed the students to see how the practical and the spiritual come together in a meaningful way. It truly is the heart of the Father to show people what love looks like in ways that include the practical as well as the spiritual and emotional. It’s always excellence and “both/and” in the Kingdom! Marci and Steve Fish came to the school during the final week in Puerto Rico and continued teaching the pouring into and ministering to each student through a time of prophetic ministry. It was a great conclusion prior to deployment as they called us up and sent us out to walk out what we just learned and touch the nations.

Practical opportunities to serve and stop for the one included traveling into the mountains of Puerto Rico to help a widow paint her home which had sustained tremendous damage from Hurricane Maria, a storm in her life that also took the life of her husband and son. Iris Relief, in partnership with Nancy Economou, the CEO and Founder of Chicago-based Watts of Love, had amazing opportunities to provide solar lights and serve the greatest needs in Puerto Rico where many are still suffering without electricity.
The school built a relationship with local pastor, Dollian Pastoriza and his wife Cristal at South Hills Church. We came along side this leader, attended services and poured into their ministry and got to experience his love for his community in basketball games and in building a rooftop gathering area at the church. The Iris Relief team accepted him as a spiritual father and was able to fully receive ministry, love and impartation from him. We also grew to know and love Mark and Becky Potterbaum, an amazing family with a heart for Puerto Rico.

Through a strategic relationship, Mark and Becky invited our school to use their newly leased living space where our first school community lived for the initial seven weeks. The space was lovely and came with a nearby beach and food and retail amenities. It was an amazing answer to prayer and still, the Father had more he would supernaturally supply in the few days prior to the students’ arrival. The Potterbaums, the church, the local Embassy Suites Hotel, the Glory Ship, and Southwest Airlines Cargo rallied around our effort to bring relief and brought us some as well. It was amazing to see how our basic needs for the students were covered, including: couches, chairs, tables, beds, mattresses, shipment of our van, and administrative and kitchen supplies from Texas.

After initial training and the next level training to be FEMA Cert trainers and an RTF Issue-Focused ministers, it was time for application and deployment. On July 28, 2018 the school moved into a two-week deployment and application of the training in Punta Gorda, Belize.

We left PR at 3 am and arrived into Punta Gorda at 9 pm after a six-hour school bus ride. A beautiful relationship with Iris Relief and John and Lisa Gotz and Kabod International was forged five years ago
because their Kingdom vision runs in the same stream. Iris Relief used the Gotz’s hotel property they manage for the 20 students along an ocean front. And, the FEMA CERT and RTF training occurred at Camp Machaca, a summer campground for Belizean children and youth. Dr. Edna Riley and Lynn Eldridge led our RTF training sessions.
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Upon arrival into Belize, we sent the students and leaders out immediately via deployments to Punta Negra Island (via one-hour boat ride) and the next day via a three-hour bus ride into the Mountains to visit the Otaxa Mayan and Ke’Ke Indian Village of 66 families. In both areas we partnered with Nancy Economou, inventor and founder of Watts of Love, to share solar lights. The lights gave families freedom, security and even ideas that would propel their families’ futures. Nancy and our teams taught the villagers how to consider investing money into longer more sustainable and profitable dreams for their families – $7,000 annually (average) formerly allocated to purchasing batteries, kerosene or candles. We also took time to share dinner and build relationships by visiting people in their homes.

The following day in the village, Dr. Linda Tanevik and Mary Bone, RN an Iris Relief Board Member, helped provide basic medical teaching to the villagers. Our team visited homes, prayed for the sick, played football and soccer. Out of these relationships, doors were opened to heart-to-heart talks that resulted in introductions to Christ, baptisms and our students and leaders got to hear and participate in helping the village chairman share his larger vision to help his community. Our goal was to help them not only stay healthy. We want to see Belize and all the unique cultures thrive.

The first week in Punta Gorda we prepped for the RS-1 graduation. Our graduation speaker was Mel Tari, Indonesian evangelist who is a spiritual father to Heidi and Rolland Baker. Mel was at Iris Global’s first Harvest School. He and Angel Poorman strategized five years ago about what the Father was showing them. He came for our graduation and we, together with Kabod International (the leaders and their students), helped us create a greater ministry opportunity for the city of Punta Gorda: a two-night revival. We know that the revival spirit Mel carries is helping to further ignite the vision in God’s heart for Belize. As partners in this, our school felt honored to get to play a role in seeing this country raised up to its great inheritance in Jesus. Each night approximately 200 people attended the open-air community center and Papa Mel spoke identity and vision into many hearts.

The last week of RS-1 was filled to the brim training 70 Belizean future leaders, military, local pastors, NEMO and other leaders from Belize and Guatemala in FEMA CERT and RTF. The simulations and practical lessons gave trainers and trainees tangible ways to advance learning and equipped each one to know how to respond effectively in times of crises, how to care for those in trauma and how to help save lives.

The Iris Relief team in Guatemala has been working with the Casa de Dios church, and provided a CERT Train the Trainer course to three volunteers from Belize and three from Guatemala from the 13th to 15th of August. These instructors are now running a Spanish-language Basic CERT course, with oversight and assistance from the Iris Relief team, to around 50 volunteers from the church and from communities impacted by the recent volcano. This course started on Thursday the 16th of August and will go until Saturday the 20th. The mission is to create a sustainable crisis response teams for the platforms of resiliency, restoration, and renewal in communities in Guatemala. There has been a bridge created through this training with Belize and Guatemala that will be a strength within both nations, and future opportunity to train and multiply responders for FEMA Basic CERT, and Teen CERT for the youth in Guatemala and Belize. The Belize Defense Forces General granted permission for a Captain to train in Guatemala with the Iris Relief Team to receive Train the Trainer status. The next step is for the Captain to bring training to Belize and partner with Kabod International to train future generations and establish The FEMA Teen CERT program.

It is amazing to see the Father’s vision and partnership with Iris Relief’s laid-down lovers coming to life and touching the earth. Iris Relief was established in 2010 as the Iris Global arm to bring hope and healing to the nations in times of crisis and natural disaster. Norm & Angel Poorman had a dream from God for their family and said yes to God’s plans, and because of this, many years of strategic work came to life this summer. What an amazing journey He started with this group. It’s so exciting to see how these lives continue to be woven together and with others to be an extension of Jesus to the world.

RS-2, our ceiling is your floor! Come learn the Father’s heart of relief and learn His ways! You’ll never be the same. The world will never be the same either.

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