This has been quite a week. It started Sunday with Chimp and Rosebud being sick and all three of us missing the visit to the house church. Fortunately, the illness was short-lived and didn’t affect any more of us.
Classes started off with two days of academic talks on culture. Ted and I both enjoyed these very much. Although they were academic, they were also helpful in getting us to think about the different ways other people view things and allowing us to see our own lenses. We spent quite a bit of time taking about gift-giving and the related expectations. It was very interesting to note that, on that topic, there are similar beliefs and expectations the world around.
Monday night we had a “cultural experience.” None of us knew what to expect going into it, but it turned our to be a Swazi worship service. It was a very moving service and made us all appreciate what other cultures can contribute to the worship experience. Here are a couple of the songs we sang.
Wednesday and Thursday were a bit more challenging days. Wednesday we spent learning how to learn a language. Although I really enjoyed learning the skills and suggestions for how to work with a language helper (and that Daisy joined us for that part! see picture), it was a bit discouraging that he kept emphasizing that it takes 2+ years to really learn a language well. Since the biggest parts of evangelism is relationships, language is pretty important, and EMM rightly stresses it a great deal. I’m hoping we’ll be able to pick up enough wherever we go to be able to build some good relationships even in our short time. Being here with mostly long-term missionaries means some of what is taught doesn’t apply to us in quite the same way.
Thursday was challenging in an entirely different way. We talked about contingency plans and what to do in case of kidnapping, or illness, or political upheaval, etc. Although it was hard to think about the possibilities, especially with four young children, I’m glad EMM does think about them and have procedures in place. The most important sentence of the day? “The safest place to be is where God had called you to be!”
Friday was a breath of fresh air with some team-building exercises and a case study on decision-making in teams where we looked at a touchy situation we could encounter on the field.
We are continuing to discern where our destination will be. We have spent a good bit of time this week talking with people involved in both locations (Albania and Kenya). I’m sure we would enjoy either location, so we are continuing to seek God in the process.
One week left of training! It’ll be nice to be home again, though getting back into the real world with having to make our own meals and keep the kids busy all day could be challenging. 🙂 We’ll definitely miss all the new friends we have made here too. Many of them will be heading to various locations around the world in the next several months: Thailand, Kosovo, Guinea Bissau, Chile, Albania, Czech Republic, China, Tajikistan, Honduras, and Germany.
A few more pictures from this week: