“I’ll bet you feel like a different person than the one you were in June.”
You can wrap a bow around that one short sentence, as it describes exactly how we feel after 11 weeks of ministry training at the Center for Intercultural Training in Union Mills, NC. There were many, many “aha” moments and our minds are well equipped now for the cultural challenges that will face us once we move overseas. More importantly, our hearts have been transformed. “Heart of the Missionary” is one of the key training components. We spent many weeks discussing the Gospel and the importance of thoroughly embracing and relying on it as we encounter real life each day. We also checked our attitudes, as we are called to be servants who are loving, humble, teachable and filled with gratitude so that God can use us for His glory. We spent a lot of time in prayer and reflection, understanding more about our forgiveness, acceptance, identity, and freedom through the cross of Jesus Christ. Praise God!
Another big “takeaway” happened during our first two weeks of class. One of our facilitators said he hears from Christian world leaders who say, “Stop translating your materials into our language and expect them to work in our context. They don’t work!” We couldn’t have asked for a better affirmation of our ministry! If it’s the Lord’s will, Brian and I will serve the servants of Christ as digital media missionaries, partnering with church planters to equip pastors and mentor lay leaders in their efforts to strengthen the church and its people. We will work with missionaries to share their stories with supporting churches, to better communicate their roles as facilitators and empower the North American church. And we hope to capture stories of people whose lives have been transformed by Christ, in an effort to help communicate the transforming power of the Gospel. It’s not our story. It’s theirs! And God is writing it.
From J & D:
Just today I was bragging about all that I learned at CIT (in a spirit of humility–of course). And then as I typed in these emails, it hit me. Each one of you–staff and student, was an special ingredient to the unique recipe of “training soup” that God prepared for Doug and I. You all added some spice! I love the way the body of Christ is varied and rich and interlocked. “You complete me” was a great line in Jerry Macguire but it applies, doesn’t it? We fill in one another’s gaps. We’re earthen vessels, even cracked pots but together these shards can do something meaningful because of the awesome treasure inside. Thanks for allowing your treasure to show!
We are going through all the goodbyes, purging our house, doctors and dentists appointments. It’s going well so far. Even when we are put on hold for periods of time that seem incredibly LONNNNG, I’m trying to remind myself that this is excellent training for the frustrations that are to come in a 3rd world country.
From S & M:
We LOVED it there!!! The fellowship with other missionaries resulted in friendships that continue to this day. Their childcare workers are great and our son was very comfortable there. And the cross-cultural training was so much more in depth and practical than anything we had studied in the past. The lessons we learned at CIT we still talk about sometimes. And we can’t say enough about the study of the Gospel. We have jokingly referred to our study of the Gospel at CIT as “getting saved a second time” it was so what we needed at the time and what we continue to remind ourselves now on the field. We feel that CIT’s emphasis on telling you all the stuff about culture shock really gave us realistic expectations and we experienced the phases of culture shock almost exactly as they described. We know that our time at CIT was invaluable and really gave us the tools we have needed to be on the field.
From T & B:
We can’t express our gratitude enough for the time we spent at CIT. It was a blessing for us to be able to learn from you all and glean what we can from your experience and wisdom. As we still feel so inadequate for what we believe God is leading us towards,we feel so much more equipped from our time with you all. Every session I learned more than I thought. More about myself and more about others. From the equipping weeks we feel that we gained so much awareness into the world as a whole. How to look and observe. Listening and watching. Learning to find what is beneath behaviors, thinking patterns and the process of finding their worldview. Second Language further instilled the idea of the necessity of learning not just a language but a culture and people. Putting this big picture together to learn a people. Church Planting opened my eyes to seeing the Church as a whole. What it means to be a body and how much more I thought “church” was supposed to be.
While we learned so much from the classes, we learned so much more from you. We realize that everything you all do is for a purpose and for teaching. It is evident that there is a lot of preparation and concern for the material and the people. Your expertise and experience are vast but you don’t wield it above us but yet very willing to impart what you can to help us thrive and to pursue Christ and the mission he has called us to.
Please pass along our thankfulness for everyone in the kids program. We wouldn’t have done so well had not we known our little ones were so well taken care off.