MTI Week 1

What a week it has been! I arrived at Missions Training International on Monday to begin my three week required training course in preparation to return to Guatemala as a full time missionary. I had heard so many great things about this experience and I was looking forward to going through the training. Even though I have been to Guatemala many times and have spent significant time abroad through school, I still have tons to learn about being an effective missionary in a foreign culture.

There’s no way I could sum up what’s been occurring in my heart as I have been going through training because the impact has been so profound. But here is a small summary of the topics we have been covering so far and how they have applied to me.

Values awareness

We evaluated our priorities in values and what we see as most important. I can see how my values have changed since I have gone to Guatemala. While I was prioritizing my values, I was thinking “this is not how it used to be.” Things like schedules used to be more important to me. Now I value relationships more. And since my semester abroad I value education, freedom, and honesty a lot more. It was informative to discuss how these values would affect my ministry in Guatemala.

Cultural differences

We started out this lesson with a simulated plane crash. It was a very informative simulation to see how I reacted when I walked into our classroom that had been turned upside down. The staff simulated a new culture of which we had to figure out the rules of society and the reasons for why it is like that. My reactions in this simulation are representative of how I would act in a foreign culture in real life. We discussed risk analysis in testing out the rules of a new culture. My reaction to a new culture is a curious attitude, and asking a lot of questions. (Thanks LASP!) “The key for successful personal relationships and ministry is to understand and accept others as having a viewpoint that is as worthy of consideration as is ours.”

Expectations

We had a cool visual demonstration of how our feelings are affected by the stresses of different expectations we have and that others have of us. These expectations can cause friction (or twang). We also discussed how we insulate ourselves from the friction of these expectations. I tend to have very realistic expectations in order to avoid friction. But when there is friction, I have a positive attitude and think that everything is alright.

Lifestyle choices

We discussed the “twangs” of expectations regarding lifestyles. We worked on evaluating how my desires and dreams conflict or coincide with reality in Guatemala and talking about living in paradox. What is my emotional flexibility? Do I allow myself to have mixed feelings about things? Experiences won’t always be all good/ all bad. Living in paradox is tough to do. I anticipated my lifestyle choices in Guatemala concerning housing, recreation, community, relationships, etc. and I anticipated how reality may not line up with these expectations.

Conflict

This lesson was about evaluating how I deal with conflict, and whether it is healthy or not and Biblical or not. My conflict-handling style is that of a turtle: I stick my head in my shell and pretend everything is alright! I need to consider how this could cause problems on the field amongst a lot of spiritual warfare and cultural stress. The advice we received concerning our deployment for the mission field was this: “If you’re not willing to grow in how you handle conflict, don’t go.” In dealing with conflict, we discussed the importance of love one for another in order to display the heart of the gospel to those we are ministering to. “The most essential trait for missionaries in not a strong faith. It is more essential for him to have great love.”

Personal coaching

I also had time to discuss my situation one on one with an experienced missionary. I am looking forward to being able to discuss specific questions with her throughout the weeks and have a more personalized preparation for missions, specific to my situation and experiences.

I am excited to continue this journey as I do a lot of self-evaluation and goal setting. I am with a great group of people, both my fellow missionaries training for the field and the MTI staff that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and a love and passion for training up missionaries. I am very thankful to have this time of preparation.

View outside the dinning room window at MTI

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Maurine
    Feb 27, 2011 @ 04:00:13

    Hey there Britney
    It’s good to read your blog and here all about your prep for Guatemala. I really hope you take in everything at MTI. Lots to think about.

    I’m praying that the rest of your $ comes in. I have to be honest… I was surprised that you hadn’t received more. Have you had a chance to visit other churches in the area? or would your home church allow you to send personal letters with a commitment card (w/ suggested dollar amts) to every person in the congregation? Did the training in Visalia give any suggestions on what to do?

    I’ll be praying. It can seem like a huge mountain…. but God can do it!!

    We want you here!!

    Blessings to you.
    Maurine

    Reply

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