MTI Week 2

I had another great week at MTI. This week included more very helpful lessons in how to successfully thrive in a foreign culture. We participated in some very informative simulations/demonstrations that revealed how we are predisposed to respond in certain situations. We also grew a lot closer as a group this week as we had time to hang out and relax with each other. (a.k.a. 3 hour Mafia session!)

Conflict

After discussing our conflict-handling styles last week, we continued our conversation on how to approach a situation of conflict. We need to be able to communicate almost “cross-culturally” with people of a different conflict-handling style, even if they are from our same culture. We need God’s help to see the situation not just from their perspective, but also through the lens that they see it (their style).

Crossing Cultures

We considered the importance of different cultural communication styles, including the degree of directness, the role of context, the importance of saving face, etc. We discussed the importance of ethnocentrism and our perspective. If we are seeing the world differently than the people with whom we are interacting, then we need to shift our perspective so that we can communicate in congruent ways. And this is only achieved through a posture of humility. We practiced through a simulation in which we were assigned a new culture and then had to interact with each other. I was in the “overly excited, touchy-feely” culture. It was hilarious!!!! Every instant was an opportunity to hug/high five someone while whooping at a high-pitched tone!

Spiritual Vitality

We discussed the importance of seeking a growing, intimate and dependent, personal (and household) relationship with Christ, even in the midst of adversity. When we pass through hard times, our spiritual vitality hinges on three foundational truths: God is God, God is faithful, and God is good. We discussed which of these beliefs we struggle to maintain the most during times of adversity and also how adversity itself is a paradox because as Christians, we can find joy in our sufferings and strength in our weakness.

Who we are under stress

This class period consisted of a very intense simulation and our reflections on how we responded to this stressful situation. The simulation brought the majority of us to tears as we enacted a real situation that some missionaries around the world are facing under persecution. We discussed the importance of maintaining emotional and psychological health in order to help us face these stresses.

Embracing Rest

We spent this day mostly by ourselves, just spending time with God, discovering the benefit of resting and recharging to help us face stressful situations or times of adversity.

Transition

This day we talked about the process of uprooting ourselves from our lives in America and replanting ourselves in a new environment. We discussed our feelings throughout the whole process and our doubts and fears especially through the period of chaos before we start re-settling in a new culture. We participated in a visual demonstration of “crossing a bridge” to a new cultural reality which involved some very unstable stepping stones. We also explored how our relationships affect our transition process.

Wednesday morning hike on Mt. Hermon. As the sun was rising, we caught an INCREDIBLE view of Pike’s Peak. It took our breath away as we reach the top. What a powerful moment!

Our classroom, with all of the class notes saved on the wall so we can refer to them. Everything is interconnected, so we keep those up to tie it all together and get the bigger picture.

Santa Fe Trail, where I do my runs

I can’t include pictures of the group on my blog because there are some sensitive security issues with some of the missionaries because of the countries they are going to. I wish I could show you pictures of them because they are amazing people and I am so happy to get to know them!

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