MTI Week 3

The last week of MTI was extremely taxing. We went to some really hard places and bared our souls on a lot of issues that we have dealt with past and present. It was exhausting to be so challenged emotionally and spiritually, but we definitely grew a lot closer to one another and we all learned more about ourselves. By the end of the week, we all felt broken and vulnerable before each other: humbled and ready to serve abroad. Here are some of the things we discussed our last week:

Moral Purity

We spent time in Matthew 5-7 exploring the broader issues of morality that we often do not consider ourselves to be guilty of. My personal vise: perfectionism makes me feel loved/liked without requiring me to be vulnerable. “May you stop hiding under the covers. May you let God pull the covers back. May you embrace him. May your whole life become a response to the truth that you’ve always been loved, you are loved, and you always will be loved. And may you know, may you know deep in the depths of your soul, that there’s nothing you could ever do to make God love you less.” -Rob Bell

Facing Cultural Differences

We did some role playing to discover the frictions that exist because of cultural differences. We discussed different cultural values including time vs event orientation, task vs person orientation, dichotomistic vs wholistic thinking, status vs achievement focus, etc.

Language Acquisition

We had a short class on language learning techniques. I already know a fair amount of Spanish, but I am still very excited to become more familiar and comfortable with the language. We discussed some techniques to help be self-driven language learners.

Grief and Loss

We had a very therapeutic time of addressing periods of grief and loss in our life and discussing how it is important to deal with these losses in a healthy way so that we can recover from them. We all spent some time going to God in prayer and publicly grieving our losses. It was a very emotional time of lifting our burdens, past and present, to God. It was helpful for me to consider how I am still grieving my diagnosis as a kid and to recognize how it could possibly affect my ministry.

Singles, Couples & Gender Issues

We talked about some issues concerning appropriate interactions between genders on the field so as to not cause any damaging situations. Unmarried people on the field face a unique set of challenges as they may feel more like they are going through this experience alone and need to be able to process it with another person. It was helpful to hear some issues that I may face, as I will be lacking a family in Guatemala. I am excited to have SI staff to fill that role, but I need to remember to be considerate of others as well.

MK/TCK Issues

Missionary Kids and Third Culture kids. Though I do not have children at this time, it was helpful to hear this discussion (as I still consider myself to be a kid and technically the human brain is still forming judgment standards up to age 27). My response to the Guatemalan culture may be difficult in comparing it to my U.S. culture and the possibility of compromising my U.S. identity as I feel more and more comfortable in Guatemala.

Goodbye’s & Hello’s

We discussed the importance of having meaningful goodbyes. The average missionary changes living conditions every 18 months on the mission field and the goodbyes are hard each time. We need to be able to express how much our goodbyes hurt to one another, rather than trying to protect ourselves and minimize the pain. It’s not good for us not to allow ourselves to have deep relationships in order to protect ourselves from difficult goodbyes. C.S. Lewis: “When I was a boy I chose safety, now as a man I choose suffering.”  We choose suffering through hard goodbyes, rather than the safety of never growing close to someone.

Garden of the Gods

I am really grateful for having the opportunity to search myself and really be equipped to enter the mission field. My main take-aways from all of MTI are the following:

– Expect difference as the starting point

– Don’t be to sure of yourself as always being right

– Shifting my chair (perspective)

– “God help!”

– Paradox: Yeah duck and yuck duck

– twangs of expectations vs. reality

– Being able to run to God and pound on His chest because He can take it

– Intent vs. Impact


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