What a month! We continue to be blessed by the many people who are generously obedient to God’s call to minister alongside us. We’ve just finished up our first four weeks of online training and are in the midst of a two week break to rest our now mushy brain cells before we engage the next four week session. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s been really good stuff, just a lot of writing, evaluating, analyzing and being pushed to think outside of the norms we usually operate within.
Some of the topics we have covered in training are…
Jesus the first missionary: Jesus left His comfortable home to live among us and show us how to live. Jesus set the example as to how we go to those who don’t know Him, living alongside them, allowing them to see firsthand how He calls us to live.
Culture and world view: How to view other cultures not as wrong but as different than ours; to not be offended by behavior that would be rude here but normal in another culture.
How to share the gospel within different cultures: Many cultures, such as Haiti, don’t see the world as we do. We must be willing to learn to understand how they think in order to effectively share the gospel.
Healthy team dynamics: A healthy team will make or break how effective we will be in ministry and with meeting our goals (we’ll look at the team God is building in Haiti in a moment).
Living simply: As much as we are tempted to take as many things as we can to help in our transition, making it feel more like home, we need to seriously consider what will help and what will hurt our ability to fit into the community God is calling us to minister to.
Culture shock: Even though we have been to Haiti a number of times, living there will be a huge adjustment. Culture shock comes to most that move internationally, but with the tools we have been given and help from our team, we hope to adjust as quickly as possible and get to the mission work at hand.
We have four more weeks of pre-field online training starting next Sunday and are prayerfully hopeful (if we reach 75% of our monthly support) to attend the pre-field live training in Minnesota in October.
There has been a great shift in the missionary world. In the last 20 years or so Americans have been sending fewer and fewer missionaries onto the mission field. What’s so great about that? Glad you ask! This decline might seem negative but if we take a deeper look; we can see the fingerprints of American missionaries all over this trend and some of the newer strategies that have been employed around the world. The biggest shift is the move from doing to empowering. In the past missionaries would spend countless hours trying to be all things to all people. Often the mindset was to change the culture they were ministering too to look like our western culture. God loves the people and uniqueness of the various cultures He created! The change He desires is the transformation of the hearts of the people not their environment. Time has shown that empowering indigenous people to share the gospel in a way that best fits their culture is much more effective. We have learned to do multiplication instead of addition. If indigenous people are empowered to do ministry, they can navigate their cultural system better, without the differences that typically cause miscommunication.
Not only are different people groups now reaching their communities with the gospel but they are moving to other countries to minister as well. Many of these international missionaries relate better to third world countries because their own culture does not look that different. In Haiti, God is putting together a team that includes our family, another single American young lady, a couple from Brazil, a single gentleman from Columbia, a couple from the Congo and possibly another single young lady from Columbia. Haitian Creole will be our common language…talk about some motivation to learn!! We continue to wait patiently with anticipation and excitement for what God has for us in Haiti.