Our verse for our training…
“We loved you so much that we are delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” 1 Thes 2:8
It’s been just over a week and we are beat but enjoying ourselves. Not too much downtime here. The weather continues to change but is very beautiful. We came in last Tuesday starting our trip with a “vacation day” walk to Ikea and Mall of America. The furniture isn’t too comfortable in Haiti but we’ve been introduced to these chairs you can purchase at Ikea and are able carry with us on the plane. They really are comfortable and will be a treat to sit in and rest our feet at the end of the day. We followed up with a trip to “the American Girl” doll store. It was fun.. for a few minutes. Shortly after getting there Quinn decided there really wasn’t much more to the store than the catalog and off we went! However, her lack of enthusiasm didn’t change her desire to have her very own “Julie”. The next stop…Bath and Body…that was a whole different story. Dave quickly figured out he needed to head outside to find a seat! I was able to talk Dave and Quinn into going on one roller coaster ride. I LOVE roller coasters!!! Within moments of taking off Quinn was breathing like she was taking a lamaze class saying “I know, I know, I’m Ok!” I do believe that will be the one and only roller coaster ride for quite a while, much to my dismay.
On Tuesday evening we had the privilege of going to the airport to welcome home a very special little guy, Rodner, who was coming home with his forever family. There are a number of families in MN adopting from Haiti that we are friends with that were there, some with their children that were his family in the orphanage. We really thought we’d only be there a few minutes, not knowing how he’d respond to the change of environment, the amount of people…he was amazing, making the rounds and interacting with everyone. We were very blessed to meet in person a number of people we have come to know and love via the internet. It was an incredible way to start our week.
Since then our days have been filled with training on spiritual warfare, healthy teams, culture and worldview, living cross culturally, Biblical perspective, foreign theology, coaching, , conflict on the team, loving the poor, what is truth and what it looks like to be an immigrant. The days have been full but arranged in such a way that although they are long, we have stayed engaged, challenged and feel like we really are growing. The reality is we really can’t understand what things will truly feel/be like until we get to the field but we are being equipped to understand and identify things as they happen once we are there. The team leading us in this training have an accumulated 150+ years on the mission field in various places and passionate hearts to see us successful.
We start and end our days with a little time with our host family who have generously served each of us. Steve and Kathy Mann have 6 kids, 4 of whom we’ve been able to spend some time with, Quinn quickly bonded with their youngest, Jonathan. 3 of those 4 are adopted from within the US. They are a neat group of kids…warm, bright, incredibly hospitable. Their parents have modeled gracious hospitality well. They host missionaries 1-2 times a year as well as opening their home to unwed pregnant mothers. They are currently in the midst of becoming part of Safe Families.
Saturday we got to experience what it might look like to be invited into someone’s home in a different culture…our pretend hosts were Chinese. Often, you, as the “special guest” will be given a delicacy that no one else in the family will get because of the expense. The reality is, it could be something you really don’t like! How do you respond?? We were “blessed” with what some called squid but really were little octopus! They looked just like these…
Let’s just say Dave and I did our best to model graciousness in front of Quinn as we enjoyed this “special” treat. It took me a couple tries to get it down…but I did!! My first attempt, to swallow it whole while drinking a full glass of water failed!! It got stuck in my throat! I won’t share the ugly details! I actually did have to chew it a few times before I could swallow it, but victory was had! Dave got it down in one try and Quinn did enjoy a couple tentacles.
On Sunday each family was assigned a church to visit that would bring another unique cultural experience. We attended Slovic Baptist Church in Shakopee. It was a little over two hours long and in Russian! A good 600-700 people with all age groups sitting in throughout the entire service. Upon arrival it was quite obvious that we were visitors as I was the only female in pants. Needless to say that helped us quickly land headsets which allowed us to hear the sermon through a translator. It was a great opportunity and experience for all of us as we observed the similarities and differences of the environment, service and the people.
Looking forward to more good days…hopefully without anymore prickly “special treats”!!