In January, Denny and I began our final Pre-Field training (official training with our organization before we leave) to prepare us for cross-cultural ministry with ReachGlobal in Berlin. The training was divided into three parts, with the first two parts being online learning and the final part an eight day in-person event. During the online portions we read articles, books (The Beginners Guide to Spiritual Warfare by Neil Anderson and Cross Cultural Connection by Duane Elmer), and papers written on topics like culture, worldview, serving the poor, spiritual warfare, and many others. We enjoy learning (a lot) so these online courses were very enjoyable for us.
Two weeks ago we began the “Live” event. It was an awesome experience and a blessing to our family! We met people moving to serve the Lord all over the world in diverse areas of ministry. Because we want to be sensitive to those we were with in training, due to some of the locations they’re going, we’re keeping their names, and ministry focuses private.
The purpose of this event was to dig deeper into the topics already covered in the online training that led up to the event. The in person experience really helped provide depth on many of the topics for us, I like to see things in context so witnessing examples helped me to envision living things out a little better. While I think I understand a little better, there is the gap between the things I learned in the classroom and how they will actually play out in our new culture. We have yet to live in Berlin and many of the things we learned and talked about we don’t have personal cultural awareness of yet. I am growing in my ability to release the thought that I need to know it all so I can be fully prepared, and instead, turn to the Lord in prayer. He is in control of today and will help us through getting to know Berlin in the days ahead.
Our kids attended the event as well. Micah only came three days, which to be honest was about all he could handle as the days were long. Isaac and Leah were with us for a portion of the day and then they split off with the other kids to learn about the same things the adults were learning but in terms easier for them to relate to. (Hooray for contextualization!) They had a GREAT time and we’ll post their thoughts and reactions to Pre-field Training in the next week.
After eight days of learning and discussing with other missionaries we’re feeling the weight of Berlin right around the corner! Now our organizational required training is complete and we are able to focus on developing partnerships for ministry and finishing our time in Minnesota well.