Last month we were so blessed to be able to attend our pre-departure orientation out in Asheville, North Carolina. What a week it was! Many of you have asked what our training was for, so we thought a blog post about our week would be helpful.
It was a very packed week with tons of information. But so, so good! What an encouragement it was to be with fellow missionaries who are from various parts of the world, headed all over the world to share the Gospel of Jesus with others! It was a privilege to sit under the teaching of seasoned missionaries, and learn and grow together.
So what did our training entail? Some things were practical, like touching base with the finance department, signing up for health insurance, and learning about crisis management and critical response in case of emergency while on the field. All things that we are very thankful to have a sending agency to help us with! We also had class sessions on spiritual growth and ministry, such as one on spiritual warfare and another on spiritual disciplines.
We also spent several class sessions talking about entering new cultures and how to live well among the specific people we are ministering to, and respecting and celebrating their culture. Before our training we were asked to read a book called Cross Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer. It is an excellent book and a great learning/teaching tool on how to respectfully engage new cultures and celebrate our culturally diverse world. Our favorite quote from this book:
“Actually experiencing culture shock has some good news. It can be a means of knowing God better. Sometimes Westerners tend to unconsciously believe that God reveals himself only to the Western church and Western culture. Underneath, many Westerners carry this assumption. In fact, God reveals himself through all the cultures of the world and all the peoples within those cultures. When we see the differences of others, we may well be seeing more of God. He cannot be contained in or explained from only one cultural perspective. Thus, culture shock may be a means whereby we see God more clearly in all his glorious diversity.”
So what were the boys doing while we were in classes all day? Well, they had their own classes 🙂 One thing we love about our sending agency is how they care for all the missionary kids! For Giacomo’s age group they mostly just played for the week. But for Antonio’s age group and up, they had a whole week of education planned for them to help them begin processing through the changes that are happening and the many changes that are coming. Each day they “took a plane” to a new country and learned about that particular country for the day. Their teachers talked with them about leaving their home, family, and friends, and what it will be like to transition to a new country.
We talk with the boys a lot about what we are doing and why we are doing it. But it is great that they have so many other people speaking into their lives and giving them extra stability through the changes. The boys had a blast and made lots of new friends. Many of whom they may never see again, but some they will. Antonio will remember that week for the rest of his life!
We ended our week together with worship and communion. Then we took turns praying over one another as fellow missionaries. I’m pretty sure there was not a dry eye in the room. It was beautiful. What a blessing it was to be in the presence of the Lord with these fellow laborers. We came away feeling better equipped for what the Lord has called us to and encouraged to keep persevering on the path He has chosen for us to walk.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We still need more laborers in Italy! If you think God may be leading you to the mission field, we’d love to encourage you and talk with you about that. Also, we are still building our support team. If you would like to partner with us through prayer and financial giving, you may contact us or click the GIVE NOW link above.
And finally, here are a couple of songs that have been encouraging us lately. First is the title track of Keith and Kristyn Getty’s latest album, which is entirely missions focused. The whole album is great, as expected, but this track in particular has been especially encouraging. Click here to read about the history of the song.
We sang this song with all of the other missionaries-in-process at the end of our training week. What a joy to sing with so many people going all over the world!