Monday, November 30, 2015

Take-a-ways from Colorado

Thanks to 4 weeks at MTI in Colorado I will be going back to East Africa a different person. 

The end.

Oh yes... details.

First. These people.

I loved being loved and getting to love these awesome people. Four weeks living in the same space, sharing every meal together, laughing at jokes only we get, crying and "getting it," and having a common goal of thriving overseas makes you close pretty quick. I'm glad we loved each other well and that saying goodbye was hard. 

So what did we do for 4 weeks? A LOT! The first two weeks were all about starting my own "Language Learning Business". We did mouth drills to practice learning the different sounds that exist in other languages around the world. Let's just say this chart makes some sense now...
A lot of these sounds are in the Mabaan language I will be learning... and this chart doesn't include vowels...and I'm serious when I say these two weeks of learning these sounds and learning the LAPS technique from the creator, Dwight, was so overwhelmingly good. I am really excited to start my own business!

I count it a privilege to have met and got to learn from Dwight and Barbara. Dwight is the brains and heart behind the LAPS technique and helped me to love it. Between their own riveting story of their time in Vietnam to the random commands in the "Jeh" language, that still fill my brain throughout the day, I am getting excited to get to South Sudan and get started with Mabaan!

This was one of the many posters that went up around our training room that related to learning language and trying to communicate cross-culturally. Just apply this in English and you get misunderstanding... take a non-native and native speaker and this message/feedback system becomes a lot more complicated. Therefore one must...
They transitioned us well after two weeks from strong language learning focus to more emphasis on the "Exiting My World to Enter Their World" cross-cultural helps. The idea "frame of reference" was referred to a lot. Taking what we think (in the western world) as normal, natural, right and good and changing that to fit what is considered normal, natural, right and good in their comfort zone was said so many times! This goes so much deeper than how something is said in another language. We had fun role-playing extreme situations to help us understand what it means to visit and be visited by these different cultural norms that are or aren't normal, natural, right and good in our own perceptions. 

How do you greet someone? Do you touch them? Handshake, pat on the shoulder, full hug or fold your hands and bow? Eye contact? 

What about offering someone a cup of tea or a meal? How do you accept it? Can you decline?

How do you behave at another person's house? Are you loud and overly helpful? Do you sit quietly and let people serve you (maybe give them a foot massage??)? Do you just show up or call ahead? How long do you stay?

This is just the beginning of some of the things we discussed at lengths to stretch our cultural senses as we soon will leave our own comfort zones and enter new worlds and new comfort zones. 

We also talked about what we are like under stress, our conflict style, transitioning well, grief and loss, saying good hellos and goodbyes among many others. Something that flowed through almost every session was the idea of yay & yuck ducks.

a pair of ducks... a-par-of-ducks...a paradox. 
It's a beautiful paradox really. 

Now that I'm back from MTI my main focus shifts to getting to 100% of my monthly commitments. There is a lot of excitement (yay duck) wrapped up in it. Seeing who God will choose to be a part, knowing leaving for South Sudan is near, and the joy in packing and preparing to settle on the far side of the sea. But there are also some hard things (yuck ducks) that go with it. Every conversation is about me leaving. Leaving means having to say goodbye to those I love here. Moving overseas means stress and tiredness and I'm sure loneliness at times. Even right now, I feel the paradox of the yays and yucks that surround me. 

But what I love most about these ducks is that they give me words to share what I'm feeling. Being able to recognize that I'm having a yuck duck moment, just had a yuck duck experience or there is a yuck duck in my life that isn't leaving anytime soon is so helpful. These little guys will be traveling with me for sure!

I really can't put into words just how much I've gained from this training. But I do pray as I make this transition and settle on the far side of the sea that God will be glorified, people will come to know Him, disciples will be grown and nurtured and ultimately more people will be with us praising Jesus because of it. 

For those who prayed for me while I was there, thank you!! It was so refreshing, challenging, faith-molding and spiritually strengthening. I am changed because of it and I see it benefiting our team in so many beautiful ways!
Some of my take-a-ways from the 4 weeks forever written on a stone. 
On our last day, each of us stepped into the center and were prayed for. *tears*
Every weekend we did something outdoors-y. At Garden of the Gods (rock formations)... that's Pike's Peak in the background
Two cars caravan-ed up Pikes Peak. Absolutely incredible view!
Megan (who is moving to Kenya!) and I at the Lantern Festival. Think end of Frozen!
At the top of Mt. Herman overlooking Palmer Lake/Monument.
Had a beautiful afternoon with Jesus at Palmer Lake.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...