Sunday, September 30, 2007

Let the acquisition begin!

That's right folks, this week begins my final section of training. This next 2 week block will be focused 100% on language acquisition. Some of you may be wondering what that exactly means. I am wondering much the same thing! What I do know at this point is that we will be learning about HOW to learn a language and then I think we may begin learning the language we will be going into. Otherwise I really don't know!

We are the ever-shrinking training group! We started with 16 the first week, went down to 12 for these last 2 weeks, and now we have 7 :( We had to say good-bye to two couples that have been with us since the beginning. One is on their way to Ecuador and the others have begun a cross-country fundraising tour. We are however, still able to stay in contact with them via blogs, email update letters, and sites such as Face Book. Isn't technology wonderful!?!

4 weeks till I'm on a plane for Bolivia! Yay! Picture: the newest team members headed for Bolivia!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By The Grace of God

That has been the phrase I feel I have been hearing over and over and over again while in training. In fact, it is such a true statement that I have found that I have been saying it more frequently as well. I see it as a very simple way of making sure that God gets the credit while you are speaking of your ministry, your personal life, or anything for that matter. In and of myself I can do nothing. But by the grace of God, I have been able to raise my full support, by the grace of God, I have sold my car, by the grace of God all of my unexpected needs have been met. To GOD be all the glory, honor, and praise.

Above is a picture of all of us here that are going into long-term missions. We have so much fun together when we share meals. Even the simplest of games end up being hysterical since as we have such a wide variety of personalities.

I have recovered nicely from my "information overload" from last week. This week has been special since we've been being taught by the man that founded the organization. IT was founded over 50 years ago. I feel very privileged to have heard him share about his experiences overseas, cherished his advice, and been blessed by his prayers. We have also been talking about our spiritual gifts and what exactly they are and how they are used in ministry. A team is made up of so many people with different gifts that it is important to know your gifting and your role. And we still have half a week to go yet! We are never bored I can assure you that!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pre-field training for Bolivia

I am on information overload. Big time. This week of classes have been really good, lots of information, guest speakers, ect. We had 3 classes just talking about spiritual warfare. what it is, how Satan attacks, how to fight, ect. it wasn't really "new" to me but I am so glad we had the class cause some people really haven't ever had any experience with it or even heard about it in their churches. Then I was able to apply it in a very practical way both yesterday and today. Yesterday we visited a Hindu Temple, I was feeling sick to my stomach even before we left IT so I asked everyone stop and pray. The Temple is a stronghold of Satan and I felt like we needed to be covered in prayer. I was, however, the only one feeling ill. I would have just said it was coincidence except that as soon as I prayed, my stomach felt much much better. Today we spent the entire day in Chicago on Devon st at South East Asian Friendship Center. We then went to a mosque for their 1pm service (their equivalent to our Sunday morning). Then we went back to the Friendship center and had someone who is an Apologetic (debater kind of a person) who came to Christ through the Quaran (since it led him to the bible) and now debates with Muslims. That guy is GOOD! He must have hundreds of verses memorized, from both books and can quote them, chapter and verse, at a moments notice. The local mosques will no longer debate with him publicly since he is very right and they are very wrong and they don't like to be embarrassed by him. Most of his debating is now done online.

Anyway, all that to say... I feel like I'm going through culture shock, American style. Hinduism and Islam have been right here on my doorstep my whole life and I've never once set foot in their buildings to learn more about them. I found myself actually crying at the mosque because of a whole lot of things. Again, I felt very very sick (Indian food at lunch didn't help matters) but I knew for a fact that it was demon enhanced considering where we were and the fact that once again I prayed and the pain/nausea disappeared. Like never before in my life I feel like my eyes have been opened to the darkness that exists in this world (esp in America). It occurred to me that you can't (generally) see the darkness if your closed up inside your own church all the time, when the mosque is on the very next corner. And as we've been told this week, this darkness is growing faster then the church is growing. I just... I'm having a hard time explaining it well. Just a lot of information, A LOT of information in one week. I'm just trying to digest it all and try to explain what that means to me, my worldview, my missions, ect.

I am not going to an area of the world where there is large following of either of the above mentioned religions. Bolivia is largely Roman Catholic and Indigenous religions. But no matter where you are, what your doing, knowing about these other religions will be useful.

I have 3 more weeks of training ahead of me though 2 of those weeks are focused only on language acquisition. Just 5 more weeks till Bolivia!