We had actual classes today! It was wonderful to get started finally! I won’t bore you with tons of details, but I’ll give you an overview of our day.
We started off with learning what all will be involved in our Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry class (the next month). I can’t tell you everything because our notebook is literally 3-4 inches thick! But, we’ll learn anything from Spiritual Warfare to handling marital conflicts to basic immunization and first aid skills to learning styles and personalities… the list just goes on and on. We are so incredibly excited!
There is quite a bit of reading and we have to write papers a couple times a week, BUT what’s wonderful is that the “papers” aren’t really papers. We are doing like a synopsis of what we’re learning and what we need to personally apply from the classes. It’s to help us individually sum up all the information and make it so it’s palatable and we can take it away into “real life.” I think it’s a great idea. And you don’t necessarily have to write it like an essay. They’re going to give us options – like journaling, writing a song about it, painting – to go along with our different learning styles. Sweet deal, huh? I’m hoping that I can just print out these blogs and use them for the assignments.
Since most of the information we’re getting is like universal, across the line, cultural training, they’re going to have us do one giant assignment that will apply to our country in particular. By March 13, we (as a couple) have to write a 15 page paper on Peru. That sounds daunting except that they’ve given us the topics to cover! It goes anywhere from basic – history, religion, holidays, etc – to a lot more indepth, like parables and health issues to be aware of, things that offensive/appropriate. The list is quite lengthy, actually. We’re actually thinking our paper will end up longer than just 15 pages because you can put in graphs and pictures and stuff AND this is really the only indepth research we’re doing on Peru itself (while here), so this is going to be vital. There are no grades, but when we get it back (eventually), they’re going to mark areas they think we’ll need to research more just so we have a good idea of what we’re getting into. I cannot wait to jump into this! I’m completely fascinated by this project and we’re both so excited to do it together! We get to research it together and compile it together and write it together – how useful is this??? We’re probably going to begin this weekend and we’re really looking forward to it. Yes, those feelings may change…but we’ll go with it for now. 🙂
We’ve gotten into personality profiles as well, which are so crucial! It’s completely different than spiritual gifts, in case you were wondering. It’s really who you are, how you react to circumstances, how you think, why you are how you are, basically. It explains a lot of how Brian and I interact just as a couple and it will completely affect our relationships as a team, here or abroad. We went through a good chunk of this at candidate orienation, so now, it’s nothing new. But, it’s so handy and eye-opening. Actually, the lady that taught us learning styles at orientation will be here this weekend and she will be teaching it more in-depth next week.
We started our first reading assignments as well. We have 2 books to read and the one I’m reading right now is about connecting cross-culturally. It’s PHENOMENAL. And I’m only 50 pages in! It is so realistic and pertinent – I just wanna memorize it! Basically, he’s saying that culture shock is normal and there are specific things to watch out for. It’s something anyone can overcome, but it’s a choice. It’s all in how you handle things and how aware you are of the fact that you’re experiencing culture shock. He’s gone into great detail describing the symptoms and how to get past them. So applicable!
I’m not sure what our plans are for the weekend besides looking for our first “weird” church to go to. haha – I’m sure it won’t be THAT weird…just different. 🙂 We’re already planning ahead to go “clogging” over near Asheville, NC, sometime in the next month. That should be fun! And totally random. Hopefully the whole class will go. That would be hilarious! We’d like to find some hiking if it warms up some more and I know we’re going to go to Charlotte to the Billy Graham museum as well sometime. As well as visit our friends, Tim and Joy Smith and Jamie and Rebecca Hedgepath, down in South Carolina. We shall see when we get to fit all of this in. I would wager a guess that it won’t be all this weekend…
Oh – and another encouraging thing – one of the other ladies here in class has already been down in Guatemala for the last 7 months and her job – is teaching English! She has a lot of resources and ideas and she’s going to help me with figuring out how to get my hands on some of the same materials she has. Another man who’s here for a refresher course has been down in Columbia for 30 years and he’s willing to work with me in Spanish as well. Yay!
Well, I should go read with my Valentine. 🙂 Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Thanks for checking in.