I promised I would discuss what our debriefing time looked like today in our teams class, so I am fulfilling my end of the bargain. 🙂 I thought the debrief time would be in the afternoon, but it wasn’t. It was first thing this morning, right after a Bible study time on forgiveness! I think that was planned…sneaky sneaky.

We all got together in our groups with our facilitator and he went through a survey that we had filled out individually to find out what we all thought of our team. It was a fascinating time. We all agreed that our leader did a phenomenal job and that she was not to blame for anything that happened. It was an incredible learning time as we talked with the man from Iraq about his feelings during our project.

The basic thing we learned is that words and their meanings vary from culture to culture. Our “American” idea of “heart”, “values”, and “purpose” are translated completely differently than someone from Europe would translate them. We, as Americans, are able to do a class project, get into it, and present something creative in a short amount of time, regardless of whether or not we enjoy the project, believe in it, or even want to do it. Our team member from Iraq honestly could not even comprehend doing a class project creatively if his heart wasn’t in it. Those sentiments just aren’t even something we would’ve thought about before this!! Even now, it makes no sense. Is it wrong? Absolutely not! Will we ever understand or even agree? Probably not. Can we work with it? Absolutely. But, we must be at least aware of it or conflict will simmer below the surface for months, if not years.

A lot of questions just were not answered, I must say. Our friend could not express it because, well, it’s just who he is – it’s not something he consciously thinks about every day. Analyzing his natural reactions just is not realistic. So, we had a hard time figuring stuff out, but in the end, apologies were given and recieved all around (because we did hurt him, too, by ignoring him and not realizing his needs), and we left amiably. One thing we did hear from him, though, was that even though he apologized for hurting us, he said he would never apologize for his actions. In fact, he would even do it again if the situation arose. I found that fascinating.

This afternoon, we started “Conflict Resolution” which will be a class that will go until sometime tomorrow. Coming from a background where conflict was looked down upon, I find the concept of conflict being not only necessary but God-given just really hard to swallow! But, I’m learning! It does produce growth, brings glory to God, and allows us to serve others.

I think the last few days have just made me stop and go, “hmm.” I don’t get it, but I’m glad we’re going through it.