The Not-So-Fun Weekend

Well, I haven’t written in awhile because the illnesses at CIT finally caught up to me. We had a nice Friday evening and Saturday hanging out with people here, working on our paper, and Brian even had a “man’s day out” with a friend of ours on Saturday. But, by 2am Sunday morning, the flu hit me like I haven’t been hit in probably 10 years. I cannot remember being that sick. I was completely miserable for all of Sunday, Sunday night, and all day Monday. I’m finally doing better today, but I’m missing the afternoon class because I’m so worn out. If you think of it, you can pray for Brian. He’s had somewhat of a stomache ache all day today and he’s not feeling so well this afternoon. So far, pretty much everybody here has had some form of an illness and none of it has been pretty. Please keep us in prayer! I’d rather not get Brian’s cold and Brian would really rather not get my flu. We’ll see if that’s feasible.

That’s pretty much my only thoughts for now. My mind is still pretty fuzzy. I’m going to post some pictures on facebook this afternoon, so feel free to check those out. As soon as they’re up, I’ll post the link. Thanks for your prayers! We really need them these days.

Oh, this is the last week of our Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry class. We end this class on Thursday and start Language Acquisition on Monday. We’re losing a few of our classmates and gaining a few more. Should be fun!

You can pray also that we’ll get our paper finished on time. With me being sick Sunday and Monday and not being able to concentrate, we have more to do on our paper than we’d hoped. Thankfully, we don’t have much left to do, but still…it’s quite the project either way.


The Weekend!

It’s finally the weekend! And here we are…doing research. Well…supposed to be doing research. That’s kind of the plan for this afternoon.

Yesterday in class, we went over different “tools” for ethnography. We really can’t use most of it until we actually get to our countries. The premise of the day was to be ready to intentionally study the culture once we get there. We have lots of ideas on how to go about that and we’re excited about the process. To help us get started, we have an assignment that some are really, really nervous about. We are supposed to interview three people who were not born in the US. Everyone wanted to know if I counted, but apparently I don’t. Bummer. Anyway – we’re to go in teams (so Brian and I can do it together) and just approach people that are obviously not American and find out different information about their home country and the culture. It’s supposed to be very informal, not pressuring them at all. Our instructor said that some students have even been invited over to people’s houses for dinner after this project! The goal is actually to get us used to going out of our comfort zone and talking to people we don’t know. See, one of the steps to figuring out how things work in another country is by asking several nationals about what’s going on. We need to get used to it now, at home, or it’s going to be ten times more difficult overseas. Brian and I are actually very excited. We had to approach people during Bible school about their worldviews and that seemed harder. People generally like to talk about themselves and they love it when they’re asked questions about their home. I loved sitting down with people from our church in Montreal and just drilling them with questions. It’s fascinating what you learn just by listening! Hopefully this will go well. I think we’re going to try to interview people next week since we have a longer weekend.

Tomorrow, we are going to go to a Catholic church and get that assignment done. We need to do a “physical map” of the building and take notes of how they conduct the service, dress, decorate, etc. Should be interesting!

Last night, we all went to Old Fort, North Carolina, to attend the Old Fort Mountain Music. Here’s the link:  It was so fun! It starts around 7 and goes til around 11. All different bands come in and play a set for about a half hour. There’s clogging and line dancing and it’s so cool to see the mix of ages all mingled together. Brian and I had a great time just observing and seeing how everyone interacted. There was a whole group of what we would’ve called punk kids that had a blast clogging and dancing with the older folks that had come. There were even little girls up there clogging! The bands mostly consisted of a fiddle, a guitar, a bass, a banjo, a mandolin and singers, or some combination of the above. One group had all guys – 3 were brothers. The youngest was 14 and holy cow, could they sing! It was such fun. We left around 10:30. Check out the website – it was really a neat experience. We may have to go back. 🙂

I’m going to add just a couple more pictures to Facebook. I did not get a chance to get a picture of the nursery area, but I will get that done. We didn’t take pictures in Old Fort because we really felt that would be inappropriate. We were the only tourists, as far as we could tell, and we didn’t want to offend anybody. But, take a look at the website; some of the bands they have pictured we actually got to see. If you search “North Carolina clogging” on, you can see short video clips of stuff similar to what we saw last night.

Hope you all have a nice weekend! Drop us an email, send us a letter (or a package filled with cookies…), give us a call, or comment on our website. We enjoy hearing from all of you!!

Click for Pictures! The new ones are first:

Monday = Learning Styles

Before I discuss today, I wanted to share with you our weekend! Not that it was overly exciting, but hey, some of you have asked, so I will acquiesce.

The weekend was very relaxing. We were informed that it will probably be the last relaxing weekend, but we’ll see about that. 🙂 Saturday was absolutely a gorgeous day, so we streamed “Psych” and “Monk” over the internet all morning (the productive way to start the day and enjoy the outdoors) and then went grocery shopping in the afternoon! Woohoo! Actually, we enjoyed shopping at Aldi and got so many bargains that we’re still stinkin’ excited. For those of you who have never had to worry about finances or have never lived off of support, this won’t make any sense to you. We have never had to worry about finances before and back in South Dakota, I never gave it a thought as to how much I spent on groceries or shopping because it was just never an issue. Now, we’re living on a rather meager paycheck from BCM each month that is solely for food and other necessities because, well, it just won’t cover more than that at this point. So, in reality, we are living off of other people’s gifts and the Lord’s Almight provision. Therefore, frugality and wise spending has become key. And actually, I’m really enjoying praying with Brian before even heading out to do groceries, asking the Lord to help us make wise decisions. I wish we had done that more often when life was “easy”. Maybe we’d have more money saved… hmmm…there’s a thought.

Anyway – we went for a nice hike (as evidenced by our pictures) and just enjoyed a nice day together. We love you, Mom and Dad Ribble, but it’s been nice to have time completely to ourselves. I’m positive they know how we feel and we greatly appreciate the respect they’ve given us over the past few months, but in all honesty, this past week has really helped our relationship grow back up again – just being able to be together without anybody else around, if we so choose to ignore everyone else living here.

Sunday morning, we woke to rain. Real SPRING rain! It was still warm out – felt like summer. Hallelujah. And church did not start til 11! What a marvelous concept, if we do say so ourselves. Whose brilliant idea was it to change that to 9am?? 11 was just absolutely perfect! Anyway. Brian had researched the Presbyterian church so we knew what we were going into.

Before I continue, though, let me premise this entire section by reiterating that this project is not to dive into different theology or different doctrine. The idea is culture: “It’s not right or wrong. It’s just different” is a phrase that we’re learning to repeat over and over. So, for those of you who might attend a Presbyterian church and are offended that we are using this church as our cultural case study, please don’t be! Brian grew up Weslyan; I grew up Bible Baptist. The Presbyterian church was a wise decision for us because it is larger than usual for Brian; smaller than usual for me. More traditional in worship style and setting for both of us. More repetitive than usual for both of us. And WAY shorter than we’re used to! The goal is to observe; not criticize, judge, or make ourselves superior in any way.

That said, we enjoyed the church. It was completely different than usual. We were some of the few that brought Bibles (the others being the other family from CIT who came as well!) and definitely the only ones who kept them out while the pastor preached. The pastor read his sermon and even though they had a lady read three different passages before he preached, he never referred to any of them during his 15 minute sermon. He wore a choir robe, but there was no choir (so, I guess it was more of a pastoral robe?). They sang only hymns and two of them were obviously ones they sing each week since we were the only ones that needed a hymnal during those! They used just an organ (which, Mom, you have shaped my view of organs and I understand fully now why people dislike organs as much as they do!), but had a “band” up there that did a special and they used guitars and bass and stuff like that. The service started promptly at 11 and we were climbing back in the car to go home at 12:02. Wow. I have never, ever in my life been to a service that ended on time. I’ve been to services where people left if it went too long, but never one where they ended on a specific time. On purpose. Different.

We plan on going back, but we are also planning on visiting an Hispanic church in the area as well one of these weeks. There’s a missionary from Columbia here and I think we’d like to go with him to church one Sunday just so he can help us understand. I’ve been to Hispanic services, but Brian has not. We both think it would be fun to jump into something like that at least for a week.

As far as classes went, we had a BCM missionary teach all day today. Her name is Chip and she taught quite a bit at Candidate Orientation back in August as well, the same things that she taught today. So, it was quite a bit of review for us, and yet it was more insightful than we first thought it would be! We took a Learning Styles test and when I took it back in August, I was under a lot of stress and my learning style was drastically different than it was today when I took the same test. In August, I was more, what they call, “Abstract Random” – where I take in information abstractly and process it randomly. Today, I was what they call a “Diamond” – meaning I can easily conform to all 4 types of Learning Styles, thus making it easier for me to fit into a culture/group/team than someone who is like Brian, who turns out to be a “Concrete Sequential” (bar none!) – meaning he takes in information concretely and processes it sequentially. At first, I was appalled that my learning style had changed so drastically, but now, I can see why the test didn’t make complete sense when I took it in August. I have a feeling some of this was shaped because of moving around and fitting in in a lot of different circumstances, but regardless, it’s how God made me and I’m fine with that. 🙂 Taking tests like this have helped Brian and I understand each other so much better. It has helped us give more respect to each other, especially since August when we took these tests for the first time.

Later this week, we’ll actually get into more cultural information, like transitioning. Tomorrow, I’m helping lead worship. Starting next week, I will be helping lead worship twice a week, which will be fun.

I’m glad you all are enjoying the pictures! I’ll be sure to take some of the classrooms this week and the children’s area (for a certain someone who has asked 🙂 ) and post those on facebook as well. Thanks for posting comments! They’re all coming through just fine! Feel free to ask us questions or even send us helpful info on Peru if you feel so inclined. 🙂