Sometimes you hear people refer to ‘seasons of life.’ This journey with World Concern is interesting because I feel like Martha and I are experiencing several small seasons within a relatively short amount of time. As I look back on our journey thus far (primarily from the beginning of this year), I am reminded of some of these small seasons. There was the season of preparing for our short trip to Haiti in June and then actually arriving and spending a week getting to know the people we will be working with and serving. There was the season of travel in July, where we attended two family reunions and spent time with both of our families.
Well, today we begin another small season. Martha and I arrived in Colorado Springs today where we will spend the next three weeks taking a course with Mission Training International (MTI). This course is a “pre-field training program, which focuses on strengthening your skills for cross-cultural life and ministry.” I would say that each of the small seasons we have experienced this year have, overall, strengthened and encouraged us as we prepare for full time ministry in Haiti. I hope this will also be true of our time here in Colorado with MTI.
Before I go on, I have to tell you how awesome it is to be in Colorado again. MTI has a really cool facility where we will be living and eating and learning for the next three weeks, that is nestled right up against the mountains. What an amazing place to train, fellowship, and grow. We are certainly blessed to be here.
Honestly, I was originally skeptical of how beneficial this training would be for us. Not because it was not a solid program, but because at this point in our support raising process it is easy to place a higher priority on meeting with people over coffee and making phone calls to share about our work than spending time learning how to integrate into a new place. Although I have only been here for an afternoon, I am glad to report that my skepticism is already wearing off. I was reminded today, that it is equally important to invest in developing habits and learning skills now that will allow us to serve effectively for the long run.
There are a number of other individuals, couples, and families participating in this training as well. We had our orientation meeting before dinner where we learned more about what the next three weeks will look like. I expected that. What I didn’t expect was to be assigned homework! Martha and I have been up since 5 am and spent several hours on planes today so homework sounded like the last thing I wanted to do tonight. I reluctantly opened my binder and flipped to the page that we were assigned. The title is “An Inventory of My Spiritual Life.” Not the first thing I would choose to explore after a long day! However, as I began to read I realized how great these questions being asked are—questions about my prayer life, spiritual disciplines, and the role of scripture in my life. Wow. I must admit that in the busyness of life I probably would not take the time to consider these things. So despite my original skepticism and tiredness, I am thankful for the opportunity to be here at MTI for the next three weeks. This spiritual inventory will help me see where I am and where I can grow. Hopefully in a couple more weeks I can say that I am at a stronger and healthier place spiritually than I was before. If so, praise God. I know that remaining healthy spiritually is what will sustain Martha and I whenever we do arrive in Haiti and begin our ministry.