We just wrapped up 9 days of Field Prep Seminar, so we want to recap that time here. We really value the training ABWE offers their missionaries and love seeing everyone at their headquarters in PA. But since travel wasn’t possible this time around, meeting together online was just as good.
So here, in no particular order, are the top twelve things from Field Prep:
1. Morning Devotions & Prayer Time: Morning sessions started at 6:00am or 8:30am, depending on the day, and training always kicked off with a short devotion and prayer time. What an encouraging and uniting way to start the day.
2. Cultural Awareness: We spent quite a bit of time talking about culture shock and culture stress… and how we can identify some of the thing that will contribute to our stress: cultural distance, expectations, experiences, our personalities, and any concurrent stressors, for example. Learning a culture takes time and that’s okay.
3. Financial Information: Leaving my job and our source of income has been a hard thing to navigate. In June, we’ll begin pulling our salary and housing allowance from ABWE to meet our financial needs. It was very helpful having some relevant financial information.
4. Child Safety Training: ABWE is committed to protecting the missionary kids and the children we serve through ministry. Since our primary ministry focus is reaching children, this was a great review about increasing visibility, decreasing isolation, and increasing accountability.
5. Missionary Forum: Some on-the-field missionaries including our friend Patrick serving in Berlin!) connected with us online to talk about how to leave well, prepare our children, and what to do the first two weeks on the field. So helpful!
6. Language Learning: We had a fun and engaging session about language learning about halfway through our training. Learning French (and then Kabiye) is going to require a lot of humility, humor, and courage. But ultimately, it will allow us to speak to peoples’ hearts and be bound to them in ways we wouldn’t otherwise.
7. Spiritual Warfare: We spent a whole day discussing spiritual warfare: what it may look like, how to combat it, and why an awareness of the spiritual realm is so important.
8. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: After reading the book, we had some training about how to function well as a team. Our field team in Central Togo will need to be built on trust, not be afraid of conflict, have strong commitment, hold one another accountable, and pay attention to results.
9. Financial Conflict: In addition to our earlier training about personal finance stuff, we talked about how to handle finances with national partners. This is a tough topic to navigate on the field, but a critical one! And believe it or not, it was encouraging to hear that whatever we do, whether we give or not, it will cause problems!
10. Crucial Conversations: We also read the book “Crucial Conversations” as a group and spent about two whole days discussing it. From creating a safe environment for a hard conversation to reflecting on our own actions and behaviors, this training segment is going to be so helpful with a team and even in our own family.
11. Debrief with ABWE President Paul Davis: We had a time to just chat with Paul Davis, ABWE President, and chat about how FPS went, what we learned, and more. He affirmed the new reality we’re living in as missionaries (and not just because of COVID-19). But he also challenged us to embrace some of the family culture that will keep us serving together long-term.
12. Virtual Rotunda Send-Off: At the end of every ABWE training, we have a special send-off ceremony in the rotunda at headquarters. Well, we couldn’t do that this time around! But we had a special time online where we were each able to share about God has called us to before being prayed over by our Executive Director. What a sweet time to be affirmed in our calling and “sent out” by ABWE to the nations.
Thank you for all your support and prayers the last two weeks as we navigated an online training in the midst of a pandemic with three littles at home. They were felt and appreciated.
Three more quick things:
Christ is risen, friends! Happy Easter!