Friday, January 8, 2016

Equiping and Retooling

Well, if there was anything we learned doing cross-cultural ministry overseas, it is that we did not know much about doing cross-cultural ministry overseas.  And most of the things we were told or thought we knew, we were wrong about.  And that is okay, because now we have experience and because now we know what we don't know, or at least we have a better idea of what we need to learn.

 Learning a new language and cultural has a steep learning curve, especially when you are not equipped with the tools to make that process easier or the support you need to thrive in a foreign country.  Thankfully, we are generally not proud people, so when we realized we did not have any idea what we were doing, we did a lot of praying and leaning on Jesus.  That praying turned into a lot of God made opportunities and guidance.

God gave us the opportunity to pastor for a furloughing missionary and that is were He taught us about oral learners and how to better communicate with people that learn differently than we do.  We are hoping to do some more training while here in the U.S. to better prepare us in this area.  If you are unfamiliar with orality, you can start by picking up a very short and easy read called Making Disciples of Oral Learners.  It is a new year, be enlightened!

In preparing to present at a Christian Midwives International Conference, I stumbled upon some really great books on cultural intelligence, transformational development, and helping the materially poor.  All things we would need for a special family that would soon knock on our gate and all things we face often in our own back yard and on the foreign field.  If you are interested in learning more about these topics, I would suggest Serving with Eyes Wide Open, When Helping Hurts (don't be offended by it), or Walking with the Poor, which I am currently reading.  Also a great documentary to watch on a family movie night is "Reparando" (Repairing).  As you watch, let it be a good reminder, that where ever you are going, you are stepping into an already ongoing story.  Sometimes we are only helpful, if we take the time to "read" the back story.  {Here} is a trailer for the film on youtube and you will find the full documentary by clinking {here}

God brought opportunities, kind nationals, and missionary friends into our lives.  He brought Roca Blanca Language school, who not only teaches Spanish, but encourages cultural engagement and are happy to sit a share their years of experience as well.  All of this made for healthier more successful ministries that did not point to us, but pointed to our Savior and encouraged and uplifted those we would leave behind during this next chapter in our lives.  God allowed us to be apart of a church plant and Bible Institute that will continue on long after we have left.  He allowed us to finish well for ourselves, our ministry, and our children even though I was so done long before that last year.  And in that year, He allowed us to see a very up close and personal view of the medical system, gave us vision and direction, and deepened friendships for when we relaunch into cross-cultural overseas ministry again.

2016 is starting out a little shaky for the Means family.  We are transitioning to a time of "tent making", while we equip ourselves for a relaunch in a couple of years.  I'll be honest, that drop off looks pretty scary and it was not an easy decision.  Pray with us that we can find the right bridge across this daunting transition.  And rejoice with us that we have found a great ministry here in NWA to plug into.  A ministry that will stretch us, and support us, and hold us accountable to being missional in our everyday lives.  A body of believers that will be sad and excited to see us go when we do relaunch.

This lady was excited to see our kids gobble down the chapulines (grasshoppers) like pros!

1 comment:

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