As so often happens with communications with our friends in Africa, I have been unable to contact my friends by telephone for the past few days, so I do not have any update to give on the situation there. In lieu of that I will share some of the things that have been happening here at MTI (Mission Training Institute) in Palmer Lake, Colorado.
I wrote about our LAPs (Language Acquisition Projects) a little while back. During the first half of our training we were focussing on how to learn the language of the people we will be working with – which for us means Fulfulde, which is the language of the Fulbe people.
We have now transitioned to learning how to be handle the unsettling process of entering a new culture, how to navigate stress and conflict, and – today – how to keep the Sabbath. Yesterday was by far our most stressful day here, so it was wonderful to have a Sabbath rest today.
Yesterday began with a May snowstorm outside and a hostage-taking simulation inside. Yes – you read that right: we simulated a scenario where a group of missionaries were gathered for a convention in a place that was thought to be safe, but was overrun by rebels. I don’t want to give everything away, since some of you may someday come here for this training, but I will say that for an activity that was only make-believe, it was surprisingly intense and lifelike. (Note the picture of me relieving the stress afterwards.)
The simulation is designed to help you see your ‘true colours’ under stress; to figure out what your coping mechanisms are; and to see how you generally handle it. Being overseas can sometimes cause long-term, unrelieved, stress to mount up, and it is good to know up front whether you have the requisite peace and trust in God that will be needed (it is not a bad thing to learn about for normal life here in North America either).
None of this is an exact science, of course. Only time will tell whether a person will be able to handle all the stressors successfully. This, for me, is just another reason why I am celebrating today that we have 150 Prayer Partners on our Prayer Support Team. Wow! I praise God for each and every one of them. We will be leaning on them heavily as time goes by I am sure.
For now, please pray for us with respect to our training here at MTI. We are doing well so far, but it is not easy by a long stretch. Continue to pray also for our Fulbe brothers and sisters who are enduring far more hardships than we will normally face. Thanks and God bless.