We just completed the Christian Medical and Dental Association’s portion of our week-long training. It was two and a half days PACKED FULL of great information and food. Right now, I’m at the hotel in Boone, NC while Hannah sleeps and Aaron is having dinner with the group. Here is an update of some of what I’ve learned so far.
1.) I can wear make up. (I know. I know. Not that important, but it does bring me joy.)
2.) Almost all missionary kids LOVE their mission home better than their U.S. home. (super encouraging!!)
3.) Culture determines A LOT more of our lives than we realize. (I was beginning to realize this as I’m reading On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale, but it hit home even more this weekend. There was an anthropologist who really explained things well. Did you know that even the way we explain why people are sick is dependent upon your culture?? What about the way you value money? Or the way you enter a room? Or your work ethic? So, so much is influenced by our culture which is why we’ll experience culture shock both when we enter Kenya and when we return to the U.S.)
4.) While we think our mission field is Kenya, our real mission field is in the U.S. We are touching many lives just by making this decision. I never thought of that, but I’m glad that fact was brought to my attention. It makes me more intentional about how I live my daily life.
5.) I don’t want to live in America. This was the most shocking discovery of the weekend. I’ve been spending so much of my time mourning all the things I’m giving up. Then, I watched this video of a Muslim’s perspective of us. (I wanted to post it here but I couldn’t find it online.) It made me sad to call myself an American Christian. I think God made me to live outside of my culture. That doesn’t mean that I’m prepared to go. It does mean that He has equipped me with all the right ‘raw materials’ so that He can mold me into the missionary He wants me to be. At this point, I have not many ideas of what He has planned for me, but I’m so convinced that we have made the right decision to move to a foreign country with the purpose of bringing people into the kingdom of God.
6.) In the time between now and January (when we leave for Kenya), I have a lot to do! Read, read, and read some more. Pray, pray, pray and pray and then pray more! And continue to evaluate Who my owner is. When I pick up the cross, I die to myself. Only then does God become my Owner.
This conference was designed for all medical missionaries and their spouses. It was in Bristol, Tennessee. If you’ve ever considered going on a medical mission, I highly recommend this conference.
Tomorrow we begin the Samaritan’s Purse portion of our training. I’m sure it will be as encouraging and enlightening as the CMDA portion was!