Cit was an incredible experience. It is actually really hard to describe all the things that God did during our time there. We were able to meet and become classmates with missionaries who are headed all over the world, from Costa Rica to Thailand to Germany to Djibouti. Yep, Djibouti. But it actually was a wonderful time. There were two sessions each day: The Heart of the Missionary and Equiping for Cross-Culural Life and Ministry. We really dug down deep into our spiritual lives so that we can root out sin issues at the very heart level that could hinder ministry on the field. We talked about practical things for ministry. We talked about Mindstyles and how to work on a Team, including conflict resolution. We talked about how to approach cultural adaptation and how to share the Gospel within the context of different cultures. IN the United States, we often talk about our guilt before a holy God. Other cultures may connect better with the idea that the shame of our sin that has broken our relationship with a loving God. IN fact, if you re-read some of the parables used by Jesus in the New Testament, you would be likely to see that he frames the stories within a shame-based culture.
Team Kim’s Cross-Cultural Training Experience
Have you heard the worship song “Dry Bones” by Lauren Daigle?
It comes to mind when I think of our four weeks spent at the Center for Intercultural Training. Here are the lyrics from the chorus:
As we call out to dry bones · Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts · Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes · Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
In Ezekiel 37, God gives Ezekiel a vision of the restoration of Israel. Ezekiel sees a valley full of dry bones, and God commands him to speak “the word of the Lord” to the bones. In response, life is restored to the dry bones, and a living, breathing army stands before Ezekiel. God reminds Ezekiel that His power alone can restore life to that which was once dead.
The Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry course featured a daily devotional series titled Heart of the Missionary. We covered many topics, and were challenged to dig deep into our own hearts to consider areas in which the Holy Spirit is working to root out sinful desires and conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). The takeaway that settled in my heart is that “God delights in using me in my weakness as much as my strength as I rely on Him for adequacy.” God will call me to do things that are beyond my skills or expertise, but He is faithful to accomplish those tasks by demonstrating His power in me. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1) I am spiritually alive through the power of the Gospel, and my very own “dry bones” are alive to accomplish the good purpose to which God has called me.
We believe that this is the very same work God wants to do among the Colombian people. There are many people who are missing the key truth of the Gospel that will bring light to the reality that God calls us into a personal relationship with Him! There are many around the world who know about God, but are still spiritually dead. Our prayer is that God would use us, like Ezekiel, to call “dry bones” to life by sharing the Gospel in Colombia.
Our Equipping for Cross-Cultural Life and Ministry course provided practical tips for how to transition into our future life in Colombia. We covered topics like Mindstyles, cross-cultural communication, ethnocentrism, team dynamics, conflict resolution, spiritual warfare, folk religion, and reentry (returning to the US after extended time in Colombia), as well as marriage and parenting in the unique circumstances of life in cross-cultural mission work. What a treasure trove of wisdom we gained through the course content and personal stories of the facilitators!
Here is one nugget from our study: We discussed how to share the Gospel within the context of different cultures. In the United States, we often talk about our guilt before a holy God. We use courtroom language to describe salvation (for example, “Jesus took the punishment for our sins”). Other cultures may connect more deeply with the idea that the shame of our sin has broken our relationship with a loving God. Thus, we need a mediator, Jesus, who can restore our honor before God, to be acceptable to Him. (Click to learn more about Honor/Shame Culture)
Besides the course content, we also had the privilege of building friendships with other missionaries preparing to leave for the field. We had classmates who will be serving in Thailand, Costa Rica, Germany, Djibouti, and many more countries around the world! I stumbled across this quote from Meshali Mitchel while at CIT, and it fits perfectly: “In His sovereignty, God lovingly sends and weaves divine relationships throughout our lives. I call them ‘kingdom kin’.” These fellow laborers in cross-cultural missions quickly became friends and allies as we worked together to prepare well to making the name of Christ known around the world.
We were nearly flooded with cards, packages, Facebook comments, and texts. It was wonderful! The kinds words of encouragement always seemed to come at the right time, as did sweet valentines for our girls. Thank you! We felt loved, and more importantly, we knew there were many prayers being offered on our behalf. We recovered quickly from health issues, learned incredibly valuable lessons, and built beautiful friendships. Our girls absolutely thrived in their preschool class, and experienced a new kind of “community” among the large group of third culture kids (TCKs). Praise God for His goodness and thank you for contributing to our success at CIT! We truly count you as partners in this ministry, knowing that you hold us up through prayer, finances, and encouragement.