Darrell and I at Red Robin, “we would like a booth….a booth that has no exits and traps children in please.”
Hudson, “We are SO popular here!! Everyone comes over to us. I think it’s because we have 6 kids and we are moving to Burundi.” (Hudson is expressing how amazingly kind everyone is here. Families help us every day by getting us food, drinks, cleaning up the floor, and supervising our kids. Just yesterday 4 people helped us just during lunch (which is in a cafeteria). It has been a true blessing to meet so many kind people in one place. And once a week the families with older kids and singles babysit for all of the families with young kids. So Darrell and I have actually gone on two dates while we have been here!)
Our Frist Week at MTI: written a week and a half ago
After a two-day road trip that actually went quite well, we all made it here to Palmer Lake, Colorado, last weekend to begin our training at Missionary Training International.
When we first arrived, we were thrilled to see that they had assigned us three adjoined rooms. This was a huge blessing because we knew this particular month’s program was very full and that most families would have to squeeze into fewer rooms. (picture hotel rooms) So now the boys have a room with twin beds, the girls have a room with a double and a twin, and Darrell and I are sharing a room with Shiloh who is in a pack-n-play. It has all worked out wonderfully, and we feel like we have plenty of space to be comfortable for our 4 week stay here.
Our first week here has mainly consisted of language training. This seemed crazy to us that two weeks could be spent on language training while still being applicable to all the different missionaries who come here, but it’s amazing how helpful it is. We are going through the PILAT program that teaches you different phonologies and ways to make sounds with your mouth. They also teach us how to best use a language helper. So today I spent 3 hours with a Hindi tutor and Darrell with a Russian tutor. This was so that we could see how easy it was to use this technique even when we didn’t have a vested interest in learning the language. So now I know some Hindi!
The kids have LOVED their classes. I was nervous about putting them in childcare all day (we get them out to each lunch with us). We have had some bumpy times and I have certainly cried …every single day, but the older kids, Juliet and up, have really loved their class. My favorite part of their lessons has been how their teachers are mimicking some of our lessons but at their level. So the girls (4,6) have learned about how God made all languages and how He created each of us to speak language. The boys, (8,9) are learning how to identify when they feel nervous and how to express the yuck feelings and the yea feelings at the same time. They call it the “yuck duck” and the “yea duck,” as in a “pair of ducks,” or paradox. The goal is that we each can walk through this journey allowing both ducks to swim side by side.
The next three weeks will consist of one more week of language training followed by two weeks of field preparation.
MTI week 3. Written today:
So here were are, much more quickly than we presumed, at week 3 of our training. I am already sad at the thought of leaving yet relieved to get back to a life of normal…..oh wait…no, that’s actually NOT what’s going to happen! Reality check: life will not be normal or settled for a very long time.
Today we talked about transition. The kids (ages 4 and up) joined us in class today for various bridge building and crossing exercises. It was so nice to have them with us so we could talk about chaos together. The stages of the bridge are: settled, unsettled, chaos, re-settling, newly settled. The activity was made out of chairs and then exercise balls (the chaos part) and teams had to work their way across. In each case, people on the side had to be used to balance and support those crossing. This brought out the fact that as you are in chaos/transition/mayhem, those around you will be affected. You will have to lean on your support system to cross this chasm successfully. At the end of all the discussion they added some rope to the sides of the “bridge.” The rope represents Jesus. His ever constant, always present, always stabilizing presence. What a gift that we do not have to begin this crossing alone! Darrell and I both feel like we are smack dab in the middle of the unsettled zone. Some of our kids feel like they are still in the “smiley face” zone while one of them feels like he is closer to the chaos zone. Each of us will experience this differently as we enter our true chaos zone over the next two years. So what was the definitive message from today? That no matter what is going on around us God will always be with us. His word will not change. His peace will not waver. But we must look to Him, cry to Him, and reach for our guard rails each step of the way.
Pslam 63:7-8 “For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me.”