Friday, September 23, 2011

Preparing Missionaries for Serving/Living Overseas

“Instead of just looking through the window, come inside.” “Dive into the water, don’t just look down into the depths from the boat.” These were just a few word pictures that helped us begin to grasp the difference between transparency (to see)and vulnerability (to join). In our coaching groups at X-track we were invited to let others really take part in our stories, vulnerability. We found that God showed up as we engaged each others stories with all the mess and the glory. The gospel took deeper root in our lives as we processed our life experiences in it’s light. This summer’s training for cross-cultural missionaries, X-track, was one of the best things I have been a part of during my 12 years on staff. The heart of the missionary being transformed by the gospel was the clear emphasis. And it was also the experience of the participants. There was also good content to put in our heads that will help us do well in life and ministry abroad. We acquired language learning skills, advice for raising children in a culture different from that of his/her parents, and input about making study of the Word and spiritual disciplines a constant area of growth. I was amazed by what God did as we were vulnerable with each other and asked the Holy Spirit to help us see our true self. This exposed both how we were uniquely formed for His glory (very encouraging) and ways each of us were needing the gospel to continue transforming our hearts (leading us to repentance). The experience of grace and truth in spiritual community impacted our lives in a profound way. For me it was humbling and exciting to be used by God to prepare these men to thrive as they leave for their respective assignments in the next few weeks. George