Friday, December 2, 2011

So Many Firsts - SPLICE Training at MTI

 Reid and I are officially starting the missions adventure.   After strong recommendation from two missionary families living on the field, we are attending SPLICE training at MTI in Colorado this week.  This is our FIRST step of preparation. 

We anticipated flying to Colorado on Monday (11/28) arriving a few hours apart to begin the three week training session.  Surprisingly, God had other plans.  Because the stand-by tickets Reid and the older four boys had planned to use would not be usable until Wednesday, Reid decided to make the 21 hour drive alone with the older four boys.  The Driving Five arrived on Tuesday morning.  Godwin and I had been blessed with 2 frequent flyer tickets, so we still flew by plane arriving on time Monday afternoon.

The Colorado skies entertained the boys on the drive over.  They passed the time by taking pictures out the window.  Isn't it beautiful?  (If I had room, I would post the 200+ pictures they took from the van window.  Ha!)
Since our arrival, we've experienced many FIRSTS. 

This is our FIRST exposure to cross-cultural training with regards to lifestyle choices, conflict resolution, loving others, perceptions, values, spiritual dynamics, reflection on God's BIGness, adjustments with children, team building, etc...  We are processing too much to adequately verbalize.  We have enjoyed continual conversation wrestling through questions we've been challenged with. 

It has been daunting, overwhelming, draining, ... exciting, refreshing, enjoyable, fun...  We feel under-qualified, intimidated, and ill-equipped.  Contrary to this, we are learning, exploring, challenging our thinking, assessing our own weaknesses and strengths, and boundlessly growing.  Additionally, we are reminded that we serve a BIG God who promises to fill in the gaps.  We have much to learn, and if we arrive on the field without knowing all of the answers - He will be our teacher. 

Our time here has given us glimpses of His vast love for our world.  At this training session, there are 38 adults, 26 kids and 21 countries represented!  God uses orphan care, economic development, small businesses, church planting, evangelism, teaching in schools, athlete discipleship, pastor training, etc... all for His glory on earth.  Some of the stories we have been told have been amazing!

We have worshipped with virtual strangers connected through the common thread of our love for Christ.  Others have pressed into us forcing us to dig deeper into our own understanding of ourselves, of others and of God.  We have been challenged in our parenting to gently uncover the hearts of our boys.  Oh yes, this week has been intense...but wonderful!

The boys have played in the FIRST snow of the season.  Snowballs and sledding filled the day.  Much more snow should be coming tomorrow night.

The boys are covering the same material we are in their classes.  They are in small groups with others their same age.  Each day they come upstairs chattering about all they have done during the day.  Their instructors do a phenomenal job of bringing everything to their level.  Team building activities and class conversations are sprinkled throughout the day assisting in processing the myriad of material.  Braden has bonded with another 8 year old named Berkley.  They have been inseparable. 

Today the boys all went to Focus on the Family where Mason and Franklin actually recorded an Adventures in Odyssey!  Mason made everyone laugh with his Brooklyn accent!  We will have the CD if anyone would like to hear it.

In the morning, Franklin and Reid are going ice fishing through 6 inches of ice.  Temperature?  5 degrees in the morning with a high of 15 degrees!  I hope they don't return with frostbite.  However, if Franklin catches "the big one" he will attest that it was worth it, I'm sure!  

Weston has made many friends, but all of them are girls.  He is rarely walking around without one of the girls his age.  Of all of us, he is the most relaxed.  His nickname of "Smiley" fits him here.

Godwin goes to his class in the morning.  After lunch, we have found it best to keep him with us, so he sits on our laps while we attend class.  His precious personality has won the hearts of many of the participants here.

One of the sweetest moments was witnessing Godwin experience his FIRST exposure to snow.  We put some in his hand, he crinkled his nose and said, "I do not like it Mommy.  I want to wash my hands!"  Hilarious!  I want to tuck away unforgettable moments like these.
 We are blessed to be here.  God has so much to teach us.  Let us learn, Lord.  Let us learn. 
Teach me to do your will,
   for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
   lead me on level ground.
Psalm 143:10

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