Some of us went into training with the naively euphoric thought that training would be this super fun and adventurous time. A "summer camp" for adults/families. This idea wasn't totally off base....there was a lot of fun and adventurous times. But there was also work. HARD work.
Duh. When I think of the word "training" it's not usually associated with "fun". It makes me think of conditioning one's self for a sport or to run a race or maybe a kind of boot camp. Those were better ideas to which to cling.
I went in with the words in my head, "This is supposed to be the EASY part.....we haven't even left the States yet!" And now I can see that was a huge mistake. Training is supposed to be hard. It's supposed to make you tough, make you stronger, teach you how to persevere.
And it did.
Our family is much deeper prepared for what lies ahead in our language study and field work. It will still be hard and there will still be work; we continue to train. But the purpose of the training we just completed was definitely fulfilled: we feel ready....better equipped mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Honestly, I could write a plethora of paragraphs on the strain it put on our family, the kids, our marriage, etc. I know that if I'm feeling a certain amount of stress or discomfort then my kids must be feeling the strain themselves as well. "Mom guilt" is huge.
BUT, even though there was so much strain....TRAINING...there are really good things to share about it as well. The Lord worked so, so much in each of our lives.
Mark and I were pumped full of so much information during our classes. Great information....but SO much information!
We learned about such amazing strategies to use on the field. Our favorite sessions were about mapping your field (not just geographically but spiritually and socially as well), spiritual battle & retreat, the 6 components of the M task, storying, and how to deal with culture shock & stress. We know how to remain flexible and to expect the unexpected. We know better how to communicate with our spouse and how to reveal our expectations.
(If you'd like more info on our sessions or strategies PLEASE contact us - we'd love to share more! The information given to us was so, so good and we are eager to share.)
We still need much prayer about communicating with our kids. Adapting to change and transition is hard. Dealing with emotions are hard. Especially when you're 4 and 2 years old. Pray for an abundance of wisdom and compassion for us and for wisdom, comfort, and bravery for our children.
Training is tough. We came out of it a little stronger, a little wiser, and with SO many new skills: for the field, for communication, for marriage, for our family, for evangelism, for partnership. Well.....just a lot of skills. :) We came out of it so much closer to the Lord.
Usually, I like to share pictures of the good AND the bad of life because, you know, it's good to keep things real. :)
But, by now, you've probably already got a taste enough of the "tough" parts so I will leave you with some of the amazing memories that were made.
Till All Have Heard, The Rambling Robertsons