The second main reason we travel is to participate in training seminars. Our goal, as a field, for our church planters is to limit the amount of time they are forced to come out of the village. So we try to have different personnel from our field participate in training sessions that they can then pass on to others as they travel around in village visits or during our big field conferences. This can differ from conferences that help us stay up to date on the vision and current struggles of our organization, to a seminar on a practical piece of ministry like discourse analysis. One of the fields we have worked really closely with on this is South East Africa. Since we are both small fields we have tried to help each other as we press on towards being better equipped. They, as a field, had some really good things going in People Group Assessment (the process we use to decide where we will allocate missionaries), so Joel and some others from our field went down to get trained in that process. They then passed that training on to others here who were interested in participating in that on our field. Later their field sent people to us to see how we were running our E2 program (the program we use for peoples first few years in ministry).
A lot of the training I have participated in has revolved around different aspects of language and culture learning. This has ranged from training put on by the writer of the approach we use to seminars put on by our mission for specific pieces of different stages of language learning. For Joel his travel have been more varied from training on what to do if a crises arises to how to research specific people groups we hope to reach.
One positive side of these seminars has been travel to different parts of the world, including Thailand, Tanzania and England. However this travel also brings with it a responsibility as the information is not just for us to process and use, but also to think about how we can pass that on to others on our team.
- One of our favorite parts of these trips is connecting with missionaries from all over the world to collaborate and encourage one another.
- The hardest part of these trips is the separation as it is rare that have we actually been able to travel together on one of these types of trips.
- Traveling outside of Africa has caught us in some interesting packing situations…like Thailand were we couldn’t wear bright colors (which is most of what I own in Africa) and England where it was FREEZING!
- These trips are usually the longest trips we make as seminars can be up to 2 weeks with travel on top of that.
- Africa is HUGE. It takes us 9 hours to fly from where we are to the eastern side of Africa, longer than it takes us to fly to the US.
- Not all airlines or airports are created equal and we have seen quite a few that were less than exciting.
- Extra pages in our passports is a much as most visas take A WHOLE PAGE! We renewed Joel’s last passport, not because it had expired, but because he was out of room for visas.
- These trips have also allowed us to do some fun touristy things in countries we visit.
- Our favorite trip was the one we got to take to Tanzania with the boys because being together as a family is the best!