Believe it or not, we’re not on a month-long vacation. I tend to post about the happy, positive side of things (If you know me, you know I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl), which means that sometimes the other stuff gets a little bit overlooked. No reason, really, other than the fact that when I look back on my day, I want to remember the good things and not dwell on the not-so-great parts. That tends to show through on the blog.
Alot of our fellow missionaries here at the training have posted a “day in the life” post on their blogs so that their friends, family, and supporters can get a glimpse of what we’re doing here. Josh did one for the Kines family on our team blog. I post lots of stuff here, but somehow it tends to be about the boys having a blast in NYC, choo choo trains, and parks.
So, lest you think that we are up here blowing our supporters’ hard-earned money with a month-long vacay in the Big Apple, here’s a look at the requirements of our NYC training.
- Most of our mornings are spent doing some sort of observation, research, and/or interviews for our “ethnographic study” we’re working on. I usually take the boys to the park or some part of Long Island City (because I can walk there), where I try to strike up conversation with mamas from other cultures…if they speak English. Nate spends his mornings doing his own ethnographic studies, sermon/bible stud prep for teaching/preaching at Greek Evangelical Church, or administrative-type duties for support-raising. Some mornings we meet up with the Kines so the guys can work together and Emily and I can tag-team the kids. Occasionally we take a morning “off” for something specific (like the day we went to the 9/11 memorial because we had to reserve a specific time-slot to see it). Most mornings, however, the boys and I go find something kid-friendly where I can incorporate some of my assignments, and Nate works. (Many of the other families here for training have church-related ministry in the mornings. The specific church we are working with has evening ministry stuff instead, so it’s a trade-off.)
- Afternoons are spent in class. I try to put the boys down for a nap upstairs in the childcare area, but most days they don’t get much sleep. Our classes consist of lectures, small groups, panel discussions, and exercises that focus on various aspects of cross-cultural ministry. Most of them have been excellent and really beneficial, covering topics from language, culture shock, evangelism, conflict, worship, prayer, and more.
- After class, we take the boys home for dinner (I usually crock-pot our supper so that it’s ready when we walk in the door), and spend a couple hours trying to keep the boys from having all-out meltdowns from lack of sleep. The whole nap thing is about to kill us.
- Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Nate and Josh go to either a mens group or a home group meeting for Greek Evangelical Church. They are usually out until 11pm or so. I clean the house, do laundry, and work on assignments. Sometimes I babysit a fellow missionary’s baby as well. The nights that he’s home, we’re both usually working on assignments.
- Saturdays are off days, which is wonderful. The past 2 Saturdays we have been able to go on dates, thanks to missionaries also staying in our building who are willing to do babysitting swaps with us. Sundays we worship with the Greek church (Nate or Josh preaches), and we either spend the afternoons with people from the church or bring the boys home for naps, depending on their level of exhaustion. We have the rest of the day free.
I have mentioned “assignments” several times…. here’s what’s required of us in the area of homework.
- daily journals, to be submitted once a week
- 4 ethnographic research/observation papers, submitted once a week
- a 6-page final paper discussing how we will apply what we’ve learned
- 15-minute oral presentation on our church ministry
- Community Analysis project
- Church Analysis project
- meetings and follow-up time with our pre-assigned mentor, weekly
- various duties as assigned by our service ministry team (Nate and I are on the Communications Team, which puts out various announcements throughout the month, runs an online group/chat board, and publishes 3 newsletters…this team takes alot of work! But it’s fun.)
In addition, we had 3 books to read before the training began on July 1.
So… like I said, we’re not on vacation. And that’s why I’m having a hard time keeping up with the blog posts!! We’re getting lots of good training on what to expect on the field, lots of advice and coaching from seasoned missionaries, and lots of tips on adjusting to a new culture. It’s a good, worthwhile experience, and I’m glad we’re here. We’ll be walking onto the field a little more prepared now. Plus, living in NYC for a month is pretty fun.
But we’re all tired. All 100+ of us here for this training need prayer. We need some encouragement. We need some SLEEP! So pray for us while we’re here. And pray especially for the families in our group with several young children who have 60-90 minute commutes each way every single day on top of all of the stuff I just listed. They are rockstars, and I don’t know how they’re making it through the month, to be honest, other than by the sheer grace of God. But then, I guess that’s the only way any of us make it through anything, right? (:
So keep on praying, folks!