I’d always associate “training” with athletics because I grew up playing sports. When missionaries go to “training” it can be a mystery in regards to cross-cultural training and language acquisition. What do you learn about and prepare for? Even after many retreats, camps, bible classes, church services, mission trips and teams, debriefs, and studies, I still try to think about what lessons God has for me; although, there can always be that lingering attitude of self-confidence to which I think “training” isn’t necessary. Before coming to North Carolina, I actually thought, “I’ve been on missions before, I know who I am, why the delay?” CIT then sincerely greets you and says, “As a matter of fact, Anthony, we will see about that.”
The Center for Intercultural Training’s reputation precedes them as a place that generously equips you with cross-cultural skills and expands your ability to share the Gospel with people outside of America. While trainings I’ve been to before stop at getting to know who you are, that is only the beginning here at CIT. A wide range of topics we cover in the next month include: transitions, characteristics of effective teams, ethnocentrism, tools for cultural awareness, spiritual warfare, social context, contextualization, conflict resolution, multicultural teams, folk religion. As well as reflecting on the heart of the missionary including hazards of being a mature Christian, self-righteousness, righteousness of God, the Gospel way, role of the Holy Spirit, acceptability, idolatry, repentance, and satisfaction in God. All these topics and more are part of the work that goes into effectively sharing the Gospel and doing ministry well.
As I begin training, I’d like to remember how disorienting it can be to really stand back and look at what makes you, you. It’s not something many people are willing to do and I’m so thankful I am in such a place that provides a God-honoring community ready to support you at all times. Below is a passage we are memorizing as a class. It is a passage that reminds us of our purpose when we struggle along the way.
2 Corinthians 4:1-12 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
What I’ve been learning so far is that humility is not that hard. That is until people start treating you like you should be…
Yours in Christ.
P.S. This is a time of sanctification and I would like to ask for your prayers over this ministry in North Africa and the impact it will have on Muslims who may come to know the Gospel. Please pray for clear understanding of culture, communication, and obedience to the word of God. Please pray for my support team to be completed and my team overseas to be lifted up and encouraged by God’s grace.