In June, we completed our training time in Union Mills, NC. Our seven weeks there were such a special time for us to prepare as a family for what is to come. Many have asked what we learned and I think the most significant thing that we walked away with wasn’t the language preparation tools or the framework for understanding cultures, but instead it was a deeper, richer, more personal understanding of the gospel and who we are in Christ.
The training covered many topics, but a common theme each day was focused on our identity in Christ. One thing that all missionaries experience when they move overseas is a loss of self. Their identity is stripped away when thrown into an unknown, foreign culture. All that is left is the core of who they are. The rebuilding of identity can only happen with the work of the Holy Spirit piecing them back together.
In anticipation for this process, our trainers helped us to think more deeply about who we are at the deepest levels of our heart according to what God’s word says about us — not what others say or what our accomplishments may show.
Our time at CIT was also a unique time of being with other people who are doing just what we are doing. There was a special solidarity with these new friends. They are preparing family to say good bye. They are asking churches and individuals to give financially so they can go. They are living in transition. Some are homeless like we are. Some called themselves nomads with giant grins on their faces — anticipating the home that they will create on the other side of the planet. Many had kids the same age as ours – going through the same struggles as a result of this in-between stage. Some cried the same tears as Kate did through our classes on transition and leaving well.
AND all of them are walking out their love of God and their trust of his provision in ways that are inspiring and encouraging. Sometimes this journey to Thailand feels like a weird, strange thing to be doing… so these friendships mean so much as we all take off on this sometimes outlandish leap of faith. Its just good to know there are other people out there as weird as we are! Ha.