Sunday, April 22, 2012

Retreat Day!

So, I am supposed to be napping right now, but I am too excited to do so.  So I figured I'd go ahead and post this blog while everything is still so fresh in my head.

Today was our MO5 Pre-field retreat, where all 5 of the teams come together to build as teams, learn a few things, and continue preparing for our trips.  My team chose to go as a unit to the morning session (we had our choice, morning retreat, or afternoon), which was a great choice for us, since 6 of the 8* were able to make it.
Team Red, L to R: Liz, Jeff, Me(Yonna), Phil, Theresa and Sherril.

We arrived by 8 this morning, and immediately got to work.  After a few small housekeeping things, we began the morning with team builders...but since the other teams weren't all in attendance like Team Red was, we ended up counting off, and splitting up that way.  We had different tasks/games to complete, and the team with the most points in the end won a prize.  One game was a ping pong ball toss, where 2 'blind' people tried to toss the balls into a basket across the room,where 3 'blind' people were holding baskets.  No one tossing or catching (was supposed to) talks, but there was one open eyed guide who would tell the tossers how to throw.  Our team, the green dots, did REALLY well on that one!

The next game was a scavenger hunt, where all of the team members were arm in arm.  That last person in line was 'blind', and was the only person who could grab and hold the items found.  Once we got our list, we kind of planned out where we'd be able to find our items, with a 10 minute time limit.  Luckily, I had about 5 items right in my purse, to our benefit.  Not so much to my benefit, I ended up being the blind person.  It was quite interesting, not only being blinded, but completely relying on others (some, strangers!) to guide my way to picking things up, and almost running around the church.

The third game was the alligator pit, where one person was to act as a verbal guide to the rest of the team who had to cross an area littered with clothing without stepping on anything.  I was the first person from our team to make it across, and then ended up being the guide after that.

We then debriefed, and talked about how we were able to take risks, and trust one another, something we will most certainly need to do once we get to our mission fields.  AAAAnd my team won, so we got a chance to pull from an assortment of travel sized gifts...I chose a sewing kit, since I always seem to be in need of a safety pin!

We then did a few more exercises, figuring out our personality types, which my team will discuss further in detail later.

Then it came time for lunch...the World Meal, as it was being called.  Our host walked around the room, and everyone chose a slip of paper from a basket with the name of a country on it.  There was a beautifully set table for 2 set in the middle of the room, and we made a circle around the team.  Then, the people who pulled USA and the UK were invited to have their meal at the table.  The table was set with wine glasses, china and silverware.  They were offered sparkling water, sweet tea, an amazing salad, an entree of chicken, rice, rolls, butter, and fruit, as well as a pastry dessert.  Next called was Czech Republic, who were offered chairs (no table), glasses of tea, chicken, rice, a banana and 2 slices of bread on fancy paper plates.  Mexico was offered a linen table cloth on the floor, hard plastic cups of tea, chicken, rice, banana and a slice of bread, with a plastic knife and fork.  The rest of the groups were served as follows:

Brazil: vinyl tablecloth on the floor, hard plastic cups of water, plastic fork, rice, banana and a slice of bread.
Thailand: thin plastic tablecloth on the floor, red plastic cup of water, rice, half a banana and a slice of bread.
India: a square of napkin to sit on, small cup of water, a slice of bread.

I was in this final group, which was Kenya.  We were told to sit right on the cold floor.  We were given a small cup of dirty water, and a half slice of bread.

So many things ran through our minds.  I actually thought that we'd end up getting the scraps from the table, especially since they didn't finish all of their food, and had it packaged to go...but no such luck.  I guess that really IS they way of the world.  How sad...the rest of the world watches as we in the USA eat when we're not hungry, waste food, 'save it for later', feed it to our pets...instead of sharing it.  I thought about it...even when we give for food drives, we usually give whatever we have that we aren't eating,or what we have had the longest - we reach into the very back of the cupboard, and dust off a couple of cans to give.  We aren't giving our best to help our neighbor...and in doing this, are we also revealing our hearts for God?  Hmmm...

Just a little something to think about...

Next time: Team Red's Skype chat with the Mudrik family!

*We are now down to 8 members.  Due to familial situations, 2 of our members made the decision to withdraw from our trip, one of them being my beloved partner, Becci.  I know that for her, it was not an easy decision, but after much discussion and prayer, she decided that this was the best thing to do for her family.  While I am sad to see her go, I am happy that she is at peace with her decision.  I will miss her while I am gone, but look forward to our growing friendship.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meet Megan of Team Kenya!

So in continuing to introduce you to my team, I thought I would also interview other people involved with the MO5 mission.  We have teams going to Arizona, Mexico, Nairobi, Kenya and Southeast Asia, as well as my team's trip to Prague.  Here is where I asked a good friend of mine (we are in a wonderful small group of women together at church) to tell me about her experience with preparing for her trip!

Yonna: Tell me a bit about yourself: Who are you? What do you do? How did you come to be a member of Mountain Christian Church?
Megan, MO5 Team Green: Kenya
Megan: My name is Megan! I originally started going to Mountain when I was seven years old, but stopped going when I was 15. Then returned last year (2011).  I am a faithful member of the Women's Mentoring Group at Mountain (Yonna note: and we LOVE her presence!~)

Y:  Have you ever been on a missions trip before?
M: I have not been on a missions trip before, or even an airplane!!!

Y: WOW!  Not even an airplane?  What a leap of faith you're taking...especially with a plane ride that can last up to 14 are one brave little sister!  So in knowing that, what made you want to go on a missions trip, and how did you decide on Kenya, of all places?
M: Well, when I heard about Mountain On 5, I thought "wow, I really want to be apart of that".  I had some friends that when to Kenya last summer with the church, who came back with amazing, life changing, faith building and challenging stories.  Last summer I thought that there was no way could I go to Africa on a missions trip.  But when I found out about MO5, I prayed (a lot!) about it, because I knew I wanted to go on one of the trips, but I didn't know which one. After much prayer, I kept hearing God call to me, Kenya, Kenya, KENYA!

Y: I know how that is!  I prayed lots myself, and it's amazing the way God let's you know exactly what His will is. So, what was your application process like?
M: It took me a while to fill out the application form...
Y: I KNOW!  It was 12 pages long!
M: RIGHT!  I was so nervous and unsure if I was even ready to do it.  And then I turned it in. About two weeks later, I got a call from church asking me to come in for an interview. I met with 3 church members that I had never met before and had to tell them my strengths and weaknesses, describe my faith, and explain why I wanted to go... I was so nervous!  But after it was over, I thought to myself  "Wow, that went so well".  Three days later, I got an email saying "Welcome aboard M05!"

Y: AMEN!  I know all of those feelings all too well.  Being nervous, interviewing with people I didn't know, sharing testimony...its all enough to make you anxious!  I know I'm glad to have gotten that part over with already!  So, now that you've made the team, tell me about this trip...what are you expecting?  What are you hoping to come away with?
M:  I am looking forward to seeing God in ways I cant even imagine. I'm sure I will see how real and how powerful God is. I have been told that the people of Nairobi, Kenya are filled with so much hope and faithfulness to  our God, and  I want to see and experience that. I've also been blessed to be a blessing to those people who are living without the light of God.  I cannot wait to connect with God's people, experience a completely different culture, and grow significantly as a woman of God.

Y: Oh Megan, Amen!
M:   I am going to the Marthare Valley in Nairobi, Kenya.  These beautiful people live in substandard conditions - the area is severely stricken with an outstanding amount of poverty.  They are starving for food and starving for God. I cannot wait to share the good news with them!!!

Y:  I appreciate your heart so much...wanting to go and do and be the Hands and Feet of Him in Africa...I can't wait to get back and hear the stories of your time of service (and find out how those plane rides turned out for you!).  Is there anything else you'd like to add for our readers?
M:   I just want to ask them to continue to pray for all of the MO5 teams: Arizona, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Czech Republic and Kenya!

Y: Thanks so much Megan, for sharing you heart with us!

If you are interested in supporting our teams, please pray for us by name, or click the link at the top left of the page to donate.  Anything you can do will be GREATLY appreciated!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Experienced Perspective

I apologize for not having written in awhile.  I've been trying to put together a yard sale, with the proceeds going towards this trip, and I just got back from vacation as well.

I went to visit family in Missouri, whom I hadn't visited since 2005.  7 years!  For me, it was quite a relaxing time, and a bit eye opening as well.

I attended church with family on Easter Sunday, at a church a considerable bit smaller than the one I go to.  The first thing I noticed when I walked in though, was that for such a small church, they sponsored quite a few missionary families, I'd say maybe 10.  I was amazed!  A church of approximately 140 members supporting 10 families all over the world!  God is truly working through this church!

I was lucky enough to hear an update from one of their missionaries who recently returned from a 6 month trip to Haiti.  After church, I ran up to her, because I wanted to talk to her about her experiences.  I explained that while my church sends short term mission teams out all the time, but this would be my first trip, and asked if she had any advice for me.

We discussed her experiences as a missionary.  She and her husband live in Missouri for 6 months, then move back to Haiti for 6 months, and have done this for the past several years.  Both places are now home to them.  She has helped to establish an orphanage in Haiti, and in special cases, raises money to bring the critically ill to the USA to seek medical treatment.  She could not imagine her life being any more full right now, and would hate it if it were any less.

As for her advice for me, she told me to be incredibly flexible, but at the same time, to be myself.  So many times missionaries go to these places, and have to 'live up to being model Christians', which eventually depresses the missionaries, and leaves those that they are helping let down.  I cannot put on a front that I am perfect, when I am not.  I am still a work in progress myself, and need to be able to show that as I teach the gospel to those who do not know it.  James 1:2-3 tells me to consider it joy when I face trials because my testing through those trial produces perseverance.  But verse 4 teaches "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."  I will continue to be a work in progress, and will continue to strive towards perfection, though I may fall short...but all of this is to mature me in my walk of faith.


Right now, I am a bit discouraged.  Team Red had a great meeting last night, and we are bonding as a team quite well.  We had a language lesson from a Slavic woman who now lives in our area, and it was really cool to hear the language we will soon be surrounded by.  As for the discouragement, we got our monetary progress reports last night, and I still have A LOT of fund raising to do.  I am now one third of the way to my goal, but if I don't bring in a lot more funds here in the near future, my plane ticket cannot be purchased.  Right now, all of our tickets are reserved, but have a deadline for payment.

I am faithful that God answers prayer, especially those submit my more than one person.  Would you please pray that I am able to bring in the funds for my trip?  I appreciate the support I've been given, through this blog as well as in the real world, and having folks who have my back is ALWAYS reassuring.

Hence, the reason for our yard sale.  I am now going through outgrown kiddio clothes, books I read but no longer need, DVDs we just don't watch anymore...all sorts of things that are doing nothing but collecting dust in our home, but can help buy my trip plane ticket.  It's quite exciting, to be purging everything that I have, so that I may go and do His work, I'm just hoping it all pays off (and I will be joining my team on the trip)!

Once again, (shameless plug) if you are willing and able to donate an offering of support to the trip, please click the link at the top left of the page.  You will then be sent to a secure payment page, where you can donate to the Prague Short Term Mission Trip, in the name YONNA, and I will be credited.  Thank you so much, even for just considering this option.

Hoping to write again soon with some good news!  In the meanwhile, be sure to stop over at The Mudrik's Blog and check out what they've been up to...pretty good stuff!