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.