“Here is your passport. You need to get your visas. Here is a map—you may want to take a picture,” I was told. Having just walked into the building, I was now walking out in search of these “visas”. Stepping into the room in another building that was specified on the map, I almost felt like I had already stepped into another world! None of the “officials” were speaking English (at least initially). I felt quite lost! I went to one table, only to be told, “No, you need to go to customs first.” I go to customs and am greeted with a barrage of foreign words I didn’t understand. I then make my way to the “money-changing table,” glad to understand at least some of the Spanish. The next stations had a pleasant surprise (for me at least I finally made it through, but the simulated experience left me feeling somewhat disoriented, confused, and a bit suspicious—something I’m sure to experience over and over again when I first arrive in the mission field. Training was certainly off to an immersive start!
This past week has been packed with information—from culture shock to discipleship to world view. But one thing in particular that has stuck out to me was this piece of advice we were all given: “If you want to be good at something, you first have to be willing to be terrible at it.” Hmm… good point! Whether it is learning to ride a backward bicycle, practicing the sounds of a new language, or learning to teach, I need to be okay with failing…that’s the only way I can learn and improve! Even though it’s pretty basic, it is—for me— a freeing thought. It’s probably one of the most helpful things I have learned so far!
Week one down, three more to go!