Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Essential 3 ::: Hungary 2007

In the summer of 2007, I helped lead a team of students to serve with Christian Associates International, helping to put on a kids program during their annual staff conference called Connect. Connect is a meeting point for their worldwide staff and is a homecoming of sorts where staff reconnect, introspect and get invested in. Connect serves to vitally recharge and re-energize church planting families that have served in their respective environments and contexts. Let's visit the 3 essential questions in light of this experience.

1. Am I planning to have an impact that lasts for 500 years?
Aside from the given of impacting the missionary kids, our interaction with the missionary families had a huge impact as well. I know all of our team was affected by hanging around the crazies - the ones that are brave and daring enough to leave everything behind to live in a foreign culture so that Jesus would be proclaimed. Like most missionary families I meet, in some ways they are normal and just like us. In other ways, they aren't normal at all. Living a life of intentionality is not commonplace. The members of this team saw Europe's need, spent quality time with families interacting about God's mission in the world and continue to envision a different future for themselves - and for mankind.

2. Can both host and teams trust each other because we are partners?
Our initial contact with CAI was through a GCC family that eventually ended up on the mission field serving with CAI. So based on that context, we already had somewhat of a partnership from an organizational [church:mission agency] level but not personal. Of course, that partnership deepened to the personal level as we prepared. The culmination of that partnership was a week of kids program that ran extremely well in both the logistics and overall ethos of the week. One other thing worth noting - SPACE and CAI share a lot of the same values - experimentation, personal leadership development and risky innovation.

3. How will I engage the culture?
The difference between American and European culture is not great. In addition to the similarities, staying in a hotel that was very American with a lot of other Americans made engaging with the culture more difficult. Out team made the most of non conference times, such as time before and after the conference in Vienna and Munich and a morning touring the city of Sopron [where our hotel was located], which provided some observations in culture. This experience required a bit more ingenuity when it came to making sure our team engaged context and culture.

Photos: Team reflection, Vienna, by RobynB; the fire tower, Sopron, Hungary, by ErinOB.

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