Missionary Training International
Our month of May was primarily spent in Palmer Lake, CO at Mission Training International (MTI). We, along with 38 other adults and 16 kids, took part in a 4-week training course called COMPASS to prepare for life overseas. The first two weeks of the program focused on different premises and techniques of learning a new language. MTI’s method showed us that the most effective way to approach language learning is the way a child does – by naturally “pulling in” language through listening and comprehension. They encouraged us to get out into our new communities Day 1 of being in the field and to even let things like running errands be an opportunity to practice the language and engage with nationals.
The last two weeks of MTI were more focused on the cultural, spiritual and personal transition that will take place when we move overseas. A few of the topics we discussed were conflict styles, stress management, spiritual growth and vitality, grief and loss, saying good goodbyes, and the way our frame of reference affects our interactions. All of these topics were hugely impactful for us as we prepare to move to Ukraine.
The Paradox (Pair of Ducks)
One of the most impactful lessons we learned at MTI was called The Paradox, which is represented by the two rubber ducks above. The duck on the left is the “Yay Duck,” which symbolizes all of the good, positive, happy, “yay” things going on in your life. The duck on the right is the “Yuck Duck,” which exemplifies the bad, negative, upsetting, “yuck” things going on in your life. We learned about the freedom to speak in Paradox. Typically when someone shares a “yuck duck,” people around you can attempt to talk you out of it with “yay ducks.” Example: “Wow, it’s hot here.” “Well, at least it isn’t as hot as yesterday.” We learned about how especially through this next stage of life, we will be holding both yay ducks and yuck ducks in the same hand – and that is ok. An upcoming yay duck for us is celebrating the life of our second niece who will be born in July. A huge yuck duck to go along with that is that we will be missing out on her birth since we move in June. It is ok to process through both of those things at the same time, without diminishing either one.
The Transition Bridge
Another lesson we learned was about the different stages of transition represented as a bridge. There are five stages on the transition bridge: settled, un-settling, chaos, re-settling and newly settled. There are yay ducks and yuck ducks on each side of these stages. The picture above shows an MTI member ‘crossing’ the transition bridge with the help of supporters alongside of him. He is currently in the chaos section, which were three exercise balls he had to step over. We will each cross this bridge at different speeds and each section will come with its own trials; but, it is important to not ignore the hard times and continually be abiding in the Father.
Gratefulness and Saying Goodbye
We are so incredibly grateful for our time at MTI. It truly was a gift from God and was an incredible month of learning and preparation after a hectic April. We met friends at MTI that we hope will last a lifetime. It meant so much to us to be surrounded by people who are all on the same journey we are. We are so thankful for the friends that we made and the friends we got to see who now live in Colorado. Saying goodbye to everyone at MTI was really tough and emotional, but it helped prepare us for our few weeks left in the states that will be filled with even more goodbyes.
We drove straight from Colorado to Palm Springs for a vacation with Katie’s family for a few days. We look forward to this every year, so there are definitely some yay ducks and yuck ducks there. We will spend a week with Lee’s family in San Luis Obispo County and then a week with Katie’s family in Orange County before we depart for Ukraine on June 14th. We are thankful that we get to spend this time with family, but it will also be tough to continue to process leaving. We are so glad to have been equipped with tools for this transition!
How To Pray
•Saying Goodbye: We want to say goodbye well to our family, friends and church families! Pray that we would be able to process the yay ducks and yuck ducks that come with saying goodbye. Pray for sweet times with family and friends and meaningful conversations and memories. “Brothers and Sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Yes we grieve, but we don’t grieve like the rest of the world because we do have hope!
•Check In: Pray that God would raise up a couple who can check in on us monthly through Skype. (If you feel like the Lord is leading you to do this or have more questions, let us know!)
•Jumping In: Pray that God would give us an attitude of being 100% all in the moment we land in Ukraine. Pray that we would be committed to language learning, making new friends, talking to strangers as we run errands, building relationships with those around us and listening to what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do. Pray that insecurities, fear, tiredness, homesickness and the enemy would not hold us back from diving in to Ukrainian culture, relationships and life.
•Our Apartment: Pray that God would provide us with an apartment with neighbors we can share the gospel with and become fast friends with. We are also praying it is close to our church, the JV office and a gym!
Our next update to you will be from Ukraine! We can’t believe God has allowed this transition to happen so quickly. Thank you for all the support you have given us- through texts, cards, prayers and dinners. We are so blessed to be doing this journey with all of you!
Katie and Lee Humerian