This last week felt incredibly full and busy. It feels as though two weeks have gone by instead of just one! Once again, we had class time in the morning and then spent our afternoons and evenings doing ministry in various areas whenever possible.
This week we've tackled subjects including finding places where we can intentionally build relationships, learning about our own culture so that we can more easily learn about another culture, questions that we can use to learn about another culture, and various ways that people use to connect with God.
This week I really got to dive into some cultural experiences. There's no easing yourself into anything here! I've been introduced to a lot of new cultural foods, which has been fun. Experiencing the generous hospitality of the various cultures has been really neat. This week, I've been welcomed into the homes of families from Nepal, Ethiopia, and Chad. Even though I was sometimes coming in as a complete stranger, they were so kind and welcoming. I've enjoyed getting to try coffee from Nepal and Ethiopia, both of which are amazing! Learning about the different cultures has been very challenging and even awkward at times, but fascinating. It definitely takes a lot of humility and a willingness to learn. Adjusting to the cultural differences has been tough, but I am very thankful for great instructors who can help answer questions!
One of the couples from RTN (Reach the Nations church) who came from Chad taught Claire and I two songs in French. We worked on them together for a few hours on Wednesday and Saturday, and then performed them for the RTN church during the service this morning. That was a lot of fun!
We also got to connect with some international students at Mercer University. We just showed up at the cafeteria during their lunch time and joined a table. Not in my comfort zone at all, but Claire and I had a great conversation with two girls from Ethiopia and are hoping to connect with them again on future trips to Mercer.
Despite the large amount of ministry happening, we also had some time for fun too. There's been lots of game-playing and movie-watching going on over here in the evenings. On Friday, I went rock climbing for the first time with two of the guys. I was pretty intimidated by it but wanted to challenge myself. I'm really glad I did! I had some great help and was pretty excited to be able to reach the top a couple of times. Unfortunately, I messed up my ankle a little bit dropping from the wall for the first time. In my defense, I don't have a history of purposefully dropping from things, so I haven't had much practice... :) Looking forward to going back though!
One of our assignments this week was to look for a "3rd Place". This is someplace besides home (our 1st place) and work (our 2nd place) where we can develop strong relationships. So we took some time exploring various places. My chosen place was the Refuge Coffee Truck which had a warehouse area for people to sit and talk. Claire and I were able to connect very quickly with one of the refugees who comes there regularly. I'm hoping to go back there this week and connect with some more people.
This week has been amazing. I am so thankful for all of the new experiences and growth that has happened!
(This was taken before our outreach in the Clarkston Station community last Saturday)
(Yup, it's been cold enough for ice on our windshield. I'm getting used to the cold though!)
(Break during class)
(Break during class)
(The Refuge Coffee Truck)
(Our wonderful friends who taught us the songs!)