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October 7, 2013

On Friday we began our first training session/module/class at MAF HQ in Nampa, just outside Boise, ID.  Orientation is normally done before the families head to the field.  It is two weeks of training that covers relationships, spiritual warfare, practical stuff (like benefits), a marriage seminar, and other details of being a missionary.

Our class has nine couples in it, which is quite large.  The other eight have followed the “normal” MAF path and are done raising support, have finished all flight training (all but us and one other couple are pilots and/or mechanics), and are ready for the field and language school.  While a few are still waiting on visas, most leave within a few weeks to begin life in a new country.  Us and another couple are assigned to DRC, three to Indonesia, and four to unnamed countries in Eurasia.  It’s a fun bunch, though we’re still getting to know each other.  We all have young kiddos, which is kind of a fun commonality.

We, obviously, are in a different boat since we’ve already been to the field, but haven’t finished raising support and we aren’t leaving for the field just quite yet (we have a few more training modules to finish that will take through February).  That’s ok, though – we are getting plenty out of the different training sessions and it’s a good refresher and refocus-er after being away from Kinshasa for six months.

Friday and this morning the orientation’s focus was one spiritual warfare.  You’d be fooling yourself to think that this concept doesn’t exist or isn’t a real battle.  It looks different in our culture, but demons and the one they work for are quite active in other cultures.  We know of plenty of cases of active demon possession and curses in Congo – these things are real and must be prepared for.  Fortunately, we do not have fear of them because we know the authority Christ has given us to fight the battle.  The training is interesting and educational.  I hope to rarely have to use it, though.

Another requirement of orientation was a cultural church visit.  Each family in the class went to a different cultural church this weekend.  We had the honor of attending the local Congolese church.  Boise is home to a large Congolese population, mostly refugees from Eastern Congo.  The church meets at 4:30pm on Saturday.  We had a great time and met several Congolese.  Though our Swahili is limited to “jambo” (hello) and “hakuna matata” (you know this one…), which is the language in the East, they appreciated our Lingala and the French even came in handy.  The service itself was very very much like what we had experienced at several church visits, especially similar to the church we visited in Kikongo, a small village outside of Kinshasa.  There was lots of singing (in Swahili and English), lots and lots of praying (in several languages), a testimony (in English!), and a sermon (in English and translated to Swahili).  It lasted almost three hours, which was a little tough on the kids at that time of day, but we managed.

Orientation continues the rest of this week and next.  It’s a tough pace, since we’re not used to the 8-5 rhythm.  We’d appreciate prayers during this time – that we would glean much information, but also that we would spend our time wisely outside of training…setting up house and catching up from our contacts from our road trip takes up most of our evenings.  So, time for some sleep!

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