Friday, February 13, 2009

Interpersonal Skills Practice

This past week we has been a roller coaster. Starting last Wednesday we attended the Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills workshop created for missionaries. We worked through sessions on “Relationship killers”, “Giving and Receiving Confrontation”, “Drawing People Out”, etc. The workshop was led by the Mobile Member Care Team (MMCT) a professional counseling service for missions and missionaries in West Africa. It seemed like each night we came home and had an opportunity to put what we’d learned into practice.

The first night after learning about how to draw people out, we came home and noticed that things didn’t feel quite right with Annie. After probing a little Jennifer finally asked her at the dinner table, “Is there a problem Annie?” Oui, un grand problème mais il faut manger d’abord… (Yes, a big problem but we must eat first…)” was her reply. It wasn’t until after the boys went to bed that we heard the story. “Are Christians supposed to confess first or ask for forgiveness first,” she started. In the morning she got up decided she wanted an egg and a potato for breakfast. She put them both into a pot on the stove but then heard her phone in the bedroom and went to answer it. She wasn’t feeling well with a bit of a fever and decided to lay down—having forgotten the stove. Two hours later, Jesus showed up in her dream telling her to wake up. She awoke to discover the entire house filled with black smoke and ran out the front door. After a few moments she remembered her breakfast and head for the kitchen, opening windows along the way. We had already noticed an odour and found the charred remains in the garbage—but were a little surprised at the story. Unfortunately we failed to follow all the principles laid down in class—I think we laughed.

The next day was conflict. We came home to discover Ben had been bullied yet again at school. I took sometime cool off and then we discussed a plan for confronting the situation—I don’t know if it was the best one but it has been an ongoing problem and our plan was much better than blowing steam at someone on the phone! You can continue to pray for Ben, MMCT has recommended that we bring him to Accra for a week in May to do some assessment work based on some of the symptoms he has been expressing.

This week has continued to have its moments with trying to getting the official paperwork for the motorcycle I bought two years ago, Ben’s Birthday party yesterday (he turned 8 today), Annie’s baptism tomorrow, the preaching both last Sunday and this coming one and I begin teaching once a week at the Bible school next Wednesday.

The workshop was helpful but as the presenters themselves commented far too quick and compact. We hope to take some time in the coming days and weeks to review some of what we learned. Pray that the Lord would continue challenge us and help us to live and relate to others in ways that honour him.

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