This week our mission board had its training week in Jefferson City, Tennessee. This time is for missionaries to come together and talk about some really practical aspects of missions as well as spiritual refreshment.
We talked about prayer letters, how to write them, and what the importance of the prayer letter is. We had a pastor come and share with us what he expects from missionaries. The neat thing about his time with us was that he used to be a missionary. He was able to say “I understand you. I know what you are going through. But here is what a pastor expects from you and here is why you should comply.” It was really beneficial. We also had sessions taught by our bookkeeper about how to keep the proper paperwork in order. She shared with us the new tax rules for 2009.
Some of the more spiritual lessons were on overcoming anger and depression. These sessions were taught by a medical doctor. While he did concede that sometimes depression can be a medical condition, he taught us from the perspective that it is often a spiritual problem that results from a loss of hope in the future. He used Psalm 42 as his basis. However, when he talked about anger he simply stated that anger was wrong and wicked.
There were a couple of sessions about holiness and forgiveness towards others.
I taught a few sessions on technology and why to use it in the ministry. I did not get into the “how” as much as I was trying to explain what tools were available. I focused on open source offerings talking about compatibility within OpenOffice.org and compatibility in general. I was asked to run most of the presentations through my computer. We popped in CDs and USB drives that were loaded with PowerPoint presentations as well as various media. My Linux machine was seen in good light as there were very few issues with something not looking quite like the presenter expected. Mostly they were small formatting issues that the general audience did not even notice. I was glad to show them that they could save hundreds of dollars in software by looking at open source tools. Two of the missionaries are considering investigating Linux more thoroughly.
One evening in the conference we went to a lake and had a big picnic. We played on a Sea-Doo and pontoon boat.
There were new and old missionaries at the training school. I think there were 13 or 14 couples represented. Four of the couples are new missionaries who have not spent a term on the field yet. The rest of us were either home temporarily or returning to the field after an extended stay at home. It was good to interact and share with one another.
Great week, but busy.