This weekend held a few firsts for me:
- the first time being the speaker for a leadership retreat
- the first time teaching a session in a fast food restaurant
- the first time teaching a session in a hot pool!
I just got back from a weekend in Nakusp with some of the leadership team of “Focus Club” – the International Student Ministries group that Talia & I have gotten involved with. We’ve enjoyed participating in the weekly dinners with international students from the local university, and, in chatting with the city director about how I could best be involved, I mentioned the Intercultural Training that I used to do for Cooperative ESL Ministries. Long story short, he thought that would be great material for his leadership team, and invited me to join them on their retreat during the students’ reading break.
It was just a small group this year, but that made for an opportunity to really grapple with the material. And, as we started to talk about culture and cultural lenses, it became evident that this information was really hitting home and was relevant for everyone both in their personal lives and in the ministry they had through Focus Club. I think we all came home having learned more about our own culture AND about the cultures of those around us. I really appreciated the insights from the students and volunteers from other cultures, as they shared both examples and the struggles that are involved in crossing into western culture. We all wrestled with how to love students better by being sensitive to their cultural paradigms – the conversations spilled over from the sessions into mealtimes and breaks and travel time.
And yes, the first session was as we stopped for lunch on our way to Nakusp, and our final session took place in the pool of the Nakusp Hot Springs while we needed to vacate the church for their Alpha program. And hey – they worked too 🙂
We got back this afternoon, a bit more connected, a bit wiser – and a lot more tired!
**A special thanks to Cooperative ESL Ministries for allowing me to use their curriculum**