A number of years ago I had the cracked idea to do the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon which involved, as one might guess from the name, a swim from the island of Alcatraz back to San Francisco. Now this might sound a bit crazy to you, and as I look back at it there probably was a little “crazy” to it. As I was on the ferry boat that took me out to Alcatraz and thought about jumping into 55 degree shark-infested waters I had several thoughts of “WHAT am I doing?” “OMG, I can’t believe I’m about to do this,”and “How am I supposed to pee with this wetsuit on before I start the race???”
As we’re about to disembark on our journey to Ethiopia in less than 2 weeks, I might have had a few of the same thoughts, sans the “pee” question (and no, I’m NOT telling you the answer to that particular question).
We’ve been in training at Missions Training International in Colorado for the past 2 weeks and have a little less than 2 weeks more before we leave. A lot of what we’ve learned so far has involved phonetics, linguistics, and “how’ to learn a new language (for instance “OMG” phonetically is in the title of this blog). We’re now learning more about how to enter a new culture and not totally freak out and lose our minds. After working/training pretty-much non-stop for the last 24 years, it’s been odd to not be in that routine. To have some actual down-time to hike, rest, read, pray, and just BE, along with our training has been good – just a different kind of good. And, spending time with 39 other amazing people- who are about to do the same as us in countries around the world- has been refreshing and encouraging.
When meeting with our coach here in Colorado at MTI, Andrea, and telling her of our upcoming schedule and plans, though, I think she was a little taken aback. Her words were “so what you’re telling me is that you’re leaving the training here early, flying back to Birmingham for one day to pack up the rest of your things, getting on a plane at 6 a.m. the next day, arriving late in Addis Ababa, unpacking your things the next day, and then starting language school the next day?!?!” Cheryl and I looked at each other and sheepishly said “ummm… yeah…. pretty much” – I then offered her a stress ball and some tips on meditation.
So as we wrap up our training at MTI and prepare for the upcoming whirlwind of travel, we’re excited, eager, and slightly petrified as we venture forward. But we know that we are not doing this alone. We have a great God who goes before us and we have amazing friends across the globe that are praying and lifting us up!
If you’d like some additional information about what we’re about to do, or how to get more connected click on the following link.