The first day in my journey with Abante started at seven in the morning, after getting ready and eating breakfast. My colleague and roommate Catherine, and I went with our host mother to pick up another colleague, Violeta. During “Hello”, which is what we call the morning devotions in Abante, the founder and our director, Brian Schlottmann, spoke about tension. Our instinct as humans is to avoid or resolve tension, however, he informed us that not all tension is bad. He also asked us three questions; First, What are you anxious for?, What are you excited for? and What are you hoping for? We went around the table and each answered the questions aloud. My answers were, “I am anxious about finances, I am hoping to be wrecked spiritually, and finally, I am excited about all the new people I get to meet.”
Our guest speaker for the first sessions of the first week, was Roger Daniel. Brian warned us not to blink or we would miss something, and he was right! My hands couldn’t write fast enough. Every word he said was revelation or advice. He taught us about ethnocentrism and differentiation. He talked to us about three different types of people; enmeshed, differentiated, and disengaged. An enmeshed person has a strong sense of community and a weak sense of self identity. In stressful or tense situations, this personality will often conform to the group’s thinking and lose his or her identity. A disengaged person is the opposite. He or she has a strong sense of self but a weak sense of community. In a stressful or tense situation this personality will pull away from the group and concentrate on his or herself. The last is a positive mixture of both. A differentiated personality has a sense of self and community. As I embark on this journey I have to maintain differentiated personality.
Mr. Daniel also informed us on culture shock. We discussed the effect it would have on us as individuals, as well as a group. I have never been out of the country, therefore I have not experienced culture shock. I did become homesick, and it was Mr. Daniel’s words that helped me push through. I started to draw away from the group and internalize my emotions. I missed my church and my friends because I felt left out. While in prayer and fasting God showed me that I have a disengaged personality. God also revealed that I am not in this program on my own and that being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. A fellow colleague warned us about building internal walls and not letting others in. God knows I am hard headed so He drilled it to me a third time in a one-on-one session with my leaders. I understand that I tend to avoid problems and put up walls. I am learning slowly to open up an not avoid tension, and this was only my first week…
I want to thank all of you who are praying for me and supporting me financially. I do need both the prayers and the financial support. If you have not contributed, but wish to do so, there is a donate button in this blog whee you can make a donation directly to my mission’s journey with Abante International. I have learned so much about myself, but this is just the beginning.