Sunday, 17 July 2016

Studies

For the last couple of weeks, I´ve been based in Redcliffe College in Gloucester. I´m completing the taught component of 2 modules for the MA in Contemporary Missiology (the study of mission). So here are a few of the topics from last week,
globalization (political, economic, religious etc)
postcolonialism,
gender in mission,
interfaith dialogue.

Redcliffe has a new centre and offices, just next door to the Cathedral, so there´s a great view out of the window, if we ever need further inspiration, and they have even lent us some study space in the Cathedral Gallery.








This week, has been a sort of reading week, when I have had chance to find resources in the library for the essays. But I´ve also taken advantage of being here.... the module for the MA in Member Care has been going on, so I´ve sat in on a few of their classes as well.

This week coming, it´ll be advocacy and reconciliation studies - including a trip to Coventry, to hear about the centre for reconciliation there, and the work they do.







Sunday, 5 June 2016

Sabbatical Begins


 Not a bad spot to recover from jetlag!
 And a great time to catch up with old friends and get to know a few new ones too.
 It was great timing to be able to come for my church´s weekend away, and in such a fantastic place.















Thursday, 19 May 2016

One foot in two canoes - or more reflections on friendship amidst a divided life!

As my time approaches to return to the UK for a sabbatical, I have found myself considering friendship again. Perhaps it´s a natural thing, but having spent a couple of years away, I begin wondering what has become of the friendships 'back there'.

There are those with whom I had a close friendship previously - but perhaps the long distance contact hasn´t been forthcoming... so I wonder what will it be like now when I return.

Then there´s those who I have got to know here in Guatemala, but who have already returned to the UK - and with whom I´ve talked on a deep level about their lives - and now that I prepare to go back, and have the opportunity to see them again, I wonder if our connection was simply a result of me offering support in the rollercoaster of their emotions that is a short term missions experience and perhaps doesn´t have any longer term purpose now that they are back in their 'normal life', or will it develop into a more mutual and equal relationship?

And of course there´s the friendships here in Guatemala that I leave behind for a while. What will happen with those?

I am now realising that this reflection is a part of the rhythm of living abroad and that this issue seems to come to the forefront of my mind each time I prepare to return to the UK, and the moment that I realised that, it was a relief. It was somehow easier to hold all those questions  - without worrying about the answers, and just trust God. Trust God - not for anything in particular - just trust God. He is here.

Recently a friend in the UK died. Apart from feeling very sad - it was way too soon for him to go! - I also felt very conscious of the divided life that I lead.  Immediately I realised that here, there wasn´t anybody to tell - because nobody here knew him. I forced myself anyway and told a few friends, but it didn´t mean much to anyone; of course because they didn´t know him, and in fact they don´t know anything about my life previous to coming to Guatemala.

At the weekend, I went to San Pedro La Laguna for our Latin Link prayer meeting. It was really good to spend some quality time with fellow Latin Link members, in such a beautiful spot. And as I shared these reflections, it was great that they understood, as they live in the same dynamic. One friend, who lives there in San Pedro so has a regular view of the Lake and all that goes on there, shared the image of balancing between two canoes, with one foot in each. I think that´s exactly my experience. At times all your weight is on one canoe, perhaps with just your other foot touching the other one. At other times, it´s the other way around. But the tricky part is changing your weight, swapping your attention from one to the other in order to transition between the two. That´s when everything feels a bit wobbly and unsure.

But then falling into water has never held much danger or fear for me! It´s actually where I feel closest to God, and know him holding me up in whatever circumstance. And so spiritually and in my friendships, I´m learning to keep focused on God, trusting in Him, in his 'upholding' - whichever canoe I´m in, or even falling in the water inbetween. He is here. 

 The view from my hammock!


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Academic Forum


Funny what you get asked to do when you´re a missionary in another country!.

 Last week, a friend of mine, who is studying for a degree in Education management, asked if I could participate in a forum for her course about interculturality (not sure if that´s a word in english).
So that´s what I did this afternoon, - I was part of a forum panel, discussing interculturality (multiculturalism) in education.

I don´t know an aweful lot about education or mutliculturalism in education here in Guatemala but I shared a few models for understanding culture itself, which have been very useful to me as I support new volunteers adapting to a different culture. That seems to add a different perspective to the discussion.
And I was very well looked after.... with food, and a traditional basket of sweets, and flowers to bring home.


(almost got my name right!)

New growth in the garden!

 I love things that grow by themselves!!!! So bananas are doing well in the garden.
 Peppers and roses too.
 And even better, a while crop of peppers that grew from the home-made compost, so I didn´t even plant them! I´ve tested a couple... and they tastes great too.

Kairos course


This last week, I´ve had the opportunity to complete the Kairos course (God, the church and the world).

It´s a course that´s used in many different countries and different languages around the world, and helps Christians to understand God´s purposes for the world, and how we can play a part in it.
 It was great to share the experience with a few others,

 as we learned more of God´s purposes for us,

as we prayed for the world..
 in various different ways

I´m hoping to get more involved and see how the course could be offered to more Christians in Guatemala.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

New haircut

By popular demand, here´s some photos of my new haircut.



As you can see, I´m rubbish at taking selfies ... but I´m not sorry!