Bertha and I are on a short home service, and so I am not quite as involved in SEND U activities for the next month or two. But in July, I was back in Farmington to help lead our 2011 Member Orientation Program. Twelve participants came from Poland, Austria and the USA. We were trying a few new things in MOP this year, including visits to Angel House (a Middle Eastern center in the heart of Dearborn), an Iraqi mosque, and an ethnic church. We will definitely want to repeat these hands-on opportunities for cross-cultural exposure and learning.
Again we noticed how the spiritual formation parts of this pre-field training stand out as highlights for the MOP participants. This year, Carl Kresge led most of the morning sessions on spiritual formation, building up to the “Day Alone With God” which happens the day before MOP ends. Carl emphasized that busyness and demands of ministry can so easily distract us from the priority of developing an intimate relationship with God, and pointed the MOPers to the example of Mary (in contrast to her sister, Martha) in Luke 10. Several of the MOP participants resolved to repeat a Day Alone with God on a regular basis, and I would wholeheartedly endorse this practice. A Guide for the Day Alone With God can be found on the SEND U wiki.