Every year around May things start to buzz around the Personnel wing of the United States Mobilization Center’s (US-MC) building. It’s the prelude to five weeks of summer training programs where One Challenge trains, launches, and debriefs our global mission workers. Between June 9 and July 15 over 30 staff members will journey with 32 adults and 19 kids through some of the complexities of cross-cultural kingdom work. For those participating in one of the programs it can be the difference between thriving overseas or leaving the work altogether.
When a new mission worker is about halfway through their journey they attend CORE, a three-week training that focuses on the “self” and how one works in a team. Central to CORE is Lifeworkx, which is much more transformational than informational. The remaining two weeks of CORE address OC research, OC Global Ministries, and other topics like spiritual warfare, spiritual life, conflict resolution, and how to be a team player.
When a worker is about 3 months or so from departure, they attend Transitions Orientation, T.O., which is focused on fleshing out the meaning of cultural adaptation. It also includes the real issue of crisis management, depending on where in the world one will be serving. Since T.O. takes place closer to the appointees’ departure date, and also includes saying goodbyes and resolving any relational conflicts one might be leaving behind, an important step as one leaves for a foreign field of service. One Challenge asked Dennis Martin, Director of Pre-field Training and organizer of T.O. and CORE, to comment on the two programs.
OC: Transitions Orientation and CORE are starting soon; what are you looking forward to?
Dennis: The people that are coming. We’ve been on a journey together for a while, and God has been tugging on their hearts. By the end of the three-week period of time (CORE) they feel like they are part of the OC family – all of them together. It’s always exciting to hear their stories at the end of that time because CORE has been monumental in their lives. I’m looking forward to the Spirit using this time together for his glory to impact our lives in ways that we couldn’t even imagine and see how that’s going to impact the kingdom in the future.
OC: In your experience, what is the most valuable part of CORE for the appointees?
Dennis: For someone who has never crossed cultures before it will be an experience one can not prepare for like other things. So we try to bring some of this stuff to the surface to “practice.” This typically leads to valuable self-discovery and individual processing in the safety of a loving community. The relational aspects of the program are the most important for the participants.
OC: So the kids of the workers have their own programs?
Dennis: Kids do their own program that talks about the same issues as their parents are getting with age appropriate activities so families can debrief together at the end of each day. Parents are grateful for opportunity to process with the kids. For the kids it’s the first time they are meeting anybody from OC. They meet staff, future MKs, and begin to discover what that means, which is all new for them.
OC’s Personnel Enrichment Program, or PEP, is the third summer program. It is an opportunity for global mission workers to come together for a time of rest, rejuvenation and reflection. In the midst of a busy furlough or at the end of a stressful term, PEP allows workers to connect with others in the mission agency and have the opportunity to unload both personally and corporately.
Director of MemberCare, Deänne Boesel says, “PEP is important to missionary families because it gives a safe place to tell of their experiences. Often, while our global workers are on home assignment, it is hard to find someone who can relate to their experiences. It is important for people to have a safe place to tell their stories and process what they have experienced.”
In just days US-MC staff will go into motion making each of these programs the best they can be for the participants. It is a formidable task but for the US-MC staff these are five weeks designed to help our people thrive. Join us in praying for the participants and staff of T.O., CORE, and PEP – all for God’s kingdom.
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One Challenge is an international mission sending agency empowering local church ministry in more than 100 countries around the world. One Challenge wants to encourage a high level of care for global workers, providing the opportunity for them to thrive in their countries of service, bringing the best of who they are to the kingdom growth effort. We pursue genuine relationships and accountability in family, friendship, team, ministry, and local communities of faith.