Saturday, 17 January 2015

So what did I actually do in my first term at IMC?!

Disclaimer: this blog post is based on, with their permission, an original blog post by my friends and fellow mission trainees Simon and Wendy.  Their original post is available here.

BMS International Mission Centre, Selly Oak, Birmingham

Studying at BMS's training centre, IMC, is a fantastic experience.  A lot of people have been asking me 'what do you actually do there?!'.  In response to that question, here is a short summary of each course we did in our first term (September - December 2014) and the associated assignments.

Paul's mission journey - This course follows Paul, the original pioneer missionary.  I was struck by the importance that Paul placed on his equivalent of Home Assignment!  Making sure he 'returned to base' in order to 'refuel' and share how things are going with his supporters back home.
Assignment - An essay exploring the concept of 'Maturity as the goal of mission'.

Theology in a global context - Exploring theology through the lens of mission and practical life.
Assignment - To research the spiritual atmosphere of the countries to which we're being sent.

History and practice of mission - It all begins with Missio Dei. 'Mission is thereby seen as a movement from God to the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission'.
Assignment - To prepare a mission statement and presentation summarising my understanding of how my life and work might co-operate with God's mission in Chad.

Mission in the community - An opportunity to leave IMC and interact in the real world!  I have been going along to help with the practical setting up of the hall for Taekwondo classes being run at a church in an ethnically diverse area of Birmingham.  Certainly a different experience and I've enjoyed interacting with some of the students and the Taekwondo instructor!

Intercultural studies - This examines the process of cross-cultural living, contextualising the gospel and communicating in culturally relevant forms.
Assignment - A study into 'Honour and Shame' cultures and how they are similar and different from our Western individualistic 'Guilt and Justice' culture.

Character in community - mainly a practical course involving being helpful at IMC - in most cases through gardening and washing the dishes.
Assignment - to read and discuss the book 'Cross-cultural servanthood: serving the world in Christlike humility' by Duane Elmer. An excellent read and really useful stuff to bear in mind once we're living and working overseas in another culture.

Country project - a chance to research and present one area about the country we are going to.  My country project looked at the political history of Chad since independence.

Mission life and work - a course aimed at making our expectations of life, hardships and joys in our overseas work realistic.
Assignment - to interview a mission worker and to read a mission biography.  I read 'Chasing the dragon' by Jackie Pullinger.

Rediscovering the Bible - An overview of the Biblical meta-narrative
No specific assignment except to read more of the Bible.

Trinity and spiritual formation - this course helped me understand in greater depth the wonder of the Trinity and that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not just three distinct 'beings' but equally each being a manifestation or expression of our One God.
Assignment - to write a Trinitarian prayer.

Attitudes, Characteristics and Temperament - An examination of our own characters and those of others, exploring who we are in Christ and how to get on together.
Assignment - to complete a Myers-Briggs-type personality test and discuss how this might affect how we work and interact overseas.

Development week - we learnt all about log frames and how to work effectively, building sustainability, and in partnership as we seek to improve, in any way, the countries to which we are going.
Assignment - to write a project proposal aimed at reducing the high child mortality rate near Lake Chad.

Communications week - in the light of the increased number of blogs and prayer letters that we will be writing, this was an opportunity to get some tips from the pros.
Assignment - to follow some blogs and opinion columnists closely and critically examine their style and content.

Reports on BMS history and current work around the world - it's pretty amazing to think that BMS was established in 1792 and that it is still working in more than 20 countries today.  Through these sessions we got a better understanding of the personality and character of the organisation through which we are going overseas.  

And finally, there have been a whole host of practical and safety trainings, as well as trips to Catalyst Live and BMS's Council of Reference.

Overall it was a great first term at IMC.  It's been good to have the space and opportunity to reflect on my previous time in Chad and to prepare for the future work I'll be doing, as well as make some fab new friends!

As for what I'm up to now - this week I have started an fairly intensive period of French language lessons, whilst some of the other trainees are doing placements in various community projects in the area.  For the next few weeks I'll be doing 8 hours a week of French lessons, the rest of the time I am trying to do as much listening to French radio and TV as possible.  This is all with the aim of trying to get my language skills as progressed as possible before I go to France in the summer for intense language training.

We start the next term's classes and assignments at the beginning of February.

Hopefully this has given you a good picture of exactly what I've been up to since September!   

No comments:

Post a Comment