It’s impossible to encapsulate in a few words everything we learned in our bush orientation (from Dec 16 – March 14), but here are just a few of the things we learned through our time living in the “bush” among a group of believers:
- We’ve learned how dominant the heart language is for national believers and how crucial it is to learn their language to be able to work well with them. Any issue that involves emotions, values, or spiritual things is discussed in their own language, no matter how fluent they are in Pidgin (the trade language).
- We’ve learned how to have candid conversations with people about our skin color, and how to point them towards our unity in the Spirit despite our outward difference in looks.
- We’ve gotten a feel for etiquette in the tribal context:
- How to wait for someone under their house (you would never go into the house where someone sleeps, if you need to talk to them, you just sit under their house and wait for them)
- What you can and can’t borrow from others (firewood would be a shame to borrow unless there’s a death or a big party, but you can borrow a knife or an axe or tools that there aren’t many of)
- How to enter and leave a group politely, and the proper thing to do when someone shows up at the house where you cook (which is different than where you sleep). Example: If you were about to eat, and people show up, you wait for all the visitors to leave (which may be a while), but if they won’t leave (and you’re really hungry), then you feed them. 🙂
- How to go talk to someone about something (go find them, wait until everyone else leaves, or wait until they ask you why you’ve come, or just wait until you think it’s the right time)
- We’ve gotten to hear about and observe the differences (of opinions, values, leadership styles, etc) between the church leaders from various villages and what kind of problems those differences present
- We also got plenty of experience living without conveniences like running water, fridge/freezer, oven, washing machine, cell phone coverage, etc.
- Rachel learned many practical skills like how to wash clothes in the river, how to bathe in the river, how to wash dishes in a river, how to cook over a fire, how to kill centipedes, how to start a fire, etc.
There are many more things we’ve learned, but it would be hard to explain all those things in just a blog post, so here’s just the tip of the iceberg. 🙂 We’re so grateful to God for all the things He taught us and all that we were able to learn from the believers during bush orientation.