Monday, October 26, 2009


Team Jamaica Retreat, 2009

I praise God for the church I am blessed with! No, it is not perfect and it never will be, but I have much to be thankful for. There are many blessings, but I am thankful for a church ( and sending agency ( that has shouldered the burden of financial support for me for the next 3 years, which relieved me of the need to raise my own support back in May and enabled me to immediately quit my job and come down to the island when my application was accepted (I was accepted April 8, and six weeks later I was in Jamaica)...I don’t think 6 weeks is a typical turnaround time for a missionary to know they are going and then be gone. PTL!
The next aspect I am particularly thankful for, though, is a sending agency that recognizes the importance of training and preparation in order to equip those that are sent. Part 1 of this was SPLICE (Spiritual, Personal, Lifestyle, Interpersonal, Cultural, Endurance/Enjoyment) training at Missionary Training International ( in Colorado Springs. I spent three weeks at MTI with 41 other missionaries that were also preparing to say goodbye to friends and family and move overseas. It was an incredible 3 weeks, where God revealed much to me about myself, about how I interact with others, and blessed me with some awesome friendships.

(all of the missionaries and children in front of our training facility)

Part 2 of the training provided was this past weekend, where our team (Kirk and Keri Plattner, Chad and Pam Huber, Erin Davis and myself) gathered at JDV (Jamaica Deaf Village) for a Team Jamaica Retreat. Three brothers (Ted Hirstein, Ted Witzig Jr, and Mike Rassi) came down to spend the weekend with us and encourage us in fellowship and teaching of the Word. I was especially excited because Ted H is my “BCFPP” ('B'rother in Christ, 'C'ousin by blood, 'F'riend forever, and 'P'rayer 'P'artner by providence.) I drove to MoBay on Friday to pick them up, then we enjoyed a Friday night meal with our team and some fellow Jamaican missionaries.

(on the way up to JDV friday night we ran across a glorious sight of the fog in the valley and the mountains peaking through, with the sun shining)

We spent all day Saturday “in class” being taught by Ted Witzig Jr, who is a psychologist, counselor and teacher at ACCFS (

(Ted Jr teaching us about communication)

(Our make-shift classroom in M3)

We took four tests in preparation for the retreat (Meyers Briggs, TKI, and FIRO-B personality tests, along with Wesley Spiritual Gifts Inventory) and then spent time walking through each of our individual results to learn about ourselves, but also spent a good bit of time talking about the chemistry of our team and how that will influence how we work together. It was fascinating to see how similar we are in so many ways (feelers vs. thinkers, accomodaters vs. competers…examples) but also to see how different we are in other ways (judge vs. perceive, extrovert vs. introvert, etc). I now feel more prepared to effectively communicate and work alongside my teammates, and I also feel aware of what to watch out for. To give you an example; because all of our conflict styles (TKI test) are either to accommodate or avoid (others being compete, collaborate, or compromise), none of us will want to bring up conflict or issues and face them head on. This could lead to important things being buried, only to rise later and cause a greater impact. Also, none of us want to express control of other people (FIRO-B test) but would prefer to have others dictate to us what to do or provide the structure for us. This means that none of us are going to want to jump up and take control of a situation or decision, leading to time wasting away unnecessarily. Additionally, in the Meyers-Briggs personality test, we are all feelers vs. thinkers, meaning we are going to think about the emotional and relational aspects of interaction more than the logical or factual. This is great because we all want to get along, we are pretty easy-going, and we care about relationships. The downside is similar to the others, where sometimes you need someone to be completely objective, factual, and make the common sense move. Anyways, everyone reading this is probably bored by now, so I’ll stop and just summarize by saying, I learned a lot about myself and my team, and am thankful for the expertise of Ted to guide us into a better understanding of how to interrelate as a team.

After class on Saturday we enjoyed a delicious meal provided my Miss Veronica (best cook in Jamaica) and spent the evening fellowshipping and getting to know everyone a bit better (especially learning about Ted H’s affinity for wasted tank tops of the 70’s)

(Lil Lucas enjoying some delicious food)

Sunday we went to New Life Church of the Deaf, which was a new experience for our teacher, Ted Jr.

(I loved sitting behind Ted and Ted and seeing them pour their hearts and hands into trying to worship in sign language!)

Sunday evening the Huber kids treated us to the traditional JDV snow-cones!

(mmmhhhmmm, delicious!)

(Our ACWR training team as we said goodbye...good pose fellas!)

I was just thinking of you today and wondering how you are getting along? We sure will pray for you in Jamaica, and for your family back home adjusting to you being gone. Wishing you God's nearness and blessings.

John and Bev Huber
Thanks so much for the note and for your prayers. Lord willing I will be in Francesville for Tess's reception on the 13th, I'd love to share more.

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