Thursday, January 13, 2011

Global Overseas Training

Try not to let someone give you a monkey.  If you see a dead giraffe in the middle of the road, don't stop.  These are two very distinct pieces of  advice I have learned from people who have done global service in the past.  Apparently one woman had an African Tribal Chief give her a gift a monkey.  While he was reputedly very cute, he did not  make a good house pet.  Someone else said that one of the first things she learned while in Africa, was that sometimes hunters will pull a dead giraffe onto the roadway in order to cause cars to stop, and then the passengers are robbed.  Fortunately, I am not expecting that either will be an issue in Central America, although there certainly are monkeys there.

There is a lot I could tell you about what we are learning and thinking about in our training.  However, I decided that I wanted to focus on two memorable experiences.  On Sunday a small group of us went to an Anglican Church that is a congregation of people from mostly Central and South America.  The service is held in Spanish, although the priest explained a few things in English for the group of visitors.  This picture is of the artwork that was hung at the front of the sanctuary.  On the green bag is the title of the piece "The Immigrant Christ".  As you will notice, the flag contains symbols of many faiths and Christ is holding a piece of paper that says "The World is for all".  There is a sign behind Christ that says "no one is illegal".  Father Hernan Astudillo is a remarkable man who believes that all Christians are connected through Christ and so we need to stop fighting denominationally and focus on the big picture.  It was deeply moving being a part of Parroquia San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Parish) for morning worship.

Also this week we had the opportunity to visit the Vedanta Society, a worship space that comes out of the Hindu tradition.  Swami Kripanmayananda explained that everyone carries the divine light of God.  As we serve one another, we are serving God.  Earlier this week we had talked about how culture and theology had shaped our lives.  One thing we were asked to consider is the impact of original sin.  I have to say this is something that I had not really considered.  However, the idea that we are imperfect and sinful, or in the vernacular, not really good enough is something that is very prevalent in our culture.  What would it be like if we believed in original goodness and that person carried the light of God in them?   Could we ever believe that we were good enough?

On a practical note, I am attaching a couple of pictures of the Scarboro Mission Centre, so that you can see where I have been this week.  The place is lovely, and as can see, each room has its own sink! I am here until Monday.  I'll be spending a few days with family and friends until I leave for Mexico on January 21st!


1 comment:

  1. This is very thought provoking. I will read this post several times while you are away and ponder these questions.