Lifestyle Choices

We’re into our fourth–and last–week here at MTI.  These last two weeks are focused on cross-cultural transition and living.  What’s that? Here’s a list of last week’s topics:

  • Conflict Provides Opportunities (Monday all day) (“If you are not willing to grow in your conflict management, please don’t go to the mission field, or find a way to leave the mission field ASAP.”)
  • Figuring Foreigners Out (Tuesday morning)
  • Unspoken Language of Culture (Tuesday morning)
  • Lifestyle Choices (Tuesday afternoon)
  • Transition (Wednesday morning) (Crossing the “Cultural Bridge”)
  • Spiritual Vitality (Wednesday afternoon) (How to Stay Healthy in  Adversity)
  • Who We Are Under Stress (Thursday morning) (high-stress simulation)
  • Personal Coaching (45 minutes Thursday afternoon)
  • Embracing Rest:  Sabbath Keeping (Friday all day)

Many of these sessions incorporated lecture, discussion, worksheets, role playing, simulations, debriefing, and personal reflection.  Some evenings everyone was heading to bed at 7:30, mentally and emotionally exhausted.

As a group, we’ve also had a fair amount of sickness, from stomach flu to “fever and chills” flu, to a bout of fibromyalgia by Scott, and  a broken arm by one of the kids.  Prayers are appreciated for health and sleep!

The session on Lifestyle Choices contained a lot of concrete issues we will deal with, and I thought I would share them as examples of our training here.  The session helped us to:

  • Explore our personal values (see the list at the end of the post)
  • Anticipate  stress when our values don’t match our new culture’s values (“when your values get stomped on”)
  • Acknowledge the stress and make adjustments

Also included was a chart listing 20 lifestyle topics, with columns for “My Dreams/Desires,” “My Expectations,” and “Reality.”  Most of these topics are part of our U.S. lifestyle; now we have to decide how we will do things in our new home.

We were warned that it will be impossible to please everyone who will have opinions about our choices:  supporters, team members, family, friends at home, and expatriates and the nationals in our new country!

Here’s the list, along with some personal notes:

  • Language Learning (we’ve decided to do this in Costa Rica starting in January, but we don’t know how long it will take)
  • Housing (this decision will have to wait until we get to Ecuador)
  • Household Furnishings/Goods (except for quilts which Jody will take in a suitcase, we’ll get everything else in Ecuador)
  • Clothing (we’ll mostly take clothes from home but we’ll have to figure out how well they fit in with our life in Quito)
  • Personal Items (electronics, jewelry, etc.; except for laptops and a unicycle for Scott, we’ll take very little)
  • Household Help (that is, whether to have it or not)
  • Health and Sanitation/Precautions
  • Insurance (Health/Property, etc.) (we’re covered by HCJB Global’s group health insurance plan)
  • Transportation/Mobility (we plan to walk or use public transportation)
  • Safety/Emergency
  • Communications/Newsletters/Blog
  • Banking/Checks/Credit Cards
  • Vacations
  • Sports/Recreations/Hobbies
  • Entertainment
  • Church (we are planning on attending a Spanish-speaking fellowship)
  • Community activities
  • Friendships
  • Daily Life & Ministry Schedule (work for Scott will be full-time and on the same schedule as our Ecuadorian co-workers; Jody plans on volunteering half-time with the rest of her day devoted to communicating with supporters and homemaking)
  • Furlough/Return to USA

Want more blogging on MTI?

Personal Values List (Which would rank highest with you–i.e., which would be most stressful for you to compromise on?)

  • Change
  • Tradition
  • Independence
  • Status
  • Choice/Variety
  • Education
  • Having Intimate Friendships
  • Being Part of a Team
  • Law and Order
  • Politeness
  • Equality with Others
  • Adequate Resources
  • Achievement
  • Adventure
  • Effective Use of Time
  • Punctuality
  • Support Groups
  • Rootedness
  • Recreation/Hobbies
  • Physical Touch
  • Freedom to Express Yourself
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Justice
  • Informality
  • Cleanliness
  • Honesty
  • Schedules
  • Freedom
  • Self-reliance
  • Directness
  • Competition
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Mobility
  • Control
  • Centrality of Family
  • Privacy
  • Doctrinal Correctness
  • Honesty
  • Individuality
  • Creativity
  • Job Security
  • Saving Face
  • Respect for Age
  • Church
  • Community Service
  • Deference to Authority
  • Safety
  • Being Influential
  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Structure
  • Health
  • Planning
  • Routine
  • Conformity
  • Hard Work
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About scottandjody

Scott and Jody have been married for 39 years and have six adult children and three grandchildren. Scott worked as a CPA for over 32 years and Jody was a homeschooling mom. They are now serving as missionaries in Quito, Ecuador with Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global).
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