Wednesday, September 24, 2014

India and Bangladesh

If you saw us before we left for India, you know that we were feeling intimidated. The trip involved a lot of firsts: Tim’s first time to Asia, my first time to India, our first time to train youth leaders outside of the Spanish speaking world, and the first time Youth Hope would use the curriculum we helped them design.

Yesterday we arrived back in the US of A and what we're feeling is grateful...
  • grateful for all we could see, learn and do. 
  • grateful for all the people who prayed for our time there. 
  • grateful that we had no health problems (sub points of gratitude: prayer and Pepto Bismol). 
  • grateful for the opportunity to meet, enjoy the hospitality of, work with, and serve many beautiful, amazing people. 
Annette teaching (her translator at the ready)

Here are some trip highlights:

Rosie and Michael, our hosts in Bangladesh.We were the first foreigners they had hosted and they were concerned. In the car from the airport Michael asked if we knew how to use a Bangladeshi bathroom and Tim replied, “I don’t know. What is it?” It turns out that the standard equipment consists of a pair of flip flops outside the door, a sink, a shower-head, a large bucket, a small pitcher, and a hole in the floor with “foot pads” on either side of it. We think we figured it out. But we don’t miss it the way we miss Rosie’s smile and the rich, creamy tea she served us every morning at breakfast.

Rosie seemed to enjoy helping Annette look less foreign
 Communication with them was difficult, but despite the language barrier we understood that they are struggling with the fact that they can’t have children. And it seems they understood that we have a very happy, full life as God has arranged it without children. We continue to pray that He will give them the capacity to experience joy with or without kids.

Our driver in Bangladesh. The commute to and from the training site was between four and five hours round trip every day, so we had plenty of time to marvel at Totul's skills as he navigated the continuous river of pedestrians, bicycle rickshaws, cars, trucks and buses. Every vehicle we saw had numerous dents and scratches on it but Totul carried us through the madness with an astounding blend of patience and courage.

Partnering with Youth Hope to bring Roots: in-depth pastoring of youth beyond the Spanish-speaking world. During the three years we spent editing the textbook and creating the animated classes, one of my fears was that all that work would end up sitting on people’s hard drives, as useless as an unused book but worse because bytes are less visible than books. So you can imagine how satisfying it is to see that almost a decade later not only is Roots still being used in Spanish but it is the basis for Youth Hope’s core curriculum for training global youth workers.

Miguel, their director of training, has been teaching Roots for years now, first in his home country of Chile, and more recently in cross-cultural environments like Haiti, Dominican Republic, and even Zimbabwe. He has taught other curriculum as well but when he was tasked with designing a program that was responsive to the culture, audience, and time frame as determined by their local partners, Miguel wanted to use Roots and he asked us to help. So we spent a week in Ft. Myers, Fl working with the Youth Hope team and then accompanied Miguel and his wife Paulina for the inaugural event at Bethesda Bible Institute outside of Delhi, India.

As we debriefed the event with Miguel and Paulina, we all agreed that principles from Roots hit the sweet spot of foundational and relevant and the “dialogue education” model we use to teach those principles worked very, very well. A group of Youth Hope trainers will be back in India using the curriculum in two other cities in October and we look forward to hearing their stories.
Graduation from Level 3 training in Bangladesh
Learning activities during the training in India
The parking lot during monsoon season
I liked this rickshaw driver's hat/umbrella/visibility enhancer

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