Ariel: The day started when I woke up at around eight o’clock this morning even though I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night due to the late night worship that lasted two hours. Since I knew that a lot of people would be sleeping in and that I was probably the only one up at the moment, I just stayed in bed and tried to get at least another hour of sleep. For Sammy, he said that he got to sleep right away because his roommate, Justin, left, but he was still sad to see no one next him when he woke up. However, I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I forced myself from bed at 9:30 and went to the breakfast area to see if there was still any food left. To my surprise, when I had arrived a few people were sitting there at a table, including Pastor Philip and a few other students. After socializing with them a bit, I stayed after for a long time to see a few others wandering in late to also eat breakfast. Since not everyone came to eat, I and Rachel Hong collected the rest of the bread rolls to either eat them ourselves or give them to the ones who didn’t bother to come down for breakfast. Once I had taken back the dirty dishes to the kitchen, I went back to my room a little past ten o’clock to read the book of John in the New Testament, which was recommended to me by David to read. At around 11, we all gathered in a classroom in the chapel to begin our debriefing. The debriefing was divided into three parts, each lasting a few hours. (1. The importance of witnessing and how to share a testimony, 2. Understanding the reverse cultural shock and how to continue growing in our faith back at home, and 3. What now--where do we go from here?) For our first session, which lasted about two hours, Pastor Philip had us read Luke 1:1-4 and gave us a lecture on the importance of sharing all that we saw and experienced with people back at home and how to write three different types of testimonies of our Peru STM trip: a three-minute testimony, a 30-minute testimony, and a three-hour testimony. First, we had to describe the trip in three words. Then, we had to write two to three sentences for each word for our three-minute testimony. Later, we expanded on each one by adding a bible verse and a specific example from Culpeper or our two weeks in Peru, which would be the thirty-minute testimony. For our three-hour testimony, we reread our journal entries since Culpeper for ten minutes and had to brainstorm for 20 minutes until around one o’clock for lunch. Overall, I was able to use this session to reflect on my experience during Culpeper and these last two weeks in Peru to see just how I had spiritually changed during the last three weeks and be able to talk of my experience to my peers back at home. We then walked to the missionary’s house to eat and walked back, but we had to use the back entrance today instead of going through the front gate because there was a wedding taking place at the seminary. Then it was time for the second session of the debriefing.
Sammy: After lunch at the missionary’s, we then came back to the seminary and started our second session of debriefing which was about reverse cultural shock. He had us list all the ways in which our lives during STM was different from back at home. During the debriefing, we saw how vastly difference our lives here in Peru was from back at home. He said that the longer the list is, the bigger the cultural shock will be when we return back home. We were warned that people wouldn’t understand the things that happened here in Peru, and that we would be tempted to categorize things that happened in Peru in one box and things that happen in the States in another box, including our faith and heart for missions. Basically, P. Phil told us that practical day to day may be different when we return home, but we must keep the principles of growing in our faith the same. He also warned us that many people in past experiences go through PMS which means Post Mission Syndrome. Post Mission Syndrome is when sins/distractions will heighten at home because we were in a safe environment. We then discussed in groups how we can maintain the principals of our faith while the practicals of our daily lives may change. some pointers which could help us grow in our faith at home which are to listen to sermons, keep up with spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible, praying, and journaling, keep in contact/accountable, and share the gospel to others. To sum up everything that happened in the second session, we learned how to keep strong in our faith even when we get home.
We ended the second debrief and had a long free time. During the free time, P. Phil handed out coffee beans (Ariel wanted to put this in the blog). I didn’t buy any coffee, but Ariel bought one kilo, which was four bags of coffee beans, for $14. For me, free time was a time when I got to wash up and catch up with the fellow brothers in the team. For Ariel, it was a chance to listen to the remaining life stories. Then we had PIZZA HUT for dinner!!!!!!! The food was pretty dank!
Third session of debriefing came, and it was a time for us to brainstorm how to make JG a better ministry. The title was, “Now what—where do we go from here?” Main theme of the last session was that our work here may be done, but our work at home has just begun. After reading 1 Cor. 12 and we talked about how WE are the church, and the church is only as strong as the people in it are actively contributing to the Body. Some other reference bible verses are Ephesians 2:22 and Hebrews 10:24-25. Basically, we all as a group came up with a lot of ideas including a welcoming committee, arts ministry, hip hop group, a social media team, etc. In conclusion, this exchange of ideas allowed people to be further integrated in JG by having everyone in our team to have a role. This took about more than two hours which prevented us from having a long worship session. I was devastated because this was one of the last worship session as a whole group because part of our group will depart Sunday night. Worship was okay (by Ariel)! Worship was great (by Sammy)! Goodnight! Hope to see y’all on Tuesday!