Below JT, one of our long-term workers, talks about what training meant to him and how it impacted his ability to do cross-cultural ministry.
What region are you working in?
Currently I’m working in France learning French. This is the last step in my training before I finally go off to join a team in North Africa.
How long have you been there?
A month, but I’m planning on being in North Africa for as long as God will have me there.
If you had not been required to, would you have chosen to train anyway?
If I had been given the choice before I started training I think it is very unlikely I would ever have chosen to do it. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
What kinds of things from training do you find most important on a day-to-day basis?
The thing is, training isn’t just about getting a new set of skills, although it definitely involves that. Training is also about being holistically ready. It is about discovering aspects of your character you never knew were there, both good and bad, and learning about and adding to who World Horizons is.
Our training programs exist to allow you to grow in your understanding of God’s heart for the nations in addition to teaching you key skills for the mission field.
For me this kind of stuff is massively relevant every single day. I write my own syllabus for learning French. I know where my weaknesses lie and what I need to do in the next couple of days to keep from burning out. I persist in praying for people and people groups who I never would have before because I understand more richly what 1 John 5:14 means when it says ‘if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.’
What do you think would have been most difficult if you had not trained?
Honestly, I would not be coping with life in France without the training, never mind North Africa! The sheer amount of mental and emotional fatigue that hits when you choose to engage with a new and alien culture every single day is utterly exhausting. Without training on culture, language, sustainable living, and all the personal development that goes alongside the intensive months on the training program, I would not have been ready for this. I truly believe I would be having serious thoughts about giving up and going home.
What would you say about the idea that a short term trip is enough experience and that formal training is unnecessary?
Short terms trips are vital, but they are not training. It’s like saying doing a two week internship at a law firm would get you enough experience to be a lawyer! Short term trips are so good for building people up, blessing a region, and catching a glimpse of God’s heart, but they don’t exist to prepare you for the long haul. When you are looking to give a significant chunk of your life to a people and place, it’s worth putting in the extra time to be properly ready. Don’t settle for that little bit of preparation when you can have so much more. God’s work for you won’t go anywhere in the meantime!
Interested in training for long-term mission? Learn more.