When preparing to move overseas on mission with a family there is SO much to consider and make sure you have made preparations for.
Visas, medicines, injections, contact addresses, appropriate clothing, language learning, the kind of culture you will soon be part of. The list really is endless!! Some of these things are just as relevant for short trips abroad but when you're committing to years of service or moving permanently to somewhere new, it is so much more involved.
Some missions have 'pre-field' training, some don't. Some people have theological training. Some study business models if helping with development. Some just come without studying at all!
I met my husband at All Nations Christian College. A Bible college, which specialises with 'Head, Heart and Hands' preparation all with a mission focus. All taught by tutors who have had experience in mission overseas, amongst students who have had varying levels of mission experience too.
We learned SO much there. Bible training, yes. Encouraged to grow spiritually, yes. But do you know which part has been of the most practical use ... the 'Hand' element, learning different life skills, things we take for granted because they are just available in the 'real world'. Photography and powerpoint for presentations and newsletters, basic dentistry, cross-cultural cooking, hairdressing, car maintenance ... and so much more.
The day-to-day stuff was so useful and made me think a little bit out of the box when packing up to move too! Recently, I have been grateful for my knife block and my haircutting scissors.
Meat gets presented to you in all shapes and forms, sometimes unidentifiable! Not pre-packed and cleaned with a label telling you exactly what it is ... sometimes it is a real guessing game, trial and error! I have to admit the quality of the meat that we've had has sometimes been better than what we could get in the UK and the States but my ability to deal with/cut up/prepare and cook different meats is really being stretched. I'm sure a beginners course in butchery would definitely be good preparation for life out here!
Having lived here for 7 months now, my hair has really grown. The nearest hairdresser is ... wait for it ... about 8 hours drive away!! So, this weekend I dug out my hair cutting scissors and got busy! The pile in the picture above was from 'Round 1' ... there were two more rounds after that! Grateful that my hair has a natural curl so that chip choppy cuts aren't too obvious, I was actually really pleased with myself once I finally stopped. My hair is a LOT shorter ... maybe even shorter than if I'd been to the hairdressers but it actually looks pretty good and I've had lot of compliments ... and surprised faces when I've admitted to doing it myself!!! (I didn't even do the hair-dressing course when we were at All Nations either!).
These are just two examples of the added extra's of life out here ... there are SO many. It certainly makes life interesting. You just have to take the attitude of giving anything a go. It may not always go quite as you imagine it will, but you have fun in the process and the learning curve is HUGE!