The past two weeks have been quite the whirlwind for me. My last week in the Bible school we did a “self-study”, where we used all the tools we had learned in the inductive method to study the book of Haggai on our own. Now this is a very short book in the Old Testament, only 2 chapters. It tells the story of one of the Minor Prophets, and how he spoke the Lord’s words to his community. God was calling the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. They had placed higher importance on fixing up their own homes than worshiping God. Through this study I realized that we often put other things above our relationship with God. His greatest purpose for us is just to get to know him better and spend time with him. At the end of this school, I can definitely say that I have a better understanding of the Bible, especially how to observe and interpret for myself the author’s intentions for the original readers, and through that, what the implications are for readers today. I hope that in the future I will have opportunities to share this knowledge with others.
After finishing three months of Bible training in Costa Rica, I came home to Indiana for a week with my family. Now I am in New York at the UMC Mission Intern Training, preparing for my three-year journey in missions with the United Methodist Church. It has been a great opportunity to not only learn about the program but also to get to know the other missionaries who will be sent out with me to different locations this fall. Each day we have a full schedule of seminars and discussions ranging from a wide variety of topics, including cultural norms, leadership skills, spiritual disciplines, and conflict management. I am constantly impressed by the passion for justice that this group has. Every day I have great conversations about fair trade, racism, and other human rights issues. Daily I am reminded of God’s call for us to love people through making just decisions. Not only do we need to witness to our faith through words, but also reflect it in our lifestyle, purchases, and actions.