Liebenzell Mission Germany has an intensive missionary training program, which I have had the privilege to take part in this past year. Most of their accepted candidates come to them after having finished a degree, often through the Liebenzell university in southern Germany. Many missionary candidates come to Liebenzell Mission after having completed an apprenticeship in a practical trade (such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, etc.), and then study to become an ordained minister by the Liebenzell university. They then apply to become missionary candidates and, if accepted, are sent to Canada for nine months of additional training.
In Canada, they live together with missionary trainers in a house in Toronto. Candidates attend English school to improve their English, as that is the international language of Liebenzell missionary teams. They also are partnered with an immigrant church in Toronto and assist in their ministries. Once a week, there is a full-day training at the house, led by the missionary trainers. This usually includes: a devotion and worship time, a morning lecture, lunch together, and then an afternoon cross-cultural activity or guest speaker.
We have covered a lot of different topics in our weekly meetings - these are just the topics from the first half of the year! We covered understanding yourself - your personal and cultural history, understanding other cultures, ethnocentrism, cross-cultural communication, cross-cultural ministry, cross-cultural stress, cross-cultural leadership, multi-cultural teamwork, and spiritual warfare. We have also visited with other missionaries, ministries, immigrants, authentic international restaurants, and gone on a scavenger hunt in Toronto's Chinatown.
This fall, shortly after the German candidates arrived in Canada, we went on a retreat. We spent a few days in Red Bay (near Sauble) getting to know each other, and enjoying the fall colours and beautiful water before the snow came. It was a lovely time together.
After Christmas, new interns come to live at Liebenzell House, so the candidates move out into the city - some into apartments, and some into refugee homes to serve as resident assistants. The weekly meeting at the house continues. Candidates may participate in some additional training programs run by other organizations. The candidates also visit both the Liebenzell Canada and US branches, to build their knowledge of how each country branch operates, the differences that missionaries sent from different countries may have in terms of fundraising and other branch-specific things, and to build relationships with the branch staff.
The candidates return to Germany in May, just in time for the big spring missions festival that Liebenzell Germany holds. They are commissioned at this festival, and spend the remaining spring and summer months preparing to leave - fundraising, packing, and visiting with family and friends.
And then, at the end of the summer, the new missionaries head out into various parts of the world to serve with Liebenzell. This year's group has a couple and two single ladies heading to Malawi, two couples heading to Zambia, and a family of four heading to Chile.
I have a few more weeks to meet together with the group in Toronto, and am thankful for the time I have had with them to learn more about the German side of Liebenzell, and build friendships with my future neighbouring co-workers!
We left off last time, with my arrival in Canada, and a diagnosis of a thyroid condition. From March 2016 until now:
It was decided that it would be best to wait for me to return to Malawi until the thyroid condition was stabilized, and that while I was in Canada, I would pursue additional mission training to better equip me for my future.
I have been attending weekly trainings run by Liebenzell Mission for missionary candidates. Our trainers are a couple who were formerly missionaries in Malawi, so they have been a wonderful resource for me. This year was actually the perfect year to be in Canada for this, as the majority of my classmates are going to either Malawi or Zambia (neighbouring country of Malawi) and will be my nearest co-workers! I have also been able to take a few courses through other mission agencies as well. Most recently, a supporter communication and fundraising course with New Tribes Mission, and a course on how to learn culture and language quickly, the PLANTS course by MissionPrep.
My thyroid condition is slowly getting closer to stabilization, but my numbers have fluctuated wildly over the past few months, which means that my energy levels and brain capacity often change from day-to-day. This has made it difficult to manage much more than basic survival and essential meetings, although that has recently been improving.
Lots of things happened in our family over the last year. In June, my dad was in a car accident that totaled the car, but he walked away with very minor injuries. Thank the Lord! The same week, my youngest brother flew to Australia to attend a Youth With A Mission bible school , and my mum moved up north to Parry Sound to join my dad there. I have since been alternating living with my grandparents in Elmira, and occasionally staying with my parents in Parry Sound.
Over Christmas, my middle brother got engaged, and the whole family is excitedly helping to plan and prepare for a wedding in front of the lake at my parents' new place. Our dog also had the cutest puppies and we had a blast caring for and playing with them until they went to their new homes!
The mission director of Liebenzell Canada and I have been figuring out my next steps, and where I would fit best and use my skills best in the Liebenzell Mission Malawi team. My teachers education certificate has resumed as of January, and I am working away to complete it by the end of June.
I am beginning to resume fundraising as my health allows increased activity. My previous posting only required me to fund-raise half of my salary, as the American mission school paid the other half and provided all ministry supplies. My new posting will not have that benefit, and I am trusting that the Lord knows this and has a plan for my ministry and finances!
I would appreciate prayers for continued guidance and improving health as the path ahead becomes clearer and a date for departure becomes more real.
Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.