This summer, 21 potential M+Power volunteers from India and South Asia — along with a group of mentors and trainers — gathered in Bangalore, India, for a Eurasia Mission Orientation (EMO), where the group spent five days discovering what it means to serve cross-culturally; 16 interviewed for volunteer placement somewhere on the Eurasia Region.
Mobilization is one of the four regional priorities established by Eurasia Regional Director Arthur Snijder and Annemarie Snijders, coordinator for the M+Power program, which implements the mobilization of volunteers in Eurasia.
This was the second training of its kind; the first was held for European Nazarenes at the Eurasia Region office in June. The purpose of the training is to help people explore a possible call to cross-cultural ministry and train them for missionary assignments in their own nation and culture. The four-day training was divided into two parts. In the first part, mentors underwent training; in the second part, the volunteers. A major portion of the training focused on effective communication on different levels, ranging from facts and worldview to feelings and spirituality.
“I always thought that everybody thought like me,” said mentor Rev. Vijay. “M+Power helped me realize this was my myth. It helped me to see different worldviews through different colored glasses that people wear. Stories to help understand cross-cultural contexts were very helpful. Fundraising tips opened different ideas to prepare myself financially.”
Additional topics included different ways of learning, cross-cultural adaptation, travel tips, how to share one’s testimony without using Christian jargon, and the structure of the denomination.
“I knew the culture is different in every part of the world, but after attending this orientation I was able to realize the various aspects of a culture,” said Miriam, a potential volunteer. “This training also helped to see from their glasses and how to find the points to build bridges. I also realized that working cross-culturally is a serious task but at the same time an opportunity to learn more.”
One of the participants is about to embark on a mission opportunity in the Maldives, a group of islands near Sri Lanka. Others were ready to go out as volunteer missionaries as soon as possible.
“This is a real breakthrough, since the Church of the Nazarene has been in India for over 100 years, and until now, there have been two to four missionaries being sent by India,” Annemarie Snijders said. “During the EMO there were at least six people that were ready and motivated to go out and serve either in India or in South Asia.”