Each June, IM enjoys having over 100 young people come in for a week of E-TEAM training. Then we send them out for a two-week crash course on life on the mission field.
One of the elements of training is preparing them to sharpen their observations skills. We have one session where the main question is, “What do u c?”
I imagine the first thing you see is “u c.” In our world of text messaging and abbreviations, this is comprehensible.
But, the real question for the students is “what do they see?” Take a look at the picture above.
What do u c? These questions will get you started:
- In what area of the world do you think this is taking place?
- What is the stuff on the ground?
- What do you think these people are doing?
- What is the purpose for what they are doing?
- Who is doing this task?
- Do you see anything that, seemingly, does not belong in this picture?
Hopefully, you answered the questions before looking at the answers below. Perhaps you are pondering what the significance of this might be. It is all about learning to observe the world around us to better understand it. This may not seem significant in mission work, but let me assure you, it is.
For this exercise to be meaningful for the E-TEAMers they must understand and embrace the fact that if we want to effectively communicate the gospel to someone we must understand their world. We must be able to speak to them in a manner that actually makes sense in their worldview.
Observation is just one element of effectively learning how to present the gospel in another language and culture. But, it is extremely important.
Although learning about culture is vital, we must never make that our primary objective. It is simply a means to an end. Ultimately, we are laboring with the Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission.