October 8, 2011

Getting Our Feet Wet


Cassie and I spent the last week at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg Virginia (aka H-Burg). Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thought that it would be beneficial for the two of us to spend some time at EMU prior to our departure to Nicaragua.  Cassie took a one week course entitled Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) taught by Elaine Zook Barge and Vernon Jantzi. Cassie found the training to be a very valuable time, filled with new ideas and theories, experiential learning and practical tools for service within a diverse learning group.  The premise of STAR is to understand the impact of trauma and to learn helpful tools for response. Meanwhile I have had the opportunity to connect with the MCC east coast coordinator Luke Schrock-Hurst and also with Ray Gingerich the director of the Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society (ACRS). These individuals not only provided a “crash course” in Anabaptist history and theology, but they also connected me with various people at EMU and in the community of H-Burg.  We are hopeful to transfer many of these learning’s to our work in Nicaragua. You may notice that Cassie and I are having to get used to a whole new system of acronyms and abbreviations!

We have had the opportunity to meet with several people who are connected in some way to the MCC program in Nicaragua. Our time with them has been delightful as we spent our evenings enjoying scrumptious meals and not only wonderful, but also informing conversations. It is comforting to know that many of the people we have met will be traveling to Nica in the near future. We are looking forward to seeing familiar faces!

We are thankful for our time at EMU and desire for it to be transferred to the individuals and communities that we will be relating with very soon.  Less than a month!

For additional information on the STAR program, see: www.emu.edu/star

And one more prop to EMU who’s graduate Leymah Gbowee was one of three women recently awarded the Nobel Peace Price.  Gbowee organized a peace movement to end the second Civil War in Liberia.  She has become famous in her country and also across the world for mobilizing women.  To read more, go to:


Lastly, we spent some time exploring H-Burg and the surrounding area.  On our last night we checked out the lovely town of Richmond.  Enjoy the pictures!DSCN3517DSCN3520DSCN3539DSCN3522DSCN3525DSCN3536DSCN3565DSCN3537DSCN3558DSCN3563

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