This is Jess Montague again, continuing my reflections during a day of sickness.

Blog assignment #1:

Summarize, report and reflect on these questions from our course packet pages 2-3. Why are you on this interim? What do you hope for a trip outcome? What is a personal strength that you can contribute to the group? And, what is your prayer for this interim?

I intentionally decided to wait until further along the trip to post this. This assignment is entitled “Initial Thoughts”, so you might find it strange that I waited until now to reflect on it. However, it has been my experience that you never fully understand your initial thoughts and expectations until further into your journey.

“Why are you on this interim?”
I’m here for a number of reasons. First, I’ve never been interested in Asian cultures. So I wanted to experience one in order to expand my horizons and learn the intricacies of an Asian culture so that I would appreciate them more. Secondly, I took a class on the Communist world this past semester. I’m very interested in post-communist countries, and Cambodia had a particularly bloody history with Communism. Lastly, I spent a few weeks last summer in Ukraine. The experience changed my life, and because of it I wanted to continue exploring foreign cultures.

“What do you hope for a trip outcome?”
My hope is that we would all be changed. When we return to America, I hope our worldviews would be drastically different, that we would no longer take our privileges for granted. My hopes is also that this small taste of foreign culture, development practice, and poverty would grow into a passion for learning more about God’s world and how he might want to use us to change it.

“What is a personal strength that you can bring to the group?”
A personal strength that I can bring to the group is questioning things from a development perspective. I’ve read a lot about poverty and development practices, not to mention taking a handful of international development classes. My knowledge on this subject is a useful tool for a trip that is heavily development-based.

“What is your prayer for this interim?”
My prayer is that we would all meet God on this trip in a meaningful way. I also pray that we would be challenged and tried, that we would be pushed past our comfort zones and grow from the experience. My final prayer is that we would learn more about unity, both among foreigners and within our group of Americans.

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