Saturday, March 26, 2011

navigating tijuana

We've been privileged to take leaders from all over the world through a life-focusing, calling-clairifying process we call Life Compass. Ironically though we've never taken it just across the border to our neighbors in Mexico...until now. Over two back-to-back weekends last month we guided a group of leaders from all over Tijuana through this intense, destiny-discovery process. It was challenging, exhausting...and beautiful.

The first time you take an idea or a resource into another culture, it's always an adventure...and a lot of work. Every concept, word, and expression needs to be looked at through the lens of the new culture; through its behaviors, its values, its beliefs, and ultimately through its worldview. So in the weeks leading up to the workshop, Maria (a teammate of ours who was born and raised in Tijuana) and I labored over the translation of the Life Compass workbook. Okay, it might be more accurate to say that Maria labored over the translation. :-) What we labored over were the ideas, concepts, metaphors, and examples that filled the 25-page workbook and at least twice that many pages of teaching notes. We wrestled with questions like: How do you create an environment of personal discovery when "doing what my pastor says" is often all they have been asked to do? How do you help people dream when they haven't been invited to dream before? Or how in the world do you get through a time-sensitive, time-intensive schedule in a culture that views time pretty differently than we do!?

Well, by God's grace, (and Maria's incredible skills), it all came together and it worked powerfully. Maria and I did most of the teaching while Laurie and Shaun--Maria's husband--loved on the group, served them, and helped coach them through lots of new and challenging concepts. It was a team effort that left a deep impact on all our lives, and the fruit of that effort will soon be spreading throughout the region. Let me tell you about Oscar (pictured here) as an example:

Oscar served as our host for the Life Compass training and he's a powerful leader in Mexico. For many years he was the YMCA Director overseeing all of Latin America. Before we started, he pulled us aside and said, "I hope this isn't going to be one of those "change your life in 2 hours" kind of workshops...we don't really need more of those here." Oscar put us on notice...don't play with us and don't blow this. Fair enough. As we dove into the training I could feel Oscar testing our assumptions and pushing back on some of the concepts, but always in a good-natured, playful, albeit watchful way. But I also sensed he was enjoying it.

In the last hour of the last day, as we were wrapping up the workshop, Oscar took the floor and said to the whole group, "I need to say something." I immediately thought, oh boy, this could be really good or this could really go sideways! Oscar continued, "I'm 60 years old and I have travelled all over the world. I've been to hundreds of workshops, listened to countless sermons, and have sat on many boards. Honestly, I didn't think you guys would have anything new for me to learn. I was hoping it would be good for the rest of the group, but I didn't think I would get much out of this." After a pregnant pause, he continued. "Well, I was wrong. You guys surprised me. I discovered things these last two weeks about myself that I never knew. I've never looked at my life as a whole story before, as a puzzle that has lots of pieces that God has designed and desires to put together to form a beautiful picture. But now I see it, I like what I see, and it makes me want to spend the last days of my life doing only the things God has made me to do." He then asked, "If you guys do this again in Mexico, can I be part of it? I feel like there's more I'd like to learn and I would be interested in helping to teach part of it...would that be possible? This has been a powerful experience and I would like to help others experience it too."

Yeah, we'll be doing it again, and it would be an honor to have Oscar in the mix.

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