Invitation to Mission Programme: Preparation Weekend 1 by Wonu Salau

29th February 2016 - by Nathalie Marytsch

Wonu Salau is a teacher based in London. In this article she shares her experience of the first of two preparation weekends for a small group of people getting ready for a learning visit to the Columban works around the USA/Mexico border this Easter.

Our first ‘Invitation to Mission Programme’ prep weekend was a wonderful experience. It was well organised and the hospitality shown to us by the Columbans (volunteers, Lay Missionaries, co-workers and ordained) was truly humbling.

I loved the fact that this weekend focused on the ‘learning’ element of the trip – it’s not a trip about us changing El Paso but rather about letting this trip/experience change us and consider how we may further God’s work through mission and outreach. The conversations, fellowship, homeless experience and education about the Columbans’ history were all fantastic. It was interesting to discover the economic, academic and political implications of migration between Texas and
Mexico. It allowed us to gain a clearer understanding of the place we would soon be visiting. Having said this, it was also good that we weren’t told too much about El Paso. It seemed like this was done purposefully to allow us to have as much of an open mind as possible.

Despite all the interesting things I learnt this weekend and the wonderful people I spent time with, the most valuable thing I learnt this weekend was the importance of quiet time. The purposely set time to reflect on the sessions or simply journal our own thoughts about the day was really appreciated. It was refreshing to take time out from our sometimes busy schedules and be able to reflect upon scriptures and consider how it interplays in our everyday lives.

It is this that I look most forward to in El Paso; the listening, the learning, the reflecting and the all important asking of ‘What now?’.