Well, my Board just let me know that they think I can plan on going to Brazil in August or so of next year to begin full time work, on an initial six month approval, training the musicians, worship leaders, and
congregants of First Presbyterian Church, Varginha, Brazil! YAY! I have been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time, and I think my blog will be much richer, and written in much more often as I am more involved in cultural interaction. First, though, I have to review the first 10 and do the last 30 lessons of the Portuguese CD course I spent $80 on which claims to be equal to two years of college study. It sure helped me a lot when I tried it before, so I am sure it will now. I want to complete that by January so I can work with a private tutor for the six months or so before I head to Brazil. HA HA WISH ME LUCK!
Anyway, I am learning more and more how each of us live in a bit of our own culture. I, for example, have what they call TDAH in Brazil or ADHD in America. And I am constantly "culturally challenged" in dealing with others, my Board of Directors, for example. The big challenge is that people who have not lived with ADHD or around it much, just don't realize that at a certain point it is just WHO YOU ARE, and so the problems inherent with it just have to be worked through and dealt with, from the approach that this is how life is for you. Because those problems so often involve the ADHD person's interpersonal interactions, it is a particularly difficult area for people without personal experience with ADHD to accept without thinking: "you can work on this so these problems don't happen." I used to buy into that. And while I have made progress, I have found the progress is not in how others percieve me but how I react to their perceptions and how I handle it when issues arise. There will always be issues like that in my life. There have been for 26 years since I was diagnosed and there always will be no matter how much medication, therapy or life experience I have.
Some on my Board seemed to have the attitude that if I just work a little longer and harder I can work through that and eliminate the issue. Or at least get to the point where it is a minor issue in my life. Personally, I think I am already at the point where it is minor, because incidents of it over the past two years are very few. But it is always something I will struggle with. My best way to deal with it has been to confront it head on: be honest with the key people in my life who will interact with me and explain ADHD, how it effects me, then ask for patience and grace when situations arise. That has worked great at my present jobs since October 2003, so I feel like that is the only way I can face the future. Not that I have not been studying and working on coping skills with a counselor and such, because I have. But there comes a point where only in living one's life as one feels called and desires, can a person truly know and learn how they will be in those situations. And there comes a point where one can only learn to handle situations in those situations themselves.
Anyway, things look good for going. I am very excited. I have prayed for a longer term mission opportunity for seven years. So please pray for me. I think it will go well, and I will learn a lot. With success there is always failure, but if we learn from them and grow, there is no real failure in those situations, in my opinion. If things go as well as I expect, I will be able to continue my work in Varginha for several years. Who knows how much better able to lead Anchored Music Ministries and provide cross culturally relevant leadership development training I will be after such an experience! Anyway, that's a little bit about my own "culture clashing."
By the way, we can do pictures now, so here is one of me at the Zoo in Rio, taken by my girlfriend, Bianca Sousa. We are two BSes. Bryan Schmidt and Bianca Sousa. Tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor.