Thursday, June 3, 2010

First Two Trips

Sorry I have been away for awhile. I've been tired. There is no other excuse except that. I can't peg exactly what's been going on with me. It just seems that when I am not doing something with Amor I just want to lay around and sleep as much as possible. And sometimes read. But mostly lay around and sleep. My bikes are sitting around getting dusty and I hear that San Diego is beautiful this time of year, but I would have very little idea. I'm hoping that I might get an infusion of energy in the near future.

What I Am Doing When I Am Actually Doing Something

I have been learning a lot and having a wonderful time with Amor. My schedule for the past couple of weeks has been that I spend some time in the office and have a couple days off during the work week, while I head down to Mexico to assist in leading trips Saturday-Monday. The office time has been great as I have participated in continuing orientation and prepared for my time in the field. I have really enjoyed orientation. My previous position felt very project oriented and did not include a tremendous amount of collaboration and relationship building. While I constantly had to process numbers and regulations, I was not feeling intellectually stimulated from a social standpoint. Orientation with Amor has done a lot to tap into a part of my brain that I really appreciate but felt was going largely unused for a period of time. We have done quite a bit of studying on personality types, interaction and how to relate to other individuals. It's been a lot of fun and I am very appreciative that I have had an opportunity to experience this type of learning.

First Two Trips

Each of the last two weekends, I have gone down to Mexico as an Amor field specialist to assist groups in building homes. During my first week, I was shadowing another field specialist as we worked with a group of about 13 people. The group was very interesting in that they are frequent mission trip participants. They knew what they were doing and were a lot of fun to spend time with, as they shared stories about past trips with Amor and a recent trip in response to the earthquakes in Haiti. It is the groups' responsibilities to feed field specialists while we are in the field, so it was great to find out there were some wonderful cooks in our group as well. The full-time field specialist I was shadowing is my roommate, Drew. Having such a self-sufficient group gave Drew the opportunity to pull me aside for some teaching moments, which I felt was very helpful at this stage of my development with Amor. In addition, having such a small group and only one work site gave us the opportunity to be very hands on and get to know the people we were working with. Overall, I felt that working with this type of group was a great way to get me started.

Week two was a whole different ball game. Myself, another intern and a full-time field specialist were responsible for a group of roughly 240 working across 14 sites. I spent much of each day driving between the six sites for which I was responsible, doling out encouragement and advice wherever I could. Having so much more going on was an exciting challenge and it definitely added a new dynamic to the learning I was doing for my new role. As I drove around from site to site, I could not help but think that the eight or nine years I spent waiting tables helped prepare me for the multitasking and attention needed to juggle all the balls I had in the air. It's also interesting learning how to support my sites but not become a group member myself. Prior to this past month, my only experience with Amor was participating in trips to build homes. Overseeing and looking after groups is a different challenge and I have had to resist the temptation to be too hands 0n. This week was also more eventful as there were a of couple incidents on my sites (everyone was okay) and I had another mishap of my own. That's right, my streak of boneheaded slips has continued into Mexico. I was making some deliveries to sites and in my haste forgot to put my tailgate up. Later, I was backing up to turn around in a road. I judged that I had about 2-3 feet to back up before hitting a post as I turned around. Unfortunately, with my tailgate down, I did not have 2-3 feet. Much to my disappointment, I put a sizable dent in the top of my tailgate. Fortunately, everyone at Amor was extremely gracious about my mistake, apart from suggesting that my radio handle in Mexico be "tailgate." I feel like I am hitting my stride from a relationship level and I am learning a lot on the job, but I am feeling a little bit disconcerted about the effects of my absent-mindedness over the past month. I don't know if I'm still adjusting here and just learning a lot, but I'm really hoping this is a stage that comes to a merciful end quickly. Although I feel like everything else is going well, thoughts and prayers that I can forget this stuff and break my streak would definitely be appreciated.

I'm still crazy excited about everything that God is doing in my life through Amor. I have incredible moments of joy, humility and thankfulness every day that I am in Mexico. I will try to share these moments better as time goes on. I will need to do a better job of chronicling my time down there both with words and pictures. As I hit my groove, I am sure I will figure out how to fit all the puzzle pieces of my life together, with this blog and some other things that have been neglecting included. I am also very impressed with the wisdom and structure Amor employs when bringing new members into the fold. I am thankful every day for their training and care both in and out of the work place.

Tomorrow I am heading down for a 20 day stint in the field. I will have internet ac
cess from time to time, but will be very much insulated by Mexico. Thanks to everybody so far for your interest and support. If you've got any questions about me or Amor, please let me know in the comments section and I will get to them at my next opportunity.