What would you think if a visitor from another country told you, through an interpreter, that he has an important message about your life, but during the conversation you found out that he didn’t know some critical things; the events of 9-11, the name of our language is English, that Christianity is about Jesus Christ and is one of the major religions practiced in America? What kind of credibility would he have for his message?
Before going on a short-term volunteer trip, it is essential to learn the basics of history and current events or the country you are visiting. A good place to start is CIA World Factbook for a description of the country. Also sign up for Google Email Alerts for a few months to get acquainted with key current events in the country.
A helpful exercise for volunteer teams is to have each person on the team write a one-page history of the country and a one-page description of current events. Then, at a team meeting, compare the various papers. This will help solidify the information in each team member’s mind and learn to dialogue about the basics of the country with anyone they meet.
Finally, if possible, a great activity is to spend time with people from the culture that you will be visiting who live in your community. Normally people are thrilled to share about their country. Getting an evening or two together is a great way to learn about the culture, pick up some of the language, and discover the important facts about the country.
Do you know of other good ways to learn about the country that the team will visit?
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