Called to Come Alongside

We had a day of rain yesterday, but lovely and sunny again this morning. The forecast is calling for lots of rain, but right now it’s wonderful. And rain won’t stop me from reading, reading, sleeping, oh–and reading! And making notes of course…

So what I’m making notes about this vacation, is a course I took in the fall at our church, during our "Convergence" time (basically, "Adult Sunday School"), entitled "Called to Come Alongside". The idea is to give people more skills to relate to others when doing visitation, specifically for us: the shut-ins, or those who are going through difficult times and are unable to come out to church (several of these "visitees" are simply seniors in a home, and we give their family members a break as well as ministering to the seniors). This is just one of the things that members of our congregation started doing when we were minus a pastor for a couple of years, not wanting people/needs to get missed or neglected. So there are 6 or 7 people signed up for this visitation ministry, each one having their own few people to visit, etc.

Anyway, this course was taught by someone who used to be a minister, and it was excellent! He had lots of handouts, so that’s what I’m using to make notes from. He started with an overview, and some exhortation from scripture–lots of scripture! All about how we are called to "comfort, console, and encourage" others. Then most of the sessions were about communication, and interpreting what people are saying/where they’re coming from.

For example, one of the first handouts was a diagram showing how Person A and Person B each have their own "frame of reference": feelings, attitudes/habits, thoughts, previous experiences. So when Person A "says" something (keeping in mind that communication is only 7% verbal, and 93% non-verbal–body language, tone of voice, etc.), it could be taken a totally different way then what he meant, if Person B has a very different "frame of reference". This is called the "Interpersonal gap". So when you get a message/communication from someone and you feel offended, don’t accuse. Instead, stop and think: how does it make you feel? And answer in that vein, telling the person how it makes you feel.

This matched The Marriage Course that we were taking at the same time, and not only in this instance!

Enough for now. "Stay tuned" to learn the tool of "reflecting back", tomorrow!

Walk to Rivendell:  We camp early again, having gone only 6 miles today, for a total of 368.

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