Our seventh MCC retreat welcomed a new batch of 10 "Seeders" to our team. SEED is a really cool new MCC program, offered to young adults, that combines North American and Central or South American people in a two year service experience that has a strong educational component. You can learn about it here.
That was not the only new component to this retreat. For the first time, our children were NOT involved in a "child care" situation. Since the three of them are now the only children in the "service-worker" category, we decided to integrate them more into the "normal" programming for this retreat. Considering that most of the retreat was focused on connecting, knowing, and understanding each other, and considering that their father was on the planning committee this worked beautifully. They participated in the sharing groups, the games and initiatives, the worship, and almost all of the group conversations. I was not sure at first how much resistance we would experience, and how many times they would ask for friends, but with sweet Adrian David (son of the country rep) and 10 new older adults to play with them, they were very happy. Grateful...on so many levels.
THIS was what I had expected, coming into MCC as a family. This is not just a job for us. We decided to come together as a family; we are navigating it all as a family; and my children experience every bit as much questioning, confusion, and culture adaptations as we do. Here was a safe space for them to talk about it with warm, loving, inspiring: adults who have chosen to follow their faith actively, engage in a global community, and claim peace and justice as their goal. This is all I have wanted for them. This is why it is amazing that MCC welcomes families. This experience will be with them for the rest of their lives.
We enjoyed staying away from the city. The natural world welcomed us. We slept well, with quiet, still nights, heavy blankets, and the songs of crickets. The food was plentiful. There was music, activity groups, candles, laughter, quiet secret worship services*, and a lots of time to play and learn together.
*For most of the weekend, we played "Persecution," which is a game about Anabaptist history and Abby worked very hard to coordinate and attend secret worship services, in order to be "bapatasized."