Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Again!


I used to hate cold rainy days. A lot. Lindsey has always loved them, and I never really understood why. A couple years ago Linds pointed out that she loves them so much because it feels like there has been a big blanket pulled over the sky, and so we have to stay indoors and stay wrapped up in blankets too. This made a lot of sense to me, and since then I have also grown to look forward to soggy grey days.

This morning as we were rolling out of bed, looking out the window it was all grey, there was a slow drizzle, and we knew that there was nowhere we had to go until the late afternoon, and even then our only responsibility would be to eat copious amounts of delectable food. Dare I say it? Yes, this is the perfect fall day, and it is only right that it should be an official day of intentionally thanking God for all the things he has given us. A few items from my list, in no particular order:

1. Pies. All of them.

2. My bride, with whom I continue to learn more about the depths of friendship and the blessings it brings than I have ever thought imagined. Our friendship stands as the solid base out of which our love grows, and the longer we are together, the more I look forward to being around her. Her passion for adventure, delight in creation, and excellence in learning and live are inspiring and humbling to me. I only grow more intrigued by of her thoughts, smile, and voice!

3. The beauty of creation around us, and how even a frigidly soaked tree trunk, darkened by the slow fall of the morning rain, can detail the attention and intention with which God designed this world for us.

4. My cat, Mia, who has more personality than I ever would have expected.

5. The healthy relationships that working with the Global Youth and Family Ministry has brought me with friends, family, students, and even those in authority over me. I have learned so much from these, and I am excited to see how God will keep growing me in these.

6. The privilege of living far away, and the joy of hosting friends and family when they visit and enter into the life we've built.

7. The opportunity to learn what it means counsel others well, as well as to be counseled myself. Learning these skills in relationships has been like seeing a new color, or discovering a new flavor to me! They not only open to me their own new aspects of life, but the skills learned there are bountifully enriching all the other aspects as well.

-Drew

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey, Stuffing, and Pie

This afternoon was the beginning of Thanksgiving break! We are so excited to have some time off of school, and to spend it with Chase who is Drew's brother. We wish we could have joined the rest of the Wilkins family in Hawaii for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately timing and money kept us here in St. Louis.

Thanksgiving is such a fun holiday. I bravely ventured out to the grocery store around 5 p.m. today to buy some items. It was neat to see so many people buying food to prepare to celebrate with friends and family.

When Thanksgiving comes it causes all of us to reflect on what we are thankful for. Here are a few things that came to my mind:

1. God's unending mercy and grace!

2. My sweet husband who works so hard and NEVER complains. His schedule is so full between work, school, and seeing clients. I am thankful for how he takes care of our family, and continues to follow God's calling to becoming a pastor.

3. My warm and cozy apartment. I find so much relief and rest whenever I walk in the door. Now I just can't wait to put up our Christmas tree!

4. The blessing that it has been to study at Seminary learning about God and his work in this world. The Lord has sustained us and also sanctified us so much since starting Seminary. I am looking forward to celebrating his faithfulness at graduation in MAY!

5. The amazing adventures that we have been able to go on since we have been married.

6. The adventure that we are about to embark on as we continue the process of raising support and working as missionaries with MTW. God has been so faithful and continues to guide our steps!

Of course there are a million other things that I am thankful for. The older I get the more I realize how important the simple prayer of thanking God for our food is. Every good and perfect gift is from the Lord, and without his mercy and grace I would have nothing.

Looking forward to joining friends for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I am making mashed potatoes for the feast! :) I am really looking forward to some apple pie too!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

The picture is the Turducken that Drew and I made last year.

-Lindsey

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Browsing Through The Periodicals


Good Afternoon! I have tendency to get distracted when I think about sitting down to write a paper that I am NOT very excited about. So this morning my distraction led me into the Current Periodical Room in the library at school. As I was browsing through I saw titles like: Toronto Journal of Theology, Mission Frontiers, Presbyterian Heritage, and The Journal of Youth Ministry. This is just a sampling of a few of the titles; oh how I wish I had more time!

I found my way down to the journals about theology and psychology and my eyes were drawn to this particular title. The Journal of Psychology and Theology with an article titled, Evaluating the Impact of Transition Seminars on Missionary Kids' Depression Anxiety, Stress, and Well-Being. BINGO! Drew and I have done a significant amount of research regarding the topic of caring for MKs as they transition back to the states. Unfortunately not a lot has been written, and even in this article the researchers agree that more research needs to be done!

I won't bore you with all of the psychological research jargin (though I confess I find it fascinating!). I was extremely encouraged by the research that was done. I know we have defined before what a Third Culture Kid (TCK) is, but I will remind you again just in case you forgot.

"A TCK is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar backgrounds (other TCKs)" (Pollock and Van Reken, 2001).

We have seen this first hand working with TCKs. They have an extraordinary gift of crossing cultures, interacting with others who are different from themselves, and looking at life from a more global perspective. However, there is also a lot of struggle with growing up in this way. The research done in this study was to see whether an MK Transition Seminar that helps TCKs adjust to life back in the states changes their level of anxiety, depression, and stress, and psychological well being.

The findings are incredible and I think very affirming of the ministry that The Global Youth and Family Ministry is embarking on.

35 recent high school graduates from schools overseas who were attending re-entry conferences in two different locations in the U.S. were tested. The mean age of the participants was 18.11 years. This sampling of students actually represents 28.6% of the total population of students that attended these two conferences.
Two different psychological tests were completed before the conference and after to gather quantitative info. (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales-21(DASS-21; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995), and (Psychological General Well Being Index (PGWBI; Dupuy, 1984).

Like I said above the results are amazing. Are you ready??

For the first test (DASS)-
43% of participants were experiencing levels of anxiety and depression pre-conference and
66% were experiencing levels of stress.

After the conference it was reported that levels of anxiety and depression dropped to 20% and the number of participants experiencing stress dropped to 14%

For the second test (PGWBI)-
Pre-conference 43% reported moderate or severe distress to their psychological well-being
Post-conference this number dropped to 17%

After the conference there was a 57% increase in psychological well being!!!

I know that was a lot of numbers and hopefully you were able to hang in there! At the conference TCKs participated in small group discussions led by a therapist, individual counseling, gender specific discussions led by a fellow TCK, social activities that helped TCKs feel more comfortable in cultural activities, and psycho-educational conversations in a large group setting. They were given opportunities to share their stories and therapists used narrative therapy as a technique during counseling sessions. One of the biggest things that the researchers found was helpful was providing space for the TCKs to connect to other TCKs!

TCKs connecting to other TCKs is so important. This was the purpose for our trip to Mexico in October. MTW also provides their own re-entry conference that Drew and I will be able to participate in in the future.

The life of a TCK can have a lot of joy, but also a lot of pain. Drew and I are excited to do our best to enter the world of TCKs and help them as they fight through the struggle, and wrestle with how the Lord will use them to further his kingdom.

We would love for you to join us in this fight. Please pray about supporting us with a monthly donation. You can find information through our website www.gyfm.org or www.mtw.org. Our support account number is 18294.

Thanks for hanging in there through the research portions of this post. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to raise support to work in this ministry that is so important to the next generation!


Source:
Davis, P., Headley, K., Bazemore, T., Cervo, J., Sickinger, P., Windham, M., & Rehfuss, M. (2010). Evaluating Impact of Transition Seminars on Missionary Kids' Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and Well-Being. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 38 (3), 186-194.

-Lindsey

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Update!


The last few weeks have been crazy ones for us Wilkins. We've felt like we've been running around wild without taking near the time we'd like to do important things like, say, updating our blog! Even the last two months or so have carried so much that we would still like to reflect on here. We've been able to attend the MTW's Latin America Area Retreat to serve ~65 students scattered over dozens of countries, we attended a Halloween party as "A Dark and Stormy Night" (look to the right), went to the Global Missions Conference in Chattanooga, TN, we've discussed future potentials for living overseas, we've been plowing ahead through our numerous classes and assignments at the seminary, we've continued our jobs, and we've even seen clips of seagulls tap-dancing earthworms to the surface of the soil! Like I said, it's been a busy last couple of weeks.
Throughout each of these things God has given us a lot to think on and reflect over, and we are excited to be able to continue to bring those thoughts and ideas here to the blog as well! Thanks for bearing with us as we have been delayed in discussing them here.
However, as I've been running since 4am, many of those thoughts will have to come in the near, though slightly delayed, future. There will be much more to come!

- Drew
 
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