Today was “Mission Possible” day. The conference-goers were given some instructions last night, then this morning were sent out in teams to their various “mission fields.” Because of my foot mishap I did not take part in the adventure, as each team went through the process of applying for a visa, purchasing airline tickets, flying to their destination, going through customs, etc. Each team met with a variety of problems, all simulated of course. There were points set up across the town of Mosbach as foreign cities, and realistic scenarios took place in each location for each team. Some airlines presented ticket or luggage problems. Some visas were difficult to get. Some customs officials were harsh and unpleasant.
The point was to present a variety of situations that would test ingenuity and intelligence, as well as put prior instructions and planning to the test. This took 4 to 6 hours of the day. After returning to the conference center, the team members were debriefed as to how well they thought they had done in their situation. This evening I talked to several people and even though they were aware this was a simulation, it had given them a lot to think about. Some were better prepared than others.
They had been told to dress warmly, to pack an overnight bag, take reading materials and a lunch. In some “countries,” items in the bag were questioned. Reasons for entering the country were questioned. One married couple had one bag between them, and although the husband carried it and the wife enjoyed that part, later they got separated so only one of them had any luggage – no food or clothing for the other.
I would have liked to photograph the teams as they participated, and even listened to the debriefing. I will try to talk to some other people tomorrow so I’ll have a better idea of what happened to them, how they fared, and what they would do differently next time. This sounds like a game as I type it, but it’s very serious business when you travel into an unfamiliar part of the world and not everyone speaks English, or speaks it well enough that you understand each other perfectly.
While the teams were out, I visited the OM Ships HQ office next door and met a lot of people. I was very glad to have that opportunity. Some of their staff have agreed to work on the Logos II during the next 6 months and have already left so those offices were empty. I stayed for the staff mid-day prayer time before returning here for lunch.
The food at the conference is very good, lots of vegetables, hot coffee, milk, fruit and fruit juices, several varieties of sliced sausage (what we usually call lunch meat) and cheeses. Today we had delicious fresh pizza along with all the other dishes.
A lady from a nearby town who had been working in the kitchen came and sat with me at supper. After telling me that she just came to work whenever there was a conference, she raised an interesting question. I had told her that I worked in the OM Ships office that raised awareness, prayer, people and money to operate the ships, and that prompted her question – didn’t we already have plenty of money? She thought that OM must have plenty of money since the food at the conference was so plentiful that people could even have seconds. As simply as I could, I explained that because it costs so much to purchase fuel and equipment, raising funds was an ongoing process and need. I hope that she understood. Her English was very good but not perfect.
This was an example of culture differences in understanding, I think, and I wonder how widespread that misunderstanding is. She was familiar with OM because she has helped out several times in the past, but she was not aware of how some things work. She is attending the meetings as well as helping out with the practical work and I hope she will continue to be interested. I asked if there was any possibility she could visit one of the ships some day but she and her husband have four teenage children at home and it may be a long while before they are able to do so. She did say they would like to plan for that in the future.
My foot is very stiff, sore and swollen today. I think it’s good that tonight there is no meeting and I can rest the foot a bit more. I look forward to having it much better, and soon.