Leadership Seminar in Myanmar *PART 4*

Day 5

Today, there were sessions on communication skills necessary for leadership and gender sensitivity. The participants gained a deeper understanding about these topics through the workshops and Bible study.

Please read Ms. Nakamura’s reflection of the day:

I’ve really been enjoying the flavors of Burmese cooking, and perhaps I indulged in too much cilantro… I’ve been feeling under the weather since 2 nights ago. Somehow I was able to participate in yesterday’s site visit to WDC, but I could hardly eat anything and I have been resting in bed since last night. Not only the food, but perhaps communication in English 24/7 may have taken a toll on me.
However, I am feeling better today! This morning’s devotion was a Taize service. The Taize Community is an ecumenical monastic order located in France. When I first heard the music of Taize, I was moved by the simplicity of the path to God. Facing God at the start of each day – giving priority to this quiet time is something that is not that easy to do in Japan, but something that I would like to make more of an effort to do in the future.
In the morning, we had a session on “Developing Skills as a Communicator”. We learned that the most important thing to remember when speaking in front of others is to get them interested in what you have to say. How you think others perceive you is not what is important. The participants from Myanmar were not very comfortable with speaking in front of everyone, but after listening to Rev. Kim’s presentation, they gained confidence and were able to share their testimony of salvation. I was encouraged by their newly gained confidence.
The first afternoon workshop was a “Discussion on Gender Sensitivity”. We talked about the differences between men and women, both physical (only women can give birth) and gender roles (women enduring more changes and decisions in life). One of the participants from Singapore talked about praying for guidance since her husband couldn’t understand her situation while raising their three children. However, due to life changes, she started working outside the home full time and her husband stayed at home to raise the children. This allowed them to understand each other’s situation better. I realized that you can never fully understand someone’s situation unless you have been in their shoes. Based on that, we need to think about each other and act accordingly.
The last thing is “trust”. Trust yourself first. Of course it is important to trust God and others but it is also important to respect the life that God has given you. I wondered if that was enough since I am often influenced by the voices of others. I was moved by the process of trust and hearing that God is always walking beside me.
Living in Japan, there are times that I am affected by negative words or looks. These seem to build up day by day, but I suddenly became aware that I only need to trust in God. I am worried that I will not be able to follow through when I return to Japan but I suppose this is part of the trust process.

                                Ritsuko Nakamura