As I flew into the small Ontario, California, airport, I was eager to see my colleagues and meet with an IVEP partner of six years. We were ready to take on a week of lively discussions, good local foods, and an afternoon visit with the people of Madison Street Church. Our group gathering for the IVEP Coordinators’ Conference represented six Canadian provinces, four U.S. regions and two national staff. High on our priority list was the desire to share ideas and best practices with each other. As there are always new IVEP situations that arise, it’s helpful to have ideas and advice from those who have seen similar situations in the past. The other priority was to connect with the local IVEPer, Suvojit Mondal of Bangladesh, and his place of work, Madison Street Church.
One of the most inspiring parts of the week for me was listening to the Madison IVEP team articulate how IVEP is changing their congregation for the better. While it certainly doesn’t happen overnight, people are gradually becoming more open to hosting, more open to learning, more open to connecting and building a meaningful relationship with this IVEP participant. From that relationship comes the opportunity to learn more not only about the IVEPer’s home culture, but also to articulate aspects of our own culture as an unbiased interpreter. Since you were not all able to visit Riverside with our group, I leave you with this video. How are you connecting with others and learning as a result of IVEP?