This week we went over a number of topics including conflict resolution and our conflict styles (Tricia - that's me - is a SHARK, and Kelly is a TURTLE... big surprise). We also covered adversity and God's plan for our trials and difficulties as well as how we handle stress.
Lots of heavy topics but one of the craziest experiences of the week was a hostage simulation we went through. Basically our large group was separated into two smaller groups and each group was placed in a makeshift shelter. We were given a scenario and we were supposed to try to "be ourselves" as the scenario played out. The scenario became more and more intense as the group was presented with an opportunity for a few people to escape and then that opportunity was rejected because we wanted to give the other team (who we were in contact with by radio) the chance to send a group to the rescue helicopter.
Then all of a sudden our group was captured and the "enemy" soldier really started to rough up our group. He said that we could choose three of our group to be traded to our government in exchange for three of their military leaders that were being held. There were a few of us there that were young moms so the group said to take us. But when we were removed from the shelter shots started firing and it appeared we were being executed.
I'm going to stop here to say that even though this was just a simulation, I was having a very strong emotional reaction to all that was happening. I had kept my cool pretty well until I was chosen to leave the group. Even though they were trying to help me, I really didn't want to leave the group behind. The "enemy soldier" had me lie down on the cement floor and cover my head. I could no longer see what was happening to anyone else in my group. When shots were fired I seriously lost it! I was totally weeping and having a hard time getting back in control. Snot was streaming down and I got a bloody nose. I could not escape the thoughts that even though this was not real, violence like this simulation is happening all over the world all the time. I was completely overwhelmed by these thoughts and felt so convicted about the fact that I do NOT pray enough for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted.
Anyway, it was wild. I really was not expecting a simulation to affect me so deeply. It gave me a lot to think about in terms of how I handle stress, ha ha ha. When the simulation was over I was a mess and a few people in our group came and prayed with me as we all tried to pull ourselves together. I felt relieved and embarrassed and exhausted.
Obviously I will think of that experience again down the road. I want to be more faithful in praying for those that are facing violence around the world and this is good motivation. I'm sure I will have more thoughts as I process this experience but I just wanted to give you all a bit of an insight into the training we are going through. While this simulation is by far the heaviest of the activities we have done here, all of the training has been valuable and for the most part, quite serious. I am so grateful for all that we are learning here. Thank you for your prayers!