24 February, 2016

Wednesday in Bangkok

Conflict. It's not something I enjoy. But we talked about it today. 

These two little figures in the garden are presumably welcoming us to the
Bangkok guest home (I can't read their Thai signs, but the word in English
behind them on the seat is "Welcome").
There are many reasons for interpersonal conflict, but add the context missionaries are working in: multicultural, interdenominational, and international factors multiply the areas for conflict. Not to mention that this "profession" attracts strong-willed people. It's a wonder there aren't more conflicts than we already see. 
So we've spent a lot of time looking at the Bible and seeking God's wisdom on how to cope with challenging relationships. Here are some themes:
The dining room. This was morning tea, they'd just sung to a birthday
"girl" and were cutting the cake.
  • Love
  • Choosing to let some things (many things?) go
  • Forgiving
  • Bearing with others
  • Remember we are battling, not flesh and blood, but unseen powers and authorities.
 And then there's times when working to resolve conflict is needed. Some brief Bible study shows themes such as:
  • asking for a second opinion can be helpful (Prov. 18:17)
  • reconciliation is recommended, not reconciling impedes our relationship with God (Matt 5:23-24)
  • don't judge others, look inwards first (Matt. 7:1-5)
  • Coming from a bleak Tokyo winter, it has been a delight
    to see vibrant flowers in bloom. No idea what this is,
    This is the room we've been spending our days in. I love that three out of four
    walls are glass sliding doors, and that outside them you can see green
    grass and garden. Again, a delight to the eyes of someone who's been
    somewhat cloistered inside during a Tokyo winter.
  • speak the truth in love, grow in Christlikeness (Eph. 4:15-16)

We've spent just a little bit of time looking at conflict styles at the Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory. I found this interesting, but it will take some time to process. Generally I try to avoid conflict, but what I do if I can't is quite dependent on context (eg. how I'd deal with a writer or a team member is quite different to how I deal with a family member or a child). My tendency is to compromise or cooperate in finding a solution. It's an interesting area to look into, but to absorb it I have to pull my head out of the shell and dare to think about conflict!

One of the workshop participants had her birthday today. To celebrate she
and her husband invited those who wanted to come to join them at a
Mexican restaurant. A real treat for missionaries working in much of Asia
where there aren't many such restaurants.

On a personal note, my father-in-law seems to be going downhill pretty quickly. He's in hospice care and on significant, continuous pain management now. It's a waiting game for us, whilst getting on with daily life, which is a different kind of waiting that my in-laws are doing. Sitting by his bedside must be really difficult.

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