What practical applications does a brain seminar have for a missionary from Africa? Well, from personal experience, I can say that it helps in dealing with emotions during times of war. My husband (Date) and I have been through two evacuations during our 18 years of mission service, and now war has happened again. That's why I'm here in Canada, where one sunny September day I received a phone call.
“Do you know where your husband is?” I felt my body tense. It was the Foreign Affairs Office in Ottawa and they had our daughter Joann on the other line. “I, uh, he should be in the Congo, at our mission.”
“Have you heard from him in the last two days?” The voice persisted.
“I, uh, no.” What's happened? What's behind these slow questions?
“Our e-mail's down,” I heard myself saying. The voice talked to Joann and then there were more questions for both of us.
Hurry up! Say it! my thoughts began to scream. Whatever's happened, just say it!
“Your husband has been arrested.”
“Oh!” Relief. He's alive! He's only been arrested....
“By the military.”
“Soldiers came. They took him away.”
But he's always had a good working relationship with the government....
“Our office is working...” The voice took us through the available details, answered our questions, kept us talking.
My mind absorbed what was being said, but it didn't make sense. Date is director of development for our mission. The projects he heads up are for the betterment of the people, and everyone likes what he's doing. Nobody would arrest him.
The kindly voice kept talking, named the military camp where Date had been taken, kept assuring us that they were working via diplomatic channels for his release, that they would call as soon as they had anything new. In the meantime, if we had questions, if we needed help, if we just needed to talk to someone . . .
Reality began to take hold. The improbable had happened. Date had been arrested, charged with spying for the rebels. Joann and I phoned family, friends, and church contacts. I prepared e-mails. I was doing fine. Of course, they wouldn't hold him very long. But this was war. I looked down and saw how my hands trembled.
Pay attention, my thoughts warned. Information I’d learned from The Brain & Innate Giftedness program began to break into conscious thought. Pay attention. Maybe you're in more shock than you think. Pay attention to what your body's telling you.
I don't remember whether it was a half-hour or two, but I do know that after I let myself feel for awhile, I was able to consciously step back from my emotions and decide what I needed to do. Information I had learned about the emotional tone scale did help me to deal with what was happening.
Date was released three days after his arrest, but I'll not be rejoining him in Africa until conditions are more settled. In the meantime, as a missionary, I praise God for the opportunity I had to attend a brain seminar where I learned strategies that helped in my understanding of how to have peace of heart even when things go very wrong.