Our Training at Cornerstone
As long-term missionaries, we needed at least two years of theological training. Here, too, God led us when He sent a couple across our path at the OMF Autumn Mission Festival 2017 who told us enthusiastically about Cornerstone Bible College for Mission Training in Beugen in the Netherlands.
The focus there is on Bible-based and practical missionary training. This means that in addition to theology and Bible study, we will learn a lot about cross-cultural communication, mission history, and teamwork – skills that we desperately need for our work in an international mission community.
At Cornerstone, both learning and living happens on the campus that used to be a monastery. We had a small, cozy room, but shared the kitchen and bathroom with families, couples, and singles from all over the world. In such an atmosphere, you have a lot of opportunities to reflect on your own cultural biases, for example, when it comes to whether you put the plates out to dry with the dishwashing liquid on them or rinse them again before doing so…
Since the new school year didn’t start until August 2018, we still had plenty of time to downsize our household, sell furniture, and pack the rest into boxes. In February 2018, we moved into a small furnished temporary apartment. We also began to study Japanese intensively and read up on the subject of missions in Japan. We were helped by the library of the Giessen School of Theology (Freie Theologische Hochschule), where we took four courses as guest students from April to July 2018.
Finally, in August, we started our training at Cornerstone. It was a very rich time for us, during which we were able to make many valuable friends, but were also guided through difficult challenges. We learned a lot about emotional health and counseling, and we realized that God was bringing burdensome things from our past to light and was working a lot on our relationship with Him and with each other. But this turned out to be very healing for us and indispensable for our future ministry in Japan.
It was also not easy for Julian to write down the last chapters of his PhD thesis and to put everything together besides our studies. But in February 2020 he was allowed to defend the thesis successfully. All glory to God for that!