Expect orientation to be a time to learn to know teammates, practice the practical skills necessary to orient yourself to a new location, and to gain tools that will be helpful for self-reflection and communication.
This year the first week of orientation will be held July 23-30 just south of Chicago. The second part of orientation will take place in Elkhart, IN at the Mennonite Mission Network offices September 3-7. You will fly to your immersion location directly after these days of orientation.
Orientation takes place in an urban context, in a church or service unit. Men and women have separate sleeping quarters, and married couples receive a private room.
After you are accepted into the Journey International program, staff will place all applicants on teams, taking your location preferences into consideration. You will receive a handbook specific to the country you will be serving in and will receive orientation to the country once you arrive there.
Journey International is focused on the relational aspect of ministry, the balance of being and doing, so participants are asked to show up and engage in ways that are helpful to the community. Often times, our immersion coordinators are working with several details for your time: service placements, host families, language study arrangements, etc.; therefore, you may not know your specific assignment(s) until you reach the immersion location.
Living accommodations vary from location to location. In most locations, especially where language learning is part of the experience, participants are placed with host families. In other locations, participants live in an apartment or "flat" as a team or in a student dormitory.
It’s important in the formational process for you to have support and encouragement from others. For this reason, we ask you to form an advocacy team to help you raise support, offer care, and personal connection. Your immersion coordinator and Journey International staff are also committed to walking with you on this journey.
When you return from the immersion location, all teams will spend the first week in the original orientation location for you to rest, reflect, and prepare to return to your sending community. Upon your return to your sending community and congregation, you will seek ways – along with your advocacy team – to integrate your experience back into the life of the congregation.
While the total cost per participant is approximately $14,500, Journey International asks each participant to raise $9,000 (2016-2017) toward team costs. As an issue of peace and justice, we do not ask our immersion partners to support teams financially. These participant contributions cover travel to and from the immersion location, room and board, initial orientation and in-country orientation costs (some locations include basic language study), team retreat travel and expenses, and local transportation costs.
We have crafted a sample letter (see participant information packet) to help you talk about Journey International to potential supporters. We have found congregations and individuals supportive regardless of the type of service you are offering in the immersion location. Talk with Journey International staff if you are struggling to raise the necessary funds.
Participants will need to contact the lending institution where they received their loans to check for deferment arrangements. Journey International will gladly supply documentation that you are in this program.
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