Week 9: Relationships - Chuck and Bobbie Hamm
Kumusta ka?! These Filipino greeting came out of our speakers’ mouths, much to my shock and delight! For this week’s topic on relationships, we had Chuck and Bobbie Hamm who served with YWAM Baguio City, Philippines for 17 years and then relocated to Vietnam afterwards. After serving 20 years abroad they are back in their home-country Canada and serving with YWAM Vancouver.
I was so delighted to meet them and talk about their experiences of food, language, and cross-culture relationships. I even did the pagmamano*. Over the next five days they said Filipino expressions that warmed my heart:
Ano ba yan?!
Oh my gulay!
This (pointing to a bread roll) isn’t the same as pan de sal (Filipino bread bun).
To start off this week, Chuck taught on the theology of relationships. Theology…what?! Simply put it’s the reason we why do relationships. The foundation for relationships of this is found in God’s nature and character. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7-8) The Trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy were in relationship before creation and as children of God (John 1:12-13) we are rooted in this relationship.
We are borne out of relationship for relationship. We are created to reflect God’s image and glory, and we need to remember that other people also reflect the same – whatever they look on the outside. I am to relate to people (whoever they are) as bearers of God’s glory as I try to answer questions like:
How do I talk about people/to people that I disagree with?
What does “your kingdom come on earth…” look like in relationships?
Who is my neighbor?
How do I value and de-value other people?
What can I do or should do the next time I’m irritated with someone?
We learned that pride is the biggest obstacle in relationships. It is the complete anti-God state of mind. It is like spiritual cancer, it eats up the very possibility of love. Scripture has so many passages of God being against pride, and we surely don’t want God to be against our pridefulness!
We were given 10 symptoms of pride, a checklist of sorts: competitive, independent, critical attitude, jealous or envious, un-teachable, perfectionist, insecure, impatient or easily irritated, desiring recognition, hard-hearted. At the end of the week we each shared our struggles with pride. It was a lesson in humility to know that we hold so much pride, but we have hope. We can continue learning about humility from Jesus’ example on the cross, so that we could be reconciled to God.
A highlight of the week was taking a simplified DISC personality test, a non-judgemental tool used for discussion of people's behavioral differences.** D - Dominance; I - Influence; S - Steadiness; and C - Conscientiousness. We learned the strengths and weaknesses of each profile, and how we could best affirm and work with the strengths of each profile. This will come handy on our 8-week oureach in Thailand! Nate (D) could be counted on to take charge of a situation in an emergency. Noah (I) can win people to the gospel with his charm and friendliness. People can easily confide in Mariah (S). Christian (C) loves details, and as a doctor this serves him well.
And so we are reminded of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-14, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
*Mano or Pagmamano is a gesture used in Filipino culture performed as a sign of respect to elders and as a way of accepting a blessing from the elder. Similar to hand-kissing, the person giving the greeting bows towards the offered hand of the elder and presses his or her forehead on the elder's hand. (Source: Wikipedia)