For most of us, we love new beginnings. It’s a chance to start fresh and to leave what’s old behind. For my husband and I, our New Year started with a bang! We were in New York City for New Year’s Eve. Now, as a native New Yorker, I just couldn’t bring myself to face the overwhelming throngs of tourists in Times Square just before midnight, so I waited at the hotel while Alcides ticked one more item off his bucket list, with pictures to prove it.

He and I have an end-of-the-year tradition I love. In December of each year we separate some time to reflect and discuss the past year together. The good, the bad, the amazing, the regrettable…it all comes under review. I have found it to be an important exercise for learning from the past. Then, in early January we discuss plans, goals, and aspirations for the new year. This process helps us to know what is in each other’s heart and mind and provides clarity, perspective and prayer list topics.

Another invaluable kick off to the new year was our annual migration from Brazil (where we live) to the Miami School of Missions. This year’s line up of teachers did not disappoint and actually met needs I wasn’t fully aware I had.

There are many spiritual buzz words floating around our fellowship these days and it seems I keep hearing the word intentional. So, I returned from Miami with a desire to implement the classes we had there in an intentional (or, deliberate) way. Below are some thoughts I’d like to share with you.

Guy Hammond teaches at the Miami School of Missions in January.

1. A Deliberate Life Has a Plan

Understanding Self

One of the teachers at this year’s Miami School of Missions was Robert Carrillo, who heads HOPE worldwide. He brought along a few of his talented team of organizers and overseers of various projects. We heard from Dave Malutinok, Dave Tomlison, Terri Loso and Shane Engel on HOPEww Tool Box: Achieve the Goal, Disaster Preparedness, Partnering with HOPEww & Volunteer Development, and The Power of Teamwork, respectively.

In a class called, “The Power of Leadership: Personality Profiles “Self-Awareness, Robert took the participants at the School of Missions (who represent churches throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, and members of the Broward Church in Miami) through a personality test called DISC in order to help us understand ourselves and the people we interact with (family, disciples, staff, etc.) on a daily basis. Surely, many of us have done either this very test or another like it, perhaps at our workplace or even at church. The value in these tests lies in the time and effort taken to understand ourselves and the application of how our personality traits affect our relationships. Additionally, these profiles enable us to comprehend the actions and attitudes of others, which hopefully inspires greater understanding, patience, and an ability to cohabitate and work better together.

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