At ITEC, ‘training’ instead of ‘doing’ on short-term trips is a critical part of our model. By equipping indigenous Christ followers with skills and knowledge to meet felt needs in their communities, we are able to leave a lasting impact in a short amount of time. Since the founding of ITEC in 1996, training teams have travelled all over the globe equipping mature Christ followers with practical skills that create opportunities to share their faith.
In 2020, we were challenged by the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic to consider moving our trainings to an online platform. After successfully facilitating a 100% virtual media training in October 2020, we were able to take another step forward and explored virtual farm training with a partner in Peru.
Farming is different than other trainings at ITEC, because most of the trainees are already working in the field of farming. Virtual training for farming proved to be a good option for getting the minds of the trainees ready and moving in the direction of what was to be taught in anticipated future in-person trainings.
“We’re selling them on a new mindset-a new paradigm for farming. Encouraging them to do things differently. Virtual training allows you an opportunity to speak into that. It takes a lot of repetition to break habits and encourage them (trainees) to try something new,” says ITEC farming trainer Dave K. Unfruitful farming practices are often passed down through generations, and it takes time to redirect thought processes concerning soil health and ground cover.
With any training, it can be undeniably challenging to get the big picture of the circumstances the trainees are living in without being there in-person. However, we are hopeful the foundations laid by the virtual trainings will provide opportunity for a greater rate of success in future in-person trainings. At ITEC, we aim to develop ways to meet the needs of our partners in the Indigenous Church, realizing we will not always be able to send physical support, due a global health crisis, travel restrictions, or other limitations. So far, virtual trainings have given us the ability to connect with indigenous Christ followers in a way we otherwise wouldn’t be able to, given the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we will not be able to conduct every training completely virtually, we see that it is possible for trainees to benefit from virtual training to prepare them for in-person training down the road. As we continue to adapt with the new challenges presented in missions by the pandemic, we are thankful for your prayers and support. For more information about our training programs, please click here.