Together we’ll unpack what it means to be a believer living in a cross-cultural situation, covering the theoretical as well as the practical and have fun doing it. Below are some of the areas I’m hoping to cover in this blog:
- culture shock
- language and culture study
- and a lot of stuff in between.
Please leave a comment in the comment box about any other ideas of topics we can cover.
A Little About Ourselves
My family and I have spent 15 years in a cross-cultural context, in fact, several cross-cultural contexts. We’ve lived on three continents, in four countries and have studies five languages (including English). In our early years, I struggled a lot. I had two kids- three and under, and soon after arriving in our new context I became pregnant with our third child. I look back on that period in our lives and one word comes to mind- CRAZINESS.
Sometimes I can’t believe we made it through those early days, but we did. In many ways our lives are richer because of it. Obviously, I’m not talking about money here, I’m talking about the value of our world view being stretched and shaped. I’m talking about the value of the many experiences that I’ve had, that I might not have had in my home country and I’m talking about the value of the many lessons that God has taught me throughout the years. Those things are priceless.
Jars of Clay
One summer when I was in my late teens, I worked at a summer camp for inner city children. It was my first experience living in the southern U.S. and one of my first experiences working with an inner-city ministry. I felt so young, inexperienced and unqualified. It was then that God brought a verse to my attention, which has since become my life verse and has been relevant to every place that I’ve found myself in since then.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
We are the jars of clay mentioned above. We are weak and so many times wonder what good we can actually do. Sometimes we flounder and flop around, gasping for breath just like a fish out of water. It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t only have to survive; we can thrive in our new cross-cultural context and allow Jesus to shine through us in a way that those around us can understand.
On the other hand, we may find ourselves in the reverse situation and act like the vessel is actually the treasure. We can forget that our whole purpose is to cause the treasure to shine even more. From the moment we arrive, our lives can be living testimonies of who he is and the work he is doing in us. We have God’s incredible gift living in us. He is the one who gives us the breath and strength to live each day.
More Than We Can Imagine
God can shine through us and do more than we can possibly imagine with our lives. We come to him in our weakness and in a spirit of humility. Living and working in a cross-cultural situation can be a challenging and humbling experience, but it can also enrich our lives in incredible ways. Thankfully we don’t have to do it alone. Let’s come alongside and learn from one another.