Recently we had a chance to talk to some folks just preparing to go out as cross-culture workers. What a joy it was to have a part in preparing them for what they would face on the field. That made me think about what some of their greatest challenges would be. As we all know, there are few things more challenging than learning to live and serve effectively in a host culture. Just thinking back to our early years and first posting can give us the shakes! How did we ever manage? And how did our new friends tolerate us? Ultimately it was, and is Father’s faithfulness.
Some years ago I did a little informal survey of some PWs. Their answers fell into nine categories. I thought it might be a good time to take another look at these challenges. Keep in mind as you look at them, that many of these are stresses we, as workers, cannot change. We find ways to adapt and adjust our expectations. This isn’t bad, but it takes work on our part and grace from our Father- lots of it. Continue reading 'Our Greatest Challenges'»
Divine appointments, scheduled by God, come at some unusual times. Divine assignments often seem stranger than fiction. Beth Moore, a Bible study author, speaker, wife, and mother, wrote her Hairbrush story in her book Further Still
. Hearing others’ stories can help us tune our ears to the voice of our Father.
April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.
Continue reading 'Divine Appointment'»
“Thank you for coming; you’ve sacrificed so much to be here,” a sweet-faced, old Chinese woman said to me. Thoughts scurried through my mind: “It isn’t hard here. I don’t have to live in the bush with hot and cold running snakes. I didn’t have to learn another language. I haven’t sacrificed at all!” But with a smile, I answered her, “I’m happy I can be here.” And I truly am!
Jesus promises blessing for those who follow him to new homes outside their cultures: “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land–whatever–because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land–but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life!” (Mark 10:29-30 MSG)
Continue reading 'Sacrifices'»
Did you feel like you were living in a fishbowl while you were preparing for overseas service? Your board seemed to look over your shoulder at every move. Potential supporters felt they had the right to know all about your prospective work. Although that was uncomfortable, nothing can really prepare you for the shock of cross cultural fishbowl life.
Now people are curious and seem critical of every aspect of your life. At home you knew what questions people were likely to ask. Overseas you cannot even imagine how they will expect you to think, speak, and act. After 22 years of experience on our field, I am still amazed from time to time by the scrutiny of our lives by the nationals.
Continue reading 'The Cross Cultural Fishbowl'»