Happy spring to everyone here and there! I just want to take this time to say that I am so amazed by spring and how so many plants bloom beautifully here. It is a sight to behold.
This spring has been rough with lockdowns that are still ongoing – which means being home all weekend. I definitely have been feeling it in a lot of ways. The great thing is the quality time I get with my host family. It has been wonderful to be at a level of comfort where we can banter and be okay with each other in the small space.
I wanted to share some things I have learned from living in a cross-cultural home thus far (It has been over four months)…
- I realize I do not like people feeding me food but have had to let them. It is normal for my family, so they are always sad if I say no.
- I have learned that they do not like it when someone is sad, they tell me to not be sad and try their best to cheer me up. Isn’t that sweet?! Although for anyone desiring to go through living in a home of a different culture, do not ignore your feelings or hide them as much as you may want to. Try. Google Translate the heck out of it. As much as they want to understand, they cannot because their mindset is a different one completely. It is better for your heart and the relationships you are building to feel the emotions that come with cultural transition.
- I have also learned that I cannot go a day without Jesus in word and prayer, because it gets hard in ways I do not want it to be hard. Abide always in Jesus.
- They love to teach you things. Always be ready to learn, they are learning about you as much as you are learning about them.
- Never hide who you are, but always try to understand that things you do will be so foreign. There are things you can lay down from your own culture, that will benefit your effectiveness where you are. (For me, I have found that way I clean, or do laundry and how I spend money has changed because they are the ones I am among and become like. People, I have learned to shower differently. I am always learning. I am a whole new person over here, but yet still the same… (haha!)
- I have also realized that prayer is changing the family where I am and our circumstances. I have written how the hesitation to invite me into their home came from a lack of money and space, but they wanted to open it to me. I had visited multiple times before they agreed we could make it work. It started with me on the couch, now I sleep in the same room as them. They sleep on a queen-sized bed and I am on a twin. Whenever we struggled to make ends meet, the prayers I would pray in the morning would be answered by that evening. Never underestimate the Good Father. I cannot do it without His leading. Thank you for praying for them. I love them so much.
- I have learned that personally, I need to take the changes slowly. If there is a meal in front of me and there are multiple new things – I only try one new thing. Slowing things down a bit has helped me ease into my new home. If everything was all at once I could not enjoy myself. I want to enjoy my family and the food they make for me. I am finally at a place where I can try more new things (also it is okay to not enjoy some things). The reason I do it slowly is that I am already in a new home and everything is completely different already. I did it for my longevity to be in the home. God will lead each person differently. I just want to share what it is like for me.
I am currently taking a course on zoom that teaches about God’s heart for the nations and it is changing my perspective on things drastically. I just wanted to mention some beautiful things I have learned.
- “We must pray great things for God, we must attempt great things for God.” The importance of praying, but also living out the faith that you are praying for.
- God loves diversity. He desires all nations (and cultures) to know Him as they are.
- God wants to partner with the local church to reach the harvest and bear fruit – fruit that remains!
- Pray for my host family. Pray Jesus comes into the whole household.
- Pray for my family back home. I am so sad that I am seeing my sisters and brother grow up from afar. Pray for God to be leading my leaders back home.
- Pray for [name] to get a job. Pray for the right doors to open and the wrong ones to close. Pray that his heart would continue to be soft to Holy Spirit and the word.
- Pray for our team here. There are new additions and we are transitioning into a new season. Praise God for growing our family here.
- Pray for one of the leaders in this community. Pray God would begin to reveal Himself to him. He can’t wait until I can speak the language – He is a big talker and is wise. He pours his life out to those in need. I can only imagine what that would be like if he pours out from the well that is Jesus. He is older and has a family that lives in a different place because of his job. Pray for wisdom on my part too—on how to be a light.