Stories of our cross cultural experiences
It is apparent that through the Internet today, we now have the opportunity to “meet” and fellowship with other believers around the world, who often live in a totally different culture, and so there is a need for all of us to understand a little more about cross-cultural ministry. Now, in the West, we have a wealth of books and information available to learn about another culture, yet no matter HOW well-prepared we are, we will inevitably be involved in some situations where we experience amazement, misunderstanding and outright CULTURE SHOCK! Some responses, some reactions, some explanations will seem totally FOREIGN to us (and often totally illogical!). If we believe that as Christians, we are all part of ONE body, then we MUST find ways to work together and try to understand one another!
After personally living in several different countries and experiencing many challenging situations in our lives, we feel the MOST important points to consider in dealing with other cultures are:
You MUST be ready to laugh at yourself and at mistakes (and not mind when others laugh at YOU!)
You MUST be extra patient and extra forgiving (developing relationships in other cultures takes a lot of time, and cannot happen when there are bad feelings). We found it very helpful to spend time studying 1 Corinthians 13!
You MUST understand that their ways seem the only logical way to them, and OUR ways seem foreign! If we’re living in THEIR land, then we must adapt as much as possible to their culture, and be prepared for change to come very slowly (especially regarding ungodly practices). It’s important to focus on the very basics of Jesus’ teachings and do our best to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit in our daily life.
Here are some true stories of our own experiences as illustrations: