Archives For Cross-cultural

Practice What We Preach

November 26, 2014

The other week, I made a trip to the local police station to get an affidavit. In South Africa, this is the venue you head to make a document “official”.

The officer who helped me chatted with me a bit. He inquired how long I’d been in the nation and where I stayed.

Finally he asked what I do.

“I teach the Bible and train missionaries”, I responded.

The officer nodded, raising his eyebrows. He smiled shyly and glanced around. Leaning close to me he says, “I too follow the God of the Bible.”

“Oh wonderful!”, I replied.

As the conversation progressed you could see him gaining boldness.

Finally, as I was about to leave, he waved me closer, wanting to tell me something not all could hear

“I am a born-again Christian.”

south+african+police+service+saps+xgold+june

I must confess as I left, my first thoughts were not rejoicing or excitement.

Please, Not Me!

May 10, 2014

Do you ever have days you wonder why God sent you?

You doubt in the dark what you knew in the light?
Questions about whether we are making an impact set in.
As you contemplate your next big endeavor, you feel like saying…

“Please, Not Me!”

You are in good company.

This is exactly the same response Moses had when God told him His plan of setting Israel free from slavery in Egypt.

When Moses was called, his response was less than stellar.

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’ (Exodus 4:1)

So God gives him some visual aids to convince the Egyptians (and Moses himself). He turned his staff to a snake and his hand leprous. God went so far as to even promise a future sign of the Nile turning to blood. All this is follows the calling at the burning bush!

See the Good

April 11, 2014

Many times in missions, we speak of the difficulties with greater frequency than the good things.

We talk about racism.
We speak of our various phases of culture shock.
Stories of being hurt by those we work with abound.
Even at times, we venture into difficult topics like trauma or loss.

What of the positive? Can we see the good in people and our nations?

I don’t mean newsletter stories of lives changed or projects completed.

What do we love about the people we work with?
What traits are present in the cultures or nations we work in which serve to glorify God?

Since all human beings are made in the image of God, there are glimpses of the Almighty which shine through in all peoples, cultures, and nations.

We can easily point out the negatives of a culture, but what of the positives?

If you have been in missions any length of time, you have experienced disappointment with a national person you’ve trusted.

It’s not a question of if, but when.

Someone will break your trust, they might steal from you, or worse.

I know of national workers who were entrusted with a ministry only to overthrow the leader; stealing the work.

Extreme. Maybe.

But at the very least we will have people we invest in disappoint us.

It could be through sin. At times they fail in areas of money, sex, or power. Perhaps they just vanish.

I’ve recently had this happen to me…(again).

Someone I believe in and spent a lot of time with went AWOL. They fell off the deep end. The guy disappeared from the face of the Earth. Choose whatever word picture you want, he is gone.

What are the signs which point to Christmas coming?

In every culture there are different visuals which alert us to the coming of this holiday season.

When I first moved to South Africa, Christmas snuck up on me because I did not see the normal American signs. Once I learned the new signs, I could anticipate its approach.

Here are a few signs which pop up in virtually any culture.

1. Things appear. Things which are unable to be found for most of the year, begin to appear around Christmas. Certain music, different types of food, and of course decorations. It is the time of year some people appear in church for the first time all year! Each nation is different, but all have things which appear.