“Remember, Jesus prepared 30 years for 3 years of ministry.” This sentence ended the card my Assistant Pastor sent me shortly after I arrived to college. I don’t really remember anything else Brother Butler wrote in the card. He was encouraging me to work hard and learn all I could.
Preparation is important. We want our doctors to be prepared before ever performing any surgery on us. We want the pilot of the plane to be prepared before attempting to take off. We even want our barber (or hair stylist) prepared before taking scissors to our head. We should also want missionaries prepared before reaching the field! For the next few posts, I am going to address the different ways we are preparing for what God has called us to do.
I arrived home last night at 1:00 AM. It was after an intensive 2 day class on culture adaptation. I (along with 6 other missionaries on deputation) read 5 books on cultural adaptation in preparation for this class.
Why prepare for culture adaptation?
Because culture shock is real! There is an adjustment that must be made by the missionary. This is not an easy adjustment, but it is necessary. For hours we asked questions to our mentor (a veteran missionary who served in Peru). We received instruction on how to alleviate the stresses of adjusting to a new culture. The class is not required, it is something that I feel is vital to learn. Each month, we have classes that are offered in an attempt to further prepare us for the mission field. We will be addressing language acquisition in the next class. By spending hours of reading books, discussing processes, asking questions, and addressing concerns we are preparing for the field. This class does not eliminate the coming culture shock, but it will alleviate some of the stresses that are brought on by culture adjustment.
One of the books offered a great illustration. A monkey was at the shore of an island. he looked down and saw a fish that was seemingly struggling in the water. The monkey stooped down and “rescued” the fish from the “certain peril” that the fish was in. He took the fish to dry land where the fish could rebound from swimming so hard. The fish died. The monkey’s intention was to help the fish. The fish viewed the monkey’s actions has harmful. The monkey was trying to be a friend but the fish saw the monkey as an enemy. Why? Because they came from two different views of what was “normal”. This is just an illustration, but what is attractive in our culture may seem repulsive in another culture. Preparation for culture adaptation is very important for any missionary on his way to the field!
This is just one way we are preparing for what God has called us to do. More posts are to come. Check back next week!