Tag - missionary

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Dangerous Stories
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What is Reverse Culture Shock and Why It’s Important to Understand It – Part 1
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How to Cope with Reverse Culture Shock – Part 2
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Where Are You Home? The Journey to “Become Home”
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You’re in a Spiritual Crisis? Find Out Why That’s Fantastic News!

Dangerous Stories

Photo credit: Seyemon via photopin cc

This post was originally published on A Life Overseas where it captured the interest of many missionaries – go and check it out the discussion! You can also follow the author Chris Lautsbaugh’s blog at No Super Heroes. This post is re-posted with permission.

Sometimes the stories we tell of those we minister to can become dangerous.

I’ve been at this missions thing for 23 years now. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

I often reflect on things I did in the past and cringe. Hindsight is always 20/20, but perhaps others can learn from my mistakes.

One mistake centers around how I have reflected the stories of others to my own supporters and sending churches / organizations.

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What is Reverse Culture Shock and Why It’s Important to Understand It – Part 1

Photo Credit: Felicity Davies

I am currently writing this blog entry from the UK, where I’m visiting my home country because my husband and I are missionaries in South Africa. My husband grew up in Manchester, so we are staying in a house provided by a member of his church. I cannot tell you how grateful we are to have our own space while we are at home visiting family and friends – it makes it easier for us to rest in-between social engagements.

Reverse culture shock is when you return to your own culture but find it a bit unfamiliar because you have adapted to the culture of the nation where you are currently living and working.

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How to Cope with Reverse Culture Shock – Part 2

Photo Credit: looking4poetry via Compfight cc

In my last article I began to open up about the issue of reverse culture shock (What is Reverse Culture Shock and Why It’s Important to Understand It). In this blog entry I would like to discuss ways that I discovered to help me handle this unpleasant experience.

When I first experienced reverse culture shock, I was not aware of what was going on. I felt depressed, discouraged, and disoriented, but I had no words to use to describe what I was feeling. I somehow came across a book called Re-Entry and found that the information imparted in this book helped me understand what I was experiencing; this knowledge in itself brought some relief. As I read this book, I was reassured that I was not the only one to go through reverse culture shock, and it gave me a vocabulary to use to be able to communicate my experience with others. If you are a missionary, I would highly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the issue of reverse culture shock so that you are prepared for when you go through it yourself or when someone you know is going through it.

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Where Are You Home? The Journey to “Become Home”

Photo Credit: Shannon Mintz  Photographer: Felicity Davies

Sometimes as missionaries and expats we do not often express the sense of loss and separation one goes through when following the call of God that moves us across countries, cultures, and/or oceans. So I am thankful for Angharad’s post last week on the “pain of saying goodbye” to home for another country (if you missed it, you can read it here: The Pain of Saying “Goodbye”). I can also understand this on a personal level. And please don’t misunderstand me; as much of this is difficult, much is also a desired, exciting, and joy-filled experience.

But at the same time and maybe after going through stages of grief and journeying through transition to living somewhere else other than my “original home” (cultural, birthplace, family, etc.), I find myself in another place emotionally and maybe spiritually too – a place that surprises me today but in a good and thankful way. A place where I survey where I now live with more fondness, even with a love that continues to deepen. Where I claim the beauty, the diversity, the people, and with contentment my heart says, “Yes.”

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You’re in a Spiritual Crisis? Find Out Why That’s Fantastic News!

Photo Credit: *Louise** via Compfight cc

Recently I was told, “You have a real gift for facilitating spiritual crisis.” To which I responded, “Uh… errr… thank you?” Luckily my source of flattery was a clinical psychologist, and we were talking about the Six Stages of Faith every human being (including you and I) are currently traversing.

Fun Fact: Spiritual crisis is the marker you may be shifting up a faith level. This is why I don’t flinch at these types of hushed missionary confessions anymore:

“I’ve never doubted my faith before, but now I doubt everything I used to know.”

“I’m critical of everything! I just can’t go to church anymore.”

And…

“Lately, I’m not sure I even believe in God.”

Once upon a time, I’d dig out my apologetics Bible college text book and frantically try to find the answers to fix these troubled folks, to ease their doubts, assure them of what they already know to be true. Today, I just smile and say, “You’re a missionary who doesn’t believe in God? Awesome. God is so excited!”

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