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Our Mission to the Himalayas and Beyond

Month

September 2014

Adjust, Adapt or Go Home

This is  my new motto for life on the mission field.

I must adjust, adapt or I should definitely go home.

In my mind, I know how I expect things to turn out.

I have a misguided notion that my way of doing things is the right way.

But I am learning that this is not the way of life on the other side of the world.

My western mindset is different from the eastern mindset.

Though I’m in a hurry for things to take place, they are more laid back.

Though if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. And if I can’t do it, I apologize.

Yet, here it’s all about saving shame. So often you are told one thing, but then the opposite is done.

It is enough sometimes t make you want to pull out your hair.

However, I’m learning to just let it go.

Thus my new motto, adjust, adapt or go home.

I can’t expect things to happen as I think is best. I can’t expect the culture to change around my needs.

I can’t expect life to be easy and go as planned.

I can’t and I won’t, or I will not survive.

A great missionary beatitudes goes as follows,  “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break”

I’m only learning how true this is.

High expectations will break you.

So when the repairman doesn’t show up like he said he would.

I can be frustrated or let it go.

When things don’t go as I think they should.

I can crumble (which I have) or let it go.

When someone says one thing and does another.

It is best to just  let it go.

I think this is a vital lesson every missionary has to learn and I’m still learning.

This life, it is not about me or about my comfort or happiness.

This life, is about dying daily to myself and allowing the joy of the Lord to be my strength.

Things will go wrong, bad days will come, needs will go unmet.

But God is on His throne and He is good.

I can rejoice in Him and have joy.

On the plane ride on the way over here, we sat by and talked with another missionary couple to Thailand.

I asked her what is your one piece of advice.

She said and I quote, “The joy of the Lord must be your strength.”

I’m finding out just how right she was.

Because no matter how bad it gets, no one can take my joy.

For it comes from the Lord.

So I will adjust and I will adapt. I will not go home.

Because the Lord has called me here to be His hands and His feet.

And though it can be hard, He is with me.

Strengthening me and helping me, giving me great joy.

But only when I take my eyes off the situation at hand and place them upon Him.

 

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The Harsh Reality of Culture Shock

culture shockI have always heard of culture shock. I have studied it and read about it. But the harsh reality of experiencing it is different.

We have now been in Nepal for one week. Yet, it feels more like a month. Nothing about life here is normal. In fact, everything seems backwards. From driving on the opposite side of the road, with the steering wheel on the left to the complications of daily life.

The stress of life on the mission field combined with culture shock can lead to many a melt down. In fact, today, I had two. One while in the pots and pan aisle at the store and once while out buying furniture. I know this seems crazy..but if you had, had my day you would understand.

I’m having to learn to let go. Let go of my mindset of how things should be. Let go of my high expectations. Let go of my concept of normal. In fact, it’s like learning my abc’s all over again. Letting go of all the things that seem so wrong and realizing that there are other ways of doing things.

I’m learning that my concept of time and doing things doesn’t work here. Life is on a much slower scale. And accomplishing two of the ten things on my list for the day is a great achievement.

Yes, culture shock is real. Adapting to a different culture is hard. Learning to let go and seeing things through different eyes takes time.

I’m also learning to give myself some grace. Seeking to let go of my own high expectations and realizing that the oppression of this land is real. The spiritual warfare a definite reality.

Tonight as Eric and I rode to the house on the bus, I looked about me and realized we were probably the only Christians on board. The utter lostness here is overwhelming and I wonder how God can use us to penetrate the darkness.

But,  I’m realizing that we can’t penetrate the darkness, only the Gospel of Jesus can. I’m learning that I must daily depend on the Lord. That I must walk in step with Him.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5)

This is my message, this is your message. May the Lord use us both to shine His light and be His light, pointing others to Christ.

The Adjustments of Life

adjustmentsMoving to the mission field in Central Asia has been full of adjustments. And it seem that just when we have adjusted to one thing, we then have to adjust to something else.

When we first arrived, our stomachs had to adjust to the different foods and spices (and some days it still does). We had to adjust to the pollution and dust, causing our allergies to flare up.

We adjusted to a whole new way of driving. For here they drive on the left side and the steering wheel is also on the left side of the car. My husband had to adjust to learning to drive in what appears to be utter chaos and confusion.

The kids had to adjust to a new school, new teachers, new friends.

We have been here less than 2 months, but just the other day I commented to my mom that I thought we had adjusted quite well. Telling her we had found our grove and established our routine.

When out of no where the north winds began to blow and cold rains began to fall. So now we are learning to adjust to the cold. To buildings and homes without central heat. To sleeping under piles of blankets and cold floor.

All in all, we have had to adjust to a different way of life. A slower pace. We have had to let go of expectations and learn to accept new ways of doing things.

The adjustments of life are never through though. This I’m learning. For we are always learning, always growing.

And the Lord is teaching me that this is ok. He’s teaching me that all I need to do is be in tune with Him, walking in step with His leading.

Jesus came seeking not to do His will, but the Fathers will.

Jesus sought not to please Himself, but to please the Father.

And I’m learning that this is all He requires of me too.

Adjustments will come, life as a whole is one adjustment after another, but this is how we grow.

My goal, my purpose is to do the will of the Father, the will He has for me.

My goal is to daily seek to please not myself, but the Lord.

And as I do these things, the Lord will give me the grace and strength needed to adjust to whatever life throws my way.

The same is true for you. No matter where you are, adjustments will come. And your goal like mine is just to walk in step with the Father, doing His Will, pleasing Him.

The will He has for my life will be different from the will He has for yours. The ways you daily please Him, likewise won’t be the same.

Yet our goal must be the same.

Our goal should be to seek to be more like Jesus. Desiring to do His will and to please Him.

 

Our journey to the other side….

thYSSRVKWULong before we knew where God was calling us or what we would be doing. The Lord struck our hearts with the passage in Mark when Jesus calls the disciples to go with Him to the other side.

Not many wanted to go here, for on the other side, they knew the possessed man who lived among the tombs was there. Not many wanted to go because it was safer and more comfortable to stay home. Not many wanted to go because they didn’t know what awaited them, there were no guarantees.

When God told us to go to Nepal and I began checking the globe, I realized that Nepal truley was on the other side of the world. The Lord was calling us to the other side. The other side where we knew not what awaited us. The other side that would not be comfortable or normal to our mindsets. The other side where everything would be different.

We have been in Nepal five days now.

And I have been trying to take it all in. It is a bit overwhelming in actuality.

Nothing about life here is “normal” from my American point of view.

Nothing here is for sure. We plan for our day and maybe we get 2 of the things planned accomplished.

Everything here takes time and much patience.

Combine that with the fact that we are living with another family. Living out of suitcases and trying to find a house to rent.And maybe you can understand the stress we feel.

I keep crying out to God, for I know only He can provide us with the strength, help, grace and peace we need.

And I think back to the story. On the way to the other side, a storm arose. The disciples did not even think they would make it. The stress and anxiety were real to the disciples. But God was with them and He got them to the other side. Teaching them along the way to trust Him, to rely on Him.

Our trip over went rather smoothly compared to the disciples. Our biggest struggle was loosing a bag, that after two days was returned. Yet, the day to day of life here is where the true test has come in. The spiritual warfare being extreme.

When Jesus and the disciples arrived and saw the possessed man, I’m sure the disciples were somewhat afraid. And I take comfort in that, for as I look around and sense the darkness of this land, if I’m not careful, the fear can take over.

But then I think of how the man was changed. No longer possessed but in his right mind. Changed forever and sent then by Jesus to tell those in his hometown.

And then I think, this is why we have come. The journey over to the other side has been hard, the culture shock real, the day to day stress overwhelming. But God is with us. And He can use us to break through the darkness. He can use us to help release the captives and set free those in bondage. Then these can share with those in their hometown of the one true living God.

Jesus the hope of the nations!

 

 

 

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