What Lies Beneath: Recognizing Cultural “Icebergs”

cultural iceberg

We’re excited to welcome Sheri Lazarus of Engineering Ministries International. EMI mobilizes architects, engineers, construction managers, and other design professionals–including those through an incredible internship program–to provide design services for those helping the poor. We’re talking water projects, hospitals, schools, orphanages, you name it. Meanwhile, they raise up disciples and trained professionals in-country.

Mrs. Lazarus applies these cross-cultural points poignantly to the elements of designing cross-culturally–but we believe you’ll find inescapable parallels to any cross-cultural work. Hopefully it will help jumpstart real solutions for cross-cultural sensitivities, and help any culture manifest Jesus Christ according to its own cultural icebergs. read more

He Said/She Said. You Say? “Am I cut out for this? What kind of character do I need to be effective overseas?”

It might come to mind as you’re taping another box shut, or when you’re about to pass one of those points-of-no-return: Selling your house. Selling your wheels for pennies on the dollar.

You might think, Well. If I go over there and bite it big time, this is going to be pretty embarrassing. Not to mention expensive.

(If you haven’t thought that? Just ignore those last two paragraphs.)

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Beginning Packing List: East Africa

Wondering what to pack to go overseas long-term? It can get tricky. Every country has different items available…or not. (If you know someone available to write a list for another area of the globe, please contact us here at Go. Serve. Love to equip more global workers to go overseas!)

This is shaping up to be a long post, so let’s get to it.

On your first trip over, prioritize items you absolutely cannot get in your host country, or that will be of considerably less quality. I should add “or are really expensive.” Don’t panic if you can’t get them all. Rebuilding a home is a process of slowly accruing and adjusting what you need. (See our post on Worked for Me Wednesdays #WFMW: The Luggage Edition.) read more

Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part III

Missed Part I and II? Grab ’em here.

Moving to Africa was like seeing a new version of my husband.

Sure; in some ways it aged us and strained us in ways we could have never experienced. But it was also extremely cool to see my husband as the guy tooling around an African metropolis, learning to navigate the streets to care for his family. I would have never anticipated the overwhelming generosity he possessed; the crazy-cool gifts of cultural understanding and helping Africans through heartbreaking conflicts and difficulties. What if I’d never seen the African version of him? And as I at last realized my dream of moving overseas, we laughed out loud about the “Afro-disiac” it was for our marriage!

Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part II

Missed Part I? Grab it here.

Like going overseas, marriage is a form of faith—even more in God than in your spouse.

And as C.S. Lewis has written, Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.

All of us encounter those days where we’re thinking, if he throws his socks beside the hamper one more time, I am going to tell him exactly where he should put them. Or, Honey, I get hormones. But does PMS really last all month?  read more

Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part I

While living in Uganda, we paid a trusted African friend to watch our kids while we went on date nights. At first, she looked at us like we’d grown horns.

“He still takes you out on dates?”

She opined aloud that if I were Ugandan and had borne four children, my husband would probably be looking for another woman to…entertain him. So believe it or not, our consistent dates and happy marriage were a fun and refreshing testimony to those watching us.