The culture won’t make a bit of sense. You’ll even resent the people sometimes, or think how they do things is ridiculous.
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!
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?
And living overseas tacks on its own version. Did we really need to stay at a six-hour church service on your only real day off? Or, We set aside tonight for a movie night because we don’t even have the energy to talk. And now the electricity’s out. Again.
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.
There are some well-aimed critiques being leveled at global work lately, which may make you question the validity of this work altogether. Amy Medina from A Life Overseas addresses some of the most painful and poignant criticism by authors/bloggers/podcasters like Corey Pigg, Emily Worrall, and Jamie Wright–the latter of whom writes, “I came off the mission field with a new mission which is to burn down missions.” This one is a must-read…and may explain a tiny bit of why Go. Serve. Love has recently released our self-assessments. Well done, Ms. Medina.
A friend of mine lives with her husband, helping migrants in Asia. She amazes me, you know. There are 40-50 malnourished kids who gather in their compound for a healthy meal and vitamins before school (my friend’s home is half home, half community center). They run businesses out of their home, training and empowering community members. They shuttle people to the hospital at all hours. They run a summer program, where kids are tutored by their teenage neighbors so they can excel in school.
Six relevant things that saint paul never said
Nicholas Davis presents six hilarious, yet oh-so-true verses that “vamp” on Scripture. Or at least what we wish it would say. A snippet:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true for you, whatever is popular, whatever is trending, whatever is pleasurable, whenever you think you’re falling in love, whatever really famous people say, and if it’s something that will give you a higher status, think about such things and say them publicly on Facebook—like, all the time.
Because many global workers will focus on poverty development, Kevin Deane’s article on “A Gospel for the Homeless” has some thoughts germane and timeless for work overseas, too. Like this:
I’ve discovered that ‘homeless people,’ – just like ‘immigrants’ and ‘First Nations’ – are often mistakenly talked about as one big organic unit. As though they all think and act the same. Before you start anything, get to know who you are reaching.
Jerry Jones over at A Life Overseas (we recommend you subscribe! Great stuff) writes these particularly for all of you: those packing it up to go there, serve Him, and love them. Don’t miss his myth-busting remarks about real life abroad.
Today Go. Serve. Love is pumped to welcome back Rachel Pieh Jones–marathon runner, camel rider, mom, cookbook author of Djiboutilicious, and general all-out lover of Djibouti. This post originally appeared on her blog, Djibouti Jones.
From Rachel’s blog, Djibouti Jones: this post has stirred up controversy and passion that I confess I was naively not prepared for. I understand that many feel judged and I can see why and I apologize. This is not a list of commandments and it is a list of things I have done/still do. It is not a call for feelings of guilt or failure. It is not a perfect list based on research or facts. Mostly, it was meant to be a fun way to look at the choices we make as expats, with tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, which doesn’t translate well via the written word. I’m not going to change the post to soften the reactions people bring to it, I’m simply saying that I hear you, I’m sorry to have caused offense, and I’m human, both as an expat and as a blogger.
Hey all you expats…here are some things we need to stop doing. You’ll last longer overseas, enrich your time, leave a more positive impression, and you will never be the same. (Confession: I’ve done/do all of them myself, so an added bonus, #21 Remember no one is stagnant.)