"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace."
Last semester at Denver Seminary, I took the Intro to Intercultural Ministry class. Through this class I was shown again how I know God has a sense of humor and prepares each of us for what he has planned next. For the class I had to read a book by Paul Heibert titled Anthropological Insights for Missionaries. As I read the book I found it very interesting, long, and overall more of a burden than an enjoyable read. That is except for the chapter on culture shock. Heibert wrote about these different stages that missionaries go through and how culture shock starts at home. When I read this chapter I knew that Stacia and I needed to remember this, AND that we needed to remember to re-read this chapter as we prepare for our current adventure.
As last week and finally yesterday passed, a feeling of culture shock beginning has not left me. This was a great week, an emotional week of sharing our news with everyone. We love our family in Parker, and can't wait to come back and share stories with them about our travels. On one level, both Stacia and I are feeling like High School Graduates again rather than adults changing jobs! But this feeling still looms me. With so many people excited for us, I am overwhelmed by the love and support. So overwhelmed that I find myself liking the support. I am starting to almost expect with the excitement of a child on Christmas the questions from people who know what we are about to do. "What will you be doing? When will you be leaving? Are you sure this is where you are supposed to go?" The questions are great to answer, and I love sharing the story, but I have to humble myself and regulate my feeling.
Hiebert described this time as a time of celebration. People around us are celebrating on many levels Stacia and my call and decision to go to Hong Kong. The funny piece is, if we fall too much into that feeling, we are doomed to experience culture shock. The unfortunate reality would be that we would soon be focused more on our new found fame and less on the God that has provided us this opportunity.
What happens when the questions stop? What happens when we arrive in Hong Kong and are no longer the couple leaving for Hong Kong? The thought/feeling/comfort that we depended on for so long is now gone and we are left to fend for ourselves without anyone cheering for us! This is what we are trying to change, to prepare ourselves differently. I know that we will experience culture shock, but by embracing our time here, staying focused in God, we will be able to experience His world in Hong Kong as well.
Paul writes in Ephesians " Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." If we were to give all of ourselves to the feeling that we get from this news, we will not be living for God and expressing His love through us. Our prayer is that we are able to stay humble in the coming months, that we may embrace the next 5 1/2 months as a great blessing, and be prepared for whats to come next!
Blessings for now, off to read for my Acts and Gospels class!