Saturday, August 13, 2016

Reverse Culture Shock began with Automatic Toilets

Today marks two weeks back “home.” I put “home” in quotes because while I have been back with my family and some friends, life has not slowed down one little bit! It kind of feels like I’ve traveled across the world again in the two weeks I’ve been back. I wanted to write this blog post a little earlier than now, but with family vacation, retreats, and other events here and there I simply haven’t had a chance to sit down and write.
That being said… Reverse culture shock DID begin with automatic toilets, but that’s not all this post is about. Adjusting back to life in the US and the crazy busy schedule I had almost forgotten about has proved to be quite a challenge, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Getting back into an incredibly fast-paced life and full schedule is a challenge in and of itself, but trying to remember all that I learned this summer and attempting to process what it could mean in regards to my future brings a new sense of challenge to returning home. Sharing about how God moved this summer can be hard because 1) I still don’t really know what to say, and 2) some people simply aren’t really interested in listening – especially if too much rambling is involved. Both of these things are okay. We were warned about them at debrief, and they have probably been the most challenging to me when it comes to reverse culture shock, but it’s okay. I may not be sure who I need to share with or even what I need to share, but I know I need to share. God didn’t send me overseas this summer for me to stay quiet when I returned. So, knowing that reading someone’s personal blog is a completely voluntary, I’m going to start sharing what I learned via this blog post.

What is a World Christian?

At debrief, we were given advice about many things in preparation for returning home. Much of that advice has probably been forgotten due to jet lag, but thankfully I took lots of notes during our sessions. I’d like to share some of what I learned in those sessions with you today.
This summer, we did a Bible study that taught us what being a World Christian means and what roles we can play as a World Christian. At debrief, we were taught about how we can continue striving to live as World Christians once we’re back home and back at school.
A World Christian is a Christian who has discovered the truth of God’s unfulfilled global purpose to reach all peoples. There are three main things one must focus on to successfully live as a World Christian. These are God’s Word, God’s World, and God’s Work.
A World Christian knows what God’s Word says about missions beyond the four or five verses that are typically the “go-to” verses used for mission trip themes and t-shirts. Our calling as Christians to reach the nations, to reach ALL the nations, is found throughout the entire Old and New Testaments. God wants to be known among ALL peoples, and WE have the task of working to make that happen.
Check out these verses to see God’s desire to be known:
Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 12:1-3, 26:4; Deuteronomy 4:4-6; Joshua 2:9-10; 1 Kings 4:34; Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; and Revelation 7:9.
A World Christian also knows about God’s World. He or she knows about the 10/40 window where 80% of the world’s poorest people live and where 95% of the world’s unreached people groups can be found. They know that most of the 3.5+ billion people that live in this part of the world are following religions that do not know Grace. A World Christian knows these statistics and wants to play a part in doing something about it.
Finally, a World Christian knows about God’s Work, about how he or she can play an important role in reaching the Nations with the gospel. Whether a goer, sender, prayer, mobilizer, and/or welcomer, a World Christian is involved in God’s Work no matter where they are geographically. Different seasons of life may equal different habits or roles as a World Christian.

[GO – SEND – PRAY – MOBILIZE – WELCOME]

World Christian: A Christian who has discovered the truth of God’s unfulfilled global purpose to reach all peoples, and knows that he or she has a part in that task.

The Challenge

During our last night at debrief, we were given a challenge and an opportunity to commit to being a World Christian in thoughts and actions. I will leave you with that same challenge today.
Really believe the Gospel. The Good News is the answer for the whole world, and saying you believe it is saying you accept your role in the Great Commission.
Really count the cost. This means understanding that your life is His, your plans are His, and your future is His. ALL for His glory.
Really love Jesus more. Love Jesus more than the things, people, and opportunities of this world.

{Believe the Gospel // Count the Cost // Love Jesus More}

With graduation a mere four months away, the possibilities of what could be next never stop swirling in my mind. As I try to understand what the next chapter of my life is to hold according to God’s will, I pray I am successful in really believing the Gospel, really counting the cost, and really loving Jesus more. 
“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” Acts 20:24

Friday, August 12, 2016

Is your schedule more important than your relationships?

What I learned about relationships while living in the Philippines.
During school, I often feel the weight of time on my shoulders. I run from class to class, from activity to activity, desperately trying to get everything done before I collapse into bed at night. It seems like an awful way to live when it's verbalized, but every single day I seem to repeat the cycle. I also continuously watch many of my peers enter into the same rushed lifestyle.
While spending time in the Philippines, the biggest culture shock to me was the relaxed attitude of the Filipino people. I could handle sleeping on the floor, cooking over a fire, having a very small house and bathroom (bathroom and house being a very loose term), even hand washing clothes, but sitting and waiting was awful. We would schedule a Bible study and an hour later, sometimes longer, it would finally start. Nobody seemed to care about the time or doing things in a timely manner. Everyone seemed to be oblivious to the urgency of our schedule. The first week in the Philippines I almost pulled my hair out. Read more of Cassidy's story....
-Cassidy W, 2016 Advance Team, Philippines

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Willing

Willing. We say we are willing to go... so, why aren't we? If God's heart is to make Himself known among the nations, why aren't there more workers? Why are there so many unreached? Why are we still trying to justify our disobedience and disguise it with this idea of a mystical calling, as if God should have to... on top of leaving us with the great commission and the Bible... have to personally beg us to go to the lost. How do we not understand that we follow a God who sacrificed all to save us so why would we expect anything less? No longer can we justify our disobedience with the excuse of not having "a calling." We don't need a calling because we are commanded to go. Maybe we aren't as willing as we say we say we are. What is it that is holding us back? There is no sacrifice too great! As believers we have an eternal hope TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN, therefore there is nothing to fear! Let's nail the colors to the mast! We have been given the chance to be part of something bigger than our short lives, we can make them count for eternity. The Lord is sovereign and His name will be known among the nations. All I know is I want to be one of those who are part.

-Hannah A.
Nehemiah Teams 2015, Philippines

Monday, August 8, 2016

Listen to their stories

Pray for my friends as they return home and are experiencing jet lag and reverse-culture shock. Transitioning back from two months is one of the hardest parts of the summer. God has shown them so many things and has changed their lives in so many ways this summer. They are not the same. If you see any of them at church, ask them about their summers and all that God has done. Give them a lot of love. Please listen to their testimonies, because God has brought them back to share about of their summers for a reason. Their summers never ended when they get home. Their experiences have had eternal impacts on their lives and the lives of others. As you listen praise God for what He has done and continues to do around the world we are all a part of.

-Caleb & Impact Cebu Team

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Challenges in coming home...

If you know somebody coming home after living in a different country for a couple of months (aka NTers) love on them. Listen to them, act interested, set up coffee dates, pray for them, and be patient with them. One of the biggest challenges I have faced coming home after living overseas for the summer was transitioning from living like a minimalist to.... not. 

In this pic I'm holding a basket with clothes in it. Those are all the clothes I had for two months. I could wash all of them at once. And I LOVED it. Every aspect of it. (Side note: contentment comes when worry goes away. That's a battle for all females I know for sure when it comes to outward appearance.) Coming home to having much more than that made me angry honestly. Extremely angry. (Which isn't good, I know. I have had to work through that.) 

There's a lot more I could say about that, but the Lord molds people into who He wants them to be through times like that. Two months isn't that long at all, but it can leave it's effect on someone without outsiders ever knowing. So love on those around you who did just come back or will be back soon. It is a struggle.

For those who stay months or years longer, you are my heroes. I respect you more than most on this planet and want you to know that I am praying for you, by name if I know you personally. The cost is great but the rewards are greater.

-Carley H, Riverboat Team, Philippines