Have You Seen? {August 25, 2019}

Welcome to Have You Seen? We’ll review last week and share other posts from around the web. Enjoy rest and renewal while you cozy up for some soul-food reading. 

Last Week’s Theme: Culture Shock

Then and Now: Lessons Learned With Culture Shock + Little Lemonies by Ashley Felder—”We all have bad ______ (fill-in-the-blank with your location) days. There is much grace in the process—believe me, I still cling to that grace daily! Then, I saw them as doing everything wrong. Their hygiene wasn’t great, their manners were non-existent, and their helpfulness sporadic. I chose to only focus on the ‘bad’ things. Now, I see them through a different light. They’re still very much a developing nation, not too far removed from mass starvation and a difficult regime. They act how they do because they don’t know any differently. As I’m walking the streets amidst the masses, I look some passersby in the eyes and ask the Father to show me how to love their culture better. It doesn’t come easily for me, but I know they have a hard time accepting things in my culture as well. I’m reminded God made each people group unique for a reason. It would be insanely boring if we were all similar, right? I’m right there in the trenches with you, bit-by-bit seeing them as the Father does—a broken people who desperately need Him.”

The Language of Culture Shock {Book Club} by Amy Young—”Later, in the same chapter, Britt-Marie is trying to understand a soccer reference that’s cultural when she asks why Toad is screaming at himself when he lets goals go by him. When she doesn’t understand the explanation that ‘he has a dad who supports Liverpool,’ Sami gives a deep breath, ‘which is not at all a sigh’ and says a line that made me tear up. After being down 3-0 at the half, no team had ever come back from that deficit. ‘But in the changing rooms, one of the players from the Liverpool team stood yelling like a madman at the others, because he would not go along with a world where there were certain things that could not be turned around.’ That, that right there is the gospel. That is why we endure culture shock and culture stress and culture confusion . . . because, we here at Velvet Ashes, we also do not want to go along with a world where there are certain things that cannot be turned around.”

Laughing in the Face of Culture Shock (and a giveaway!) by Elizabeth Trotter—”Sometimes life surprises me. Like that time when Jonathan was sick with typhoid fever, and I was in the school room, and suddenly the light bulb burst into flame. Literal two-inch orange flames. That never happened to me in America. Or that time when Jonathan was recovering from middle and outer ear infections, and he went up to our beloved roof, with its three square meters of peace and tranquility (and several potted plants), only to discover that someone had painted those pots. And the rocks in the pots. And even the plants themselves. That never happened to me in America either. Don’t get me wrong—plenty of surprising things did happen to me in America. Like the time a Canadian goose blew itself up when its wings touched two nearby power lines in our yard. Or the time a different Canadian goose attacked my leg while a dog the size of a pony jumped on my back. (That was in my neighbor’s yard, by the way.) But back to surprises in Cambodia. Our boys wailed about our painted plants. I was at the end of myself. That week I had dealt with more sickness in the family and fought off more discouragement than is usual for me, and now, my roof, my precious stronghold of sanity, had been vandalized.”

Yellow Shirts and Wobbly Knees {The Grove: Welcome to Culture Shock} by Maria Mullet—”I have lived 5 years of my life in my host culture. And I still feel like I make such newborn mistakes. I just told someone the other day, ‘I guess since I’ve been here five years, I’m acting like a 5-year old.’ Culture change makes me feel like a child. Like I’m unprepared and unaware and, in all honesty, sometimes like I would like to be afforded the privilege of plopping on the floor, pounding my fists, and screaming. My childish responses always make me feel small. Within moments of an outburst of pure frustration at something in my host culture that makes not-a-lick-of-sense to me, I feel so small and embarrassed at how I responded, or how I wanted to respond. Like I used to feel when my anger got the best of me on the playground, or I forgot the rules and shouted at the library. Perhaps feeling childish puts me in a peculiar place: a place where I can respond to Jesus’ call to come to him as a child. He had high praise for children, and sharp words for those who challenged His love for them. ‘Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Matthew 18:2

From Around the Web

5 Things First Year Expats Are Too Quick to Do

Back to School for Special Needs Kids

15 Strange Habits I Picked Up Overseas

When the Expectation Balloon Popped

Finally, How to Create Space for Your Soul To Breathe

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

We’ve welcomed you to the field. We’ve introduced you to the Velvet Ashes community and chatted about what it is like to walk the culture shock journey. This week we’re wrapping up our series by welcoming you to the beautiful beast called “team.”

There’s nothing quite like the joys or the headaches … I mean, challenges that come with working and living as a team overseas. This week, we’re going to be very real about team (whatever that looks like for you), because it’s an area that the enemy loves to target. We want to be an online community that breathes life into the community that is physically and daily right there with you. We want to help each other be the community God created his people to be.

So join the discussion this week in the comments. Show us your team on Instagram with #VelvetAshesWelcometoTeam. Bring your blog posts to the Grove. What has God taught you through team living?

We want to be team for each other through prayer as well! You can tag your prayer requests on Instagram with the hashtag #VelvetAshesPrayer, or check out our Prayer Wall on our website.

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