Tuesday Topic: Valuable Lessons Learned

What is one of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned as a result of living in another culture? It can be from any sphere of life.  What in particular has taught you this lesson?

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


7 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Valuable Lessons Learned”

  1. 1 Shilo October 12, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    I think one of the best lessons I have been so thankful to have experiences is some seriously amazing Latin hospitality! I have learned so much from my friends about how to put people at ease, allow them to feel part and truly serve!

  2. 2 Kimmy October 13, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    In all of my travels the most important lesson I have learned is to be accepting and open of all other cultures, traditions, languages, and customs throughout the world. Just because someone or an entire society does something different than what you are used to does not make it wrong, weird or abnormal. I’ve also learned to be greatful to be an American and to be greatful for all that America has, all that I can do and all of my freedoms.

  3. 3 Phyllis October 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I can’t think of one specific thing. Maybe flexibility? Half of that probably just comes from living with my husband ( 🙂 ), but the other half is from this culture. Things just don’t always go the way we’d plan. I used to be a planner, and that just led to frustration.

  4. 4 Ashley L. October 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I hear you on the flexibility, Phyllis! Similar cultures! =) The first thing that came to mind for me was learning to not stress out about travel with kids… well, as much as possible (though it of course is still often quite stressful). I think I made our first trips far worse by trying too hard to make things go well (like getting kids to sleep on the plane and such). Our flights have been so much easier since I’ve finally learned to just take it as it comes and try to make it as fun as possible.

    Another larger lesson has been to trust the Lord for the strength and vision that we need to do the work that He calls us to. I remember during our first year thinking how I couldn’t imagine wanting to stay overseas for long, but day by day, month by month, God gives us the ability, call, and even desire to stay as we trust Him. I trust He will continue to do that until He directs us elsewhere.

  5. 5 richelle October 17, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Kimmy – that is also a huge lesson I’ve learned. We have such a tendancy to think something is right just because it is how we’ve always done it. Learning to accept other cultures’ rights and wrongs (where there aren’t clear biblical guidelines, of course 🙂 has been a huge learning curve for me.

    another thing i’ve learned since living here is the idea that “it never hurts to ask.” sometimes, expats will comment, disparagingly, on the fact that our local friends and neighbors will often look to an expat to meet a need rather than try and figure out how to take care of things themselves. i’m slowly coming to see that perhaps our western, indpendent mindset of “i’ll take care of it/figure things out myself,” is not more right than the other. after all, the Lord tells us we have not because we ask not (not trying to misapply that, either). there is, however, certainly nothing wrong in learning what it means to truly be part of a community, serving and humbly/graciously allowing others to serve you…

  6. 6 Casey Allison October 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    As a big surprise to me, our biggest lesson this term has been that we don’t want to try to plant Khmer (Cambodian) churches. We want to plant a Christian one! Christ calls us to be counter-cultural. We spent so much time planning how to make ourselves and our ministry culturally appropriate. It was good to think through those things, but I am now spending time learning what parts of my life are not Christian culture. I am thankful to see fruit already!

    I am often asked why I have so many kids (I only have three :)), and I am so glad to reply that God has blessed us with them (as opposed to complaining about what a handful they are as I used to do).

    “Which one is your favorite (which one do you sleep with)?” is the next question.

    “I love them all the same,” is my answer.

    “Well, how do you love them all?”

    “I know the Source of love.”


    And the words of my answer stir my heart and, Lord willing, theirs, “The Lord God of Heaven and earth Who created all things.”

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