Browsed by
Tag: Fun

Culture Shock!!! Part 1: Distraction

Culture Shock!!! Part 1: Distraction

What could it be that is shocking this man?

Shocked
Originally uploaded by liber.

As my time in Slovakia grows with every passing minute, I would like to share with you some of the things that are happening related to Culture Shock!!!
I am hoping to make this an ongoing series of entries. So I guess this would be “Culture Shock!!! Part 1”

Culture shock by definition “is the feeling of disorientation when someone is suddenly subjected to to unfamiliar culture, way of life or set if attitudes”- Oxford American Dictionary. Needless to say I am feeling a little disoriented. I have been in Slovakia for about 6 weeks. I am still getting used to the language and to life in a small village but, I am enjoying my time. There are of course times when I ask myself “Why am I here?” or “How much longer is this year going to last?”

When you are in a somewhat disorienting experience such as Culture Shock, you tend to cling to the things you are familiar and comfortable with. These for me have been Books and Television. I brought many books and several episodes of my favorite TV shows on my computer. These can be blessings when you use them occasionally and in moderation. For me though I have been finding myself going beyond moderation and into mild obsession. I don’t spend all my time reading or watching TV but, I am missing many opportunities. When I think about what I’m doing, I realize that I am not using my time to study the Slovak language or to spend time getting to know the people I am living with. I am escaping from my reality to be in a familiar one. So, I realize I have a problem. And the old saying, “The first step toward recovery is recognizing you have a problem.” is starting to ring clear in my head. It also helps that during ELCA missionary training they drove many of the culture shock symptoms into our heads.

In many ways I am distracting myself and refusing to answer the many question I have for myself. “What exactly is my mission?”, “How can I be more effective in demonstrating the Gospel when I am a fish of water?” The more I ask these questions, the more I am realize I am dependent upon God’s grace for any glimmer of an answer. I am challenged to receive the hope He gives and learn how to share it ways that seem foreign, frustrating, and without immediate results. And of course this reminds me of one of many words I am learning in Slovakia, “pomaly” or gentle/slow. Learning to do things slowly with patients and focus. What can be more true, God’s grace is an amazing gift, we sometimes distract ourselves from it because we just are not feeling it, or feel like we don’t understand it right away, or because God’s grace can seem so distant and foreign to us. We must learn to be gentle and patient in understanding God’s grace. It is something we must remind ourselves of and learn to how to live by everyday.

In the end and by God’s grace I can put down my books and turn off my computer to take the opportunities He has given.
In the words of Saint Francis “Always Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.” It is hard to do that alone in your room.

On the brighter side of things. The more time I spend in Slovakia the more I see the similarities. I can drive down a road in the Slovak hillside and see cows in a field and it looks very similar to many fields I’ve seen in my home state of Virginia. I can teach and play with kids and realize they act the same way in any culture or language setting. It is a blessing to realize they God’s in control. Despite that fact that I’m in a different culture and far away from home God is in the details. He is in a laugh that sounds the same whether it in the US or Slovakia or in the green grass in Slovakia that looks so much look a hillside somewhere in Virginia.

So Ends Part 1…Check back later for Part 2

A Burning Bush Weekend

A Burning Bush Weekend


Burning Bush Coffee Company
Originally uploaded by themoltron.

This past weekend I attended Winter Celebration. A Youth Event for high school students. The Theme was from Exodus 3, when Moses encounters the Burning Bush.
The overall event reminded me how important it is to remember God is with me through whatever I do. I’m also reminded that God calls us to do something that only we can do. I’m still struggling to figure out what that looks like for me. God calls to us and we need to remember those Burning Bushes our lives.

I met with small group of adults. It was encouraging to hear people’s stories and to know that they have gone through many of the same doubts and struggles I am going through right now. The biggest struggle I have right now is dealing with myself worth. Having been out of work for about 2 weeks now, it is hard to feel an sense of accomplishment or motivation for things. It also doesn’t help to see my savings slowly dwindling.

I think what I got most of the weekend was a sense that God is bigger than I am and only He knows who I really am. God is will take care of me ,if I’m willing to listen and take a step of a faith. I mentioned in a early blog entry about how I’m blessed when I’m at the end of my rope because there is more of God and less of me. I’m finding that I am reevaluating what it means to be humble and understanding.

When I go out I look at all people working, and I see them from a different perspective than I have in the past. Many of the upper and middle class look down at these people who are working hard. They are people working hard to make a living. We are so afraid of what people think about our occupation that will mask it my judging others. I’m learning that I need to stop evaluating my self-worth based on what I do. I need realize who God is and who He created Me to be. Because “God Is Who He Is” and He is Good.