A person who works to share the Gospel through missions is one who walks the line between two very different cultures. It often feels as though you live in two separate worlds at the same time. In his second trip to Haiti, MH Discipleship Coordinator Tim Harms, passed much of his time building connections with his co-workers as well as community members. The glaring differences he first saw faded to the background as he found common ground on which to stand with his new friends. 

To read Tim’s previous blog, click here.

A crazy thing happened when I started to immerse myself in another culture. When I got past the tourist attractions and the local hot spots and found my way into another persons yard, home and life, I realized there was an underlying theme to everything I was experiencing. My finding surprised me, though looking back it shouldn’t have. I found that after I got over the newness, the differences in culture and the uncomfortableness of a language barrier, the people I was coming in contact with were a lot like me. Okay, maybe not like me, I’m pretty different, but a lot like the culture I grew up in.

Sure our skin is a different color. Yes we are fluent in different languages. I am still trying to adjust to not keeping a healthy bubble around my personal space. I prefer American food, I’m not sorry, I just do. I still think God gave chicken feet to walk on, not for soup. But we have so much in common.

The kids still worry about what other kids think of them and don’t want to be embarrassed in front of friends. Little kids still love attention. Adults sacrifice to provide for their families. We all love to have someone to make memories with and tell stories too. We serve God the best we know how. We love to laugh. Encouragement is always needed, but not always found. Prayer is a way of life. Being accepted for who we are, just how God made us, still doesn’t happen very often but is such a blessing when it does. Life can feel like a grind. There are people from both cultures that work very hard, and others that act like they deserve a handout and you are wronging them by not handing them everything in life for free.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, being in another culture really isn’t that different. What I have found is that they have the same basic needs as me. They need food, clothing and shelter. They need to be loved. They need to know who God is, and who they are in relation to him. And we have some of the same wants as well. We would like to be accepted by the other. We all dream of a better future, however that may look to each of us. We want those around us to be happy. We all want to put a smile on someone else’s face. And we all want candy.
So let me encourage you if you haven’t already, to broaden your circle of friends to include people from a culture other than your own. While we may look different, sound different and act different, deep down we are all the same. We have many of the same wants and needs, and why wouldn’t we, we have been created in the same image and for the same purpose. I’m grateful God, in his infinite wisdom, has made crossing cultures a two way street. We have so much to learn from each other, and in doing so we learn so much more about the God that we serve.

I’m grateful to God for allowing me to make friends in a different culture. I’m grateful to Many Hands for facilitating the opportunity. And I’m appreciative to my new friends for accepting me for who I am, an oversized blanc who loves to play and share the life changing love of God that I have gotten to experience first hand. Now if we could just turn down the church sound system a bit and get the farm animals to stop making noise for even a couple of hours…