The Newsletter won't upload correctly for viewing this time. So I've included a link to download it if you'd like to see it in the original format. But I'm also going to share the articles found in the newsletter in text form below:
First Signs of Culture Shock: Dealing with Sickness in Another Country
Culture Shock: The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes Imagine being sick far away from any comforts of home; feeling desperate but knowing there are no 24-hour pharmacies in town. Even if there were, imagine you had no way to get there without a car. Imagine knowing if the pharmacy was open that you’d have no idea what to purchase to make yourself feel better because none of the medicine you’re used to is sold here. Imagine realizing there is no emergency room or walk-in clinic should you need it. What kinds of thoughts would go through your mind? How would you feel? This is exactly where I found myself this weekend; sick, confused, and far from anything familiar or comforting. And the thoughts that entered my mind were things like, “I wanna go home!” and “What do I do now?” followed by lots of prayers. Thankfully I came through it and survived, with help from friends here. But I saw my first glimpse of “culture shock” in the midst of this distress. Culture Shock: The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. In all of my trainings, for international missions, the term “culture shock” came up more times than I could count. And everyone seemed to agree that the three month mark was the starting point of culture shock. But for me, three months fell as I was home visiting family for the holidays. So now, five months into missions, I’m starting to see it creep its ugly head into my world. I know it will pass and I’ll be more settled afterwards. I know it will show me what I love about this new culture and help me embrace the differences more and more. But in the meantime, in the midst of it, I find it is at least drawing me closer to God in prayers. May it end quickly!
Life In SA: Season Confusion
While I was home for the holidays, I learned that many of you, my friends, family, and supporters, are more than a little curious about how life works here in another country. So, I thought I’d start sharing some of the aspects of life here that I find very different from life in America. If you have any suggestions on things you’d like to know about life here in South Africa, please feel free to email me and let me know. I’d be happy to answer your questions and curiosities. This month I thought I’d tell you about what I call season confusion. Season confusion happens when your body thinks it should be winter time but the country you live in is actually in summer. Living in a different hemisphere means that our seasons are opposite from those in America. So, while I see people back home posting pics of snow and ice on social media, I’m learning to live in heat with no air conditioner and using their photos to trick my mind into thinking it’s cooler than it actually is, along with other tricks like open windows 24-7, cold wash clothes, and fans all over the flat! But it’s so beautiful you can’t help but smile when you look outside.
Ministry in Small Ways: Coloring Cards and Pictures
Another request I had while I was home visiting with people was a request for more ideas to do simple ministry for others. This request came from people who loved hearing how reading the Bible out loud lead to helping and encouraging others nearby. So, I thought I’d share another little idea that I’ve been doing here in South Africa. I was blessed with a set of gel pens and several coloring cards/books full of scriptures before I moved here. And while I enjoy them as great stress relievers, I thought they could serve a stronger purpose as well. I decided to share the colored pages of the books or the little colored cards with others around town, anonymously mostly, as the Spirit prompted me. The idea is simple. I color them at night as I have time or need to refocus on scriptures. And I stow them in my Bible or in my purse and carry them with me throughout my daily tasks. As I feel prompted or see someone in need of a Godly reminder that they are loved, I’ll pull one out and sneak them into someone’s purse, bag, pocket, or whatever I can find; and occasionally I hand them out in person with a little message of “God told me you needed this. He loves you.” So far, I have seen these little cards and pages bring more smiles and even a few tears than I could have imagined. They are a little thing, but they seem to speak volumes to others.
“For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.” Psalm 36:9
February Prayer Requests:
More Opportunities to Serve in the Townships
Merryfield Village Directors, Steve & Julie James
More/Deeper Relationships in SA
Continued Connections with Friends/Family Back Home in US
Government Strife in SA
Continued Spiritual Growth
Visa Renewal Process
Upcoming Decisions/Knowing God’s Will