Posted in Culture Shock Encouragements and Exhortations Motivation for Missions

Leaving common graces may be the best thing for your faith

I have talked to many young women about coming to Cameroon for a year on a short-term trip and, without fail, one of the first questions they have for me is about the state of the local church among the Kwakum. They are curious about what kind of spiritual resources and accountability will be available to them if they were to come. In our circles, there is, rightly, a huge emphasis on the role of the local church in the life of the believer. There are no “lone ranger” Christians – we are part of a body. We are “living…

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Posted in Africa Culture Culture Shock Encouragements and Exhortations

Love in Africa: It Costs You Something

In my experience, being white in Cameroon is like walking around wearing a big neon sign that says “I have more money than I need.” And so, from day one, and nearly every day since, I have received many requests for financial help. In fact, for quite a while it seemed like that was the only type of conversation I would ever have with Cameroonians. Then the Lord blessed us by putting us in a house that was shared by a Cameroonian family. We drew close quickly with the husband who daily showed his love for us. But then one…

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Posted in Culture Shock Current Events Encouragements and Exhortations

Lord, Keep Me Weeping

My day began by watching my deceased neighbor be buried in his front yard. My day ended by watching another neighbor beat a little boy violently. It has not taken long for us to remember that death and violence are a part of everyday life here in the village. And there is a part of me that asks the question: Is it ever okay to put my headphones in to drown out the constant strain of yelling that surrounds our home? Is it okay for me to look the other way while a grown man beats a whimpering child? Is…

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Posted in Africa Christian Missions Culture Shock

The Need for Cultural Humility

I had an interesting conversation with a couple at church a few Sundays ago. They both were born in Africa, but have lived in the US for a number of years. In discussing children, they told me that they were concerned about raising their daughter in America because of the dangers here. Without a second thought, I knew exactly what they were talking about. As Americans we have become accustomed to comfort, such that we think we deserve it. We have grown cold to the suffering of those in the majority world, and we are greatly tempted to live only…

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Posted in Culture Shock The Hare Home

How Does it Feel to be Back?

Imagine waking up one day in your own bed, next to your own wife, but all of your walls are white, when yesterday they were eggshell. And you are not 100% sure that they have changed, but they just feel different. You go to work and to church and on the way you see buildings that you could swear were not there the last time you passed. You see your friends and co-workers and some of them look a little bit older, some a little heavier, some a little lighter. All of the children are taller, more grown up. And…

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Posted in Africa Culture Shock Third Culture Kid

From the Bush to the Burbs: MK Re-Entry

We are set to arrive in the States in just 9 days and as we talk to our children about American culture, we have realized that it may be helpful for our friends in America to understand a bit of the culture that they are coming from. I used to think of them as American. They are being raised by American parents, we speak mostly English in our home, and even occasionally watch an American movie all together. But then, we had a homeschool teacher show up in August who later shared that she had no idea how many cultural…

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Posted in Africa Culture Shock Current Events Language Learning

Then and Now: How our Perspectives Have Changed throughout our First Term

In just a few days, we will be packing up to leave our village so that we can spend 16 months in the States completing our MAs in Applied Linguistics / Bible Translation. As we pack up our suitcases, we are reminded of the thoughts and feelings that we had when we left America 4 years ago. We are coming to realize that many of the perspectives that we held to on the plane ride over have changed. For instance, we now realize that… Language Learning is a Beast. On the plane ride over, I was sitting next to a…

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Posted in Christian Missions Culture Shock Encouragements and Exhortations

When the Church Does Not Look Like You, and When it Does

Walking into one of the first church services we attended in France in 2013, I saw a large bearded man holding the door open. As I approached, he grabbed my hand and moved his face directly next to mine so that our hairy cheeks almost touched. I learned later that this is an intimate greeting that the French call the “bise,” a small air-kiss on each side of the face (although with one man it was straight up a kiss on each cheek). I had heard of such greetings in France, but I was not expecting to receive the bise…

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Posted in Africa Christian Missions Culture Shock

3 Reasons Not to Dress Up for Church, and Why I Still Do

It is interesting the things you notice when you jump into a different culture. We live in a small village next to a small town. On most days people are dressed in tattered clothing that is filthy from the field. Diapers are uncommon, so most toddlers just wander around without pants. The majority of houses in our village have dirt floors, and even with our cement floor it is impossible to keep our kids clean. But Sunday, that is a different story. On Sunday families wear matching outfits, clothes bleached to an incomprehensible white (seriously, I have no idea how…

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Posted in Africa Culture Shock Language Learning

Thigh, Breast or Door? The Joys of Learning a Tonal Language

by Stacey Hey, can you go close the thigh? Oh, I mean the…breast? Nope…the door…that’s it…the door!How could we get these words so mixed up? Let us just tell you that they have the exact same consonants and vowels. And if they have the exact same consonants and vowels then they are the same word that has several different meanings…right? Wrong. We have now officially entered into the realm of tonal languages where meaning is differentiated not just by different vowels and consonants but also by the pitch of one’s voice. So (we think) “door” is said with a higher…

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