Culture Collection “Affected and Effective”

Did you think I had forgotten about my rock collection? Some rocks are shiny and pretty. Others have mesmerizing coloring. This particular bit broke off from bedrock. It is a foundation piece and as I pull it out to show it to you I am reminded of who we are and why we are here.

View from my front porch as I thought about these things this morning

“She is completely changed,” were the words of the social worker upon dispensing with the greeting ritual. She watched my daughter climb from one lap to the other happily playing with her new family. Notes and comments were made about everything from Kaitlynn’s countenance to her behavior and disposition and even her skin. Deep changes had taken place quickly. Just shy of two weeks and a formerly familiar face was a welcome, new stranger in this little two-year-old’s home. Kaitlynn could not even recall the name of this woman who she used to be with quite regularly for over a year.  The pleased social worker was sure she wouldn’t need to come back for a second visit after observing for less than half an hour.

Kaitlynn has been affected. She is not the only one changing, though. As she has assumed a new name, begun speaking differently, and adapted to a new way of life we have also been affected. This exchange of change has not been without it’s challenges, yet other things have taken place without deliberation and almost effortlessly. Transference to and fro taking place in our home is a micro-unit displaying what happens on the mission field.

A missionary comes from a different lifestyle. Because the adult is far less adept at change the adaptation is arduous at best. Disciplining the tongue, training the digestive tract, forcing the new rhythms of living to become natural requires intensive dedication. All the while the man, woman or family changes. They are adopted into the country. As they absorb the culture the culture also becomes tainted by their lives. Truths are introduced, forever changing the eternity of the people. The affected in turn becomes effective. This melding, meshing and mixing is a beautiful thing.

The view from the other side just moments after the first picture

Today, I revel in the marvel of the merging our seven lives. I am also grateful that God has placed me in the nation of Bolivia to become affected by the culture. I have been affected to be effective.

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