Posts Tagged With: USA

missionary myth #4: home assignment is a vacation

Road trips, seeing different parts of the country, not reporting to an office every day… I can see why from the outside our life may seem like the break from monotony that many people long for. But somehow it doesn’t quite feel that way to us.

Maybe that’s because in between all that traveling, we are speaking in churches, meeting with supporters, and juggling a load of “behind the scenes” administrative tasks that come with our job. In many ways, our job on home assignment is more similar to that of a traveling businessman or a speaker on tour rather than a long family vacation. We often speak 2 to 3 times on a Sunday, field a lot of questions, and spend most of the day interacting with new or no-longer-familiar people.

During the week, we have several meetings with friends or family who are partnering with us. We also speak at Wednesday evening services, small groups, and/or open house meetings. Often, after speaking once or twice, a meeting or two with supporters, and then a meal with someone else, we arrive back at the home where we’re staying and finally have a chance to catch up with our hosts for an hour or two before crashing for the night. Then the next morning, we pack the car, and we’re off to somewhere else. On average, we log 1,000 miles of driving per week.

In the car, or between meetings with supporters, we write prayer updates, blog posts, or newsletters. We update our website. We stay on top of the paperwork that comes with being self-employed clergy (schedule C clergy income records, vehicle mileage logs, etc). We reply to dozens of emails, texts, and calls from supporters and churches. We confirm or work out details for the next legs of our trip. We pay bills (yes, we have some of those). We make preparations for our return to Papua New Guinea (flights, guest housing, buying things to take back, etc).

And in between those things, sometimes we do get to visit a beach, or take a walk, or even catch a nap. Thanks for praying for us doing this busy time of traveling and sharing what God has being doing in our lives the past two years!

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Reverse Culture Shock

Since arriving in the USA four weeks ago, we’ve been trying to adjust to life in what now feels almost like a foreign country to us. We both dealt with culture shock moving over to Papua New Guinea, but coming “back” to the US, we’re now dealing with what’s known as “reverse culture shock.”

Here are some of the things we’ve been experiencing as part of our reverse culture shock:

  • Driving on the right hand side of the road. The more we drive, the more we get used to driving on the right side of the road, but it still throws me (Rachel) off sometimes when we turn at an intersection and I forget which side of the ride we’re supposed to be on.
  • You can get literally just about anywhere in the US on roads that are nicely paved (except in Michigan) 
  • It stays light really late here! In Papua New Guinea, the sun goes down by 6:30pm all year round.
  • The climate feels really cold and dry to us here, since we are used to temperatures 80-95 degrees F, with 95%-98% humidity all the time.
  • There are hardly any bugs here! It amazes me (Rachel) how long you can leave food out without it getting attacked by ants, cockroaches, etc.
  • People are always in a hurry. They have so many machines that are supposed to be time-saving (dishwashers, microwaves, etc) but yet no one seems to have any time.
  • Wal-mart is huge, and there are so many options! There are aisles and aisles full of so much food!
  • We get overwhelmed with the constant barrage of media everywhere – billboards, screens, music, ads, displays, etc.
  • Sometimes we draw a blank when we’re talking in English, and we can’t think of how to say something in English. Or we speak in Mouk or Pidgin without realizing it…until we get blank stares from whoever we’re talking to.

Thanks for praying for us as we adjust to being in the USA for these four months!

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