By Mary Alan
It\’s the little things, the mundane, that cause me to fail as a cross-cultural witness.
On the other hand, the catastrophes and emergencies — these events are catalyzers for my witness: A colleague has been kidnapped. A believer is undergoing severe persecution. When these things happen, my husband and I call our prayer networks. We fast and pray as a team. We pour over Scripture and cry out to the Lord. The body of Christ comes together in unity and it bonds with stronger cords of oneness.
It is a heavy time, but the joy of seeking the Lord together is exhilarating. We show others that we are serious about our faith. If God answers our prayers, we praise Him. If God doesn\’t answer, we choose to trust Him for the outcome He’s ordained.
In contrast, it’s in my everyday life as a cross-cultural worker where I’m more likely to complain and resort to self-reliance.
It’s those times when there is no water pressure, and my pitiful shower barely rinses the shampoo from my hair. Or the water runs out, and I use a few cups of water from the fridge to make do, grumbling the whole time.
Or it’s the times when I drive to the store and one car nearly hits my bumper, another darts out in front of me, and I scowl, yelling some choice words about the crazy drivers in this country. When I get to the store, there is no fresh milk. Don\’t these grocers know that milk is a staple? In the US, the stores always have milk. I pout as I refuse to buy the powdered or boxed long-life milk, again.
It’s the times when I stop by the bank, and find a parking place three blocks away, only to find that it is the prophet’s birthday and the bank is closed. This country has so many holidays.
I return home, only to find that the electricity is off, so I can\’t send that newsletter thanking our supporters for their generosity.
It’s those everyday things that cause me to struggle to be the bride of Christ, to serve others, to have joy in the journey. I need to remember the lovely things of this culture — the hospitality, the fresh fruits and vegetables, which are organic and cheap, and my friends. I need to find humor in the things I don\’t understand and ask God for patience when frustration creeps in.
Passages of Scripture I’ve found that help me follow the Lord in the mundane often focus on obedience (1 Sam. 15:22). I’m encouraged by verses about staying the course (Matt. 28:19 and John 13:35). When I struggle with loving the culture I serve in on difficult days, like when there is no milk and there are close calls with car collisions, I read 1 Cor. 13 and John 13:34–35. I hope they’ll encourage you too. No matter where you live and serve, we, as Christians, all struggle with serving joyfully in monotony and in the mundane.
It helps knowing that we must just be obedient to our call, even when small things get to us, knowing that loving our lost neighbors is huge for our witness. Claiming this helps us have victory from those things that bug us.
I covet your prayers. Pray that I will be a cross-cultural worker who will mirror Christ to those around me, even in the mundane.
You can join our team in prayer:
- Please pray for the local Christians who are struggling, for those in prison for their faith, and for those whose families are giving them grief for believing in Jesus.
- Pray local Christians will not fear. Many Christians fear the societal repercussions of choosing to live out their faith. Pray they will live in faith.
- Two days ago, a colleague shared with our team about a Christian who is going through a rough time with family. They ask for wisdom on how to handle the situation.
- Pray that our team will have glimpses of how God is at work that will encourage us to keep being obedient and faithful.
Mary Alan lives in the Middle East.