Oh the Joys of Culture

MJM writes from Colombia—

Oh the joys of language and culture acquisition! What does it mean when someone sends a Whatsapp message and asks, “Hey, could I come and stay with your family for a couple days?” In light of the fact that the last “couple days” visit ended up lasting a week, what’s the culturally acceptable way of communicating, “Sure, come on over for a couple days!” These are the types of questions and real-life situations that we’ve faced recently during our over three months of government-imposed quarantine.

During the quarantine, having someone to daily interact with outside our family has been a God-send, giving us the opportunity to interact in Spanish with a national. On the other hand, having someone spend every moment of every day with you, and not knowing if/when they will move on can be a bit wearing. Through it all, it’s a good reminder to “be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18 GNB). God’s blessings come in many shapes and sizes, and many times they stretch us and help us grow.

Speaking of growing, quarantine has proven to be a prime opportunity to do just that. Just before quarantine began, the Lord had enabled us to take some big steps towards our goal of tribal engagement. We were really looking forward to having members of our support team visit for a time of “brainstorming” and “troubleshooting.” Hopes were high that we would be able to come to some agreements, visit our anticipated future location, and begin making plans. While we are very thankful that progress hasn’t ground to a complete stop, immediate plans have been put on hold as we wait for the quarantine to be lifted so we can start working on our visas in order to start making moving plans. Pray for us as we “wait on the Lord” and trust Him to “strengthen our hearts” (Psalm 27:14).

You might be wondering, “How long did the ‘couple days’ turn out to be?” Well, when I broached the subject two weeks later, asking, “So, when do you think you will go home?” I was met with the shocking response of, “Well, I was thinking I wouldn’t go home…” Thankfully, we were able to arrange things so that our visitor is still able to be around most days, but we do get some alone time as well! Hopefully we’ve learned a little, can store these lessons away for future interactions, and most of all, increase our effectiveness for His sake!


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  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10