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!