Monday, January 25, 2016

Of Culture Shock and Chickens

This week was a little less crazy than last, but still very challenging and lesson-filled. Monday started out pretty normal with class time in the morning, a fun visit to a new friend in the refugee community of Clarkston, and some game time with my mentor and two of her other disciples. It was a great day getting to continue building relationships with these people. But towards the end of the evening, I was feeling extremely tired and I could tell that my mood was going downhill very fast. I ended up going back to my room early that night to work on various homework assignments. That next morning, it was just as bad as the night before, if not worse. I felt frustrated, and didn't know why. My ability to carry on a conversation was almost non-existent. I felt extremely tired, even though I had gotten some extra sleep the night before. Several times that morning, I felt like I was about to cry for no apparent reason. After class time, I ended up breaking down completely and couldn't stop crying for at least an hour, which is extremely unusual for me. I wasn't sure what was going on. I figured it was due to not getting as much alone time as I needed last week since I had taken up so many ministry opportunities. My team was so encouraging that day as they explained that it was perfectly normal for this to happen, and that a big part of it was probably due to culture shock and stress, even if it wasn't bad stress. It was a really hard day, but I'm so thankful that I was able to go through this now with all of the supportive people around me to encourage and explain what was happening, instead of going through it once I got on the field. I was able to get some time to myself that evening, and by 7 that night, I felt much better and was actually wanting to be around people again. I was worried that it was going to take much longer to recover, but God was gracious! I did go a little easier the rest of the week however, just to make sure.

I skipped one of the ministry opportunities on Monday that we had right after class since I was having a really hard time pulling myself together, but was able to pull together enough energy and emotional stability for our next ministry time about 1:00 that afternoon. Along with 4 other people from Encompass, I got to help out in a class for Korean ESL teachers. This was a really neat experience, and I'm really thankful that I was able to do it! There were about 20 students of various ages who were divided into 5 groups, each of which was assigned to one of us from Encompass. I basically just got to sit there talking with them about Korea, their interests, their families, etc so that they could practice their English. I had a list of questions that I had been given by the teacher leading the class for the purpose of facilitating discussion but I found that I didn't need to use it too much as conversation flowed pretty well. Every 30 minutes, we would switch groups, so I was able to talk with almost all of them. I've never been in that sort of position before, especially with people who are older than me, so that was a really interesting experience! I really enjoyed getting to meet all of them. But it was a little challenging for me to have to be almost constantly talking and "on" for 2 and 1/2 hours straight. But it was fun! We're planning to go back next week to help again.

There was a lot of time spent doing homework for the classes. Some of the activities that we were going to do for ministry didn't work out, partly due to weather. We got lots of rain, and some snow!! I was thankful for the opportunity to get some Skyping time in with my family and my two best friends.

Class time this week covered topics such as spiritual warfare, leading small groups, and the agricultural metaphor of ministry. We also got to celebrate a birthday!

On Sunday, one of the gals from my team and I visited a family in the refugee community after church. We were hoping to get to talk with the mom, but she was out shopping. So we spent some time hanging out with the kids. At one point, the little girl got up to go to the bathroom, but soon came out saying that she had to use another one since there was a chicken in that bathroom. Since I often mishear things, I was a little confused, but assumed that she had said something else. However, the little boy began talking about it and saying how they were keeping it in there to eat. Curious, I asked if I could see it, but the little boy said, "No, because it has big shiny teeth." After being asked again a bit later, he agreed to show it to us. Sure enough, there was a big rooster standing there in their bathroom!! We could hear it crowing several times throughout the visit. Definitely my favorite experience of this whole trip so far! ;)

Our team is actually on a retreat right now so we can recharge before jumping back into the last two weeks of ministry (it's hard for me to believe that we're already halfway done!!). Yesterday afternoon, we girls drove up together and stopped to get gelato on the way. Yum!

 The house is right next to a lake, and the view is absolutely beautiful! We arrived when it was dark, so we couldn't see much. Woke up to this view from my bedroom!

We will be staying here until Wednesday morning. I think it's going to be hard to leave...

Enjoyed some fun games last night with the team: Bean Bamboozle and an intense game of "the Resistance"! ;) Finding spies is hard work...



  1. Sounds challenging but good!! I can totally relate to being overwhelmed and needing 'alone time'. Will be praying for continued strength and growth! Thanks for the updates! Miss you!((hugs))

  2. This all makes me so happy! I'm so glad you're doing this!

    1. Me too. =) Pretty exciting to see all that God's doing through this. =)