Wouldn't it be fun if we could sit down with a 'cuppa' (British English for 'cup of tea') and chat for awhile? But seeing as we're all over the world, this space will have to do. So let's get ourselves a cup of tea (or coffee if you prefer) and have a little chat. :-) Last week, you all got to ask your questions, so I'll do my best to answer them this week!
I wanta know about this missionary dating story!First, for those of you who may not have heard the term before, 'missionary dating' usually refers to a Christian girl who is dating a non-Christian guy with the hopes that she'll influence him to accept Jesus. Our definition of missionary dating is a bit different. I won't share the whole story here since it's kind of long, but I'll do my best to share the important stuff! We met at his brother's wedding, but didn't communicate until a year later when his brother and sister-in-law (a good friend of mine) set us up. He was in England at the time, already serving in his ministry. So after chatting through emails, a few phone calls and Skype, we started officially started dating on Thanksgiving Day in 2009. I was in the US and my husband was in Singapore on one of our organisation's ships.
When I was sharing with a friend that I was dating a guy, I mentioned that he's a missionary and that most of our relationship up until that point was over Skype. She replied with, "Well, that redefines 'missionary dating' doesn't it?"
Obviously, the rest is history, but if you'd like to read the rest of the story, you can hop over to my blog if you like. :)
How has it be been for you adjusting to a culture that your husband had already been living in for a long time?It wasn't easy at first. My husband had his life already set up here, and it was a challenge at times to feel like I was now included in his life in England. One thing that helped me adjust was getting to know a family who didn't know us before we got married.
What do you love about England?I love the history in this country. England has been around much longer than America so homes, castles and the like that are more than a couple hundred years old are quite impressive and it give me a new definition of 'old.' Hadrian's Wall, an old Roman wall goes through our town, and there are still parts of it remaining. How cool is that?
I also love the people. I know that might sound a little cliché, so maybe I should explain. You may be familiar with the mantra "Keep Calm and Carry On" that the British adapted during the War in order to cope with the changes and unrest that was happening around them. All these years later it's still part of their culture to remain calm and keep to themselves. It has been so neat over the past 3 years to see God working in the hearts of the people we've met here from our neighbours to my midwife to the people in our home group from church.
What are some of your ongoing challenges?Every missionary struggles in the area of raising support. But we find that with my husband's role in IT that it's an ongoing challenge to raise support because we're not actually "on the field" doing outreaches and translating the Bible. My husband helps provide the technology side of things so that those doing the outreaches and translating can do their ministry. It's been a challenge to share with people that IT is a ministry, too.
What do you think is the biggest cultural difference?
You know, it's strange. The differences in culture are so subtle that I don't notice them until we go back to the US on home assignment. The biggest thing I've noticed is that people generally aren't as friendly here. I walk into a shop, and everyone working there more or less stares you down, not saying anything unless I ask for help. In the US, it's the opposite: I walk into a store, and everyone working there jumps at the opportunity to help me find what I'm looking for. When we were on home assignment, my husband and I would go for walks in the subdivision near my in-laws'. People working in their yards would say hello, which was really strange to us now because we just don't see that in England. My husband spent a couple of weeks asking me, "Why are they saying hello? We don't know them!"
Do you have a British accent yet? Or does your husband?This question makes me chuckle. :-) Whenever we go back to the US, people say we have a British accent. But compared to those who actually do have one, we definitely don't. We use British words and spellings, and speak with the inflection that the British use. But I wouldn't say we have accents. My husband has been here almost 8 years and has yet to pick up an accent, except the words and inflection. People here say we have a beautiful American accent, although I don't understand what's so nice about an American accent!
And now it's my pleasure to introduce to you Heather!
Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Hello beautiful sister's and fellow heirs. My name is Heather. I am the Lord's beloved. I have a tattoo on my wrist to prove it ;) I am a mama of 2 very spunky tween-agers, and have been married to the 'BFF of Jesus' for 14 years next week. That's code for, 'my man is really relational and has a friend on 6 of the 7 continents'. I was practically a child when I was engaged, but that works out great for me now because everyone is pleasantly surprised to learn that my daughters are indeed not not my little sisters. My hubby and I are both 'first gens', as I like to call us. Delivered out of generations of bondage and slavery into new life in Christ Jesus. All we knew when we got married was that we couldn't repeat the mistakes we endured as kids from broken homes and that God was real. Radical transformations in our early 20's, was followed up by healing through Celebrate Recovery at our local church in Olathe, Kansas. We have been ministering in modern day Ephesus for about 2 years. If God would have said in the begining of our missions training that he was sending us to a Muslim country with a heart for the exploited I might have pretended not to hear and gone back 'life as normal'. (I miss my minivan and Mexican food a lot, by the way. ) I love how our Father shows us what we need to know when we need to know it. He is trust worthy. He calls 28 year old soccer mom's that wear too much mascara to the nations. He truly has a sence of humor too.
So what is all this talk in the 8th chapter of Romans about... 'indeed sharing in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory' ? I have been truly stripped of some flesh recently. Our Father has been patient and, oh so loving with me during our years together. He continues to be, but today is hard even still. I am in a season, where everything I have been taught can be applied and lived out IF I decide to. I have been stretched to the brink of utter dependence on God. My middle name is 'Taffy' by now. I have been depending on 4 words, Love God and Love people. I am humbled and find freedom in saying, that I am suffering right now like I never have before, and despite great difficulty I can remain Christ like.
I feel like I finally have a glimpse, a fragment of understanding into the rejection that our precious Savior felt. He told me he sees my tears today. I was thankful.
So, can we talk about Suffering? About how it makes us stronger, and is directly linked to endurance? Can we remain upright in trials and have a sweet attitude knowing God permitted it? Are we really able to give thanks in everything? I think we are. Let's talk about it in the comments section below. Do you need encouragement? Do you have a victory story to inspire others? Got to it, people are needing to hear from God, and your typed words might be what he uses.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, LONG-SUFFERING, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Galatians 5:22,23)