Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Topic: Expat community

I don't have any more questions waiting now (send some!), so I'll ask another one of my own: How involved are you with other missionaries and the expat community? Any specific tips for navigating that area? What ways could I be a blessing to the missionary community here? 

After almost 12 years, "alone" (i.e. not really alone, of course, but without any English speakers nearby), we've moved to an area with other missionaries, and we're really enjoying the fellowship. I feel a little lost in it sometimes, though.

(If you have a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to me at fylliska@gmail.com. Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, or specify if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)

1 comment:

  1. we felt like we were walking a tightrope. our misso friends who lived out of the capital city or who had their children in local schools, etc., seemed to really be immersed in local, national circles. our misso friends who lived in niamey, were heavily involved with the international english language day/boarding school for expats lived much more in a bubble where there was a whole range of involvement with misso vs local community. we were somewhere between both worlds - but that had its own struggles: we felt guilty when we easily gravitated towards the expat community... local friends were wonderful but always more work; our kids were frustrated when we limited contact with the expat community where they definitely felt more at ease with a bunch of other tcks than with their nigerien friends (who they did enjoy... but just like for us, it wasn't as easy). i don't want to imply that there is right vs wrong - but perhaps there is always supposed to be that tension because we really are trying to blend two very different worlds.

    as far being a blessing - we did a lot of hospitality, preparing food for people who were sick or going through a very busy season, a place for kids to come and hang out while parents were otherwise occupied, hosting playgroup or mom's prayer meeting, our kids were involved in community service - babysitting, helping to run community events, etc., and i think most people knew our door was an open door for anyone who needed something. my husband was involved in preaching at the English language fellowship (held when local churches typically weren't meeting), playing an instrument or singing with the worship team... find out what ministers to the group of people around you and then pray for discernment to find your niche.

    we loved both our local and expat communities and were/are so thankful for both - but they require different skills to navigate and that switch back and forth could sometimes be exhausting and hard.