David & Danielle Grotton’s Update
Week Two - Cross-Cultural Ministry Internship (CCMI)
Last week was a bit rough for the both of us. Not because of the topics discussed in the classroom, although it was definitely challenging at times, but because both of us really felt under the weather most of the week. This seemed inevitable when you are living in relatively close quarters with 23 adults and 7 kids, but God is merciful and it seems that both of us are coming out of whatever we had. Unfortunately, many others are still sick or getting sick. Please be praying for good health for everyone here!
Of the materials we covered last week, the sections on Conflict Management, Cross-Cultural Conflict and Cross-Cultural Servanthood really resonated. These are areas in which I definitely need to grow and am grateful for the leaders and the mentors who so patiently pointed out potential problems (lots of P's...) and ways to address them biblically. It was interesting to stop and to think about how we in the West, and especially in the USA, perceive things compared to people in Southeast Asia...or in West Africa...or in Chile. For example, the American / Western value that "competition is good" is not a common value for societies where the group has a higher worth than the individual. We also looked at more specific things like "what does forgiveness look like in your new culture?" That was a hard question to answer since we have not yet lived in Chile and figured out these kinds of cultural norms. But to have that in the backs of our minds starting now that perhaps the concepts of "forgiveness" or "service" or "gratitude" might look different there than in the USA is certainly helpful.
Something that really got me thinking during a discussion on servanthood is the importance of adopting a posture or an attitude of a learner. This means, that even if you have more education or experience, for example, than someone in your new culture, you are not to condemn the national for their lack of knowledge nor dump the contents of your brain into theirs. You are to learn together. This way it does not become an "us vs. them" mentality but a "we" point-of-view. Every one of us, myself included, is an imperfect human being. There is always room for growth and maturity. Other missionaries who are great examples of "learners" have shared that they often learn more from the nationals than the missionaries had expected. God uses all kinds of people and all kinds of situations to cause growth in us. Why wouldn't He use someone I might view as less in order to teach me that without Christ I am nothing?
We also talked about some stressors while living cross-culturally. One that stuck out to me is ambiguity. Having experienced a taste of this while living in Chile in 2003, I know it will be a struggle not having a routine or a schedule or even knowing if the people you invited to a bible study or to dinner will actually show up... As learners of a new culture, many things will not make sense at first or even over many years. Something emphasized repeatedly is that being flexible and being willing to make mistakes are key qualities of any successful cross-cultural ministry.
Will you pray with us that God will continue to point out areas of growth in our lives; that He shows us how to be better learners and observers in preparation for our time in Chile; and that He keep us and our fellow participants healthy?
If you have any prayer needs, please let us know!
Thank you! We are working on getting photos online, so stay tuned!
David & Danielle
David & Danielle Grotton
Web Page: http://www.mtwla.org/people/dgrotton.htm