I am VERY pleased to announce that this afternoon I reached my fund-raising goal of $5,400! I’m really overwhelmed by how generous everyone has been in helping me to make this trip feasible.
This past week I read Sarah A. Lanier’s Foreign to Familiar, which I liked much better than Ministering Cross-Culturally. Halfway through this book, I decided that everyone should read it, even if they aren’t going anywhere, just to help understand other people. I felt like the approach was much less, “This is everything you need to do and I will interpret it for you with my particular Biblical context,” and more, “These are ways that different cultures look at the world, and these are problems that people frequently encounter when moving between two very different worldviews.” The book is written for people moving in both directions, not just for westerners going to third-world countries, which is what I felt the other one was. One of the things that I really loved is that she’s been all over the world and talked to all kinds of people, so the examples were drawn from a really broad range of experiences. She talked about all sorts of things, like spontaneity vs. planned schedules, conceptions of when an event starts (if the wedding starts at two, does that mean that the ceremony starts at two, or does the bride start putting on her dress at two? It depends on how you define “the wedding”), privacy vs. inclusion, etc. She spoke briefly about the struggle of being a woman going to cultures where women generally take a more subordinate role, and things that she has worked out to respect both herself and the culture she is visiting.
I could talk about this book for a long time, but I will just say that the narrative style really clicked, and the things she said made sense to me — broader ideas that fit into things I have observed, and helped provide a framework in which to understand them — and that I both enjoyed it and learned a great deal from it. If you have a chance, I highly recommend that you read it. It’s only 120 pages. And the print is big. I read it in an hour and a half — and I was pausing about every three pages to read bits out loud.