How I blog when living cross-culturally

Last week when I was putting together the highlights of summer camp I realized how I was portraying this event. For the most part it is “oh look, a bunch of kids having fun!” You, as most of the readers, dont know the kids and it looks like life in Colombia is “super awesome” from the smiling faces, sunny skies and fun activities.

Well, here is where I am honest: this is not the complete picture. Sure, we did a lot of fun things at camp with some great smiley children, but there were many other layers- cultural clashes and inner struggles that happen when mixing North American and Colombian cultures. I was thrown into a mix of students, parents, an co-workers with different world-views and understandings of life.

I am not complaining- this is the life I have chosen to live! But I do have to be careful how I write. Very careful. The internet is not a private place. In fact anyone can see what is written and that can cause trouble for everyone involved. As much as I would like to rant about the challenges, my frustrations with culture and conflicts with people, it can’t happen publically without certain people being targeted in an offensive way. And that’s not right or fair.

Culture Stress

I am in the early stages of understanding the culture of Bogota. I have lived here less than a year. I may be able to speak the language and develop good friendships, but I am in no way able to navigate the cultural differences with wisdom or understanding. Bringing my “honest” rants in a public forum is not healthy or a good idea.

As I learn more, I understand more. As I understand more, the frustrations no longer seem important or necessary. If I were to publish these observations and frustrations pre-maturely, I would be hurting more than helping- which is contrary to why God has placed me here to do.

Real People

As everyone knows, people are not perfect. They have strengths and they have weaknesses. In my public writing it is important for me to build relationships with others, not tear others down. I am called to love others as Jesus loved us. That means I cannot let my sin get in the way of what He is doing. I choose to work on relationships in private with those it affects rather than write it for the world to see.

So for now I remain publically silent of the deeper issues of living in Bogota. I talk with my husband and co-workers. I write emails to close friends. But these inner struggles don’t come out in the public because they are not mature enough to be safe.

I look at the purpose of this blog: to communicate our ministry with supporters, friends and family. This is not a place to rant and rave. This is not a place to uglify or objectify. This is the shallow side. Unfortunately this means that missionary-ese is spoken and some of the real stories stay publically hidden. If you want to see more, to understand more, to dig deeper, please just email me privately. I am happy to be real with you on a one-to-one basis!

The truth is I long for a ministry of complete transparency, however, because broken people like myself are involved. It cant be here in a blog. I am still working on coming to terms with this. I know that as I mature and grow and seek more of the Lord,He will guide my writings, my postings and my ministry.

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