Thursday, March 03, 2005

Values? Law? Rights? Culture Clash and Gore!

Before I say anything, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you!

Okay, so I am here at MTI and I think that this week is even harder than the language acquisition. Why? Well, some of my values, which I have held dear and have even seen as absolute truth, are being challenge in the context of a different culture. Are they truly absolute because the bible says or are they absolute because my value system says they are? It has been a grueling two days already and I have 2 ½ more weeks of this!

It is good though because it is causing me to once again dive into scripture and figure out if I am holding to these values because I need to for Biblical reasons or am I holding on to them because they “feel” right and my culture says they are right? How do I let go of some of these that are not absolute and not lose my American identity while attempting to be relevant to the Polish culture? More importantly, the Polish YOUTH culture?

I know I have more questions than answers and I am drowning in many conflicting feelings and thoughts. I DO know, however that God is wanting to and waiting to give me the answers and this is causing me to seek Him and all of His wisdom. I am glad that I am doing this here and now in a safe context, rather than in Poland when I am dealing with culture shock and team stress and all that happens when you move out of your comfort zone.

A verse that keeps coming to mind is. . .

“"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

As I work through all of these conflicting areas in my life, I MUST seek the Lord and ask Him to direct my ways and help me see how best to “incarnate” myself in to the Polish culture.

Please continue to pray for me. Our community is not only from different parts of the county, but also from Canada and conflict and misunderstanding is already happening as we reveal our personal values and hash them out. It is what will happen on the field, so they are fostering it right now so we can figure out how to live in Christ’s LOVE and love one another well.

If you feel that God is leading you to support this ministry to Poland, please let me know! God is raising a great team and I am very grateful too all who have joined. Email me at:

What a week! We go from conflict management, to a hostage simulation which included confronting conflicting feelings about one another during the simulation to caring for missionary kids and then today was like a balm on a hurting wound. We had a “soul care” day. We learned that being ministers is not about living in taking care of others, but to follow and do what Jesus did while He was on earth. How did He take care of Himself?

If our souls are not taken care of, how can we help others take care of their souls? It was quite simple and yet quite profound at the same time. I have heard about this many times, but it did has not impacted me as it did today. We took a large amount of time and went off outside to experience solitude and silence, just a Jesus did.

My main concern at first was, “What can I bring back that will be profound for the others in the group to also learn?” I think of that now and am embarrassed at the fact that even though this was a time for me to draw closer to Christ, I was still trying to be a teacher. I am a bit ashamed of this fact too. ☹ I was more concerned about what could be taught to others, that I was willing to forgo what God wanted to say to me.

While I was walking, I noticed how dry the ground was and how many cracks it had. God gently said to my spirit, “Alice, keep going on your own strength, and you will soon be just like this ground.” I was taken back a bit by that revelation. This was suppose to be a time of encouragement not warning!

I walked some more and saw a huge rock in the middle of a “sea” of dry ground. I thought, what does this represent in my life? I thought and saw God telling me that even though time right now seems dry and dusty, His Word stands alone and is my strength. I then thought about the event of a flash flood and thought, “That rock would still be there! It is strong and solid. If I was on it during a flood, I would be safe.” The “flash flood” in my life right now is my worry over fund raising. No matter how much I worry, He is taking care of me and I need to give this “storm” up in my life and KNOW that He is standing firm for me. He is calling me to climb up on the rock and take His refuge from the storm in my life right now.

I shared my time with the group and they didn’t get it, or that was my perception of them. It doesn’t matter though because the words were for ME. I did not have to come up with some cleaver quip or lesson for all to hear, as I have been so use to doing in the youth group. The lesson was for me and me alone and for them to hear that I am learning along with them.

Our Soul Care giver than blessed each one of us and I felt for the first time in a long time how precious I am in God’s sight.

Here I am, just Alice Robbins, missionary to Poland, Beloved of Jesus. Nothing is expected of me but to follow Him and to walk in His steps. May I apply what I have learned this week, Dear Lord.

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