Missionary Life: The Joys and Hardships of Living in Another Culture

Living in another country and culture that is not your own can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are ups and downs, good times and bad times, victories and defeats. Have you ever lived overseas or in a different culture? Here are a few of the joys and hardships of cross-cultural living.

THE JOYS: 

  • Enjoyable and last­ing friend­ships
  • Sharing the gospel with mil­lions of peo­ple who have nev­er heard of Jesus
  • Doing some­thing we whole-heart­ed­ly believe in
  • Developing a greater under­stand­ing for God’s love and heart for the world
  • Fresh and cheap food
  • Getting to know your­self bet­ter
  • Learning how to live, thrive, and find joy in the uncom­fort­able

THE HARDSHIPS: 

  • Trusting in God’s pro­vi­sion in all areas of life: finan­cial­ly, emo­tion­al­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ly
  • Being chal­lenged to rely more ful­ly on God
  • Being home­sick and miss­ing friends and fam­i­ly
  • Not being ful­ly known or under­stood by either our pass­port coun­try or our host coun­try
  • Bartering when you’re out and about in the mar­kets
  • Learning where to focus your time
  • Learning to rely on God for every­thing includ­ing, finances, ener­gy, joy, peace, health, food, rest, etc.
  • Driving a vehi­cle in the ele­ments (rain, wind, beat­ing down heat)
Have you ever lived cross-culturally?
We’d love to hear about your experience.

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5 Comments on “Missionary Life: The Joys and Hardships of Living in Another Culture

  1. Hi there! For my part, I would add, in my expe­ri­ence, to the ben­e­fits:
    -Exploring new ways of think­ing and see­ing the world
    -Growth not only in depend­ing on God and see­ing Him move in new ways, but also growth as a per­son to under­stand and learn from a new cul­ture and way of life.
    -Seeing when God moves in a person’s life who has nev­er heard the Gospel
    -Being able to com­mu­ni­cate in code (a dif­fer­ent lan­guage) when need­ed (it’s like a super-hero tool!)
    -Finding free­dom in a new cul­ture and expres­sion

    Some of the chal­lenges would be:
    -Red tape, paper­work and tax­es in anoth­er lan­guage
    -The “super­hero” or “super-spir­i­tu­al” pedestal you are invol­un­tar­i­ly placed on
    -Balancing itin­er­a­tion and vis­it­ing with fam­i­ly when home
    -Missing big events in friends’/family’s lives
    -Inadvertently offend­ing oth­ers in anoth­er cul­ture, often with­out being aware of it

  2. I tell peo­ple trav­el­ing on the mis­sion field is like a movie except you are in it. On the pos­i­tive side it is an adven­ture of faith. I love watch­ing the Holy Spirit get me in and out of trou­ble. He always leads us in tri­umphal pro­ces­sion.

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