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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