this bit of Sweden feels like China

It sounds strange but as we interface with more people from the camp, it reminds me of my time in China. I don’t speak Chinese and I think that those I meet expect me to. Also, if they speak another language it would be their Nordic one. So like my experience in China, I use a lot of gestures and smiling to communicate. Then there is the added twist that most labels and signs are in Swedish. It is an odd feeling.

I’ve read about missionaries who talk about their children being third culture kids (TCK). They do not belong to their parent’s home culture nor do they really belong to the culture they they live in. Rather, they exist in a hybrid third culture of their own. I’m getting an idea of how these people might feel.

Another connection I made today was that culturally the leaders in training week are like my parents’ generation. The young people here are educated in the west but still speak Chinese and are still close to the culture. It’s fun/neat/interesting to think that my parents were like the 20-somethings I see here. It adds another layer to my understanding of people here.

I am realizing the degree that the kids and I will need to recalibrate for the remainder of our trip. There will be language barriers (and quite a few languages) and cultural differences. Please pray that we can be flexible and open to whatever comes our way.

We are tired. We’ve been here a week and though it’s been great, I think that we may be hitting the point where novelty wears off, weariness accumulates and reality hits a bit harder. It is at this point that we are tempted to turn our focus from God and see our circumstances as larger than they are. Pray that we do not waver but rely on God all the more.

In other news, we ended up going to Stockholm today instead of Sunday. We drove 2 hours to an amusement park. The kids had fun and we got to know the elder who generously took us there. There are so many stories just from that trip. It was an enjoyable day.

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