“The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest) Oh how I bank on the truth of this statement.
Nothing can prepare you to live and lead across cultures. Before I moved here I did a lot of studying, including taking a grad class on leading cross-culturally, but I am finding the only way to learn how is to do it and fail. I am preparing my 9th grade class for a short term trip in a couple of weeks. We will be going to a school to teach in an area that was affected by a volcano eruption a couple of years ago. Like any short term trip, my hope and desire is that the students would be stretched and grown into stronger leaders.
As a part of our preparation this week I am doing an exercise in class that will aim to help them identify assumptions they have and experience a simulation of what it’s like to experience cross-cultural stress and intercultural communication. Even though the area we are going to is in the same country, every region of this country has different micro cultures, so I anticipate it will be a cross-cultural experience for everyone.
The ironic truth is this: I’m incredibly nervous about performing this simulation on Monday and its effectivity. Why? Because I myself am trying to communicate across cultures. As I prepare the simulation I am being reminded of my own assumptions: that the students will understand the rules of the game, that the students will follow the rules, that the students will participate. All of these are essential for the effectivity of the simulation. But I long ago learned that these things can’t be assumed. I know full well that I may show up on Monday and the room isn’t available, or some students are absent, or they don’t understand what I’m trying to communicate.
And so I find myself arriving at that moment Chambers talks about. I am of complete weakness. I have to depend on Him. He is the great interpretor. I can spend days preparing, but it is the Holy Spirit who does the teaching, not me. If I fail, I fail. But He does not fail.
Please pray for my class on Monday. Pray that the students would understand. Pray that the Holy Spirit will interpret. Pray that cultural and linguistic barriers would be eliminated. But most of all, pray for my students, that God would stir in them His dreams and desires.