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Cultural Inadequacy

Posted by on September 30, 2014

Let’s be honest, I feel pretty culturally inadequate most days as a missionary.  Language is of course how I mainly feel inadequate, every day.  Even when I feel I am having a good “Spanish Day”, it is still pretty pathetic.  There have been many times that I have made silly language errors and thankfully, our friends here are very forgiving and it usually brings a lot of laughs.  I still look twice when I see a family of 5 on a motorcycle and it stings my heart each time I see a child begging on the street.  This coming week I will be leading devotions for the Covenant Offices here (n Spanish of course), talk about not feeling up to the task-pretty much all of my inadequacies wrapped into 10-15 minutes.  But I need to push myself, I know that…

I wanted to share a recent experience with you that made me feel…well, I had a whole range of emotions.

We pulled up to the work site on Friday to work on the floor of the house.  We drove up to 22 Quechua church members from 3 Lote.  The majority were women who were carrying their babies on their backs and carrying pounds worth of dirt, or bricks or rocks.

Quechua women working hard with babies in tow.

Quechua women working hard with babies in tow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quechua woman from 3 Lote.

Quechua woman from 3 Lote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we pulled up, I made sure to have Esther’s pacifier, blankets, eventually her stroller to push her in to calm her down and go to sleep.  When she started crying, I got back in our car to feed her and burp her (Now, in my defense there was a lot of dust blowing around) AND I wasn’t even working, didn’t pick up one shovel or wheel barrow or hammer.  I had to make sure everything was in order and Esther still was SERIOUSLY crying and I couldn’t console her.   The bottom line is a felt like such a privileged American **GASP**, yes I wrote that!  I had all my STUFF and still couldn’t calm my kid down or work.  Talk about feeling like a failure with a capital “F”!  Please hear me when I say, yes, I was embarrassed, not to be an American mom, but just that I felt I needed all this STUFF to take care of Esther when the moms I was around were “doing it all”.  We have similar comparisons in the States.  We see the PTA mom with her 4 perfectly behaved kids at the meeting drinking a latte after being at work for 12 hours.  As a pastor’s wife we see all the other moms with children in the pews dressed nicely saying yes mommy and no mommy as our kids barely GET to church with breakfast and their hair brushed.  There are comparisons everywhere in Ecuador and in States and around the world.  NO ONE has it all together.  We are all broken and it is a good reminder to me as I face my inadequacies daily.  It SHOULD be a reminder that my hope and my worth do not come from speaking Spanish perfectly, working and taking care of my children all at the same time and the list goes on.  It should be a reminder that my hope and my worth come from my heavenly Father who formed me and created me to be who I am-my faults and my short comings and ALL my inadequacies.  This experience was also a GIANT reminder of how much I have to learn as a missionary and as a mom here in Ecuador.  I have so much to learn from those around me and I need to have an open heart to learn not a heart of comparison that I can’t do it all.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  -Ephesians 2:10

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.    -Psalm 139: 13-14

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One Response to Cultural Inadequacy

  1. Starla

    Thank you for this post. I needed it. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there; it’s a blessing to others like me. I will keep you in my prayers.

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