Shawn Bateman, Misionary to Argentina
March 05, 2019
Praying for your Missionaries
Praying for your Missionaries
Culture can be a fun thing to learn. From foods, customs, and greetings, to the way people pay for things, there is just so much about culture that we take for granted. Because we grow up in our culture and don’t normally spend a lot of time in other cultures, we think the way we do things is normal, right, and good. It never occurs to us that others may do daily tasks differently. Why would they? Our way is the best way, right?
1. Directions: “Where to?” This is what the taxi drivers will ask you. In the States the street number is given first, but not here. The street first and then the street number.
2. Dates: In the US we place the month first, in South America it is the day first, month second, and then the year.
3. Bills: Here you can go to several places and pay the majority of your utility bills in one place. It’s not as convenient as paying on line, but it is better than having to go to each individual place.
4. Business hours: There isn’t any 9 to 5 around here. The store where we bought the majority of our household appliances has their operating hours as follows. 8:30-12:30 4:30-8:30. Yes, a four hour lunch break. Many people still take the traditional siestas.
5. Dinner: Because of the extended lunch hour of most business, people get home late, and they will have dinner between 9 and 10.
6. Funerals: I recently went to a funeral home for the visitation after a friend’s grandmother had passed away. I asked another friend if it was ok if I wore something blue, because my black suit was still packed in our bags. He said that color wasn’t important. Well, I found out that night that color is not the only thing that doesn’t matter. I showed up in a sport coat and tie. Ian went with me, wearing khakis and a nice shirt. We were both over- dressed. There were no ties; there wasn’t even anyone wearing khakis. The majority of people were wearing shorts. As I walked into the room I’m sure everyone was thinking “Boy, he ain’t from around here.”
7. Drinks: If you buy a bottle of water or Coke in a restaurant they will always bring a glass to pour your drink into. If you get one in the store they will always offer you a straw. If you drink straight from the bottle like we do in the States, they will look at you like you are a hairy, smelly, and uncultured barbarian.
Brining it Home :
One of the ways you can pray for your missionaries is that they learn to navigate the culture. We all have a way of doing things that we don’t realize is a part of our culture. Once you move out of your culture you see that things are not the same. The way people think, relations, even making a purchase in a store can be different. There are small differences and there are big differences and all these add up to culture shock. Pray that your missionaries learn to live in their new culture, and adapt well.
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