An Opening Hand: Welcoming Other Cultures
Meet a woman and her husband who are reaching out to a foreign family right in their own community. Would you, too, ask God to open your eyes to the needs of those around you?
Until I learned about Brooke and Sam’s experience in Paraguay, I really hadn’t seriously thought of reaching out to people who are from a different country than I. Reading about Brooke and Sam’s loneliness and the frustrations they experienced during their years abroad opened my willingness to think about being a part of welcoming others into my culture, right here in my neighborhood. I could only minimally imagine what it would be like for me to try to assimilate into another culture. And I didn’t like what I imagined… difficult communication, different smells and sights and tastes, and the heaviness of isolation, to say the least.
So I began a relationship with the people who own the Nail Spa where I go for pedicures. They are Vietnamese and are among a very small number of “foreigners” in our upper Michigan lake-town.
After six months of trying to match our calendars for a dinner together, it finally happened! They brought their homemade Egg Rolls, ribs, and rice. We had wine and salad.
Here’s what we learned:
They are lovely people who are just like us, as far as their needs go. They want to practice their English, they want to be active in their neighborhood, they want their 2 year old son to keep their family traditions, yet be assimilated into the American society as he grows, they want company, friends, someone they can call upon. They want to belong.
It wasn’t so hard. We all enjoyed the evening. The conversations were a bit limited and confusing at times, but it was fun and adventurous at the same time. We were all blessed.
We didn’t invite them to church with us yet. We are simply getting to know them and develop a friendship. God will work out the avenues where this will all take us, no doubt about it.
We lay this gift of hospitality at the foot of the cross, and wait with expectation!