STOMP Going Cross Cultural
I never thought I would ever sleep in a Mongolian ger. However I needed somewhere to do my Bible College cross-cultural placement, and after listening to a worker tell stories about how Mongolians are hearing the gospel, I felt Mongolia was the place for me.
It was important to be immersed in a different culture, and staying with a local family helped with this immensely. I learnt so many things that I would have missed out on if I was staying in a hotel or with a foreign worker. My host mother was fantastic at giving me language lessons to help me experience a taste of language learning. Just like, Lord-willing, the first few years on the field will be.
I had so many wonderful experiences! A highlight was visiting the countryside, just a short drive from the city. I had the opportunity to stay in a ger (Mongolian tent) for a few nights. It wasn’t without its challenges but was a rich cultural experience. During the week I taught English to local school children. I tried to keep it fun and engaging, incorporating a lot of games into the lessons. I hope they had as much fun as I did!
Another highlight was spending a day with the Sergelt* team , which helps the homeless. It was a confronting experience, seeing the brokenness of our world, meeting men and women who have found themselves homeless. Homelessness is awful in any climate, but seeing the effects of the -30 degree weather on these people was particularly hard. I was encouraged to see how they are being shown Christ-like love and care.
Did the trip change my life? It certainly made me more aware of the challenges that are part of working in a cross-cultural setting with an international team. After sharing some of the challenges I experienced I have been asked, ‘Do you still want to go into mission?’. I believe that God is still leading me into cross-cultural ministry. So in that sense the trip didn’t change my life; it just affirmed the direction in which I am already heading.
Melissa Lewis is from Melbourne, but is studying in Sydney to prepare for long-term cross-cultural service.