Culture Shock!

By Hannah Price

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By Janet Mylin,  True Girl Lead Teacher

“P-yeh…Pyep…Pyepsee…Pyepsee…PEPSI! It says PEPSI!”

I was 19 years old and living in Kiev, Ukraine. The year was 1993 so freedom was new to Ukraine and so was the English language. Everything was either in Russian or Ukrainian. It didn’t take me too long to learn enough Russian to be conversational and hold my own no matter where I went, but those beginning days were incredibly hard.

Pepsi was the first word I sounded out and understood. I was PUMPED! Suddenly I felt hopeful and not as lost. Belonging feels good, doesn’t it?

cul·ture shock /ˈkəlCHər ˌSHäk/ noun: a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation

I ended up living in Ukraine for two years with a mission organization, so there were several encounters along the way with culture shock. The food, the music, the mannerisms, the sounds, and the language all provided various points of remembering I was different. 

While most of my time in Ukraine was really incredible, I always had this sense of “This isn’t my home.” I knew I wasn’t called to live there for the rest of my days. I never fully settled into the idea of it being my permanent home. Every time I came back to the States for a break, I always smiled and thought, “Ahhh…home!” 

I guess it’s pretty low-hanging fruit to say that this is how it is for Christians here on Earth, but…well, it is! 1 Peter 2:11 goes as far as to say we’re not just strangers here, we’re aliens. In John 17:16-19, when Jesus is praying for us, He talks about how we’re IN this world but we’re not OF this world:

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Let me tell you, part of the rub of our kids coming home from school or camp or wherever and crying because they don’t fit in, is this very thing. It can really tug on our mama hearts because on one hand, we DO want our girls to fit in. And then…on the other hand, we praise the Lord when they DON’T.

If you haven’t yet, begin the conversation with your kids about how followers of Jesus Christ definitely shouldn’t fit in everywhere they go. But one glorious day, at a time only the Father knows, we’ll all be together in Heaven and won’t ever feel like aliens and strangers again, because we’ll truly be Home.

Our July Box is all about teaching your daughter how to live like an alien in this world. With 60 days of devos, a mom+daughter date guide and a collection of specially curated items just for your daughter, the True Girl Box is the most fun your daughter will ever have digging into God's Word. And the best part? We put YOU in the driver's seat of helping you daughter grow in her faith!

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