Tuesday, July 04, 2006


"Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense." When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.
Acts 22:1-2

We have lived in Hong Kong almost exactly one year. It’s been a hard year in some ways. I think we felt more prepared than we actually were. In retrospect, there are just some things about cross cultural ministry and life that you cannot prepare for aside from experiencing the directly.

I continue to ponder Dave Livermore’s book Serving with Eyes Wide Open. I’m about to re-read it because I missed some good stuff the first time. The more I think about it, the same could be said of my first year here. I’ve missed some good stuff.

Living in a different culture is a dream for me. It’s what I feel I’ve been getting ready to do for a long time. And now that I’m here I’m realizing that my CQ (cultural intelligence) has been severely lacking in certain areas. For instance, behavioral CQ is just what it sounds like; how does your behavior change as you enter a new culture? Mine hasn’t changed significantly enough.

Many find great comfort to coming to a place like Hong Kong because it shows outward signs of being quite western, and therefore easily adjusted to. But if one comes eager to enculturate oneself, they have to peel off quite a few layers to get an accurate view of natural life here (if there is such a thing). I came in expecting just to cruise through the cultural adjustment since I’d been to China and HK before. It was supposed to be a homecoming. I rested on my laurels, my behaviors didn’t change, they became stagnant.

One year later I look at life here with renewed vigor. I have much to learn. I have many questions. I have lots of changing to do. I pray that I will keep my eyes wide open to teachable moments. I pray that I will be able to serve our world as faithfully as Paul did. He understood the need to adjust behavior as he moved between cultures. The message was the same, that being the redemptive Truth of Christ. And while that message of Truth was proclaimed loudly, Paul time and again showed such CQ in how the message was communicated both in actions and words.

I wonder if people have been stunned by my cultural sensitivity? Have I communicated the Gospel through word and deed in meaningful ways to them or have I tried to make them understand me? How much have I learned about the cultural manners and mores of Hong Kong? Do I expect it to come naturally or am I actively pursuing stretching moments that build my CQ and therefore my ability to minister?