Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Conflict of Cultures

Expectations.  Respect.  Honesty.  Consideration for others.  These are issues that are approached quite differently by Ukrainians and Americans.  This week we've been confronted with a conflict of culture.  What we expect as Americans (and even more so as Christians), what we consider the truth and a lie, measures that we consider respectful and considerate - all of this has been challenged.  Ukrainians may say, "This is normal."  But our response is, "This is ridiculous." 

We have spent the last week preparing to sign the papers, repair, and move into a 3 bedroom house.  Anticipation and excitement was high.  The kids couldn't wait for us to get the keys so they could see their new home, discover the backyard, and pack their toys for the move. 

Now those plans have all fallen apart.  We're disappointed and discouraged.  I'm annoyed by the way we were treated and pessimistic that we'll ever be in a slightly bigger house with space outside to throw a ball.  Why is it seemingly so impossible to find a home that is in good condition?  Why do people just look out for their own interest with no consideration for others?  Why do we have to waste time because the other party isn't prepared with basic information to sign papers?  Why are we told one thing when we know it isn't true?  What other things are we being deceived about?  I just want to trust and not question everything we're told.  I can't do that here and I'm tired.  I'm tired of trying to second guess and read between the lines.  I'm tired of trying to figure out where is the lie and where is the truth in what we're told.

It's no wonder people turn to alcohol to escape the "normalcy" of life in Ukraine.  It's also no wonder why we teach and preach over and over again that God transforms our lives and we live, think, and behave in a different way.  If we are living according to God's plan, his culture, then everyone will notice the difference.  We will put others before ourselves.  We'll be honest and trustworthy.  I hope someday we will see more of God's culture in Ukraine.  That's the place I want to live.  But for now I will take it a day at a time in a very different culture and do my best to bring God's culture to this place.

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