It's begun. Culture stress. The inevitable process of adapting to and becoming part of another culture. And yes, it is inevitable. Even if you've lived in another culture previously. Even if you are walking with Jesus daily. As long as you are human, you will partake of this process as you integrate into another culture.
But that doesn't mean it's always a welcome process. I have found in the missionary community, there is a lot of acceptance of culture shock and culture stress, as long as we are not the ones experiencing it. But we tend to be very demanding of ourselves and believe that we shouldn't experience this natural and necessary process.
For me, this stems from the misbelief that if we UNDERSTAND a process, we somehow believe ourselves to be EXEMPT from the effects of said process. Do we really educate ourselves on culture stress to prepare ourselves to walk through it...or deep down is it in hopes we can avoid it all together (wouldn't that be nice!)?
To all my missionary friends out there, my deepest desire for you today is that you would accept the grace that is there for you as you go through this process (and it can take years), that you would stop begrudging yourselves for experiencing it! You are a beautiful creation of His and as painful as it sometimes is...He designed you to adapt, with His grace and by His power at work in you!
I encourage anyone who is a missionary or who loves missionaries to click here for a brief description of culture stress. I found it a helpful reminder.