Have you thought about your brain lately? As I learn more about the brain, I am awed by its amazing ability to learn and its flexibility. Since most PWs live and work in a host culture, our ability to adapt is vital. Lose that and you lose your effectiveness. Thankfully, God has fashioned us with the capacity to adapt right from our conception.
I sat staring at a blank computer screen. No topic for Peter’s Wife presented itself to me. Then I began to think about those who receive this newsletter: those I personally know, and the many I have not met. But whether we know one another personally or not, if you are a PW I do know somethings about you.
I think about the sacrifices you have made to be where you are. You may not feel it is a sacrifice, but rather a privilege. But whether you feel like it is a sacrifice or not, you will have your reward for making the choices that led you to the place you serve today.
If you’ve ever made alphabet soup, you know how the letters get all mixed up and topsy-turvy as they float in the bowl. That’s how the language appears to the newcomer to Russia. Every sign is a code to be deciphered and the spoken word sounds as confusing as you imagine it would!
Here we were, just a couple of country folks living in a city of six million people, facing crowds, and waiting in lines that would lead to China if stretched out. We had been in the city one week and needed to face our first subway expedition to find some stores for food. We lived at the end of one line, so getting downtown was simple; just hop on the down escalator and get on the train. We carried a little cheat sheet that would help us recognize the subway stop to get back home. Things were going great on our maiden voyage of food gathering. Our bags bulged with the “catch of the day,” and it was time to go home. We headed for our subway station to reverse our course. To our dismay, the down escalators had been reversed. Everyone was coming up!
What makes the first year on the field so tough? Here are some answers from those who have been there and helped others through that time.
Some things that happen before you go to the field make a difference about how difficult that first year will be. A one month field trip is invaluable. Lea says, “This sounds like expensive advice but I have found out through lots of experience working with PWs that it is one of the best investments anyone can make. This month long visit not only helps prepare a person for what to bring when they come out but also opens their eyes to a few of the difficulties they may face overseas. ”
Developing a close relationship that you can continue through email would be a lifesaver. We all need someone we can confide in and having someone not related to our board or field will give us much needed perspective when we go through rough water. Many of us have found, however, that the “folks back home” cannot relate to our field experience, so someone who has lived overseas would be the best type person for a confidante.