The Climb: A Battle with Culture Shock

This weekend was probably the hardest few days I’ve experianced so far in Guatemala.  I was grumpy, irritable, lonely, tearful, and even feeling slightly suicidal.  The cause?  Culture Shock.  Those two words held a whole new meaning this weekend.  I was pushed to my emotional limits.  It was a similar feeling to depression. It’s not that I’m not loving it here, it’s the fact that I was/am missing home and all the comfort it brings.

Culture shock is nothing like I had imagined.  No matter how much I thought I had prepared, it still hit me hard.  I think it also hit some of my fellow teammates as well.  Guatemala is  beautiful country that is nothing like the United States.  I love it here, but I’m also grieved by a lot of what I see; the brokeness amidst the beauty.  One thing that I have found to be true is this, not matter where I am, God is still there.

When I think about the struggle I’ve had this weekend, I like to compare it to my climb up the volcano Picya.  I never thought I would be able to make it up.  I was so out of shape and exahusted.  I had to take it slowly with many breaks in between.  The bright side though?  I made it.  Just like the volcano, I must approch culture shock the same way.  Taking things slowly and taking many breaks.  That involves spending time in The Word and with my community.  I am now feeling better, not 100%, but a lot better than I was this weekend.

I was able to step outside of myself on Monday and Tuesday to serve in the schools in La Limonada.  Seeing those childrens bright and smiling faces gave me the boost I needed to carry on.  I’m sure I will still struggle with culture shock some, but I do know I have a perpose here.  I know God brought me here for a reason and he’s using these hardships to refine me.

God is good, all the time and everywhere.

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