Problems, or possible adventures?
By SIM Asia | Asia in International
Representative image by Antoni Shkraba, Anoop VS & Erkan Utu, via Pexels (edited)
Amelia* had been a midwife for 18 years and had worked in four different countries by the time she decided it was time to switch gears. She earned a master’s degree in Global Health and started looking for a new adventure in a new medical role. Nearly a year ago, this journey led her to a rural hospital in Asia.
Amelia had worked in the healthcare system in many different cultures, but this was the first time she would need to learn another language to do it. For the first time, she wasn’t able to learn about her new community through local news programmes, connecting with fellow believers or having easy conversations with colleagues. She found it more challenging to get her bearings and be in touch with a new community with a language and culture barrier. Amelia also quickly noticed that time and productivity were viewed very differently in this context. She has needed to learn to slow her pace and wait patiently for the results she hopes for.
In her new world, though, Amelia says there’s never a dull moment. Through living cross-culturally she has learned new life skills, experienced personal growth, and become more resilient. When asked why she has chosen to live among difficult cultures, she’ll say it’s because living cross-culturally is phenomenal: “I love the personal growth; you learn so much more about yourself, and you learn so much more about the Lord. Every country has its own characteristics and customs. I love discovering new places and people. It may not always be comfortable, but that's where I get to know the Lord even more.”
When Amelia landed in Asia, she was surprised to discover she wouldn’t be working in community health as planned. Instead, she’s found herself in the outpatient department, working with maternity patients again. It wasn’t what she anticipated, and it wasn’t the direction she had wanted to go, but God knew what the community needed, and that Amelia could use her years of skill and experience to support the hospital where it had been under-resourced. Amelia works faithfully where she’s needed for now, hoping to move into a community health role in the future.
While she waits, Amelia envisions the hospital not just as a place that cares for the sick, but a place that helps everyone thrive. When she passes the bus stand on the street outside the hospital, she dreams of bus stand health talks. When she counsels pregnant mums about their health, she imagines a mums-to-be dance and tea time. While she works hard to improve the ante-natal care in the hospital, Amelia trusts God with her dreams for community outreach.
This place has made Amelia come alive. If you sat down with her over tea in the busy hospital ward, she’d tell you that this life requires an adventurous heart; someone who’s willing to take risks. This life requires that you learn to see problems as possible adventures and to delight in human connections across culture and language barriers.
Amelia would love to see creative people, like videographers, joining the team because there is simply so much life to capture here. If you enjoy people and adventure, it might just be the place for you!
Amelia describes her new environment as an exhilarating assault on your senses – she’s fascinated by the barrage of smells, sounds, busyness, people, and diversity. She’s experiencing life in a totally different way. And doing it in another language. She delights in cross-cultural moments with colleagues and learning about her new home while building connections with the people around her.
Even though it hasn’t looked at all like she imagined, she’s pressing into the adventure, trusting in God’s sovereignty and His goodness.
· For all who work cross-culturally, that they might be mindful of its blessings amidst difficulties.
· That Amelia* would continue to trust God as she patiently waits to see her dreams of a hospital that helps people thrive become a reality.
· That more people might be inspired and able to join the team, especially those with creative skills and gifts.
*name changed for privacy.