Review: Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A. Lanier Rating: 5/5

If you ever want to travel or just relate with people from different countries and cultures, I definitely recommend this book by Sarah A. Lanier. Miscommunication is a huge problem cross-culturally and Lanier delivers a simple, practical, clear guide to avoiding the common mistakes that foreigners make. Hot and cold climate cultures are somewhat generalized but the basic principles that guide her advice are logical and will save foreigners from a lot of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and loss of friendship. Some of the title chapters include: Hot- Versus Cold-Climate Cultures, Relationship Versus Task Orientation, Direct Versus Indirect Communication, Individualism Versus Group Identity, Inclusion Versus Privacy, Different Concepts of Hospitality, High-Context Versus Low-Context Cultures, Different Concepts of Time and Planning, and Practical Next Steps.

If you ever plan on visiting another country or making friends with someone from another country, I highly recommend reading this easy-to-read book that is jam-packed full of essential information for reaching out to people cross-culturally. Be wise and read this book. You won’t regret it. You will gain understanding about how to approach your travel and develop friendship-making skills. Thank God someone wrote this book.


China Project Update

Greetings (Ni hao)!

Thank you so much for supporting me on my trip. I had such a wonderful time. First off, I was NOT quarantined! Yay God! God protected me and kept me safe and healthy. He is so good to me. Thank you for all of your prayers. No one in the group got quarantined. I had no trouble with my flights getting to China. God truly was merciful to me in that area.

I felt so privileged to work with all of the people I came in contact with. God truly knows what He’s doing. In the beginning of the trip, I was a little apprehensive about not knowing anyone on the trip, but I met some amazing men and women of God. I quickly became friends with the whole group, making some lifelong friends.

The first few days in Chengdu were spent preparing and buying supplies for the camp. When we arrived at the resort where the camp was located, we discovered that God had changed the plans. Instead of teaching and interacting with high schoolers, we received primary and middle school students ages 9-15. We were very surprised and had to tweak the lesson plans, but we worked through it. Some of the students had a limited amount of English, so we combined the age groups to have the older students help the younger students, which was very foreign to them. I love working with kids and was excited to work with younger students.

I saw firsthand the impact a teacher can have on these students. Many of these students (if not all) have never received the affirmation and affection we provided as teachers. We loved the kids and gave hugs in order to share the love of Christ. We encouraged them and had fun doing crafts and sports with them. It was such a privilege to get to interact with these amazing children. God revealed to me how much He loved them – more than I could ever love them. He showed me that He is slowly but surely causing life to arise from the death and ashes that the earthquake caused. China is slowly being restored to God, but it is on God’s timetable. He is still sovereign.

I truly believe I will see some of these kids again. I intend to return someday; I’d plan to go back next summer, but I’m not sure what I’ll be doing quite yet in school. However, I’ve made contacts that I will keep in touch with in China and they always need someone to help out. (Any volunteers?)

Thank you for your financial support and prayers. I was able to bless the missionary and her earthquake relief fund because I received more support than was required for the trip. I could not have done half of what I did without your help. You are so precious to me. Your heart for missions is evident by the love offerings that you poured out for me. It is such a privilege to serve God in whatever way I can. I’ve learned the impact that a single act of love can do. These kids will never be the same because they’ve been touched by the love of God.