Americans & Cultural Awareness

There are certain things missionaries to other cultures should know. These tips are essential for they will help prepare them in beneficial ways, to experience, and proclaim the Word of God in far away places. The list that follows are also meant for Americans who adopt children from foreign countries:

  1. Make sure to do your research and learn about the background of the natives. Know about their husbands, wives, friends, and neighbors. Find out more about their origin and gain insights about their customs and language.
  2. Be sure to visit your subjects of interest and interact with them at festivals, bazaars, fairs, and, in community groups.
  3. Be certain to engage them in conversation, remembering that communication is essential, and be sensitive to their verbal and nonverbal language.
  4. It’s necessary to treat persons of other cultures with respect and try never to denigrate them. Your job is to learn more about their country.
  5. By exposing yourself to their educational system, meeting with support groups, pay attention to similarities, and differences of nations.
  6. Because you’ll be professing the Christian faith, be sensitive to religious differences. It’s for you to be open-minded about their religious faiths, e.g., Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, etc.
  7. Avoid condescending and derogatory remarks. Instead, focus on your mission by emphasizing what’s important. It’s for you to take the high road.
  8. Be accepting of the ways natives view themselves, don’t make judgments, based on your own background.
  9. Respect their ceremonies and rights of passage, seeing the strengths in each, and not being hung up on weaknesses.
  10. Be aware of their foods and dress. Understand how they are part of their mainstream of culture, e.g., the Italian pasta and Mexican sombrero.
  11. Through the images of native peoples portrayed in the mass media, try to know more about your country or region of interest. By doing so, be vigilant, and be able to separate sensationalism from reality.
  12. When opportunities arise, travel, and learn first hand what cultures are like. It’s always best to experience a culture in its own environment.

It’s good that the Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (Hart-Cellar Act) abolished the system of national origin quotas, which were in place in the United States, since the Immigration Act of 1924. This act of non-differentiation will go a long way towards the promotion of equity of basic human standards, and in helping to foster multicultural living in the United States.

One in Christ

Missionaries and parents must bear in mind we’re One in Christ. In the United States and abroad, it’s important to bring this good news to people. Inevitably, recognition of these rights can only come to fruition if a country proclaims this truth.

Bhumibol Adulyadej (b. 1927), King of Thailand known as Rama 1X, ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, observed, “A good person can make another person good; it means that goodness will elicit goodness in the society; other persons will also be good.” Goodness is able to transcends cultures. It sees Christians reaching out to help their fellowmen and women, wherever they may be. But, it often goes further than this. Ken Robinson (b. 1950), English author, speaker and international adviser on educational arts to governments and non-profit organizations, says, “The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.” This is what we should do in experiencing foreign cultures. These proposals promote the development, of justice, and peace for all. There’s still a great deal we can learn from other cultures, although America sees itself as a diversified society, with various cultures.

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