August 21, 2009

Culture Shock

Allow me to apologize for the lack of blogging in the recent past. It's been far too long since I've written anything here, but I do have a valid excuse: we moved.

We're now residents of the sprawling suburb of Mitchell, South Dakota. It took us three days, 1500ish miles, $800ish in gasoline (diesel and unleaded), one truck, two minivans, too much fast food, and not enough sleep to get here. We have an apartment for now, hopes to get a house, and I'm working as the worship arts pastor at Mitchell Wesleyan Church. And I can't tell you how weird it's been adjusting to the new culture.

Let me first say that I tend to not be big on "christian culture"; I'm more comfortable in and around a more religiously, politically, and ethnically diverse crowd because as a missionary, that's what I've been used to. The most religiously diverse it gets here are the various denominations, who mostly seem to get along. But it's as if everyone speaks another language here - I hear things like "what a blessing!" and "take a stand!" and "the Lord is good!" on a regular basis.

And they all call me "pastor."

I didn't realize they were even talking to me at first - I thought they were talking to Keith, the Senior Pastor, since he was around often enough when they said it. But it finally dawned on me when they were helping us cart boxes into the apartment and someone called me that directly to my face ... I suddenly realized how many people I'd just ignored for the past hour. It's taken some getting used to, and I can't decide if it'd be a cultural faux pas to insist on being called by my given name.

Also it's very flat out here.

But let me tell you, these are some of the most generous people I've ever met. We've had dinners made for us almost every night since we got here (Liz was especially thrilled), and the leftovers alone will give us another week at least. But on top of that, the - bags - of veggies we've gotten from various people (corn especially, but also peppers, jalepenos, tomatos, etc.) will go well with the full quarter of a cow that someone from the church gave us. That's roughly seventy-five pounds of South Dakota beef, to the uninitiated.

They've been very good to us, and we are very grateful.

We continue to work on getting settled, change our government papers (car plates, mailing address, etc.), organize our stuff out of boxes, and generally learn the area. Rori has been doing well in the new apartment, with so much space, she gets to run around a lot and ends up sleeping longer at naptime. Life is a little crazy right now, but as soon as it starts to get a bit more routine, I'll be sure to start writing again - I do miss it. But thank you so much to all of you who've been praying - God has been very good to us.


Anonymous said...

Looks like you will have to get a freezer for the beef, and do a lot of canning!

Dan said...

I am so glad to hear things are going well, even if there is an adjustment of culture. I also think it's funny that you didn't know people were talking to you for a while (Pastor Chris - woohoo, or is it Pastor Logan?). Hope things continue to settle down for you as you get accustomed to the area and the job! Miss you guys.

Anneliese said...

After a while, you'll get used to the flat. And you'll appreciated the mountains and ocean that much more when travelling. Good to hear the move went well.

Adam Caldwell said...

That's good news. I'm glad to know you are all doing well. When is our India reunion?

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