What the book's about: Cross-Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer is a book designed to prepare people for cross-cultural experiences, and more specifically, for cross-cultural mission trips. While the book is really oriented to long-term experiences, it's also applicable to short-term trips.
Why I read this book: I required those on our Rwanda missions trip team to read this book as part of our preparation process. The book prompted fantastic discussions and helped our team prepare well for our time abroad as well as our return home. As a result, we were able to minimize the impact of culture shock.
My favorite quotes from the book:
- "A strong task orientation without first establishing friendships can lead to disappointing if not disastrous outcomes."
- "God does not limit his attention to our part of the world."
- "If we treat everything as right and wrong, we do a great disservice to the human diversity God has placed in his creation. If we treat everything as a cultural difference, we do a great disservice to the God who authored an uncompromising word of truth."
- "When we see the differences of others we may well be seeing more of God. He cannot be contained in or explained from only one cultural perspective. Thus, culture shock may be a means whereby we see God more clearly in all his glorious diversity."
- "Every disappointment or frustration you experience is a result of some expectation that has been violated or unfulfilled."
Thumbs up or thumbs down? Thumbs up.
Who I'd recommend this book for: Anyone interested in participating in cross-cultural ministry, either here or abroad. In particular, this book is invaluable for anyone leading cross-cultural experiences. It's also easily accessible for those who participate in these experiences (including teens). Finally, I'd also recommend this book for the parents of teens participating in cross-cultural experiences as it will enable them to better understand and relate to their child's experience.