It’s been over 4 years since Connie and I moved back to the USA from our 26 years in Kenya. I shared a few thoughts at our 3-year mark (read here). Since that time, I’ve had a few more a-ha moments.

  • TAXES – I’m finally on board with how to file as a full-time resident, including the peculiarities of filing as an ordained clergy. I’m now on equal footing with the rest of you in the ongoing American tax fog.
    • I say “amazing” more than I ever did. It slips out by accident, signaling it’s in my default system.
    • My idioms are increasingly about sports, technology, movies and classic American phrases. I no longer use wildlife comparisons, 4-wheel drive talk, or roadside purchases in my conversations.
  • HENDRICKS COUNTY MINDSET – I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to enter deeply into the mindset of the county where I live, to understand people better and to be more relevant to people here. It’s very unfair of me to expect people to quickly grasp my experiences and learnings from East Africa if I don’t first grasp what’s central to their lives. So far, this is my observation of what Hendricks County people primarily talk about and spends their time on:
    • Family and school
    • Sports
    • Technology
    • Security/Safety
    • Weather
    • Church

When I consider my responsibilities in bringing attention of God’s global work to our church, I try to incorporate at least one of these aspects in the sharing of information or opportunities for service.

  • MISSIONARY THINKING – much to my liking, this remains as necessary as ever. I keep looking at things that people do, post on social media, laugh at, spend their money on, etc, and I ask myself, “Why?” I’ve found out some important things that matter to my line of work:
    • People at church look to their church as the central place for their faith journey. This includes opportunities for service, growth, connecting, and permission to do more.
    • The majority of Hendricks County people take in information via technology, pictures, and books. Information I have to pass on needs to be in these forms.
    • Stories are enjoyed by people for information, but transformation is not a given just because someone hears a story. The story has to be relatable to a person’s life if it’s going to bring about change.

Til next week,