Working on My Island Walk


Friday night the people of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Barrouaille St. Vincent, where I’m filling in for a veteran missionary had a diner in my honor filled with amazing food [1] and some games. My favorite one involved their writing down questions that I had to answer, ranging from the silly [2] to personal [3] and ministry related [4].

One of the questions was actually quite convicting…the person simply wrote down “why do you walk so fast?”

Last Monday I started taking at least one walk through Barrouaille every day. This had three goals.

  1. Get myself back in shape
  2. Learn where things are in town
  3. And introduce myself to people [5]

These walks have greatly helped introduce myself to the community [6]. At this point however it’s time to take the next step, and develop relationships with other people, which means I need to really work on my “island walk.”

An island walk is built on stopping and having conversation with people along the way…which means it’s a lot slower than the “American walk” that I do by nature [7] 🙂

My walk may not seem important, but it symbolizes a much deeper issue…differences between life on the island, and life in America.

Life on the island is slow, and built on spending time with people

Life in the US is fast paced, and built on getting things done

As someone who comes from an achievement based culture to one that emphasizes interaction I need to be very careful about my American mindset becoming frustrated or annoyed with the island life.

Friday afternoon while preparing for the dinner I drove the Churches (Missionaries) van to three or four different places. Towards the end of our last trip I was parked waiting for a Church member to get something from his house when a thought came into my mind.

This could have gotten done so much faster!

In that moment I caught myself viewing life in another Country from an American worldview, and quickly repented.

It’s possible to focus on the few things that are different in another culture (getting less done) but approaching the island with an American view of life blinds me to the great blessings it offers (interaction with others, stronger relationships, small town way of life where everybody knows everybody).

Because a persons background can affect the way they view other cultures it’s my responsibility to adapt to the island way of thinking in every way.

Even how I walk

[1]: they recreated the KFC menu for me

[2]: what’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten

[3]: why are you single?

[4]: Why do you visit Countries teaching the Gospel?

[5]: pretty easy since I’m the only white person in town

[6]: there are a few rumors about who I am, with the most popular being I’m the missionaries son

[7]: centered on exercise, so I go farther and faster than yesterday

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