Traveling to a new country can be scary. A change of language, food, customs, and the familiar can be intimidating for even the most prepared. This summer, Luis and Iris flew to the United States for the first time to join with teens from UrbanPromise Camden and Wilmington for a two week expedition in Colorado and Utah. Iris has some thoughts to share about her cross-cultural encounter…
It was my first day meeting the group. Luis and I introduced ourselves, sharing our names and listening to everyone else in turn. For us, that first day was difficult because we didn’t speak much English. But it’s ok, even though it might be challenging at first, we knew we had more time to get to know everyone.
The first few days, we didn’t talk much with the other youth because some of them seemed very serious, and we didn’t have much self-confidence when it came to speaking yet.
As time went on, we tried to talk more and more with the others, joking around and such. It was a bit difficult for me because I’m generally a very quiet person. In trying to communicate with the others, I knew it didn’t matter that we talk a lot, but rather, that we at least try. Little by little, we grew in confidence. The rest of the group was supportive and had a lot of patience with us.
It was during this time that I began to see God at work, showing His love through each individual. Everyone was intentional about asking how we were or if we needed anything, helping out whenever it was needed. Although I had my moments of disappointment, sadness, and feeling alone, He was always there with me, reminding me that I wasn’t on my own, and I never was going to be. There are always people watching out for me.
It’s incredible to think that in such little time, you can build such strong friendships and appreciation for other people. Although we started off not knowing one another, the moment of saying goodbye was one of great difficulty. It was a beautiful thing to see how the others in the group were also sad to depart company. It’s wonderful to know that friendship doesn’t end with a goodbye, but rather, it is then that a friendship becomes stronger and true.
We should learn to love God above all things and love others, as His Word tells us. I can see that it’s important to have friends take care of us.
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need”. –Proverbs 17:17