Culture is the sum of what an individual acquires from his or her upbringing: beliefs, customs, artistic forms, food preferences, crafts, dress, styles of music and worship, nonverbal communication, time orientation, spatial relationships in communication and so on.
Cross-cultural relationships are complex and take time to learn, so be patient in your relationships, whether with us or national church members. Remember that your short exposure to the culture is not enough time to make you an expert on that field. Maintaining a positive attitude will serve you best, reflecting well on you, your relationship with the Lord, and your relationships within World Missions.
Demonstrate the utmost respect for and cooperation with all missionaries, other American Assemblies of God personnel, and nationals. A spirit of concern and love will enable you to labor in harmony with us and will present an image of unity to be followed by the nationals.
Relationships with Nationals
Work at developing and maintaining positive, healthy relationships with nationals, both saved and unsaved. Earning their confidence takes time. Let it be known you are there to manifest Christ and His gospel, and ask God for wisdom and diplomacy. For example, if nationals want to discuss world affairs and political matters, ask God to help you give answers that will satisfy them and at the same time allow you to turn the discussion to a witness for the Lord.
Don’t be afraid or apologetic for being an American, but on the other hand, don’t go with the idea that you are there to represent the United States. You are there to represent Jesus Christ and His kingdom. If you feel your mission is to change their culture, nothing will be accomplished, and bridges for relationship and communication will crumble. Strive to introduce Jesus Christ into their lives, and trust the Holy Spirit to make any necessary changes.
How to Deal With Conflict
Conflicts may arise, but keep lines of communication open with us. If you have a serious problem, speak with us first. Under no circumstances should you confront or try to deal with the problem alone.