Adjusting to a New Culture

My wife Sarah and I worked hard in planning for work here in Arequipa and in eventually moving here. God has made this wonderful opportunity a reality for us and we are so very thankful to Him. We have been living here for 5 months now. The newness of it all is starting to wear off. As silly as it sounds, I’m starting to realize that I don’t live in California or Arkansas any more. Culture shock is a curious thing. We definitely went through a honeymoon stage. Now we realize we are here to stay and it is no vacation. It is hard at times. Apparently culture shock can make you exhausted. This is the case with me. By the time we get our kids to bed, I am longing for bed myself.  It has been a rough past couple of weeks. We miss home and family and certain things here are difficult to get used to. We are in a pretty constant state of heightened awareness that we could be pick-pocketed (Sarah actually was) or be overcharged for something because we don’t know any better (which has already happened). We are making good progress in our Spanish language acquisition, but miss or don’t understand things here and there. Things like throwing trash on the ground or letting dogs do their business wherever they desire are much more common than I wish they were. More frequently than we like, new friends/acquaintances don’t call when they say they will, or don’t show up for a scheduled meeting altogether. 
However, there are two sides to a coin. Although this acquisition is hard, there are so many great things happening that God is allowing us to be involved in.  From simple acts of sharing our faith to formal Bible studies, from experiencing people’s willingness to help us newbies to making new friends, from enjoying new food to sharing a meal with new friends, life here really is a blessing. We couldn’t be more pleased with our landlords and our apartment. Our Peruvian brothers and sisters in Christ have received us with open, loving arms and we already love them so much and feel close to them. We have received great advice from our new closest Peruvian friends as well as the veteran missionaries who have been here for over 5 years. What an experience this has been. We hope to have many more years to come here in Arequipa working for God’s glory and for the expansion of His kingdom. Please keep us in your prayers as we adjust to this culture and learn to live and thrive here.