I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12
So many of us have struggled with the tension of learning this secret. This truth is a guiding principle for being a missionary. The key word in this verse is "learned." To learn takes time, instruction, and learning experiences.
For me, this verse isn't about money or resources. I use it to apply to uprooting your life and trying to find it again in another cultural setting. I believe that there is a KEY to learning how to be content in every situation. That key is to acclimate.
Acclimate usually means to adjust to a climate or temperature. That really takes time and experience. Coming from the United States culture, I constantly feel internal pressure to efficiently use time and other resources. This creates a tension in the process of acclimating. To acclimate, one has to slow down, absorb, reflect, and make adjustments to thinking patterns, life habits, and personal values. What makes me tick? How does that conflict with the culture I live in and what adjustments do I have to make? Where do I get my self-identity from? If I can't accomplish my goals, will I feel like a failure? How do I view time? Is it a resource that can never be recovered? Or, can I wait until tomorrow to find that time again?
Acclimation is about learning how to live in the tropics and how to live contentedly within a tropical society. This is the process that we're engaged in now, as we: 1. study language and culture, 2. build a sustainable family life, and 3. help bring the gospel to Filipino people. Please pray for us.
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.