Learning about life on a campus where we lived on top of each other, was interesting, sometimes challenging. We had a range of missionaries serving there. Some had been missionaries a long time in the Caribbean. One family had served in Jamaica as singles, later married and had teen-agers at the time we were there. Another couple had served many years in Trinidad but only a couple of years in Jamaica. A single woman had been there a long time. During our time there, she retired.
The rest of us were relative newbies and although we were first among the group to arrive, over the years we were there, about 5-6 couples arrived and added to their families.
Between their moves and ours, I just wasn’t able to keep up! Of course, a few have passed away now.
Living as close as we did caused us to learn about each others’ warts quite fast
The thing about living so closely is that we learned about each others warts quickly. Then we needed to learn how to learn to forgive and love. That is in the next post!
When you live close to people who have different standards for their children, different looks to their marriage, come from different church backgrounds, have different personality types, ad infinitum…there is plenty of room for conflict and disagreement!
The things we did agree about? That we loved the Lord, were committed to ministering to these students, and that we were committed to the equipping of students to minister throughout the Caribbean.
Finding places to agree and get along took work…and enabling from the Holy Spirit!
We couldn’t be thin skinned. We needed to live in a way that focused on the positive traits of our fellow co-workers. Since then I have learned much more about getting along with people in ways that are more Biblical than I routinely did then.I tended to stuff my feelings much more than I do now. I hated to admit when my feelings were hurt. Click To Tweet
I tended to stuff my feelings much more than I do now. I hated to admit when my feelings were hurt. I hated to admit that I was human…to my peril. It would have been much easier if I could have admitted how human I was. And just apologized more quickly.
Apologies don’t cause us to lose face, they help us to get a fresh start in our relationships
Why do we often feel apologies somehow cause us to lose face? So not true!
So among a group of people who loved GOD and sometimes struggled to get along, I had to learn to love each one…to be kind, to honor and respect them, to understand that I wouldn’t be close friends with all, but could be friendly with each person. It sounds so basic now. But I really didn’t know it then!So among a group of people who loved GOD and sometimes struggled to get along, I had to learn to love each one... Click To Tweet
As time went on, more Jamaicans took some of the jobs that Americans or Canadians had held. It was good but it was an adjustment just the same!
Challenge: When you live in close proximity to people with whom you minister, it is important to maintain relationships well. It isn’t easy of course. You see them often and know their faults well. The same goes for your family. Choosing to give them grace is difficult, but it is the right road to take.
Do you tend more toward being too expressive of your feelings or too stuffing of your feelings? Both have their downsides.