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Serving with Humility

Serving with Humility

Working cross-culturally and working on a multicultural team both require humility. A Christar worker serving as a nurse on a multi-national team in Albania shares.

Cultural clashes

As a nurse working in a cross-cultural setting on a multicultural team, I am confronted daily with new ideas. Having worked in the Western medical world for years before moving to Albania, I have certainly found myself surprised at the beliefs and ideas that I encounter:

“It’s no problem if you eat a greasy meal, because if you follow it up with a bottle of sparkling water, all of the grease will just dissolve.”

“If your child has a fever, it is helpful to paint the bottom of his feet with yogurt.”

“If you have a sore joint or sprained wrist, wrap it with onion and salt to make it heal.”

Working alongside national nurses has challenged me to re-evaluate the “whys” of what I believe and practice. These nurses have grown up with my host culture’s worldview. Yes, there are times when my previously learned knowledge is scientifically correct and needs to be taught. But in other instances, does it really matter? Is it hurting anyone if a mom puts yogurt on her son’s feet?

This clash of cultural beliefs affects mentalities in unavoidable ways. I’ve learned that standing my ground is not always important or effective. I don’t always have to be right. In fact, if I had spent my time trying to convince my nurses about every little thing their culture does “incorrectly” (from my Western perspective), they would have lost interest years ago. Conversely, I am continually reminded that if I am willing to humble myself and keep an open mind, I am likely to learn invaluable truths.

An unexpected surprise

A few weeks ago, an Albanian nurse and I were invited to teach health topics at a local church’s community outreach. Because of her lack of knowledge on several of the topics, I went with the expectation that I would teach a good portion of the lesson. Interestingly, I found myself stepping back and watching her beautifully address many cultural questions with which I had no experience. My heart filled with joy as I observed her boldly introduce her Heavenly Father to these ladies as she addressed their physical issues. It was another day of learning for me.

Working on a multicultural team has its obvious challenges. There are always struggles in communication, and differences in expectations and perspectives from varied experiences and worldviews. Yet as I humble myself, I see the privilege of working each day with national co-workers. This experience brings me encouragement as I watch the Father use our strengths and weaknesses together for His glory.

Participate by Praying:

  • Praise God for calling believers from many nationalities to serve Him.
  • Pray that workers will have humility as they face the challenges of serving on multicultural teams.

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