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  • Writer's pictureAlberta Wray

Connecting with Each Other

Having traveled and ministered in many countries, I started considering country values and how they impact cross-cultural workers, teams, marriages, families - in how they live life as well as perspectives.

For instance, the US (and other western countries), value individualism, personal space, an 'I am right' attitude (as in I have the right to my own opinion, and spilling it out among those around me. Other countries may value 'having and showing pride', or perhaps food being more of a social event.

I've spent just under 10 years living in various places in Europe where sitting at the table for a meal meant more than just gobbling up your food. I learned to sit and enjoy a leisurely meal while having great conversations with whomever I was with. When I returned to the US, I naturally fell into that routine until I noticed that I had barely touched my meal and everyone around me was finished. I go to restaurants in the US where if one person appears to be finished with their meal, the waiter quickly comes and clears your plate, even if everyone else at the table is still eating. I miss those 3 hour meal sessions :) because it's where friendships were forged, beliefs were discussed, laughter was enjoyed.

The 'Covid Era' changed how we all connected (or didn't). Being single and an introvert, I quickly fell into my own routine of working from home, but also allowing time for hobbies such as painting, gardening, and more reading. I loved it ... until I didn't. I had a bit of an epiphany when I hit the 8 month mark of Covid. I realized that I hadn't seen anyone I knew face to face. New faces took their place as I walked in

our neighborhood and met people I had never knew existed before Covid.

Some of they ways I 'built community/connected with others' was (as most of us) on a computer screen. Our team of 100 people connected on a weekly basis and we tried to format our times together for contemplation, prayer, fun, meeting new people. It was the highlight of the week for most of us. But I also tried some new things: a cooking class hosted by a dear friend who is professional chef. I recruited 8 homes. They could pick and choose who was 'in the room' for this online connection. Chef sent us a list in advance and what to prepare. Then at 5:30 pm she started our walkthrough of an Asian Fusion dinner (meatballs asian style). I had 3 other friends over and we all did our parts until our online portion was completed; then we sat down and shared fellowship amongst ourselves.

I planned an all sister zoom call with my im

mediate family. From our living

rooms, we shared what was happening on our families, we loved each other, listened, shared and tried to 'do life' with me being 3000 miles from my family.

A friend group on mine from almost 30 years ago, decided to start a Marco Polo group. It's still in action today - we share life, travels, prayer requests, and just plain fan. There's a lot of music involved as my friend, Danny, relates a song to everything discussed. He has brought back many oldie to our memories.

So why a post like this? It's to remind that us that we all need community. We have to be ready to lean in as we participate in each others lives. Be creative and out of the box in building key relationships in our lives. God never intended us to be long rangers. He created us for each other. Iron sharpens iron so without people in my life who challenge, love and support...I would be a dull piece of iron. Find a way to connect with someone today - through a smile, a coffee, a lunch or a hug. These are all reminders that we are alive.

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