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In this issue of Horizons we share several stories about communicating across cultures. Foreigners who come to Mongolia soon find out that even if they learn to speak Mongolian well, they still may not be able to communicate clearly.
Not only do all JCS’ers need to learn the Mongolian language and Mongolian culture, but many JCS’ers also find themselves working with people who are not from their home culture and who do not speak their mother tongue. The articles in this edition were written by people from 4 different countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and Singapore/Malaysia). See if you can figure out which country goes with which article! This means that the challenges of cross-cultural communication for almost every JCS’er are not only to learn Mongolian culture, but also that of their fellow workers. And there is also a real challenge for the Mongolians whom we work with, as they seek to communicate and understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of different JCS’ers!
As Simon says at the end of his article “Cross-Cultural Miscommunication”, “I am still learning.” The joys of communication and challenges of miscommunication give us opportunities to work hard at learning from each other and forgiving each other when we don’t communicate well and misunderstandings occur. The uniqueness of the community that God is building through us is not that we are all of the same language, culture, race or tribe, but that by our working together we are weaving the tapestry of our cultures, races, languages and nations, which makes us all better humans in the one family of God.