Moving to a new city involves a lot of tasks: packing boxes, unpacking boxes, changing your address on documents, saying good bye to current friends, and hello to new ones. But moving across the world requires all the more tasks, commitment, and endurance.
Two of our own EFCSW missionaries families are making that move to (and transition into) Cambodia right now. Robert and Sarah Radcliff arrived in Cambodia in September 2016 and Elise Paty joined them and team in March 2017. They are joining two families – The Swards and Hernandezes – who have been on the field and supported by us for many years.
The first two years on the field have a focus on language and culture learning. Robert and Sarah are half way through their focused learning and Elise will be a quarter through momentarily.
The Radcliff’s and Elise have spend much of their time studying language – formally in a classroom and conversationally with friends and tutors. This comes with ebbs and flows of feeling confident in their abilities to communicate desires, and the feelings of being a toddler unable to fully express themselves. Endurance and perspective help them to continue to be learners in all that they do.
Through learning the language they are also being exposed to cultural tendencies and expectations that the Cambodian people have. They get to learn how to navigate situations differently than we may in the States. This is critical for long term impact in their life and ministry in coming years. Elise said in one of her updates, “In thinking about my own experience of knowing God and growing in my faith, I have been deeply impacted by friends walking alongside me and encouraging me by their consistent friendship demonstrating the gospel. I hope that as I learn more Khmer and gain a deeper understanding of the culture, I can connect with Khmer people on that level to be a clear communicator of the gospel.”
When we see these transitions in our own lives, of moving and learning, may we remember what God is doing in Cambodia in and through our missionaries. May we pray for them to have endurance and strength as we hope for the same in ourselves during transitions.
Curious what Elise’s daily life would be like while learning a new language? Check out her language route below:
If you want to see more video updates from Elise, her vimeo channel is here.
Robert and Sarah also have video updates here where you can hear from them personally and get a glimpse into their journey in Cambodia.