Love Across the Cultures - a YWAM speciality!
Take a large number of young, creative, adventurous people of both genders and any nationality, put them together for a longer period of time, add some memorable experiences somewhere around the world (preferably in difficult life circumstances), spice the mix with the zeal to change the world, and stir well. Then watch what happens...
YWAM has been an incubator of some of the most amazing love-relationships you can imagine! There is hardly any combination of nationalities you can think of that does not exist somewhere in the realm of Youth with a Mission. Many couples are formed from people who would never have met if they hadn’t joined YWAM or attended a Discipleship Training School. YWAM founder, Loren Cunningham, likes to joke about it, musing that he should perhaps demand a dowry from every guy who finds a girl in YWAM.
Love across cultures didn’t start with YWAM, though. The Bible alone is full of love stories, and some of the most popular ones are cross-cultural.
Real life can write more gripping stories than many fiction authors can. What touches our hearts when we hear those love stories is the mix of personal drama and misery that is turned into good (or bad in some cases) and the sense of the adventure that is woven into the relationship of lovers who don’t share the same background or sometimes not even the same language. Maybe that’s what makes cross-cultural relationships interesting, even to the outsider. In a setup where the two people don’t have anything in common, don’t share a common history, don’t have the same friends, don’t laugh about the same jokes, don’t like the same food and don’t even speak the same language, love just must be real. Love has to be the only possible explanation for why such people would ever stick together.
In YWAM, most love stories start less dramatically (although, there are some pretty dramatic ones, too). Most people who first fall in love with someone from another country just fall in love with another someone. The fact, that there might be an ocean (or two) between their places of origin might only be a second thought, but not a very important one. YWAM functions as a third culture where both are equally foreign or familiar. Most likely they are surrounded by other couples who also found their better half at the other end of the world – and don’t even consider that strange.
At the early stage of an inter-cultural love relationship other things are important. Probably the same things that are important to any couple just falling in love. It’s usually when a couple gets married and starts their own little world that things might change. Nobody can ignore their way of upbringing and home culture on the long-haul. Certain cultural differences between husband and wife can be expected and will need to be taken seriously.
This is especially true when the couple is joined by children. Children of inter-cultural and inter-racial marriages are just precious. Each blend has such a unique beauty and bears so much expression of God’s infinite creativity. But to raise children in an environment that is whole and healthy and still values the each “parent” culture is not an easy task for parents. But it’s so worth it! What an amazing opportunity for those children to grow up learning more than one language and getting a view of the world that far exceeds that of most of their peers.
Love across cultures is special. It is a way of telling the world: I care more about this unique person than about the “cultural wrapping”. It is a testimony to the world that before God there is no difference in race and origin. And it is an opportunity to demonstrate that love has the power to overcome obstacles and barriers.
Creating the opportunity for people from different cultures to find each other is not one of the purposes of Youth With A Mission – it’s just one of the bonuses! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Want more advice on cross-cultural relationships? Visit : http://www.ywam-fmi.org/multimedia/articles/ask-larry.html