Fellow-Traveler Kind of People: Getting to Know John and Cecelia
John and Cecelia* have been RMM workers in the Middle East for the past eight years. They are both working in English language instruction—Cecelia teaches English in a local language school and John teaches Environmental Law and International Energy and Environment Issues courses. Their ethos: “We feel we shine best as we work well, immerse ourselves in the lives of our students and build relationships with co-workers.”
Where are you from in the U.S.? How do you stay connected with your family, friends, and supporting church after being gone so long?We hail from Wayne County Ohio, where we met in high school, married, and began raising our family until God moved us to pursue graduate school. At that point we began sharing our lives in a city setting and then moved in 2000 to Central Asia, where we lived for six years. It is a challenge to stay connected from a distance over so many years, but the internet has been a huge asset, allowing us to stay connected via Skype, Hangout, Facebook, Pinterest, and e-mail. We also make relationships a priority on our summer visits, connecting with friends and supporters and hanging out with our family as much as possible.
Previously, you were workers in another country. How long did it take you to feel like your current country became “home?”It was different for the two of us. For Cecelia it didn’t take long. People here are friendly, and we soon met neighbors and others, many of whom are still close friends. I also think we had already learned a lot about the culture and knew how to give honor and live uprightly in Asian culture. We try to be teachable and curious and present ourselves as students of the culture by asking lots of questions, learning about their cultural values and saying ‘yes’ as much as possible. For John, it was much harder to adapt to the new country because of not having a clear identity or role in society here at first. It seems now as if we have three “homes:” our former host country, our current host country, and Ohio.