It is probably not a surprise to anyone that we accomplish more when part of a team. Teams provide support, accountability, and synergy. When the team succeeds, the celebrations are more significant. When the team fails, the disappointment is shared, keeping the load lighter for each member. King Solomon puts it this way in Ecclesiastes.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
If this is true in our home culture, it is doubly true when living and working in a different culture.
Cross-cultural life and ministry are hard. Take what you do each day and then imagine what it would be like to do the same things in a place where you are not speaking your own language, and you are not operating but the social rules you are used to. It can drain you and, at times, brings out the worst in you. Being part of a team in those situations makes the road easier.
We Need Each Other
Your teammates will help you more quickly adapt to your new culture. They will show you where to be and what places to avoid. Language is easier to learn if you have those around you who have gone before you and can encourage you. If some of your teammates are from your home culture, being with them provides a place to relax and just be mono-cultural for a moment or two. Finding the hidden gems in a new place can be challenging unless you have someone with experience to introduce you to those unique places and experiences. People on your team will also help keep you out of trouble or go to bat for you when you find yourself there.
Nearly all mission work is done in partnership of some kind. As you consider stepping into the world of cross-cultural life and work, make sure that you ask questions about what team life is like within the agencies you are considering.
“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”