The subtitle of this book is “Exploring the impact of personality on cross-cultural mission.” Christian missions and missionaries have a long history of cross-cultural experiences. Unfortunately they haven’t always had the tools they need before they head out on their adventure. Even today, the organisations that send mission trips often don’t place a priority on quality cross-cultural training….but I’ll get off my hobby horse or this blog will be a rant rather than a review!
Naomi Reed has interviewed a number of people with different experiences on the mission field to use as examples for the book. The main aim of the book is to highlight how people with different personalities may cope with living in a different culture…in essence it outlines which symptoms of culture shock certain people will be susceptible to.
The book uses the Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to group the stories. It’s a bit of a strange book, in that after you read Chapter 1, it suggests that you skip to the chapter that has your personality type. In this way, it’s a super fast read 🙂 But of course I’m curious, so I read the whole lot.
When I did the MBTI test a few years ago, I was on the border line between ENTJ and ENFJ. Reading the chapters of this book that relate to both these “types”, I can definitely see strong similarities between my own experiences and those of the people in the examples. For example, in the ENFJ chapter, it talks about how they need a strong sense of belonging, connection and community, and will place high value on the greater purpose of their work – tick tick tick for me!!
But the MBTI is never a complete picture of a person. So I also found helpful hints in some of the other chapters.
In sum, if you’re an avid reader who really likes to savour their books, you’ll find it a bit unsatisfactory that the experience is over so quickly. But it is definitely a useful preparation tool for anyone who is looking to go overseas – especially if it’s their first time.