Divine Appointments Await in Cultural Understanding

Show Notes

I recently had an inspiring chat with Wendy Zahorjanski about embracing cultural diversity. As someone who grew up in a small town in Vermont with little exposure to other cultures, Wendy had her perspective expanded when she moved overseas. Initially, she experienced total culture shock – exhausted, unable to communicate effectively, and stripped of her independence.

But Endy shares how this challenging experience revealed her pride and self-reliance, forcing her to lean on God and her community. Through it all, Wendy found incredible grace from the Lord. She realized God loves us as we are, even in our weakness, as He works to bring healing and growth.

Wend says immersing herself in another culture enriched her faith, helping her distinguish cultural Christianity from actual Biblical truths. I was so encouraged by Wendy’s humility and trust in God’s patient guidance. She urges us to seek the Lord about opportunities to understand other cultures, even if we never leave our hometowns.

When we ask and wait on Him, God can orchestrate divine appointments. If y u want to hear more of Wendy’s inspiring cross-cultural journey, check out her new book Hard is Only Half the Story on Amazon. Let her story challenge and encourage you!

Parenting Gender Confused Children Support Group: https://faithfullyengaged.com/support-group/ Wendy’s Links

Website: https://wendyzahorjanski.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendy.zahorjanski/

Book: https://amzn.to/434qCoU

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Transcript

00:00:09 – Johnny Sanders
Do you have a child that is gender confused? Are you the parent of somebody that is either identified as transgender using different pronouns, or some other type of gender confused just proper Gandha being shoved down your kids throats? Well, I created the biblically parenting gender confused children support group for parents just like you. The support group is completely free. We meet monthly and you are able to connect with other like minded christian parents that are struggling with how to parent children that are gender confused. They’re getting all sorts of nonsense brought to them by the world and I want to help connect parents that are going through similar struggles and be able to tackle this issue through a biblical worldview. If you are interested in joining this group or know somebody that might be interested in this group, head on over to faithfullyengaged.com. And there’s more information about the support group there. I have a link down in the description below. Well, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Faithfully engaged. Today we’re going to be talking a little bit about different cultures. I know something. My mom is probably going to listen to this episode and she’s big on cross culture missions and just knowing about other cultures. And I’m sure my guest and I will be talking about that, but my guest knows a ton about being in different cultures. So, Wendy, why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself and who you are.

00:01:48 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Sure. Thanks for having me. And I’m excited to talk about cultures and I love talking about it because I’ve lived so long in a different culture. My name is Wendy Zahorjanski , or Zahorjanski if you want to make it more with an american accent. But I am married to a serbian, so my marriage is cross cultural. So I’m kind of in it 24/7 but even before we got married, I was living overseas. Originally I’m from the state of Vermont and when I was 19, I moved to Kyrgyzstan, to the country of Kyrgyzstan. And that’s kind of a story in and of itself. But I ended up living with my brother, who was a missionary there at the time with his family, and was only there for six months. But that was my first cross culture experience and it really opened my eyes to the fact that I needed more training if I wanted to pursue life of a missionary or a cross cultural worker. So because of that experience, I decided to go to a Bible college in Hungary, in the country of Hungary. And I was there for three years. I finished their two year program and then they had a year long internship. So I did that and that’s where I met my husband. And we ended up starting to date at Bible College. And then we moved down to a city in northern Serbia in February of 2011. So when I moved down, so we were there, and then we were there for a year, and then we got married, and then we moved into June 2012, we moved down to central Serbia. In the city of Karaguyevas is where we are now. And that’s. We’ve been church planting since 2012.

00:03:25 – Johnny Sanders
I think that’s awesome. Just all of the different dynamics you have there, even your own marriage, that is cross cultural in that way. And this is interesting for me. Like I mentioned, my mom’s been big into missions, so she’s been a missions minister. She recently was doing a job where she traveled to Indonesia for, I don’t remember, two times or so a year, and was connected with an organization that was helping women in ministry there. But anyways, she’s always loved missions and just being involved in different cultures and things like that. But again, being my mom, I grew up in one town. The only move we ever had was from one side of the town to the other, and that was okay. So for my mom and actually both my parents, they moved a lot just within the states, but moved a lot. And anyways, they always ingrained, like, different cultures were important, but I always thought that was funny, that we didn’t move. We stayed in the same place. So I say all that to say for those that are like me, that have been more like homegrown, stayed in the same area, what advice or what would you tell those people of why it’s important to understand other cultures and be a part of other cultures instead of just investing where you already live at?

00:05:02 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Yeah, that’s a really good question. And first, I think I would say that each of us are called to different things, so being aware of other cultures or learning about them doesn’t have to mean to move into another culture. So if that’s not what the Lord is calling you to do, then you shouldn’t do that. You should stay where the Lord’s calling you. But also to have an openness, that maybe the Lord is calling me to step out into a different culture or a different city or different part of the city that has more of a different influence or a cultural influence. I think it’s really important always to be open to those things. I see that in my own life, that the times that I’ve been the most open for whatever the Lord has me, that’s the time that he was able to really either confirm a call or call me to something that was different or new. So I think that has been really key for me. And the other thing I was going to say is how. Well, I kind of don’t know where to begin with how important it is because I think it’s so important because I’ve seen that trying to think of a concrete example that might help to illustrate what I’m trying to say. But I do think that growing up in, because I grew up in Vermont for part of my childhood, but Vermont from age ten to 18, and Vermont is very not diverse. It’s not diverse at all, the part where I grew up. So I missed out on a lot of things that other cultures have to offer, in a sense. So I think that pursuing other cultures or understanding them or making friends with people who are from a different background can really be enriching for us and it can enrich our lives. So, for example, me living in Serbia, I’ve learned so much about who God is just from the way that serbian believers talk about God. They have a completely different mentality, and so they have a different approach sometimes to their christian faith. So I’m not talking about different foundation, I’m not talking about heresy, I’m not talking about different teachings that would be false teaching. I’m talking about a different approach in the sense that community is so much more important for them. It’s not an individualistic society, it’s a collective society more than western cultures, and especially the US. So they just have more of a community approach to faith that I think is missing, well, at least from my experience with the church in the US, that it was missing. So they have more of an interdependence, and that’s something that I only learned by stepping out of my culture into another one. So I do think that there’s huge benefits. Even our Christianity sometimes just, it happens. We get, part of our culture just gets mixed in. It gets all mixed up with faith and with what’s in the scriptures. And sometimes I realized that what I was holding on to was actually a part of my culture and actually not a part of my faith. And it was really been freeing and to have some of the separation be more clear. So being married to somebody from a different culture makes that even more intense sometimes, but also more beneficial because there’s some pushback with the way that he thinks and the way that I grew up thinking. And I think, oh, man, actually that is just a part of the culture, just a part of what my family did. And it’s not in the scripture, so I could probably let go of that. That’s probably not a thing that I need to make the main thing, or that’s not a thing that I need to bring up in conversations or all the time. I can let that one rest and focus on the things that are the main things. So I think that has also been really freeing for me and just kind of a purifying process. And then it’s easier to hold on to the main things when some of those secondary things get kind of washed away or they get more balanced out with maybe a perspective from a different culture.

00:09:08 – Johnny Sanders
I think that’s fascinating to see. And like you’re saying, there’s definitely kind of a cultural type of Christianity now I’m in Oklahoma, so even more so in this part of the country that’s ingrained it. And I don’t think that’s an all bad thing. There’s a lot of good things to have that to be seeped into your culture. But like you said, there, the importance there is. Is this scriptural? Is this coming from the Bible, or is it just coming from the culture? And that recognition is really important. And I’m curious about you, and I know that you’ve had many different types of cultures that you’ve been in, so this isn’t a blanket question here, but how is that process from you being in Vermont, being, like you said, not diverse, really, at all, to being in these different cultures? What was that like? I’m imagining culture shock. How did you adjust initially, kind of, in your first trips and such, to being in different cultures like that?

00:10:28 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Well, I thought I had mono because I was exhausted. I was convinced. I was 100% convinced that I had mono. So I went to the doctor just to make sure that I was right, because I was exhausted all the time. I had all the symptoms, and I went and my blood work came back perfectly, perfectly fine, and I had nothing. There was nothing wrong with me, and I didn’t know that at the time. But now, as I’ve learned more and read more, that that’s actually very common, to be exhausted when you go into a different culture and mentally and even physically, to be more physically exhausted. So that was definitely one of the initial things, is it feels like you are. And I talk about it a lot in my book, which we’ll get to, but it’s my story, so my book is actually my story, and it’s all about my story into a different culture, into the unknown and what that looked like. So each chapter is a different story. From my life and kind of a different piece of the process. But the earlier ones are really intense because it really felt like I had jumped off the side of a cliff, and I was just waiting because I knew I was going to hit the bottom. I just didn’t know when. And so it was like this free fall into the culture, and I thought for sure that it was going to kill me because it was taking all of my energy. I did language learning through full immersion, so that meant that I was speaking English only at home when I was well before we were married with my boyfriend, Danny, who’s my husband. But so Danny, I would speak English with him when I was talking with him, and I would speak English when I was talking on the phone to my family. But that was it, really. So all other interactions, I tried to be in Serbian, but I didn’t know any Serbian. So at the beginning, I wasn’t communicating at all. I was just listening. But that meant that nobody knew me. Nobody knew, really who I was. When I started speaking, I sounded like I was a two year old. And so some people treated me like a two year old because, I mean, how would they know? They don’t know. And so really, sometimes it was really humiliating because I was treated like I was stupid or like I only had the mental capabilities of a two year old. But that was really the only level I could function on with the language. So it stripped me down to the very core of who I was. Everything. Emotionally, I cried all the time. I was really pushed to the limit, I would say, at that time. So that was the initial part, and I think that that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I know for me that now my language is at a point where I’m fluent. And so I think from the language aspect, that I would do the same thing. I would go full immersion again, but I would probably focus more on having a couple supportive relationships outside of the context that I was in. That could kind of help me more emotionally. That was missing for me. So emotionally, I think I went too far, like, down the dark hard, where I probably didn’t need to if I had had a few people that I was sharing with. And so that’s, I think, one mistake, a big mistake that I made. And I think the other thing that was really difficult was just being so incapable. Naturally, I’m a pretty confident person, actually, not pretty. I’m overconfident. It’s my problem. And I am very independent and capable. I’m just a capable person. But I was all of a sudden in this culture where I didn’t know how to turn the stove on because I can’t find where the button is, I don’t know how to go outside and get on the bus. I don’t know how the bus system works. I can’t go to the market, the farmers market, because I can’t order vegetables. I don’t know my numbers, so people can take advantage of me. I don’t know how to get the hot water to work because I didn’t realize that there was a switch outside of the bathroom where you have to switch on the hot water boiler so that the hot water boiler heats up, and then you get hot water. So I can’t figure out why there’s no hot water. All these things. So you can just imagine one whole day of waking up, and then from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you feel stupid, and you can’t do things that you were used to doing or that you normally did. Sorry, I’m getting over it. A little bit of a cough. It was really humiliating, if I’m honest. So I don’t think it was a bad thing either. Looking back, I think that that experience was really vital for me to get to how proud I actually was. And self reliance actually isn’t necessarily a biblical principle. We’re not called to be self reliant. We’re called to be dependent on the Lord, and we’re called to be interdependent. So this focus, I realized that was one thing about my culture. We put a huge focus on being independent and being capable by ourselves. So as an adult woman, I should be able to do everything by myself. But it’s not always the case, and it’s not always a good pressure to put on each other or on myself. There’s times in my life where I can’t do it without other people, and I definitely can’t do it without the Lord. And I think that relying on other people in practical ways is so, you know, it’s so my flesh hates it. Yeah. The fact that my independence and my self reliance was, I mean, crucified was such a good thing because it also crucified my flesh. Those things are not. We have in the Holy Spirit. We have confidence that I believe is from the Lord. But being confident in my own abilities and in my own, even ability to function independently of everybody else, I actually don’t think that that’s a principle that we see in scripture, that we don’t need to be little islands that we are actually put in a community for the reason, so that we can lean into each other and so that our gifts and even our capabilities can overlap in such a way that we don’t need to be these superhuman super people. So that was a lot of pressure that I put on myself before, I think. And it also was encouraged by the culture that I was in. To be independent would be the goal. To be able to function, even though I’m not sure people would say that, but to be able to function by myself is kind of. That’s a success, self made success, you know, those kind of things. So I am really thankful that being in another culture stripped me down to the point where I became a lot more aware of those things. I’m not saying that I’m really good at leaning into other people or being dependent on other people in a lot of practical ways. That’s something that I want to grow in even more. And I push myself to the limit, and then I reach out to other people, which I also is not where I want to be. I want to reach out before I’m freaking out and in a crisis that I can’t do it. So I need to grow.

00:17:51 – Johnny Sanders
When you were saying that in the beginning, I was thinking of, okay, how did having to reach out for help, being humbled, I think you said that earlier how that impacted your faith, and you lined that out really well. That as a Christian, yes, we’re not just called to just sit down and do nothing and have everybody do everything for us, but we’re also, as you mentioned, not called to do everything completely on our own. We’re not. In fact, if you take the kind of super independent thoughts to its extreme, there’s really no need for God. We got this. We don’t need help. Now, obviously, that goes against the christian worldview completely. And that’s where I think your experience there, that humility, really helped shape and increase your faith in that way. Instead of, I think we’re seeing, particularly in the american church right now, we’re really seeing a lot of the deconstructing your faith and kind of just injecting our own version of events and our own morality onto scripture and things like that. Instead of scripture informing us, which is the way that we need that to be. And it sounds like in your story there, that has really impacted you. That impacted you, showed you how reliant on God you really need to be and that you can’t do this all on your own.

00:19:38 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Yeah. And I think in that place that I found so much grace from the Lord that it really has encouraged me to ask him for help and to be a weaker version of myself that is actually a more real version of myself, that I’m not as afraid as before to tell the Lord and close people around me that I’m not doing okay, or that I don’t know what to do, or that I’m not really sure about a decision, or I’m not really sure what’s the wise thing to do in a situation, or I don’t know how to handle something. I think I’m a lot more willing to do it because I realized that what was waiting for me wasn’t the Lord thinking, being disappointed or thinking that I was a failure. But I actually found so much grace because he actually knows already that he knows who I am even better than I know myself. So just being honest with him kind of opened the door for him to pour his grace on me in the sense to tell me that it’s fine. He wasn’t shocked by it. He didn’t have any negative emotions, like I said before, wasn’t disappointed or anything, that he actually is willing to use me just the way that I am with all of my self reliance and all the things I have. But he wants to push me also into new things. And so part of that is that I have to be willing to be honest about who I really am and the things that are really going on in the heart level so that we can walk into the unknown, me and the Lord, together. Because if I’m not honest, then we’re not going anywhere. And if I’m not aware, really, of who I am in the sense of what’s going on in my heart, then there’s really no point. We can’t go to the deeper places. We can’t go to the places of healing that he wants to lead us. And I think that that’s something that I’m more convinced of than ever. That the Lord really seeks to push us either by using the unknown or a new job, new town, it doesn’t matter what it is. And he uses every circumstance in order to reveal those hidden things. And the crooked things is how I say in my book, a lot is the crooked things he really wants to bring to the surface. But never ever is it to embarrass us, never is it to laugh. He never brings those things so that he can use it against us later. He always brings them so that he can correct and he can make straight wigglers crooked so that he can strengthen and so that he can bring healing. And if I am convinced of that, then I have a completely different level of boldness to go into a new culture or a new place that I did not have before, and even the boldness to be humble, to learn new things, and to go back to the level of a two year old, because I am convinced that there is a God who is in me and beside me that views me in that way. And so I kind of feel like I can do anything because he’s with me, if that makes sense. So that’s one of the biggest things, I think, that I’ve learned.

00:23:00 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, no, I think that’s such a valuable thing to learn, that the strength that we have is because of Christ, not because of how great and mighty that I am individually. That’s pretty worthless. But what we have in Christ, that’s what brings us true strength. Kind of getting into your story. And I love the fact that you have a book that lines out your story. But I just like the language of narrative in general. We typically think of narrative as it relates to watching a movie or something, which is a story, but our own lives are stories. And I think that’s really important to think of it in that way. Just tell me a little bit about that process of, one, why you decided, hey, it’s important for me to know my story, to maybe record that, and two, to share it, to share your story to other people. Just tell us more about that process.

00:24:10 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Yeah. I’ve always loved writing, so writing has always been a way for me to process things. So that’s been there as the seed. I was inspired by a couple things. One thing I was inspired was by a book called adorning the Dark. And it’s by Peterson, I think Andrew Peterson, but I could be wrong. Some Peterson, but I think it’s Andrew Peterson. And the whole book is about how when we use our gifts that the Lord has given us, then it’s a way that we can adorn the dark around us. And I really love that word picture. And I kind of felt when I was reading that book, that writing might be one of my ways that I’m called to adorn the darkness that’s around me with the love of the Lord and the light of the Lord and the truth of the Lord. And the other thing that was really inspiring for me was Danny, my husband. I read some things that I wrote in my journal to him. And finally one day, he know, I think that the things you’re writing in your journal are not just for you. I think that you should think about sharing them. What do you think if we, because we send out an update every three or four months to people who are interested in what we’re doing in Serbia and who support us and pray for us? He said, well, what if you just said in one of these updates that you have this idea to write a book? Would people pray? And so I said, okay, fine. So we put it in there, and then half an hour later, I don’t know, we sent it, and half an hour later, I get a text from my friend and she said, okay, so does this mean you’re going to let me help you write this book? And she is a copy editor and also a coach, a writing coach. So I think that that’s an open door. I really couldn’t. I would have had to turn around and walk the other way. I just had to keep going. Everything and these doors just kept flying open. She was instrumental. I could not have done it without her. She really helped me even in the writing process and with the publishing process and all of those things, and encouraged me along the way. And she’s also a believer, so that was also a special thing because she could also encourage me spiritually. As I was feeling discouraged or thinking that I couldn’t do it or that it was too big of a. Was really, she was encouraging that process. And then Danny and reading that book, and also when I started the actual writing, when I sat down to write, even days when it was hard to write, I felt like the words were flowing out of me and I felt so alive, and I felt like this is what I made to do, and I don’t always feel like that. So that is from the Lord. I really believe that each person has specific gifts and specific talents, and that when we use them, that it’s really powerful. So I really do believe that this is a gift that the Lord has given me. So I really want to develop it, and I really think that this is just the beginning of the journey, but I have really seen that some of the things that I’ve written have touched people on a deeper level. And I know that that’s the Lord using me, but I want to use it, and I want to get better. So this book was also part, partly an experiment to see do I have it? Do I have what it takes to write a book? In a sense, if I’m good, I told my editor, when I said that, I said, you got to tell me right away. If it’s not good, I don’t want to do it. I’ll find something else. I’m not going to be devastated about it. I want to do things that I’m good at or lean into the gifts that I actually have and not have to be, I don’t know, doing something that I’m not good at or that I’m not called to do. So she said, no, I think you have it, and I think you should go for it. So that was also really reassuring to have a professional that would say that, that, yes, there’s talent there and yes, there’s a message that’s worth sharing there and you should go for it. And then she helped me with the practical things.

00:28:14 – Johnny Sanders
You mentioned that you’ve had people reach out and like, oh, this really touched me. And I love the fact that you gave credit to the Lord there, that, hey, these gifts, talents, first off, they were given to you by him to begin with and who he chose to accept that message or to be told more in an impactful way, that’s ultimately his doing, but he was able to use you through that. So saying that, have you seen any themes, like, of any particular parts of your story that people have really tended to gravitate to when they read it?

00:29:00 – Wendy Zahorjanski
It’s been interesting because I thought that there would be, but different people have been touched by different parts of it, that there really hasn’t been one part that everybody has said, this was it for me, that I had a friend tell me the other day that it was a chapter that really surprised me, that was so touching for her, but she was really impacted by it. And I had another person say that it was another chapter that I don’t think is the best chapter of the book written. I don’t think it’s the best one, but she was the most impacted by it. So I think that that’s also a testimony that the Lord has such an ability to meet us exactly where we are and that people can. I don’t know. It’s really cool that everybody on their own journey can find a part of my journey that meets them in that moment and be encouraged by it. But there really hasn’t been, I don’t think, one chapter that has really stood out. There’s probably one chapter that it’s a little bit above the other ones, but it’s only slightly. And that chapter is all about sadness. And I think that. I’m not sure, but I wonder, I’m not a psychologist. I’m not even close to any of those things, but I just wonder if sadness hits that nerve with people, that all of us have experienced it. And so kind of when I went there, and I went all the way there in that chapter because it was something that I avoided for a long time in my life. But I went there, and I think that a lot of people identified it because all of us carry some kind of sadness, that it’s not talking about sadness, even though maybe we don’t do it or we feel awkward doing it sometimes, that it’s actually something we all carry in some sense. So that chapter would be the chapter that would kind of stand a little bit above the other ones. But in general, it’s been pretty mixed.

00:30:57 – Johnny Sanders
I think that you’re probably hitting something there. That’s something that, when I’m working with a lot of my clients, and if those of you listening don’t know my day job, I’m a counselor, and I have my own christian counseling practice that, yeah, sadness is one of those emotions. Especially as christians, you’re not supposed to feel, right. We’re supposed to always be happy and joyful, and things are great. And that’s something that I explore often with a lot of the clients I work with, especially from a christian worldview. We believe that God created us, created everything. He created our emotions, too. So us feeling sad. Yeah. We need to have a joy in our lives, sure. But there’s a reason why we feel sad sometimes. I fully believe that that is a God given emotion, and we need to be able to process that and feel that. And I’m sure that in that chapter for you, like you said, you didn’t really pull punches there. I think that you’re onto something that. That resonates with people that, oh, I don’t have to hide from that feeling. I can express that. It’s more so how I express it and who I’m expressing it to that really matters. And quite frankly, we read scripture. I was just in lamentations, and I’ve read a lot of the psalms. I just went through Jeremiah. There’s a lot of bad stuff that happened in scripture, and people cried out to God all the time, so don’t be afraid to do that in your own personal life, too.

00:32:42 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Yeah. That was the chapter, actually, that impacted my illustrator. I had an idea for one of my friends to illustrate the book, but just to read it, to read each chapter and then to draw how she experienced that chapter. And so, as an artist, she had the strongest reaction to that chapter. But I think it was the sadness, too, that just brought. I don’t know, it comes from a different place than some of the other things. So the illustration that she did for that chapter actually, I think is the most powerful as well. So I think that also helps the people as they read it, the readers, to kind of have a more maybe emotional reaction to that chapter, too.

00:33:22 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. So something I like to really make this podcast centered on, and it’s why I choose the guest that I do, is centered on some level of action. I think christians especially, we definitely don’t need to live apathetic lives, that whatever happens, happens. We need to be centered on action. So those that are maybe listening to the podcast, especially in a situation like mine, maybe they have grown up and stayed in the same spot in their life, or they don’t really necessarily even have a particular call to missions or anything like that. What would be some actionable steps that they can take to still be involved in other cultures?

00:34:12 – Wendy Zahorjanski
It’s a good question, and partly I don’t know, because I really do think that each of us needs to seek the Lord in prayer, and we need to be willing to seek him with enough time that we can stop and listen, which I’m not the greatest at, but to really seek him and to be willing to wait for him to answer. Because I think that if we’re living with that posture of seeking and waiting, that he’ll provide opportunities, even if we’re in the same town that we were born in and we live our same lives in the same town. I just have seen my story. It’s one example, it’s only one, but I’ve seen other people who’ve lived in the same city, in the same town their whole lives. And it’s like the Lord brings all these people, and I don’t understand how it’s possible for all these diverse people, or hurting people, or people who are seeking the Lord. But I know those people, and they’re people who live with that kind of a posture to seek the Lord and then to wait. But when he says something, they do it. So also to have that boldness. When the Lord says, even if we’re not 100% sure, ask. You have those couple of people around you. Maybe you have a counselor like yourself, maybe there’s somebody that you can get in touch with, a counselor to ask, or a good friend who’s going to give you good advice, or a spouse, it doesn’t matter. But somebody you can bounce stuff off and process. But then when you think that’s it, go for it and step out. I really do believe that the Lord calls us to things and that he is speaking, and that he wants to speak. He so wants to speak. And he wants to call us to new things, and he wants to make our paths cross with other people because he loves people. He’s all about people, and he can do it in miraculous ways. If you’re thinking, oh, my gosh, I don’t even know how to meet somebody from a different culture, or I don’t know how that’s going to happen, it’s never going to happen. I would encourage that person just to start praying about it and just the know, I tell him those things. I don’t know how it’s going to happen. I would love to meet someone from another culture, but I live somewhere where there aren’t any of them. I don’t know what to do and can you help me? And I’m willing to do it. I want to do it. I just don’t know how. I think the Lord likes those kind of conversations because he likes it when we are real with him. And, yeah, it’s kind of like you were mentioning the psalms. That’s kind of some of David’s conversations is he’s just processing stuff with the Lord and processing some of life as he’s experiencing it. So I think not to be afraid of telling the Lord that it’s something you want to do, but you don’t know how to do it, or even if you don’t want to do it, tell the Lord I don’t want to do that, but please change my heart and be willing for him to change your heart, because he can even do that. He’s the only one that can do it to change our hearts. We cannot change our hearts on our own. And if we try to do it, then it’s not going to end well because the love will run out, our love will run out, our patience will run out. But if the Lord really changes our hearts, and if the Lord provides the opportunities, then there’s a supernatural force that goes into those things. So the love is supernatural because it’s his love. The patience is supernatural because it’s his. The holy spirit in us gives us supernatural boldness. I am not a super bold person in general, but I know that when I’m praying and living with that kind of posture, I’m so much more bold. And it is the Holy Spirit in me. It’s only his work in me. So anybody can do it. There’s no excuses. That’s one thing. It’s very freeing. But on the other side, there’s no excuses. Because if you feel inadequate, okay, if you feel like you don’t have the skills okay. Like, the Lord isn’t bothered by those things, but he’s still going to call you out and you should still go and know that he goes with you. He always goes with us, and he’s right beside us. And he doesn’t care how long it takes us. He doesn’t care how awkward it is. He doesn’t care anything of what the process looks like, of how many times we say the wrong thing or how many times we’re maybe culturally insensitive on accident. The Lord is so patient with us. So I think being willing to step out also means being willing to make mistakes and to do it the wrong way, but to have the humility to go back and say that you’re sorry, that you’re learning. I think that we’d be surprised, and I’ve always been surprised, when I’m honest, that I’m met. Not always, but a lot of times I’m met with kindness and people saying, that’s okay. Yeah, that was insensitive or whatever. That’s okay, though. And then they actually help me. Some people are really jerks, and when they react and they’re mean, we should just keep going. We need to just leave those people and go the other way because that will happen to you. Some people won’t get it and they’ll think we’re, I don’t know, mean or whatever. And that’s okay. They reacted the way that they did, and we cannot change that. But we are responsible for our reactions and how we step out. And it is part of our responsibility that when Jesus called us, we said, yeah, we said we would follow him. So when he calls us to follow him into a different, new thing, that’s also part of being a disciple of Jesus. Yeah. So I think I answered your question.

00:39:28 – Johnny Sanders
No, I think that’s good, though. Sometimes we got to break it down to being simple. That’s another thing. I tell a lot of the clients that I work with that most of the things that we do in life are not that complicated. There’s going to be some things that sure are a little bit harder than others, but most of it is fairly simple. That’s one of the freeing things about being a Christian, is it is a pretty simple life. Like, you read scripture, you seek the Lord and obey. We don’t have to figure it all out. We just have to obey. And when he calls us to do something, we do it. Now, I always caveat that by saying it’s simple, it’s not always easy, and it can be a hard thing to follow through. It takes a lot of discipline to do that. But God does the hard part for us. We just have to obey and follow. So I do like the way that you break that down. Hey, ask, pray about it. I guarantee you it doesn’t matter if you’re in Vermont, if you’re in Oklahoma, if you’re wherever, there’s a way that God can use you where you’re at. And who knows? Maybe he’ll call you to go to a different country. Maybe he’ll call you to support somebody in a different country. Maybe he’ll call you to stay where you’re at and go to your neighbors. But there’s a call for you somewhere. We need to ask and ask and obey. It really does go quite that simple.

00:41:08 – Wendy Zahorjanski
The Lord never called us to do something that Jesus didn’t do. That was also very comforting for me. So everything that we’re called to do, Jesus has been called to do and done. So we have such deep fellowship with Jesus in that if we would only reach out and utilize it, that Jesus really does get it. He really does get what it means to step into the unknown, to be called by the Lord to do something and then to do it. And it cost him everything. And sometimes it will cost us everything. But we have the example who goes before us, who’s the beginning, all the things from the scriptures that we read and we say that we believe and that he’s the beginning and the end and that he’s the finisher of our faith. But it’s also so practical that he knows what we’re going through because he has gone through it as well. So, yeah, that’s been encouraging for me as well.

00:41:57 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of hope and joy that kind of goes back into. Yeah, I know sadness is an emotion to feel, but there’s a lot of happiness and joy and understanding that.

00:42:12 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Yeah.

00:42:12 – Johnny Sanders
It’s not just us figuring it out. Now. I’m imagining a lot of people that have heard you talk about your story want to know, hey, where can I find this book? And would love to be in contact with you after the show. So how can they be in contact with you and where can the audience find your book at?

00:42:32 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Yes, I am very excited. So it’s my debut book. I’m just at the beginning of my journey as a writer, but I really am excited to share my story. The best way to buy it would be on Amazon. It’s on Amazon. And it is called hard is only half the story. So that’s how you can find it. It’s also on my website. My website is my first and last name, which is a little bit tricky, but maybe we can put it in the show notes. So it’s Wendy Zahorjanski , and I’m also on Instagram and Facebook. The good thing is I’m the only Wendy Zahorjanski , so you can find me more easily, hopefully. So those are the best ways to follow me now, Instagram for sure. I use more. So that’s a good way. And then pick up the book on Amazon. And I love to hear from readers what was most impactful. How did they experience the story, even part of their stories or even things they didn’t like? I just like interacting with them. So, yes, get the book, read it, reach out, and I would love to hear from you.

00:43:36 – Johnny Sanders
Awesome. Well, yeah, I will include all those links down there in the show notes. And yeah, definitely encourage you to reach out to Wendy and also to get her book. Wendy, it was great having you on today.

00:43:50 – Wendy Zahorjanski
Thanks so much for having me.

00:43:52 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. And thank you to everybody for listening to another episode. And I’ll catch you up in my.